Natural Products Expo West 2016 Part TwoApril 6, 2016 Written by JP [Font too small?]
The sub-title for this blog is, “Make It Better!”. Year-in and year-out, the one thing you can count on at Natural Products Expo West is a certain degree of flash and showmanship. Many of the exhibits are quite extravagant. You’ll find everything from comic book characters to marching bands all vying for your attention. But, oftentimes, some of the better products aren’t represented in this category. Instead of following the latest trends, they simply build upon traditional wisdom and aim to improve upon it in one way or another.
To be sure, bone broth, mayonnaise, prunes and tofu are not new entries in the health food marketplace. The fact that they’re so familiar to most people is indicative of their staying power. Having said that, long lasting popularity doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthy product. After all, Twinkies have been a best sellers for over 80 years!
Soy-Free Mayonnaise Made Better!
Two new mayonnaise products offer significant improvements on conventional brands. Primal Kitchen Mayo swaps out the usual, GMO soy oil and replaces it with organic avocado oil. What’s more, its ingredients are mostly organic. For those concerned about cardiovascular health, take heart. The latest research indicates that eggs do not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. And, including monounsaturated fats (like avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil) in your daily diet likely reduces that risk.
Even the healthiest type of mayonnaise isn’t appropriate for those with egg allergies and vegetarians. There are some vegan-friendly mayos currently available. Unfortunately, they typically contain soy, starches and other refined ingredients as a textural replacement for egg yolks. Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise bucks this trend by using aquafaba, the viscus liquid that is left after boiling chickpeas. I see this as an improvement because it puts an ingredient that would be otherwise wasted to good use, and allows egg- and soy-sensitive people to enjoy a mayonnaise-like spread with no adverse consequences.
Sprouted Tofu Made Better!
Although I don’t eat tofu myself, a great many people do – including some of my clients, family and friends. For them, a company by the name of Wildwood Foods has a line of organic, sprouted tofu products that is worth considering. The process of sprouting soy has been shown to increase protein by 13% compared to conventionally produced tofu. Also of note, sprouted tofu is significantly lower in phytic acid (-56%) and trypsin inhibitors (-81%) – naturally occurring substances that interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients in soy. As a bonus, a study from 2014 found that sprouted tofu actually tastes better.
Bone Broth Made Better!
Lately, bone broth has become quite the rage in butcher shops, health food stores and restaurants. Personally, I love traditionally made bone broth, whether beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork or turkey. I’m confident bone broth is a genuine super-food that ought be a staple in most diets, provided that the bones come from healthy animals. However, my belief, for the most part, isn’t rooted in a lot of modern science. The closest I’ve found to recent studies on the health benefits of bone broth or similar products relates to “chicken essence” and collagen peptides. Chicken essence is a variation of chicken soup that has a long history of medicinal use in Asia. Collagen peptides have a similar nutritional composition to bone broth. Basically, collagen peptides are a pure source of gelatin that is made more bioavailable by treating it with digestive enzymes. The end result is a virtually flavorless powder that doesn’t congeal like gelatin.
A company called Epic has a delicious, new line of beef, chicken and turkey broths that contain about 10 grams of protein per cup serving. I suspect the regular use of traditional bone broth, such as this product, will impart comparable effects to that of collagen peptides, namely the promotion of healthier connective tissue. Several trials published over the last two years report that collagen peptide supplements improve facial skin condition, reduce the appearance of cellulite and work in conjunction with resistance exercise to counteract age-related muscle loss in older men.
Dried Plums aka Prunes Made Better!
It’s probably going to take more than this column to make prunes sexy. But, the fact is, dried plums (sounds better, right?) truly deserve their day in the spotlight. The March 2016 edition of the journal Phytotherapy Research documents a plethora of prune-related health benefits, including antioxidant and antiallergic properties, a bone strengthening effect, cognitive enhancement and reduced cardiovascular risk. And then, there’s the most commonly known reason for eating prunes: to alleviate constipation. Irregularity can be particularly apparent and bothersome during travel. That’s why I frequently recommend bringing a resealable bag of organic prunes on trips. This works well, but lugging around a heavy, unwieldy bag of dried fruit isn’t exactly ideal. This is where Fruit Bliss comes into the picture. At this years Expo West, they introduced small, travel friendly bags containing ten organic “mini-prunes” weighing about 50 grams. Tiny! They’re easy to pack, yet boast an appropriate dosage to get things done. The fact that Fruit Bliss uses organic prunes is important as well. Organically grown prunes are higher in antioxidant phytochemicals such as anthocyanins and polyphenols.
I think it’s pretty obvious how to use most of the products highlighted here today. The one possible exception is bone broth. Not everyone enjoys drinking hot, savory beverages on a daily basis. If that’s you, think about adding high quality bone broth to some of your everyday recipes. In particular, try using bone broth instead of water as a base for mashed cauliflower or potatoes, quinoa, rice and soups. This simple swap balances out the nutritional profile of foods that are otherwise light in amino acids. Also, this is an effortless way to bolster the protein content of diets that require more of this essential nutrient without adding a lot of bulk.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Associations of Egg and Cholesterol Intakes with Carotid Intima-Media … (link)
Study 2 – Hen Egg as an Antioxidant Food Commodity: A Review … (link)
Study 3 – Impact of Avocado-Enriched Diets on Plasma Lipoproteins: A Meta- … (link)
Study 4 – Dietary Fat Intake and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause … (link)
Study 5 – Effect of Sprouting of Soybean on the Chemical Composition and Quality … (link)
Study 6 – Bioavailability of Micronutrients from Plant Foods: An Update … (link)
Study 7 – Bioaccessibility of Polyphenols from Wheat (Triticum Aestivum) … (link)
Study 8 – Ingestion of Bioactive Collagen Hydrolysates Enhance Facial Skin … (link)
Study 9 – Dietary Supplementation with Specific Collagen Peptides Has a Body … (link)
Study 10 – Collagen Peptide Supplementation in Combination with Resistance … (link)
Egg Breakfast Lowers Diabetic Inflammation and Liver Enzymes (ALT & AST)
Source: Nutrients. 2015 May; 7(5): 3449–3463. (link)
Tags: Broth, Prunes, Soy
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition