OSU Dishes Up Healthy Diet Discoveries
Eggs enriched with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)—a healthy component of fat missing from many western, low-fat diets—may help decrease risk of heart disease and rid the body of fat. According to research by Gita Cherian, an OSU animal scientist, one serving of enriched eggs provides the same beneficial amount of CLA as around 7 cups of whole milk.
Milk with more omega-3 fatty acids and less saturated fats is the result when dairy cows are fed flaxseed. Research by Gerd Bobe, an OSU expert in animal and human nutrition, found that feeding cows up to 6 pounds of pelleted flaxseed lowered saturated fats and raised polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 in milk, butter, and cheese.
Barley is a smart choice for people looking to control blood sugar as it slows absorption and improves glucose tolerance, says OSU’s resident barley-breeding expert Pat Hayes. Barley’s soluble fiber, beta-glucan helps reduce cholesterol and may reduce risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes may be common, but this Indigo Rose variety developed by OSU vegetable breeder Jim Myers stands out from the bunch, both because it is an unexpectedly purple color and because it is the first variety with anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant, in its fruit.
Albacore tuna caught off the west coast of the US contain lower levels of mercury than most commercially canned albacore tuna, according to Michael Morrissey, retired director of OSU’s Food Innovation Center. e west coast albacore tuna also showed higher levels of omega-3 oils that may protect against heart disease and help brain function.
Grapes, cherries, and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a chemical which could lower blood sugar and improve liver function in people who are overweight. Neil Shay, a biochemist and molecular biologist at OSU, found that the compound slows the growth of existing fat cells and boosts the burning of fat in the liver in experiments with laboratory mice.
Potatoes that are colorful, like the Purple Pelisse variety developed by OSU through the Pacific Northwest Tri-State Breeding Program, are also sources of health-promoting compounds. Red and purple spuds contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant, and yellow ones contain carotenoids, which the body converts into vitamin A.
Hops have a natural flavonoid, xanthohumol, which lowers weight gain and bad cholesterol and improves insulin resistance in obese mice, according to Fred Stevens, a professor in OSU’sCollege of Pharmacy. Most beer only contains a small amount of the compound, but efforts to develop it as a nutritional supplement are underway.