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Dark leafy greens tied to reduced cognitive decline
Eating one serving a day of dark leafy greens may help reduce cognitive decline, according to new research from Rush University in Chicago.
Flavonoids, which are found in leafy greens, apples, broccoli, and berries, are bioactives known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. This research studied the effects of flavonols, a subset of flavonoids. Dr. Thomas Holland, a physician, scientist, and assistant professor at Rush University, spoke with Food Technology about his study, findings from which were published in the journal Neurology.
“The reason I started investigating flavonols, in particular, is because their makeup lends them to be a lot more robust as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory,” he said.
The study was conducted with 961 Rush Memory and Aging Project participants who were between 60 and 100 years old. The study participants were asked to document their flavonol intake through a food frequency questionnaire and to complete 19 standardized cognitive tests annually. Holland and his team used a linear mixed-effect model to map flavonol intake and cognitive domain scores.
According to the study, participants with the highest level of dietary intake of flavonols (which equates to one serving per day of dark leafy greens) showed a 32% reduction in cognitive decline. Holland said that this shows the importance of lifestyle adjustments in the treatment of brain health, rather than relying on medication alone. There are many types of dementia, which, he believes, means that many solutions are needed.
“From my personal sentiment, if we have a multifactorial disease process, we need to have as many tools in our toolbox as this disease complex,” he explained. “And that’s where all these facets of lifestyle come into play. I like to say that flavonols are a component of diet, and diet is just a single component of the overall lifestyle that begets better brain health.”
Holland said he is working with the Alzheimer’s Association’s U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention. He hopes that this study, coupled with his research on flavonols, will shed light on the connection between diet and brain health.
Women, girls face global nutrition crisis
Women and adolescent girls are bearing the brunt of the global hunger crisis, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The report, titled Undernourished and Overlooked: A Global Nutrition Crisis in Adolescent Girls and Women, presents data on malnutrition and anemia in over 190 countries and territories. This includes data from national surveys and Nutrias, UNICEF’s global online monitoring program for maternal and child nutrition.
According to the report, 30% of women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 years old were anemic in 2019. Additionally, 10% of women aged 20 to 49 and 8% of girls aged 10 to 19 were underweight in 2016. South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa have the highest concentrations of women and adolescent girls who are underweight and anemic.
Further, UNICEF estimates that the number of malnourished pregnant and breastfeeding women increased by 25% between 2020 and 2022 (5.5 million to 6.9 million) in the 12 countries that are most affected by the current hunger crisis. These countries include Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Somalia, Chad, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya, Niger, and Mali. Malnutrition and anemia in pregnant women can lead to further health issues, including the risk of stillbirth, low birth weight, and stunted growth.
To address this nutrition crisis among women and girls, UNICEF recommends using data to inform policy and program decisions, improving access to nutritious foods, and strengthening the coverage and quality of counseling.
Remembering Al Clausi
Distinguished food scientist and IFT Past President Al Clausi passed away on March 3, 2023, at the age of 100.
A passionate advocate of food innovation, Clausi had a long list of achievements during his 40-year career at General Foods. Those achievements include inventing or leading the development of iconic products such as Jell-O Instant Pudding, Tang, and Alpha-Bits. His product development work led to 13 patents. He initiated the World Food Prize, which annually recognizes individuals who significantly advance food production.
Hired as a junior chemist at General Foods after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he moved into senior managerial positions with the company, culminating in the role of senior vice president and chief research officer. Leading by example was at the heart of his management philosophy.
Clausi remained engaged in the food industry after his retirement in 1987, working as a consultant and serving as IFT president from 1993 to 1994, among many other activities.
He is survived by Janet, his wife of 68 years, and his children, Robert, Jennifer, James, and Alison.
Reflecting on his celebrated career in a Food Technology interview last year, Clausi observed, “I can honestly say that I enjoyed every day of it.”
Meet the leader: Sonali Raghunath
Sonali Raghunath is a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She received her bachelor’s degree in food technology from Anna University in Chennai, India, and her master’s degree in food science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is involved with the Protein, Packaging, Dairy Foods, and Nonthermal Processing Divisions and the Minnesota Section of IFT.
Which IFT core value resonates the most with you?
Passion and Community resonate with me the most since I have been passionate about food science and have been keenly involved in giving back to this community by organizing events and taking the lead role for various teams in IFT.
What is your favorite thing about being an IFT member?
IFT has been a great platform for me as a student and for my career decisions so far. I have been an IFT student member since 2017 and have been volunteering in various capacities in divisions and sections to make diverse connections and networks from all around the world, which has helped me grow as an individual.
If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sterling Crew is the new IFST president
The London-based Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) announced the election of Sterling Crew as the new president of the organization. He succeeds Helen Munday as president.
A graduate of Cardiff University, Crew has 35 years of experience in the food safety and global supply chain governance fields. He has worked as a regulator and consultant with numerous food businesses and served on the boards of several food industry organizations.
Crew previously served as the vice president of IFST and chaired its Food Safety Special Interest Group. He currently serves as the chair of the Food Authenticity Network’s advisory board. He is also the co-founder of Kitchen Conversation, an online community that promotes food safety, quality, and authenticity.
Crew will serve a three-year term as IFST president.
A roundup of IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo sessions, focusing on key themes surfaced at the event.
This column offers information about how packaging science can support solutions to increase food access.
This column offers information about how milk products can be contaminated by Bacillus cereus, which can lead to foodborne illness.
A discussion of the use of VeriVin Raman spectroscopy technology to detect wine fraud.
Prioritizing ingredients for food fraud vulnerability assessments can be done in four simple steps, using the Food Chemicals Codex prescreening guidance.
Join us to celebrate the Global Food System Challenge Growth Grant Winners. Representatives from Food Systems for the Future (FSF Institute), iDE Global, and the African Center for Technology Studies discuss their work and the role that the generous funding from Seeding The Future Foundation plays in helping to make healthier diets more accessible and empowers consumers to make choices benefitting both personal and planetary health.
Join us to celebrate the Global Food System Challenge Grand Prize Winners. Representatives from the International Rice Research Institute, Solar Freeze, and WorldFish discuss their work and the role that the generous funding from Seeding The Future Foundation plays in helping to make healthier diets more accessible and empowers consumers to make choices benefitting both personal and planetary health.
Microalgae: Modern uses of an ancient ingredient.