Flavonoids, the chemicals that give plant foods their bright colors, may help curb the frustrating forgetfulness and mild confusion of advancing age. Eating colorful fruits and vegetables may be good for your brain.
A new study, one of the largest such analyses to date, has found that flavonoids, the chemicals that give plant foods their bright colors, may help curb the frustrating forgetfulness and mild confusion that older people often complain about with advancing age, and that sometimes can precede a diagnosis of dementia. The study was observational so cannot prove cause and effect, though its large size and long duration add to growing evidence that what we eat can affect brain health.
The scientists used data from two large continuing health studies that began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in which participants periodically completed diet and health questionnaires over more than 20 years. The analysis included 49,693 women whose average age was 76, and 51,529 men whose average age was 73.
The scientists calculated their intake of about two dozen commonly consumed kinds of flavonoids — which include beta carotene in carrots, flavone in strawberries, anthocyanin in apples, and other types in many other fruits and vegetables. The study appears in the journal Neurology.
The degree of subjective cognitive decline was scored using “yes” or “no” answers to seven questions: Do you have trouble remembering recent events, remembering things from one second to the next, remembering a short list of items, following spoken instructions, following a group conversation, or finding your way around familiar streets, and have you noticed a recent change in your ability to remember things?
The higher the intake of flavonoids, the researchers found, the fewer “yes” answers to the questions. Compared with the one-fifth of those with the lowest intake of flavonoids, the one-fifth with the highest were 19 percent less likely to report forgetfulness or confusion.
According to the senior author, Dr. Deborah Blacker, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, these long-term findings suggest that starting early in life with a flavonoid-rich diet may be important for brain health.
For young people and those in midlife, she said, “the message is that these things are good for you in general, and not just for cognition. Finding ways that you enjoy incorporating these things into your life is important. Think about: How do I find fresh produce and cook it in a way that’s appetizing? — that’s part of the message here.”
The study controlled for diet apart from flavonoid intake and for physical activity, alcohol consumption, age and body mass index, among other factors that may affect the risk for dementia. Importantly, it also controlled for depression, whose symptoms in older people can easily be mistaken for dementia.
The researchers looked not only at total flavonoid consumption, but also at about three dozen specific flavonoid-containing foods. Higher intakes of brussels sprouts, strawberries, winter squash and raw spinach were most highly associated with better scores on the test of subjective cognitive decline. The associations with consumption of onions, apple juice and grapes were significant, but weaker.
“These are the foods you should be eating for brain health,” said Dr. Thomas M. Holland, a researcher at the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging who was not involved in the study. “There’s some really good data here with 20 years of follow-up.” Still, he added, further follow-up would be needed to determine whether foods might affect the risk of developing dementia.
Paul F. Jacques, a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer United States Agriculture Department Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University who had no part in the research, said: “In terms of scientific advance, this adds to the literature, and it’s a really well done study. It’s a medium sized step, not a large step, going in the direction of helping us to identify the early period in which we can intervene successfully” to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Blacker pointed to broader policy issues. “If we can make a world in which everyone has access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said, “that should help improve many health issues, and lengthen life span.”
There is much discussion online regarding the benefits of juicing. Some are for, while others are against. As part of a balanced diet, juicing can be an effective tool to promote optimal health. However, not all juicing methods are equal. Store-bought 100% fruit juice affects the body quite differently compared to fresh cold-pressed low-glycemic-index vegetable juice high in live enzymes, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Advantages and benefits of adding cold-pressed juice to the diet include prevention or management of chronic diseases as well as numerous other benefits, as discussed below. For the best cold press juice we recommend using the Naturopress cold press juicer which extracts more live enzymes, nutrients and antioxidents compared to centrifugal juicers. You can now buy the Naturopress cold press juicer using afterpay or zippay for interest free installments.
Benefits of Juicing #1: Juicing is a low-calorie, high-nutrient powerhouse.
It’s no secret that drinking freshly-extracted cold-pressed juice provides your body with a myriad of valuable vitamins and minerals. However, calories start to add up quickly when fruit juice is incorporated. By adding just a small quantity of fruit juice to naturally low-calorie vegetable juice, the end product retains its sweetness and still packs an impressive nutritional punch, all while minimizing calorie intake.
Benefits of Juicing #2: Some types of juice may help to lower high blood pressure.
Although not every type of juice affects blood pressure, clinical research has shown promising results linking decreased blood pressure in people with hypertension. By lowering high blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular disease is also reduced, especially in people who are obese, diabetic, or those with ischemic diseases.
Beetroot juice: One double-blind, randomized controlled study examined the effect of beetroot juice on hypertension. The researchers concluded that 250 mL beetroot juice per day for 4 weeks lowered high blood pressure about 7 points (mm Hg) compared to the control group receiving a nitrate-free placebo juice. This effect was attributed to the nitrates naturally present in beetroot. Nitrate, converted by the body to nitric oxide, improves blood flow and prompts dilation of blood vessels, thereby decreasing blood pressure.
Berry juices: Juices of several types of berries have also been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension or “high normal” pressure, an effect attributed to polyphenols, unique functional compounds found in plants. One 12-week trial of middle-aged hypertensive participants noted a decrease in blood pressure ranging from 6.8 to 7.3 mm Hg in the group receiving a berry juice blend high in polyphenols, compared to a decrease of approximately 1.5 mm Hg in the placebo group.
Pomegranate juice: A 2017 systematic review concluded that pomegranate juice has antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-atherosclerotic (heart disease) properties. Since a systematic review pools and rigorously analyzes the data of multiple studies to arrive at a conclusion, this type of study represents the highest level of scientific evidence. Analysis of data from eight different randomized controlled trials supported the role of pomegranate juice in significantly decreased systolic, diastolic, and overall blood pressure.
Benefits of Juicing #3: Juice can help in the prevention and management of chronic inflammatory diseases and even cancer.
Chronic inflammatory diseases include conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), psoriasis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Individuals with chronic inflammatory diseases often present with excessive amounts of inflammatory cells in the areas affected by their disease, as well as exhibiting dysfunctional inflammatory responses. Studies utilizing pomegranate juice have shown promise as a treatment for IBD. It is believed this anti-inflammatory effect is due to the presence of ellagitannins and ellagic acid, two types of polyphenols commonly found in many types of seeds, nuts, and fruits.
Punicalagin, a type of ellagitannin, is abundant in pomegranate juice. Similar compounds found in raspberries and strawberries have indicated the potential for cancer prevention. Decreased levels of inflammation have even been seen in diabetic individuals and those undergoing hemodialysis for kidney disease. While more research is certainly needed on these compounds, the implications for the use of juice in future disease prevention and health promotion are numerous.
Benefits of Juicing #4: Low-glycemic-index juices are effective for management or prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Many people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes can successfully avoid developing the disease by following a low-glycemic-index (low-GI) diet. A randomized controlled crossover study investigated the effect of pomegranate polyphenols on blood glucose levels following ingestion of high-GI bread in healthy subjects. This study utilized both pomegranate juice and supplemental pomegranate extract in pill form. It was concluded that the pomegranate juice reduced the effect of the high-GI bread on blood glucose levels, compared to both the control and experimental pomegranate extract groups. This research represents an exciting development for diabetes prevention and management using a dietary intervention rather than medications or procedures.
Benefits of Juicing #5: Juice contains high levels of antioxidants, protecting against chronic disease.
Many of the top causes of death have been linked to inflammation and oxidative stress, including cancer and heart disease. It is widely accepted that fruit and vegetable intake can improve antioxidant status, lowering the risk of chronic disease development. Can juice have the same effect? Recent research supports this theory. A study investigating the use of bilberry (similar to blueberry) juice in otherwise healthy individuals at increased risk for heart disease concluded that the antioxidants present in the juice were capable of combating inflammatory processes that could otherwise lead to chronic disease development. These antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, quercetin, resveratrol, and epicatechin, are believed to be key factors in promoting health and preventing disease.
Benefits of Juicing #6: Juice can enhance athletic performance.
Fresh juice is not only beneficial for health – it can also improve performance in sports and exercise. Beetroot juice in particular is one of only five dietary supplements categorized as Class A by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), indicating the highest level of scientific evidence to support its use. Beetroot juice, providing a dietary source of nitrate, is converted to nitrous oxide when oxygen levels are low (such as during strenuous exercise). Nitrous oxide has a variety of effects on the cellular level, including decreased VO2 max (better endurance) during cardiovascular exercise, increased muscular strength during resistance training activities, and decreased muscular fatigue. Beetroot juice represents an impressive ergogenic aid that can be helpful for elite athletes as well as the average gym-goer.
Benefits of Juicing #7: Some types of juice may also improve recovery after exercise.
Many athletes swear by tart cherries or tart cherry juice to avoid a phenomenon known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which occurs approximately 48 hours after intense or prolonged exercise. One study investigated the use of tart cherry juice in runners, examining biomarkers of muscle damage, inflammation, antioxidant status, and oxidative stress before and after running a marathon.
Compared to the control group, participants receiving tart cherry juice exhibited higher antioxidant status, lower oxidative stress, and significantly faster recovery of isometric strength. Even if you’re not a marathon runner, juice containing tart cherries can allow you to recover faster from exercise and experience less muscle soreness. Simply adding a small amount of tart cherry juice to fresh cold-pressed vegetable juice is certainly more delicious than taking anti-inflammatory medications, and it comes with none of the side effects.
Benefits of Juicing #7: Juicing allows for easier nutrient absorption.
Compared to consuming whole fruits and vegetables, nutrients in freshly extracted cold-pressed juice are more readily available for absorption. Although most of our bodies are capable of efficient absorption, juicing represents a helpful alternative for people with digestive disorders, nutrient deficiencies, altered absorption due to gastric surgery, or medical conditions that require limiting dietary fiber intake.
Benefits of Juicing #8: Certain kinds of juice can even help improve your mental health.
Clinical depression affects millions of individuals and often also negatively impacts their physical health. Antidepressant medications can be life-saving and help those suffering from depression to reclaim a “normal” life. However, many of these medications come with a long list of potential side effects, and many people have treatment-resistant depression that may be due to inflammatory processes rather than neurotransmitter abnormalities. What if a dietary change could have the same effect or even complement the use of antidepressants?
New research on plant-derived products supports this possibility, especially using a bioactive dietary polyphenol preparation (BDPP) containing Concord grape juice, trans-resveratrol, and grape seed extract. This formulation has been deemed safe for the liver and kidneys, and it appears to promote the development of two substances that protect against stress by resisting inflammation. Not only does this BDPP have the potential to combat depression on its own, it has been proven to work in conjunction with antidepressant medication therapy. Since BDPP targets different factors than antidepressants, it can be used with medication without the fear of side effects. This represents an exciting development in mental health as people become more interested in natural remedies to clinical conditions.
Benefits of Juicing #9:Juicing is a convenient option to meet your dietary goals.
Life moves fast in today’s society, and fast food is often too easy and affordable to pass up. So, how do you strike a healthy balance between convenience and health? Juicing is a quick and simple way to obtain sustainable amounts of nutrients found in fruits and vegetables as part of an otherwise less-than-perfect diet.
Benefits of Juicing #10: The average person would rather drink their vegetables than eat them.
Let’s face it – most people have a few types of vegetables they dislike, and perhaps a few others that they will eat but typically don’t prepare for themselves. Consider this scenario… would you rather eat a huge steaming plate of cabbage and broccoli, or drink fresh cold-pressed juice containing cabbage, broccoli, apple, and lemon? Naturally, most people would opt for the juice, especially when considering the added flavor and sweetness provided by the small amount of fruit. By incorporating fresh cold-pressed juice in your daily routine, you truly can have your vegetables and drink them too.
Of course, we aren’t advocating removing fresh fruits and vegetables from your diet. Consuming whole fruits and vegetables is extremely beneficial, and juicing cannot provide adequate dietary fiber, so intake of healthful whole foods should be maintained. However, low-calorie, high-nutrient juicing can be an effective addition to a well-planned diet containing a variety of fiber-containing foods. Drink up, and enjoy the benefits of freshly extract cold press juice!
Important notice: This article is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat disease. Readers should consult their relevant healthcare providers in relation to their health and well-being.
Domínguez, R., Maté-Muñoz, J. L., Cuenca, E., García-Fernández, P., Mata-Ordoñez, F., Lozano-Estevan, M. C., Veiga-Herreros, P., … Garnacho-Castaño, M. V. (2018). Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(2): 1-12. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29311764
Howatson, G., McHugh, M. P., Hill, J.A., Brouner, J., Jewell, A. P., Van Someren, K. A., … Howatson, S. A. (2010). Influence of tart cherry juice on indices of recovery following marathon running. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(6): 843-852. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/19883392
Kapil, V., Khambata, R., Robertson, A., Caulfield, M. & Ahluwalia, A. (2014). Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: A randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension, 65(2), 320-327. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC4288952/
Karlsen, A., Paur, I., Bøhn, S. K., Sakhi, A., K., Borge, G. I., Serafini, M., … Blomhoff, R. (2010). Bilberry juice modulates plasma concentration of NF-kappaB related inflammatory markers in subjects at increased risk of CVD. European Journal of Nutrition, 49(6): 345-355. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20119859
Kerimi, A., Nyambe-Silavwe, H., Gauer, J. S., Tomás-Barberán, F. A., & Williamson, G. (2017). Pomegranate juice, but not an extract, confers a lower glycemic response on a high-glycemic index food: Randomized, crossover, controlled trials in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 106(6): 1384-1393. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29021286
Tjelle, T. E., Holtung, L., Bøhn, S. K., Aaby, K., Thoresen, M., Wilk, S. Å., … Blomhoff, R. (2015). Polyphenol-rich juices reduce blood pressure measures in a randomised controlled trial in high normal and hypertensive volunteers. British Journal of Nutrition, 114(7): 1054-1063. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26227795
Stephen Rose wouldn’t shut up about peaches. Specifically, the 32-year-old native of Fort Valley, Georgia, was stunned to find that nobody around him knew how a real Georgia peach, fresh off the tree, tasted. Not his neighbors in Nashville, just 300 miles northwest of his childhood home. Certainly not his Seattle-born wife, Jessica, who was growing tired of hearing about it.
Until, that is, the couple visited Stephen’s family in July 2011. Jessica’s first “real” peach experience was tart. Sweet. Just the right amount of messy. Summer incarnate.
It changed her life. Both their lives, actually: The revelation that out-of-staters like Jessica could be so easily evangelized prompted the couple to launch The Peach Truck in 2012. Georgia’s highest-quality peaches start to rot just days after they’re picked, and the fruits in grocery stores are usually bred for longevity, not taste. The company’s mission: Drive “real” peaches to deprived souls across the rest of the country.
The couple started out part-time. Year one featured 32 boxes of fruit donated by a family friend from a farm in Georgia’s aptly named Peach County; a ’64 Jeep; and $30,000 in revenue from a 12-week selling season. That was enough to convince the Roses to go all-in. Jessica shuttered her independent house-cleaning venture. Stephen quit doing sales for radio personality Dave Ramsey.
Jessica and Stephen Rose.Courtesy The Peach Truck
Seven years later, The Peach Truck is an eight-state logistics operation that sold roughly five million pounds of Georgia peaches in 2019 (the last day of sales, dictated by the growing season, was August 10). The company projects that will be more than any other U.S. vendor, including Whole Foods. Its extremely photogenic Instagram account boasts more than 85,000 followers. And the business is completely bootstrapped. The Roses have never sought or accepted external funding.
The company, with seven full-time employees and 65 to 85 seasonal workers, earned $7 million in 2018 revenue. The Roses expect 2019 sales will be 50 percent higher. And that growth should continue now that the founders have solved a tricky riddle: how to turn a high-risk seasonal venture into a year-round moneymaker.
The race against rot.
Georgia peaches really are different, their flavor more intense and their shelf life shorter than that of grocery store rivals. Most come from just five farms in Peach County, Stephen says. Off the trees, they last roughly three days.
That makes The Peach Truck’s mission difficult. Jessica, who runs operations, recalls waking at 4:30 a.m. each day during their first full-time year to wipe rotten, fly-infested fruit pulp off the warehouse floor. “When we first started and talked to people in the peach business, they literally laughed at us,” Jessica says. “They were right to laugh. It was a lot of work, and it still is.”
Such extreme perishability complicated the business model. Selling small bags of peaches meant the Roses risked massive daily inventory loss. But selling in bulk wasn’t an option. Few individual consumers would buy whole bushels of peaches that would quickly rot.
The couple landed on a three-pronged strategy. In summer, the Peach Truck sells produce daily at 50 locations around Nashville, where it is based. It also embarks on a 12-week, eight-state peach-selling tour that traverses Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, and Florida. And it ships small boxes of peaches across most of the country. (The company is unable to ship to Hawaii or Alaska for logistical reasons, or to California or Arizona because of state environmental regulations.)
Consumers who encounter the business during the tour can buy a 25-pound box of fruit–roughly 50 peaches–for $42. In Nashville, they also have the option of a three-pound bag for $8. Online, there’s a significant up-charge due to shipping expenses. That same $42 will get you just 13 peaches.
Data is critical to managing this short-lived product. The Roses communicate constantly with Georgia peach farms to learn how many peaches are picked each morning and how many fresh bins are available for sale, so they can control inventory and prevent fruit waste. They also analyze their audience. Stephen estimates that 95 percent of The Peach Truck’s customers come from outside Georgia, and the majority prefers in-person to online sales.
Transporting the peaches across country before they rot is, predictably, the company’s greatest challenge. The Roses hire truckers to handle the bulk of the trip. For the last mile the fruity cargo is handed off to Peach Truck employees operating locally rented vehicles. But the trucking industry is awash in regulations, including a new law mandating electronic logging of hours that has caused many drivers to quit. That’s made it harder to line up quality freight service. And drivers aren’t necessarily sympathetic to The Peach Truck’s need for speedy deliveries.
“It’s multiple trucks, all over the country, every day, getting to the right cold-storage unit for our local trucks to pick it up,” Stephen says. “Just a wild, wild nightmare. But it’s what makes all the difference.”
From disaster to discovery.
Attention to audience and data has become even more important in recent years, as climate change produces increasingly unpredictable harvests. The 2017 peach crop, for example, was a disaster: 85 percent was lost before the season even began.
It was a tough year for The Peach Truck. The Roses kept prices mostly stable, forgoing profit margin to keep customers happy. But Stephen, who runs the company’s marketing, learned an important lesson from that bad time: namely, that scarcity can be an effective brand-building tool. His stress over the poor harvest came through in all the company’s external communications, from email newsletters to online ads; and the personal note struck a chord with customers. So did his warnings about how rare peaches would be. “I’m not joking when I send these emails, that I’m not sleeping because [the weather is] legitimately a threat,” says Stephen. That summer, The Peach Truck sold out its entire inventory.
An effective level of tension is easy to maintain: Will there be peaches? Won’t there be? “We don’t have to create scarcity,” says Stephen. “We have 12 weeks of business every year.”
Courtesy The Peach Truck
And the company’s peach-loving customers make the most of that brief season. Stephanie Jernigan, a school librarian in Lebanon, Tennessee, discovered The Peach Truck six years ago on Facebook. She buys the three-pound bags weekly. Katie Baltas, an assistant principal at Cleveland Metropolitan School District, stumbled across the peaches at a Nashville farmer’s market in the summer of 2013. Now she partners with friends to buy 25-pound boxes each time the tour sweeps through Cleveland and orders the 13-peach box for her mother every Mother’s Day. “I honestly don’t buy peaches at the store,” Baltas says. “I just wait until summer, and I get my peaches, and that’s it. You’re just so disappointed when you eat a different peach.”
That kind of loyalty–and the closer connection with customers forged during the harrowing summer of 2017–made the Roses think: Could they do more than 12 weeks of annual business? Since the peaches themselves were un-tweakable, they set about developing a line of fruit-adjacent products including peach jams, Georgia pecans, apparel, tote bags, peach cobbler mix, and most recently, a cookbook that quickly became a Wall Street Journal bestseller. None have three-day shelf lives. “We’re in the process of training our customers not to just think of us in the summertime,” says Stephen.
The Peach Truck unveiled those offerings this year, and early signs are positive. E-commerce, which includes the new products, is projected to top local Nashville peach sales for the first time.
But both those channels pale compared to the eight-state peach tour. And that scares the Roses. If a crop disaster like 2017’s happened again–and it easily could–the tour would be most affected. They also worry about the slow decline of Facebook as an advertising platform, since Facebook ads created much of The Peach Truck’s early traction.
Fortunately, as the company grows, the Roses are finding it somewhat less difficult to distribute fresh fruits across the country. And they trust, so long as Georgia’s soil and sun continue to ensure the highest quality, that devoted customers will stick with The Peach Truck no matter what. “It’s a logistical nightmare,” Stephen says. “But we felt like if people could taste what a peach should taste like, it’s a game-changer, and they won’t go back.”
Coming off a couple of challenging years due to late freezes, peach growers around Georgia are in need of a good 2019 harvest. Damon Jones tells you how this year’s crop is looking and what kind of quality consumers can expect to see.
Nutrition / Diet Tomatoes: Health Benefits, Facts, Research Written by Megan Ware RDN LD Knowledge center Last updated: Tue 2 February 2016 email 41408Share3 Whether you refer to a tomato as a fruit or a vegetable, there is no doubt that a tomato is a nutrient-dense, super-food that most people should be eating more of. […]
According to the post: “Fully ripe bananas with brown patches on their skin produce a substance called tumor necrosis factor, which can eliminate abnormal cells. The darker the patches, the higher the banana’s ability to boost your immunity and lower the risk of cancer”. It was posted with the encouragement: “Share with the people you care about”. Some posts are helpful, such as those warning home renovators to check for asbestos. But there’s also a mountain of posts about a wide and weird range of things that allegedly cause cancer……
Montana-based blogger Kristin shows how a single post can be more than one thing — in this case, a lovely musing on seasonal change, a collection of gorgeous photography, and a vegan cheesecake recipe.