This Week's Nutrition News Feed
In this week’s news: Scientists give us the skinny on apples; olive oil earns another hearty endorsement; and local farms and organic research get some green.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That may be true – and some varieties may be better at it than others. A study conducted at Washington State University concluded that nondigestible compounds in Granny Smith apples, which are high in dietary fiber and polyphenols and low in carbohydrates, aid the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon and help reduce chronic inflammation and other disorders associated with obesity and diabetes. Granny Smith apples were found to contain more of these potentially beneficial nondigestible compounds than Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh or Red Delicious apples.
In case you need another reason to embrace a Mediterranean diet, a new study published in the Journal Circulation suggests that olive oil can help repair falling hearts. Or, well, rat hearts, anyway. Researchers compared the effects of oleate (the kind of fat found in olive and canola oil) and palmitate (found in dairy products, animal fat and palm oil) on beating rat hearts with heart failure similar to a condition that, in humans, can result from chronic high blood pressure. The hearts treated directly with palmitate showed no improvement, but those treated with oleate improved dramatically. The human implications are not yet clear, but study author E. Douglas Lewandowski said the results support "the idea that consuming healthy fats like oleate can have a significantly positive effect on cardiac health."
It may soon get easier to get your hands on farm-fresh organic food. The USDA has announced plans put $52 million to bolster research on organic farming and local and regional food distribution systems, including farmers' markets and food hubs, which help small farmers market and distribute their products and offer them other services. "These types of local food systems are the cornerstones of our plans to revitalize the rural economy," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The New York Times. The money is being distributed as part of the farm bill signed into law in February, which has targeted $291 million toward the local and organic food sector, including support for organic growers, conservation and research.