New Pacific kava standards underway for global market

Avoiding a ban such as that imposed in Germany in the early 2000s and instilling confidence in an increasing global market are two of the key reasons for the quality standards being developed for Pacific kava.

The governments of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu have partnered with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access programme, or PHAMA, to develop the these standards.

The new initiative will also include the development of manuals that explain production methods, cost-effective testing methods and a push to establish more kava nurseries.

Deputy Team Leader of the PHAMA programme Semy Siakimotu spoke to Tim Glasgow about the new standards.

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript at RNZ.

Is Crash Diet Really A Solution For Perfect Body?

We are what we eat. Maybe, because of this statement, many people go through the ‘diet phase’ more than once in their life. But, how far can one go to get into the desired shape? How desperate can someone be to lower the blood pressure and diabetes levels? Well, there a few (actually many) who are very keen on shedding that extra fat.

Did you know there is something called ‘vampire diet’ which calls its followers to eat only red foods at each meal? Red meat is the main component of this diet but there is a catch, the diet prefers uncooked meat (supposedly to preserve nutrients).

And this is not the only diet which commands its followers to go raw. There is this diet named ‘The raw food diet’. This diet bars you from eating anything which is heated beyond 115°F. Well, your palate is not going to be happy with this.

“The society should value only professionals to give diet advice and not quacks, just because it worked for them at personal level,” says Dr Janaki Srinath, NEC member Indian Dietetic Association.

Read the full article at Telangana Today

How To Cure Insomnia Naturally: 5 Remedies That May Help

If you struggle with insomnia, you’re not alone. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, sleep disorders affect 33 to 45 percent of Australians, preventing them from getting the meaningful rest they need to be productive the next day.

Whether you reach for chamomile tea or seek therapy to treat underlying issues of anxiety or depression, a natural cure for insomnia is within reach.

Here are five remedies that can help you cure insomnia naturally:

1. Herbal sleep remedies
2. Find time for exercise
3. Eat the right bedtime snack
4. Perfect your nighttime routine
5. Seek cognitive therapy

According to WebMD, the branch of therapy dedicated to treating insomnia can make real inroads for patients who need to treat underlying issues — rather than just fix the negative cycles of insomnia.

“Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia [CBT-I] is a structured program that helps you identify and replace thoughts and behaviors that cause or worsen sleep problems with habits that promote sound sleep,” explain the experts at WebMD. “Unlike sleeping pills, CBT-I helps you overcome the underlying causes of your sleep problems.”

Honey Coach

Industry Welcomes GM Food Disclosure Standard Proposed Rule

The publication of a proposed rule that would provide consistency in the disclosure of information regarding bioengineered or genetically modified foods was welcomed by representatives of the food industry.

According to Sarasin, FMI’s efforts in this cause include joining with farmers, manufacturers and retailers “to provide accurate, simple and unbiased information to our customers,” with a focus on consumer education through such means as SmartLabel.

Food Ingredients News has reported, however, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t expect to meet the July deadline to create the new rule, with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue admitting that “we’re not as close as I’d like” to doing so. The holdup appears to be due to the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), which still needs to review the GMO labeling rules.

Read the complete article at progressive Grocer

New Study: High Fruit Diet Could Help Women Conceive

Researchers who looked at more than 5,500 women from Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand found those who consumed the least fruit were 50 per cent more likely to be infertile.

Similarly, compared to women who never or rarely ate fast food, women who consumed fast food four or more times a week took nearly a month longer to become pregnant. Their risk of infertility also doubled from eight to 16 per cent.

Professor Claire Roberts, of the University of Adelaide, Australia, who led the study, said: “These findings show that eating a good quality diet that includes fruit and minimising fast food consumption improves fertility and reduces the time it takes to get pregnant.”

For the study pregnant women were surveyed by midwives on how long it had taken them to become pregnant, as well as their intake of fruit, and fast foods such as burgers, pizza, fried chicken and chips.

“As diet is a modifiable factor, our findings underscore the importance of considering preconception diet to support timely conception for women planning pregnancy.”

Telegraph UK

Better Diet Data Via Tooth-Mounted Sensors

In First World countries, where famine is unheard of, people are instead eating themselves to death.

Oftentimes, diet studies rely on self-reported surveys and journals that are hostage to the whims of each participant. People forget. People feel self-conscious about their food choices and may fudge (pun intended) the data. However, a new sensor that fits on a person’s tooth could cut out this unpredictable variable—human nature— altogether.

Researchers from Tufts University School of Engineering designed a tiny sensor that, when stuck to a tooth, can wirelessly relay precise information about glucose, alcohol and salt intake. When the device comes in contact with salt, for example, its electrical properties shift, causing its other components to absorb and transmit different radiofrequency wavelengths unique to each chemical or nutrient. That information is then beamed to a mobile device for recording.

“In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity,” says Fiorenzo Omenetto, an author on the study, which was published recently in the journal Advanced Materials. If you can put it in your mouth, it appears Omenetto and his team can measure it.

Discover

A Diet High In Fat Is Best – With The Right Kind Of Fat

This is the time of year we tend to consider a change in diet. There has been a lot of confusion in recent years about what constitutes a healthy diet, with many people advocating and espousing a ketogenic diet, similar to the Atkins diet: a low-carbohydrate, high-fat/high-cholesterol diet (HF/HC). Since most North Americans will die of a heart attack or stroke if they don’t die young from another cause, this is a big mistake.

In 2016, there were large headlines trumpeting that “we can eat cholesterol now; the new U.S. guideline says so.” But that’s not what the guideline said. It said that there were insufficient data on which to base a specific limit to daily cholesterol intake, as in the past, but the intake of cholesterol should be as low as possible within the recommended eating pattern.

A study that clarifies what is the best diet for weight loss and diabetes was done among overweight residents of a nuclear facility in Israel, who were randomized to a low-fat versus a low-carb HF/HC (Atkins) diet, versus the Mediterranean diet. Weight loss was identical on the Mediterranean diet and the low-carb HF/HC diet, and both were better than the low-fat diet. The key finding, though, was that the Mediterranean diet was clearly the best for lowering blood sugar, fasting insulin levels and something called insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic state).

So the healthiest diet is the Mediterranean diet – a high-fat/low-glycemic index diet. This is why recent guidelines – the 2016 U.S. guideline, and the Canadian guideline now in development – are moving toward a more plant-based pattern of eating. We should limit red meat, avoid egg yolks and have three vegetarian days a week.

Read the full article at The Globe and Mail

Is GMO Opposition Immoral?

Evaluation of GMO crops that emphasizes independent science — rather than nonpublic research by pesticide companies — reflects that in 2015, the research arm of the World Health Organization analyzed all published glyphosate studies and determined the pesticide was a probable carcinogen. That finding prompted California to add glyphosate to its list of cancer-causing chemicals.

Escalating use of GMO crops and glyphosate has triggered the growth of glyphosate-resistant superweeds across nearly 100 million acres in 36 states. To combat that, pesticide companies are now pushing the use of the highly toxic, drift-prone pesticide dicamba on a new generation of GMO crops that tolerate both dicamba and glyphosate.

I have long been perplexed that so many people continue to condemn foods made from genetically modified organisms that have been consumed by Americans and others for decades with no deleterious effects.

Mitch Daniels rightly framed as “immoral” the scientifically baseless yet “concerted, deep-pockets campaign” to persuade “a high percentage of Americans and Europeans to avoid GMO products” and “inflict their superstitions” on the world’s poor and hungry.

Apparently, winning market share and lawsuits is more important to some people than feeding a hungry planet.

Read the full article in The Washington Post

Popularity of Botanical in the U.S. Market

Botanical dietary supplements continue to be popular in the United States. The American Botanical Council (ABC) recently published the Herb Market Report 2016, which listed a number of reasons behind the current interest by consumers.

Botanicals that are believed to be beneficial for overall health—rather than a specific health condition—showed greater increases in sales. In alignment with this is the uptick in sales of a number of adaptogens–substances that allow the body to better resist various stress factors. Plants in this category include ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, mushrooms and Rhodiola.

The increased interest in herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine has also been obvious by the fact that Boswellia, turmeric, and fenugreek posted some of the largest gains in 2016. But the success of these herbs is not only based on an increased interest in Ayurvedic medicine, but also due to the fact that these herbs have a large body of scientific data supporting their health benefits.

In addition, inflammatory conditions are very common in our society; thus, ingredients with sound data that may be used to alleviate the symptoms of some of these conditions, e.g., turmeric and Boswellia, have a large pool of potential consumers.

Read more at Natural Products Insider

Botanical Transparency: How DNA Technology Can Complement Traditional Identity Tests

There has been a great deal of focus on transparency both in finished products and raw materials at the worldwide level. This debate followed actions by the New York Attorney General’s, who after an agency investigation found four out of five tested herbal products did not contain any of the herbs promised in their labels, called for the producers to conduct advanced genetic testing.

These tests are intended to ensure the herbal products actually contain the ingredients promised on the label.

For plants, there is no universal DNA testing methodology and the choice of a particular technique is often a compromise that depends on a number of factors.

Each plant needs a dedicated method, developed on its own genome. DNA sequencing-based tests are emerging as highly reliable and powerful tools to authenticate botanicals to complement other available tests. They can even be used to identify new species and to create herbal products.

Accordingly, they have to be part of a complete quality testing toolbox, which constitutes a reliable authentication platform.

Read more at Nutra Ingredients