As a person with RA (rheumatoid arthritis), a chronic, inflammatory, autoimmune disease that’s left me with disfigured feet and a lifetime of morning stiffness, I was excited to read this latest study on coffee. Coffee- my absolute favorite way to start my day! But if tea is your thing, keep reading.
The study from the University of Copenhagen found that the antioxidants found in coffee when paired with protein from milk may have anti-inflammatory effects. If bacteria, viruses, or other unknown compounds get into our bodies, our immune systems kick in and release white blood cells to protect us, causing inflammation.
Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant can be found in humans, plants, fruit, and vegetables. The food industry also uses antioxidants to reduce the oxidation and breakdown of food. This prevents rancidity and off-flavors in food. These chemicals also protect people by reducing oxidative stress that causes inflammation in the body.
Limited studies are available about polyphenols and how they might interact with proteins in foods that we eat.
Researchers at the Department of Food Science, along with researchers from the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, at the University of Copenhagen studied how polyphenols behave when combined with amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. The results of this study are exciting!
According to Professor Marianne Nissen Lund from the Department of Food Science, who headed the study, “We show that as a polyphenol reacts with an amino acid, its inhibitory effect on inflammation in immune cells is enhanced. As such, it is clearly imaginable that this cocktail could also have a beneficial effect on inflammation in humans. We will now investigate further, initially in animals. After that, we hope to receive research funding which will allow us to study the effect in humans,”.
Fighting Inflammation with a Breakfast Beverage
The researchers studied the anti-inflammatory impact of polyphenols plus protein by applying artificial inflammation to immune cells. A control group received no treatment while some of the cells received different doses of polyphenols that reacted with an amino acid. Other cells received only polyphenols.
In the immune cells treated with polyphenols and amino acids, researchers noted there was a double impact on fighting inflammation compared to those that received only polyphenols. While this experiment was done on a cell line, the researcher’s next move is to study the impact on animals.
“It is interesting to have now observed the anti-inflammatory effect in cell experiments. And obviously, this has only made us more interested in understanding these health effects in greater detail. So, the next step will be to study the effects in animals,” says Associate Professor Andrew Williams of the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, who is also a senior author of the study.
Discovered in Coffee and Milk
Prior research by this group showed that polyphenols bind to proteins in meat, milk, and beer. In another study, they tested to see if the molecules also bind to each other using coffee and milk. Coffee is a source of polyphenols and milk contains proteins.
The reaction occurs between polyphenols and protein in the coffee drinks containing milk that were evaluated, according to Marianne Nissen Lund, one of the researchers.
The researchers believe this reaction may also have anti-inflammatory effects when other foods containing polyphenols and proteins are combined, such as meat or fish with fruits and vegetables. This is promising research as inflammation drives diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
“Because humans do not absorb that much polyphenol, many researchers are studying how to encapsulate polyphenols in protein structures which improve their absorption in the body. This strategy has the added advantage of enhancing the anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenols,” explains Marianne Nissen Lund.
While my picture shows dark roast coffee, lighter roast coffee is actually higher in polyphenols. Roasting coffee results in some losses of these plant chemicals. If you like the mug, find it here: Deja brew | Sound Bites Nutrition
Facts on Polyphenols
- Polyphenols are a group of naturally occurring antioxidants needed by humans.
- They protect organs from damage and destruction by preventing and delaying the oxidation of healthy chemical substances.
- Fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee, red wine, and beer are sources of polyphenols.
- Polyphenols are used in the food industry to reduce the oxidation of fats, protect food from deteriorating and avoid rancidity and off flavors.
Tips to combine polyphenols with proteins:
- Enjoy Greek yogurt with your favorite fresh or frozen berries.
- Add milk to coffee. Use skim or 1% to limit saturated fat.
- Try pineapple, peaches, or berries in cottage cheese.
- Include beans, lentils, tuna, or hard-boiled eggs to tossed salads.
- Enjoy an apple with peanut butter.
- Add chopped spinach, peppers, and tomatoes to meat sauces.
- Top grilled fish, chicken or other meat with grilled zucchini, peppers, or asparagus
- Include lots of vegetables in your stir-fried chicken, seafood, or tofu.
- Jingyuan Liu, Mahesha M. Poojary, Ling Zhu, Andrew R. Williams, Marianne N. Lund. Phenolic Acid–Amino Acid Adducts Exert Distinct Immunomodulatory Effects in Macrophages Compared to Parent Phenolic Acids. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2023; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.2c06658
November is National Diabetes Month. I had the chance to discuss diabetes prevention today on channel 9 (WCPO) news. I feel like I bring a lot of pantry and fridge samples to segments but want to give people an idea of what to eat!
Diabetes runs in my family and I myself, have pre-diabetes. My diet is not perfect, but I do try to do the right thing like walking most days of the week and limiting sweets. I try not to eat after dinner and play pickleball for stress relief!
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may hear conflicting information on what to eat, especially after your diagnosis. All too often, people with diabetes think they need to avoid carbohydrates and other favorite foods in their diet. In reality, when you have diabetes, you should be able to eat anything you’d like, but in smaller amounts.
The quantity and frequency of your foods, even healthy foods, matters. This review aims to give you specific, realistic tips on what foods to include when you have diabetes to help you create an eating plan that’s right for you.
Can I eat breads or cereals when I have diabetes?
You can still manage your blood sugar effectively if you’re eating bread, toast, a bun, or a wrap. There are several varieties of nutritious bread for individuals with diabetes. Go for those labeled 100% whole grain (or whole wheat), sprouted grain, high in fiber, or sourdough. If bread is labeled “multi-grain,” read the ingredients for whole grains used and check the fiber content (look for a few grams of fiber per slice.)
Several bread brands are available on the market that are lower in calories and carbs. Some varieties like cloud bread or cauliflower-based bread are examples. In addition, you can find “thin” or “skinny” bagels, bread, or sandwich thins, which also tend to have fewer calories and carbs. Look for whole-grain bread, wraps, and buns that contain at least two grams of fiber or more per serving. The amount of fiber is listed in the “Nutrition Facts” section of the food label.
Cereals such as rolled oats, shredded wheat, bran flakes and other high-fiber, low-sugar cereals are encouraged, in moderate amounts. Add ground flaxseed, chia seeds, chopped nuts or even protein powder. This helps manage blood sugar and appetite. You can add a few raisins or dried cranberries but keep the serving small as dried fruit is higher in sugar than fresh. A teaspoon will do it.
Am I supposed to avoid fruit when I have diabetes?
No! One other myth that individuals with diabetes may hear is that fruit is off-limits and bad for your blood sugar. Not true! Fruit provides vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients beneficial for blood sugar management and overall health. Fruit juice, fruit cocktail, and canned or frozen fruit packed in syrup or sugar may raise blood sugar.
Choose whole fruit in place of juice for more fiber and phytochemicals (plant chemicals that aid in disease prevention). Choose fresh or frozen fruit packed without added sugar. Include lots of colorful vegetables when possible. These are low in calories and carbohydrates but a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Fresh or frozen are welcome!
Of all the fruits, berries, including blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, have the lowest sugar content. Kiwi, citrus fruit, melon, apples, bananas, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, and nectarines can also be included in your diet, though serving sizes may vary depending on the type of fruit consumed. Dried fruit such as apricots, dates, mangoes, raisins, or prunes have more concentrated sugar, so serving sizes are smaller. Think of these like candy instead of fruit.
What kind of snacks can I eat when I have diabetes?
When deciding what kinds of snacks to eat when you have diabetes, consider your food preferences and what you enjoy eating. Eating foods that contain fiber and protein may help keep blood sugar levels in check. For example, pair an apple with string cheese or whole-grain crackers with peanut butter or a hard-boiled egg.
Including snacks that are lower in carbs between meals is best to help prevent elevated blood sugar levels before meals. Items such as veggies with hummus or yogurt-based dip, low-fat string cheese, nuts or seeds, or turkey jerky are lower in carbs to help manage blood sugar spikes.
Other snacks could include sugar snap peas or pepper strips with avocado or yogurt dip, grape tomatoes, light cheese chunks, or almonds with a high fiber, low sugar cold cereal (such as shredded wheat or bran Chex). Edamame (green soybeans), nuts, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds are other tasty snacks for individuals with diabetes that have fewer carbs, fat, and sodium than chips.
What are some healthy meal choices for diabetes?
When it comes to managing your blood sugar, health is in your hands! Making meals at home allows you to take control of the ingredients to manage your blood sugar better. Unwanted ingredients such as added sugar, salt, or excess fat can be limited when creating meals at home. Eating at home helps with portion control and food costs, too.
Be sure to include fresh foods in their whole form to obtain adequate fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in your diet that are necessary for the best health. Use whole-grain bread and other grains, including brown rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, farro, and other high fiber grains. Make homemade chicken nuggets instead of processed ones to limit the fat and sodium in your meals. Have baked or mashed potatoes in place of French fries.
Limit red meat and especially processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, sausage, etc.). Both have been linked with higher rates of diabetes. Protein sources such as fish, poultry, eggs, tofu, plain yogurt, and low-fat cheese are welcome. Baking, broiling, or grilling are healthier cooking methods than deep frying. Keep in mind that breading will add unnecessary carbohydrates to your meals! Beans, peas, and lentils provide protein, carbs, and fiber in your diet. Because they’re a carbohydrate source, treat them as a “grain” in your diet when meal planning. Typically, a half cup of cooked beans or lentils is a serving.
What types of fat should I eat?
There’s nothing wrong with fat. It’s tasty and helps you feel satisfied! However, large portions can make managing blood sugars and weight challenging. Try smaller amounts when eating or cooking with fats (one tablespoon is a service).
In general, choosing plant-based liquid fats like natural peanut butter, nuts, seeds, olive, canola, and avocado oil is beneficial for cholesterol management over animal fats like lard and butter. Choose mustard, hummus, or guacamole for condiments and vinegar-based dressings for salads to help keep your fat portions and calories in check.
The Plate method is a simple, effective way to plan meals. Make half of your plate vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or leafy greens, one quarter of it a starchy food like potatoes, rice, pasta, and one quarter of it lean protein like chicken, fish or lean pork, or beef. The Plate Method ensures a balance of nutrients in your diet to help manage blood sugar.
To wrap it up:
- Eat foods you enjoy in moderation.
- Choose whole-grain bread, cereals, and other grains when possible.
- Include lots of vegetables and lower-sugar fruit in your diet.
- Snack on foods low in calories and carbohydrates but provide fiber and protein.
- Make meals at home to control ingredients and portion sizes.
- Pick lean, plant-based proteins when possible.
- Choose low-fat cooking methods when preparing meals.
- Use the plate method to plan balanced meals.
For more information on diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment of diabetes, go to the American Diabetes Association website: American Diabetes Association | Research, Education, Advocacy
While we all experience stressful times in our lives when we can’t find our keys or walk into a room and forget why we’re there, dementia is a little different. June is dedicated to Alzheimer’s awareness and prevention. Keep reading to learn more.
Dementia occurs when neurons in the brain lose their functionality and are no longer able to communicate with other brain cells and eventually die. In addition to memory loss, individuals may have loss of reasoning skills, language and ability to focus.
Personality changes as well as trouble controlling emotions may also develop. As the disease progresses, individuals may forget to eat, have difficulty swallowing or have trouble recognizing family and friends.
Unfortunately, there is no current cure for dementia, so prevention is key. It’s estimated that up to 40% of cases of dementia could be prevented.
Incidence of dementia
The CDC predicts that by 2060, nearly 14 million adults will be diagnosed with dementia. Despite what people believe, dementia is not a normal part of aging. Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common type, but individuals may develop vascular dementia related to previous strokes or other causes that limit blood flow to the brain, such as high blood pressure. 1
Reducing blood pressure was associated with a reduction in dementia and cognitive impairment according to a recent meta-analysis of studies in over 96,150 patients. The duration of the study was over 4 years and included subjects whose blood pressure was controlled through medication.
Diet and dementia
Controlling blood pressure through diet is also beneficial in reducing risk for dementia. Combining DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) with a Mediterranean diet is known appropriately as the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay). 2
The diet was developed through a study done by the National Institutes of Aging in 2015 by a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center. The diet reduced risk of Alzheimer’s by 35% in those following it moderately and strict followers had a 53% reduced risk. 2
The diet is heavily plant-based, advising up to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds and sources of omeg-3-fatty acids have all been found to play a part in reducing the risk for dementia.
Here’s what to include:
Leafy greens– contain antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage. A researcher at Tuft’s found that eating a cup and a half of greens daily reduced the risk of developing memory deficits associated with dementia. Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale and spinach fall into this category. 3
Blueberries- contain anthocyanin, a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant that gives blueberries their beautiful hue. They’re believed to reduce inflammation and protect cells of the brain from damage that leads to dementia. Experts suggest a minimum of ½ cup of berries at least once per week. Blackberries, raspberries and strawberries may also protect brain health. 3
Nuts and seeds- are a source of polyunsaturated fat as well as magnesium and phytochemicals, which help regular blood pressure. Diets containing regular intake of various nuts and seeds (a few handfuls per week) have been shown to reduce the risk of dementia. 3
Fatty fish- such as salmon or mackerel in addition to plant-based foods like walnuts and flaxseeds, are a source of omega-3-fatty acids. These fats help reduce inflammation, which may damage brain tissue. A recent research study showed that brain scans of healthy, older adults were less likely to indicate signs of vascular disease (a risk factor for dementia) when the subjects consumed at least two servings of fish per week. 4
Beans and lentils- known as “pulses” in the nutritional world, are plant-based sources of protein that are beneficial for brain health. A source of soluble fiber, beans and lentils help regulate high blood sugar, which has been linked with the risk of vascular dementia. Enjoy them two to three times per week in place of high fat meats. 5
Dementia does not have to be your destiny. Healthy aging is in your hands!
- The Truth About Aging and Dementia (cdc.gov)
- What is the MIND Diet? A Detailed Beginner’s Guide | U.S. News Best Diets (usnews.com)
- Miranda A, Gómez-Gaete C, Mennickent S. Dieta mediterránea y sus efectos benéficos en la prevención de la enfermedad de Alzheimer [Role of Mediterranean diet on the prevention of Alzheimer disease]. Rev Med Chil. 2017 Apr;145(4):501-507.
- Aline Thomas, PhD student, Inserm U1219, Bordeaux Population Health Research Center, Bordeaux University, France; Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, LD, program director and associate professor, department of clinical nutrition, school of health professions, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Neurology, Nov. 3, 2021
- Ramdath D, Renwick S, Duncan AM. The Role of Pulses in the Dietary Management of Diabetes. Can J Diabetes. 2016 Aug;40(4):355-63
We all carry traits of our parents. Maybe it’s our eyes, nose, chin, hair, or smile. For me, it’s many of those features. I have my dad’s green eyes, wavy hair, and thin-lipped smile. I also inherited his sense of humor. We were always joking around. I miss his funny quips and laugh.
I lost my dad in 2003 when I was pregnant. I was so ‘eggcited’ to be pregnant but also incredibly sad knowing he’d never meet our kids. My girls have his sense of humor, too.
If my dad were alive, I’m sure he’d share in creating my food puns. While he might not have worn tee shirts, I guarantee he’d use my food pun mugs. I inherited his love for coffee!
In honor of my dad (born in 1928), I’m having a Father’s Day sale. As my food puns have often been called “bad dad jokes”, it seems only fitting! I’m sure he would have worn at least a few of my tee shirts.
Now through June 19, use code Dad28 and take 28% off all food pun swag. I’ve got mugs, tees, tanks, totes, and more!
Ask yourself- who is your gyro? For me, it will always be my dad. RIP dad. I look forward to coffee and bad jokes with you on the other side.
Link to gyro tee: We could be gyros Short-sleeve unisex t-shirt | Sound Bites Nutrition
Link to Lettuce Beet Hunger shop:Lettuce Beet Hunger Food Pun Shop | Sound Bites Nutrition
Yes, Thanksgiving is behind us, but some of the leftovers remain. If you’re like my family, you’ve probably enjoyed turkey soup, turkey tacos, ham and bean soup and Western omelets. Or maybe you froze some of the meat or other goodies?
But what about that delicious cranberry relish? Besides adding it as a condiment to your turkey sandwich, what else can you use it for?
If you’ve followed my blog before, you know I hate food waste. My parents grew up in the depression era (many moons ago), so we didn’t waste a pea on our plates. I fully recognize food insecurity in the US, and it kills me to toss out perfectly good food.
The mighty cranberry
Cranberry relish is popular at holiday time because cranberries are in season from September to November. Their festive crimson color also lends itself to beautiful dishes of sauce, compote and dessert. If you’ve never made homemade cranberry sauce, it’s ridiculously easy. Recipe to follow!
Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C as well as antioxidants to help fight disease. Some research suggests they may reduce the risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections) as well. Cranberry Polyphenols and Prevention against Urinary Tract Infections: Relevant Considerations – PubMed (nih.gov)
Using leftover cranberry sauce
Leftover cranberry sauce should be used within 7 to 10 days or can be frozen and used within a month. I’m sure if you used the cranberry sauce a bit after 10 days (say 12 days), you’ll be OK. It’s acidic by nature and likely won’t mold quickly.
Note- you’ll still have some leftover cranberry sauce with this recipe. If you’ve never tried it in yogurt, now is a good ‘thyme’! It’s great in Greek yogurt or you can also add it to cooked oatmeal.
I enjoy using quinoa in various recipes because of its awesome nutritional profile (good source of fiber, iron and protein), ease of cooking and versatility. I had some mixed quinoa on hand and decided to cook some up for breakfast.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it a great grain for those with Celiac disease or anyone following a gluten-free diet. While it’s often used in grain bowls, salads or side dishes, it can also be used for breakfast. Why not?
Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to remove tannins that give the grain a metalic taste. A mesh strainer works well for this.
Fresh cranberry sauce
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar or honey
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 (12 oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water, orange juice, sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and ginger paste and boil for 3 minutes.
- Add the fresh or frozen cranberries and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat and stir the mixture occasionally. Allow it to simmer for 15 minutes. Cranberries will split open as they cook, and the mixture will thicken.
- Cool the sauce for 20 to 30 minutes before storing in the fridge or freezer.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving 111 calories, 0 gm fat, .3 gm protein, 27 carbs, 1.7 fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium
1 cup dried quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup almonds or other nuts, chopped
- Rinse quinoa in a mesh strainer before using.
- Place quinoa and water in a medium pan and boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Cook quinoa for 13 to 14 minutes until all the water is soaked up.
- Serve 1/2 cup warm quinoa with 1 Tbsp. cranberry sauce.
- Top with 1 Tbsp. chopped almonds or other nuts.
Quiona and cranberry sauce with almonds
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 300 calories, 6.3 gm fat, 6.3 gm protein, 50 grams carbs,4.5 gm fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium
I’m whiskin’ it all! Now’s the best thyme to get your food pun swag ordered for the holidays! Take a break from the turkey and have a few laughs while you peruse my shop.
Today through Cyber Monday! Use code BF25 at check out for 25% off all food pun swag. Chews from Praise Cheeses, Olive you, This. Is. The. Wurst, Oh. My Gouda and more!
This includes tees, totes, onesies, hoodies and mugs! From Avo nice day to “Won’t you be vine?”- your foodie friends won’t be disappointed with a fun, food pun tee or tote.
As always, part of proceeds goes towards those suffering food insecurity in Cincinnati including https://lasoupe.org
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