Sound Bites: Which Foods Increase Your Lifespan, Preventing Holiday Weight Gain and More

The latest nutrition and healthy eating news

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Eat fruits, vegetables and fish to live longer
By Megan O. Steintrager

Eat These Foods to Live Longer: Want to increase your chances of living a long life? Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, and fish. In a new observational study of men and women in three French cities, people who ate more of those three foods were less likely to die during the follow-up period, according to an article in the November issue of the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter. The Three-City Study, which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition, also found a beneficial association between olive oil consumption and mortality risk, but only for the women in the study.

Diet and Your Hearing: Kids are often told to eat carrots to protect their vision, but you don’t hear much about how what you eat affects your hearing. An article in the December issue of Nutrition Action Health letter outlines a study conducted on 250,000 participants, correlating what you eat with your hearing acuity. Promising nutrients include folate, found in fruits, vegetables, and beans; omega-3 fats, which are abundant in fish; carotenoids, which are in brightly colored vegetables and fruits, including carrots and kale; and vitamin C, present in citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, papaya and broccoli, to name a few foods.

 

Controversial Additive Carrageenan Nixed in Organics: During its fall meeting in St. Louis, the National Organics Standards Board voted to remove carrageenan from the list of ingredients approved for use in organic products, the Cornucopia Institute reports. The seaweed-derived additive—which is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier in products like ice cream, baby formula, nondairy milk and cream cheese, as we point out in our What’s In Your Food video series (check out our video on carrageenan, above)—has been linked to inflammation and cancer.

Organic Labeling for Hydroponics. At the same meeting, the NOSB addressed whether hydroponic and aquaponic produce—which is grown using water rather than in soil—should be able to carry a “certified organic” label. In this case, the board voted to send the matter back to subcommittee, which means that for now, “food grown using hydroponic methods may continue to be certified as organic if the production operations otherwise meet established criteria for the designation,” Food Safety News reports. For more on the fight, check out NPR’s report.

Holiday Weight Gain Around the World. The tendency to put on a few pounds around the holidays is not just an American phenomenon, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Scientists looked at weight patterns in subjects in the United States, Germany, and Japan and found that participants in all three countries gained weight around Christmas.

Americans also gained around Thanksgiving, while Germans put on weight around Easter, and Japanese added lbs. during the spring Golden Week period. The authors noted that “although up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, half the weight gain appears to remain until the summer months or beyond.” For some, that holiday weight gain never comes off, and just a few pounds added each year can really add up over time. One way to keep weight gain under control is to focus your indulgences on those holiday treats you really love while taking a pass on those bowls of meh candy and cookies at the office or parties.