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Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk

NZ Avocado contributed to the study detailed below through the provision of avocados to the participants throughout the trial.

A study by Lynnette Ferguson, Professor of Nutrition at The University of Auckland, has shown that a change in diet can be effective in reducing inflammation over a period of just six weeks in healthy New Zealanders.

The research has also shown that short-term studies with relatively small numbers of participants are capable of yielding robust research results, which has major implications for the cost of human clinical trials.

"Inflammation, says Professor Ferguson, "can be the catalyst for chronic human diseases, including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, as well as various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease and type 2 diabetes.

"It has been established in many studies that this inflammation can be reduced through a diet which is high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and is low in refined grains, saturated fats and sugars.

"Many of these dietary components characterise the Mediterranean diet', which has been shown to protect against chronic disease.

What Professor Ferguson set out to investigate was whether there was evidence of inflammation in apparently healthy New Zealanders and whether changing their diet for just six weeks would reduce this evidence.

To do this she looked at bio-markers including the C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a standard marker for inflammation and can be measured through blood tests.

Thirty healthy volunteers, selected for their initially "poor diets, were encouraged to cut out refined and processed foods and to follow a Mediterranean-type diet over the six weeks of the study, with increased amounts of fish, vegetables, unrefined cereals and "good fats such as olive oil and avocado. They were given some foods, including salmon (for one meal a week), and were provided with recipes for healthy eating. The biggest difference from a standard Mediterranean-style diet was the use of gluten-free foods.

Participants, randomly assigned to high and lower-intervention groups, provided blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the study, completed a four-day diary in the final days, and completed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle, as well as attending workshops led by expert dieticians.

"This was a small study, intended to be a pilot for a much larger study of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease, but the results turned out to be highly statistically significant, says Professor Ferguson. "Overall average daily fat intake was considerably reduced, and much lower percentages of saturated fat were consumed.

The self-reporting of volunteers was corroborated by the blood tests, which showed a corresponding reduction in the bio-markers for inflammation. It demonstrated that the high-intervention diet had altered gene expression within six weeks.

"This is a remarkable result, says Professor Ferguson, "since it shows that average people, many of them young and with no health conditions, can, through an improvement in diet, significantly modify the biomarkers that indicate the risk that they could develop a chronic disease later.

The larger research project for which this was a pilot or "proof of principle study is one which is examining the effect of a change to a Mediterranean-type diet (similar, though not identical, to that in the pilot study) on people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

It has been established that there are several different genotypes characteristic of people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and that each of those genotypes responds differently to particular types of diet or dietary items. The current research project is concentrating on those who have the most common genotype for the disease, though the ultimate aim is to formulate different diets tailored to the needs of the whole range of genotypes.

Results are being analysed now and look "highly encouraging , says Professor Ferguson. The findings will be available in March.

Read More 29 Nov '16 AMAZING AVOCADOS! How to make the most of them Photo

AMAZING AVOCADOS! How to make the most of them

 This blog article was provided by thebabyview.com What an amazing abundance of quality Avocado’s there are around at the moment! It certainly makes up for earlier in the year when the shortage made the news headlines and saw people resorting to drastic measures like stealing them!Not only are avocados delicious they also pack some serious health benefits: They contain more potassium than bananas. They are loaded with monounsaturated fats – the good ones. These good fats contain oleic acid which have been linked to reduction of inflammation. 100 grams of Avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, 27% more than the recommended daily amount They can help you absorb fat soluble vitamins A, B D & K from other foods more efficiently. With all those heath benefits who can resist stocking up when there are great deals around like 5 for $5! If you have more than you know what to do with we some interesting ways to make the most of them; Check out these ways to use avocados – you may be surprised! In Baking: Avocados can be used in baking as a replacement for butter, great for those who are avoiding dairy. They create a moist soft texture and make for beautifully rich cakes that are less crumbly. Avocados can even be used in the icing, just replace out the butter or margarine. Check out this delicious Avocanana Bread Recipe Avocado in Smoothies: Adding avocado to your smoothie increases the health benefits significantly plus adds a smooth creamy texture with only very subtle flavour change. They can be added to just about any type of smoothie but go especially well in green smoothies, Try this yummy Avocado Smoothie Recipe For Baby: With so many nutrients and goodness Avocados are a perfect every day food for baby. The options are unlimited! Avocado can be blended with a variety of other foods to create a smooth creamy texture baby will love. Foods like broccoli, peas, zucchini areavocado-1476494_1920 all great to blend with avocado, if you have some leftover pop it into ice cube trays and freeze so you always have some on hand. You can create sweet treats for baby too, checkout this Avocado Mango Puree  Avocado is also perfect in salads, with eggs on toast and much more, check out more great  recipes here.

Read More 08 Sep '16 Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado Photo

Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado

Back to school means getting back into a lunchbox routine. There s one superfood which will provide your kids with the essential nutrients they need to keep them full of energy at school.  Avocado is an increasingly popular addition to school lunchboxes as parents come up with clever ways to encourage their kids to eat it.   Including avocado in wraps, sandwiches or bread rolls; using it in place of mayonnaise, butter or margarine; and including it as a healthy ingredient when baking muffins, brownies and cupcakes, are all great ideas to up your kid s intake of this superfood.    Avocado bliss balls are also a lunchbox winner as they are easy to transport, kids love them and they pack a big nutritional punch in a small package.  Our avocado bliss balls recipe is delicious and super easy to make!  And it s well worth the effort. The protein, fibre and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat contained in avocados help create stable energy levels.  The oleic acid found in avocados helps tell your brain that your stomach is full, while the fibre and good fats take longer to digest so you don t feel hungry as often this also means kids are less likely to reach for sugary foods.  Avocados are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and B complex vitamins which contribute to a healthy nervous system and improved brain function including memory, focus and learning.  Opting for unprocessed foods like avocado will also reduce the overall amount of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup your kids might eat during the day. Fresh food is always best to keep kids energy levels balanced and help them maintain their concentration.   So what are the best avocado lunchbox ideas?  You could pre-cut avocado into little cubes, prepare a small container of guacamole for them to dip crackers or carrot sticks into, or include it in their sandwiches, wraps or rolls.   To keep avocado fresh, just squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the top.  When baking, replace the butter in your recipe for the equivalent amount of mashed avocado instead. It s a healthy and creamy addition that will result in soft, moist cakes, muffins and other baked goods. Try making avocado brownies, avocado muffins, or avocado chocolate cake. Your kids won t be able to resist!  This amazing superfood delivers a host of other health benefits including boosting your immune system, promoting healthy vision, aiding healthy digestion and building strong muscles.   So when you re packing school lunchboxes this term, remember you re feeding more than just kids tummies. Give them food that is going to fuel their minds and benefit their bodies at the same time.

Read More 19 Aug '16 Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever Photo

Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever

There s only one fruit with enough star power to attract a high profile crowd and shine at its own official season launch party New Zealand s amazing avocado. A "green carpet event was held at Ostro s Screening Room in Auckland on 17 August to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-17 avocado season. Attending guests include New Zealand celebrities, influential social media bloggers, high-profile chefs and New Zealand magazine editors - all of whom are influential New Zealanders who love avocados. Avocados are set to return to our lives in a big way. Avocado trees bear fruit biennially, meaning they can produce a small crop one year which is often followed by a large crop the next. Thankfully this summer is set to deliver a whopping 7.6 million trays nearly double the volume available last year. NZ Avocado Chief Executive, Jen Scoular says this launch celebrated not only the biggest crop they have ever had, but also the fact that they are nearly half way to achieving their sales goal of $280 million by 2023. "Our nation is full of diehard avocado fans, so for many Kiwis 2016 is the year of the New Zealand avocado!  It s also perfect timing for the All Black s test this weekend, as we all know they are big avocado fans and the country can enjoy avocado dips and goodies while supporting our men in black. NZ Avocado hosted the launch party to celebrate the fruit s enormous popularity and showcase its great flavour, versatility and health benefits. Guests were served five different avocado dishes to help whet their appetite and inspire new ideas about how to serve and enjoy this delicious fruit. Popular author and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull spoke at the event about the incredible health benefits avocados have to offer. Avocados can legitimately be called a "superfood . They re full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for your heart and cholesterol levels, and help keep your appetite under control. They re also packed with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, are low in sugar and sodium, and are a good source of dietary fibre. Thanks to a growing body of scientific and nutritional research, avocados have never been more popular. They re now the star attraction on breakfast menus worldwide, and have been called the "Oprah of Instagram thanks to the number of snaps people post of their favourite avocado creations.  "The social media buzz and excitement around avocados returning to our supermarket shelves is unbelievable, so we want to grab this opportunity to showcase and celebrate everything we love about this amazing fruit, says Scoular.

Read More 19 Aug '16 New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon Photo

New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon

New Zealand restaurants and cafes are being encouraged to follow global health and food trends with the inclusion of avocados on their menu, as a way of attracting more customers through the door. There is good news for café owners and restaurateurs in that over the next month avocado supply will build with a forecast record crop this season, which will ensure plenty of avocados are available for everyone to enjoy this spring and summer. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado says avocados are trending everywhere and by July there will be plenty available to be included in café and restaurant menus. "Avocados have become a versatile and innovative ingredient on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus worldwide. Diners love to see the healthy avocado being used in different ways and what makes New Zealand avocados even better is that all fresh avocados sold in New Zealand are grown in New Zealand. Avocado sushi, smoothies, avocado fries, hummus, pasta sauce and salad dressings are all trending, while classic combinations such as smashed avocado on toast, with eggs, in salads and sandwiches are reaching new culinary heights. Mikey Newlands, Executive Chef of Bracu Restaurant in Auckland loves using avocado in his dishes.  "As they are super nutritious, using New Zealand avocados in cooking is a great way to add vitamins and minerals to dishes.  Many of my customers say that dishes that utilise avocado are clean, light and easy to eat and something they could eat everyday rather than leaving them feeling heavy or overfed.   Avocados and Mexican food are strongly linked and there has been a visible rise in the popularity of Mexican restaurants in New Zealand including franchises Mad Mex and Mexicali Fresh.  Mad Mex New Zealand Group Managing Director, James Tucker, says that on average they use around a tonne of fresh avocados weekly. "Our amigos love our freshly prepared guacamole that is made from real avocados every single day and proves to be a very popular extra on our menu.   "Avocado makes for a very healthy, nutritious and authentic add-on to any of our menu items. Whether added to burritos, tacos or as a side served with tortilla chips, guacamole is a key component to Mexican cuisine and is served all year round.   New Zealanders are obsessed with this delicious healthy fruit, following a world-wide foodie trend to enjoy avocados at any time of the day or night and international chefs are now going to great lengths to showcase this super fruit on their latest menus, using their expert knife skills to prepare delicate avocado roses and shaved avocado ribbons. These visually-stunning tricks are re-inventing the way diners can eat avocado on toast or enjoy avocado as a salad, sandwich or pizza topping. Die-hard avocado lovers are always looking for inventive new ways to enjoy their favourite fruit, and almost all cuisines can now incorporate avocados into their menus in one form or another. Sweet avocado dishes are also growing in popularity including brownies, cheesecake, ice-cream, chocolate mud cakes and a range of other desserts and baked goods. One of the reasons avocados have become so immensely popular is their amazing health benefits. Diners know that choosing an avocado dish off the menu is a guilt-free way of treating themselves to a delicious meal. Avocados are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for cardiovascular health and help keep you fuller for longer. They are also low in sugar and sodium, are a good source of dietary fibre, and contain vital nutrients such as vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C and potassium. Consumer research conducted late last year showed 90,000 more New Zealand households bought avocados last season (2014-15) compared with the year before and avocados produced record-breaking domestic sales of $41 million during the 2015-16 season.  "More people are savouring avocados every season and in our increasingly health-conscious society, that trend is only going to continue. Says Scoular. "We re looking forward to seeing what new avocado-inspired ideas New Zealand s food service industry can serve up this year to wow their customers and take things to another level.