Timing is everything
Customers who load up on blueberries and grapes probably already know about their high antioxidant value. What they may not know is the importance of eating them with a meal. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service measured levels of antioxidant capacity in the blood before and after meals, and found that antioxidants can reduce the oxidative stress caused by eating a meal high in carbohydrates, protein and fat?when they're eaten at the same time. Blueberries, grapes and kiwifruit had the most pronounced effect; cherries had a moderate success rate, and dried plums and plum juice did not reduce oxidative stress.
"It's not just what you eat but when you eat it that matters," said Ron Prior, lead author of the study that was published in the July 2007 Journal of the American College of Nutrition. "Phytochemicals in foods have varying degrees of bioavailability and generally are cleared from the blood two to four hours after they're eaten." Prior said the more calories consumed, the higher the need for antioxidants.
No more round peg in a square hole
Tired of trying to stack roly-poly watermelons? Or of consumers' complaints that they take up the whole darn fridge? Japanese farmers solved these problems back in 2001 by forcing watermelons, while still on the vine, to grow into cubes by putting the fruit into square glass containers. The U.K.'s Tesco supermarket chain liked the idea well enough to begin importing square watermelons from Brazil. But now consumers have a new kvetch: The square watermelons cost at least twice as much.
Vegetarian cuisine for the clueless
It's a good bet that many of your customers would like to reduce their meat consumption, but are terrified at the thought of going vegetarian and giving up some of their favorite foods. A new book makes the transition easier. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian (Alpha, 2007), now in its third edition, offers insight on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle, tips on how to make the conversion gradually, and 75 recipes including entrees, side dishes, smoothies and snacks. Written by natural health and registered nutritional consultant Frankie Avalon Wolfe, the guide has a suggested retail price of $18.95.—L.B.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 2/p. 24