Ask the Experts

Q: What is the latest health information on Krill Oil? I hear good things...

Answer :Krill are tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that whales feed upon. Its true that krill oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration, relief for rheumatoid arthritis and possibly even protection against cognitive decline and Alzheimers disease. (See our Special Report on omega-3s in the July 2007 Healthletter.) But krill-oil pills may actually be lower in omega-3s than regular fish-oil capsules. …

Q: What can you tell me about the possible toxic effect of peanut oil...

Answer : We tracked down one of the original researchers in those 1998 studies, David Klurfeld, PhD, who is now a national program leader in human nutrition with the USDAs Agricultural Research Service. He replies:

Q: I read the article How Safe Are Your Salad Greens? (December 2006 Healthletter)...

Answer :Nothing short of cooking will guarantee that E. coli on produce has been killed, but some research does suggest vinegar washing can reduce contamination of fresh produce. Research at the University of Nebraska led scientists there to recommend soaking produce in full-strength white vinegar for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Rinse with clean tap water to remove vinegar flavor. Wash only what you need immediately, as washing earlier could give remaining bacteria time to grow.…

Q: I have heard that decaffeinated coffee promotes arthritis. Is this true?

Answer :Earlier research did suggest an association between decaffeinated coffee consumption and increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the less-common form of arthritis (as opposed to osteoarthritis). A 2004 study of some 75,000 participants in the long-running Nurses Health Study, however, concluded that there is no link between either decaffeinated or regular coffee consumption and increased RA risk. According to the lead investigator, Elizabeth W. Karlson, MD, of Harvard Medical School, the data supporting the…

Q: Your newsletter often states the advantages of omega-3 fatty acids. But how much...

Answer : Both the American Heart Association and the 2005 federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming at least two servings of fish per week for heart health.

Q: In your article on organics (October 2006 Healthletter) you make note that seafood...

Answer :Your question is an excellent example of how easy it is to get misled or confused by package labeling. Actually, on close inspection, it turns out that the label you enclosed with your question does not say organic. The USDA has yet to finalize certification standards for organic seafood, so the use of such a term on a seafood label would be meaningless in any case; producers are allowed to make whatever organic claims…

Q: I have read that when buying bread and cereals, one should look for...

Answer :Whole wheat is one type of whole grain, which simply means any grain that retains the entire kernel-bran, germ and endosperm. White flour and bread are made from only the endosperm of the wheat, and contain only a quarter of the fiber of whole-wheat products. In Canada, however, cautions Cynthia Harriman, director of food and nutrition strategies for the Whole Grains Council www.wholegrainscouncil. org, whole wheat can be missing up to 5% of the whole…

Q: With the increasing evidence for the benefits of vitamin D, is there any...

Answer : While not even the most avid vitamin D advocate suggests broiling yourself in a tanning booth, it is true that people in northern climes cant get enough sunshine during winter to trigger the bodys natural ability to make vitamin D.

Q: I have heard that the greatest nutritional value of the apple is in...

Answer :Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, replies, There is certainly nutritional value in apple skin, as it contains a variety of phytochemicals (phytonutrients), particularly flavonoids. This is the case for the skin of most fruits and vegetables, as these compounds are phytoalexins (compounds protecting the plant from environmental stresses, like UV light, molds and insects) and so need to…

Q: Ive heard a lot about arthritis sufferers consuming ginger to reduce inflammation and...

Answer :Although ginger seems to be effective against nausea and vomiting, especially that related to pregnancy, the jury is still out on the medicinal use of this popular cooking ingredient against arthritis symptoms. One 2005 study did show anti-inflammatory effects for ginger. But a 2007 review of the medical literature concluded that the results on ginger for the treatment of arthritis are mixed. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is currently…