Ask the Experts

Q: Xango is a liquid fruit product made from mangosteen and other fruits. Are...

Answer :Known as the queen of fruits, the exotic mangosteen originates in Southeast Asia, where its used in traditional medicine to treat diarrhea, wounds and skin infections. Numerous companies have been promoting the health benefits of juices and supplements made from mangosteen as well as acai, aronia, camu camu, chasteberry, wolfberry and other exotic fruits. Mangosteen fruit is high in organic compounds called xanthones as well as alpha- and gamma-mangostins; various in vitro (test tube)…

Q: Is frozen yogurt as nutritious as regular yogurt? What happens to live cultures...

Answer : Simin Nikbin Meydani, DVM, PhD, professor of nutrition at the Friedman School and associate director of Tufts Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, responds:

Q: I have heard that high heat destroys the healthy fats in nut oils;...

Answer :Youre correct that some nut oils have a low smoke point, the temperature at which they begin to burn. Unrefined walnut oil, for example, has a smoke point of only 320 degrees Fahrenheit, although refined walnut oil can go to about 400 degrees. Almond oil, by contrast, has a smoke point of 430 degrees. …

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…