Green Nutrition News – Top 5 nutrition news items
Each week we bring you the latest plant based nutrition news and articles so you can stay informed and empowered.
This week our top 5 nutrition news items include some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric; ways to make healthy non-dairy ice-cream; dispelling common myths about cow’s milk and calcium consumption; the cancer and immunity-protecting properties of the humble mushroom, and whether or not vegan diets help with diabetes.
Why Turmeric May Be a Vegetarian’s Best Friend
Turmeric, a perennial plant belonging to the ginger family, has been used as a spice in Asia for thousands of years. Turmeric can provide a rich, orange-yellow colour to foods, and is used in canned beverages, baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn colour, cereals and sauces. Turmeric is a significant ingredient in most curry powders.
Turmeric also has known medicinal benefits. A recent press release published on 17 June 2015 reported a study that found the yellow pigment and active therapeutic ingredient of Turmeric, curcumin, enhanced the synthesis of DHA in the liver and brain from essential omega 3 fatty acid ALA.
According to researchers in the study, turmeric can be used to help convert plant derived omega-3 fats to DHA. This can potentially be helpful to individuals who do not eat animal-based food, or who are vegetarian/vegan.
Other studies highlighted by Dr Michael Greger on his Nutrition Facts website have shown turmeric/curcumin has protective effects against some cancers, including Multiple Myeloma, colon cancer, and some types of skin cancers .
Mushrooms Enhance Immune Function and Protect Against Cancer
According to Dr Fuhrman, mushrooms have certain phyto-chemicals such as beta-glucan, which enhance the activity of certain types of immunity or ‘killer’ cells in the body, which attack and destroy virus-infected and cancerous cells. These immune-enhancers are thought to help the body fight off microbial invaders and developing tumors, and prevent respiratory infections.
Mushrooms also have compounds that protect against the proliferation of stomach, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers.
Dr Fuhrman advises that mushrooms should only be eaten cooked. This is apparently because several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content.
How to make dairy-free ice-cream at home
Do you ever feel the need for a delicious frozen treat that won’t ruin your diet, that’s simple to prepare and make at home? Well, dairy-free ice-cream could be your answer
Vicki Brett-Gach, a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator writing on the T Colin Campbell Centre for Nutritional Studies website, shows you how make fresh, healthy vegan ice cream or sorbet in your own kitchen.
Vicki uses an ice-cream machine, but provides tips on how to make these treats using a blender or food processor instead. She showcases several of her favourite mouth-watering recipes, including Cinnamon Spiced Ice Cream; Tart Lemon Pineapple Ice with Fresh Blueberries; Bartlett Pear Sorbet and more.
Vicki’s ice-cream recipes are very easy and straightforward to make, and typically use non-dairy milk and maple syrup for the dairy and sugar alternatives, or simply fruit and dried fruit in the case of sorbets.
You can also check out our very own Vegan Mango Ice Cream recipe which we regularly enjoy here at Littlegreenhabits HQ.
So give these recipes a try and let us know how you found them!
Milk-Myths: Getting clarity about calcium
Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD is Founding Director of the UC Davis Integrative Medicine program and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine at the University of California, Davis.
Dr Oliveira recently wrote for the ‘Forks Over Knives’ website about calcium and dairy products. She explains how and why a whole food plant based diet can provide adequate calcium, and what can deplete calcium stores from your body.
A study showing the dangers of taking dietary calcium supplements is explored by Dr Oliveira, who notes in closing that:
“You don’t need dairy or supplements to get enough calcium (in fact they may be a hindrance rather than a help). As long as you eat a calorically sufficient whole-food, plant-based diet that drastically reduces or completely eliminates added sodium, you’ll get all the calcium you need.”
Are Vegan Diets effective against Diabetes?
An interesting study revealed last May in the Journal Nutrition & Diabetes was led by doctors and nutritionists at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a non-profit organization that looks for ways to reduce the amounts of medication being used by the patients with healthy diets.
Researchers in the study chose 17 overweight adults with diabetic neuropathy on a five month low-fat diet that consisted of fresh vegetables and high-fiber. This adult group also attended nutrition classes every week and took a vitamin B12 supplement
The participants were compared with 17 other adults, who received the vitamin but were not on the vegan diet. Those with the plant based diet said they felt better and had less pain. Tests done to participants also showed better blood circulation and nerve function. Not only that, the participants lost an average of 14 pounds.
Despite the encouraging findings of the study, doctors are not sure which part of the plant based diet caused the changes, if any. It could all just be them losing weight that made everything change, the researchers said.
Do you have Type 2 diabetes? Have you ever tried eating out as vegan? If so, have you noticed any changes?