SEARCH HEALTH STUDIES

Amaranth Leaves Offer Potential Health Benefits

Australian researches conducted a study focusing on Greeks who relocated to Melbourne but maintained their traditional Mediterranean diet.  During this study, the foods selected for nutrient evaluation – leafy green vegetables, figs in season, and various types of olive oil – were those commonly consumed by Greeks living in Melbourne, but not by native Australians.  Of all the commercial and wild leafy greens studied, amaranth leaves were found to contain some of the highest levels of beta-carotene and lutein, even higher than the commercially available chicory and endive.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2002; 56(11):1149-54

Barley’s Slow Digestion may help Weight Control

Barley varieties such as Prowashonupana that are especially high in beta-glucan fiber may digest more slowly than standard barley varieties. Researchers at USDA and the Texas Children’s Hospital compared the two and concluded that Prowashonupana may indeed be especially appropriate for obese and diabetic patients.
Journal of Nutrition, September 2002; 132(9):2593-6

Oats Lower Bad Cholesterol

Researchers at Colorado State University randomly assigned thirty-six overweight middle-aged men to eat either an oat or wheat cereal daily for twelve weeks. At the end of the three-month period, the men eating the oat cereal had lower concentrations of small, dense LDL cholesterol (thought to be particularly dangerous) and lower LDL overall, compared to those in the wheat group, while their HDL (“good”) cholesterol was unchanged.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2002; 76(2):351-8

Oats Help Control Blood Pressure

Using a randomized, controlled parallel-group pilot study, researchers followed 18 hypertensive and hyperinsulemic men and women for six weeks, while half of them ate oat cereal (5.52g/day of beta-glucan) and the others ate a lower-fiber cereal (less than 1g total fiber). The oat group enjoyed a 7.5mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure and a 5.5 mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure, while the wheat group was unchanged.
Journal of Family Practice, April 2002; 51(4):369

Optimum Germination Conditions for Wheat

Scientists at the University of Alberta germinated wheat under various conditions to determine how to maximize the production of antioxidants.  First, they steeped the grains in water for 24 or 48 hours, then sprouted them in the dark for 9 days. Vitamins C and E and beta-carotene, which were barely detectable in the dry grains, increased steadiily during the germination period. Grains steeped for 48 hours became wet, sticky, discolored and acidic-smelling after germination, leading researchers to conclude that 24 hours of steeping and 7 days of sprouting would produce the best combination of antioxidant concentrations and sensory properties.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, July 2001; 52(4):319-30.

Sprouting Sorghum Enhances Taste and Nutrition

Tanzanian researchers observed that sorghum, although a staple food in many poorer areas of the world, is not highly esteemed, because of limits in its nutritional and sensory qualities. In an effort to make this easy-to-grow grain more useful and more widely accepted, they studied three traditional processing methods: germination (sprouting), fermentation, and a germination/fermentation comination.  They concluded that germination was the best approach for improving the nutritional and functional qualities of the sorghum.
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, March 2001; 52(2):117-26.

Sorghum May Help Treat Human Melanoma

Scientists in Madrid studied the effect of three different components from wine and one from sorghum, to gauge their effects on the growth of human melanoma cells. While results were mixed, they concluded that all four components (phenolic fractions) “have potential as therapeutic agents in the treatments of human melanoma” although the way in which each slowed cancer growth may differ.
Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 2001 Mar;49(3):1620-4

Eating Buckwheat Products Produces Lower GI Response

In a joint effort to determine the characteristics of buckwheat starch and its potential for a reduced metabolic response after meals, researchers from Slovenia and Sweden scored human test subject’s responses to an assortment of buckwheat products, including boiled buckwheat groats, breads baked with 30-70% buckwheat flour, and bread baked from buckwheat groats. The highest level of resistant starch was found in the boiled buckwheat groats, while the resistant starch levels in the buckwheat breads were significantly lower, depending on whether flour or grouts had been used. The conclusion? All buckwheat products scored significantly lower on the after-meal blood glucose tests, while also scoring higher in satiety, than the control group’s white wheat bread.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, January 2001; 49(1):490–96. DOI: 10.1021/jf000779w

Phenols in Brown Rice may Inhibit Breast and Colon Cancer

Rice is a staple in Asia, where breast and colon cancer rates are markedly lower than in the Western world. Scientists at the University of Leicester, UK, analyzed the phenolic compounds in brown rice, brown rice bran, and white milled rice (from the same varietal) to look for known cancer-suppressive compounds. They discovered that several such compounds were present in all three samples, but were found in much lower levels in the white rice. They postulated that consuming rice bran or brown rice instead of white rice may be advantageous with respect to cancer prevention.
Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. November 2000; 9(11): 1163-70.

Wheat Flour Particle Size Doesn’t Affect Glycemic Response

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, in Beltsville, MD, asked twenty-six healthy adults to consume four different samples: glucose solution, traditional white (refined) bread, conventional whole wheat bread, or bread made with ultra-fine whole wheat. The researchers then determined the subjects’ glycemic response, and determined that both whole wheat flours (conventional and ultra-fine) had similar effects. They concluded that “the particle size of whole grain wheat flour did not substantially affect glycemic responses.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, December 1999; 18(6):591-7

Barley Pasta Lowers Cholesterol

University of California researchers fed two test meals to 11 healthy men, both containing beta-glucan. One meal was a high-fiber (15.7g) barley pasta and the other was  lower-fiber (5.0g) wheat pasta. The barley pasta blunted insulin response, and four hours after the meal, barley-eaters had significantly lower cholesterol concentration than wheat-eaters.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 1999; 69(1):55-63

Oils In Amaranth May Help Cut Cholesterol

Researchers from the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Madison, WI conducted studies that showed the healthy oil in amaranth could significantly reduce total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in 6-week-old female chickens.
The Journal of Nutrition, August 1996; 126(8):1972-8

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