From feelings of fatigue to a reduction in muscle mass, deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can manifest themselves in all sorts of ways, which is why it is so important to eat a varied diet that is nutritionally rich. This week’s Nutrition News looks at the latest innovations in food and drink as well as some new research that can help inform our diets and health.

Read the latest findings here.

Fighting fatigue with sake?

Researchers have found that a mutant strain of yeast used in sake that can contain high levels of ornithine, possibly leading to an increase in popularity for the Japanese alcoholic drink. The researchers from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology and the Nara Prefecture Institute of Industrial Development have found, as reported by Science Daily, that a mutant strain of sake yeast produces 10 times the amount of ornithine than the parent yeast strain.

Ornithine is an amino acid that is linked with reduced fatigue and improved sleep quality. Speaking of the research, Professor Hiroshi Takagi said, “The yeast is reliable and safe in food production, and thus the development of novel strains that overproduce 'functional amino acids' such as ornithine, proline and branched-amino acids, would greatly contribute to food-related industries."

The mutated yeast contained 10 times the amount of ornithine than the parent strain and sake, wine and beer brewed with this strain contained 4-5 times more ornithine, illustrating the great potential this could have on the food and beverage industry.

25 ‘super’ fruits

The term superfoods has been bandied around by the media for many years, so much so, it would seem to have lost its meaning but that’s not to say that there aren’t a number of foods and, more specifically, fruits packed so full with nutritional value that they can’t be deemed ‘super’.

This article from Healthline outlines 25 different ‘super fruits’ and their nutritional properties, illustrating easy ways of boosting your vitamin, mineral, and fibre intake through your diet. Examples include:

  • Plums are rich in hydroxycinnamic acids, a type of antioxidant, as well as vitamin C and provitamin A carotenoids, which are anti-inflammatory.
  • Peaches act as a good source of fibre, vitamin C, provitamin A, and potassium.
  • Figs are known for being fibre rich but they’re also a great source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B6 and K1.
  • Mangos are full of antioxidants such as gallic acid, quercetin, and ellagic acid, as well as the carotenoids lutein, alpha carotene, and beta carotene.
  • Cranberries have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-diabetes effects in some studies.

All fruits are nutritious but some stand out for the high volume vitamin and antioxidant content. Read about some of the other highlighted fruits in the full Healthline article.

The relationship between vitamin C and muscle mass

We all know that vitamin C helps support the immune system but new research from the University of East Anglia, as reported by Medical Xpress, has shown that older people who consume a lot of vitamin C have better skeletal muscle mass than those who don’t.

As we age, we lose skeletal muscle mass, which leads to frailty and a loss of strength that can cause further health implications. Once we reach the age of 50, we lose up to 1 percent of our skeletal muscle mass each year that, undeterred, can have a damaging impact.

The research looked at data from 13,000 people in Norfolk who are taking part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, so it is worth noting that these findings are observational. While more research would need to be conducted to gather conclusive results, Dr. Richard Hayhoe, from UEA's Norwich Medical School, said, “We are very excited by our findings as they suggest that dietary vitamin C is important for muscle health in older men and women and may be useful for preventing age-related muscle loss.” Although more research is needed, the study shows that most people aren’t getting enough vitamin C in their diet and that its health benefits are far reaching, beyond support for the immune system.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is Director and Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.