Dealing With Allergies? Eat These Foods To Feel Better Today

Dealing With Allergies? Eat These Foods To Feel Better Today

  • April 26, 2021

If you struggle with seasonal allergies like so many of us in Western New York do at this time of year, there are ways to make it better…with food.

It’s getting to be that time of year when you’re going to want to open up the windows and get some fresh air in the house…it’s also the time of year that if you suffer from seasonal allergies the last thing you want to do is be outside.  If you feel like you are at the end of your rope and you’re willing to try anything to stop sniffling and sneezing…there are things you can do…aside from getting shots from your doctors, there are certain foods you can eat that they say will actually make the allergies a little more bearable for you.  And of course, there are other foods that you shouldn’t eat…

Of course, everyone is different and their bodies will react differently.  For some people, these things might not make a difference at all.  Then there are others who will swear by them.  I am not a doctor, but will happily take the advice of one.  According to Dr.Morris Nejat, the first thing you need to do is see an allergist to determine first of all if it actually is allergies that are causing your discomfort and if it is, what type of allergy is it?

If it is indeed seasonal allergies that are making you buy boxes of tissues faster than anything else on your grocery store list, these foods might help:

Struggling With Seasonal Allergies?  Try These Foods

 

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5+ Unexpected Parts of Food You Can Eat

5+ Unexpected Parts of Food You Can Eat

  • April 22, 2021

What if I were to tell you that one way to reduce waste involves eating more food? Yes, I know, you’ve probably heard a lot about making your kitchen habits “greener” by trying your hand at composting, signing up for a CSA program, or swapping out standard kitchen tools. But there’s a much simpler eco-friendly step forward to be taken: discard less of what you eat. In fact, a whole lot of food parts that you’re used to throwing out are not only edible, but also nutritious.

Did you know, for example, that the skin of a mango is a great source of vitamin C? That banana peels don’t necessarily need to land straight into the garbage because they can be baked?

Here, we break it all down for you. A general suggestion going in: Try to invest in organic fruits that are in season to limit your exposure to pesticides as much as possible. If a fruit is in season, it’s likely not bombarded with the sort of chemicals that would allow for, say, watermelon, to grow in a winter climate. There’s also something to be said about an in-season fruit’s flavor: the more naturally it ripens, the fresher and more delightful every part of it will be to eat. Trust me on this one.


Watermelon rinds

Sure, the sweet, juicy inside of a watermelon is all you really crave on a hot summer day, but it’s actually the rind of the fruit that is most nutritious. In fact, the skin is packed with water and fiber. More specifically, the green part of the rind is where you’ll find citrulline, an amino acid said to have libido-boosting powers; it can also reduce blood pressure and relax your arteries.

How to eat them: A popular way to eat the rinds is to quick-pickle them, which transforms the fruit into a sweet, briny snack. Try it!

Carrot tops

carrot tops

Let us forever put this rumor to rest: Carrot greens are not poisonous. Sure, they might be bitter, but they’re actually filled with a slew of vitamins, plus calcium and iron.

How to eat them: Believe it or not, they taste great tossed with greens in a salad. Or skip the basil and sub them in with equal parts baby spinach for pesto.

Pineapple cores

They’re certainly harder to bite into and not as sweet, but the cores surprisingly contain the same nutrients as the rest of the fruit. Pineapple is rich in bromelain, an enzyme that helps with inflammation and can even reduce muscle and arthritis-related pain. According to experts, the tropical fruit also has potential cancer-fighting properties as it helps break down the blood-clotting protein fibrin.

How to eat them: Chop up pineapple core and add to fruit salad. Unfortunately, there’s no trick to making them more tender…unless you’re into grilling your pineapple?

Banana peels

These might actually be the most under-appreciated part of any fruit in America. They’re so commonly trashed here you may find it hard to believe they’re eaten in other parts of the world. Why? They contain vitamins B6, which is great for your immune system, and B12, which a lot of people are deficient in.

How to eat them: Yes, I understand the mere thought of eating a banana whole might freak you out. But why not bake the peels as if they are plantains?

Citrus rinds

orange peel

It’s no secret that citrus rinds are heavy on the nutrients, but it still feels weird to bite into a full orange or lemon. If it gives you less pause, studies show that there is vitamin C is more heavily concentrated in the citrus peel than the fruit flesh, so try to consume some of it at least. Other nutrients found in the rinds: calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and potassium, among others.

How to eat them: The most obvious suggestion is to add citrus zest to…everything. Or add the remaining scraps to a salad for a boost of fiber and punch of flavor. Another option? Whip out that blender and throw the things in whole. You will no longer notice the difference between the peel and the pulp once they’re in liquid form, I promise.

Bonus tip: Our Senior Food Editor Lena suggests to “candy them, toss them with sugar to make a super concentrated syrup (as seen in this Spiked Coconut Limeade), simmer them in soups or sauces, or, if you’re feeling crafty, turn them into candles.”

Cauliflower leaves

You might already be cooking these when roasting the popular cruciferous for dinner, but I’m here to tell you that eating the green part of the food is, in fact, a great way to boost your immune system via vitamin C and selenium. The leaves are also a good source of fiber, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium. Next time you’re at the supermarket, instead of looking for a cauliflower with the least amount of leaves to cut off, seek one out that’s actually covered with them.

How to eat them: Roast them with the whole veg, or toss with olive oil and lemon juice as a simple side salad.

Avocado pits

Obviously you can’t bite into an avocado pit (…please don’t bite into avocado pits). And though the seemingly inedible center makes up a third of the fruit, you really shouldn’t discard it either. Instead, grind the pit into flour. The resulting powder can reportedly reduce total cholesterol and bad cholesterol numbers while also functioning as an antioxidant. One thing to keep in mind, though: You shouldn’t start baking cakes made with avocado pit flour, as it does taste different and doesn’t share the same rising properties as the traditional stuff.

How to eat them: Make sure the pit is completely dry, toss it in your blender, and cover your ears. Once pulverized into a powder, throw some in a smoothie or sprinkle it on your cereal. It’s nutty!

Kiwi skin

kiwis

Once again, the skin of this fruit contains more nutrients than what’s inside of it. In fact, according to some studies, kiwi skin offers three times as much fiber as the green flesh. Furthermore, if you eat kiwi without peeling it (and honestly, that’s not so hard to do), you’ll actually ingest much more vitamin C.

How to eat them: You heard me. Bite right in!

Mango peels

Eat the skin of this tropical fruit for a natural infusion of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, phytonutrients, and more. Reports suggest that some test tube studies prove that a mango’s skin extract has more antioxidant properties than the flesh extract. Interesting, right?

How to eat them: Like I said—just eat them.

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Eat These 5 Food Items To Boost Your Immunity

  • April 21, 2021

With the rising number of Covid-19 cases, taking extra care of your body and its immune system has become more important than ever. While there is no sure shot guarantee that a good immune system will shield you from coronavirus, it surely will help you overcome it in case you catch the virus. So, if you are wondering about the ways you can increase your immunity in this fight, here is a list of food items that you must include in your diet to get your immunity boosted.

Antioxidant foods

Food items like berries, onion, garlic, and carrot are rich in antioxidants, and including them in your diet can help you boost your immunity. These food items are filled with a good amount of vitamins including Vit C, Vit B and Vit E. Consuming them through your diet is beneficial for your body’s immunity.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and clementines are a rich source of Vitamin C and their regular consumption can make your immune system stronger. According to research findings, Vit C helps in the production of white blood cells.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable as it is loaded with fibre along with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and vitamin E. It also is rich in antioxidant compounds. The combination of these nutrients makes it a great food for boosting our immunity.

Ghee

Most of us have a misconception that ghee or clarified butter’s consumption will cause weight gain but contrary to that, it is one of the healthiest Indian foods. Ghee is packed with vitamin A, K, E and Omegas. It is a rich source of healthy fat and a fatty acid butyrate. This helps in maintaining the digestive health.

Fermented Food

Fermented food consumption is considered very good for the intestine’s health. Incorporating yoghurt, kefir, homemade pickles and other fermented food items in your regular diet can help you keep your stomach healthy. Consumption of these items is very helpful in common stomach woes like gas, acidity and constipation.

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At Least 1 Mainer Sickened by Ground Turkey with Salmonella

At Least 1 Mainer Sickened by Ground Turkey with Salmonella

  • April 13, 2021

At least one Maine resident has become sick from a ground turkey product that’s at the heart of a salmonella outbreak.

The United State Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about the packaged ground turkey, that’s sold under three brand names. Health officials have released the product names and the dates that may have been infected with salmonella:

  • Nature’s Promise (94% lean, 6% fat) – 1 lb. packages with dates 1/1, 1/3, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10
  • Wegman (94% lean, 6% fat) – 1 lb. and 3 lb. packages with dates 1/3, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10
  • Plainville Farms (93% lean, 7% fat) – 1 lb. packages with date 1/10

The packages have the establishment number ‘P-244’ inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s mark of inspection and were made on December 18-29, 2020. While the products are no longer available in stores, residents are encouraged to check their freezers for any potentially contaminated ground turkey.

Anyone who has one or more of these packages of meat is instructed to either throw them away or return them to the store where they were purchased. CDC officials advise then washing your hands thoroughly, as well as any surfaces that may have come in contact with the product or packaging.

Investigators are working to determine if any other products may have been affected.

One person in Maine has reported getting sick, after eating the ground turkey. Several other states also have reports of illnesses, with the greatest number in Massachusetts. So far, the U.S. CDC reports 28 illnesses, 2 hospitalizations, and no deaths, across 12 states.

Most people infected with Salmonella will experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever, and will likely recover within 4 to 7 days. However, the very young and very old, as well as anyone with a compromised immune system, may have a more serious reaction. Health officials advise seeking medical care if you experience one or more of these severe Salmonella symptoms:

  • Diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees
  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days that is not improving
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • So much vomiting that you can’t keep liquids down
  • Signs of dehydration: to include dry mouth and throat; not urinating much; dizziness upon standing.

Symptoms of Salmonella poisoning usually begin 6 hours to 6 days after swallowing the bacteria.

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Therapeutic food boosts growth for malnourished children

Therapeutic food boosts growth for malnourished children

  • April 13, 2021

A new type of therapeutic food specifically designed to repair the gut microbiomes of malnourished children is superior to standard therapy in promoting growth, according to a clinical trial conducted in Bangladesh.

Researchers designed the study to supplement the diet of malnourished children with a formulation that contains locally available, culturally acceptable foods selected based on the ability of the ingredients to boost key growth-promoting gut microbes.

The work supports the notion that healthy growth of infants and children is closely linked to healthy development of their gut microbial communities—or microbiomes—after birth.

Childhood malnutrition is a major global health challenge, affecting over 150 million children under the age of 5 worldwide, with a disproportionate effect in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is further exacerbating this problem. Numerous studies have shown that malnutrition is not due to food insecurity alone but instead reflects a combination of factors, including an important role for the gut microbiome, which fails to develop properly during the first two years of life in malnourished children.

“Malnutrition has proven extraordinary difficult to treat—standard calorie-dense therapeutic foods have been shown to prevent the deaths of malnourished children, but have been ineffective in overcoming growth stunting and other damaging effects of malnutrition, including impaired brain development, bone growth, and immune function,” says Jeffrey I. Gordon, professor and director of the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and senior author of the paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“In an attempt to address this problem, we are investigating whether repairing the poorly developed microbial communities of malnourished children will impact their growth. This is the first time that a microbiome-directed therapeutic food has been compared with a standard therapy in malnourished children; moreover, it produced a superior rate of weight gain, the key primary clinical outcome of the trial.”

Gut microbiome ‘derangement’

An earlier, one-month long pilot clinical study the team conducted in Bangladesh had provided evidence for the benefits of the microbiome-directed therapeutic food in a small number children who received it; however, the study was not sufficiently large or long enough to confirm the effects of the new food on growth.

The current three-month long clinical trial, overseen by Tahmeed Ahmed, executive director of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, involved 118 children ages 12 to 18 months who lived in an urban slum called Mirpur in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

All these children had been diagnosed with acute malnutrition, a condition in which the body consumes fat reserves and breaks down muscle, resulting in wasting, or weight loss. Acute malnutrition also weakens the immune system, making these children more susceptible to other illnesses.

“This work is based on our studies that have shown that a derangement in the gut microbiome is responsible for malnutrition of children,” Ahmed says. “We have successfully used a food made of local ingredients to repair the deranged gut microbiome and thereby improve the growth of children receiving the food. In an era where we so sadly still have staggering numbers of children suffering and dying from malnutrition, our discovery of the microbiome-directed complementary food can be a game changer.”

Growth improvement in malnourished children

Half of the children in the current study were randomly assigned to receive the microbiome-directed therapeutic food, and the other half received a standard therapeutic food not designed to repair the gut microbiome.

The new microbiome-directed food contains a mixture of chickpeas, soy, bananas, and peanuts, ingredients that the group had discovered in earlier pre-clinical models to repair the gut microbiome, among other components. The standard therapeutic food is rice- and lentil-based and contains about 20% more calories per serving than the microbiome-directed food.

The children received 25 grams of their assigned therapeutic foods twice daily for three months. Researchers measured the children’s height, weight, and mid-upper arm circumference at regular intervals throughout the intervention period and for one month after cessation of treatment.

They also collected blood and stool specimens at various times to assess changes in the levels of nearly 5,000 proteins in the blood, and to quantify the effects of the therapies on the representation of specific beneficial microbes in stool samples.

The researchers found that the rate of change in the children’s weight and their mid-upper arm circumferences were significantly greater in the group receiving the microbiome-directed food compared with the standard therapeutic food; this growth superiority was sustained even a month after the children had stopped receiving the nutritional intervention, which is the latest time point to be analyzed so far.

“When we look at the standard clinical measurement for assessing acute malnutrition—the weight-for-length z score—the difference between the two treatment groups was even more significant one month after we stopped the treatment,” says co-first author Robert Chen, a doctoral student in Gordon’s lab. “If this rate of growth was maintained for a year, we estimate an improvement in the weight-for-length z score of almost one full standard deviation.

“Children with acute malnutrition typically have declining or in the best case stable weight, so if this extrapolation holds up, it would be a major clinically relevant improvement in growth outcomes,” Chen adds.

“We continue to monitor and collect samples from these children; this is critical in order to determine if the effects of this new treatment are indeed durable over time, or whether the intervention needs to be sustained for longer periods,” says co-first author Ishita Mostafa, an assistant scientist at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research.

Therapeutic food nurtures beneficial microbes

The researchers also found that a group of 23 bacterial strains found in stool samples correlated with the increased rate of weight gain observed in the children receiving the microbiome-directed food. Twenty-one strains were positively correlated—meaning having more of these gut bacteria was linked to increased growth. And two strains were negatively correlated—meaning that having fewer of these gut bacteria was linked to increased growth.

The microbiome-directed food was found to increase levels of the 21 positively correlated strains and reduce levels of the two strains that were negatively correlated.

Further, the researchers found 70 proteins in the blood samples that were positively correlated with increased weight, with greater improvements in their levels occurring after the microbiome-directed treatment compared with the standard intervention.

“These proteins are key regulators of bone biology, neurodevelopment, and immune function,” Gordon says. “We discovered that this food can nurture and expand the abundance of beneficial microbes, with accompanying boosts in the levels of beneficial proteins in their human hosts that have impactful effects on growth.

“The rate of improvement in the weight of the children receiving the new therapeutic food designed with healthy gut microbes in mind was significantly greater even though its caloric density was 20% lower than the standard food,” Gordon adds. “This suggests that the repair of the gut microbiome, and not just additional calories, is key to healthy growth in these children.”

Malnourished children around the world

The teams plan to initiate further studies into whether therapeutic foods that nurture beneficial gut microbes can help malnourished children in other parts of the world. This involves a program of developing microbiome-directed foods that contain distinct but functionally “biosimilar” ingredients that are readily available, affordable, and culturally acceptable to parents and children living in these other countries.

Also, Gordon and his colleagues plan to investigate whether repairing dysfunctional gut microbial communities at younger ages and over longer timeframes could have an even greater impact.

“After the six-month period of breastfeeding recommended by the World Health Organization, we think there may be an early window to introduce these types of microbiome-directed therapeutic foods and potentially have a bigger effect,” says coauthor Michael J. Barratt, associate professor of pathology and immunology and executive director of the Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research at Washington University.

The researchers also are planning studies to investigate the benefits of microbiome-directed therapeutic foods during pregnancy to determine whether they can not only improve the gut microbiomes of the malnourished mothers but also foster the transmission of healthy gut microbial communities to their infants and thus help break the devastating intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.

“We are also exploring the possibility of bringing a clinical trial of this new therapeutic food to children who would benefit from a nutritional intervention here in St. Louis,” Gordon says. “We are at the earliest stages of this process, beginning to engage with members of the local community. We can’t begin one of these trials without making sure community leaders, community members, parents and caregivers are fully engaged with the process.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health funded the work.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Immunity Boosting Food Products Such As Yogurt Are In Increased Demand For Health During The Pandemic

Immunity Boosting Food Products Such As Yogurt Are In Increased Demand For Health During The Pandemic

  • April 12, 2021
Immunity Boosting Food Products Market - Opportunities And Strategies - Forecast To 2030

Immunity Boosting Food Products Market – Opportunities And Strategies – Global Forecast To 2030

The Business Research Company’s Immunity Boosting Food Products Market Report – Opportunities And Strategies – Global Forecast To 2030

LONDON, GREATER LONDON, UK, April 12, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Our reports have been revised for market size, forecasts, and strategies to take on 2021 after the COVID-19 impact: https://www.thebusinessresearchcompany.com/global-market-reports

Yogurt is the best-known dietary source of probiotics that can give the immune system a boost. It is also high in protein, vitamin A, and zinc. Recently, probiotic-containing yogurt has gained market prominence as it contains biologically active ingredients that have more metabolic and physiological health benefits than nutritional benefits. In addition, probiotics are related to a variety of health advantages, which help in stimulate the immune system to fight off disease. Moreover, as a food commodity that is abundant in probiotics, yogurt is the first food consumers consider. Protein-rich Greek probiotics-boosted yogurt also adds to the market being examined. For instance, manufacturers, such as Fage, produce high-quality products to give customers extra benefits.

The immunity boosting foods market covered in this report is segmented by product type into herbs & spices, nuts & seeds, fruits & vegetables, dairy-based products, probiotics and prebiotics, others. The immunity boosting food products market is also segmented by form into tablets, capsules, powder, liquid, others and by distribution channel into store-based, non-store-based.

Read More On The Global Immunity Boosting Food Products Market Report:
https://www.thebusinessresearchcompany.com/report/immunity-boosting-food-products-market

The global immunity boosting food products market is expected to grow from $843.81 billion in 2020 to $900.21 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7%. The change in growth trend is mainly due to the companies stabilizing their output after catering to the demand that grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The immunity boosting food products market is expected to reach $1217.24 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%.

Major players in the immunity boosting food products market are Danone SA, Nestle S.A., Blue Diamond Growers, Diamond Foods, LLC., Dole Food Company, Inc., Pinnacle Foods Corp., Olam International, Hines Nut Company, Fonterra Group Cooperative Limited, and Associated British Foods PLC.

Immunity Boosting Food Products Market Report – Opportunities And Strategies – Global Forecast To 2030 is one of a series of new reports from The Business Research Company that provides immunity boosting food products market overview, forecast immunity boosting food products market size and growth for the whole market, immunity boosting food products market segments, and geographies, immunity boosting food products market trends, immunity boosting food products market drivers, restraints, leading competitors’ revenues, profiles, and market shares.

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Food supplements that alter gut bacteria could ‘cure’ malnutrition | Science

Food supplements that alter gut bacteria could ‘cure’ malnutrition | Science

  • April 7, 2021

In Bangladesh, a health care worker measures a child’s arm to monitor progress in a malnutrition supplementation study.

MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP via Getty Images

To save a starving child, aid workers have long used one obvious treatment: food. But a new study suggests feeding their gut bacteria may be as important—or even more important—than feeding their stomachs. In a head-to-head comparison against a leading treatment for malnutrition, a new supplement designed to promote helpful gut bacteria led to signs of improved growth and more weight gain, despite having 20% fewer calories. The study also highlights how important gut bacteria—the so-called microbiome—can be to human health.

“This is an exciting study that promises to bring hope to millions of acutely malnourished children,” says Honorine Ward, a physician scientist at Tufts University School of Medicine who was not involved with the work.

About 30 million children worldwide are so hungry that their bodies are wasting away. Their growth slows, their immune systems don’t work well, and their nervous systems fail to develop properly. To combat malnutrition, health clinics often administer prepackaged, ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF), which is easy to store and turns into goo after kneading. But malnourished children’s health improvements are rarely permanent, and many never fully recover, even after they eat enough. “It’s a problem that previously didn’t have an available solution,” says Ruslan Medzhitov, an immunologist at Yale University not involved with the work.

For more than 10 years, Jeffrey Gordon, a microbiologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has studied the role the microbiome plays in malnutrition recovery. He and his colleagues discovered that 15 key bacteria are needed for normal growth in mice, pigs, and to some degree people, and that children whose microbiomes fail to “mature” to include these species do not recover from malnutrition as well as children whose gut bacteria do mature. “Current therapies do not repair this disrupted microbiome,” Gordon explains.

So he and Tahmeed Ahmed, a malnutrition expert scientist who heads the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh, tried with colleagues to find out which of a half dozen combinations of easy-to-obtain foods most encouraged the growth of these healthy bacteria. In the new study, they tested their best performing candidate: a complex mixture of chickpea, banana, soy, and peanut flours and oils that they call microbiota-directed complementary food No. 2, or MDCF-2.

About 120 malnourished toddlers from a Dhaka slum received either MDCF-2 or the standard RUSF supplement twice a day for 3 months. Every 2 weeks during treatment, and again 1 month after treatment ended, the researchers weighed and measured the children, sampled their blood, and analyzed the bacteria in their feces.

Not only did MDCF-2 boost blood components linked to growth—such as proteins needed for the proper development of bones, the nervous system, and the immune system—but it also resulted in a growth rate twice as high, measured by change in a weight-to-length score, as in those receiving RUSF, the researchers report today in The New England Journal of Medicine. What’s more, 21 types of beneficial bacteria increased in abundance. Enhanced growth in children continued even after the treatment ended. “A small amount of this food supplement can actually cure malnutrition in children,” Ahmed concludes.  

But becoming standard treatment could take years, Ahmed says. First, the team needs to come up with a simpler formulation that can be stored for months—right now, the supplement is made fresh—and easy for mothers to obtain and use. Moreover, larger trials need to be conducted in other countries, with children followed for up to 5 years to see whether the beneficial effects persist, Ward says.

Meanwhile, the work offers tantalizing hints of how gut bacteria might alter growth. “Different bacteria are beneficial or detrimental at different stages of development,” Medzhitov says. For example, a bacterium linked to the beneficial effects of breast feeding, Bifidobacterium longum, was associated with less improvement in the children in the study. That finding paves the way for development of disease-specific interventions to shape the microbiome, Ward adds.

Until that happens, Gordon and Ahmed are continuing to refine their formulation, and they are eyeing other countries—and communities—for their studies. “I think the remaining challenges are mostly logistical,” Medzhitov says. Gordon agrees, adding that their findings still come down to a simple message: “Healthy children depend … on a healthy microbiome.”

For malnourished children, a new type of microbiome-directed food boosts growth – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

For malnourished children, a new type of microbiome-directed food boosts growth – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

  • April 7, 2021

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New food is designed to nurture healthy gut microbes

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research

A new type of therapeutic food specifically designed to repair the gut microbiomes of malnourished children is superior to standard therapy in promoting growth, according to the results of a proof-of-concept clinical trial conducted in Bangladesh.

The study, conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Dhaka, Bangladesh (icddr,b), was designed to supplement the diet of malnourished children with a formulation that contains locally available, culturally acceptable foods selected based on the ability of the ingredients to boost key growth-promoting gut microbes. The work supports the notion that healthy growth of infants and children is closely linked to healthy development of their gut microbial communities — or microbiomes — after birth.

The results of the study are published online April 7 in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Childhood malnutrition is a major global health challenge, affecting over 150 million children under the age of 5 worldwide, with a disproportionate impact in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is further exacerbating this problem. Numerous studies have shown that malnutrition is not due to food insecurity alone but instead reflects a combination of factors, including an important role for the gut microbiome, which fails to develop properly during the first 2 years of life in malnourished children.

“Malnutrition has proven extraordinary difficult to treat — standard calorie-dense therapeutic foods have been shown to prevent the deaths of malnourished children, but have been ineffective in overcoming growth stunting and other damaging effects of malnutrition, including impaired brain development, bone growth and immune function,” said senior author Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor and director of the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology at the School of Medicine. “In an attempt to address this problem, we are investigating whether repairing the poorly developed microbial communities of malnourished children will impact their growth. This is the first time that a microbiome-directed therapeutic food has been compared with a standard therapy in malnourished children; moreover, it produced a superior rate of weight gain, the key primary clinical outcome of the trial.”

An earlier, one-month long pilot clinical study conducted by the team in Bangladesh had provided evidence for the benefits of the microbiome-directed therapeutic food in a small number children who received it; however, the study was not sufficiently large or long enough to confirm the effects of the new food on growth. The current three-month long clinical trial, overseen by Tahmeed Ahmed, MBBS, PhD, executive director of the icddr,b, involved 118 children ages 12 to 18 months who lived in an urban slum called Mirpur in Dhaka, Bangladesh. All these children had been diagnosed with acute malnutrition, a condition in which the body consumes fat reserves and breaks down muscle, resulting in wasting, or weight loss. The immune system is also weakened, making these children more susceptible to other illnesses.

“This work is based on our studies that have shown that a derangement in the gut microbiome is responsible for malnutrition of children,” Ahmed said. “We have successfully used a food made of local ingredients to repair the deranged gut microbiome and thereby improve the growth of children receiving the food. In an era where we so sadly still have staggering numbers of children suffering and dying from malnutrition, our discovery of the microbiome-directed complementary food can be a game changer.”

Half of the children in the current study were randomly assigned to receive the microbiome-directed therapeutic food, and the other half received a standard therapeutic food that was not designed to repair the gut microbiome. The new microbiome-directed food contains a mixture of chickpeas, soy, bananas and peanuts, ingredients that the group had discovered in earlier pre-clinical models to repair the gut microbiome, among other components. The standard therapeutic food is rice- and lentil-based and contains about 20% more calories per serving than the microbiome-directed food.

The children received 25 grams of their assigned therapeutic foods twice daily for three months. The children’s height, weight and mid-upper arm circumference were measured at regular intervals throughout the intervention period and for one month after cessation of treatment. Blood and stool specimens were also collected at various times to assess changes in the levels of nearly 5,000 proteins in the blood, and to quantify the effects of the therapies on the representation of specific beneficial microbes in stool samples.

The researchers found that the rate of change in the children’s weight and their mid-upper arm circumferences were significantly greater in the group receiving the microbiome-directed food compared with the standard therapeutic food; this growth superiority was sustained even a month after the children had stopped receiving the nutritional intervention, which is the latest time point to be analyzed so far.

“When we look at the standard clinical measurement for assessing acute malnutrition — the weight-for-length z score — the difference between the two treatment groups was even more significant one month after we stopped the treatment,” said co-first author Robert Chen, a doctoral student in Gordon’s lab. “If this rate of growth was maintained for a year, we estimate an improvement in the weight-for-length z score of almost one full standard deviation.

“Children with acute malnutrition typically have declining or in the best case stable weight, so if this extrapolation holds up, it would be a major clinically relevant improvement in growth outcomes,” Chen added.

Said co-first author Ishita Mostafa, an assistant scientist at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research: “We continue to monitor and collect samples from these children; this is critical in order to determine if the effects of this new treatment are indeed durable over time, or whether the intervention needs to be sustained for longer periods.”

The researchers also found that a group of 23 bacterial strains found in stool samples correlated with the increased rate of weight gain observed in the children receiving the microbiome-directed food. Twenty-one strains were positively correlated — meaning having more of these gut bacteria was linked to increased growth. And two strains were negatively correlated — meaning that having fewer of these gut bacteria was linked to increased growth. The microbiome-directed food was found to increase levels of the 21 positively correlated strains and reduce levels of the two strains that were negatively correlated.

Further, the researchers found 70 proteins in the blood samples that were positively correlated with increased weight, with greater improvements in their levels occurring after the microbiome-directed treatment compared with the standard intervention.

“These proteins are key regulators of bone biology, neurodevelopment and immune function,” Gordon said. “We discovered that this food can nurture and expand the abundance of beneficial microbes, with accompanying boosts in the levels of beneficial proteins in their human hosts that have impactful effects on growth.

“The rate of improvement in the weight of the children receiving the new therapeutic food designed with healthy gut microbes in mind was significantly greater even though its caloric density was 20% lower than the standard food,” Gordon added. “This suggests that the repair of the gut microbiome, and not just additional calories, is key to healthy growth in these children.”

The teams led by Gordon and Ahmed, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, plan to initiate further studies into whether therapeutic foods that nurture beneficial gut microbes can help malnourished children in other parts of the world. This involves a program of developing microbiome-directed foods that contain distinct but functionally “biosimilar” ingredients that are readily available, affordable and culturally acceptable to parents and children living in these other countries. Also, Gordon and his colleagues plan to investigate whether repairing dysfunctional gut microbial communities at younger ages and over longer timeframes could have an even greater impact.

“After the six-month period of breastfeeding recommended by the World Health Organization, we think there may be an early window to introduce these types of microbiome-directed therapeutic foods and potentially have a bigger effect,” said co-author Michael J. Barratt, PhD, an associate professor of pathology and immunology and executive director of the Center for Gut Microbiome and Nutrition Research at Washington University.

The researchers also are planning studies to investigate the benefits of microbiome-directed therapeutic foods during pregnancy to determine whether they can not only improve the gut microbiomes of the malnourished mothers but also foster the transmission of healthy gut microbial communities to their infants and thus help break the devastating intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.

Added Gordon, “We are also exploring the possibility of bringing a clinical trial of this new therapeutic food to children who would benefit from a nutritional intervention here in St. Louis. We are at the earliest stages of this process, beginning to engage with members of the local community. We can’t begin one of these trials without making sure community leaders, community members, parents and caregivers are fully engaged with the process.”

This work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), grant numbers DK30292, F30DK124967 and GM007200.

Chen RY, et al. A microbiota-directed food intervention for undernourished children. The New England Journal of Medicine. April 7, 2021.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, consistently ranking among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.




The New Lawton "Farmer's Market" is Under Construction

The New Lawton “Farmer’s Market” is Under Construction

  • April 7, 2021

Well they didn’t make the opening goal of 2020 obviously, but the new Lawton Farmer’s Market is under construction and will hopefully be open Summer 2021 if not sometime this year. The new Farmer’s Market will be located near the corner of Gore Blvd. and 4th street across from the police department, near library plaza in downtown. They broke ground on the new site back in November of 2020 and have been busy ever since getting the land ready to build on. I passed by today and they’re now pouring concrete and working on the foundation. Once they start framing it’ll go pretty quick, looking forward to seeing it opened up.

The new location will be around 7,600 square feet and will feature both a covered outdoor patio and sales area, plus indoor space and facilities. The funds needed to build are being provided by donations and grants and will cost close to 3 million to complete. It’ll take them awhile to get it all finished but once it’s done the new Lawton Farmers Market will be incredible. Plus, it’ll be nice that it will be in a permanent location. Right now, it moves from the Great Plains Coliseum outside parking lot in the Summer time to inside Cameron University’s Plant Sciences building in the winter.

With having a permanent home and building this will allow the farmers market to open and operate year-round. It’s a great location and soon you’ll be able to stop in and get all your favorite fresh vegetables and fruits right here in downtown Lawton. Originally, they were going to start construction last year, but were delayed due to the pandemic.

Already looking forward to shopping at the new farmers market and having it in downtown Lawton in the Ware District. Just think someday once all this COVID-19 stuff is done we can get back to all the downtown activities, events and festivals we use to have like Ware on C, Open Streets and more. With the Farmer’s Market being right there in downtown on 4th Street I’m sure they’ll be involved in all the fun as well!

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

Photo: Mint

Nutrition, health to stay key goals for food firms

  • April 7, 2021

When Mark Bunn, managing director of nutrition food brand Futurelife talks of the newly cemented partnership with Haldiram’s in India, he claims South Africa and India share many similarities in terms of natural beauty and delectable food. However, for now, his focus is on making Indians healthy. South African Futurelife and Indian snacks and restaurant company Haldiram’s in February announced a joint venture to launch a range of the former’s nutritional range in the country.

Haldiram’s noted that the JV reflected a growing commitment to health and nutrition by India’s younger generation, and its increased willingness to add more non-traditional food to its diet. Bunn agreed that this traction towards healthier products accelerated Futurelife’s move into the country with a partner that understands food, the Indian palate, procurement and distribution. “We really understand nutrition. So it is a great partnership,” he said.

The company has already launched its oats, granola bar and high protein products on marketplaces like Big Basket, Milk Basket and Amazon. To be sure, Haldiram’s is not the only company expanding its portfolio to cover health foods. In February, Tata Consumer Products Ltd said it was acquiring a 100% stake in Kottaram Agro Foods, which makes Soulfull brand of breakfast cereals and millet-based snacks.

Wipro Consumer Care Ventures, the venture capital arm of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting, has also put money behind a health and nutrition products brand, Onelife, which was launched in 2013. In the last few months, Marico Ltd, too, increased focus on its health and immunity portfolio by entering the chawanprash and honey categories. The developments indicate the interest even legacy companies have in the health food category.

Experts in the fast-moving consumer goods sector said health food companies are a hot pick in the time of covid, when consumers are sharply focused on better nutrition to boost immunity. As consumers pivot to health snacks and immunity boosters, companies’ appetite for investment in such firms and products is growing.

Legacy companies are taking the acquisition route to enter the category may be because some of these products are high-tech. “You need the technical know-how to make nutrition-based foods. There is a science behind it,” said Pinakiranjan Mishra, partner and national leader, consumer products and retail, EY.

Agreed Amit Adarkar, chief executive officer at research firm Ipsos India: “Technology and research offered by international health food companies are critical to Indian companies developing and owning health proposition.”

The increased number of deals reflects the hurry the companies are in as they figure that the health food trend is here to stay. “All our surveys have shown that health as an agenda is very critical,” said Mishra. When the pandemic hit, companies that lacked an omni-channel sales strategy suffered. These firms do not want to miss the bus on the nutrition trend, he added.

Adarkar agreed that post-pandemic, the country has seen heightened consumer interest in health and wellness products and health foods in particular. “Traditionally health foods had a niche appeal, partly linked to ‘low on taste’ perceptions and partly due to premium price”, he said. After the pandemic, three things have changed. First, preventive health consciousness and immunity boosting have become more mainstream. Second, the tendency to experiment with food has gone up during and after the lockdown, as purchase baskets changed. And third, rising e-commerce adoption has led to increased awareness and trial of health foods, which may not enjoy prime shelf space in general trade, he explained.

“We are reaching a stage where a large or mass foods manufacturer cannot neglect this high-growth segment, especially if one wants to win in top metros,” he added.

With Haldiram’s, Futurelife is looking forward to serving healthy and nutritious food to Indians, Bunn said. The long-term target is to have its food on their menu.

He said Futurelife cereals have had clinical study published, which shows they improve people’s immune system and energy. EY’s Mishra pointed out that with all these deals and their fetish for health foods, companies will eventually have to demonstrate outcomes. “They have to be something more tangible beyond just a marketing plank,” he added.

Shuchi Bansal is Mint’s media, marketing and advertising editor. Ordinary Post will look at pressing issues related to all three. Or just fun stuff

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