Immunity-Boosting Products Attract Consumers - The Food Institute

Immunity-Boosting Products Attract Consumers – The Food Institute

  • October 21, 2020

Six out of 10 global consumers are increasingly looking for food and beverage products that support their immune health, with one in three saying that concerns about immune health increased in 2020 over 2019, according to the Innova Consumer Survey 2020.

Immunity-boosting ingredients are expected to play a significant role in the coming year, while research and interest in the microbiome and personalized nutrition as ways to strengthen immunity will accelerate.

This interest in health can be seen at Nestlé where sales from its health-science business lifted overall revenue as organic sales grew 3.5% in the first nine months of the year, beating analysts’ estimates of 2.8%, reported The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 21).

As the pandemic wears on, companies like Nestlé are getting a boost from consumers gravitating toward products that support health, particularly the immune system. While Nestlé’s health-science business represents only about 3% of Nestlé’s overall sales,  Mark Schneider, chief executive, aims to have the company become “a health and nutrition powerhouse” through acquisitions and organic growth.

In particular, demand for vitamins, minerals, and supplements was strong, according to the company. Supplement brands Garden of Life and Pure Encapsulations sold well online, while so called healthy-aging products grew at a double-digit rate in the nine-month period, with help from Boost, a nutritional drink brand, in North America and Nutren, a line of nutritional supplements, in Brazil.

Other companies also made moves to take advantage of the increased concern about health during the pandemic. For example, Unilever PLC doubled the amount of zinc that goes in its Horlicks brand—a malted milk in India. It is also marketing what it says are the brands immunity-boosting benefits.

Additionally, Archer-Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) aims to increase the operating profit from its nutrition unit to $1 billion, more than double last year’s level, reported Bloomberg (Oct. 21).

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Profit from its nutrition unit, which includes the plant burger operations, surged 52% in the first half of the year to $300 million from the year-earlier period. That helped ADM beat earnings expectations, even as first-half profit at its traditional grain-handling business rose only 7.2% to $835 million.

The company’s nutrition business was a key player in being able to survive the pandemic. Supply chain disruptions hurt many of ADM’s commodity rivals, but the company saw a jump in demand for probiotics and other similar products.

“It’s been interesting that as bad as coronavirus is for the world, to a certain degree it reinforced the direction we have taken in ADM strategically,” said Juan Luciano, CEO of ADM. “Today the No. 1 question in the world is: How can I stay healthy?”

Pandemic-Era Shoppers Splurge on Vitamins, Boosting Nestlé Sales

Pandemic-Era Shoppers Splurge on Vitamins, Boosting Nestlé Sales

  • October 21, 2020

Nestlé SA


NSRGY 0.35%

said the pandemic has increased consumers’ health consciousness, boosting its small but fast-growing health-sciences unit and contributing to better-than-expected overall sales at the world’s largest packaged-food maker.

The owner of Nescafe coffee, DiGiorno frozen pizza and Purina pet food has previously benefited from a pandemic-era shift by consumers to comfort food—particularly big, trusted brands—as they stocked up and stayed home during lockdowns.

As the pandemic wears on, companies are now getting a boost as consumers gravitate toward products that boost health, particularly the immune system.

Nestlé’s health-science business has been one of its lesser-known divisions for years, but Chief Executive Mark Schneider, a former health-care executive who took the reins in 2017, has turned it into a focus area amid a wide-ranging portfolio shake-up. The unit represents only about 3% of Nestlé’s overall sales, but Mr. Schneider said Wednesday he wanted it to become “a health and nutrition powerhouse” through acquisitions and organic growth.

Nestlé said the unit delivered double-digit sales growth in the first nine months of the year, but didn’t detail its performance any further in a sales update released Wednesday.

Demand for vitamins, minerals and supplements was strong, the company said. Supplement brands Garden of Life and Pure Encapsulations sold particularly well online. So called healthy-aging products grew at a double-digit rate in the nine-month period, Nestlé said, with help from Boost, a nutritional drink brand, in North America and Nutren, a line of nutritional supplements, in Brazil.

Health-science sales lifted overall revenue, which was powered by strong pet food and coffee sales. Nestlé said organic sales, which strip out currency fluctuations, acquisitions and divestitures, grew 3.5% in the first nine months of the year, beating analysts’ estimates of 2.8%. Results were driven almost entirely by volume growth. The company upgraded its guidance for the year, saying it now expects organic sales growth of around 3%, from a prior forecast of between 2% and 3%.

Nestlé shares were largely unchanged in late morning trading in Europe.

Net sales fell 9.4%, to 61.91 billion Swiss francs, equivalent to $68.24 billion, dragged down by currency changes and divestitures. Mr. Schneider has sold a string of assets, including Nestlé’s skin-health arm and U.S. ice-cream business, as he pivots toward categories he sees as higher growth.

Other companies have reported sales boosts amid a shift in health consciousness by consumers.

Conagra Brands Inc.

says its Healthy Choice frozen meals are on the rise.

Reckitt Benckiser Group

PLC this week said its Airborne brand, a supplement advertised as boosting the immune system, more than doubled revenue in the third quarter.

Others have moved to take advantage of the increased concern about health during the pandemic.

Unilever

PLC has doubled the amount of zinc that goes in its Horlicks brand, a malted milk bestseller in India, and is marketing what it says are the brand’s immunity-boosting benefits.

Nestlé has a head start, having set up the health-science business in 2011 under former CEO Paul Bulcke, now the company’s chairman. His vision was to use specialist food-based products to help prevent and treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease. Nestle has also been investing in treatments and medicine.

It has made a long string of acquisitions to bolster the unit, earlier this month closing a deal to buy a California-based biopharmaceutical company that has won approval for the first treatment for peanut allergies. The acquisition valued Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. at $2.6 billion, including debt, and analysts expect Nestle to keep doing big deals.

This year, Nestlé bought a gastrointestinal medication brand and took a majority stake in a company that makes collagen supplements.

Still, for all the focus on it, the health-science arm remains far smaller than older units such as coffee and petcare, which remained the main drivers of Nestlé’s strong sales for the period. Pet food, where sales rose 4.1% in the nine months, has performed well for years.

The company said its dairy and cooking-aids arms also did well. Confectionery and bottled water dragged down the results, with both categories heavily dependent on tourism and shoppers being out and about.

After lifting lockdowns, many countries—particularly in Europe—are now implementing strict bans on movement again to stem the spread of the virus. Nestle said the out-of-home sales channel overall “remained significantly negative,” but sales declines moderated in the third quarter.

Write to Saabira Chaudhuri at saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Tips for Healthy Eating During Pandemic – NBC Los Angeles

Tips for Healthy Eating During Pandemic – NBC Los Angeles

  • October 20, 2020

Since a vaccine is still in the works to combat COVID-19, we’re left trying just about anything to stay as healthy a possible during a pandemic. One thing that everyone can all do, however, is to boost their immune system with healthy foods.

Health professionals tell NBC 7 if someone gets COVID-19 or the flu, or even both, it’ll most likely be much easier to recover if they’ve been eating foods rich in nutrients

These are immune-boosting foods that can help prepare your body to fight off a virus, cold or flu. Those who have a nutrient-packed diet will also find they sleep better and have more energy since they’re consuming the right minerals.

Nutritionists suggest you load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins for dietary success.

It’s also best to plan for groceries so that it could result in purchases of fewer processed, high-salt or high-sugar snacks.

“Processed foods in general, it’s basically synthetic. It’s made from a machine,” said Dr. Amy Lee, who is an expert in weight control, obesity and nutrition. “It’s nothing natural that we actually garden and plant and harvest. So our human bodies basically have to get used to and adapt to all these new synthetic ingredients that we weren’t used to before.”

Lee also suggests families create a schedule or a daily meal plan. A schedule is more predictable for everyone in a household and it can get all involved so they feel connected to the effort in some way, creating motivation.

You can also manage your environment to improve your diet.

If candy and chips aren’t in the kitchen cabinet, then you can’t eat them.

It’s also very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Health experts recommend that you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, but if you’re outside a lot or exercising, it should be more. Stay healthy!

Tips for Heating During Pandemic – NBC 7 San Diego

Tips for Heating During Pandemic – NBC 7 San Diego

  • October 20, 2020

Since a vaccine is still in the works to combat COVID-19, we’re left trying just about anything to stay as healthy a possible during a pandemic. One thing that everyone can all do, however, is to boost their immune system with healthy foods.

Health professionals tell NBC 7 if someone gets COVID-19 or the flu, or even both, it’ll most likely be much easier to recover if they’ve been eating foods rich in nutrients

These are immune-boosting foods that can help prepare your body to fight off a virus, cold or flu. Those who have a nutrient-packed diet will also find they sleep better and have more energy since they’re consuming the right minerals.

Nutritionists suggest you load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins for dietary success.

It’s also best to plan for groceries so that it could result in purchases of fewer processed, high-salt or high-sugar snacks.

“Processed foods in general, it’s basically synthetic. It’s made from a machine,” said Dr. Amy Lee, who is an expert in weight control, obesity and nutrition. “It’s nothing natural that we actually garden and plant and harvest. So our human bodies basically have to get used to and adapt to all these new synthetic ingredients that we weren’t used to before.”

Lee also suggests families create a schedule or a daily meal plan. A schedule is more predictable for everyone in a household and it can get all involved so they feel connected to the effort in some way, creating motivation.

You can also manage your environment to improve your diet.

If candy and chips aren’t in the kitchen cabinet, then you can’t eat them.

It’s also very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Health experts recommend that you drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, but if you’re outside a lot or exercising, it should be more. Stay healthy!

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World food day: Healthy food habits to armor our immune system in the changing weather

  • October 16, 2020
Key soldiers in the fight include vitamins like A, C, E, B6, D, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium that help maintain a strong immune system and they are also antioxidants. (Representational image: IE)

By Namit Tyagi

The Autumn season has just begun in the country and we all are starting to fall a little sick with the common symptoms of cold and cough. Most grown-ups face such common symptoms twice a year whereas in children it is observed to be around 5-6 times. Everytime the weather changes, the count of allergens in the air also spikes up to nearly 200 viruses. The most common virus is Human Rhinovirus (HRV) that causes 40% of all colds. Thus these are mild viruses and can be eliminated easily from our body by following few precautionary measures.

To keep your immune system strong this season, adapt certain dietary habits and enjoy the festive season without any hurdle:

Eat more citrus fruits and vegetables – Citrus fruits are an amazing source of Vitamin-C. It strengthens our immunity system and keeps our skin smooth and elastic. Citrus fruits are also rich in Vitamin-B nutrients, copper, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium as well. For their antioxidants properties, add them in their mid-morning or evening snack in the form of either salad or juice. Infact, having an orange a day is sufficient enough to fulfill all our Vitamin-C requirements.

Make sure you eat enough protein – Protein helps our body in infinite ways. From muscular development to improving digestion. It is an important compound required in blood oxygenation which is then carried in all over the body. Add protein in your every meal in an adequate amount to fulfill your protein requirements thus help your body produce antibodies to boost immunity. The sources of protein include lentils, egg whites, quinoa,soya, broccoli and other dairy & poultry products.

Don’t overlook prebiotic foods – Add prebiotic sources in your meal or smoothies. Prebiotics are found in foods such as onion, garlic, banana, and curd. They assist in maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, which is a vital player in how your immune system functions. Prebiotics work by increasing the population of good bacteria in the gut which in turn sparks the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which are tiny proteins that help the immune system function.

Get enough vitamins through your diet – Key soldiers in the fight include vitamins like A, C, E, B6, D, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium that help maintain a strong immune system and they are also antioxidants. Some foods that are rich in these vitamins include carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, almonds, avocados, salmon, oysters, tuna, and lean chicken breast. Enjoy adding them to your regular meals, evening or morning salads and smoothies.

Add Herbs and spices in your diet – Turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, Tulsi, Giloy, ashwagandha, Mulethi are ayurvedically known for boosting immunity, you can enjoy them as kadha or tea in the early morning or evening. You can add ashwagandha powder or tablet with milk at night or post-dinner to have sound sleep because sound sleep helps in boosting your immune health.

Thus, adding on a few basic ingredients from our kitchen in our dietary routine and swapping junk evening snacks with a bowl of fruits and sprouts could make a big difference in terms of health and energy levels in our body.

(The author is Co-Founder & Head Nutritionist, Neuherbs & Neusafe India. Views expressed are personal.)

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Food to strengthen our immune system

Food to strengthen our immune system

  • October 6, 2020

Health and immunity

Professor Nathan Clumeck, Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases at ULB, takes the time to explain to us in detail what we need to know about viruses and immunity. “The idea of boosting immunity is appealing, but the possibility of actually achieving that is difficult”, he remarks. “Nevertheless, multiple studies have been able to demonstrate a correlation between a healthy lifestyle and optimal immunity. This results in a significant decrease in infectious events, inflammatory diseases or cancer”.

Such a lifestyle consists of having a healthy diet, not consuming tobacco and drinking alcohol in moderation, participating in regular physical activity, maintaining an ideal body weight and getting enough sleep.

To these recommendations we can add simple actions such as washing your hands and vaccinating -actions that prepare the immune system against a series of particularly virulent and potentially fatal pathogens.

Professor Clumeck concludes: “There are no cures or miracle substitutes to maintaining or strengthening the immune system. This system ultimately depends on a healthy lifestyle”.

Monica Schettino, Aspria nutrition advisor.

The basics of a healthy and balanced diet

The Superior Health Council in Belgium (CSS) provides 5 recommendations adults should prioritise:

1) Eat at least 125 g of whole grain food every day, favouring, for example, whole grain bread over white bread, whole grain pasta over white pasta, etc.

2) Eat 250 g of fresh fruit (two pieces of fruit) per day and at least 300 g of vegetables (raw or prepared). Vary your choices of fruits and vegetables and let yourself be guided by the seasonal and local offer.

3) Eat legumes every week. Replace meat with legumes at least once a week. As an added benefit, the cultivation and production of pulses has a low impact on the climate.

4) Eat 15 to 25 g of nuts or seeds without salty or sweet coating every day; one handful is approximately 30 g. It is important to choose products rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds).

5) Choose products low in salt and avoid adding salt when preparing or having your meals. Aromatic herbs and unsalted spices are tasty alternatives!

In addition to the contents of your plate, the CSS also makes an unexpected recommendation: it encourages people to eat together as much as possible, so that meals become a pleasant experience shared with others.

When speaking about a social activity, we usually talk about consuming alcohol. But this little pleasure, rooted in festive customs, has featured for a long time at the top on the list of foods with negative impact on one’s health. The recommendation is to limit ourselves to “moderate” consumption, meaning no more than 10 “standard” drinks per week. Yet ideally we should not consume it at all.

Food deficiencies

Monica Schettino, Aspria nutrition advisor, explains: “In a perfect world, adopting a balanced and natural diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables and banning processed products, should be enough to guarantee we absorb all the micronutrients and macronutrients that our body needs. “

However, our environment and our hectic lifestyle inevitably lead to nutritional deficiencies. The most common deficiencies are in magnesium, vitamin D and iron, not to mention vitamin C, zinc and B vitamins.

In the event of certain deficiencies in essential vitamins or trace elements, supplements may be taken and will be useful – bearing in mind however that their intake must be monitored medically.

A question of balance

Given its vision to enable living life well, Aspria isn’t just about fitness. Our Clubs are spaces dedicated to health and wellbeing, catering to all ages. In these uncertain times, we realize more than ever that health is essential and that being in good shape is an extraordinary asset. This health crisis shows that taking care of yourself is essential and this is what Aspria encourages everyone to do on a daily basis.

Regular and moderate physical activity, a varied and balanced diet, good quality sleep and consistent stress management require some discipline, but they should not necessarily become a chore. The key to turning them into daily habits is having an enjoyable time doing it. And every Aspria expert is there to encourage members in this process.

Do you want to learn more about immunity and sport? Which sports you should consider and how often you should exercise? Go to https://www.aspria.com/fr/immunity/

Do you also want to take care of your health and strengthen your immune system? Take advantage of our 90-day satisfaction guarantee *.

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Adjoa Courtney, known as Chef Joya, will release a second cookbook this fall, so be sure to follow her on Instagram for news and updates.

Healthy fall recipes, nutrition from Charlotte NC experts

  • October 2, 2020

Adjoa Courtney, known as Chef Joya, will release a second cookbook this fall, so be sure to follow her on Instagram for news and updates.

Adjoa Courtney, known as Chef Joya, will release a second cookbook this fall, so be sure to follow her on Instagram for news and updates.

At a time when most things in Charlotte are unpredictable due to COVID-19 and Phase 3 of North Carolina’s safer-at-home order, one aspect of life we can all find comfort in is food. It’s officially fall, which means it’s perfectly acceptable to get comfortable and cozy up next to healthy fall recipes that could contribute to your overall happiness and wellness.

The start of fall can kick off with these healthy fall dishes that are not only tasteful but will help support your immune system during the upcoming colder months. From curry sweet potato bisque to roasted vegetables and sausage medley and a homemade bone broth, Charlotte food and nutrition experts have you covered.

Personal chef Adjoa Courtney, also known as Chef Joya, looks forward to colder weather because she loves to prepare a variety of soups and stews. Her curry sweet potato bisque is a favorite recipe. It’s packed with immune supporting ingredients like sweet potato, ginger, garlic, turmeric and red bell pepper.

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Chef Joya said her Curry Sweet Potato Bisque is the epitome of an immune boosting meal. Courtesy of Chef Joya

“Comfort food is always a great thing,” she said. “I cook from a place of comfort. I cook from a place of love. When you can cook and still have those flavors and it can still be super healthy and good for you, it’s very important.”

Many of Chef Joya’s plant-based recipes are inspired by family and her childhood.

If you’re in the mood for a healthy fall meal on-the-go, Matt Dengler, a registered and licensed dietitian, suggested adding pumpkin or sweet potato to shakes or smoothies. The orange color indicates beta carotene, an antioxidant that helps support the immune system.

“Adding canned pumpkin is a really great way to add fiber to a smoothie with vanilla protein powder, a banana and almond milk,” he said. “It would be a great fall dish that’s high in protein and fruits and veggies.”

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Matt Dengler, who owns a private practice, RxRD Nutrition LLC, assists clients with body composition improvement through science-based nutrition information. Matt Dengler

Dengler, who owns RxRD Nutrition LLC, suggested pizza as a good way to sneak in healthy vegetables and proteins. He and his wife frequent Charlotte restaurants such as Farley’s for the garden pizza or Bisonte Pizza for the veggie lovers pizza. When they’re home, they create their own pies and load them with spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms and some protein on top.

“Life is way too short not to enjoy some fun foods,” he said. “If you’re going to do it yourself, you can make it a little bit more healthier than buying it from the store.”

Dylan Lowry, a registered and licensed dietitian with Nutrition Healthworks, said fall is the time to start incorporating in-season vegetables to help support the immune system. Eating about three cups of vegetables and two fruits a day should be the goal. During the colder months, he usually eats fruit with each meal.

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Dylan Lowry is a registered and licensed dietitian with Nutrition Healthworks, which serves the Charlotte community with locations throughout the city. Travis Chilcot

“Variety is also a big factor,” Lowry said. “If you’re eating three bananas a day every day, that’s not going to give you a variety of nutrition, vitamins and minerals to help the immune system.”

Salads are a good way to get an immune boost and incorporate different fruits and vegetables. If you’re at home, you can add greens, strawberries for vitamin C, cheese for vitamin D and calcium, bell peppers and a lean protein. If you want to order in, try the harvest bowl from Chopt.

Samantha Eaton, a certified nutritional health coach and eating psychology coach, loves the “soup/stew Sunday” tradition that comes with this time of year. She and her husband look forward to cooking soup or stew on Sundays. One of her favorites is a roasted vegetables and sausage medley.

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Samantha Eaton suggests when deciding what to eat to ask yourself, “What can I add to this that will give it an immune boost and make it more nutritious for me?” Lauren Selby

“It’s really easy to make,” she said. “It’s loaded with all of those traditional, delicious fall flavors that you think of when you think of fall.”

Eaton’s homemade bone broth is an added immune supporting bonus to any soup.

“I love making my own bone broth,” she said. “It’s super easy to do. It has all kinds of amazing health benefits in it. It has amino acids, and those help reduce inflammation, arthritis, joint pain and have natural collagen.”

Chef Michael Bowling likes variety in life and in the food he serves. Healthy eating is all about vegetables and having variety in what you eat to make sure your body gets all the nutrients it can get, said the owner of The Hot Box Next Level Kitchen.

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Chef Michael Bowling is the owner of Hot Box Next Level Kitchen inside Southern Strain Brewing and co-founder of Soul Food Sessions. Peter Taylor

The hot box grain bowl has gained popularity with its mix of healthy ingredients, like grains, cucumbers, tomatoes and mushrooms. During the colder months, Bowling incorporates more variety in recipes.

“We use a lot more broccoli and cauliflower as we get more into the fall,” he said. “We use a lot of red bell peppers, roasted and raw. Raw, red bell peppers have twice the amount of citrus as an orange. They also boost your metabolism when you eat them raw.”

When he’s not in the kitchen, Bowling likes to enjoy one of the many juices Viva Raw offers. The citrus twist supports the immune system by incorporating orange, apple, carrot, cucumber and ginger.

Healthy fall recipes you can make at home from Charlotte-based publications and blogs

Where: Bucket List Tummy

What to make: Tropical Banana Chia Pudding

Benefits: Bananas are rich in vitamin B6 and copper, which work as an antioxidant. Chia seeds contain calcium.

Where: Peanut Blossom

What to make: Homemade Dried Apple Chips

Benefits: Cinnamon has antioxidants. Apples have fiber and vitamin C.

Where: Unpretentious Palate

What to make: Mushroom barley soup

Benefits: Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants. Barley is rich in calcium and iron.

Where: Shuangy’s Kitchen Sink

What to make: Thai Pumpkin Curry

Benefits: Pumpkin has vitamin C and is rich in fiber.

Healthy fall favorites you can order from Charlotte restaurants

Where: Birch Fine Tea

What to order: Apple Ginger Rooibos

Benefits: Ginger, a natural remedy, has healing qualities. Apple and rooibos offer anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.

Where: Clean Catch Fish Market Myers Park

What to order: Faroe Island Atlantic Salmon

Benefits: Salmon is rich in Vitamin A.

Where: Leah and Louise

What to order: Mama Earth

Benefits: Tomatoes have Vitamin C. Okra is full of antioxidants.

Where: Nourish Vegan Meals

What to order: Cathy’s Thai Chili

Benefits: Black beans offer calcium, fiber and zinc. Sweet potatoes can help support your intake of vitamin A.

Where: Passage to India

What to order: Dal Fry

Benefits: Lentils have zinc, which can help heal wounds. Onions have Vitamin C.

Where: Pho @ Noda

What to order: F2 Gà Xào Xả Ớt

Benefits: Lemongrass promotes antiviral activity.


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Eat this: Seven foods that pack a big nutritional punch

Eat this: Seven foods that pack a big nutritional punch

  • September 29, 2020

TORONTO – AUGUST 22, 2020 – A steady flow of customers seek out fresh Ontario fruits and vegetables at St. Lawrence Market on August 22, 2020. The harvest of blueberries, strawberries, peppers, garlic, turmeric, potatoes and mushrooms make their way to urban Toronto from farms like Eborlall, Colwell, Jorge’s and Marvin’s Garden from small towns including, Beamsville, Waterford, Watertown, and Nestleton.

Glenn Lowson

When making healthy food choices, registered dietician Nazima Qureshi puts it simply: “Think of the rainbow.”

Registered dietician Nazima Qureshi in Brampton, Ont.

JESSICA LEE / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

There’s nothing more naturally colourful than fruits and vegetables. In addition to fibre, vitamins and minerals, these foods contain phytochemicals – powerful compounds such as flavonoids and carotenoids. Phytochemicals contribute to the vivid colour of fruits and vegetables, but there is increasing evidence that they may also help boost immunity and fight things like cancer and heart disease.

Some phytochemicals convert to vitamins in the body. “And they also provide antioxidants, which are important for the immune system,” says Aja Gyimah, a registered dietician and former competitive athlete in Toronto, Ont. Antioxidants can reduce inflammation and fight free radicals – unstable atoms that can damage cells and lead to illnesses.

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Registered dietician Aja Gyimah in Toronto, Ont.

JESSICA LEE / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

In order to get what the body needs, “at lunch and dinner, half your plate should be full of vegetables,” says Qureshi, who’s based in Brampton, Ont. “As long as you’re eating a variety of colours of fruits and vegetables, you’ll get a variety of antioxidants.”

Healthy proteins from meat, like salmon, can also be important. But “adopting a percentage of plant-based eating to your diet is ideal for health, weight maintenance, and disease prevention,” says Toronto-based registered holistic nutritionist Joey Shulman.

Here are seven fruits and vegetables that pack serious nutritional (and gastronomic) punch:

Strawberries

These juicy red berries are an excellent source of vitamin C – a one cup serving contains a full day’s-worth of the recommended dietary allowance. They also contain folate, a B-vitamin required to form healthy blood cells and convert carbohydrates into energy.

“Berries are very high in antioxidants, which is very good for disease prevention,” Shulman says. And their snackable size means they’re also easy to prepare.

Strawberries contain flavonoids like anthocyanin, which gives food red or purple colour, and has been linked to health benefits like cardiovascular health and cancer prevention. Strawberries are also full of potassium.

Chickpeas

One cup of chickpeas provides more than half a day’s-worth of folate and fibre, and they are one of the most protein-rich legumes. Chickpeas contain a good portion of the daily recommended magnesium intake, which helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. They also contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid and antioxidant, and more potassium than a banana.

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“In my opinion, they’re almost like a superfood,” Gyimah says. Chickpeas provide carbohydrates for energy, but they have a low glycemic index, meaning they are digested slowly and don’t spike your blood sugar. “They keep you feeling full, because they are full of fibre, and they are packed with vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, and zinc that are used in our immune system.”

Spinach

Darky, leafy greens make up the powerhouse portion of the rainbow, deriving their colour from the phytochemical we all learn about in grade school science class: chlorophyll.

One of the most accessible dark, leafy greens is spinach, and it’s another superfood that has more potassium than a banana. It’s full of iron and magnesium, important for blood pressure. One cup of spinach also contains half your folate intake per day and is a great source of beta-carotene. Spinach also contains lutein, which has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration in the eye, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that’s important to vision, reproduction and brain health.

“People assume that raw is better, but that’s not always the case,” says Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based registered dietician and director of food and nutrition at Medcan. “When you cook your leafy greens, heat breaks down the cell walls in the plant, so you get more antioxidants, and there are more minerals available for your body to absorb.”

Blueberries

“Blueberries are full of anti-inflammatory properties, fibre, and immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin C,” says BC-based registered dietician Tristaca Curley, who recommends picking local and wild if possible.

Like strawberries, blueberries are one of the top food sources for anthocyanin. Studies have found that the antioxidants found in blueberries are associated with cognitive benefits like improving memory and cognitive function.

Orange bell peppers

Orange-coloured vegetables are packed with the phytochemical carotenoid, or beta-carotene, which is proven to improve eye health. One of the most-nutrient packed sources of beta-carotene are orange bell peppers, which have almost three times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, and are a source of vitamin A, which contributes to bone health.

“Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body and is found in orange, yellow, and dark green veggies and fruit,” says Toronto-based registered dietician Sue Mah. She lists carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cantaloupe and apricots as other vitamin-A-boosting orange foods.

Eggplant

Glenn Lowson/The Globe and Mail

The vivid purple skin of eggplant comes from anthocyanins, the same antioxidant phytochemicals found in berries. In particular, eggplant contains nasunin, an anthocyanin that helps move excess iron out of the body. Eggplant is also a good source of fibre, folate and manganese, a trace mineral required for nerve and brain function.

As a mother of two, Qureshi recommends spending more time in the kitchen cooking food with children. “Especially now, in the digital age, we can literally order food in an app at our fingertips,” she says. “If you have a family, get your kids involved in the kitchen, and you’ll be surprised that when they do get into the kitchen, they end up trying new vegetables and food.”

Mushrooms

“Don’t discount white” when planning the rainbow of colours on your plate, says Beck.

Mushrooms aren’t fruits or vegetables, they’re fungi. But they hold their own when compared with plant-based foods. One cup of mushrooms contains about 20 per cent of your daily needs of niacin, which is important for digestive and skin health. They also contain a good amount of selenium, another antioxidant mineral in the body that helps protect DNA in our cells and plays an important role in our thyroid function. Mushrooms also contain potassium, copper and iron.

The Globe and Mail

What to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet

  • September 26, 2020

Olga Peshkova/iStockPhoto / Getty Images

With the coronavirus pandemic top of everyone’s mind, many people are wondering if they should be eating certain foods, or taking vitamin supplements, to bolster their immune system to fend off the virus.

The idea that we can “boost” our immune health is appealing. However, there’s no evidence that a particular food, vitamin supplement or herbal preparation can improve the body’s immune system to the point that you have extra protection from infection.

What is fundamental to immune health, though, is a balanced, nutrient-packed diet. That’s because your immune system relies on a steady stream of nutrients to function optimally.

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What is the immune system?

Your immune system is a complex and finely tuned network of cells and tissues throughout the body (e.g., skin, gut, spleen, liver, lymph nodes) that’s constantly working to defend against infection from harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

When the immune system recognizes a threat, it mounts a response by releasing white blood cells and other immune compounds that destroy foreign invaders.

Older adults tend to have a weaker immune system than younger adults. With age, it’s thought that the body produces fewer T cells – white blood cells that attack pathogens.

As well, insufficient levels of certain nutrients can be common in older people due to decreased appetite, chewing and swallowing problems, or reduced nutrient absorption in the gut.

Immune-supportive nutrients

A number of nutrients play a central role in maintaining a strong immune system – for its everyday functioning and for escalating its activity to fight infection.

Here’s how they work and which foods supply them. You may not have some of these foods on hand right now as we’re all told to practice social distancing, and that’s okay. Eat a variety of foods each day to consume a wide range of nutrients.

Vitamin A

It reinforces our body’s barriers against invasion from pathogens by maintaining healthy epithelial tissue, which forms the skin and the lining of the respiratory, urinary and digestive tracts. Vitamin A is also needed to generate antibodies, which are immune cells that neutralize pathogens.

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Preformed vitamin A is found in milk, yogurt, cheese, herring, salmon, tuna and liver. Beta-carotene is called provitamin A because it’s converted to vitamin A in the body.

Excellent sources of beta-carotene include sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, spinach, kale, broccoli, red and yellow peppers, Swiss chard, mango, cantaloupe and dried apricots.

Folate

Because immune cells multiply quickly, this B vitamin is essential to form new immune cells and mount an immune response.

Outstanding sources of folate include cooked spinach, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green peas, avocado, lentils, black beans, kidney beans and wheat germ.

Vitamin C

As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects immune cells from damage caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen compounds that are generated during the immune response. Vitamin C may also increase the production of immune cells that engulf and kill pathogens.

The best food sources include citrus fruit, kiwifruit, strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, red and green bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and tomato juice.

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Vitamin D

It’s thought that vitamin D has numerous effects on immune cells, which help to limit inflammation. It’s also involved in the synthesis of proteins that fight bacteria.

A vitamin-D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of upper-respiratory-tract infections.

Very few foods contain vitamin D naturally; salmon and tuna are among the best sources. Fluid milk, many non-dairy milks and some brands of orange juice are fortified with the vitamin.

The current vitamin-D recommendation is based on how much we need to protect bones. It’s advised that adults get 800 to 2,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D from a supplement year-round to maintain a sufficient level of the nutrient in the bloodstream.

Vitamin E

Like vitamin C, this antioxidant nutrient protects immune cell membranes from free radical damage and enhances immune function.

Good sources of vitamin E include wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, safflower oil, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and peanut butter.

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Selenium

It’s a vital component of the body’s two key antioxidant enzymes that protect immune cells from free radical damage. It also helps regulate immune cell function and inflammation.

Exceptional sources of selenium include Brazil nuts (1 nut provides almost two days’ worth), tuna, halibut, sardines, shrimp, beef, turkey, cottage cheese, brown rice and eggs.

Zinc

It’s required for the growth and development of immune cells. The mineral is also used to synthesize antibodies.

You’ll find zinc in oysters, beef, crab, pork, chicken, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas, yogurt, milk and fortified breakfast cereals.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is Director of Food and Nutrition at Medcan.

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Diana Food launches organic and Fair Trade acerola powder

Diana Food launches organic and Fair Trade acerola powder

  • September 25, 2020


25 Sep 2020 — Consumer demand for natural products is at an all-time high. In response to the atmosphere around health foods, Diana Food, part of the Symrise Group, has revealed the launch of a clean label, organic and Fair Trade-certified acerola powder for nutritional products in a market first.

Diana Food recently obtained the Fair Trade “Fair for Life” (FFL) certification, extending its range with a new, clean label, organic, and fair trade acerola powder that addresses the market’s need for immunity-boosting solutions while adding environmental and social value to the product. 

Suitable for tablets, beverages, and functional foods – as well as in savory or bakery for food preservation in some countries – this acerola powder contains a high level of antioxidants, is as clean as dried-on acacia fiber, and offers the distinctive benefits of FFL certification, says Diana Food. 

According to Nuria Macias, global sustainability manager at Diana Food, achieving Fair Trade certification is a “serious accomplishment.”

“It means that a third party has audited our company and our facilities for quality, traceability, food safety, social, and environmental performance. Our Fair Trade certification demands a long term engagement with our suppliers, so acerola growers have the certainty that the projects they undertake will receive ongoing support from us in the long run,” Macias explains. 

Click to EnlargeAccording to Diana Food, achieving Fair Trade certification is a “serious accomplishment.”The launch of Diana Foods’ fair trade certified acerola powder represents a significant step forward in the company’s sustainability approach, which focuses on delivering trust to our direct and non-direct stakeholders through high performing products that are clean labeled respectful of both the environment and communities.

Diana Food has spent the last two decades building and enhancing its expertise in sourcing acerola from Northeast Brazil. This has established a strong foothold in the region, known for its acerola’s quality and efficacy due to its native rich vitamin C content.

COVID-19 accelerates demand for healthful ingredients 
While consumer demand for natural and healthy products has been an ongoing trend, it has further accelerated due to an increased emphasis on wellness and clean living caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Consumers are more likely to adopt preventive health behaviors in the current dynamic, with immunity-boosting cited as a significant concern. 

According to an Innova Market Insights consumer survey conducted in late March, there has been a particularly strong uplift in the consumption of products that boost immunity in Asia and South America. 

Over 70 percent of Indian and Indonesian consumers are eating or drinking more products that boost their immune system compared to nearly 40 percent of US consumers. Meanwhile, German and Dutch consumers have seen the lowest shift to health. 

Sister platform NutritionInsight spoke with Macias about the launch of Acerola Powder on Acacia Fiber in a video interview at Vitafoods Virtual Expo 2020.

Edited by Elizabeth Green


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