From skin health to muscle recovery, this week’s Nutrition News looks at the role our food can play in supporting our body in daily activities.

Read the latest nutritional studies and research here.

How blueberries can support skin health

Blueberries are often a common sight at the breakfast table or as an office snack but they are also packed with nutritional value. Most people already know that they are a good source of antioxidants, but this recent article by Healthline goes through the many other benefits blueberries hold for skin health.

According to the Healthline article, blueberries are thought to add cell turnover as they are associated with heart health and circulation, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the cells. This aids cell turnover, helping the skin to heal.

It is also well known that collagen supports skin health, aiding the skin’s elasticity. It is thought that blueberries are high in anthocyanin, which some studies suggest supports collagen synthesis. Blueberries are also high in vitamin C and vitamin K, which help the skin to heal.

Not only are blueberries packed with essential vitamins, they’re also easy to add to the diet, either in smoothies or as a snack.

How food supplements could support brain health in children

A recent study by the British Medical Journal has found that food supplements could provide important brain health support to children in low income countries. The report found that giving children nutritional supplements for around 6 months could have a strong effect.

It’s estimated that at least 250 million children under the age of 5 worldwide fail to reach their cognitive developmental potential. With this in mind a team of researchers set out to assess the effects of food supplementation with a food supplement high in antioxidants, other vitamins and minerals, polyphenols from cocoa, omega 3 fatty acids and protein on children’s working memory and blood flow to the brain. The trial found that, after 23 weeks, on children under the age of four the supplement had a significantly positive effect on working memory and increased cerebral blood flow when compared to those who ate the control meal.

While the findings are promising and suggest that food supplementation could be particularly beneficial for young children in low income countries, the researchers note that there was no noticeable improvement in children in the trial over the age of four and that further studies are needed.

The effect of curcumin and pomegranate on inflammation in runners

Researchers from the University of North Texas have found that a mixture of curcumin and pomegranate could have a positive impact on inflammation in runners.

Curcumin, derived from turmeric, and pomegranate extract were tested on a number of runners partaking in a half marathon as part of their training plan, as reported by NutraIngredients. The researchers found that there were noticeable differences in inflammation between the supplement and non supplement groups. 

As this is a part of broader research into improving exercise effectiveness, further studies would be needed but it is noted that “supplementation may be associated with a more favourable muscle recovery program.” And that the “findings support the notion that combined curcumin and pomegranate supplementation may represent a useful addition to a comprehensive exercise training plan.”

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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.