Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fighting Parkinson's ... with Fruit?

A diet rich in anthocyanins may help lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study.
Mohammad Ali and Michael J Fox
The research, which is due to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 63rd Annual Meeting in April, suggests that men and women who regularly consume foods that are rich in anthocyanins – like berries – have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease.
Moreover, a flavanoid rich diet –including apples and oranges – may cut the chances of developing the disease by up to 40 per cent in men.

I look at these two people, both of whom I think are fighters in every sense of the word. I just applaud them for their work to provide not only dollars for research but motivation and inspiration for millions of people who get this disease, and manage this disease, every year.  

I also love the research because it points to something ... something that we can do on the prevention side. Yes, we have treatments that are space-age stellar, that can stimulate your brain, and lesion your brain, and drug your brain, all to manage the symptoms of tremor and rigidity. But doing something as simple as eating a piece of fruit every day -- to prevent a catastrophic illness -- is heartening. 

Not only is this prevention method cheap, it's tasty too! 

Anthocyanins may reduce risk of Parkinson’s: Study

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rats On Wine: Wine Supplementation? Take Your Vitamin W?

Dietary supplementation with polyphenols from red wine may slow the decline in vascular function associated with age, suggests a new study with rats.

Animals fed red wine polyphenols were found to have less dysfunction of the endothelium – the cells lining blood vessels – as well as an improved ageing-related decline in physical exercise, according to findings published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.
Endothelial function naturally and gradually decreases over time, and it has been linked to range of age-related diseases, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD).
“The present findings indicate that regular intake of red wine polyphenols starting at a young age reduces the endothelial dysfunction and the impaired physical exercise capacity at an advanced age,” report researchers from the University of Strasbourg in France.
This is actually a good study, because when they say that these animals have wine supplementation, they are not talking about "resveratrol" pills -- very hot now as the latest greatest miracle pill. 

These researchers actually added red wine polyphenols to ethanol (alcohol) itself, compared to a control group which received alcohol alone with out the red wine polyphenols. Don't get me wrong, alcohol does good things for you on its own, by inhibiting platelet accumulation along your artery walls. But, in combination with the stuff that's in red wine, it multiplies the helpful effect on your arteries. 

Get this!! Weird, but true ... the animal with the most red wine polyphenols also had a greater endurance in exercise tests!! Go figure. Can you see companies popping up pre-race "wine bars" in the not too distant future? :)


Red wine polyphenols boost vascular health: Rat study

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Old Wine In New Bottles. Critics pan new food labels

U.S. grocers joined with food and drink makers to unveil a new system on Monday for putting nutritional information on packages ahead of plans from U.S. regulators, who have called for clear and accurate labels to help fight obesity.
Critics were quick to question the front-of-package labeling move by industry, saying it appeared to be an attempt to circumvent federal regulators and to distract consumers from the unhealthy ingredients in some packaged foods.

the critics have a point here. What if (hypothetically) there were arsenic in your food? It wouldn't show up as calories, saturated fat, sodium, or sugars. "Strawberry flavoring" has 48 (that's right, 48!) organic chemicals like derivatives of benzine, acetone, and ketone. Those are all low in everything. 

Bottom line? It's a good idea to let consumers know how many weeks' worth of calories ARE IN that Venti Caramel Macchiato. That said, the preservatives, and synthetics, and chemicals, wouldn't show up in this system they're proposing. Read the ingredients -- that is where food producers must be honest.    

Industry debuts new U.S. food labels, critics pan | Reuters

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

‘honey laundering’?

A coalition organization of honey companies and importers has revealed a new initiative to certify the origin of US honey in an effort to ensure product purity and safety.

This has NOTHING to do with getting your spouse to do the clothes washing! 
In 2008, a bunch of US honey companies formed True Source Honey to prevent illegally imported honey from entering the US market, and to help safeguard the integrity of the domestic honey supply. 
Honey Laundering cost the US up to $106m last year in uncollected duties due to illegal honey imports.
“Cheap illegal imports hurt all legitimate US packers and beekeepers," said president of the American Beekeeping Federation David Mendes.

Actually, this issue is about more than just protecting an industry from unfair competitive practices. There have been concerns of Chinese honey that have been contaminated with "disallowed antibiotics". Given the frequency with which we hear about food safety issues in products that come out of China, this itself should give us pause -- and cause -- to check the source of the honey and make sure it comes from somewhere locally. 

Origin certification scheme launched to combat ‘honey laundering’

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Concerns over the 1st US guidelines on Farm-Raised Fish

More people now eat farm raised fish than wild caught fish!! That's an amazing change, but one that just acknowledges the realities of our modern world. 

But the general principle that, "There's nothing so good that you can't royally screw it up" particularly holds true in this case. 

Policy toward industrial scale farming and Genetically Altered food products have been largely influenced by, and tilted in favor of, the food industry.  

Here's my concern

The food industry, of course, has their own interests in sculpting the regulations that will affect their industry. However, those interests do not necessarily align with those of consumers. They are not necessarily interests that will produce the healthiest product. 

NOAA, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has proposed the nation’s first aquaculture policy, which it said responds to growing demand for local, safe, sustainably-produced seafood. 

But the jury is definitely still out. We will just have to wait and see how these competing interests -- consumers and their health on the one hand, versus a maximized profit margin on the other -- work themselves out. Don't hold your breath, this is likely to take some time. 

More from the article
Domestic aquaculture – seafood that is farmed rather than caught in the wild – currently only accounts for about five percent of seafood consumed in the United States. Eighty-four percent the United States’ seafood is imported and about half of that comes from aquaculture, the NOAA said – and it expects demand, both in the US and worldwide, to increase rapidly.
Its new draft policy document has a strong focus on how domestic aquaculture can be carried out sustainably, which the agency said comes from growing interest in seafood’s health benefits as well as increasing consumer concern about how fish is produced.
“Growing consumer demand for safe, local, and sustainably produced seafood, increasing energy costs, and the decline of fishing-related industries and working waterfronts are emerging drivers that support sustainable domestic aquaculture production,” the NOAA said.
The policy document outlines general standards that aquaculture fisheries will have to meet in an effort to ensure minimum impact on wild fish stocks and marine ecosystems. These include recommending more research into alternative feeds for farmed fish so they are not fed smaller wild varieties, which contributes to the decline in wild fish populations, and a proposed ban on stocking fish farms with non-native fish, pending more research into potential outcomes if they should escape.
"Aquaculture production – both small-scale and large-scale – is evolving toward sustainable practices through regulations at the federal and state levels, scientific advancements, consumer demand, technological innovation, industry best management practices, and protocols for responsible stock replenishment and hatchery practices,” the document said.
Globally, the amount of seafood produced through aquaculture surpassed that caught in the wild for the first time in 2009, and with the ongoing depletion of wild fish stocks, the NOAA said it envisages the role of aquaculture to expand still further.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, global fish consumption has reached its highest ever level of about 17 kg per person each year, and supplies more than 3bn people with at least 15 percent of their average animal protein intake.
The NOAA draft aquaculture policy is available online here .
NOAA proposes first US aquaculture guidelines

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What does it mean that "Fish consumption hits all time high"?

Global fish consumption has reached its highest ever level of about 17 kg per person on average, supplying more than 3bn people with at least 15 per cent of their average animal protein intake, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

That's huge! 

Most of the increase comes from the strong growth of aquaculture, which is set to overtake capture fisheries as the main source of fish.

So the question now is ... how can we sustain the change we are becoming? If we deplete our fisheries we deplete our food supplies. This is not just a theoretical problem ... we must develop practical, sustainable models that ensure 1) food safety, and 2) food availability. 

According to this article
The continued depletion of global stocks threatens world food security, he added. "That there has been no improvement in the status of stocks is a matter of great concern. The percentage of overexploitation needs to go down although at least we seem to be reaching a plateau."
The percentage of overexploited, depleted or recovering fish stocks in the world's oceans is estimated to be slightly higher than in 2006. About 32 per cent of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be rebuilt urgently, said the report.
Most stocks of the top 10 commercial fish species, accounting for nearly a third of the total global catch were fully exploited, warned the report.
For example: Of the seas’ 23 tuna stocks, most (possibly 60 per cent) are more or less fully exploited, some are overexploited or depleted (possibly 35 per cent) and only a few (mainly skipjack) appear to be underexploited.

Fish consumption hits all time high: FAO report

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

General Mills ad slogan are ‘Now Even Better’

The company that told you its Lucky Charms cereal was a "Smart Choice" -- see the handy CHECK MARK right on the top of the box -- even though this product is 41% sugar by weight, has a new ad slogan out. 

By the way, General Mills was forced to kill this "Smart Choice" ad campaign because of popular outrage over the obvious lunacy of proposing that Lucky Charms is an important part of anything. 

The new ad campaign is not for breakfast cereals, but for soups, such as their Progresso Light Soups. Fortunately, they were much less off-base with this one, telling consumers that their soups are "Now Even Better". 

So, when you see this label on their soups, what they MEAN by that is listed here: "increasing the size of chicken pieces in five flavors of soup, increasing the amount of vegetables in two flavors, improving the quality of beef in one flavor and decreasing the amount of sodium in five flavors."

Chicken chunk size? I'm not so concern with, but the salt-choked nature of most soups is a huge concern. Increasing the amount of veggies is good as well. So, kudos to General Mills for not following a public relations disaster with a public relations disaster like a bad movie sequel ("Son of Smart Choices"). 

General Mills wins right to claim its soups are ‘Now Even Better’

For more information: Click here to visit Will Clower's website.

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