Red Curls

Can Diet Improve Hair Growth? 11 Foods To Eat For Longer Hair

We might say ‘long hair, don’t care,’ but the reality is that we do care. That is especially true for those of us that have tried everything under the sun to achieve longer, thicker, more luscious locks. And while some shampoos, conditioners, treatments, and even beauty supplements promise longer, stronger strands, they’re no match for diet. Can diet improve hair growth? If you eat certain foods, it’s possible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, eating a diet rich in specific nutrients can result in a better functioning body. That, in turn, leads to some visible signs of health, including shinier, stronger, and possibly longer hair. Curious to know what foods to eat for hair growth? We share 11 foods to add to your grocery list, ahead.


Healthy fats have received a lot of attention across the board for the way they nourish the body. But, did you know eating healthy fats could also lead to hair growth? In addition to fatty acids, avocado is abundant in vitamins B and E, which can help to strengthen the scalp and prevent hair loss and breakage. On top of that, eating avocados might lead to ultra shiny, smooth hair, as the fatty acids and vitamins found in the fruit can nourish and condition strands.


Leafy greens — specifically, spinach — can also lead to hair growth. Because spinach is high in vitamins C and A, they can promote healthy oil production and in turn nourish strands, condition the scalp, and create the ultimate environment for hair growth.


Have you ever had a piece of salmon and immediately felt nourished from the inside out? That’s because salmon is chock full of essential nutrients that boast major benefits to the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of its most outstanding properties, as the body doesn’t make them on its own and they’re vital to healthy hair and skin. Since omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to hair health, they could contribute to hair growth.

Chia seeds

Omega-3 fatty acids are not just essential to the body, they’re critical to hair health, too. And, there are a variety of ways to nourish your body inside out with them. Case in point: Chia seeds are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids and can promote a healthy scalp and hair — two essential factors in hair growth. Add them to your smoothie, oatmeal, or make chia seed pudding and reap the benefits of the super seed.

Sweet potato

If you love sweet potato fries, listen up! While fries are probably not the best option health-wise, the sweet potato factor could seriously benefit your strands. Roast them, mash them, bake them — no matter how you cook them they can provide the hair with beneficial nutrients such as vitamin A and beta-carotene, while can help protect hair from a dry and brittle fate. The stronger the hair is, the less likely it is to break off, which means eating hair-strengthening foods like sweet potatoes can lead to longer, stronger strands.

Yellow peppers

Speaking of breakage prevention, yellow peppers can also help. Yellow peppers are extremely rich in vitamin C — in fact, they about five times more vitamin C than oranges. That alone makes them one of the most important foods to eat for longer hair, as vitamin C can strengthen the hair follicles and prevent breakage.

Flax seeds

Similar to chia seeds, flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that can nourish the scalp and strands from the inside out. Also, flax seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E and can help balance oil control. Sprinkle flax seeds over oatmeal or yogurt, or use ground flax seeds in your morning smoothing to reap the benefits of flax seeds for hair growth.

Sunflower seeds

Chia and flax seeds aren’t the only seeds that promote hair growth — sunflower seeds can, too. Since sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, eating a handful of them can help provide the scalp and strands with deep nourishment. Also, vitamin E is known to enhance blood flow, which could also promote hair growth.


If you want longer, stronger hair, don’t skip out on an egg breakfast. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, eggs contain biotin — a beneficial nutrient known to promote hair growth. That said, most of the hair growing nutrients are in the yolk, not the whites. Eating too many egg whites (and not enough yolk) could cause the body to block biotin absorption altogether.


Seeds aren’t the only ones with hair-growing superpowers — nuts have them, too! Almonds, in particular, are ultra rich in biotin, which can lead to longer, stronger hair.


It might come as a surprise, but oysters are considered one of the best foods to eat for longer hair. Not only are they high in omega fatty acids, but they also contain an abundance of vitamin C, zinc, and calcium, which are vital to longer, stronger hair.

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9 Health And Nutrition Benefits Of Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family.

It’s native to North America and particularly popular around Thanksgiving and Halloween (1).

In the US, pumpkin typically refers to Cucurbita pepo, an orange type of winter squash. In other regions, such as Australia, pumpkin may refer to any type of winter squash.

While commonly viewed as a vegetable, pumpkin is scientifically a fruit, as it contains seeds. That said, it’s nutritionally more similar to vegetables than fruits.

Beyond its delicious taste, pumpkin is nutritious and linked to many health benefits.

Here are 9 impressive nutrition and health benefits of pumpkin.


Pumpkin has an impressive nutrient profile.

One cup of cooked pumpkin (245 grams) contains (2):


  • Calories: 49
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin A: 245% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin C: 19% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 11% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B2: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the RDI
  • Iron: 8% of the RDI
  • Small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, folate and several B vitamins.


Besides being packed with vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is also relatively low in calories, as it’s 94% water (2).

It’s also very high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body turns into vitamin A.

Moreover, pumpkin seeds are edible, nutritious and linked to numerous health benefits.

Summary Pumpkin is high in vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. It’s also a great source of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that your body converts into vitamin A.

Free radicals are molecules produced by your body’s metabolic process. Though highly unstable, they have useful roles, such as destroying harmful bacteria.

However, excessive free radicals in your body create a state called oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer (3).

Pumpkins contain antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. These can neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging your cells (4).

Test-tube and animal studies have shown that these antioxidants protect skin against sun damage and lower the risk of cancer, eye diseases and other conditions (5, 6).

However, keep in mind that more human-based research is needed to make health recommendations.

Summary Pumpkin contains the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin and many others, which may protect your cells against damage by free radicals.

Pumpkin is loaded with nutrients that can boost your immune system.

For one, it’s high in beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A.

Studies show that vitamin A can strengthen your immune system and help fight infections. Conversely, people with a vitamin A deficiency can have a weaker immune system (7, 8, 9).

Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which has been shown to increase white blood cell production, help immune cells work more effectively and make wounds heal faster (10, 11).

Aside from the two vitamins mentioned above, pumpkin is also a good source of vitamin E, iron and folate — all of which have been shown to aid the immune system as well (12).

Summary Pumpkin is high in vitamins A and C, which can help boost your immune system. Its supply of vitamin E, iron and folate may strengthen your immunity as well.

It’s quite common for eyesight to diminish with age.

Fortunately, eating the right nutrients can lower your risk of sight loss. Pumpkin is plentiful in nutrients that have been linked to strong eyesight as your body ages.

For instance, its beta-carotene content provides your body with necessary vitamin A. Research shows that vitamin A deficiency is a very common cause of blindness (13, 14).

In an analysis of 22 studies, scientists discovered that people with higher intakes of beta-carotene had a significantly lower risk of cataracts, a common cause of blindness (15).

Pumpkin is also one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds linked to lower risks of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts (16).

Additionally, it contains good amounts of vitamins C and E, which function as antioxidants and may prevent free radicals from damaging your eye cells.

Summary Pumpkins’ high vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin contents may protect your eyes against sight loss, which becomes more common with age.

Pumpkin is considered a nutrient-dense food.

That means it’s incredibly low in calories despite being packed with nutrients.

In fact, pumpkin clocks in at under 50 calories per cup (245 grams) and consists of about 94% of water (2).

Simply put, pumpkin is a weight-loss friendly food because you can consume more of it than other carb sources — such as rice and potatoes — but still take in fewer calories.

What’s more, pumpkin is a good source of fiber, which can help curb your appetite.

Summary Pumpkin is packed with nutrients and yet has under 50 calories per cup (245 grams). This makes it a nutrient-dense food. It’s also a good source of fiber, which may suppress your appetite.

Cancer is a serious illness in which cells grow abnormally.

Cancer cells produce free radicals to help them multiply rapidly (17).

Pumpkin is high in carotenoids, which are compounds that can function as antioxidants. This allows them to neutralize free radicals, which may protect against certain cancers.

For instance, an analysis of 13 studies showed that people with higher intakes of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene had significantly lower risks of stomach cancers (18).

Similarly, many other human studies have found that individuals with higher intakes of carotenoids have lower risks of throat, pancreas, breast and other cancers (19, 20, 21).

However, scientists aren’t sure if the carotenoids themselves or other factors — such as lifestyle habits of those who consume diets rich in carotenoids — are responsible for these lowered risks.

Summary Pumpkins contain carotenoids, which function as antioxidants. These compounds are linked to lower risks of stomach, throat, pancreas and breast cancers.

Pumpkin contains a variety of nutrients that can improve your heart health.

It’s high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, which have been linked to heart benefits.

For instance, studies have shown that people with higher potassium intakes appear to have lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of strokes — two risk factors for heart disease (22, 23).

Pumpkin is also high in antioxidants, which may protect “bad” LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. When LDL cholesterol particles oxidize, they can clump along the walls of blood vessels, which can restrict your vessels and raise your risk of heart disease (24, 25).

Summary Pumpkin is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, which have been linked to heart health benefits.

Pumpkins are loaded with nutrients that are great for your skin.

For one, it’s high in carotenoids like beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A.

In fact, one cup (245 grams) of cooked pumpkin packs 245% of the RDI for vitamin A (2).

Studies show that carotenoids like beta-carotene can act as a natural sunblock (26).

Once ingested, carotenoids are transported to various organs including your skin. Here, they help protect skin cells against damage from harmful UV rays (5).

Pumpkin is also high in vitamin C, which is essential for healthy skin. Your body needs this vitamin to make collagen, a protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy (27).

Moreover, pumpkins contain lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E and many more antioxidants that have been shown to boost your skin’s defenses against UV rays (28, 29).

Summary Pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which acts as a natural sunblock. It also contains vitamins C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help keep your skin strong and healthy.

Pumpkin is delicious, versatile and easy to add to your diet.

Its sweet flavor makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like custards, pies and pancakes. However, it works just as well in savory dishes such as roasted vegetables, soups and pastas.

Pumpkins have a very tough skin, so it requires some effort to slice. Once you cut it, scoop out the seeds and any stringy parts, then slice the pumpkin into wedges.

The seeds are also edible and packed with nutrients which offer many other benefits. For instance, pumpkin seeds may improve bladder and heart health (30, 31).

Pumpkin is also available pre-cut or canned, giving you flexibility with your recipes and preparation. When buying canned, be sure to read labels carefully, as not all products will be 100% pumpkin and you may want to avoid added ingredients, particularly sugar.

The easiest way to eat pumpkin is to season it with salt and pepper and roast it in the oven. Many people also enjoy making it into pumpkin soup, especially during winter.

Summary Pumpkin, once sliced and cut, can be easily roasted, puréed into soup or baked into pies. Its seeds are also edible and highly nutritious.

Pumpkin is very healthy and considered safe for most.

However, some people may experience allergies after eating pumpkin (32).

It’s also considered mildly diuretic, which means eating a lot of pumpkin may induce a “water pill”-like reaction, increasing the amount of water and salt your body expels through urine (33).

This effect may harm people taking certain medicines such as lithium. Diuretics can impair your body’s ability to remove lithium, causing serious side effects (34).

Although pumpkin is healthy, many pumpkin-based junk foods — such as lattés, candies and pie fillings — are loaded with added sugar. They do not offer the same health benefits as consuming the fruit.

Summary Pumpkin is very healthy and generally safe when eaten in moderation. Make sure to avoid pumpkin-based junk foods, as they are often packed with added sugar.

Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, pumpkin is incredibly healthy.

What’s more, its low calorie content makes it a weight-loss-friendly food.

Its nutrients and antioxidants may boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health.

Pumpkin is very versatile and easy to add to your diet in both sweet and savory dishes.

Try incorporating pumpkin into your diet today to reap its health benefits.

Beauty Perception

Whole Body Beauty: Indie Brand Founders Talk About Feminine Hygiene And Intimate Skin Care

What follows is our Q&A with skin care brand Knours., feminine hygiene brand OrganiCup, and the intimate skin care and body care brand Arôms Natur. All three of these brands are exhibiting this week at Indie Beauty Expo in New York City.

Cosmetics Design: Where do beauty and feminine wellness intersect?​

Arôms Natur Skincare founders Dora S. Lacey, Denise Davila-Izurieta, and Gildren Alejandro: ​Clean beauty is bringing together skincare, cosmetics, body care, feminine care, supplements and more, under the umbrella of clean, organic, safe, toxin-free products. Online and brick and mortar stores are featuring deodorants, makeup, facial skincare, body care, haircare and a limited number of feminine wellness products.

However, for every 20 facial oils, there might be one feminine product, if at all. We think there is room to give consumers more options and variety and that’s where we come in. Much attention is given to the face and eyes, but many consumers neglect more sensitive and delicate areas that need preventive care and attention as well. We hope that by bringing awareness to these parts of the body and generating education and content on feminine care, women start paying more attention to their breasts, skin and intimate parts early on.

We spoke of categories earlier and for us at Arôms Natur Skincare, operating in the context of clean beauty is fundamental and the reason why we started our company in the first place. All of our oil blends are crafted with first cold pressed botanical oils, therapeutic-grade essential oils and plant extracts. All of our formulas are free of alcohol, artificial colors, any fragrance, hormones, parabens, petroleum, silicone or chemicals.

We know that if we are inviting women to use products in their most precious and intimate body parts, the safety and purity of our products is fundamental to our promise. When we did our research and looked at all the chemicals in mainstream female hygiene products we were appalled. Featuring products that are 100% natural, toxin-free and devoid of chemicals and parabens is at the center of our mission and ethos.

OrganiCup ​Marketing Project Manager Ida Gjorup: ​We’re from Denmark – a country with a long history of design that typically focuses on simplicity, clean lines and natural materials. We wanted to bring such ethos to the world of period products.

We wish to combine our design approach with our ambition to destigmatize periods.

When we started in 2012, it seemed like one of the most uncomfortable things you could possibly talk about was periods. We saw an opportunity, through branding and design, to pave the way towards a more positive and normalized relationship with periods by simply showing menstrual cups and periods for what they are – not as anything else.

Beauty and wellness is about feeling good about yourself – why shouldn’t that translate into period products?

Jessica Jeong, Marketing Manager for Knours.: ​Because estrogen plays such a large part in a woman’s feminine wellness and beauty, the two are deeply intertwined.  Women look and feel their most beautiful when estrogen levels are high.  Estrogen has an anti-aging effect and higher levels of estrogen are also linked to calmer skin with fewer breakouts.

Cosme​tics Design: What personal care solutions does your brand offer that haven’t been available before?​

Arôms Natur Skincare founders Dora S. Lacey, Denise Davila-Izurieta, and Gildren Alejandro: ​In terms of our portfolio of products, we are very excited to introduce Love Your Breasts, the first breast massage and firming oil in the prestige segment that we are aware of. The formula of Love Your Breasts, made with a blend of evening primrose, Damask rose, geranium, apricot kernel and hazelnut oils, is specially designed for the delicate skin of the breasts with many fatty acids that boost elasticity and strengthen the connective tissue of the skin. The blend is infused with aromatic essential oils that help stimulate the lymphatic system as well as relax and uplift one’s mood. When used daily for 28 days, the oil will help lift and firm the skin of the breasts. This is also a perfect oil to incorporate into a woman’s self-examination and breast massage routine in a way that will feel luxurious and uplifting.

Nourish Your V targets vulvar dryness (labia and external genital area) by alleviating, soothing and heavily hydrating the intimate skin. It is also the only intimate skin moisturizer in the clean beauty segment that has been clinically tested and proven to reduce vulvar dryness in 90% of the respondents of a clinical trial. The oil can also be used after working out or showering to keep the intimate area hydrated and fresh. The blend includes avocado oil, argan, calendula and lavender oils for their nourishing, soothing and anti-oxidant compounds.

Tone Your Curves is a moisturizing body oil with Indian pennywort extract, clary sage and rosewood oils which help boost circulation and increase elasticity aiding to firm and tone the skin. The blend provides intense hydration leaving skin soft and supple.

We want all of our products to empower women to feel comfortable and to want to care for every part of their bodies, whether it’s the vagina or the breasts or their overall skin. Ultimately, it’s about celebrating who you are and feeling confident, gorgeous and sexy within your body no matter your age, style or body type. And it’s also about bringing luxury and beauty to that space of self-care and self-love. Everything we did around our formulation, packaging and bottles speaks to beauty, indulgence and luxury. Ultimately, this is about women engaging in personal care rituals with products that are safe, sumptuous and of course, effective.

OrganiCup ​Marketing Project Manager Ida Gjorup: ​Many don’t know this, but the menstrual cup was invented in the 1930’s by a woman named Leona Chalmers. However, it hasn’t been marketed as heavily as the alternatives and therefore it hasn’t gained the same popularity. Today, we can see an increase in the interest and sale of menstrual cups all over the world, as we are becoming increasingly aware of reducing our waste and focus more on our health.

When OrganiCup was founded in 2012, it was with the aim to make the menstrual cup wider accessible to women all over the world and make it appealing through great design and an engaging brand. Moreover, we learned that for many women and girls in both developing and developed countries, menstruation is a life-restricting monthly event that negatively affects daily activities, performance in school and self-esteem because they lack access to period products.

We want to do our bit to make sure that those in need have access to a sustainable way to manage their period and we have partnered up with a couple of NGOs. They work to empower and educate communities to change the attitude towards menstruation and introduce menstrual cups as a way of managing your period.

Jessica Jeong, Marketing Manager for Knours.: ​Our brand offers products that cater not just to skin type but also to skin condition.  Even those of us with oily skin have drier days where our skin craves more moisture.  In that vein, one of our products, the Double Duty Mist, can actually be personalized based on your skin condition.  With two layers and a quasi-biphase formula that consists of a bottom layer with soothing aloe vera water and a top layer with nourishing botanical oils, you shake the mist when skin is feeling dry and leave the mist unshaken when skin is feeling oily, sensitive, and/or prone to breakouts.  You can even shake just once for a light midday skin refresh.

Cosmetics Design:​ How have men’s views and cultural taboos defined women’s care until now?​

Arôms Natur Skincare founders Dora S. Lacey, Denise Davila-Izurieta, and Gildren Alejandro: ​We know that gender bias is pervasive and that it has informed our behavior, our industries, our marketing, our healthcare, pretty much everything. But this is changing as more women-led companies are breaking ground and succeeding in the beauty, personal care or cosmetics industry.

Within niche segments of these industries, we are moving beyond profitability to sustainability, social responsibility and transparency. In an industry where products and marketing are aimed at female consumers, we know that improved gender representation at the executive leadership level will lead to products and attitudes that better represent what female consumers really need and are interested in. It is no coincidence that most of the innovation we have seen in the area of feminine hygiene or wellness and within clean beauty is driven by women founders.

OrganiCup ​Marketing Project Manager Ida Gjorup: ​Periods and period products have historically been associated with shame. There’s a long history of menstrual taboos across nearly all cultures, and these continue to manifest in subtle and complex ways. It’s not only men who keep the existing taboos alive; women also associate periods with being dirty, disgusting and shameful.

This attitude towards periods is partly due to lack of knowledge. Many are told to manage their period privately and discreetly. Not being able to ask questions and talk about what happens when you get your period can lead to menstrual shame and affect the way you feel about your body.

That’s why we’re focused on elevating the conversation. Periods are natural, we’re all here because of the menstrual cycle. Traditionally, in the marketing of period products, brands haven’t talked about periods in a natural way, which has resulted in manifesting periods as something unnatural and something to be embarrassed about.

Therefore, we don’t shy away from saying ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’ or from using red liquid instead of blue. We talk to our community as they are our friends – we don’t talk down. We want the OrganiCup universe to be a space where you can comfortably ask questions – a place to seek information.

Jessica Jeong, Marketing Manager for Knours.:​ We believe that it’s important to normalize the conversation around hormones and how they impact us as women, from our moods to our skin.  Due to gender disparity and cultural taboos, we feel that the role hormones play was often minimized, even as it pertained to the feminine care and beauty industries.  Hopefully, opening the discussion will lead to a better informed consumer that demands more from the products they use and, in turn, more thoughtful products.

Cosmetics Design: What’s next from women-led beauty?​

Arôms Natur Skincare founders Dora S. Lacey, Denise Davila-Izurieta, and Gildren Alejandro:​ We think the number of women led businesses in the industry will continue to rise and that these companies will continue to bring innovation to the industry. We will continue to see novelty around products, new delivery systems. Also, we envision the push for sustainable practices, transparency and social responsibility gaining even more traction among consumers and becoming a benchmark for the industry at large.

But one of the trends we are most interested in, is the increase in products or solutions that address multi-cultural beauty led by multi-cultural women entrepreneurs. It’s very exciting to see more brands come up with products serving more skin types and skin tones and even custom blended products. We have also seen many founders looking at their heritage for inspiration around unique ingredients and formulations.

With Arôms Natur Skincare being a multi-cultural company—our partners are Hungarian, Puerto Rican and Ecuadorian and we are all based in New York City—we are looking forward to the beauty industry and its plethora of marketing messages and imagery reflecting the multicultural nature of this country.

OrganiCup ​Marketing Project Manager Ida Gjorup: ​The recent wave of feminism has helped give the topic of periods, feminine health and alternative period products a push into the spotlight, and prompted a much more open conversation around menstruation.

We hope this conversation will continue and the development of innovative period products will continue as there is room for more innovation within the category and adding new products to the market.

Jessica Jeong, Marketing Manager for Knours.:​ We are looking at even more products that cater to needs of women that have remained largely unaddressed.  Being a clean brand that steers clear of any ingredients that could potentially be hormone disruptors is so important to us, we hope that other brands will follow suit.  The wellness trend has definitely impacted the way we look at the nutrition labels on our food, we hope it will have a similar effect on the way we think about the products that we apply to the largest organ of our body, our skin.

Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

beaute nutrition

Your Doctor May Not Be The Best Source Of Nutrition Advice

When Americans hear about a health craze, they may turn to their physician for advice: Will that superfood really boost brain function? Is that supplement okay for me to take?

Or they may be interested in food choices because of obesity, malnutrition or the role of diet in chronic disease.

But a doctor may not be a reliable source. Experts say that while most physicians may recognize that diet is influential in health, they don’t learn enough about nutrition in medical school or the training programs that follow.

An estimated 50 to 80 percent of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer, are partly related to or affected by nutrition, according to Martin Kohlmeier, a research professor in nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For those experiencing risk factors early on, a change in diet is important.

“People are gaining a pound or two a year, and nobody says anything. But then by age 50 or 55, they’ve often gained 30 or 40 pounds, which has huge impacts on their health,” said Walter Willett, an epidemiology and nutrition professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “In the younger years, middle age, people are acquiring the risk factors that often don’t show up as major diseases until later in life.”

“You can practice only what you know,” Kohlmeier said. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, malnutrition is prevalent but underrecognized in the United States. That does not surprise Kohlmeier, who said, “This is what happens when you don’t teach nutrition.”

He oversees UNC’s Nutrition in Medicine project, which offers educational modules for medical students. But Kohlmeier said these are far from enough. “You cannot learn in two hours what it takes 20 hours to learn,” he said. In a 2015 survey of 121 four-year medical schools, Kohlmeier and colleagues found that 71 percent did not require at least 25 hours of nutrition education and that fewer than 20 percent required a nutrition course — fewer even than 15 years before.

“The biggest thing that drives a lot of medical schools to put particular things in their curriculum is what gets tested on the boards. And unfortunately, as of right now, doctors are not tested on what foods a patient should eat,” said Tracy Rydel, a clinical associate professor of medicine at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Stanford and UNC are among medical schools working to turn that tide by integrating nutrition into their curriculums. Others include Tulane, Vanderbilt, Tufts, Texas Tech, Oakland University in Michigan, and Boston University. Some, such as Stanford and Tulane, have established teaching kitchens. Proponents say this hands-on element may be particularly valuable because it can help physicians discuss food with patients in a more knowledgeable and engaged manner; and if it instills healthier eating habits in the students, that’s a bonus for their future patients, because physicians who eat wisely tend to give better advice about eating.

“Just like it was really important that doctors stopped smoking — that made them advocates for not smoking,” Willett said. “Doctors need to set an example, both for their own good and for the good of their patient.”

The Association of American Medical Colleges reports a more than 50 percent increase since 2011 in schools offering an elective course that covers nutrition, but that tally counts electives that merely include and don’t necessarily focus on the subject.

AAMC medical education expert Lisa Howley is optimistic. “All of our schools are addressing this in some capacity. Some are doing it quite intensively, and others [not as well] — there’s a spectrum,” she said. “For those who are somewhere on the lower end of that spectrum, it would be lovely to see them learn from their colleagues and, through shared resources, be able to even further integrate this content into their curriculum.”

Teaching nutrition requires expertise and resources, but some efforts are underway to streamline the process so every school doesn’t need to start from scratch. Rydel and colleagues are working to centralize nutrition-related research and recommendations for medical schools, and the American Society for Nutrition announced in September that it would lead a coordinating center for nutrition education.

Gwen Tillman, the nutrition group’s vice president of education and development, said the center probably will work with medical schools and residency programs to find ways to incorporate nutrition into their curriculums.

The nonprofit Gaples Institute, meanwhile, focuses on doctors fresh out of medical school and on established physicians, educating both in the basics of nutrition and strategies for incorporating nutritional counseling into a busy practice.

For many, the minor role of nutrition in medicine underscores the emphasis that the U.S. health-care system places on treatment over prevention. There’s little or no incentive for a physician to sit down and talk with patients about food and healthy habits, Rydel said. “A counseling visit is not nearly as incentivized as a procedural visit,” she said.

Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, said that even though the efforts at medical schools are significant, what’s really needed is for the reimbursement system to encourage preventive health care, and diet should be covered by licensing examinations and viewed as standard medical practice. “Until then, we are talking about Band-Aids,” she said.

Willett said that the initiatives in schools are crucial. He recalled a major study in 2015 that encouraged more-aggressive treatment with drugs that can lower blood pressure even though obesity and excess weight are major causes of hypertension.

“There was not a single statement I saw anywhere that we should encourage weight loss and sodium reduction or increased potassium intake, which means more fruits and vegetables,” he said. “That just is such a glaring example of the result of our extremely unbalanced medical education.”

beaute nutrition

Environmental Nutrition: Healthful Vegetarian Diets Linked With Benefits

Environmental Nutrition

The latest research presented at the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition at Loma Linda University in February 2018 shows that vegan and vegetarian diets are consistently linked with health benefits. Based on multiple cohort studies presented at the conference, including the Adventist Health Study 2, EPIC Oxford study, and the Tzu Chi Health Study 1, these diet patterns were linked with lower levels of blood pressure, “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and BMI (body mass index); and lower risks for developing cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancers, kidney stones, gout, and cataracts.

Interestingly, the latest research on plant-based diets has explored the effects of quality within vegetarian diet patterns — essentially a highly processed (refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary products) diet vs. a pattern based on whole, unprocessed foods (whole grains, pulses, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds). As you might expect, the latter diet pattern showed greater benefits. There’s never been a better time to consider a plant-based diet, and the more it focuses on whole plant foods, the better.

(Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition in clear, concise English. For more information, visit


beaute nutrition

Beauty Drinks Market – Rising Demand With Leading Key Players Asterism Healthcare, Hangzhou Nutrition, Juice Generation

Latest research study from HTF MI with title United States Beauty Drinks by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2023. The Research report presents a complete assessment of the market and contains Future trend, Current Growth Factors, attentive opinions, facts, historical data, and statistically supported and industry validated market data. The study is segmented by products type, application/end-users. The research study provides estimates for United States Beauty Drinks Forecast till 2023.

If you are involved in the Beauty Drinks industry or intend to be, then this study will provide you comprehensive outlook. It’s vital you keep your market knowledge up to date segmented by Applications Teenager, Younger Women & Mature Women, Product Types such as [Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals & Fruit Extracts] and some major players in the industry. If you have a different set of players/manufacturers according to geography or needs regional or country segmented reports we can provide customization according to your requirement.

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Key Companies/players: Asterism Healthcare, Hangzhou Nutrition, Juice Generation, Kinohimitsu & Ocoo.

Application: Teenager, Younger Women & Mature Women, Product Type: Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals & Fruit Extracts.

The research covers the current & Future market size of the United States Beauty Drinks market and its growth rates based on 5 year history data. It also covers various types of segmentation such as by geography [The West, Southwest, The Middle Atlantic, New England, The South & The Midwest]. The market competition is constantly growing higher with the rise in technological innovation and M&A activities in the industry. Moreover, many local and regional vendors are offering specific application products for varied end-users. On the basis of attributes such as company overview, recent developments, strategies adopted by the market leaders to ensure growth, sustainability, financial overview and recent developments.

Stay up-to-date with Beauty Drinks market research offered by HTF MI. Check how key trends and emerging drivers are shaping this industry growth as the study avails you with market characteristics, size and growth, segmentation, regional breakdowns, competitive landscape, shares, trend and strategies for this market. In the United States Beauty Drinks Market Analysis & Forecast 2018-2023, the revenue is valued at USD XX million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD XX million by the end of 2023, growing at a CAGR of XX% between 2018 and 2023. The production is estimated at XX million in 2017 and is forecasted to reach XX million by the end of 2023, growing at a CAGR of XX% between 2018 and 2023.

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Key questions answered in this report – United States Beauty Drinks Market Report 2018

What will the market size be in 2023 and what will the growth rate beWhat are the key market trendsWhat is driving United States Beauty Drinks Market?What are the challenges to market growth?Who are the key vendors in Beauty Drinks Market space?What are the key market trends impacting the growth of the United States Beauty Drinks Market ?What are the key outcomes of the five forces analysis of the United States Beauty Drinks Market?What are the market opportunities and threats faced by the vendors in the United States Beauty Drinks market? Get in-depth details about factors influencing the market shares of the Americas, APAC, and EMEA?

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There are 15 Chapters to display the United States Beauty Drinks market.

Chapter 1, to describe Definition, Specifications and Classification of United States Beauty Drinks, Applications of Beauty Drinks, Market Segment by Regions;Chapter 2, to analyze the Manufacturing Cost Structure, Raw Material and Suppliers, Manufacturing Process, Industry Chain Structure;Chapter 3, to display the Technical Data and Manufacturing Plants Analysis of , Capacity and Commercial Production Date, Manufacturing Plants Distribution, Export & Import, R&D Status and Technology Source, Raw Materials Sources Analysis;Chapter 4, to show the Overall Market Analysis, Capacity Analysis (Company Segment), Sales Analysis (Company Segment), Sales Price Analysis (Company Segment);Chapter 5 and 6, to show the Regional Market Analysis that includes The West, Southwest, The Middle Atlantic, New England, The South & The Midwest, Beauty Drinks Segment Market Analysis (by Type);Chapter 7 and 8, to analyze the Beauty Drinks Segment Market Analysis (by Application [Teenager, Younger Women & Mature Women]) Major Manufacturers Analysis;Chapter 9, Market Trend Analysis, Regional Market Trend, Market Trend by Product Type [Proteins, Vitamins and Minerals & Fruit Extracts], Market Trend by Application [Teenager, Younger Women & Mature Women];Chapter 10, Regional Marketing Type Analysis, International Trade Type Analysis, Supply Chain Analysis;Chapter 11, to analyze the Consumers Analysis of United States Beauty Drinks by region, type and application ;Chapter 12, to describe Beauty Drinks Research Findings and Conclusion, Appendix, methodology and data source;Chapter 13, 14 and 15, to describe Beauty Drinks sales channel, distributors, traders, dealers, Research Findings and Conclusion, appendix and data source.

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This report provides pin-point analysis for changing competitive dynamicsIt provides a forward looking perspective on different factors driving or restraining market growthIt provides a 5-year forecast assessed on the basis of how the market is predicted to growIt helps in understanding the key product segments and their futureIt provides pin point analysis of changing competition dynamics and keeps you ahead of competitorsIt helps in making informed business decisions by having complete insights of market and by making in-depth analysis of market segments

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beaute nutrition

Beauty Vitamins Promise Shinier Hair, Stronger Nails, And Suppler Skin, But Do They Work?

For centuries, women have turned to creams, superfoods, and potions for the sake of beauty. But today, an increasing number of people are instead popping a pill—taking so called beauty vitamins, ingestible capsules, or gummies that all promise to improve their hair, skin, and nails. But the science behind this method is not so clearcut. Like far too many attempted beauty cures before it, most of these vitamin regimens come with tall claims, lowly research to back them up, and occasionally, the potential to cause harm.

There’s no question that this beauty trend is taking hold. Walk into any cosmetic store and the shelves are stocked full of a variety of pills all with similar hair, skin, and nail improving claims. Recent research reflects this. According to a Business of Fashion article last year, about 20 percent of supplement users in the United States take them for skin, hair, and nail benefits. As a whole, dietary supplements—the term used to describe all ingestibles meant to improve or boost your health—were a $133 billion market worldwide in 2016 and expected to grow to $220 billion in 2022.

Why are people turning to a vitamin to fulfill their skin goals? Dermatologist Patricia Farris, a clinical associate professor at Tulane University School of Medicine, says Americans are starting to value a “beauty from within” approach.

“We’ve always done the inside out approach in the United States, but in places like Asia… they’ve long valued nutrition and the role of nutrition in anti-aging and growing hair,” she says. “We’re just starting to see it now in Western culture.”

You’ve probably seen these little magical vitamins all over Instagram, and in beauty and skin product-specific stores like Sephora and Ulta touting often vague, yet highly appealing, claims. One vitamin by Hum Nutrition, a popular maker of supplements sold by Sephora, claims to have the “key nutrients critical for good looks and health.” Another by well-known skin care brand Murad promises to “provide the nutrients needed to support the body’s natural defense against blemish-producing toxins.”

But let’s answer the big question. For all their hype, do they really work?

That’s a challenging question to answer, according to Pieter Cohen, a physician at Cambridge Health Alliance who has done independent studies on dietary supplements. The main reason, says Cohen, is that beauty supplements aren’t backed by extensive clinical research. Further, he says, an ingredient that’s proven to work topically won’t necessarily work orally. “Some ingredients are being promoted as though they enhance beauty without any trials. It’s completely legal in the United States, even if you don’t have a single human trial,” he says.

Research that does exist for certain beauty supplements is largely industry-funded, though that doesn’t automatically mean it should be dismissed. “Just because a company does a study doesn’t mean it’s an invalid study,” says Farris, who has worked as a consultant for cosmetic companies creating vitamin lines. “Many studies are done in research labs [by independent scientists] but sponsored by the company.”

Countless numbers of these studies exist, and many of them have yielded results that have helped to draw conclusions and piece together any connections between supplementation and strengthened skin, nails, or hair. One good example is Viviscal, a celebrity-endorsed, research-backed hair growth supplement. The oral marine protein has been extensively tested in randomized, double-blind studies, which showed that they promote hair growth.

Research also backs ingredients like vitamin C and E. A 2016 study showed that women aged 40 to 70 who supplemented with a specific mixture of antioxidants, including vitamin C and zinc, had improved skin brightness and less dark circles, spots, and redness.

Collagen hydrolysate, which are broken collagen fragments that make it more bioavailable, and thus more readily absorbed by the body, also appears to be scientifically proven. Collagen is commonly used in beauty supplements because it’s the protein in our bodies that helps our skin retain its elasticity and tone. And it’s popularity seems to be increasing. According to market research firm Nutrition Business Journal, American consumers will spend about $122 million on collagen products this year, up 30 percent from last year.

Skin researchers also have a pretty solid understanding of the mechanisms through which this improved skin resilience comes from. “You can’t absorb a whole molecule of collagen, but you can absorb collagen building blocks,” Farris says. “[Studies show that] when you take these building blocks of collagen, you can boost collagen production in the skin and make the skin look better.”

One clinical study from 2014 tested a collagen hydrolysate supplement in 114 women and found that it reduced the number of wrinkles the women had. At least one study from 2017 also showed that collagen peptides, another word for hydrolysate, also help brittle nails. But only 25 participants were included in the study, making it hard to make sweeping conclusions about the association.

According to Cohen, that’s the main problem with studies on beauty vitamins: They aren’t large enough to be conclusive. “A lot of times we see small studies and when you try to reproduce it, you don’t get the same result,” he says.

But despite the positive benefits that some of these smaller studies have shown, the bigger picture is that beauty supplements as a whole won’t work universally for everyone, says Cohen. That’s because while vitamin deficiencies can actually impact the quality of our skin, hair, and nails, most people don’t have these deficiencies.

“Consumers might think, ‘Maybe I’m missing a vitamin that could improve my hair,’ but [that’s not likely] unless you are on an extreme diet—for example, someone is so addicted to alcohol that they don’t consume anything other than alcohol.”

Farris says a vitamin D deficiency can make your hair fall out and give you dry, patchy skin. So dermatologists assessing whether a patient would actually benefit from a supplement should first test that person’s vitamin D levels, and also check for other causes of hair loss such as anemia, thyroid disease, and iron deficiency.

Biotin, a B vitamin, is also a supplement that’s extremely popular among women looking to get healthier nails and hair, but research show that it doesn’t do anything beneficial unless someone has an true deficiency in it. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers concluded that “there is limited data on biotin supplementation to treat dermatological conditions, especially in patients with normal biotin levels.”

Far more supplements don’t have any publicly available evidence at all, and instead make vague claims. For example, the gummy called Sugar Bear Hair touted by the Kardashian family on Instagram, for example, tells customers to “Just chew and swallow 2 gummy bears a day to get all the nutrients needed to meet your hair goals!”

These type of claims are called structure and function claims, which don’t go through the Food and Drug Administration, the regulatory agency that oversees supplements, says Barbara Schneeman, a nutrition scientist at the University of California, Davis.

“The FDA does not approve these claims; they are only required to be notified of the claim,” says Schneeman, who also served as the director of the Office of Nutrition, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the FDA for eight years.

Rather, she says, “the FDA is mainly trying to ensure [that manufacturers] are not making a drug claim.” A drug claim is one that asserts the supplement can cure a disease or condition. By and large, beauty vitamins on the market work around that by claiming things like a pill “supports stronger nails and longer nails,” as Hum Nutrition says on their website.

A newly released beauty supplement called Halo Beauty, created by YouTuber Tati Westbrook, who has 4 million subscribers, makes a more specific claim. The brand says a proprietary “clinically-proven” ingredient known as Ceramide-RX helps “restore and rebuild the outer skin layer, increasing the skins [sic] ability to retain moisture while improving skin smoothness in as little as 3 weeks.”

But Halo Beauty provides very little information about Ceramide-RX to the consumers; the results of that research don’t seem to be publicly available, either. Halo Beauty, Hum Nutrition, and Viviscal did not respond to requests for interviews.

These precautions should not be taken lightly, as not all supplements are benign, and some have the potential to be dangerous. In a 2010 study out in JAMA, a women taking a selenium dietary supplement experienced hair loss, nail discoloration and brittleness, and even fatigue and vomiting, but none of the patients actually realized their symptoms were coming from the pills. In fact, some patients actually doubled their dosage in response to their new gastrointestinal issues.

This underscores that the FDA is letting manufacturers off too easy by setting the bar too low, Cohen says. And in the process, its confusing consumers into thinking a product will work for them when there’s no evidence of that.

The best path forward for consumers, says Farris, is to not give in to the hype and load themselves up with vitamins. If you have a specific skin condition that you’d like to rectify, don’t pick up a popular beauty vitamin you see on Instagram. Instead, see a dermatologist who can assess whether you actually have a vitamin deficiency (or perhaps another reason for the problem) and who can guide you in selecting supplements that have science behind them.

beaute nutrition

Want to eat better? You might be able to train yourself to change your tastes

Want to eat better? You might be able to train yourself to change your tastes

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Our taste system is conditioned so foods higher in energy taste better.

Andrew Costanzo, Deakin University

We all love delicious foods, even if we know they may not be good for us. Foods high in energy – specifically sweet, salty and fatty foods – tend to taste the best.

This is likely because our ancestors needed to seek out nutritious, high-energy foods when food sources were scarce. The drive to eat foods higher in energy may have allowed early humans to survive through periods of famine or harsh winters.

But today, in Western societies, delicious foods are abundant and people are consuming more energy than ever, leading to an obesity epidemic. Our taste system’s drive to eat more energy-dense foods than we need is part of the problem.

Read more:
Fat nation: why so many Australians are obese and how to fix it

So, scientists are investigating whether we can change the way we taste foods to help control how much we eat.

The six tastes

Six taste qualities have been identified: sweet, salty, sour, umami (savoury), fat and bitter. A recent study has also provided evidence for starch taste being a seventh taste quality. Each quality detects different nutritional components in a food.

Sweet indicates sugar content and salty indicates mineral content such as sodium. Sour taste indicates the presence of excessive acid and umami reflects protein content. Fat taste indicates fat content, while bitter taste points to potential toxins in foods.

Sour foods indicate the presence of excessive acid.

Excessive sour and bitter tastes are unpleasant and lets us know these qualities may be potentially harmful. The other tastes are generally pleasant and indicate the food contains high amounts of energy.

Not everyone is as sensitive to certain tastes as others. For example, one person may think a particular food is too sweet whereas another person may think the sweetness is just right. These differences in sensitivity to a taste are the key to understanding what drives our diet.

Read more:
Curious Kids: why do some people find some foods yummy but others find the same foods yucky?

Preference and satiety

Sensitivity can influence the way we eat foods in two ways. The first is through our preferences, which influence the choices we make to eat certain foods. The second is through satiety, which affects how full we feel after eating.

Studies show that when it comes to preference, being more sensitive to desirable tastes (sugar and salt) leads to a greater acceptance of those tastes, but the opposite is true for unpleasant tastes (sour and bitter). In one study, children who were more sensitive to a bitter compound found in some vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, were less likely to want to eat them.

Children sensitive to a bitter compound in vegetables like broccoli were less likely to eat them.

In the case of satiety, some tastes don’t have much of an impact on food preference, but rather on how full we feel. A good example of this involves fat taste. One study showed that people who were less sensitive to fat taste had reduced satiety signals when eating fatty foods. This means they have to eat more fatty foods before they reach a feeling of fullness or satisfaction.

This whole system becomes a lot more complex when we start combining multiple tastes. For instance, one study showed that the combination of saltiness and fattiness overrode the satiating effects of salt and fat, regardless of sensitivity, so everyone needed the same amount to feel full.

Read more:
Portion size affects how much you eat despite your appetite

What this means for our waistline is that some people may naturally find it harder to stop eating than others, depending on how sensitive they are to certain tastes. But sensitivities are flexible, so we may be able to train ourselves to prefer healthier foods or feel fuller after eating smaller portions.

Changing our sensitivity

So, if taste sensitivity drives food intake, can we can change our sensitivities and essentially train ourselves to eat less energy-dense foods?

In a recent trial, we used twins to investigate whether genes or the environment affect how sensitive we are to fat taste. Twins went on either a low-fat or high-fat diet for eight weeks to see how their perception of fat taste changed.

It’s ideal to try to moderate your intake of salty, sweet and fatty foods.

We found diet had more of an influence on how sensitive people are to fat taste than their genes. This means that genes have little control over fat taste sensitivity, so it’s not set in stone.

If you stick to a low-fat diet for at least eight weeks, your body will adapt to those conditions and you will become more sensitive to fat taste. Fatty foods will start making you feel fuller more quickly and you won’t feel the need to eat as much to be satisfied.

When it comes to sweet and salty tastes, studies have shown genes partially control these. So, sensitivity to these tastes could be modifiable based on your diet – although additional studies are necessary to confirm this.

Read more:
Yes, too much sugar is bad for our health – here’s what the science says

The ConversationIdeally, it’s best to try to moderate your intake of salty, sweet and fatty foods. This may be difficult at first as your body may be accustomed to these tastes, but after some time your sensitivities will increase. In essence, it gets easier over time. The more sensitive you are to these tastes, the more preferable, or satiating, they will become.

Andrew Costanzo, Lecturer, Deakin University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


beaute nutrition

How the lowly mushroom is becoming a nutritional star

How the lowly mushroom is becoming a nutritional star

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Mushrooms for many are just an addition to a slice of pizza, but the fungi are now gaining a reputation for their nutrients.
Subbatina Anna/

Robert Beelman, Pennsylvania State University

Mushrooms are often considered only for their culinary use because they are packed with flavor-enhancers and have gourmet appeal. That is probably why they are the second most popular pizza topping, next to pepperoni.

In the past, food scientists like me often praised mushrooms as healthy because of what they don’t contribute to the diet; they contain no cholesterol and gluten and are low in fat, sugars, sodium and calories. But that was selling mushrooms short. They are very healthy foods and could have medicinal properties, because they are good sources of protein, B-vitamins, fiber, immune-enhancing sugars found in the cell walls called beta-glucans, and other bioactive compounds.

Mushrooms have been used as food and sometimes as medicine for centuries. In the past, most of the medicinal use of mushrooms was in Asian cultures, while most Americans have been skeptical of this concept. However, due to changing consumer attitudes rejecting the pharmaceutical approach as the only answer to healing, that seems to be changing.

I study the nutritional value of fungi and mushrooms, and my laboratory has conducted a great deal of research on the lowly mushroom. We have discovered that mushrooms may be even better for health than previously known. They can be excellent sources of four key dietary micronutrients that are all known to be important to healthy aging. We are even looking into whether some of these could be important in preventing Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Four key nutrients

Important nutrients in mushrooms include selenium, vitamin D, glutathione and ergothioneine. All are known to function as antioxidants that can mitigate oxidative stress and all are known to decline during aging. Oxidative stress is considered the main culprit in causing the diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Ergothioneine, or ergo, is actually an antioxidant amino acid that was initially discovered in 1909 in ergot fungi. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

The downside of a mushroom. The upside is that it may contain an amino acid that does a lot of important work in your body.

Ergo is produced in nature primarily by fungi, including mushrooms. Humans cannot make it, so it must be obtained from dietary sources. There was little scientific interest in ergo until 2005, when pharmacology professor Dirk Grundemann discovered that all mammals make a genetically coded transporter that rapidly pulls ergo into the red blood cells. They then distribute ergo around the body, where it accumulates in tissues that are under the most oxidative stress. That discovery led to a significant increase in scientific inquiry about possible role of ergo in human health. One study led to a leading American scientist, Dr. Solomon Snyder, recommending that ergo be considered as a new vitamin.

In 2006, a graduate student of mine, Joy Dubost, and I discovered that edible cultivated mushrooms were extremely rich sources of ergo and contained at least 10 times the level in any other food source. Through collaboration with John Ritchie and post-doctoral scientist Michael Kalaras at the Hershey Medical Center at Penn State, we showed that mushrooms are also a leading dietary source of the master antioxidant in all living organisms, glutathione. No other food even comes close to mushrooms as a source of both of these antioxidants.

I eat mushrooms, ergo I am healthy?

A salad with egg, greens and mushrooms. The author is studying whether mushrooms can prevent neurodegenerative brain diseases.
Ekaterina Kondratova/

Our current research is centered on evaluating the potential of ergo in mushrooms to prevent or treat neurodegenerative diseases of aging, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. We based this focus on several intriguing studies conducted with aging Asian populations. One study conducted in Singapore showed that as people aged the ergo content in their blood declined significantly, which correlated with increasing cognitive impairment.

The authors suggested that a dietary deficiency of ergo might predispose individuals to neurological diseases. A recent epidemiological study conducted with over 13,000 elderly people in Japan showed that those who ate more mushrooms had less incidence of dementia. The role of ergo consumed with the mushrooms was not evaluated but the Japanese are known to be avid consumers of mushrooms that contain high amounts of ergo.

More ergo, better health?

One important question that has always begged an answer is how much ergo is consumed in the diet by humans. A 2016 study was conducted that attempted to estimate the average ergo consumption in five different countries. I used their data to calculate the estimated amount of ergo consumed per day by an average 150-pound person and found that it ranged from 1.1 in the U.S. to 4.6 milligrams per day in Italy.

We were then able to compare estimated ergo consumption against mortality rate data from each country caused by the common neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. We found, in each case, a decline in the death rates with increasing estimated ergo consumption. Of course, one cannot assume a cause and effect relationship from such an exercise, but it does support our hypothesis that it may be possible to decrease the incidence of neurological diseases by increasing mushroom consumption.

If you don’t eat mushrooms, how do you get your ergo? Apparently, ergo gets into the food chain other than by mushroom consumption via fungi in the soil. The fungi pass ergo on to plants grown in the soil and then on to animals that consume the plants. So that depends on healthy fungal populations in agricultural soils.

This led us to consider whether ergo levels in the American diet may be harmed by modern agricultural practices that might reduce fungal populations in soils. We began a collaboration with scientists at the Rodale Institute, who are leaders in the study of regenerative organic agricultural methods, to examine this. Preliminary experiments with oats have shown that farming practices that do not require tilling resulted in significantly higher ergo levels in the oats than with conventional practices, where tillage of the soil disrupts fungal populations.

The ConversationIn 1928 Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin produced from a fungal contaminant in a petri dish. This discovery was pivotal to the start of a revolution in medicine that saved countless lives from bacterial infections. Perhaps fungi will be key to a more subtle, but no less important, revolution through ergo produced by mushrooms. Perhaps then we can fulfill the admonition of Hippocrates to “let food be thy medicine.”

Robert Beelman, Professor of Food Science, Pennsylvania State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


beaute nutrition

Wealthy Americans know less than they think they do about food and nutrition

Wealthy Americans know less than they think they do about food and nutrition

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Organic? Conventional? Genetically modified? Decisions, decisions.

Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University and Douglas Buhler, Michigan State University

Socioeconomics play a significant role in attitudes about food – especially concerns about safety and purchasing behavior. And higher income doesn’t always correlate with informed choices. On the contrary, our research shows that affluent Americans tend to overestimate their knowledge about health and nutrition.

The latest Food Literacy and Engagement Poll from Michigan State University’s Food@MSU initiative reveals that nearly half of Americans (49 percent) in households earning at least US$50,000 annually believe they know more than the average person about global food systems, while just 28 percent of those earning less are as confident. However, when we surveyed people on a variety of food topics, affluent respondents fared no better, and at times worse, than their lower-earning peers.

We sampled over 2,000 Americans age 18 and over online. Results were weighted to reflect U.S. census demographics for age, sex, race and ethnicity, education, region and household income to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

Many foods carry non-GMO labels, but experts debate whether these tags are meaningful.
theimpulsivebuy, CC BY-SA

Access to information – and misinformation

In our survey, we asked people whether they avoid products containing “chemicals” when purchasing groceries, without further defining the term. Seventy-three percent of respondents with high incomes said yes, compared to 65 percent of people living in lower-income households. Chemicals tend to be demonized in popular culture, but they are fundamental to the ways we see, hear, smell and interpret the world.

We suspect that many Americans confuse the general term “chemicals” with pesticides or food additives, such as artificial flavors and colors, because these ingredients often make the news when they are shown to be harmful. But broadly, chemicals are what make up humans and our food. This example highlights the vast disconnect that we have found between science, food and the public broadly, and also suggests that wealthy Americans are not more informed than their less affluent peers.

Our new poll data also adds to a growing body of literature demonstrating how socioeconomic factors influence access to information about health, safety and nutrition.

For example, just 59 percent of lower-earning Americans recognized the term “Bisphenol A (BPA),” an industrial chemical in some plastics and resins that can seep into food and beverages. In contrast, 80 percent of wealthier consumers were familiar with it.

Similarly, 85 percent of lower-income respondents were familiar with the term “genetically modified ingredients (GMOs)” compared to 93 percent of higher earners. Although BPA and GMOs are two very distinct topics, both are hotly debated in policy discussions and it appears that lower earning Americans are disproportionately being left out of the conversation.

Dietary fads such as ‘clean eating’ often have little or no science basis and may even be harmful.

We also observed that even though higher earners have more access to information about food, they are also more likely to be influenced by misinformation and pseudoscience.

For example, a comprehensive 2016 study by the National Academy of Sciences concluded that genetically engineered crops are just as safe to eat as their non-genetically engineered counterparts. Yet in our survey, 43 percent of those with high incomes and 26 percent of lower earners reported that they avoid purchasing them.

We suspect affluent Americans are more likely to encounter unsubstantiated information – online, among friends and family, and at farmers’ markets and pricier upscale grocery stores – that raise unfounded concerns about this widely used technology.

The result is a persistent perception that certain “organic” or non-GMO products are somehow healthier, which is unsupported by research. This attitude puts pressure on some consumers to pay more for produce with these labels or suffer from feelings of guilt or shame if they cannot afford to provide pricier items for their families.

The ConversationOur findings reveal that household income has a significant influence on access to information and shapes attitudes about diet and nutrition, although higher income does not consistently correlate with better understanding. We believe they show the need for food experts and health professionals to work with social scientists to understand ways in which different communities make decisions about food.

Sheril Kirshenbaum, Food@MSU, Michigan State University and Douglas Buhler, Director of AgBioResearch and Assistant Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies, Michigan State University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


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