Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Food News Briefs

DHA lowers risk of dementia
People with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood might have the lowest risk for dementia. In a follow-up to the Framingham Heart Study, researchers measured the levels of docosahexaenioc acid in the blood of 899 men and women (average age was 76), and also gave them neuropsychological tests at baseline. Some of the participants completed a dietary habits questionnaire. None of the participants showed any sign of dementia when the study began. But after an average of nine years of follow-up, 99 of them developed dementia. Researchers found that those who had the highest blood levels of DHA were 47 percent less likely to have developed dementia and included the most fish in their diets—an average of three servings per week. Because DHA was measured only once, and not all of the participants completed the dietary habits survey, this study bears repeating, critics note.

Spinach fears wilted produce sales
The spinach recall had a profound effect on perishables sales, according to the Perishables Group Fresh Facts data. For the five weeks ending Oct. 14, 2006, sales of packaged salads containing spinach plummeted 64.3 percent. Likewise, packages of just spinach sold 61.2 percent less, and bulk spinach sales declined 54.1 percent. Remarkably, packaged salads that did not contain spinach also took a hit, with sales dropping off by 15.4 percent. In a survey for industry trends analyst Phil Lempert's newsletter, "Facts, Figures & the Future," more than half of industry experts polled thought it would take six to 12 months before spinach sales rebounded.

Pregnant moms sweet on low-glycemic diet
Pregnant mothers who eat a diet rich in low-glycemic-index foods may be doing their babies a favor. Researchers in New South Wales conducted a study in which 30 women were put on a diet of high-fiber, high-glycemic-index foods and 32 women ate foods low on the glycemic index. One-third of the babies born to moms who ate the high-GI foods were heavy for their gestational age, compared with 3.1 percent of infants whose mothers ate low-glycemic foods. They also had a higher ponderal index, a measure of weight relative to length. "Because birth weight and ponderal index predict long-term risk of obesity and chronic disease, a low-glycemic-index diet in pregnancy may favorably influence long-term outcomes," the researchers wrote.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 1/p. 40

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