Nutrition

May Nutrition News: This Sweet Snack Protects the Heart and This Berry Keeps Vision Sharp

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Small diet tweaks can do wonders for keeping yourself healthy all year round. Plus, you can start implementing them into your eating habits right away. Here are five nutrition news updates for May 2022 that involve tiny changes to make during your mealtime routines!

This sweet snack protects the heart.

Good news for grape lovers: The juicy bite-size gems aren’t just delicious, they can keep your heart healthy, according to researchers at UCLA. In the small study, subjects ate approximately 40 grapes a day, and within a month, investigators noted a significant drop in their cholesterol levels. The scientists credit grapes’ rich stores of fiber and polyphenols— nutrients that improve the diversity of gut bacteria, including microbes that protect the heart by helping to gobble up excess cholesterol.

The berry that keeps vision sharp.

Enjoying a handful of dried goji berries five times a week can help ward off age-related vision loss, say researchers from the University of California, Davis. In their study, those who ate the fruit, which tastes similar to dried cranberries and is available in most supermarkets, had a greater increase in the amount of protective eye pigments than folks who took a supplement for eye health. The researchers credit the berries’ lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that form a protective layer on the retina, reducing the risk of conditions like age-related macular degeneration.

Early dinners safeguard against diabetes.

Enjoying your last meal of the day while it’s still light out may improve blood-sugar control, say researchers in Diabetes Care. Subjects in the study who ate dinner at least four hours before bed had lower blood sugar overnight than those who ate an hour before bed. The study authors say production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which suppresses the output of blood sugar–balancing insulin, ramps up at night. Eating earlier, before melatonin rises, keeps insulin stable, lowering the risk of overnight blood-sugar spikes.

Found: The healthiest foods you should be eating.

If you’re trying to eat healthy but don’t know what to eat, a new tool can help. Tufts University scientists assessed more than 8,000 foods based on nutritional characteristics tied to reducing the risk of illnesses like diabetes and heart disease to create the Food Compass, and foods like Cheerios, strawberries, chocolate-covered almonds, and oatmeal were among the healthiest.

Another win for green tea.

Green tea is already known to aid with weight loss, improve memory and safeguard the heart; now it turns out that sipping the brew daily, either hot or iced, can also help you avoid catching a virus, like a pesky spring cold. That’s the word from Japanese investigators reporting in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, whose analysis of 10 previous studies found that drinking the tea reduced the risk of developing flu symptoms by 32 percent, plus significantly lowered the risk of contracting other respiratory illnesses. The scientists credit epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a green tea compound that binds to viruses and flushes them out of the upper respiratory tract.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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