This investigation examined the impact of Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC) on physiological indices of oxidative stress, inflammation and muscle damage across 3 days simulated road cycle racing. Trained cyclists (n = 16) were divided into equal groups and consumed 30 mL of MC or placebo (PLA), twice per day for seven consecutive days. A simulated, high-intensity, stochastic road cycling trial, lasting 109 min, was completed on days 5, 6 and 7. Oxidative stress and inflammation were measured from blood samples collected at baseline and immediately pre- and post-trial on days 5, 6 and 7. Analyses for lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-8 (IL-8), interleukin-1-beta (IL-1-β), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and creatine kinase (CK) were conducted. LOOH (p < 0.01), IL-6 (p < 0.05) and hsCRP (p < 0.05) responses to trials were lower in the MC group versus PLA. No group or interaction effects were found for the other markers. The attenuated oxidative and inflammatory responses suggest MC may be efficacious in combating post-exercise oxidative and inflammatory cascades that can contribute to cellular disruption. Additionally, we demonstrate direct application for MC in repeated days cycling and conceivably other sporting scenario's where back-to-back performances are required.
Epidemiological evidence suggests that consumption of flavonoids (usually via fruits and vegetables) is associated with decreased risk of developing depression. One plausible explanation for this association is the well-documented beneficial effects of flavonoids on executive function (EF). Impaired EF is linked to cognitive processes (e.g., rumination) that maintain depression and low mood; therefore, improved EF may reduce depressionogenic cognitive processes and improve mood. Study 1: 21 young adults (18-21 years old) consumed a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink and a matched placebo in a counterbalanced cross-over design. Study 2: 50 children (7-10 years old) were randomly assigned to a flavonoid-rich blueberry drink or a matched placebo. In both studies, participants and researchers were blind to the experimental condition, and mood was assessed using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule before and 2 h after consumption of the drinks. In both studies, the blueberry intervention increased positive affect (significant drink by session interaction) but had no effect on negative affect. This observed effect of flavonoids on positive affect in two independent samples is of potential practical value in improving public health. If the effect of flavonoids on positive affect is replicated, further investigation will be needed to identify the mechanisms that link flavonoid interventions with improved positive mood.
Wheat is one of the most consumed cereal grains worldwide and makes up a substantial part of the human diet. Although government-supported dietary guidelines in Europe and the U.S.A advise individuals to eat adequate amounts of (whole) grain products per day, cereal grains contain “anti-nutrients,” such as wheat gluten and wheat lectin, that in humans can elicit dysfunction and disease. In this review we discuss evidence from in vitro, in vivo and human intervention studies that describe how the consumption of wheat, but also other cereal grains, can contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases by increasing intestinal permeability and initiating a pro-inflammatory immune response.
Despite a considerable amount of data available on the relationship between dietary glycemic index (GI) or load (GL) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, in aggregate, the area remains unsettled. The aim of the present review was to summarize the effect of diets differing in GI/GL on CVD risk factors, by examining randomized controlled-feeding trials that provided all food and beverages to adult participants. The studies included a low and high GI/GL diet phase for a minimum of four weeks duration, and reported at least one outcome related to CVD risk; glucose homeostasis, lipid profile or inflammatory status. Ten publications representing five trials were identified. The low GI/GL compared to the high GI/GL diet unexpectedly resulted in significantly higher fasting glucose concentrations in two of the trials, and a lower area under the curve for glucose and insulin in one of the two studies during an oral glucose tolerance test. Response of plasma total, low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations was conflicting in two of the studies for which data were available. There was either weak or no effect on inflammatory markers. The results of the five randomized controlled trials satisfying the inclusion criteria suggest inconsistent effects of the GI/GL value of the diet on CVD risk factors.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is marked by hepatic fat accumulation not due to alcohol abuse. Several studies have demonstrated that NAFLD is associated with insulin resistance leading to a resistance in the antilipolytic effect of insulin in the adipose tissue with an increase of free fatty acids (FFAs). The increase of FFAs induces mitochondrial dysfunction and development of lipotoxicity. Moreover, in subjects with NAFLD, ectopic fat also accumulates as cardiac and pancreatic fat. In this review we analyzed the mechanisms that relate NAFLD with metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia and its association with the development and progression of cardiovascular disease.
Maternal nutrition plays a crucial role in influencing fertility, fetal development, birth outcomes, and breast milk composition. During the critical window of time from conception through the initiation of complementary feeding, the nutrition of the mother is the nutrition of the offspring-and a mother’s dietary choices can affect both the early health status and lifelong disease risk of the offspring. Most health expert recommendations and government-sponsored dietary guidelines agree that a healthy diet for children and adults (including those who are pregnant and/or lactating) should include an abundance of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. These foods should contain a variety of essential nutrients as well as other compounds that are associated with lower disease risk such as fiber and bioactives. However, the number and amounts of nutrients varies considerably among fruits and vegetables, and not all fruit and vegetable options are considered “nutrient-rich”. Avocados are unique among fruits and vegetables in that, by weight, they contain much higher amounts of the key nutrients folate and potassium, which are normally under-consumed in maternal diets. Avocados also contain higher amounts of several non-essential compounds, such as fiber, monounsaturated fats, and lipid-soluble antioxidants, which have all been linked to improvements in maternal health, birth outcomes and/or breast milk quality. The objective of this report is to review the evidence that avocados may be a unique nutrition source for pregnant and lactating women and, thus, should be considered for inclusion in future dietary recommendations for expecting and new mothers.
This study investigated Montmorency tart cherry concentrate (MC) supplementation on markers of recovery following prolonged, intermittent sprint activity. Sixteen semi-professional, male soccer players, who had dietary restrictions imposed for the duration of the study, were divided into two equal groups and consumed either MC or placebo (PLA) supplementation for eight consecutive days (30 mL twice per day). On day 5, participants completed an adapted version of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LISTADAPT). Maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC), 20 m Sprint, counter movement jump (CMJ), agility and muscle soreness (DOMS) were assessed at baseline, and 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. Measures of inflammation (IL-1-β, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, hsCRP), muscle damage (CK) and oxidative stress (LOOH) were analysed at baseline and 1, 3, 5, 24, 48 and 72 h post-exercise. Performance indices (MVIC, CMJ and agility) recovered faster and muscle soreness (DOMS) ratings were lower in the MC group (p < 0.05). Additionally, the acute inflammatory response (IL-6) was attenuated in the MC group. There were no effects for LOOH and CK. These findings suggest MC is efficacious in accelerating recovery following prolonged, repeat sprint activity, such as soccer and rugby, and lends further evidence that polyphenol-rich foods like MC are effective in accelerating recovery following various types of strenuous exercise.
Observational studies provide evidence that a higher intake of protein from plant-based foods and certain animal-based foods is associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes. However, there are few distinguishable differences between the glucoregulatory qualities of the proteins in plant-based foods, and it is likely their numerous non-protein components (e.g., fibers and phytochemicals) that drive the relationship with type 2 diabetes risk reduction. Conversely, the glucoregulatory qualities of the proteins in animal-based foods are extremely divergent, with a higher intake of certain animal-based protein foods showing negative effects, and others showing neutral or positive effects on type 2 diabetes risk. Among the various types of animal-based protein foods, a higher intake of dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, cheese and whey protein) consistently shows a beneficial relationship with glucose regulation and/or type 2 diabetes risk reduction. Intervention studies provide evidence that dairy proteins have more potent effects on insulin and incretin secretion compared to other commonly consumed animal proteins. In addition to their protein components, such as insulinogenic amino acids and bioactive peptides, dairy products also contain a food matrix rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, trans-palmitoleic fatty acids, and low-glycemic index sugars-all of which have been shown to have beneficial effects on aspects of glucose control, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and/or type 2 diabetes risk. Furthermore, fermentation and fortification of dairy products with probiotics and vitamin D may improve a dairy product’s glucoregulatory effects.
This study investigated whether increasing insoluble (predominantly wheat bran) fibre over 14 days improves subjective digestive feelings, general wellbeing and bowel function. A single centre, multi-site, open, within subjects design with a 14 day non-intervention (baseline) monitoring period followed by a 14 day fibre consumption (intervention) period was performed. 153 low fibre consumers (<15 g/day AOAC 985.29) completed a daily symptom diary for 14 days after which they consumed one bowl of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal containing at least 5.4 g fibre (3.5 g from wheat bran) for 14 days and completed a daily symptom diary. Significant improvements were demonstrated in subjective perception of bowel function (e.g., ease of defecation) and digestive feelings (bloating, constipation, feeling sluggish and digestive discomfort). Significant improvements were also found in subjective perception of general wellbeing (feeling less fat, more mentally alert, slim, happy and energetic whilst experiencing less stress, mental and physical tiredness, difficulty concentrating and fewer headaches). In general, improvements in study outcomes increased with increasing cereal/fibre consumption. However, consuming an additional minimum 5.4 g of fibre (3.5 g wheat bran) per day was shown to deliver measurable and significant benefits for digestive health, comfort and wellbeing. Encouraging consumption of relatively small amounts of wheat bran could also provide an effective method of increasing overall fibre consumption.
Soyfoods have long been recognized as sources of high-quality protein and healthful fat, but over the past 25 years these foods have been rigorously investigated for their role in chronic disease prevention and treatment. There is evidence, for example, that they reduce risk of coronary heart disease and breast and prostate cancer. In addition, soy alleviates hot flashes and may favorably affect renal function, alleviate depressive symptoms and improve skin health. Much of the focus on soyfoods is because they are uniquely-rich sources of isoflavones. Isoflavones are classified as both phytoestrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators. Despite the many proposed benefits, the presence of isoflavones has led to concerns that soy may exert untoward effects in some individuals. However, these concerns are based primarily on animal studies, whereas the human research supports the safety and benefits of soyfoods. In support of safety is the recent conclusion of the European Food Safety Authority that isoflavones do not adversely affect the breast, thyroid or uterus of postmenopausal women. This review covers each of the major research areas involving soy focusing primarily on the clinical and epidemiologic research. Background information on Asian soy intake, isoflavones, and nutrient content is also provided.