As consumers continue to grow curious about the origins of their food, there has been a shift to support famers markets and purchase food grown locally. To support this change, the US Department of Agriculture will supply $52 million to help the businesses of local farmers and fund research on organic cultivation. There are now 8,268 farmers markets in the country, which is a 78% increase from 2008. Considering this growth, we can also see that restaurants and super markets have started to integrate local foods into their sales. Backing local food operations is not only a good investment for reducing health care costs, but it also helps the economy through providing more employment opportunities. A list of farmers markets in your area can be seen by visiting the USDA website. What are your typical recommendations in terms of purchasing food to your patients?
The USDA’s new nutrition standards “Smart Snacks in School”, set limits for fat, salt and sugar in food and beverages sold in schools. Foods must contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient or at least ¼ cup of fruit/vegetables. Beverages allowed include low calorie sport drinks, low-fat and fat-free milk, 100% fruit and vegetable juice, and no-calorie flavored waters. This is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in more than 30 years and school and food and beverage companies must be in compliance by July 1, 2014. How do you feel about this new public policy? When do you expect to see its outcomes?
For more information, see the article on CNN.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 48 million people are effected by food poisoning each year. The CDC’s 2012 report card on food poisoning states that majority of these cases were caused by Campylobacter, which is commonly found in chickens and raw, unpasteurized milk. On Monday the Environmental Working Group published its latest version of the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables highly prone to pesticides. The US Department of Agriculture, CDC, and other organizations have increased efforts to teach the public about food safety and stress awareness on proper food preparation and storage. How often do you educate patients about food safety and sustainability? What other resources are available to the public for food poisoning reports and information?
For additional information, please go to CNN
In the United States more than 70 million people are diagnosed with high blood pressure, a major risk factor to cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarctions and strokes. The American Heart Association (AHA) journal, Hypertension, published the results of a small trial which assessed the clinical effects of drinking one cup of beetroot juice a day. Each serving contains about 0.2g of nitrate, which promotes vasodilation and therefore reduces blood pressure. The study subjects drank 250mL of beetroot juice and were monitored over a 24 hour period. Results show that the subject’s blood pressure readings had decreased about 10mmHg. The AHA and USDA are trying to encourage the public to increase their daily intake of vegetables in order to incorporate healthy amounts of nitrate in their diets. What other vegetables and/or foods do you recommend for their ability to reduce blood pressure?