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12 Feb 14

**Nutritional content of pea-shoots
**Enrichment of cheese with bioactive lipid compounds
**Strawberries reduce cholesterol
**Identifying groups in need of vitamin D and calcium fortification and supplementation
**NMR can successfully anticipate sensory test results of coffee beans

**Nutritional content of pea-shoots
Researchers have investigated the nutrient content of pea-shoots, and the retention of these nutrients in the pea-shoot over its shelf-life. They found this leafy vegetable to be a good source of vitamins C, E and A, potassium, and also dietary fibre. This is a similar makeup to other baby-leaf vegetables such as spinach, lamb's lettuce and watercress, but vitamin levels - particularly of vitamin C - were in general higher in the pea-shoots than in comparable leafy foodstuffs. The pea-shoots also showed somewhat higher levels of protein than those found in more common salad vegetables. Nutritional composition was found to be stable over 10 days of refrigerated storage, with the most variation being in vitamin levels. The authors suggest that their analysis may be useful for food composition databases, in providing detailed data about a new leafy vegetable.

**Enrichment of cheese with bioactive lipid compounds
A study by Canadian researchers has yielded positive results in encapsulating vitamins within cheese. Previous research in this area faced challenges when the bioactive molecules were lost in the whey by-product of the cheese production process. In an attempt to increase retention, this study investigated the effects of encapsulating the functional ingredients (vitamins E, A and CoQ10) into an emulsion with calcium caseinate and flaxseed oil, and tested the effect of adding lecithin (a widely used emulsifier). The recovery level of the functional ingredients was found to be between 66-85% in the emulsions without lecithin, with the addition of lecithin resulting in increases of up to 26% on this figure.

**Strawberries reduce cholesterol
Research teams from Spain and Italy found that after one month of a diet supplemented by 500g strawberries daily, volunteers experienced a significant reduction in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were not affected. These levels returned to normal after a 'washout' period of not eating strawberries, suggesting that any benefit from the fruit arises from its regular inclusion in the diet. A suggested explanation of the strawberries' impact on cholesterol was the increased fibre intake caused by their addition to the diet (an extra ~10g per day). It has already been documented that vitamin C beneficially inhibits LDL oxidation that can lead to cholesterol accumulation in the arteries. [Eurekalert]

**Identifying groups in need of vitamin D and calcium fortification and supplementation
American researchers from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, Pharmavite and Nutrition Impact studied intake of calcium and vitamin D across various demographics in order to identify where efforts to fortify foodstuffs and offer supplements of these nutrients should best be targeted. Intake through both diet and supplements was taken into account. Findings were that low-income and overweight/obese groups were more likely to consume insufficient calcium and vitamin D, the lack of which can lead to bone loss and poor bone health. It was also noted that older children and adults were less likely to meet their recommended allowances than younger children, and that this effect was more marked for women than men. Interestingly, the study found that a vegetarian diet was not correlated to vitamin D intake. The authors recommended that use of calcium and vitamin D fortification may be indicated as a productive route for some or all of these population groups. [ScienceDaily]

**NMR can successfully anticipate sensory test results of coffee beans
A pilot study investigating the use of NMR methods to analyse coffee taste has shown promising results, successfully predicting the tastes of various commercial coffee beans. Independent data sets were used to investigate correlation between particular chemical substances and attributes of the coffee, and the test samples’ proton and free-induction (FID) NMR spectra were analysed with reference to these. Sensory evaluation was then carried out by 13 trained assessors, who used seven preselected descriptors to categorise the coffees. The predictive results from the NMR were found to match the significant sensory features of the samples, suggesting that this technique – in combination with the statistical methods used – may be viable as a method of sensory prediction for coffees.

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