fruit and veg

MediterrAsian Diet and Flavanoids – all new to me!

I’ve had the library to myself today! I decided to come in to Uni for a couple of hours to do some research for my dissertation and it was so quiet with no distractions I’ve stayed all day. I’ve got loads of research done and have found some fascinating journal articles on the subject of diet and disease.photo-1
Here are a few of my new discoveries that I will be researching further:

  • The ‘MediterrAsian‘ Diet combines the Japanese diet with the Mediterranean diet, which may be a promising dietary strategy in chronic disease prevention.
  • There is some evidence that flavanoids may enhance health and prevent chronic disease.
  • Although flavanoids don’t appear to be necessary for growth and development they are thought to be a ‘life span essential’ (which means they may help prevent disease from conception in to older adulthood)
  • Flavanoids of nutritional interest are the flavanols or catechins, these inclue:
    • epigallocatechin 3-gallate fron green tea
    • apigenin from celery
    • quercetin  from red onions and apples
    • naringen from citrus fruit
    • cyanidin from berries
    • genistein and daidzein from soya beans
  • More studies are needed to establish a link between nutrition and cognitive decline .
  • The DO-HEALTH research programme is looking into the role of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and a simple home exercise programme and whether this combination can extend healthy life expectancy and improve quality of life in European seniors.

There is so much information and research focusing on the links between diet and disease that I’ve certainly got my work cut out. The beauty of being a mature student with grown up children, is that you can spend time doing what you love.  For me that’s researching all of the above.

Val

References:

Gillette-Guyonnet, S., et al (2012) Nutrition and neurodegeneration:epidemiological evidence and challneges for future research.

American Society for Nutrition (2013) Flavanoids

Pallaug, K., et al (2013) Nutrition and healthy ageing:caorie restriction or polyphenol-rich MediterrAsian diet?

Ugly fruit and veg – perfect for juicing!

Vegetable juices are a great way to start the day! Ingredients such as cucumber, celery, spinach, kale, courgettes (zucchini) and crisp granny smith apples make for a vibrant green drink packed full of goodness.green drink

A good way of sourcing fresh, organic produce for juicing is to grow your own. If you already have, you’ll know that it doesn’t always look as perfect as the produce you find on supermarket shelves. Whatever it looks like though, the health benefits are the same and it’s perfect for juicing.

European Union regulations previously restricted the sales of fruit and veg based on size and shape.  This however was repealed in 2009 for 26 different types of fruit and vegetables, including asparagus, aubergines, sprouts, cabbage, melons and courgettes.

So what happens to the miss shapen or ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables’ grown by farmers, but rejected by supermarkets who turn it away based on the assumption that consumers just won’t buy it?

  • There are reports that farmers are routinely forced to throw away up to 40% of a crop because it is not aesthetically pleasing.
  • It is also sold off more cheaply and much of it ends up in soups, chutneys and ready meals.
  • Supermarkets such as Waitrose have reportedly recently started to sell produce disfigured by bad weather, which is said to be  good for farmers and customers alike. 

I found a great You Tube video highlighting a recent innovative approach by a French Supermarket to help minimise food waste, save people money and improve health. You can access it via the following link:

 

Hopefully we will get more of this in the UK, and the massive amount of fresh produce that gets wasted because of the way it looks, will be reduced dramatically.

Val