There’s good news to be found on the nutrition front if we’re to believe reports in the news media recently.
First of all, Brian Williams on NBC reported (cut the guy some slack here…he didn’t claim to be an avocado farmer) that two studies had shown the latest wonder foods to be avocados and oatmeal. Wonder foods, of course, are a movable feast, and I look forward to cinnamon rolls taking a turn in the spotlight. But for now we need to consider what to do about the current stars.
The avocado news comes from the Journal of the American Heart Association in January 2015. The authors take direct aim at the apple by recommending an avocado a day. Say it ain’t so. How many people have been fending off doctors for how many years by desperately trying to figure out a way to take in that single, powerful Macintosh or golden delicious each day? And do we now drop the apple in favor of the avocado or do we simply add the avocado? They fail to make this clear, and the whole thing demands further research.
Here’s some of that further research freshly done:
You do not need to choose! No need to agonize over which to cast aside. According to allrecipes.com, my go-to site for practical solutions to scientific conundrums, you can have it both ways. Try Easy Apple Avocado Salad, for example, or if its meager 3 ½ stars rating gives you pause, how about the 4 ½ star Kale, Apple, Avocado, and Bacon (!!) salad? Certainly the big three will overpower any possible problem associated with the bacon…and the salad will actually have flavor.
Cautionary note: WebMD says that the avocado is only “LIKELY SAFE” when eaten in “food amounts.” Not clear on what constitutes a food amount, but it seems like a pretty subjective measurement.
Oatmeal was not the actual focus of what was cited by NBC (oh Brian….), rather the article in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at whole grains more generally. The conclusion: not much new, really. “Higher whole grain consumption is associated with lower total and CVD mortality in US men and women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors.” I think they’re hinting at immortality there, but lack the fortitude to come right out and say it.
Allrecipes failed to be as helpful when I asked for avocado and oatmeal together, but really…how tough is it to simply hack up a freshly cleaned avocado and toss it into a bowl of oatmeal? Even with my slavish devotion to using recipes for nearly everything, I believe I could improvise that one. There’s also the possibility of making use of that idle food processor or blender. Certainly something resembling food would result and you’d know that good health would result from somehow choking it down.
The other good news comes from reading between the lines of the Associated Press report on what testing commissioned by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found was in bottles labeled as herbal supplements. Sold at retailers GNC, Target, Walgreen’s, and Wal-Mart, containers claiming to hold such things as echinacea and St. John’s Wort were frequently found to contain no echinacea or St. John’s Wort DNA. There instead were such things as rice, garlic, wheat, beans, and a tropical houseplant. Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA other than to ask manufacturers to verify that their products are safe and correctly labeled. While these little unmentioned bonus ingredients could present problems for those with food allergies, the New York AG’s stern letters to the retailers are overlooking the good news. Keep things as they are, add some fine print to the label, and many folks buying the “supplements” would be painlessly and cluelessly adding much needed grain (see above) and protein to their diets.
Speaking of food additives and DNA and now speaking of surveys which gauge the views of large numbers of us on scientific questions, here’s something wonderful which could have come from the amazing minds of the people at The Onion, but did not…repeat, did not:
Among many other questions posed in a survey conducted by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, was one asking if the respondents would favor mandatory labeling of food containing DNA. Take a moment to let that soak in. Unsurprisingly but kind of depressingly, 80.44% said sure. They would love to know if something as clearly strange and dangerous as DNA was being added to their food.
Not from The Onion.