Video Games, Fruits And Vegetables

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine, please share your thoughts below…..

fruitswhiteIn a study of 400 fourth and fifth grade children who were asked to create implementations (action or coping plans) while playing a video game promoting fruit and vegetable intake, researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital found that children increased meal-specific fruit and vegetable intake. Their report appears today in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

“Few children eat enough servings of fruit and vegetables each day,” said Dr. Karen Cullen, professor of pediatrics at Baylor and the CNRC and first author of the paper. “These foods are part of a healthy diet, and may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. So interventions to help children choose and eat more fruit and vegetables are important.”

The ten-episode video game, Squire’s Quest II: Saving the Kingdom of Fivealot, was designed to both entertain and promote behavior change. The children were divided into four groups based on the type of implementation intention, specific plans, created during goal setting. The four groups were: no implementation intention, action plan (identifying fruit and veggie intake specifics of what, when, where), coping plan (identify common barriers to eating fruits and vegetables and ways to overcome them) and both action and coping plans. Children completed three 24-hour dietary recalls at baseline and after six months.

Parents received a weekly newsletter and a link to a website where they could access information on their child’s weekly goals, suggestions for supporting achievement of goals and ways to overcome common barriers to help their family make healthy food choices.

Researchers found that those children in the action and coping groups reported higher vegetable intake at dinner, and all groups had significant increases in fruit intake at breakfast, lunch and snack time.

“The results suggest that including implementation intentions in the goal-setting process of interventions may help children achieve their goals. Future research should continue to investigate the use of implementation intentions within interventions to improve health behaviors,” said Cullen.

Others who took part in the study include Dr. Debbe I. Thompson, a USDA scientist, and Yan Liu, both with Baylor.

No Increased Waste In Fruits And Vegetables

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Thank you to the Baylor College of Medicine for sharing this article with Your Health Journal…..

fruitswhiteStudy shows no increased waste in fruits and vegetables after implementation of new school lunch guidelines

In a study that compared food waste in elementary school cafeterias before and after the implementation of the new school lunch guidelines, researchers at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital found that there was no increase in waste after the new guidelines were put in place. Their report recently appeared in Preventive Medicine Reports.

The research was conducted at eight elementary schools in southeast Texas where dietitians anonymously observed what foods children in kindergarten through 5th grade selected in the cafeteria lunch line and how much of what they selected they actually ate.

“With the new guidelines, they have to select a fruit or vegetable on their tray to have the meal count as a reimbursable meal,” said Dr. Karen Cullen, professor of pediatrics at Baylor and the CNRC and first author of the paper.

Researchers observed that more fruits and juices were selected after the implementation of the new guidelines and for those students who selected these, they consumed the same amount as before. The only item with higher waste after the new guidelines were put in place was legumes. The requirement to select a fruit or vegetable in their meal did not lead to increased waste of these foods.

“There’s always going to be kids who leave food on their plate, you can’t get around that because you don’t want to force your kid to clean their plate if they are not hungry,” said Cullen. “You may take food but you may not be hungry enough to eat all of it – there’s a fine line.”

Cullen emphasized that we need to do more to be sure children are eating more fruits and vegetables, grains and proteins.

Others who took part in the study include Tzu-An Chen and Jayna M. Dave of Baylor and the CNRC.

This study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (no. R01HD068349). The project was funded in part by federal funds from the USDA/Agricultural Research Service.

Are Fruits And Vegetables What They Used To Be?

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By Dr. Michael Wald

An apple a day is not enough…and never was!
applevectorMore than a few studies have alluded to the fact that our fruits and vegetables these days are less nutritious than they used to be. A number of environmental factors have impacted the nutritional quality of a large variety of crops including fruits, vegetables and grains, including acid rain, over-harvesting of the soil, and organopesticide contamination. The reduced nutritional content of foods, higher acid and pesticide contents are all known to increase one’s risk of developing various diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hypothyroidism, osteoporosis and various cancers.

Acid rain and reduced nutritional content of soil
Acid rain has negatively affected crops and caused nutrient loss in the soil. This has caused a loss of nutrition that is taken in by growing crops. We eat nutritionally depleted crops, which cause us to become nutritionally depleted. Inadequate nutritional intake is associated with an increased risk of developing virtually all chronic degenerative diseases including cancers, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, migraines, infertility, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The soil has been over-harvested, meaning that over years of use and turnover of soil it has become depleted in nutrition. All crops growing in depleted soil are depleted in nutritional content. The pesticides and herbicides used in group processing both directly and indirectly affect nutritional content. Foodstuffs now are transported great distances, resulting in a loss of nutritional content along the way, specifically if the foods are not frozen during transit. Freezing foods help to maintain their nutritional content. The time from the harvesting of foodstuffs to their consumption at the table results in nutritional loss. The longer the time from harvest to consumption is, the lower the nutritional content. The overall production of more crops due to advancement in technologies has resulted in crops that are diluted in nutritional content; a greater yield of crops derived from the same soil will become progressively more and more depleted.

Goodbye selenium, hello cancer!
People should be concerned about nutritional depletion of foodstuff because we as consumers will, and have, become nutritional deficient. The levels of selenium in soil are estimated to be entirely absent within the next five years. This will increase cancer risk and human susceptibility to oxidative diseases (virtually all degenerative diseases are oxidative in nature).

healthycartFoods close to home
We can get more nutrition out of fruits and vegetables, even those that are inherently deficient based on what I have written above, by consuming foods closer to the time of harvesting as opposed to waiting long periods. Choosing to eat frozen foods as opposed to non-frozen (fresh) is best, because non -frozen foods lose nutritional value faster than frozen. This does not mean that fresh foods should not be consumed.

Cooking is not just cooking
Cooking foods more slowly reduces nutrient loss. Cooking foods at lower temperatures also reduces nutrient loss. Chewing foods thoroughly to break the plant cell walls of fruits and vegetables releases nutrients. Choose organically grown foods that contain less toxic residues that actually require nutrients for the body to process and detoxify them. We can choose to consume foods that are grown locally as smaller farms are not as over-harvested, so the soil has a higher nutrient content. Canned foods are the least healthy, generally speaking.

– Dr. Michael Wald, aka The Blood Detective, is the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, located in Westchester New York. He has appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, Channel 11 PIX, Channel 12 News, CNN, The Food Network and other media outlets. Dr. Wald earned the name Blood Detective for his reputation to find problems that are often missed by other doctors. He earned an MD degree, is a doctor of chiropractic and a certified dietician-nutritionist. He is also double-board certified in nutrition. He has published over a dozen books with three additional titles due for release late 2013 including: Frankenfoods – Genetically Modified Foods: Controversies, Lies & Your Health and Gluten-A-Holic: How to Live Gluten Free and the Blood Detective’s Longevity Secrets. Dr. Wald can be reached at: or or by calling: 914-242-8844.

Imagine World Peas

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by Kac Young PhD, ND, DCH

greenpeasThere is a surprising amount of incredible nutrition in a green peas. Peas pack a lot of nutrition in a tiny pod. They come from the legume family, like cannelli or navy beans and share the same nutritional payloads of fiber, protein and vitamins.

Green peas are one of the most nutritious leguminous vegetables, rich in health benefiting nutrients, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants.

Peas are also relatively low in calories in comparison to beans, and cow-peas. 100 g of green peas contains only 81 calories, and no cholesterol. These legumes are a good source of protein and soluble as well as insoluble fiber.

One half cup of peas has just as much protein ( 5 grams) as an egg or one tablespoon of peanut butter, but without the fat or cholesterol. Fresh peas are generally available from April to June, yet frozen peas retain all the taste and nutrition of fresh peas and are available all year long. Canned peas miss the mark. They lose most of their vitamin content and are packed with unhelpful salt and sugar.

In cooking peas, some people pulverize them (no offense Brits) and some people make them an afterthought. I say we start giving peas the respect they deserve and elevate them to higher place on our list of food choices.

You can use peas in a variety of different ways. I love to use them in low fat pasta salads, as a side dish with pearl onions, in green salads, stirred into a rice dish, paired with sautéed mushrooms or even added to freshly made guacamole. Try Heart Easy™ Peas Francoise alongside a rotisserie chicken for a delicious and heart-healthy meal. Or make up Heart Easy ™ Pasta, Tuna & Pea Salad which you can use as a meal or a side dish. Learn to love peas and take them to heart.

beanfranHeart Easy ™ Peas Francoise


8 ounces frozen peas, 1/4 cup water, two scallions slivered into one-inch pieces, 2-3 thin slices of fat free ham, julienned, 1 low fat butter substitute like Smart Balance Light, 1/2 cup of Boston lettuce slivers.


Combine all ingredients, except ham and butter substitute. Cook peas, scallions and water for 2-3 minutes. Pour off any remaining water and fold in the ham strips and butter substitute. Cook until butter substitute melts and ham is heated through. Add lettuce slivers at the last minute and serve.

(Traditional Peas Françoise includes the slivers of Boston lettuce. The lettuce adds both flavor and texture but you can omit if you choose.)

beanspastatunaHeart Easy ™ Pasta, Tuna & Pea Salad


1 (8 oz.) bag whole grain pasta (macaroni, penne, twists)
2 (5 oz.) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
4 celery ribs, diced
1 package (15 oz.) frozen peas, thawed
1/3-1/2 cup low fat Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions, but don’t overcook. Drain and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, combine pasta, celery, peas, mayonnaise. Stir until well-combined.
Add cayenne pepper and salt. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Top with fresh ground pepper.

Kac Young , a former television director and producer, has earned a Ph.D. in Natural Health and is a Doctor of both Clinical Hypnotherapy and Naturopathy. She is the author 10 books. Heart Easy is a system of nutritionally sound, delicious meals that promote heart health, long life and taste great. Traditional recipes are turned into heart healthy meals that anyone can make. The health results are outstanding.

Losing Your Memory? Try These 5 Science-Based Dietary Tips

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By Richard Isaacson, M.D. and Christopher Ochner, Ph.D.

(Adapted from their new book, “The Alzheimer’s Diet”)

brainDoctors have been recommending dietary changes to their patients with such conditions as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure for years. Soon they may be doing the same for patients suffering from poor memory function.

That’s because a host of new clinical studies have all found that specific nutritional interventions can significantly improve memory function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and those with mild cognitive impairment.

But you don’t have to have Alzheimer’s to benefit from the new findings. Eating a brain-healthy diet can also help those of us who, as we age, notice that our mind and memory just aren’t as sharp as they used to be.

Here are 5 memory-boosting dietary recommendations, based on the latest scientific research and clinical experience treating patients with AD and MCI.

1. Proportion your fat-carb-protein intake.

Every day, make sure that you aim for 25% of your total calories from brain-healthy good fat, which includes olive oil, avocados, certain nuts, natural peanut butter, certain seeds, and certain fish. Limit your intake of bad fats (most fast foods, anything hydrogenated, dried coconut, butter, animal fats, milk chocolate and white chocolate, and cheese). Consume 30-45% of your daily calories from complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables and whole foods that are low on the glycemic index), and wean yourself off high glycemic carbs (sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, processed cereals and grains, anything baked, whole milk and cream, ice cream and sorbet, crackers, salty snacks such as chips and pretzels, and anything made with white flour). Finally, get the other 25-35% of your calories from high-quality lean protein.

2. Boost your brain nutrients.

omega3Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are essential for memory function and brain health. Most of us don’t get enough from dietary sources (such as fish), so consider high-quality, pure fish oil supplements that contain a minimum of 250 mg of DHA in each capsule, and aim for 1,000-1,500 mg of DHA daily if approved by the treating physician. Antioxidant-rich foods are also great for mental function. Some of the best are berries, kale, 100% pure unsweetened cocoa powder, mushrooms, onions, beans, seeds, sardines, herring, trout, and Alaskan wild salmon. Finally, ensure adequate intake of folic acid, B6, B12, and vitamin D in particular. If you’re not eating vitamin-rich foods on a regular basis, it’s good to supplement as needed in pill or liquid form.

3. Eat whole foods, Mediterranean style.

A brain-healthy Mediterranean-style diet includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein (fish, chicken, and turkey); low-fat yogurt and cheeses; and grains, nuts, and seeds. Stay away from red meat and processed foods. Get in the habit of eating whole foods. What are whole foods? They’re foods that have only one ingredient–for example, strawberries, broccoli, or barley. If you must have a convenience (manufactured) food on occasion, find those packaged, canned, and frozen items with the fewest ingredients–especially ingredients that you readily recognize and understand.

4. Enjoy coffee and pure cocoa.

coffeeGood news for coffee lovers! Caffeinated coffee, 1-3 cups early in the day, may be beneficial over time to your brain. Studies done in Europe over several years demonstrate that men who drank coffee regularly for many years showed less of a decline on memory tests than those who did not drink coffee. More good news: An exciting new study released August 2012 showed that patients with mild cognitive impairment who had regular intake of the strong antioxidants found in pure dark cocoa powder had improvement in memory function.

5. Fast 12 hours at night.

If you routinely wake up at 6 a.m., try to eat your last meal at 6 p.m. the night before. There is scientific evidence that substances called ketone bodies, which are produced when there are no carbohydrates to burn for fuel, may have a protective effect on brain cells. This means no late-night snacking between dinner and breakfast.

– Learn more about nutritional interventions for Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment in The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach for Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment (, coauthored by Harvard-trained neurologist Richard Isaacson MD and Christopher Ochner PhD. Dr. Isaacson is an associate professor of clinical neurology specializing in Alzheimer’s disease and other memory and cognitive impairments at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Ochner is a leading researcher on nutrition and the brain at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center (Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons).

Variety: Why Eating A Rainbow Is Beneficial To Your Health

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By Jaclyn Forrester, Founder of Spark Plug Fitness

strawberriesIt’s widely known that fruits and veggies are an essential part of our diet. The pigment of fruits and vegetables offer a variety of phytonutrients essential to optimal health.

Phytonutrients are important because of their hunting skills. They hunt down free radicals, preventing them from damaging our cells and creating diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

While eating an apple a day or fixing a salad a day is a great habit, it is important to note the benefits of eating a variety of fruits and veggies. Think about your plate as a rainbow. As you begin your grocery shopping start in the produce section and try to include yellow, orange, green, red, white and blue.

Each color signifies different phytonutrients.

Let’s start with the yellow and orange color. Carrots are filled with beta-carotene. Carotene is an antioxidant that our bodies can convert to vitamin A. Vitamin A supports the immune system, reproductive system and improves bone health.

Green leafy veggies contain fiber. Fiber helps to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. It also improves the function of our digestive system.

Red fruits and veggies such as tomatoes and red peppers contain lycopene known for reducing the risk of heart attach and the risk of cancer; most notably prostate cancer.

Mushrooms and other white veggies are always noted but they are important. Mushrooms contain high quality protein with loads of vitamins helping to improve cardiovascular and digestive function.

greenpeppersBlue and purple fruits and veggies contain manganese and vitamins C, B1, B6 and potassium. They help to reduce platelet clumping and protecting bad cholesterol from free radical damage that initiates its artery-damaging actions.

Further proof that eating a wide variety of colors, types and cooking styles in your diet is extremely beneficial to your health.


– Jaclyn Forrester is the founder of Spark Plug Fitness. Spark Plug Fitness is all about providing a great customer experience through hands on wellness programs. These programs include health screenings, group fitness training, nutrition counseling, daily food journals, stress management sessions, on-line workout videos and health coaching. We strongly believe in helping organizations increase productivity, innovation, and motivation while decreasing absenteeism, stress and health care costs.

Certain Fruits And Vegetables Linked To Lower Breast Cancer Risk

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From Your Health Journal…..”This is one of those excellent articles that really supports the ‘you are what you eat’ school of thought with regards to diet and nutrition. Research is showing that eating certain colored fruits and vegetables (red and yellow) can lower the risk of breast cancer – – and probably other types of cancers. Our diet is so critical to our health, and we must fuel up properly to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is so important to teach young children to eat healthy at young ages, to help their bodies grow up strong with immune systems to fight off sickness. As always, Time magazine provides a great article for its readers.”

From the article…..

When it comes to foods that lower cancer risk, color may count.

Researchers report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that women loading up carotenoids, the micronutrients found in red, yellow and deeply colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes spinach and kale, showed lower rates of breast cancer than those who didn’t eat as many of these foods.

Previous studies looking at the link between carotenoid levels and breast cancer had varying results, with some reporting high levels associated with a reduced cancer risk and others finding no such link. Dr. Heather Eliassen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and her colleagues analyzed the data from eight cohort studies that cover over 80% of currently published research on carotenoids in the blood and breast cancer rates.

The researchers took the data, which covered over 3,000 participants and nearly 4,000 controls, and standardized the carotenoid levels measured in the blood by re-analyzing the participants’ blood samples at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Women with carotenoid levels in the the top 20% of measured ranges had a 15-20% reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those with carotenoid levels in the lowest category. “It looks like it is a linear relationship,” says Eliassen. ”The higher you go, the [lower] your risk is. There is some benefit at a moderate level of carotenoids and there is even more benefit at a higher level.”

To read the full story…..Click here