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healthbriefs


Stone Fruits Keep Waistlines Trim S


ome favorite summer fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines, may help ward off metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions including high blood sugar levels and excess fat around the waist that can lead to serious health issues such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes. A study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, presented at the American Chemical Society’s 2012 National Meeting & Exposi- tion, reported that pitted fruits contain bioactive compounds that can potentially fight the syndrome.


According to food scientist Luis Cisneros-Zeval- los, Ph.D., “The phenolic compounds in the fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-dia- betic properties… and may also reduce the oxi- dation of the bad cholesterol, or LDL, which is associated with cardiovascular disease.”


Kudos for Kale T


he U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new food pyra- mid, MyPlate (ChooseMyPlate.gov), is based on its 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, aimed at helping people make better food choices. Fruits and vegetables should comprise half our “plate”, and dark green veggies are the USDA’s top choice of nutrients. Kale leads the list of helpful leafy greens for many reasons. Like its cousins in the Brassica family—broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and collards—kale is a low- calorie, nutrient-dense powerhouse of antioxidants, including vitamins A and C. Per calorie, kale contains more iron than beef and more calcium than milk, and it is better absorbed by the body than most dairy products. A single serving (about one cup, chopped) provides 5 percent of the recommended daily intake of fiber, plus two grams of protein. The versatile veggie—it is tasty steamed, braised or baked—is also a rich source of both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. Best of all, kale is a “green” green, high on the sustainability scale. Growing one pound of kale uses about 23 gallons of water; raising a pound of beef neces- sitates more than 2,400.


Sources: USDA.gov; VegSource.com


To Stay Sharp, Keep Moving


A 8 Hudson County NAHudson.com


erobic exercise not only gets the heart pumping, it is also good for brain health. According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, aerobic workouts can reduce the risk of dementia and slow its progression if it


starts, because they deliver oxygen to the brain and generate nutritional factors that improve brain functioning. Exercise also facilitates neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.


some sweet health benefits. Studying the effects of strawberries on cardio- vascular health, heart disease and diabetes, scientists at the University of Warwick, UK, discovered that ex- tracts from the fruit activate a protein called Nrf2, which increases antioxi- dant and other protective measures in the body and helps decrease blood lipids and cholesterol that can lead to cardiovascular problems. The sci- entists plan to continue their research in order to identify the most healthful varieties of strawberries, how they are best served or processed and the amount to eat for optimum benefits.


D


ICED TEA HAS ISSUES


t is peak season for iced tea, but this warm-weather favor- ite may not be the ideal choice to counter dehydration. Iced tea made from black tea contains high concen- trations of oxalate, one of the key chemicals that lead to the formation of


I


kidney stones, a common disorder of the urinary tract that affects about 10 percent of the U.S. population. “For people that have a tendency to form the most common type of kidney stones, iced tea is one of the worst things to drink,” reports Dr. John Milner, an assistant professor with the Department of Urology at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. While all black tea contains oxalate, dietitians note that people tend to imbibe more of it when it’s on ice than when it’s hot.


A BEVY OF BERRY BENEFITS


electable straw- berries serve up


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