Sound Bites: Good News for Caffeine and Chocolate Fans and a White House Garden Dedication

Our weekly column on the latest nutrition and healthy eating news

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Apples and tea
By Megan O. Steintrager

Heartening Research on Cocoa, Tea, and Apples 

Add another study to the pile of positive findings on cocoa, apples, and tea: Epicatechin, a compound found in all three, may help protect your heart. A recent study of older Dutch men found that higher levels of the compound were “linked to sharply lower mortality risk from coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease,” according to an article in the October issue of the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter. Read more about the health benefits of apples and chocolate, especially when eaten together — and get a recipe for a smoothie that combines them.

Does Caffeine Cause PMS?

If you’re avoiding that heart-helping tea or a cup of coffee because you’ve heard that caffeine can worsen premenstrual syndrome symptoms, it might be time to stop worrying and start sipping. Researchers combed through reports of caffeine intake and PMS in women in the Nurses’ Health Study II and found that “neither caffeine nor coffee or tea intake was linked to the onset of PMS or to symptoms like breast tenderness or irritability,” reports the October issue of the Nutrition Action Health Letter (available to subscribers). We’ll drink to that! Join us with an iced matcha latte.

Girls holding coffee cups

The White House Kitchen Garden Stays Put

Michelle Obama’s signature garden will stay in place no matter who the next occupants of the White House are. “The W. Atlee Burpee home gardening company and The Burpee Foundation have contributed $2.5 million to the National Park Foundation to maintain the garden for at least 17 years,” NPR reports. “The First Lady has also added wood, stone, and steel features designed for durability.” Clean Plates Editorial Director, Tanya Steel, was at the event and noted that the two structures placed on the garden grounds have wood found at the homes of three presidents and Martin Luther King Jr. Can we get a “Kale, yeah!”?

White House Kitchen Garden

Go Fish — and Not Just for the Omega 3s 

The health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids, which are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna, are well documented. In case you need a refresher: Consumption of omega-3s has been linked to improved heart health, brain health, and even to reducing depression. But upping your omega-3s is not the only reason to eat more fish: Even fish that are low in omega-3 fats are a great source of lean protein and are packed with nutrients like vitamin A and D, as well as iron and zinc, a recent article in The New York Times reminds us. Make sure the fish you eat is good for you and the planet with our guide to sustainable seafood.

Salmon, tuna and other fish

Post-Hurricane Food Safety

Hurricane Matthew was a powerful reminder that storm season is upon us (Atlantic hurricane season continues through November), and with it the dangers of flooding and power outages. In a vulnerable area? Learn how to deal with food safety issues following a storm with this recently published guide from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.