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Natural Products Expo West 2014 Part Three

March 25, 2014 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

My third and final installment of news from the Natural Products Expo West focuses on a category of products known as “functional foods”. Basically, these are beverages, ingredients or packaged foods that are fortified with nutrients, phytochemicals and pre- or probiotics. In essence, they’re a hybrid of dietary supplements and healthy foods. The idea is to take an already wholesome food and increase its therapeutic potential by adding ingredients that aren’t normally present.

Reserveage, a company which manufacturers a line of unrefined chocolate supplements, introduced two functional cocoa powders at this year’s expo. I recommend their CocoaWell Unsweetened Organic Powder. Its use of two standardized cocoa extracts and the inclusion of additional flavanols from organic green tea and Acacia catechu or heartwood sets this product apart from most other chocolate snacks. The patented cocoa extracts provide a consistent amount of naturally occurring caffeine (34 mg/serving) and feature 250 mg of Chocamine, an extract that has been shown to enhance cognition via improved reaction time and short-term memory. Adding dietary fiber, green tea and heartwood also supports healthier blood sugar control. In fact, a recent publication at this year’s National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society reports that part of the benefits attributed to chocolate results from an interaction between the fiber and phytochemicals present in cocoa powder.

At long last, there’s a new tread in protein bars. Instead of exclusively focusing on chocolately, fruity or nutty flavors, Epic Bars use grass fed beef, bison and lamb as primary ingredients. But, they don’t stop there. Epic adds dried fruits (cherries, cranberries and currants) and a variety of herbs and spices to the mix. The resulting flavor is complex, mostly savory with a hint of natural sweetness. On the nutrition front, Epic Bars are winners because they’re dairy, gluten and nitrate free. They’re also low glycemic and boast a healthy ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fatty acids. Recent studies indicate that eating grass-fed bison and lamb increases blood levels of omega-3 fats and are better for the cardiovascular and immune systems in comparison to conventionally raised meat.

These days, more and more people are trying to avoid diet soda. And, while there are many all natural, sugar free options available, they’re generally devoid of meaningful nutrition. So, instead of simply swapping Diet Coke for a calorie free, stevia sweetened soda, why not try something like Kevita? This is a delicious, effervescent line of organic drinks that features antioxidant rich extracts, nutrients and probiotics. This year, Kevita introduced three new drinks: Blueberry Cherry, Hibiscus Berry Daily Cleanse and Tangerine. All three are supplemented with Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086 and magnesium citrate. B. coagulans is a clinically validated probiotic which regulates digestive and immune function. The fact that they contain added magnesium in a highly bioavailable form is an important bonus. Finally, Kevita is formulated in such a way so as to appeal to virtually everyone. It’s gluten and GMO-free, low calorie and vegan friendly. They even go the extra step of packaging their drinks in glass bottles to avoid plastic chemicals and the need for synthetic preservatives. Nicely done!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Chocamine Clinical Studies (link)

Study 2 - American Chemical Society: The Precise Reason for the Health Benefits (link)

Study 3 – Effect of Acacia Polyphenol on Glucose Homeostasis in Subjects with … (link)

Study 4 – Red Meat from Animals Offered a Grass Diet Increases Plasma & Platelet (link)

Study 5 - Fatty Acids of Lamb Meat from Two Breeds Fed Different Forage … (link)

Study 6 - Prostaglandin E₂ Production in Mice is Reduced by Consumption of Range (link)

Study 7 – Bison Meat has a Lower Atherogenic Risk Than Beef in Healthy Men (link)

Study 8 - Bacillus Coagulans: A Viable Adjunct Therapy for Relieving Symptoms of … (link)

Study 9 - Effects of a Proprietary Bacillus Coagulans Preparation on Symptoms (link)

Study 10 - A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Parallel (link)

Dark Chocolate Reduces Elevations in Post-Meal Blood Sugar

Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;81(3):611-4. (link)

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