It’s beginning to feel like the plants are taking over. Meatless burgers at fast food restaurants. What’s next? Plant-based beverages, of course. Tufts does a good job of explaining how it is not a totally one-for-one substitution.
Enjoy plant-based beverages; but be aware most are not equivalent to milk.
The market for plant-based alternatives to dairy products continues to grow, as lactose intolerance, dairy allergy, veganism, environmental concerns, and other factors lead Americans to look for alternatives to dairy. So where do these beverages fit into a healthy dietary pattern?
How They are Made: To understand the nutrient profiles of plant-based beverages, one first needs to know how they are made. The raw materials (nuts, grains, legumes, or seeds) are soaked in water and ground (or ground and then soaked). The resulting slurry is strained to remove solids, and then any flavorings, sweeteners, and desired nutrients can be added. Thickening agents (such as locust bean gum, carrageenan, or xanthan gum), and stabilizers to keep the mixtures from separating, are often required. The products undergo heat treatment that kills any microorganisms, and they are packaged for market.
This process results in a beverage with a nutrient profile significantly different from the original plant food. Continue reading
I ran across this in a Tufts health & Nutrition Update and thought it might be useful.
Q. I take fish oil for heart health, but some of what I read in the health press says fish oil doesn’t do much. Should I stop taking it?
A. Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Current recommendations do not support the use of fish oil supplements to prevent heart disease in otherwise healthy adults. But the recommendations do support a healthy dietary pattern that includes fish (seafood) at least twice a week. There is little evidence that taking fish oil supplements instead of eating fish is beneficial, and by doing so you will be losing out on some other benefits of including fish in your diet.
“One of those benefits comes from eating darker-fleshed fish like salmon and trout, which contain higher amounts of heart-healthy unsaturated fats than other species. However, including any type of seafood in your diet is highly recommended if it replaces major contributors of saturated fat, such as burgers or a piece of quiche.
“As with any effort to improve diet quality, also consider the way you prepare the seafood. Avoid butter and cream sauces. Instead, use spices and herbs liberally and serve the seafood with lots of colorful vegetables, either included in the preparation of the seafood or separately.”
I have been hearing about and reading about the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for as long as I have been writing this blog (10 years in case you are new here). But, I don’t know a heck of a lot about it. Here is the skinny from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
More than a diet plan, this health-promoting food pattern allows room for preferences.
A Mediterranean diet can be as varied as the countries and cultures that surround the Mediterranean Sea.
This large and diverse region includes 22 countries located within Europe, Africa, and Asia, including Greece, France, Spain, and Italy, but also Turkey, Morocco, Libya, and Egypt. “It is important to recognize that these countries encompass a wide array of cultural and culinary traditions, which means there is no single version of the ‘Mediterranean’ diet,” says Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, a professor at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and executive editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “The good news is, that means a Mediterranean-type dietary pattern can be adapted to many different tastes and preferences.” Continue reading
A reader sent in a comment on the food value of pistachios and also sent me some samples. I thought it was worth looking into them.
It turns out that pistachios have super health benefits.
Fresh pistachios isolated on white.
Here’s what the Galvin Nussingten of Streetdirectory.com says about them, “Pistachios help your cells. That’s right! Your cells get tremendous benefits from the antioxidants in these nuts. It’s one of the reasons why eating lots of chocolate isn’t all that bad. You may not be aware, however, of how helpful antioxidants can be for fighting oxidative stress, which is known to cause cell structure damage. Because of this, antioxidants are incredibly important to your overall health. Did you know that Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s have been linked with a lack of antioxidants?”
I wrote about the value of antioxidants previously.
A brochure from Orandi Ranch states that a serving of pistachios has more antioxidants than red wine and blueberries combined.