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Natural Products Expo West 2014 Part One

March 14, 2014 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

What does it feel like to be surrounded by 67,000 members of the natural health community? On most days, I couldn’t possibly tell you. But, a little over a week ago, that’s exactly where I found myself – at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. It’s quite an experience! There were over 2,600 exhibitors and dozens of educational presentations. Thankfully, I brought along my most comfortable walking shoes (Sanuks), a big appetite for all of the sampling and, most importantly, Team Healthy Fellow!

This year’s expo was approximately 5% larger than in 2013, and there are already plans to expand it further in 2015. This comes as no surprise as new estimates reveal that the natural products market is poised to grow roughly 8% yearly to a whopping $226 billion dollar industry by 2018. The fastest growing segment is clearly all-natural, specialty foods. Here are five noteworthy examples that we saw at this year’s convention:

Food Find #1: Grower Pete’s Organic Living Watercress (link)

Watercress isn’t yet a staple in the US. However, recent studies indicate that it ought to be due to its high antioxidant and phytochemical composition. Peer reviewed trials have shown that regularly eating this superfood can reduce DNA damage and lipid peroxidation, which play an important role in the development of numerous diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer.

Food Find #2: So Delicious Unsweetened Cashew Milk (link)

An on-going trend at Expo West is the increasing availability of dairy alternatives. While homemade cashew milk is best, this fortified, sugar-free beverage is certainly more convenient for daily use. Besides, according to the scientific literature, adding more nuts to your diet is a practical way of increasing nutrient density and lowering “cause-specific” and “total” mortality.

Food Find #3: Organic Prairie Summer Sausages (link)

That’s right! I’m recommending sausages! But, not just any sausage. These are delicious, uncured and made from pasture raised beef and other organic ingredients, such as celery seed powder and jalapeno flakes. Because they’re grass fed, they also have a healthier omega-3:omega-6 ratio and contain the rare fatty acids known as CLA or conjugated linoleic acids. Current studies reveal that CLA and omega-3 fatty acids may be particularly beneficial for those with cardiovascular conditions because of their effect on inflammatory and oxidative markers. One caveat: these sausages, like most sausages, are high in sodium. So, I recommend eating them in moderation.

Food Find #4: Latta Organic Coconut Milk Kefir (link)

I plan to forward this column to Dr. Andrew Weil. Why? Last Friday, he gave a lecture in which he expressed his continued reservations about the health effects of coconut milk and oil. I want him and you to know that well designed trials argue against his doubts. In fact, coconut milk tends to improve lipid profiles – lowering LDL (“bad”) and raising HDL (“good”) cholesterol. What’s more, adding beneficial bacteria to the mix and forming, non-dairy kefir makes it even healthier. The probiotics contained in kefir balance the microbiota in the gut and positively influence digestion, immune function, metabolic syndrome and beyond.

Food Find #5: Living Intentions Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds (link)

The great thing about sprouting nuts and seeds is that it improves their texture and increases their nutrient profile. Sprouted nuts and seeds are actually crunchy although they haven’t been roasted. Perhaps more importantly, including more seeds in your diet is a powerful way to improve blood sugar regulation. In the case of pumpkin seeds, you also get a wealth of essential minerals (magnesium, manganese, zinc), a hefty dose of dietary fiber and protein.

Special Mention: Mrs. Healthy Fellow gives kudos to KIND Bars! They continue to come up with new, sweet and now savory bars that are low in sugar and high in flavor. Her favorite: Caramel Almond and Sea Salt … Coming soon to a health food store near you!

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

Study 1 – Acute & Chronic Watercress Supplementation Attenuates Exercise (link)

Study 2 – Watercress Supplementation in Diet Reduces Lymphocyte DNA Damage … (link)

Study 3 – Evaluation of the Content and Bioaccessibility of Iron, Zinc, Calcium(link)

Study 4 – Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality (link)

Study 5 – Fatty Acid Profiles, Meat Quality, and Sensory Attributes of Organic … (link)

Study 6 – Effect of Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Fatty Acid (link)

Study 7 – Influence of Fermented Milk Products, Prebiotics and Probiotics on (link)

Study 8 – Impact of a Traditional Dietary Supplement with Coconut Milk and Soya … (link)

Study 9 – Effects of Dietary Milled Seed Mixture on Fatty Acid Status and (link)

Study 10 – Hypoglycemic Effect of Pumpkin Seeds, Trigonelline, Nicotinic Acid (link)

Watercress Intake Reduces DNA Damage, Improves Antioxidant Status

Source: Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Feb;85(2):504-10. (link)

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Posted in Diabetes, Food and Drink, Nutrition

8 Comments & Updates to “Natural Products Expo West 2014 Part One”

  1. Paul Says:

    Hi Healthy Fellow,

    Me and my wife do not miss any opportunity to learn your valuable research! We also share with our friends because we believe you can help us to prevent rather than cure sicknesses!

    Keep up you great work! Your audience will be grateful !


  2. JP Says:

    Thank you, Paul! I appreciate your kindness and support!

    Be well!


  3. Sylvia Stewart Says:

    Very interesting info about the sprouted seeds..sound yummy too! Also glad to hear Mrs. Healthy Fellow’s endorsement of KIND bars which I really like but was unsure how healthful they are. That flavor sounds particularly delicious as I love anything with caramel and sea salt! 🙂

  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Sylvia!

    Some of the KIND bars are actually quite healthy – containing mostly nuts and only 4-6 grams of sugar per bar. I believe the Caramel Almond Sea Salt bar has 5 grams of sugar. Not bad for an occasional treat!

    Be well!


  5. rob Says:

    Im a fan of the KIND coconut almond bar, looking forward to that Cashew milk.

  6. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I like the taste too. But, keep in mind that some flavors are higher in sugar than others. I believe the coconut almond bar has twice as much sugar as some of the other options such as:

    + Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt

    + Madagascar Vanilla Almond

    + Cashew & Ginger Spice

    And, of course, the forthcoming Caramel Almond Sea Salt!

    Be well!


  7. rob Says:

    I guess that’s why I like it so much 😉 I rarely eat them anymore, id like to try that Choc/Sea salt one

  8. ben Says:

    A few years back I was surprised to see how difficult (i.e. impossible) it is to find watercress on the west coast.

    Hopefully Grower Pete can strike a distributor in so. cal!

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