FOOD BITES: OCTOBER 2017

U.S. Obesity Rates Begin to Level

After years of increasing, adult obesity rates remained stable in 45 states from 2015 to 2016, according to a new report from the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy organization, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds health research.

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FOOD BITES: SEPTEMBER 2017

Tomatoes No Longer Considered ‘Poison Apples’

Originating in Mesoamerica, tomatoes were part of the Aztecs’ diet as early as 700 A.D., but they weren’t grown in Britain until the 1590s. First arriving in southern Europe in the early 16th century via Spanish conquistadors returning from Mesoamerica, the tomato was considered a “poison apple”

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FOOD BITES: DECEMBER 2017

Milk Proteins Make Edible  Wrapping

To create an all-around better packaging solution, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is developing environmentally friendly film made of the milk protein casein to wrap meats, cheese and other food items. “The protein-based films are powerful oxygen blockers that help prevent food spoilage,”

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FOOD BITES: JULY 2017

Ruby Ring Red Onions Fight Cancer

Ontario-grown red onions have strong cancer-fighting power against breast and colon cancers cells, as compared to other types of onions, according to a University of Guelph (Ontario) study published in Food Research International this June. Onions are superfoods; they contain the highest concentration of the flavonoid quercetin, but this Ontario variety, Ruby Ring, has the highest levels in the world, as well as higher levels of anthocyanin. “Anthocyanin is instrumental in providing color to fruits and vegetables, so it makes sense that red onions, which are darkest in color, would have the most cancer-fighting power,” said the report. “We found onions are excellent at killing cancer cells,” said Ph.D. student Abdulmonem Murayyan. “Onions activate pathways that encourage cancer cells to undergo cell death. They promote an unfavorable environment for cancer cells and disrupt communication between cancer cells, which inhibits growth.”


Olive Oil May Prevent Brain Cancer

Oleic acid, the primary ingredient in olive oil, has been shown to prevent cancer-causing genes from functioning in cells and may help prevent cancer from developing in the brain, say researchers at the University of Edinburgh. Studying the effects of oleic acid on the cell molecule miR-7, which is active in the brain and is known to sup- press the formation of tumors, the researchers found the fatty acid prevents a cell

protein called MSI2 from stopping production of miR-7. The results were published in the Journal of Molecular Biology this June.


Rice Bran is Highly Nutritious

The outer covering of the rice grain, rice bran is highly nutritious and a rich source of proteins, fats, minerals and micronutrients such as B vitamins. Unfortunately, rice bran is removed from whole-grain rice during processing. It could have benefits for human health and nutrition, say researchers at Colorado State University, who published their findings in the open-access journal Rice this June. A single serving of rice bran – 28 grams – provides more than half of a person’s daily requirements of important vitamins such as thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6, said study author Prof. Elizabeth Ryan. Previously, rice bran was thought to be only useful as a source of lipids and has not been used much in human health and nutrition because it is considered an animal feed. However, its high nutritional value warrants greater public health attentions, says Ryan. Using a sophisticated biochemical technique called mass spectrometry, researchers were surprised to find vitamins and amino acids make up nearly 50 percent of the total small-molecule content (cofactors). In total, they found 453 metabolites, including 65

that have been shown to have potential medicinal and health-promoting aspects, as well as 16 that had not been reported for rice bran before. Searching the literature, the authors found some rice-bran compounds had previously been identified to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-hypersensitive properties. Rice bran also has a protein content of 12 percent to 15 percent that deserves attention, as it could address nutritional shortages in parts of the world.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover