Galaxy Greens

If Elon Musk sees his dream of sending people to Mars come to fruition, then he can rest easy knowing it will be possible for passengers to eat nutritious salads. A NASA-sponsored study in Frontiers in Plant Science found that lettuce grown on the international space station, in what they call “veggie plant growth chambers,” retained most of its nutritional value, including its antioxidant levels. Also, the lettuce leaves didn’t contain any potentially harmful bacteria. So it might be wise for Mars-bound missions to bring along a green thumb and…

Take the Bitter With the Sweet

Dumping packets of sugar in your morning coffee isn’t just bad news for your waistline; it may also have a surprising impact on heart health. In a study of more than 5,900 individuals involved in the Framingham Heart Study, guzzling back more than 12 ounces per day of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sports drinks and fruit-flavored drinks was associated with a 53% higher risk of having high triglyceride levels and a 98% higher likelihood of having low HDL cholesterol, compared with drinking lesser amounts. Both of these blood lipid measures…

The Reign of (Whole) Grain

When it comes to carbohydrates, we appear to have more proof that quality matters more than quantity. To assess the impact that the carbohydrate quality index (CQI) has on heart health, Spanish researchers collected dietary intake data from 5,373 adults, ages 55–75, involved in a lifestyle weight-loss program. All subjects were overweight or had obesity. The researchers tracked 6- and 12-month changes in CQI, such as increases in dietary fiber intake and improvements in the ratio of whole-grain to total-grain consumption. The scientists also measured markers that play a role…

Power Up Your Snacks with Walnuts

Ah… snacking! We want ready-to-eat options that satisfy cravings, are quick and convenient, and provide good nutrition. Oftentimes, choices that claim to boost energy are overloaded with added sugars or are high in sodium. Here’s an easy solution: healthier snacking can be as simple as adding a handful of walnuts. Just one ounce delivers 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of essential plant-based omega-3 (ALA). Start out by trying one of these simple, homemade snacks: Cajun Spiced Walnuts – This easy recipe packs a punch…

Prebiotics for Better Sleep

Prebiotics are best-known for supporting gut health, but they can also improve sleep and enhance stress resilience, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder say prebiotics—dietary fibers that nourish the gut’s microbiome—create a symbiotic relationship with the body that affects the brain. For the study, researchers fed adolescent rats either standard chow or chow infused with prebiotics, then tracked the rats’ behavior. Those on the prebiotic diet spent more time in restorative non–rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep and, after stress, spent more time in…

The Marine Green for Heart Health

If your only idea of seaweed is the slimy stuff that squishes between your toes at low tide, it’s time for a reset. Think of seaweed as waterlogged salad greens—a nutrient-dense gift from the sea that’s ready to infuse mealtime with an umami-briny flavor. And here’s a reason to eat sea greens more often than just occasionally as part of a sushi binge: A report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adults with high rates of seaweed consumption were less likely to be inflicted with heart disease.…

Walnuts: Plant-Forward Fuel for Health

Today, some consumers are still under the misperception that plant-based diets fall short when it comes to getting adequate nutrients like protein (IFIC 2019). However, scientific research continues to support consumption of more plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts (like walnuts), seeds and beans, as part of a healthy eating plan that offers a spectrum of potential health benefits. In fact, choosing more plant-based foods can result in a higher intake of key nutrients that are recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans like calcium, dietary fiber and good…