Infant cereals without phytate may allow absorption of more nutrients
BEIJING A study published April 28 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology indicated that removing phytate from infant cereals may have a beneficial effect on iron and zinc bioavailability when those infant cereals were reconstituted with water.
Cereals are considered a rich plant source of carbohydrate, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and are therefore are usually introduced to an infant’s diet between the ages of four and six months. However, cereals are also rich in antinutrients, which can decrease the absorption of such critical nutrients as iron, calcium and zinc because of their high ability to chelate and precipitate minerals.
The research was conducted by Carmen Frontela of the University of Murcia (Spain).
American Red Cross survey: Adults are worried about swine flu, taking precaution
WASHINGTON One-in-three Americans are worried about the H1N1 outbreak, but more than half of the people are paying extra attention to good hygiene and preparedness as a way of protecting themselves from the virus, according to a poll released Wednesday by the American Red Cross.
The survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, taken May 1 to 4, shows that four-out-of-five of those surveyed reported that they are following the flu story very or fairly closely, and 36% said they were either very worried (8%) or somewhat worried (28%) about this flu virus.
But the flu outbreak has prompted people to take more steps to prevent the spread of the virus, with 55% saying they are paying extra attention to proper hand washing; 48% covering their coughs more, and 41% disinfecting surfaces more. In addition, more than one in three have used hand sanitizers more and made an extra effort to avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes.
“This swine flu virus continues to have the potential to spread throughout the U.S.,” stated Scott Conner, SVP American Red Cross Preparedness and Health and Safety Services. “Families, businesses and organizations should continue to follow good public health practices and to review and update their preparedness plans. … Even if this version of the swine flu virus is not as dangerous as initially feared, public health officials worry that it could come back in a more severe form later this year. The Red Cross believes that prudent preparedness steps now can help keep families healthy throughout the year.”
The survey did show that 11% said someone in the household had gone to work or school when they had the seasonal flu, and 22% indicated that they have gone to school or work within five days of having flu symptoms.
Two-in-five are misguided about flu shots as 39% incorrectly believe that a seasonal flu shot offers some protection from H1N1.
Study: Taking probiotics during pregnancy may reduce obesity risk after birth
LONDON One year after giving birth, women are less likely to have the most dangerous kind of obesity if they had been given probiotics from the first trimester of pregnancy, according to new research released Thursday by the European Association for the Study of Obesity.
“The results of our study, the first to demonstrate the impact of probiotics-supplemented dietary counselling on adiposity, were encouraging,” stated Kirsi Laitinen, a nutritionist and senior lecturer at the University of Turku in Finland, who presented her findings May 7 at the European Congress on Obesity. “The women who got the probiotics fared best. One year after childbirth, they had the lowest levels of central obesity as well as the lowest body fat percentage.
“Central obesity, where overall obesity is combined with a particularly fat belly, is considered especially unhealthy,” Laitinen said. “We found it in 25% of the women who had received the probiotics along with dietary counseling, compared with 43% in the women who received diet advice alone.”
Laitinen said further research is needed to confirm the potential role of probiotics in fighting obesity. One of the limitations of the study was that it did not control for the mothers’ weight before pregnancy, which may influence how fat they later become.
“The advantage of studying pregnant women to investigate the potential link between probiotics and obesity is that it allows us to see the effects not only in the women, but also in their children,” she said. “Particularly during pregnancy, the impacts of obesity can be immense, with the effects seen both in the mother and the child. Bacteria are passed from mother to child through the birth canal, as well as through breast milk and research indicates that early nutrition may influence the risk of obesity later in life. There is growing evidence that this approach might open a new angle on the fight against obesity, either through prevention or treatment.”
Latinen’s study was funded by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, the Academy of Finland and the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, a Finnish medical research charity.