The Latest Research on 5 Popular Health Foods

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The Latest Research on 5 Popular Health Foods

As registered dietitians, we receive articles on a daily basis that keep us abreast of the latest nutrition research. When our clients ask us if we heard the recent news about a particular food or some health issue, it’s often information we heard about years ago, and we’re shocked that the word is just spreading to the public. In an effort to help keep you and our clients on top of the latest and greatest in the nutrition and health world, here is a round-up some of the useful research presented at this year’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Convention and Expo:

Wild Blueberries

Research shows a polyphenol-rich diet that contains blueberries (and green tea) has the potential to protect athletes form virus infections following intense periods of exercise. This is exciting news because extensive research shows that prolonged, intense exercise like marathon running increases the severity of viral infections in athletes (and there isn’t much you can do if you have a virus—antibiotics don’t work).           

A study published in Phytotherapy Research confirms that anti-oxidant-rich polyphenols, which are in wild blueberries but are not widely bio-available, are actually pulled into the blood stream through exercise and they neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. This means that exercise and wild blueberries actually complement each other—exercise helps to make the beneficial compounds in blueberries more absorbable and, simultaneously, the compounds in wild blueberries help to keep you healthier after you exercise intensely.

Great ways to eat wild blueberries:

Kale Salad with Roasted Delicata Squash with Wild Blueberries and Wild Blueberry Vinaigrette

Baked Tilapia with Wild Blueberry-apple Chipotle Chutney

White Chocolate Drizzled Wild Blueberry Granola Balls

Milk, Yogurt and Other Low-fat Dairy Products

Adding one more serving of dairy, such as a cup of low-fat milk or yogurt, may make a difference when it comes to fighting type 2 diabetes, a disease affecting an estimated 29 million Americans. A research review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed 17 studies with data from more than 370,000 people and found an inverse relationship between dairy, low-fat dairy products and cheese and the risk for diabetes. For nearly one extra 6.5-ounce daily glass, milk drinkers had a 13 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Additional research has shown that consuming more dairy—including more protein from dairy—may help people decrease body fat and maintain a healthier body weight. Researchers from South Australia examined data from more than 700 adults and found that overweight adults who consumed more dairy and milk products, and more calcium and protein from dairy, tended to weigh less and have less body fat.

Great ways to add more dairy to your diet:

Skinny Mac and Cheese

Creamy Warm Cinnamon Banana Milk

Nutty Banana Chia Yogurt

Peanuts

There are far fewer peanut allergies than many believe. In fact, the general public believes they are about 40 times more prevalent than they actually are. Only about 0.6 percent of the adult American population has peanut allergies and only 1.2 percent of American children. Click here for helpful reference research articles and links on this topic.

A couple of important tips regarding peanut allergies:

  • Don’t self-diagnose. Get checked by a board-certified allergist who will complete a blood or skin test and an oral food challenge.
  • If you have a peanut allergy, you can safely go to schools and restaurants that aren’t peanut-free when they have comprehensive food-allergy management plans in place. For more assistance, check out http://www.peanutallergyfacts.com (and research shows it may actually be preventative to consume them during pregnancy).

Fun ways to eat more peanuts:

Microwave Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Broccoli Peanut Stir-Fry

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Dried Plums

New research presented at the 2015 Experimental Biology meeting expands on the current body of evidence suggesting dried plums not only help prevent bone loss in animal models, but also help to restore it.

A small clinical trial showed that postmenopausal women who were not on hormone replacement therapy had an increase in biomarkers that measure bone formation. They ate about 12 dried plums a day.

Another 12-month study found that postmenopausal women who ate 10 to 12 dried plums daily significantly increased the bone density in their spines and forearms.

How to eat more plums:

Dried plums are the perfect athlete’s snack. They are portable and easy on the go—so grab one or two with a handful of nuts an hour or so before a workout.

Roasted Butternut Squash With Dried Plums, Pepitas and Honey-lime Vinaigrette

Eggs

New research continues to show that the amount of cholesterol we eat in our diets does not have a huge effect on our blood cholesterol levels. Blood cholesterol is more likely to be raised because of genetic factors, a diet high in trans and/or saturated fats, or possibly too much sugar. This evidence was so convincing that the recommendation to reduce cholesterol intake was taken out of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Despite its reputation as the unhealthy part of the egg, the yolk contains nearly half the protein as well as healthy nutrients, such as choline, that aren’t in the white. Choline plays an important part in fetal brain development, so cooked eggs are great for pregnant women. The yolk also contains the antioxidants leutine and zeaxanthin, which are important nutrients for eye health that may help protect against macular degeneration and cataracts.

While cholesterol may not be a concern, eggs yolks do contain a gram or two of saturated fat. That’s why we use Eggland’s Best eggs (and we work with the company) because they contain 25 percent less saturated fat than other eggs.

Recent studies show that eating one egg per day does not raise cholesterol or increase risk of cardiovascular disease. Several shorter-term studies show that it is safe to consume two to three eggs per day without any adverse health outcomes. What’s more, eating eggs instead of sugary cereal or a bagel at breakfast can help keep blood sugar more stable thanks to the added protein and fat in eggs. Regular egg consumption at breakfast has even been shown to benefit weight reduction efforts.

Try these tasty egg recipes for your next breakfast:

Wake Up Sunnyside Pineapple Berry Oatmeal

Sunnyside Eggs on A Portobello Bagel

Mini Frittata Muffins

Note: The Nutrition Twins work with Eggland’s Best, but they were not compensated for this blog.

The Nutrition TwinsThe Nutrition Twins Contributor

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse (“Lyssie”) Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins®, share a passion to teach people how to eat healthfully and exercise so they'll have energy to live happy lives. The twins have been featured as nutrition experts on Good Morning America, Discovery Health, Fox News, NBC, Bravo, CBS, The Learning Channel, FitTV, Oxygen Network, and Fox & Friends. They co-wrote The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty, The Secret to Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat and the 4-Week Plan to Drop A Size & Get Healthier with Simple Low Sodium Swaps. The twins are both ACE Certified Personal Trainers, and members of the American Dietetic Association and several Dietetic Practice Groups.

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