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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Increase Your Dining Pleasure with Essential Nutrients

For many people, one of life’s pleasures is eating. The current concern about obesity attests to that fact. Eating is pleasurable because of our ability to detect the four types of taste: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. The blends of these different tastes provide the distinctive flavors of various foods. Smell, called olfaction by scientists, contributes as much to the detection of food flavor as the taste buds on the tongue. As food is chewed, chemicals are released that stimulate the nasal passage to transmit a signal that requires some mineral nutrients to carry a message to the brain. Interference with the ability of smells to stimulate the nasal passage, such as having a cold with a stuffy nose, or lacking a nutrient important to the transmission of signals from cells of the taste buds or olfactory system, can make foods taste off-flavor or bad. (more...)

How N.D. Can Fight Hunger

October 16 is World Food Day, the 23rd annual worldwide observance to increase awareness, understanding and informed, year-round action to alleviate hunger. In the United States, World Food Day is sponsored by 450 national private voluntary organizations. While World Food Day should have meaning to all Americans, I believe it has special relevance to those of us living in the nation's bread basket. (more...)

Competition, Friendship and Animosity among Nutrients
Protein and Calcium: Friends or Foe?

Albert Einstein once said, "Things should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." When it comes to nutrients, most of us think of them too simplistically. For example, vitamin A is good for eye sight; calcium is essential for bones, and so on. But, just like people, nutrients also have relationships, and with relationships come compatibility, but also, competition, conflict and a whole host of other interactive issues. For example, selenium and vitamin E work as a team; iron seems to have some “co-dependency” issues involving copper and vitamin C; zinc and copper are staunch competitors in the intestine and fight for the same absorptive sites. (more...)

Broccoli Trees and Dinosaur Dip

Most people know that to stay healthy we should eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. However, sometimes it is hard to know how to incorporate them into our diet. A simple search for “fun with broccoli” or “broccoli recipes” on the Internet can provide you with great ideas. For example, “Broccoli Trees and Dinosaur Dip” is a recipe posted on the Midwest Dairy Association web site ( ID=119). The broccoli dish is fun to prepare and even more fun to eat. At the same time, you are providing the body with natural disease fighting and health promoting compounds. (more...)

When do you know when enough is enough?

That our estimates of nutrient requirements are as accurate as they are always has been a source of wonderment for me, given the enormous differences that exist among and between people. (more...)

Fruits, Vegetables Pack Cancer-Fighting Punch

Remember when mom said, "Eat your vegetables and you will be healthy." Well, she was right!

We all know fruits and vegetables are good for health but do you know why? Research continues to show that fruits and vegetables contain cancer-fighting compounds. (more...)

RDA and DRI - Not Just Acronyms!
Recommended Dietary Allowances and Dietary Reference Intakes provide nutrition guidelines.

You read that the RDA for vitamin C is 60 milligrams per day for adults. So, what does it mean? (more...)

Silicon: An Essential Nutrient of Good Bone Health

Silicon has become a well-known chemical element in part because its properties allow millions of bits of information to be processed and stored in computers. The term silicon became popular when a large number of computer companies, which had converged in an area of California, became known as Silicon Valley. Now, based on some recent happenings, silicon may become familiar to the general public for another reason – as an element that has health-promoting properties. (more...)

Last Modified: 7/30/2009