Anyone who’s always seeking new ways to fine-tune wellness will relish these gifts that prove staying healthy can be a delicious indulgence.
Todd Runestad, editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine, appeared on FOX31 Denver's Good Day Colorado to share the key ingredients found in today's most popular functional beverages.
See his top picks for energy drinks, relaxation beverages and healthy, nutrient-rich beverages including: Good Belly, Horizon Organic Milk, Nawgan, Celestial Seasonings, and Avitae. Plus, find out which beverage is Runestad's favorite and why pinot noir should be your go-to wine.
Exotic and aromatic, spices lend delicious warmth, depth, and sensory nostalgia to holiday dishes. But antioxidant-packed powerhouses like cinnamon and cayenne also offer significant health-promoting compounds. “Spices are a great way of bumping up flavor in dishes, while reducing the need for extra salt, sugar, and fat,” says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of The Superfoods Rx Diet (Rodale, 2008). Here are five health-boosting standouts of the festive bunch.
When added to a meal, a half-teaspoon of this hot red pepper may boost feelings of fullness, according to a recent study. Capsaicin, the phytonutrient that gives cayenne its kick, may stimulate certain fat-burning proteins, but research on a weight loss link remains preliminary. Capsaicin also can reduce excessive stomach acid production, lowering risk for ulcers, and improve blood vessel function to lower blood pressure.
Get more: Add cayenne to chocolate baked-good batters, winter squash soups, hot cocoa, scrambled eggs, sautéed winter greens, stews, vinaigrettes, and steamed edamame. Grated Parmesan cheese and cayenne lend sophisticated heat to popcorn.
The mildly sweet inner bark of a Southeast Asian tree, cinnamon can improve insulin sensitivity, reducing type 2 diabetes risk. Some researchers think its bioactive compounds, including procyanidin, may help balance blood sugar. Cinnamon compounds also exert antioxidant and antibacterial activity, says Debra Boutin, RD, chair of the department of nutrition and exercise science at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington.
Get more: Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon daily into oatmeal, pancake batter, squash or lentil soups, fruit crisps, tomato sauce, and ground coffee. Stir into almond butter along with honey. Add cinnamon sticks to stews while cooking; use to stir hot cocoa or warm apple cider.
An often-overlooked spice, these pungent dried flower buds are antioxidant overachievers. Of more than 1,100 foods tested for a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cloves were three times higher in antioxidants than the nearest competitor: dried oregano. Antioxidant-rich clove extract combats oxidative stress in the brain and may help dispel brain fog. Preliminary research indicates clove extract may block glycation, a process in which protein or fat molecules bond to simple sugar molecules, creating advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are implicated in aging, heart disease, and diabetes.
Get more: Add ground cloves to quick breads, smoothies, oatmeal, chili, bean soups, roasted sweet potatoes, applesauce, and French toast. Add whole cloves to poaching liquid, or when cooking whole grains. A clove-studded onion spices up stock.
Traditionally used to boost immunity and soothe digestive upset, spicy-hot fresh ginger contains components called gingerols that may lessen arthritis pain and inflammation by protecting against free radical damage and suppressing pro-inflammatory compounds. After tough workouts, eating ginger can also lessen muscle soreness by as much as 25 percent. “Studies show ginger also helps reduce motion sickness and nausea associated with situations such as pregnancy and chemotherapy,” says Boutin. Ground dried ginger retains much of the antioxidant capacity of fresh.
Get more: Grate fresh ginger into marinades, stir-fries, salad dressings, and vegetable soups. Gently boil fresh ginger slices; then combine the liquid with lemon juice and honey for a warming immune boost. Sprinkle ground ginger into batters, granola, smoothies, and green tea. Cooking beans with ginger can improve digestibility, says Boutin.
The seed of an apricot-like fruit cultivated in Southeast Asia and the West Indies, nutmeg contains myristicin, an oil with antioxidant and antibacterial properties that may suppress cancerous cells. “Oils in nutmeg have been traditionally used to reduce symptoms of diarrhea, nausea, and stomach upset, and applied topically as an analgesic to reduce tooth and mouth pain,” adds Boutin.
Get more: Nutmeg is a clever secret ingredient in dishes such as burgers and meatballs, quiches, casseroles, hummus, cream-based soups, and brown rice. Grate it onto smoothies or whipped cream.
Misura, Merisant’s major brand of low-calorie sweeteners expands its brand with the launch of Misura Stevia™, the first stevia-based table top sweetener in Italy. Misura Stevia™ will help to contribute to a healthier lifestyle for consumers and is sweetened with natural origin stevia extracts by PureCircle, carrying the Stevia PureCircle® trust mark.
Along with the introduction of its stevia-based sweetener Misura Stevia™, Merisant is committed to promoting the educational work of the Global Stevia Institute in Italy and across Europe. The Global Stevia Instiute was founded by PureCircle to further credible, science-based information about stevia. Ahead of its launch, Misura Stevia™ was first introduced at the last Italian Association of Dietetics and Clincal Nutriton (ADI) congress as a natural sweetening option for people with diabetes. Stevia has no carbohydrates and zero glycemic load, and is safe for people with diabetes.
“More than ever, consumers are seeking more natural, low calorie options and stevia presents an opportunity to fulfill these demands in the Italian market,” said Jason Hecker, Vice President Global Marketing & Innovation for PureCircle. “Misura Stevia™ expands Merisant’s successful brand with a natural, great tasting product that will help consumers achieve their healthy lifestyle goals.”
Misura Stevia™is another example of a product choosing to communicate the naturally sweet benefits of stevia extracts via the Stevia PureCircle® trust mark. The trust mark is currently being licensed by leading brands globally across more than 85 food and beverage products such as Pure Via™ and Canderel Green™ table top sweetener in France, or Silk Light soymilk True Lemonade drink mix in the US, as well as Go Coco coconut water in Australia. The trustmark serves as a symbol of quality and reliable sourcing for consumers and is supported by such activities as PureCircle’s We Grow Joy campaign (steviapurecircle.com) and the Global Stevia Institute (globalsteviainstitute.com).
“Stevia helps us expand our Misura portfolio of low-calorie sweeteners for consumers that are looking for more natural sweetener options,” states Hugues Pitre, Vice President & Managing Director EAME, Merisant. “We are happy to carry the Stevia PureCircle® trust mark and support the vital work of the Global Stevia Institute, which in the new European market, will support consumer awareness about the benefits of high quality stevia and its great taste in Misura Stevia™.”
Misura Stevia™ is the first natural origin sweetener under the historical low-calorie Misura brand by Merisant, a global leader in table top sweeteners. Its low-calorie and no-calorie table top sweeteners are sweetened with stevia extract by PureCircle, a great tasting, natural origin ingredient derived from the stevia plant. Misura Stevia™ will be available in sticks, jars, cubes and tablets at all major retail chains in Italy this December.
PureCircle (www.purecircle.com) is the global leader in the production of high purity stevia products. PureCircle is leading the industry with the development of a vertically integrated, sustainable and natural supply chain. Stevia is now being grown for PureCircle across South America, Africa, Asia, and the United States where it provides a sustainable cash crop for rural farming communities in each region. PureCircle has developed a broad portfolio of ingredient solutions and has pioneered such ingredients as Reb A, SG95, stevia/sugar combinations and recently introduced breakthrough ingredient PureCircle Alpha for deeper calorie reductions. The company has also brought to market PureCircle Flavors, which were developed to enhance flavour and sweetness of other stevia sweeteners, sugar and HFCS. PureCircle has extended its reach through joint venture partnerships with leaders in the sugar industry, including Imperial Sugar in the US to create Natural Sweet Ventures, as well as Tereos and Nordzucker in Europe to create Tereos PureCircle Solutions and NPSweet A/S. As part of its leadership of the stevia industry, PureCircle has pioneered the industry trust mark Stevia PureCircle®, which educates consumers about the benefits of stevia and provides a strong base of trust for both consumers and food & beverage companies alike. The company has also developed the Global Stevia Institute (globalsteviainstitute.com) led by a global advisory board of internationally recognized health professionals with the mission of promoting accurate, science based information on stevia. PureCircle’s global headquarters are in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PureCircle shares are traded on the LSE AIM index.
About the Global Stevia Institute
The Global Stevia Institute (GSI)is an educational resource for the industry and public focused on educating health professionals, food and beverage manufacturers, public affairs leaders, and consumers about the benefits of incorporating a plant-based sweetener stevia into the diet. Its mission is to provide accurate and consistent, science-based information about stevia as more and more people are looking for natural options to control sugar and calorie levels without sacrificing taste. The GSI is governed by an international advisory board of leading health professionals including MDs, PhDs, university professors, nutritionists, and award winning authors specializing in obesity, nutrition, endocrinology, biochemistry and food regulations.
Merisant was formed in 2000 to manufacture and market the world’s most popular tabletop sweeteners, Equal® and Canderel®, and over a dozen other available formats. Today, the Group owns 19 brands in over 90 countries. With over 500 employees positioned globally – diverse, inspired and dedicated to continuing to expand the incredible successes of these well-established and premium brands. From the start, Merisant has aimed to raise the bar through continued global expansion, by broadening its audience through new products, and improving productivity through technological advances. The Group strives to develop products which answer consumers’ specific needs to help improve their lifestyle on a daily basis.
With $100 million as their global goal, the company is excited about rolling out their range of Stevia products to the European market.
Founded ten years before their main competitor, Steviva Brands produces a range of Stevia-based products, including their Stevia Sweeteners, Steviva Blend and patented Fructevia.
However, as company President Thom King explains, Europe is working on a much more lenient basis than the company's native United States:
Here in the USA, you're only allowed to sell some strains of Stevia – even though it's 100% natural and far less dangerous than common additives such as sugar, aspartame, sucralose and Acesulfame K. Europe are a lot more lenient, brining many benefits to not just the companies selling their products there – but also to the European people” says Thom.
As Stevia is 100% natural, derived from the Stevia plant, it's the perfect sugar replacement. In fact, it's 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, without the health risks. This comes as a perfect solution to tackle the global obesity and Diabetes epidemic.
“It really could solve the issue – as it's a lot sweeter than refined sugar, and totally natural. It's ironic though that approval is a long and tiresome process, even though the benefits of approving Stevia are obvious” adds King.
While the battle continues, King and Steviva Brands are looking forward to taking advantage of the increased sales potential the new European ruling brings. Officially, Stevia-based sweeteners are permitted for sale from December 2nd, and Steviva Brands will be directly at the continent's doorstep to get their foot through a very profitable door.
However, as King points out, the benefits stretch farther than just the bank:
“The world really has seen enough of 'fake' sugars, and the problems associated with them. Stevia is the only natural solution that allows people to satisfy their cravings safely, and we are proud to be the industry leader in bringing a variety of Stevia-based products to consumer's homes” he concludes.
Steviva, Inc. is one of the largest importers and manufactures of all natural stevia. Stevia is processed from the herbal plant “Stevia Rebaudiana”. When refined into a white powder extract (stevioside), it becomes 200-300 times sweeter than sugar creating an intense effect upon the taste buds without raising blood sugar levels and contains no carbs or calories. Research indicates that both diabetics and persons suffering from hypoglycemia may use Stevia.
Sabinsa is pleased to announce that the company’s manufacturing and R&D arm in India, Sami Labs, was named “Best Innovation and Technology Company” at theFood 360° Conference organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
FICCI appointed a jury of peers, coordinated by Ernst & Young, togive awards to companies in various categories.The awards were given in conjunction with the InternationalConference on Agribusiness & Food Processing held recently in Hyderabad India, withfairly large participation from India and abroad.
“It is gratifying to have our dedication to innovation recognized by our peers,” said company founder Dr. Muhammed Majeed. “We appreciate such recognition of our talented, highly educated and proficient team.”
For more information on Sabinsa please visit: www.sabinsa.com
About Sabinsa Corporation:
Sabinsa's mission is to provide alternative and complementary natural products for human nutrition and well-being. Over the past 20 years, Sabinsa has brought to market more than 100 standardized botanical extracts and privately funded several clinical studies in conjunction with prestigious institutions in support of these products. With more than 100 full-time scientists conducting ongoing research in India and the United States, Sabinsa continues to develop and patent phytonutrients for the world market. All products intended for human consumption are certified Kosher and Halal.
At Food Ingredients Europe this week, Solae is showcasing new solutions for bars that will help advance food manufacturers' offerings in the market. The company is introducing a new protein and fibre nugget, SUPRO® 138, and a new soya protein isolate, SUPRO® 430, developed for nutrition and snack bars.
In Western Europe, the energy and nutrition bars market has grown 25 percent between 2006 and 2011, and is expected to grow another 22 percent by 2016 according to Euromonitor. "Bars in Europe are increasing in demand as more consumers want convenient nutrition," said Kip Underwood, Solae sales director in Europe "These two new soya-based ingredients can work either alone or in combination with each other. SUPRO 430 and SUPRO Nugget 138 have very interesting specificities that could provide food manufacturers with a 'one-bag' solution for advancing nutrition bars in the marketplace while meeting consumer's taste expectations". SUPRO® Nugget 138 is a soya protein nugget composed of 40 percent protein and 30 percent fibre. It provides high quality protein and both insoluble and soluble fibre in a textured form versus liquid or powder.
Innova Market Insights report fibre fortification is increasing in foods and beverages as consumers seek ways to incorporate more fibre into their diets. Testing demonstrates this nugget remains crisp over time in applications while also delivering on taste and overall eating experience. In addition to bars, this nugget is ideal for snacks, bakery products cereals and more. SUPRO® 430 is a soya protein isolate developed to replace more expensive dairy proteins in bars while maintaining textural and eating qualities. SUPRO® 430 also works well in combination with dairy proteins. Data shows that SUPRO® 430 can help reduce firmness in bars containing whey protein concentrate. SUPRO® 430 is the ideal soya protein isolate for sheet and cut bars to maintain good texture and sensory attributes.
"From a nutrition point of view, adequate fibre consumption is an important part of a healthy diet and is recommended by health authorities around the world," said Garry Mendelson, Solae nutrition science lead in Europe. "The average dietary intake of fibre is low in European adults, so there is a clear consumer need for more fibre in Europe. And, we cannot forget the importance of eating enough high-quality, complete proteins from lean sources, such as sustainable plant-based sources." Solae has a history of ingredient innovation in the food industry. The company was the first to introduce soya protein nuggets into nutrition bars, helping to build a category that is now more than a billion dollars in sales and growing, thanks to the popularity of high protein bars. In recent years, the company introduced two new nuggets:
For food manufacturers interested in these offerings, please call our toll free number: 00 800 23 45 22 22 >or visit the company's booth 3H19 at Food Ingredients Europe. Solae, LLC is a world leader in developing soy-based ingredients for nutritious, great-tasting products. Solae provides solutions that deliver a unique combination of functional, nutritional, economical and sustainable benefits to our customers. Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., USA, the company was formed through a joint venture between DuPont (NYSE: DD) and Bunge (NYSE: BG) in 2003. Solae is a recipient of the 2011 Ethisphere's Ethics Inside Certification and was recognized as one of "World's Most Ethical Companies" in 2011. For more information, visit www.Solae.com>
At Food Ingredients (FI) Europe 2011, WACKER is unveiling a novel solution for stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions with the help of alpha-cyclodextrin. The ring-shaped molecules, bioengineered from starch, are ideally suited as emulsifiers for foods containing a mixed oil-and-water phase. In addition, alpha-cyclodextrin adds texture, allowing “mouth-feel” to be adjusted as required. Since emulsions produced with alpha-cyclodextrin remain stable even at high temperatures, this product is ideal as an emulsifier in salad dressings, mayon-naises, dessert creams and margarine, for example. A particular advantage is that purely vegetarian-grade cyclodextrins are cho-lesterol-free, non-allergenic and manufactured from renewable raw materials. Furthermore, alpha-cyclodextrin is ideal as a soluble fiber and has a demonstrably beneficial effect on blood cholesterol and the glycemic index. At FI Europe, WACKER is also presenting its vegetarian-grade cysteine. The company is the world’s only manufacturer of this product, which serves as a raw material for flavorings and bakery goods. Food Ingredients Europe takes place in Paris, France, from November 29 to December 1, 2011.
At Food Ingredients Europe 2011, WACKER is unveiling a completely novel application for the food and beverage industry – alpha-cyclo-dextrin as an emulsifier for stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions.
In the food industry, oil-in-water emulsions are the order of the day. Many foods, such as salad dressings, mayonnaises, dessert creams and margarine contain both water and oil phases, which only form a stable mixture if emulsifiers are added. Traditional emulsifiers are proteins, the mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids or the lecithins found in egg yolk. Animal-derived emulsifiers, however, have some critical disadvantages – they are sensitive to heat and acids, do not have a long shelf life, may contain cholesterol, and are potentially allergenic.
A new approach to stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions is to use alpha-cyclodextrin. The interior of this doughnut-shaped cyclodextrin is lipophilic (i.e. fat loving), while its exterior is hydrophilic (water loving). Fatty acid groups can “slip” into the interior of the alpha-cyclodextrin and form a surfactant structure, suitable as an emulsifier. This complex permanently stabilizes the otherwise incompatible oil/water phase interfaces of the emulsion – even at higher processing temperatures.
Depending on requirements, alpha-cyclodextrin can adjust an emulsion’s viscosity and thus its “mouthfeel” – from a fluidity similar to ketchup through to a firm texture resembling sugar frosting. As a result, there is no need for additional hydrocolloids.
WACKER produces its alpha-cyclodextrin – a natural degradation product of starch – from renewable raw materials, such as corn or potatoes, using bioengineering techniques. Thus, alpha-cyclodextrin offers an alternative stabilizer for oil-in-water emulsions that is not only free of cholesterol and allergens, but is also plant-based.
Using alpha-Cyclodextrin as Dietary Fiber
While nutritionists recommend to consume about 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily, most people in advanced Western economies eat much less. Adding dietary fiber to food, though, often has disadvantages, given the fiber’s poor solubility and the risk of food discoloration.
Now, alpha-cyclodextrin provides the answer. As a water-soluble fiber, it is characterized by low viscosity, low pH stability and good stability even at high temperatures. Irrespective of the pH, no unde-sirable browning reactions or discolorations occur – even in complex food systems. Additionally, alpha-cyclodextrin’s clear solubility means it can be used in beverages. As a dietary fiber, it has a demonstrably beneficial effect on blood cholesterol and the glycemic index, too. An ideal additive to beverages, alpha-cyclodextrin is highly suitable in other traditional applications for fibers, such as dairy products, bakery products and breakfast cereals.
Vegetarian-Grade Cysteine for Flavorings and Bakery Goods
Vegetarian-grade cysteine from WACKER is the ideal intermediate for flavorings, particularly meat flavors, and for bakery products. Traditionally, the amino acid cysteine is extracted from human or animal sources (such as hair, feathers and pig bristles) using hydrochloric acid. Replacing this method with biotechnology, WACKER produces vegetarian-grade cysteine using a fermentation process of extremely low environmental impact. Since it is manufactured from purely plant-based and inorganic starting materials, WACKER’s cysteine is halal, kosher and purely vegetarian-grade, making it ideal for food products.
WACKER is the only manufacturer in the world to produce vegetarian-grade cysteine by a patented biotech process.
Visit WACKER at Food Ingredients Europe 2011: Booth 3B98.
America’s favorite letter vitamin, the sunshine vitamin D, is continuing to make news in the research front. Only this time, the TV broadcasters alerted, “Too much vitamin D can cause heart problems.”
The study in question was a presentation at a meeting of the American Heart Association on November 16. In it, researchers followed 132,000 adult Utahns (average age 52 years old) for 20 months.
Earlier this year, the Institutes of Medicine came out with revised vitamin D recommendations that declared blood levels below 20 ng/ml as too low.
Most vitamin D researchers, as well as progressive physicians, said that number is far too conservative, with the minimum being at least 30 ng/ml, with optimal levels ranging from 40-80 ng/ml.
In the study, those with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels between 61 and 80 ng/ml had a 52 percent reduced risk of diabetes compared to those with deficient levels, described as below 20 ng/ml. Those with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels between 81 and 100 ng/ml had a 36 percent reduction in hypertension incidence compared to the deficient group. The higher-D group also had significantly lower risk of heart failure, coronary artery disease, kidney failure, depression and prior stroke.
So shouldn’t the headlines have said something decidedly different?
Turns out there was a small subset of 291 people of the 132,000 who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels above 100 ng/ml. These people had an increased occurrence of atrial fibrillation – irregular heartbeats – compared to lower vitamin D levels. The rate was 3.8 percent of this tiny subset with high vitamin D levels who had atrial fibrillation, compared to 1.4 percent of those with normal vitamin D levels.
So if you are in the 0.22 percent of people with wildly high vitamin D levels, you may want to back off on your supplementation.
For the 99.78 percent of other people on the planet, you are likely not taking enough vitamin D. Because vitamin D intake does not necessarily correlate to blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, getting a blood test from your doctor can inform you on your current blood levels of vitamin D. Then, after supplementing with more than you currently are, get a re-rest in six months to see what your new levels are. If you can get your levels higher than 60 ng/ml, according to this study, you can expect reduced risk of diabetes, reduced incidence of heart failure, coronary artery disease, kidney failure, depression and repeat strokes in patients who have already suffered a stroke.
Meanwhile, in another vitamin D study just published in the American Journal of Cardiology, researchers following 10,899 patients (mean age 58, 71 percent women) found mean vitamin D levels of 24.1 ng/ml. The researchers found that more than 70 percent were deficient—what they defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels lower than 30 ng/ml, a full 50 percent higher than the IOM recommendation.
These researchers found vitamin D deficiency led to significantly higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and all causes of death.
For product manufacturers, vitamin D is quite inexpensive to source. To have 1,000 IU in your product would cost about 0.045 cents, according to supplier Dan Murray of Xsto Solutions.
“I think we should fortify at 1,000 IUs per serving if we want to have an ‘impact’-type dose,” said Murray. “More is possible if we are talking a supplement, but for food we should stay a little low. It would not be unreasonable for a food to have 400 IUs and hold itself out as being ‘high’ in vitamin D with 100% of the RDA.”
Murray offered what he called “pantry” research and found the additional price of formulating with higher vitamin D levels as follows:
“Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: A Systematic Review” published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Volume 19, Issue 6, December 2011. The study was conducted at Discipline of General Practice, School of Population Health & Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
To assess the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in the management of female infertility and on pregnancy rates compared with Western Medical (WM) treatment.
We searched the Medline and Cochrane databases and Google Scholar until February 2010 for abstracts in English of studies investigating infertility, menstrual health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We undertook meta-analyses of (non-)randomised controlled trials (RCTs) or cohort studies, and compared clinical pregnancy rates achieved with CHM versus WM drug treatment or in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In addition, we collated common TCM pattern diagnosis in infertility in relation to the quality of the menstrual cycle and associated symptoms.
Eight RCTs, 13 cohort studies, 3 case series and 6 case studies involving 1851 women with infertility were included in the systematic review. Meta-analysis of RCTs suggested a 3.5 greater likelihood of achieving a pregnancy with CHM therapy over a 4-month period compared with WM drug therapy alone (odds ratio = 3.5, 95% CI: 2.3, 5.2, p < 0.0001, n = 1005). Mean (SD) pregnancy rates were 60 ± 12.5% for CHM compared with 32 ± 10% using WM drug therapy. Meta-analysis of selected cohort studies (n = 616 women) suggested a mean clinical pregnancy rate of 50% using CHM compared with IVF (30%) (p < 0.0001).
Our review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.