FoodWrite Ltd Understanding the science of consumer goods Wed, 20 Mar 2019 09:25:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FoodWrite Ltd 32 32 26454689 Malnutrition Tue, 19 Mar 2019 11:22:44 +0000 Overview Malnutrition continues to be the scourge of the world and a situation which has not changed through the ages. It is best to start [...]

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Malnutrition continues to be the scourge of the world and a situation which has not changed through the ages. It is best to start with a solid definition and the World Health Organization (WHO) defines malnutrition:-

“The cellular imbalance between the supply of nutrients and energy and the body’s demand for them to ensure growth, maintenance, and specific function.”

In the broader sense, malnutrition usually refers to a lack of nutrition but it also includes over nutrition as well. When people are under nourished their diet is not providing enough calories and protein for growth and maintenance or they cannot fully use their food intake because of illness and disease. They may also be over nourished if they consume too many calories.  


Starvation is also a term widely used to describe under nutrition. This occurs when the nutrient intake drops below what is needed to maintain body mass. The body starts to consume its own muscle and any other lean so that it can supply any nutrients to maintain metabolic function. As the process of starvation continues all the body’s organs are affected but the physical signs are apathy, weakness and lethargy and gradual muscle wasting.

If an adult drinks only water but stops feeding themselves any other form of nutrition, this type of starvation leads to death in 2 months.

Quite often, people when they diet are attempting to starve themselves which seems odd in the context of malnutrition but is a deliberate state of nutrition by reducing their calorie intake.

Conditions Associated With Malnutrition

Too few calories and protein in the diet is given the term protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) and sometimes called protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM). This leads to hypotrophy which is characterised by a wasting away of tissue with complete absence of any growth. Another condition is hypostature which is stunted growth and tissue sometimes called stunting. This is because bones cannot be built. Overall, there is a complete failure to thrive.

If we have too many calories we suffer from paratrophy which includes being overweight or suffering with obesity.

One of the worst conditions caused by acute malnutrition is to suffer from Marasmus and more severely but often in young children, Kwashiorkor. It is quite common to suffer both conditions.


Marasmus is the condition that occurs when there is a rapid deterioration in nutritional status over a short period of time. In this condition there is a very rapid loss of both muscle and fat because the body must break it down to produce energy.  It is not technically a disease but such wasting way affects everyone, young and old.

It is the most common form of acute malnutrition and very often associated with nutritional emergencies.  It is also associated with some of the most severe forms of anorexia. If not remedied quickly the only outcome is death.  


Probably the most severe form of acute nutrition is Kwashiorkor and is most common in young children.

Again, there is a loss of muscle mass, an inability to gain weight and show linear growth.

The most characteristic condition however is identified by what is termed bilateral pitting oedema because it affects both sides of the body, especially the lower legs and feet. As it develops over time, it starts to affect the stomach, arms, hands and face.

Oedema is the situation in the body caused by excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues. The belly in particular swells because there is not only oedema but a peculiar build up of fat around the liver. There are changes in skin pigment called pellagra. The person loses pigment as the skin peels away in a process called desquamation. The skin also darkens as it becomes irritated and damaged. You will notice the hair thinning and becoming lighter too, and it becomes red and brittle.

Infection levels rise and even mild ones increase in severity with the development of diarrhea.  

Nobody really knows how it is caused but it is a symptom of protein deficiency. It occurs most often in children over 2 years old once they are weaned off breast milk. It is reversed by feeding them special fortified milk. Whilst starvation itself will cause death through organ failure, it is usually secondary infection which is the leading cause of mortality. As the condition develops there is increasing apathy, irritability and lethargy.

As well as different forms of protein-energy malnutrition, there are conditions associated with micronutrient deficiency.

Nutrient Deficiency

There are two types of nutrient deficiency, Type I and Type II.

Type I is characterised by physical signs and include the following:-

  • Anemia due to iron deficiency
  • Beri Beri due to lack of vitamin B1 (thiamin)
  • Pellagra due to lack of niacin.
  • Xerophthalmia due to lack of vitamin A

Type II nutrient deficiency is characterised by a reduced overall growth. This is caused by a lack of the following nutrients:-

  • nitrogen
  • sulphur
  • Essential amino acids
  • sodium
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • phosphorous
  • zinc

Chronic Illnesses Associated with Nutrition Deficiency

Over prolonged periods of poor nutrition, people especially children begin to suffer from a variety of conditions which include the following:

  • Kidney failure
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Neuromuscular disease
  • Cystic fibrosis

Child Mortality

Malnutrition is the biggest contributor to child mortality. Approximately, 6 million children die from hunger every year. Also, 49% of the 10.4 million deaths that occur in children younger than 5 years old in developing children is associated with protein-energy malnutrition (PEM).

The Causes Of Primary Or Non-Organic Malnutrition

Throughout the world, children can suffer a type of malnutrition known as primary malnutrition. It can happen anywhere because it is largely caused by their parent’s behaviour. In a number of cases parents cannot give their children the food they need because they are too poor either through unemployment or illness. There are many cases where the parents neglect and abuse their children including the denial of food. In other cases, the parents are too poorly educated to know how to feed their children.

Treating Malnutrition

The simplest way of addressing malnutrition is to ensure anybody suffering from it rebalances their nutrient intake. In undernourishment, it is a case of simply making sure a person is adequately fed. In over nourishment of over feeding, it is a case of restricting the diet. For the more affluent, dieting is one of the major developments and a good part of modern nutrition is devoted to understanding what the best methods are to achieve the right weight.

Lack of nutrition might be more simply addressed by refeeding however that situation is not without its issues because of something called refeeding syndrome.

Refeeding Syndrome

Refeeding is not without controversy because of a syndrome which invariably leads to death if not managed properly. It occurs because of what can only be described as rapid and aggressive feeding of undernourished people. Being undernourished means that the body has adapted relatively well to existing in a calorie deprived state. A sudden surge of protein and calories in excess of the body’s needs produces acute metabolic imbalance. It is better to achieve refeeding by a slower introduction of nutrients than is perceived. This is best achieved in the first week of refeeding because it allows the body to adapt from its state of fasting and starvation.

Addressing Malnutrition

Malnutrition is highly complex.

“Malnutrition, both under and over, can no longer be addressed without considering global food insecurity, socioeconomic disparity, both globally and nationally, and global cultural, social and epidemiological transitions.”

This is a quote from an article by Darnton-Hill and Coyne which illustrate the multi-factorial nature of malnutrition and how it links to many other global aspects. Global action to address malnutrition means tackling all of these aspects to varying degrees.


Darnton-Hill and Coyne, E.T. Feast and famine: socioeconomic disparities in global nutrition and health.

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Some of The Benefits Of Bee Pollen Mon, 18 Mar 2019 13:10:16 +0000 Bee pollen is a natural product from plants which is collected by bees during their visits to flowers. For many people it is perhaps the [...]

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Bee pollen is a natural product from plants which is collected by bees during their visits to flowers. For many people it is perhaps the ‘only perfectly complete food’. For the bee, it is a rich source of protein which helps sustain the whole colony through the long Winter months when flowers are in such short abundance. In the world of natural food, bee pollen has become a cause celebre.

For us humans, bee pollen has become a source of nutrition. In ancient times bee products have been highly sought after. In Germany it is recognised by the Federal Ministry of health as a medicine.  In China, it is an integral part of their medicinal culture. The benefits are derived from several health-promoting compounds, such as proteins, amino acids, lipids, phenolic compounds, vitamins or minerals. It is often touted as a wonderfood because of its vast range of nutrients (Kroyer and Hegedus, 2001; Campos et al., 2010). The food has also been used to supplement the diets of various animals including partridge (Seven et al., 2016).


The composition of bee pollen is mainly protein with vitamins and some fascinating biological actives thrown in. It appears to be a mix of things including flower pollen with nectar, very small amounts of honey including some enzymes along with bee secretions used to bind it all together.

The general composition is roughly according to a number of resources:-

  • Carbs: 40%
  • Protein: 35%
  • Water: 3–9%
  • Fats: 5%
  • Other substances: 5–18%

What should not be a surprise is how the composition of bee pollen depends on the flower source (Ares et al., 2018). Analysis is always used to determine the flower/plant source. Various forms of analytical chromatography are used to determine the individual componentry.

It should be no surprise that minerals such as zinc, copper and iron are found. It also has a high ratio of K/Na. The colour is contributed by chlorophylls and carotenoids with a smaller amount of anthocyanins thrown in (Yang et al., 2013). The phenolics remain some of the most intriguing (Bobis et al., 2010).


Solvent extraction using hexane is the method of choice in analysing the bioactives in bee pollen. Water content has been determined by Karl Fischer titration (Morgano et al., 2011).

Antioxidant Activity

Yes ! As with many products which we review on this website, possessing antioxidant activity is virtually a prerequisite.

Antimicrobial Properties

Bee pollen has been shown in various tests to be active against a range of bacteria (Gram-positive and negative) and yeasts. One good example is activity against the food safety microorganism Staphylococcus aureus. The yeast Candida glabrata which is an opportunist pathogen showed the most resistance but there was still some significant antimicrobial activity against it (Pascoal et al., 2014).

Antimutagenic Activity

In cell studies, bee pollen can reduce a certain degree of DNA conversion although some samples of bee pollen are more effective than others.

There is a popular belief that it is influential in ameliorating a rage of medical conditions and in Chinese medicine it is used to treat a range of conditions. All of these still require considerable clinical evidence to verify the benefits of bee pollen but they include:-

  • Stress-related disorders
  • Mental conditions including depression
  • Anemia
  • Mild cognitive decline, amnesia and memory loss
  • Impotence
  • Ageing
  • Various skin disorders
  • Chronic liver damage

The main issue is the extreme range in composition of bee pollen which requires some substantial quantification and standardization.

Liver Health

At the moment there are very few human clinical studies  to support bee pollen helping with the performance of the general health of the liver. This organ is essential for many functions most of which include the breakdown and removal of toxins along with the creation of metabolites. At the moment there are just animal studies to support the view that bee pollen ameliorates and enhances liver function.

One particular study looked at bee pollen in ‘old’ animals with regards to liver performance but this has not been widely repeated elsewhere (Uzbekova et al., 2003).


Because bee pollen contains plant substances, there is always the risk of an allergenic reaction and is even described as a dangerous food for children if they have allergies to certain plants such as sesame (Martín‐Muñoz et al., 2010).


Ares, A.M., Valverde, S., Bernal, J.L., Nozal, M.J. & Bernal, J. (2018). Extraction and determination of bioactive compounds from bee pollen. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 147, pp. 110–124.

Bobis, O., Marghitas, L.A., Dezmirean, D., Morar, O., Bonta, V. & Chirila, F. (2010). Quality parameters and nutritional value of different commercial bee products. Bulletin of university of agricultural sciences and veterinary medicine Cluj‐Napoca. Animal Science and Biotechnologies, 67, pp. 91–96.

Bonvehi, J.S., Casanova, T.M. (1987)  Estudio analítico para determinar la humedad del pólen. Anales de Bromatologia, 39, pp. 339-349

Campos, M.G.R., Lopes, J., Frigerio, C. & Bogdanov, S. (2010). What is the future of Bee‐Pollen? Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science, 2, pp. 131–144.

Kroyer G., Hegedus N. (2001). Evaluation of bioactive properties of pollen extracts as functional dietary food supplement. Innov. Food Sci. Emerg. Technol. 2 pp. 171–174.

Martín‐Muñoz, M. F., Bartolome, B., Camiona, M., Bobolea, I., Garcia Ara, M. C., & Quirce, S. ( 2010). Bee pollen: A dangerous food for allergic children. Identification of responsible allergens. Allergologia Et Immunopathologia, 38, pp. 263– 265.

Morgano, M. A., Milani, R. F., Martins, M. C. T., & Rodriguez‐Amaya, D. B. (2011). Determination of water content in Brazilian honeybee‐collected pollen by Karl Fisher titration. Food Control, 22, pp. 1604– 1608.

Pascoal, A., Rodrigues, S., Teixeira, A., Feás, X. & Estevinho, L.M. (2014). Biological activities of commercial bee pollens: antimicrobial, antimutagenic, antioxidant and anti‐inflammatory. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 63, pp. 233–239.

Seven, P. T., Arslan, A. S., Seven, İ., & Gökçe, Z. (2016). The effects of dietary bee pollen on lipid peroxidation and fatty acids composition of Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica) meat under different stocking densities. Journal of Applied Animal Research, 44(1), 487–491

Yang, K., Wu, D., Ye, X., Liu, D., Chen, J. & Sun, P. (2013). Characterisation of chemical composition of bee pollen in China. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61, pp. 708–718.

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The Benefits Of Probiotics Sat, 16 Mar 2019 14:44:33 +0000 Overview Probiotics are globally important. They are probably the archetypal functional food. The definition of a probiotic is best summed up by the Food Agricultural Organization/World [...]

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Probiotics are globally important. They are probably the archetypal functional food. The definition of a probiotic is best summed up by the Food Agricultural Organization/World Health Organization (FAO/WHO) in 2002 by saying they are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host“. More recent views extend this specifically to  microorganisms that beneficially influence the host in which they live by improving its intestinal microbial balance (Brown & Valiere, 2004: Kalliomaki et al., 2001).

Probiotic micro-organisms are found in a wide variety of fermented foods and are also added to other food types to generate new products – they are a fascinating ‘ingredient’ to consider. Most probiotics are found in fermented dairy formulations such as yogurt and kefir. The increased demand for non-dairy probiotic foods comes from the vegetarian and vegan consumer groups and those concerned about cholesterol levels and allergies in consuming dairy foods (Ray & Sivakumar, 2009). Fruit juice formulations are unfortunately more difficult to produce which enable the probiotic organisms to survive for any length of time. However, experienced beverage developers are finding ways to keep the probiotic free of the acidic pHs that are found in these types of products. Likewise, vegetable juices may prove highly valuable in this regard – tomato juice is one particular ingredient which could work well.

Probiotics have nutritional, protective, and medical benefits as well as their original property of preserving foods. They are being increasingly seen as a way to improve the gut flora and fauna to the point where they improve general digestion, speed up recovery, return the body to a normal status after severe medicine or illness treatment and so on. Recent studies point to a general benefit in reducing gut inflammation for example.

Granola with yogurt and blueberry in glass on wooden background. The yogurt is prepared using bacteria such as lactobacillus species which are effective probiotics.
Yogurt enjoyed with granola and blueberries. Photo by Tashka2000/123-rf.

The Value Of Probiotics

In commercial terms, the probiotic industry has a global worth of $176.7bn or 147.6bn Euros when it was assessed in 2013. They are commonly seen as feed or dietary supplements (Saarela et al. 2002). Pharmaceuticals have benefited from their therapeutic purposes associated with gastrointestinal dysfunction and reducing the inflammation of stomach mucose (Isolauri, 2001; Reid et al., 2001). Probiotics are a valuable nutritional reservoir of gut micro-organisms but are controversial in clinical circles because establishing a medically viable claim for them has proved extremely difficult.

General Benefits Of Probiotics

Consuming probiotic bacteria is associated with improved immunity and better healthy guts because they replenish natural biota in the intestines (Rafter, 2003; Hemarajata and Versalovic, 2013). For the probiotic to be effective it must survive in whatever foodstuff it finds itself in and certainly for as long as shelf-life permits lets say in a beverage product. It must also remain intact and survive as it passes through the gut. The minimum recommended level needed to achieve a full health benefit from any probiotic is 106 CFU/ml at the moment of consumption (Champagne et al., 2005; Prado et al., 2008).

A recent study looked at their use in reducing the debilitating effects of hayfever and may even help children develop a tolerance for allergens like peanuts.

The mostly widely studied probiotic bacteria are the Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus or lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Most studied species are Lactobacillus casei and L. acidophilus although Bacillus coagulans is also commanding attention. These bacteria in particular are claimed to reduce the reactions that cause the formation of carcinogens from various pro-carcinogens. It is thought they modulate enzyme activity including peroxidases and free-radical formation implicated in the generation of these unpleasant chemicals. Bacillus coagulans has also been tested for its effectiveness.

The Beneficial Properties Of LAB

The properties of LAB include activities as antioxidants and anti-bacterials, along with cancer and diabetes reduction (Gotcheva et al., 2002; Nomoto, 2005). A host of papers address various aspects of these activities and are worth perusal:-

  • Antioxidants – (Das & Goyal, 2015)
  • Antimicrobials
  • Improving lactose metabolism
  • Diabetes reduction – (Yadav et al., 2007).
  • Reducing blood cholesterol levels – (Agerholm-Larsen et al., 2000).
  • Anti-tumour, anti-carcinogen and anti-mutagenic properties – (Shin et al., 1998; Khan et al., 2016).
  • Reducing gastrointestinal infections
  • Simulating the immune system
  • Reducing diarrhea
  • Managing inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Suppressing helicobacter pylori infection

One of the strongest research areas for probiotics is their role in reinforcing the body’s immunity and protection against various diseases (Ranjan et al., 2014; Montijo-Prieto et al., 2015).


Encapsulation is a highly effective method for protecting ingredients such as drugs and other agents that would not normally survive either in a food product like a beverage or in the gut. Probiotics are no exception when it comes to exploiting the advantages that containing micro-organisms within a matrix holds (Riaz and Masud, 2013; Foroutan et al., 2017). The materials used for encapsulation include the following:-

  • gums such as carrageenan, pectin, alginate, various vegetable gums,
  • fibres (cell resistant starch)
  • chitin and chitosan.

Probiotics are usually supplied in various forms such as capsules (vegetarian cellulose is preferred) and tablets. New composites including nanofibres are being developed based on food ingredients which offer even more effective protection. Food is one of the best delivery methods for probiotics or its products in active form (Rafter 2003)


Probiotics are usually supported by the addition of prebiotics in the diet. By definition, these are selectively fermented ingredients that allow for a specific change to occur, both in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota, thus conferring a number of benefits upon host health (Brownawell et al., 2010).  Synbiotic products are those that combine both the probiotic with the prebiotic.

The Next Generation Of Probiotics: Various Novel Strains

The next generation of probiotics will most likely be novel strains tailored to our own particular gut microbiome. The industry to date relies on a few genera of microorganisms for its current set of probiotics. We’ve mentioned Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces because they are the dominant genera in the intestinal microbiota in adults.

Perhaps there is one Lactobacillus species which deserves mention and that is L. fermentum. This particular species is of human origin which implies that it can withstand the rigours of passing through the human gut. At the moment it is a potential probiotic. In particular it can modulate the immune system in such a way as to help with repair and stimulate it. It is known to be involved in both innate and adaptive immune processes of the inflammatory system of the gut. The properties are strain-dependent (Zhao et al., 2019). 

As we become more familiar with the human microbiome and our level of understanding improves regarding their role in health, we should stat looking for new candidates as potential novel probiotics. The ones that come to mind and are dominant members of the adult microbiota are Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Akkermansia muciniphila (Sanders, 2016; Dao et al., 2016). The Sanders reference states that:-

‘Other likely next generation probiotics are genetically modified microbes targeting specific therapeutic capabilities and defined consortia designed to cure a disease or restore a depleted microbiota. Targets will include microbiota-impacted physiological functions extending beyond the gut.’

Looking Ahead By Moving Away From Strain-Specific Probiotics

The situation is that over the years, the concept of strain-specific effects from probiotics remains unquestioned. Researchers into probiotics now consider a range of digestive benefits which has been observed amongst a broad cross-section of well-studied Lactobacillus and Bidobacterium species. This has led to the concept that some core benefits may be expected from adequate doses of such species.  A significant presentation at Food Matters Live 2016 by Louise Wilson (Wilson, 2016), Assistant Science Manager at Yakult UK Ltd believes that similar benefits are the products of different strains with effects assigned to a broader class of microbes rather than just a single strain.


Agerholm-Larsen, L., Bell, M. L., Grunwald, G. K., & Astrup, A. (2000). The effect of a probiotic milk product on plasma cholesterol: a meta-analysis of short-term intervention studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54(11), pp. 856.
Brown, A. C., & Valiere, A. (2004). Probiotics and medical nutrition therapy. Nutrition in clinical care: an official publication of Tufts University, 7(2), pp.  56.
Brownawell, A. M., Caers, W., Gibson, G. R., Kendall, C. W., Lewis, K. D., Ringel, Y., & Slavin, J. L. (2012). Prebiotics and the health benefits of fiber: current regulatory status, future research, and goals. The Journal of Nutrition, 142(5), pp. 962-974.

Champagne, C. P., Gardner, N. J., & Roy, D. (2005). Challenges in the addition of probiotic cultures to foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 45(1), pp. 61-84

Dao, M.C. Everard, A.  et al., (2016) Akkermansia muciniphila and improved metabolic health during a dietary intervention in obesity: relationship with gut microbiome richness and ecology. Gut. Mar;65(3) pp. 426-36. https://doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2014-308778

Das, D., Goyal, A. (2015) Antioxidant activity and g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) producing ability of probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum DM5 isolated from Marcha of Sikkim. LWT Food Sci. Technol. 61(1) pp. 263–8

De Montijo-Prieto, S., Moreno, E., Bergillos-Meca, , Lasserrot, A., Ruiz-López, M.D., Ruiz-Bravo, A., Jiménez-Valera, M.A. (2015) Lactobacillus plantarum strain isolated from kefir protects against intestinal infection with Yersinia enterocolitica O9 and modulates immunity in mice. Res. Microbiol. 166(8) pp. 626–32

FAO/WHO. (2002). Report on drafting guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. London, Ontario, Canada: FAO/WHO.
Foroutan, N. S., Tabandeh, F., Khodabandeh, M., Mojgani, N., Maghsoudi, A., & Moradi, M. (2017). Isolation and identification of an indigenous probiotic Lactobacillus Strain: Its encapsulation with natural branched polysaccharids to improve bacterial viability. Applied Food Biotechnology, 4(3), 133-142.
Gomes, A. M., & Malcata, F. X. (1999). Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus acidophilus: biological, biochemical, technological and therapeutical properties relevant for use as probiotics. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 10(4), pp. 139-157
Gotcheva, V., Hristozova, E., Hristozova, T., Guo, M., Roshkova, Z., & Angelov, A. (2002). Assessment of potential probiotic properties of lactic acid bacteria and yeast strains. Food Biotechnology, 16(3), pp. 211-225.

Hemarajata, P., Versalovic, J. (2013) Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap. Adv. Gastroenterol. 6(1) pp. 39–51

 Isolauri, E. (2001). Probiotics and human diseaseAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition73, pp. 1142S1146S.

Kalliomäki, M., Salminen, S., Arvilommi, H., Kero, P., Koskinen, P., & Isolauri, E. (2001). Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, 357(9262), pp. 1076-1079.

Khan, I., Paul, S., Jakhar, R., Bhardwaj, M., Han, J., Kang, S.C. (2016) Novel quercetin derivative TEF induces ER stress and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in human colon cancer HCT-116 cells. Biomed. Pharmacother. 84 pp. 789–99

Nomoto, K. (2005). Prevention of infections by probiotics. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 100(6), pp. 583-592.

Prado, F. C., Parada, J. L., Pandey, A., & Soccol, C. R. (2008). Trends in non-dairy probiotic beverages. Food Research International, 41(2), pp. 111-123

Rafter, J. (2003) Probiotics and colon cancer. Best Pract. Res. Clin. Gastroenterol. 17(5) pp. 849–59

Ray, R. C., & Sivakumar, P. S. (2009). Traditional and novel fermented foods and beverages from tropical root and tuber crops. International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 44(6), pp. 1073-1087
Reid, G.Howard, J., & Gan, B. S.(2001). Can bacterial interference prevent infectionTrends in Microbiology9(9), pp.424428

Riaz, Q. U. A., & Masud, T. (2013). Recent trends and applications of encapsulating materials for probiotic stability. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53(3), pp. 231-244

Saarela, M.Lähteenmäki, L.Crittenden, R.Salminen, S., & Mattila‐Sandholm, T. (2002). Gut bacteria and health foods—The European perspectiveInternational Journal of Food Microbiology78(1–2), pp. 99117 

Sanders, M.E. (2016) ‘Next Generation of Probiotics’. California Dairy Research Foundation 5th July 2016. Accessed at

Shah, N. P. (2007). Functional cultures and health benefits. International Dairy Journal, 17(11), pp. 1262-1277.

Shin, K., Chae, O., Park, I., Hong, S., Choe, T. (1998) Antitumor effects of mice fed with cell lysate of Lactobacillus plantarum isolated from Kimchi. Korean Biotechnol Bioeng 13 pp. 357–63

Wilson, L.R. (2016) Next Generation Of Probiotics. session: Evaluating next generation ingredients to support digestive health. Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Yadav, H., Jain, S., Sinha, P.R. (2007) Antidiabetic effect of probiotic dahi containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei in high fructose fed rats. Nutrition 23(1) pp. 62–8.

Zhao, Y., Hong, K., Zhao, J., Zhang, H., Zhai, Q., Chen, W., (2019) Lactobacillus fermentum and its potential immunomodulatory properties. J. Functional Foods. 56 pp. 21-32

Revision 16th March 2019 to include Lactobacillus fermentum.


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The Health Benefits Of The Lotus Plant Fri, 15 Mar 2019 14:28:34 +0000 The Lotus plant is a flower which is also known as the Indian Lotus or the Sacred Lotus. The scientific name is (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn). [...]

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The Lotus plant is a flower which is also known as the Indian Lotus or the Sacred Lotus. The scientific name is (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn).  It is regularly used in Asian dishes and the flower in its own right is a horticultural wonder. It contains plenty of phenolic compounds.

The plant is used in Eastern medicine as an anti-diabetic and as an anti-depressant. At the moment there are no high quality human studies to examine fully the benefits of the plant.

Most of the research concerns extracts of the plant. The seeds too are a health food in China and India and is often found in confectionary (cakes and sweets) and in soups (Sridhar & Bhat, 2007; Zeng et al., 2012).

The green embryo in the center of the Lotus seed  called the Lotus plumule is commonly consumed as an ingredient of tea in China. It is made up of 7.8% water, 4.2% ash, 12.5% crude oil, and 26.3% protein on a dry basis (Bi et al., 2006).

Neferine, a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, is extracted from Lotus plumule.

Studies show that neferine has a variety of biological activities which have all been conducted in animals. This includes antifibrosis of the liver (Chen et al., 2015), antioxidant, antiarrhythmic (Guo et al., 2002), antithrombotic, antihypertensive, and chemosensitive effects (Kadioglu et al., 2017).


Bi, Y., Yang, G., Li, H., Zhang, G., & Guo, Z. (2006). Characterization of the chemical composition of lotus plumule oil. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, 54(20), pp. 7672–7677.

Chen, M. S., Zhang, J. H., Wang, J. L., Gao, L., Chen, X. X., & Xiao, J. H. (2015). Anti‐fibrotic effects of neferine on carbon tetrachloride‐induced hepatic fibrosis in mice. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 43(2), pp. 231–240.

Guo, Z., Li, Q., Cao, H., & Xu, Z. (2002). Antiarrhythmic efficacy of neferine assessed by programmed electrical stimulation in a canine model of electropharmacology. Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences, 11(2), pp. 35–42.

Hu, J. (2012). Comparative analysis of genetic diversity in sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera gaertn.) using AFLP and SSR markers. Molecular Biology Reports, 39(4), pp. 3637–3647.

Kadioglu, O., Law, B. Y. K., Mok, S. W. F., Xu, S. W., Efferth, T., & Wong, V. K. W. (2017). Mode of action analyses of neferine, a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid of lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) against multidrug‐resistant tumor cells. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 8, 238.

Sridhar, K. R., & Bhat, R. (2007). Lotus—A potential nutraceutical source. Journal of Agricultural Technology, 3(1), pp. 143–155.

Zeng, S. H., Chen, B. Y., Guo, Z. B., & Zheng, B. D. (2012). Advances in the bioactivity of Lotus‐seed. Chinese Journal of Tropical Crops, 33(11), pp. 2110–2114.

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The Mushroom – How They Are Developing Their Health Benefits Thu, 14 Mar 2019 15:55:29 +0000 The mushroom may become one of our leading healthy foods for all sorts of reasons. All mushrooms are fungi. They produce spores, similar to pollen [...]

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The mushroom may become one of our leading healthy foods for all sorts of reasons.

All mushrooms are fungi. They produce spores, similar to pollen or seeds, which allows them to spread or travel by the wind. The rest of the mushroom then matures, typically living in soil or wood. 

There are many different types of mushrooms, some of which are edible including well-known species such as button, shiitake, oyster, horse, porcini and chanterelles. There are, however, many species that are not edible and can in fact cause stomach pains or vomiting if eaten.  Some can be fatal, such as the common death cap mushroom because they contain some of the most toxic poisons known.

Consumption Of Mushrooms

China accounts for 32% of the world’s mushroom production, followed by the U.S. with 16%. The white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, is the most widely cultivated species worldwide and the most commonly consumed in the U.S. Its production has increased by approximately 12% over the past decade. If you are interested in growing mushrooms please refer to our page regarding their cultivation.

Consumption of mushrooms in the United States has steadily increased over the past several decades where they consume nearly 4 lb per person per year.

Flavour Impacts

Mushrooms provide many desirable characteristics as food, including the flavor-promoting quality of umami, which stimulates a meaty, savory effect. On a fresh-weight basis, mushrooms contain approximately 90% moisture. They are low in carbohydrates, fat, sodium, and calories. Recently completed research conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Cheskin et al., 2007) found that substituting the white button mushroom for meat entrees provided an acceptable lower-calorie alternative without compromising flavor or satiety.

Nutritional benefits 

All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre.

Depending on the species, mushrooms provide numerous vitamins, including the B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin), as well as substantial amounts of potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and the powerful antioxidant, selenium. This last mineral helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.

In particular, white button mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D. When they are growing, whether indoor or outdoor, they are exposed to UV light which substantially increases their concentration of vitamin D2.

Mushrooms are being increasingly researched and used for their important functional, nutritional and general health benefits with different varieties having different medicinal properties. China and Japan have long recognized the nutritional and medicinal properties of various genera and species of mushrooms. Generally, mushrooms are a valuable source of bioactive agents that demonstrate different medicinal properties. In-vitro and in-vivo studies have shown an array of beneficial biological effects (Chang and Buswell, 2003). However, despite their historical usage in traditional chinese medicine, there are no epidemiological studies to support the health benefits of consuming mushrooms.


Mushrooms serve as one of the best sources of ergothioneine, providing up to 13 mg/85-g serving of specialty mushrooms and up to 5 mg/serving of A. bisporus—white button, crimini (brown button), or portabella. The concentration of ergothioneine in mushrooms is significant. Researchers speculate that consumption of mushrooms because they contain this compound, may provide a strategy for modulating inflammatory responses.

Dubost et al. (2007) at Penn State University recently identified and quantified one particular antioxidant, ergothioneine, that is predominately produced by fungi. Also known as 2-mercapto-L-histidine betaine, ergothioneine is not synthesized in humans. Blood levels of ergothioneine increase after incorporation into the diet. These levels vary among individuals, yet its distribution is similar, predominately in erythrocytes, bone marrow, seminal fluid, and ocular tissue.

In-vitro studies at Penn State suggest that ergothioneine is a strong scavenger of oxidants and chelator of various divalent metallic cations. Other functions of ergothioneine in vivo include retarding lipid peroxidation, protecting erythrocytes, and exhibiting anti-inflammatory properties. Recently, the researchers discovered an ergothioneine transporter highly specific for its physiological substrate ergothioneine.

In addition to quantifying ergothioneine in mushrooms, the Penn State researchers also showed that of the specialty mushrooms, the white button, crimini, and portabello mushrooms provided the highest total antioxidant capacity and total polyphenol content. Based on the total polyphenol analysis, the most commonly consumed mushrooms provide up to 75 mg/serving. However, it is important to remember that these antioxidant assays do not determine biological activity, and the clinical significance of these polyphenols from mushrooms remains to be determined.

Mushroom Polysaccharides

Mushroom polysaccharides, particularly beta-glucans, have been purported to provide immunomodulatory effects, as well as hypocholesterolemic effects. An in-vivo study by Wu et al. (2007) indicated that consumption of white button mushrooms may increase innate immunity, particularly against tumors and viral infections in mice through IFNγ and TNFα production.

Overall, the science behind the health benefits of mushrooms is emerging. Further clinical evidence is needed to determine the exact biological relevance, along with mechanisms of action of the various bioactive agents. The historical and latent evidence suggests that consuming a variety of mushrooms  provides an array of benefits ranging from sensory to health.

Do Mushrooms Help Reduce The Risk Of Losing Memory

One piece of research appears to suggest that might be the case. Older people who eat mushrooms a number of times every week seem less susceptible to developing what is called mild cognitive impairment (M.C.I.). The condition is a precursor of Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists in Singapore (Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore) collected and analysed nutrition and brain performance information from 663 Chinese men and women. At the start of the study, none of the subjects had thinking or memory issues. They conducted one-one-one interviews, checked their diet and dug a bit deeper by finding out what type of mushrooms they were eating. The study is reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study involved assessing cognitive function based on detailed and structured interviews and various tests which are designed to examine mental acuity. The study took six years. Ninety people developed M.C.I. in that time.

The researchers accounted and controlled for various factors; socioeconomic, behaviour and health being the three main ones. They also examined the diet of all the participants such as their meat intake, amount of vegetables, fruit and nuts and other types of foods. One significant finding was that those who were consuming less than a single portion (5 ounces) or had up to two portion of mushrooms every week had a 43 percent reduced risk of developing M.C.I. If they ate over two portions, they had 52 percent reduced risk.

The finding suggests consuming mushrooms might help reduce the risk of developing M.C.I. One tentative idea is that the powerful antioxidant ergothionine might be at the heart of this although other components can never be ruled out.

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The Benefit Of Meal Replacement Bars Wed, 13 Mar 2019 20:11:44 +0000 We all know about meal replacement shakes and powders, many of which are already made up in skimmed milk but a growing trend and a [...]

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We all know about meal replacement shakes and powders, many of which are already made up in skimmed milk but a growing trend and a major commercial concern is the meal replacement bar. many marketed as a weight control bar if nothing else although they offer the consumer a vast array of nutrients including vitamins and minerals. Worth looking out for as an alternative format to the powder or shake.

We all know that obesity is a growing problem throughout the world. It probably underlies most of the world’s ills including diabetes, heart health and even cancer. We know that meal replacement options are a very good cost effective option according to the University of Oxford researchers looking at ways of using meal replacement to cut down on obesity. Currently, obesity is responsible for a £6 billion Sterling bill so any method that can help to cut the costs must be welcome.

The number one brand is still Slimfast. 

SlimFast Meal Replacement Bar

With these bars, just one bar is sufficient as a single meal replacer. Again like the shakes and powders, use the bars as part of their tailor made 3-2-1 plan. each bar contains a third of your daily nutrient make up. The variants change regularly but at the moment they have three on the go: Chocolate Crunch, Nutty Salted Caramel and Yogurt Fruit Crunch. Each of their bars contains 15g of protein but with only 217 kcal per bar. The bars also makes use of fibre which is an important component that is long associated with good cardiovascular health.

SlimFast Meal Replacement Bar Nutty Salted Caramel (4x Box of 4, Total 16 Bars)
Image from SlimFast web-site.

SlimFast Meal Replacement Bar Chocolate Crunch - 4 x Box of 4, Total 16 Bars

A study of the ingredient list shows some interesting compounds. Protein crisp which is 23% by weight of the bar is mainly soy protein but there is also milk protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and caseinate present too. Green tea extract is touted for its high antioxidant properties and is known to accelerate natural burning of fat which hopefully helps us lose that weight. There is plenty of calcium and minerals from milk. Caseinate along with the other protein sources incidentally is a good source easily digested proteins and immune enhancing nutrients to boost health and immunity.  The amino acids also help us feel full. Soy Protein Isolate contains specific plant nutrients, known as isoflavones, that help regulate many body processes to keep hormone and energy systems in balance.

Purchase Slimfast products here

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Lean Meal Replacement Protein Bar with Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin D and High Fibre. Protein Meal Replacement by ON – Chocolate Brownie.

Optimum Nutrition Opti-Lean Meal Replacement Protein Bar with Vitamin B12, Vitamin C and Vitamin D and High Fibre. Protein Meal Replacement by ON - Chocolate Brownie, Pack of 12, 60g

Optimum Nutrition are a big player in protein supplements including meal replacement products. This is a higher protein content than SlimFast in their serving of 20g protein which makes it high. It also contains plenty of fibre which is between 5.4g and 6.3g. The bar clearly makes great play of the vitamin B12, vitamin C and vitamin D.

Purchase Optimum Nutrition products here

Slim&Save Meal Replacement Bars

Slim & Save from Stockton On Tees in the United Kingdom have come up with a variety pack of bars which is also high in protein and with a very low calorie content. The business claims it has proven weight loss results as part of their meal replacement program. They can offer the consumer over 10 different flavours. These include Apricot & Almond, Chewy Chocolate, Coconut, Crispy caramel, Chocolate Orange, Yogurt Muesli, Dark Truffa, Milk Truffa, Praline, Lemon, Crispy Caramel and finally Chocolate Orange.

30 Slim & Save Meal Replacement Bars - 10 Flavours, Three of each bar

Purchase Slim & Save products here

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar Adventure

If you are following a low carbohydrate diet then these meal replacement bars might just be the biscuit. Again a large range of flavours. Flavors Include: Cookies & Cream, S’Mores, Blueberry Muffin, White Chocolate Raspberry, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon Roll, Coconut Cashew, Double Chocolate Chunk, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Apple Pie. In the USA they are the GNC’s Protein Bar Of The Year for 2012 and 2013. Again, they offer a great range of vitamins and minerals as well as all the requisite protein derived amino acids.

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar Adventure Variety pack

Please note this article contains links to our affiliate marketing partner. Please read our affiliate disclosure.

Legal Disclaimer

Statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA or to any extent by other regulatory bodies and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.

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Meal Replacement Shakes Appear To Be Cost Effective For Dealing With Obesity Wed, 13 Mar 2019 17:21:52 +0000 Soups, shakes and bars appear a very cost-effective way to treat obesity according to University of Oxford researchers. Scientists at Oxford University have commented on [...]

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  • Soups, shakes and bars appear a very cost-effective way to treat obesity according to University of Oxford researchers.
  • Scientists at Oxford University have commented on their research into a ‘total diet replacement’ (TDR) program. Obesity is a major challenge and most of the adults in the country let alone Oxfordshire are overweight if not obese.

    The researchers that for every 100,000 people who were referred to a ‘total diet replacement’ plan could have avoided various medical challenges including  50 coronary heart disease events, 75 strokes, 900 cases of type 2 diabetes, and 25 cancers. The UK’s NHS recently set out a pilot programme based on a TDR diet for 5,000 people with type-2 diabetes. The idea is to help people lose weight who are not only overweight but also suffer with hypertension. The idea is that by reducing obesity it might reduce the cost burden for the NHS which is currently £6bn annually.

    SlimFast Original Meal Replacement Shake Mix Powder 

    Meal replacement shakes should be a serious consideration for quick weight loss. Probably the best known is SlimFast’s original meal replacement shake powder mix.  This product is based on their classic formulation and is packed with a tremendous variety of nutrients.

    SlimFast Meal Replacement Powder Shake, Blissful Banana, 438 g
    Image from Slimfast.

    Most people attempting to reduce their weight adopt the SlimFast’s 3.2.1 Plan. It should keep you full and satisfied for at least 4 hours. A serving is usually prepared in 250 ml of skimmed milk, whipped up in a blender or a shaker cup for a few minutes before drinking. each serving contains just 15g of protein but also 23 essential vitamins and minerals. It’s important to note that this product has no added sugar.  Flavour is all important and they offer a variety of flavours to fill your boots with including Blissful Banana, Cafe Latte, Caramel Temptation, Chunk Chocolate, Simply Vanilla and Summer Strawberry. It is possible to purchase their multiple pack collection of powder shakes.

    To use, just replace up to two meals every day with a scoop of the original shake mix. Choose it to drink it along with three low-calorie snacks and a meal of choice.
    If you like nutritional meal replacement bars as an alternative format then try their products.

    Herbalife Formula 1 Nutritional Shake Mix

    Herbalife are great competitors of SlimFast when it comes to meal replacement. This too is a great meal replacement product. It offers the user around 9 gm of protein per serving and up to 21 vitamins and minerals. The product is commonly used as a weight loss aid. They offer the product in three flavours such as Dutch chocolate and French vanilla. 
    To use, stir and shake 3 tablespoons of the mix with 250ml cold skimmed milk, soy milk or any other beverage.

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    Muscle Recovery And Performance Improved Consuming Leucine-Enriched Amino Acid Mixture Wed, 13 Mar 2019 12:41:56 +0000 A leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture helps untrained men reduce their level of muscle damage and aids muscle recovery. A small study in Japan of [...]

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  • A leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture helps untrained men reduce their level of muscle damage and aids muscle recovery.
  • A small study in Japan of men training for sports has shown that they can reduce the damage to their muscles if they supplement with a leucine-enriched essential amino acid (LEAA) mixture. The study was performed by researchers from Ajinomoto Co., Tsukuba University of Technology, the University of Tsukubu and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters (Matsui et al., 2019).

    The study was reported in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

    The study covered eight days of supplementation and measured creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels. CPK is a marker of muscle damage due to physical exercise.

    When sports people or even those of us who do not do exercise on a regular basis do muscle damage, then we cause muscle damage in the affected muscles (Clarkson & Hubal, 2002). When muscles are damaged by exercise they leak proteins such as myoglobin and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) into the bloodstream (Munjal et al., 1983). The purpose of damaging muscles is help build them but in the long term. In the short term, muscle strength drops as does the range of motion. The ability to continue to do bouts of intense exercise to the same level also declines.

    Supplementation with leucine and other essential amino acids, especially the BCAAs (branched chain amino-acids) has been shown to increase anabolism and reduce catabolism of muscle proteins. From that point of view, it is one of the main reasons for the sale of so many supplements. Leucine in particular activates various forms of muscle protein synthesis so it is a considerable component in muscle building supplements.

    In the study, there were no changes taking place to the observed maximal isometric strength in those men doing the exercises. The results showed that a 3.6 g dose which included 21 mg leucine per body weight was effectively and efficiently absorbed. It was enough to raise the serum levels of the essential amino acids for  many hours following consumption of the supplement.

    The Study

    In the study, 10 untrained men in the sports sense with an average age of 23 took part in this study. None performed regular exercise, drank, smoked or took dietary supplements. The study was a randomized, double-blind cross-over study design. The men were randomly assigned. They were required to either consume 3.6 gram or an LEAA supplement which contained the following nine essential amino acids: leucine, 1.44 g; lysine, 0.6 g; valine, 0.4 g; isoleucine, 0.39 g; threonine, 0.34 g; phenylalanine, 0.24 g; methionine, 0.12 g; histidine, 0.06 g; and tryptophan, 0.03 g) per pack.  The placebo contained 3.6 g of maltitol per pack. The subjects took each pack three times per day for eight days. This was followed by a three-week washout period after which the men then crossed over to the other intervention group and was repeated for another eight days.

    The men did a series of eccentric muscle exercises doing a single limb bicep extension (5 sets of 10 arm curls using the Biodex System 4. This would purposefully damage the muscles so that they leaked these markers. As well as measuring CPK and myoglobin in the blood serum, they also reported their levels of muscle soreness. Soreness would be explained by uncharacteristic muscle damage and swelling.


    In both cases the serum CPK enzyme levels rose in both exercising groups. However, the increase was significantly lower in the LEAA group. This indicated there was less muscle damage with LEAA supplementation. They noticed no other significant differences between the groups for either levels of myoglobin release from the damaged muscles or indeed any changes in self-reported muscle soreness. The levels of CPK were still high after five days as was the level of soreness.

    The research adds to the body of work on amino acid supplementation. The study concluded that LEAA consumption suppressed exercise-induced elevation of muscle damage markers in blood. The study suggested that LEAA supplementation could stimulate muscle protein synthesis so attenuating muscle damage and aid muscle recover well in the process.


    Supplementation with BCAAs is often questioned by those who believe they don’t actually have any physiological benefit, especially after doing exercise. The wider body of research though indicates that supplementation does help in reducing the time following muscle damage. However, the degree of recovery is often limited and not always as significant as many would like when doing extreme muscle based exercises. Such a study as this might benefit from involving a larger number of men of similar age and exercise prowess. There might also be further assessment of other objective measures including the men’s sporting performance.


    Anthony, J.C., Yoshizawa, F., Anthony, T.G., et al. (2000) Leucine stimulates translation initiation in skeletal muscle of postabsorptive rats via a rapamycin-sensitive pathway. J Nutr., 130 pp. 2413–2419.

    Clarkson PM, Hubal MJ (2002) Exercise-induced muscle damage in humans. Am J Phys Med Rehabil, 81 S52–S69.

    Matsui, Y., et al., (2019) Effect of a leucine-enriched essential amino acids mixture on muscle recovery. J. Phys. Therapy Sci., 31(1) pp. 95-101 https://dor:10.1589/jpts.31.95

    Munjal DD, McFadden JA, Matix PA, et al. (1983)  Changes in serum myoglobin, total creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase MB levels in runners. Clin. Biochem., 16 pp. 195–199

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    Bone Broth Is So Good For Us Wed, 13 Mar 2019 09:52:31 +0000 Overview An old South American proverb says “good broth can resurrect the dead”. Bone broth is now one of the trending non-vegetarian foods for helping [...]

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    An old South American proverb says “good broth can resurrect the dead”.

    Bone broth is now one of the trending non-vegetarian foods for helping with digestion, easing joint pain especially arthritis and even reducing cellulite. We discuss some of its properties and benefits here. 

    Creating bone broths has been a cooking practice for millennia. Indeed, a broth is for all intents and purposes, a stock but there are differences which I will explain later on. Enter the kitchens of any top restaurant and you will no doubt see a large pot of stock simmering on the hob. Stocks have been the base for sauces, soups and all kinds of foods. They are also extremely flavoursome which explains their popularity.

    Home cooking also reflects how bone broths have become a popular source of flavour and health food. Now, there is truly renewed interest in them for their health properties mainly from proponents of the paleo diet. Bone broth shops can now be found in very trendy food centres. This product is certainly not vegetarian friendly let alone be vegan friendly. However, its nutritional benefits are very difficult to argue against and in many cases is a popular product consumed in the keto diet.

    What’s In Bone Broth ?

    Bone broth contains a wide range of minerals which are easily absorbed by the body. They include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and a number of others in trace amounts, but equally no less important. We also find some key compounds which have specific benefits for joints such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine and a number of vitamins. Naturally all these minerals, vitamins and compounds are sold individually or in combination in various supplements and pills. A bone broth offers all these compounds in one easily consumed and delicious ‘product’. 

    What’s the Difference between A Broth And Stock ?

    Time is the critical aspect here. A broth is usually prepared by simmering the bones of animals normally eaten for food in water. These bones include beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey, ostrich and indeed any other animal. Fish is also another source of nutrients. It’s worth noting that this is not a vegetarian food ! Most of the meat will have been roasted first and given that removal of morsels of flesh is not perfect, these are also included in the broth make-up.

     A good part of the flavour comes from the addition of herbs, some salts, spices but there very little else is added.

    The longer we simmer the bones, the more there is leaching out from the matrix, all the minerals and nutrients which give the broth its health properties. The stock is the long-term simmered broth.

    What’s So Good About Chicken Soup ?

    A very old wives tale was to drink chicken soup to ease the symptoms of colds and upper respiratory flu. In 2000, researchers from the University Of Nebraska wrote in CHEST about the benefits of supping chicken soup. It was presented even further back in 1993 when the one of the lead researchers, Dr. Rennard had his wife prepare some batches of her chicken soup. The recipe was a typical hit list including chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley, salt and pepper.

    How To Use A Good Chicken Bone Broth.

    Bone broths can be used in everything soups to Asian inspired dishes, and enchiladas, to a savory bone broth lattes that boasts anti-inflammatory and gut-friendly benefits. Drink it alone or use it to add dimension and flavor to your favorite recipes.

    Warmed in a mug as a coffee or tea alternative, or a protein filled snack between meals, bone broth brings variety to the table. You can use it as a base for soup, stews, and sauces, or as a nutrient-rich substitution for water in rice and pasta dishes.  

    Joint Protection

    Bone broth is an excellent source of natural collagen. The protein is found in all structural components of the body especially vertebrae animals. This includes skin, cartilage, bones (of course), tendons and marrow. Aging means our joints and bones simply wear out with continuous use, through daily wear and tear.

    One of the parts of our structural system which wears readily is cartilage. This acts as a buffer and provides flexibility to the skeleton and the joints. Loss of flexibility is a sure sign of aging. Collagen is a nutrient which helps in the rebuilding of cartilage. Collagen which is present in bones is effectively extracted out and becomes a ready source for this rebuilding.

    Key Compounds In Bone Broth

    Chondroitin sulphate comes from cartilage around the joints.

    Collagen, especially the collagen peptides which are the broken down components of collagen and probably the most useful nutrients in broth

    Glucosamine is a popular joint health ingredient and a component of cartilage. 


    Hyaluronic acid

    Who Is Producing Good Bone Broths ?

    Producers of bone broths are into big business. There are a number of reputable suppliers of good quality broths for a wide variety of purposes. The latest trend and certainly one which has wide appeal with consumers is that the broth comes from organic livestock.

    In The USA, Bonafide Provisions have been producing frozen, organic bone broths for a number of years usually from chicken but also turkey and meat blends of beef and bison. Now on the roster is a line called Keto Broth. This is offered to us in a convenient, 8-ounce, heat-and-go cup. The new line provides all the key nutrients in a typical bone broth as well as supporting ketosis in those of us adopting a keto diet. The product claims to reduce visceral fat whilst MCT oil is there to encourage the production of ketones. Each keto Broth contains 15g of healthy fats, 9-10g of protein and no sugar in three flavors:

    • Keto Broth with Lemon, Turmeric, Grass-fed Butter and MCT Oil
    • Keto Broth with Lemon, Turmeric, Coconut Oil and MCT Oil (Paleo and dairy-free)
    • Keto Broth with Grass-fed Butter and MCT Oil

    For many, the keto diet has become incredibly popular as a means for rapid weight loss.

    Look out for their standard Organic Chicken Bone Broth.

    Pacific Foods recently extended their line of popular Organic Bone Broths. They now include duck and poultry flavours. These broths are produced by a slow simmer of organic poultry bones and then mixing in herbs, vegetables, vinegar and water. The business make a great claims for using locally and ethically sourced poultry. The broths are currently contained in cartons.  The poultry version of the broth is the first shelf-stable product to combine chicken, turkey, and duck into a single broth that is suitable for cooking or sipping..



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    The Benefits Of Boron Tue, 12 Mar 2019 15:07:07 +0000 Boron is one of those minerals which is not that well known but is certainly essential for general health and well-being. In some cases boron [...]

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    Boron is one of those minerals which is not that well known but is certainly essential for general health and well-being. In some cases boron is taken as a medicine but it is also present in small amounts in food and the environment.

    From a health perspective, boron is needed if not essential for producing healthy bones. As a medicine it is used to treat osteoarthritis, for producing testosterone and for other functions including making muscles. It is sometimes found as boric acid which is used to treat yeast infections in the vagina. 

    There is no recommended daily amount required for this element.

    Acceptable safe boron intake:

    • Children 1-3 years: 3 mg/day
    • Children 3-8 years: 6 mg/day
    • Children 8-12 years: 11 mg/day
    • Children 13-18 years: 17 mg/day

    Typical sources of Boron:

    • Avocado (about 1.11mg/0.102mmol per avocado)
    • Flaked onions, dehydrated (6.573+/-3.228mcg/g)
    • Ground Cinnamon (10.37+/-0.661mcg/g)
    • Parsley (26.878+/-1.778mcg/g)
    • Apple Juice (1.881+/-0.082mcg/g) and Sauce (2.828+/-0.12mcg/g)
    • Cherries (1.482+/-0.243mcg/g)
    • Grape Juice (2.020+/-0.265mcg/g)
    • Peaches (1.872+/-0.112mcg/g)
    • Beef stock (1.264+/-0.609mcg/g)
    • Ice Cream (0.192+/-0.03mcg/g)

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