Welcome to what promises to be an exciting year for us at Nutrition Today. The theme of this issue is plant-based eating. As the cover reminds us, plant-based eating is more popular than ever before. This issue we lead off with two interesting options that are wending their ways more and more into entrees rather than as side dishes on the dinnerplate. Quite aside from the culinary virtues of mushrooms, Drs John Richie and coauthors Drs Bob Beelman and Michael Kalaras have done a great deal of recent work on mushrooms from the standpoint of the many bioactive food components they contain and their contributions to health. This overview provides a solid background of what is known and some exciting emerging science. Then we turn to mycoprotein. It is popular in Europe as a meat alternative and an ingredient in many different entrees. Mycoprotein is also interesting in its chemical composition. Drs. Emma Derbyshire and Keith Ayoob do a nice job of summarizing the food science and also the most recent human studies. To continue the plant-based theme, our columnist Samantha Heller takes a long and instructive look at the Micronutrient Needs of Athletes Eating Plant Based Diets and provides much sensible advice for them
While we’re on ingredients, let’s not forget sodium, one of the ingredients most of us could probably do with less rather than more of . Dr. Marge Leahy has put together an excellent overview of current science on this nutrient in her review The Sodium Conundrum – Evolving Recommendations & Implications. The conundrum is that while we need it as a nutrient and also for making many of our foods safe, it’s easy to overdo it, and getting too much can do more harm than good. With the excellent review on potassium in our last issue and now this one on sodium, you should have all the background you need in preparation for the soon to be updated Dietary Reference Intakes on these electrolytes, which is due to be issued this spring.
Those who are working with or caring for our children will enjoy the article that is up on the web and that will appear next issue by Colin Schwartz and Dr. Margo Wootan on the reauthorization of The Healthy-Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010. It is instructive not only in that it describes the important federally funded National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, but also how advocates of these programs worked and collaborated across party lines to make a good cause a reality. We have posted it since as I write this article, the federal government remains closed--- there may be lessons our current Congressmen could take from this example! Moreover, for families furloughed or not, the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs are a good buy and healthy choices.
Just to spice things up, we conclude our series on common culinary spices and herbs with Dr. Keith Singletary’s article on Cinnamon. Over the past several years he has done a thorough review in unraveling the interesting chemistry and physiological effects of these essentials in our kitchens. We are grateful to Keith for his hard work and think that many of us will be going back to the Nutrition Today archives from time to time to consult his reviews.
With best wishes for a healthy and happy 2019
Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc,RD
Editor, Nutrition Today