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Consume grapes for a healthy lifestyle

Consumption of grapes and grape products is associated with healthier dietary patterns and increased nutrient intake among adults and children, findings of a new observational study suggest.

The study presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (FNCE) in Philadelphia, PA, looked at the association of grape consumption, in the non-alcoholic forms most commonly consumed – fresh grapes, raisins and 100per cent grape juice – with the diet quality of a recent, nationally representative sample of US children and adults.

Researchers analysed the diets of more than 21,800 children and adults using data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) and found that consumers of grapes and grape products had increased intakes of total and whole fruit, as well as dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, and B6, versus nonconsumers.

Dietary fibre, calcium and potassium are especially important, as most Americans are currently not getting enough of these essential nutrients in their daily diets. Adult grape and grape product consumers also had increased intakes of vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds along with lower intakes of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, versus nonconsumers.

“It is interesting to note that not only did grape consumers have increased intakes of healthy foods, critical vitamins and minerals,” said presenter Carla McGill, PhD, “but grape consumers also ate less of the unhealthy foods.

Halving food wastage can feed additional 1 bn people

Researchers in Aalto University believe more efficient use of the food production chain and a decrease in the amount of food losses will dramatically help maintaining the planet’s natural resources and improve people’s lives.

They have proved a valid estimation, for the first time, for how many people could be fed with reducing food losses. The world’s population is an estimated seven billion people. An additional one billion can be fed from our current resources, if the food losses could be halved. This can be achieved if the lowest loss percentage achieved in any region could be reached globally.

“There isn’t enough clean water everywhere on Earth. Significantly more agricultural land cannot be cleared as well as certain raw material minerals for fertilisers are running low.

At the same time, a quarter of the amount of calories in produced food is lost or wasted at different stages of food production chain, which results in unnecessary resources loss,” said Matti Kummu, post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University.

Annually 27 m3 of clean water, 0.031 hectares of agricultural land and 4.3 kilos of fertilisers per every inhabitant in the world is wasted in food losses.  “Agriculture uses over 90 percent of the fresh water consumed by humans and most of the raw materials used in fertilizers. More efficient food production and the reduction of food losses are very important matters for the environment as well as future food security,” Kummu noted.

People make more calls to near ones during bad weather

Our mobile phone use changes with the weather, according to new research by experts at Newcastle University. Analysing the call patterns of 1.3 million mobile phone users, the team found that in ‘uncomfortable’ weather – such as very hot, humid, wet or cold weather – call length increased but the number of people we made contact with went down. Lead researcher Dr Santi Phithakkitnukoon said the data showed that we were also more likely to contact our close friends and family than our wider network during unpleasant weather.

“The weather is well-known to influence human behaviour. Our mood, health and how active are all vary with the weather. Our research suggests our mobile phone addiction is also susceptible to changes in the weather.  “We found that during uncomfortable weather our “ringing anyone” behaviour declined, talking on the phone for longer to our close friends and family more than our wider network,” she stated.

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