PRINCETON, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nicole Avena, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Visiting Professor of Health Psychology at Princeton University, answers what consumers might not know about today’s most popular health & nutrition trends.
“The health and wellness category have expanded so much in recent years, from sustainable snacks to new plant-based milks, to a plethora of prebiotics and probiotics to choose from–it can definitely become confusing to consumers,” says Avena. “It’s important to clarify those confusions so that people can make the most informed, healthy choices for themselves!”
Below, Dr. Avena explains popular nutrition trends:
1. When it comes to a caffeine buzz, choose matcha over coffee. A premium green tea powder from Japan, matcha is used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While coffee and matcha have about the same amount of caffeine, matcha packs lots of great antioxidants. Make sure to check the label to make sure it has been tested for heavy metals, as some matcha can contain lead from the soil it was grown.
2. Shelf-stable probiotics are better than refrigerated. Only two strains of probiotics are shelf-stable; whereas, different and diverse strains can be present in refrigerated probiotics. Shelf-stable probiotics can be used in other food products, like granolas, butter, soups, etc. Just don’t mess with the packaging or open blister packs until you want to use them, as they are packed for preservation. Dead probiotics won’t harm you, but they don’t have any health benefits either. Remember there are different probiotic strains for different issues: i.e., you don’t want to take a digestive or immunity probiotic for vaginal issues. Instead, try RepHresh Pro-B as it contains two vaginal strains of lactobacilli.
3. Algae oil trumps both fish oil and olive oil. Algae oil is vegetarian and a source of omega-3s and DHA (good fats to support brain health). Algae oil is safe to use in pregnancy (when eating too much fish can be harmful because of mercury) and is heart healthy (studies show it lowers cholesterol and triglycerides). It also has more monosaturated fat than olive oil.
4. Cow’s milk is healthier than almond milk. Despite its popularity, almond milk often has less than 2% actual almonds in it, has a lot of added sugar, and is not necessarily better for the environment because it takes five liters of water to grow one almond.
5. Folate is essential in a prenatal vitamin. The nutrients in your prenatal vitamins are essential pre and postpartum, especially if you are breastfeeding. Talk with your doctor about a prescription prenatal vitamin like OB Complete with 1000 mcg of folate and the right amount of vitamin D and calcium.
6. Gummy vitamins are just as effective as pills and chewables. Look for gummy vites that have all natural ingredients like vitafusion that actually performed clinical tests to prove their absorption.
Nicole Avena, Ph.D., is a research neuroscientist and a pioneer in the field of food and nutrition. Her ‘wellness series’ is for those wanting to improve eating behaviors & nutrition.