Jackie Wright: Updates about the latest in nutrition
April 1, 2015
A recent long-term study completed at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) has shed new light on the possibility of lowering cardiovascular disease-related mortality rates (i.e. CVD-related mortality rates) by increasing the intake of whole grains.
The Harvard School of Public Health reviewed data from over 74,000 women from the Nurses' Health Study and over 43,000 men from the Health Professional Follow-Up Study between the mid-1980s through 2010. After adjusting for variables such as age, smoking, body mass index, physical activity and their general diet parameters excluding whole grains, the team of researchers looked at the participants' whole grain intake and compared it with mortality data over the indicated time period.
This study has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine 2015 ("Association Between Dietary Whole Grain Intake and Risk of Mortality – Two Large Prospective Studies in US Men and Women") (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.6283). If you would like to check out the entire study visit http://www.JAMAInternalMedicine . The study basically concludes that consuming a diet with higher whole grain content is associated with lower total CVD mortality in women and men in the United States. And, even substituting one serving of refined grains or red meat per day with one serving of whole grains was associated with a lower CVD-related mortality rate.
Additional Nutrition Updates
With so many "buzz" words and terms flying around the nutrition world these days, take a moment to check out a couple of these clarifications:
What is plant-based eating?
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It is not a vegan diet. It simply encourages you to consume plant foods in their whole form and to limit animal products. A vegan diet excludes all animal products and does not require you to consume only whole foods, restrict your fat or sugar intake.
What are probiotics and prebiotics?
One definition cited by Schrezenmeir & de Vrese 2001 (Havenaar and Huis In't) is "a preparation of or a product containing viable, defined microorganisms in sufficient numbers, which alter the microflora (by implantation or colonization) in a compartment of the host and by that exert beneficial health effects in the host".
Then, in 1995, Gibson & Roberfroid defined prebiotics as "a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and /or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon."
That is a lot to "digest." However, Mary Hartley, MPH, RD simplifies matters for us by identifying which foods are good sources of probiotics. Check out Mary's website at http://www.AskMayRD.com, where she breaks down probiotics into food and categories as follows:
Dairy: yogurt, kefir, natural/traditional cheese
Asian: miso, fermented tofu, tempeh, natto`, kimchi
Alcoholic: microbrewed beer, wine, saki
And, as far as prebiotics, you will find those in whole grains, bananas, onions, garlic, honey and artichokes.
If you are interested in a review of popular diets, go to http://www.ideafit.com where 20 popular diets (everything from Atkins, to Biggest Loser to Low Glycemic Index, Medifast, and Mediterranean to paleo to vegetarian) have been described and the pros and cons of each detailed. The IDEA Health & Fitness Association is dedicated to providing excellent resources to fitness professionals and the general public. Take a moment and visit their website, which is brimming over with excellent health and fitness information throughout the year.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness LLC in Granby. She may be reached at her website at http://www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at firstname.lastname@example.org and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.