Some Apples Better at Keeping Dr. Away
You aren't stocking Malus sikkimensis cider yet, but you may be one day if researchers at Colorado State University have their way. Cecil Stushnoff, Ph.D., director of CSU's plant and biotechnology program, is investigating antioxidant levels in apples and potatoes. On the Total Phenolics scale, which is a measure of antioxidant capabilities, the Gala apple is tops among commercially cultivated varieties at 210. Malus sikkimensis, or the Chinese crab apple, weighs in at 7,181. But you won't be drinking that straight up. According to Stushnoff, "because apples contain many diverse phenolic compounds, astringency and bitterness due to phenolic compounds comes along. Thus, in the grand scheme of things as mankind-selected eating apples, tasters probably preferred fruit without astringency and bitterness and may have inadvertently selected against high antioxidant properties." So while that Gingergold may taste good, it ranks a scant 15 TP.
Building A Better Pyramid
A study and new set of healthy eating guidelines published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition may be the start of a pyramid revolution. Highlighting quality-of-food choices—say plant-based oils over lard, for example—to create a new food guide pyramid, Harvard School of Public Health's Walter C. Willett, M.D., and a team of researchers developed an Alternative Healthy Eating Index and compared it to the existing USDA Healthy Eating Index. Researchers assessed the diets of more than 100,000 men and women and found that those who ate according to the new guidelines showed a risk reduction for chronic major diseases nearly twice that of those who followed current USDA dietary recommendations. There was a 20 percent reduction in chronic disease for men and 11 percent for women when compared with those whose diets least followed the AHEI guidelines. For cardiovascular disease, it was 39 percent for men and 28 percent for women.