The Four Micro greens for the Best Health

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The folks at the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland have recently made an important discovery about some healing foods. These foods are special, because they contain extra doses of disease- fighting antioxidants and healing phytonutrients. They’re called “micro greens” and are the seedlings of vegetables and Continue reading

Junk Food Diet Linked to Lower IQ – Study

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Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British study described as the biggest research of its kind.

Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British study described as the biggest research of its kind.

AFP – Toddlers who have a diet high in processed foods may have a slightly lower IQ in later life, according to a British study described as the biggest research of its kind.

The conclusion, published on Monday, comes from a long-term investigation into 14,000 people born in western England in 1991 and 1992 whose health and well-being were monitored at the ages of three, four, seven and eight and a half.

Parents of the children were asked to fill out questionnaires that, among other things, detailed the kind of food and drink their children consumed.

Three dietary patterns emerged: one was high in processed fats and sugar; then there was a “traditional” diet high in meat and vegetables; and finally a “health-conscious” diet with lots of salad, fruit and vegetables, pasta and rice.

When the children were eight and a half, their IQ was measured using a standard tool called the Wechsler Intelligence Scale.

Of the 4,000 children for which there were complete data, there was a significant difference in IQ among those who had had the “processed” as opposed to the “health-conscious” diets in early childhood.

The 20 percent of children who ate the most processed food had an average IQ of 101 points, compared with 106 for the 20 percent of children who ate the most “health-conscious” food.

“It’s a very small difference, it’s not a vast difference,” said one of the authors, Pauline Emmett of the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol.

“But it does make them less able to cope with education, less able to cope with some of the things in life.”

The association between IQ and nutrition is a strongly debated issue because it can be skewed by many factors, including economic and social background.

A middle-class family, for instance, may arguably be more keen (or more financially able) to put a healthier meal on the table, or be pushier about stimulating their child, compared to a poorer household.

Emmett said the team took special care to filter out such confounders.

“We have controlled for maternal education, for maternal social class, age, whether they live in council housing, life events, anything going wrong, the home environment, with books and use of television and things like that,” she said.

The size of the study, too, was unprecedented.

“It’s a huge sample, it’s much much bigger than anything anyone else has done,” she said in an interview with AFP.

Emmett said further work was needed to see whether this apparent impact on IQ persisted as the children got older.

Asked why junk food had such an effect, she suggested a diet that was preponderantly processed could lack vital vitamins and elements for cerebral development at a key stage in early childhood.

“A junk food diet is not conducive to good brain development,” she said.

The paper appears in the peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published by the British Medical Association (BMA).

Don’t Toss the Salad

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Heard the rumor that produce is a dud for cancer protection? Don’t believe it. Keep on sweetening your oatmeal with strawberries, and take a second helping of broccoli tonight.

We dug a little deeper into the claim that fruits and veggies offer only “weak” protection against cancer and found that if you eat six or more helpings of them a day (easier than it sounds), you could have an 11% lower risk of ALL cancers than folks who shove veggies around on their plates. If 11% doesn’t impress you, catch how big an even smaller number can be: If everyone ate just two more servings of fruits and vegetables a day, there would be 2.5% fewer cancers. That’s enough to prevent about 37,000 cases of cancer a year in the United States alone!

Think there’s no way you could ever eat six helpings of fruits and veggies a day? Here’s how easy it is to eat nine, which is the real ideal: Have a spinach omelet with salsa for breakfast, a banana for a midmorning snack, a big veggie salad at lunch, whole-wheat pasta tossed with broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet onions for dinner, and a baked apple for dessert

Your reward: There’s compelling evidence that leafy greens, garlic and onions, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, and fruit guard against the out-of-control cell growth that leads to digestive-tract cancers, from your mouth to your stomach.