FIFTY FRIENDLY HEALTH & WELLNESS Nutrition recent-post2  >  The News from the Natural Products Expo

The News from the Natural Products Expo

The News from the Natural Products Expo
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Wondering what the right foods are to eat? At the Natural Products Expo West, there were numerous products that an active 50+ person would find of interest.‘s Susan Hornik sampled her way through the Anaheim Convention Center earlier this month, on the quest to find the latest snacks and ingredients to enhance your busy lifestyle. She learned so much and wanted to share everything with our readers!


Using chia seeds, a nutrient-dense superfood that allows you to feel fuller, faster, is becoming increasingly popular. “Health Warrior Chia Bars use the superfood chia seeds as the number one ingredient, instead of sugar, like most bars,” noted Shane Emmett, Health Warrior CEO. “Chia is the highest-plant based form of fiber, protein, and omega 3’s. The vegan bars are certified gluten Free, non GMO, and only have five grams of sugar. For those looking for an energy boost that is delicious and nutritious, our chia bars are the perfect snack that fits right into your purse, gym bag or desk drawer. They are also full of fiber, which is critical for improving weight loss, decreasing risk of cardiovascular heart disease, decreasing bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of diabetes.”

You can also drink your chia seeds! “As one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega-3s, and an excellent source of fiber, complete protein, calcium and antioxidants, chia seeds are one of the most –nutrient dense foods, especially for people over 50,” said Janie Hoffman, Mamma Chia founder and author of Chia Vitality debuting next month. “Our Mamma Chia organic vitality beverages and Chia Squeeze snacks make it easy, convenient and delicious to enjoy chia seeds and reap all the benefits of this powerful little seed. In fact, our beverages, with only 120 calories, contain 2500 mg of heart- and brain-healthy omega 3s, more than your daily requirement, as well as six grams of fiber, 95 mg of calcium, and four grams of protein.”


Organic milk was also recommended too. In a recent study at WSU, researchers compared Organic Valley’s whole milk to conventional whole milk and found organic milk contains a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which can contribute to a healthy heart. The study’s lead author, Dr. Charles M. Benbrook has been quoted extensively on the findings. “All milk is healthy and good for people, but organic milk is better, because it has a more favorable balance of these fatty acids.”

Dr. Guy Jodarski , one of Organic Valley’s staff veterinarians in charge of maintaining and improving animal health on the coops farms, noted: “Organic Valley dairy products are good for all people but especially those in middle age and developing children. The enhanced levels of beneficial fats (omega 3 and CLA) promote health by being anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. Coupled with an active lifestyle one can enjoy the benefits of “good fat” by partaking of full fat dairy like whole milk and pasture butter (in moderation). This is both a healthy and satisfying approach to good nutrition.”


Gigi Twist, founder and president of Upfront Foods, a producer of non GMO, kosher, single-serving granola was candid about her thoughts on granola.Many women of my generation—over 50—avoid granola because they believe it is sugary and high in calories since that’s the kind of granola we grew up with.  That misperception is a shame because the right granola packs a lot of nutritional benefit into relatively few calories.  Upfront Foods granola contains whole grain oats and flaxseed. The Whole Grains Council has done a great job of letting people know about the benefits of adding more whole grains to our diets, like reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.  Flaxseed also is a nutritional powerhouse.  Studies have shown that it lowers cholesterol, which is tied to improved cardiovascular health, and it also has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.  As a bonus, it is high in fiber, which helps good digestive function.”


Pasta can be a great addition to a healthy diet, but it’s all about balance. “Mixed with high quality lean protein and lots of vegetables, pasta can create satiety in a dish with just the right balance of carbs and protein,” said Francesca Lapiana-Krause, vice president and sales director of Italian Foods Corporation. “One of my favorites for summer is a pasta salad with spinach fettucine and lots of tomatoes, cucumbers and onions dressed with basil pesto.  You can add summer squashes, broccoli, cauliflower or any vegetable you like.  For something really easy, but elegant and impressive, make your salad with one of our La Piana® stuffed pastas.  Our sundried tomato tortellini and basil pesto mezzaluna are really flavorful options.  Or, you could combine roasted butternut squash with our squash-filled ravioli for a scrumptious salad or side dish.”

Traditional red pasta sauces are a great source of lycopene, Lapianoa-Krause noted. “This powerful antioxidant is important because studies have shown it may help prevent macular degeneration, an age-related disease that can lead to blindness.  Studies also have indicated that cultures that eat a lot of lycopene rich foods like tomatoes tend to have a lower rate of certain cancers, including cervical, breast, lung and prostate cancers.  We searched a long time to find a vegetarian version of the rich and fabulously delicious Bolognese sauce, which traditionally is made with ground meat.  Our La Piana Organic Vegetarian Bolognese Pasta Sauce gave us exactly the meaty taste we were craving, but without the meat.  Soy crumbles give it the meaty taste and texture of the traditional sauce. Soy has the added benefit of being an excellent source of protein, and there has been some limited evidence that it may help with menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.”

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a must add for your diet. California Olive Ranch’s Master Miller, Bob Singletary, talked about his experience lowering his cholesterol due to olive oil consumption. “About five years ago I had a cholesterol evaluation that detected higher than recommended levels of bad cholesterol, in the 240 to 260 range.  At about the same time, I started consuming a large amount of extra virgin olive oil. I sample all of the oils made during milling and am involved with our taste panel assessment of six to eight different oils. Not thinking about the possible health benefits, I continued consuming a fairly large amount of EVOO. After approximately one year, I had another cholesterol evaluation and my bad count had dropped to 200. This was still a high number but I wasn’t concerned because the overall count had dropped so much. I hadn’t changed my eating habits or exercised. Over the next two years, my levels dropped to 170. My cardiologist believes that the lowering of my bad cholesterol is directly related to extra virgin olive oil consumption. There have been many studies related to this subject and I consider myself living proof of the benefits.”


Think going gluten-free is just fad? Think again, said Julie McGinnis, M.S., R.D., certified herbalist
Co-Founder/The Gluten Free Bistro. “An estimated 3.9 million Americans have celiac disease, and only one per cent of which have been diagnosed to date. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is even higher: 21 million Americans – 99% of whom are NOT currrently diagnosed. Going gluten-free might just be the answer to many health problems you thought were just your bad luck.  Have you been diagnosed with premature osteoporosis or low vitamin B12 or iron levels? How about Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Have you suffered with gas, bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation? How about migraines? These health issues and many more could be from undiagnosed celiac disease or gluten intolerance.”

McGinniss recommended eliminating gluten containing foods from your diet for 10 days and see how you feel.


In the ancient Indian healing system known as ayurveda, chai is believed to awaken the mind and body.—good for anyone over 50! “All of the ingredients in Bhakti Chai – specifically the black tea, ginger and cardamom —  have elements of heat, or agni, which refers to the energy of fire which is a transformative energy,” noted Brook Eddy, founder. According to principles of Ayurvedic medicine, cardamom contains detoxifying and warming qualities.  The spice is also high in metabolism-boosting riboflavin, niacin and immune boosting vitamin C.”

He continued: “The Organic Fair Trade black tea from Assam, India, contains high levels of antioxidants known as theaflavins, which are shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Flavenoids found in black tea are also known to protect against the damaging effects of free radicals, which have been associated with various diseases and aging,” Eddy added.

Also, in herbal medicine, ginger is the best spice to kindle the digestive fire. “Ginger is an excellent carminative (a substance that promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to gingerols that make up the root, and have been shown to reduce the effects of arthritis and body aches.”


Finding hearty filling products that are gluten-free may be helpful to any home cook. “We try to give home cooks an easy and healthy answer to the daily question, ‘What’s for dinner?’ with dishes that are a shortcut to homemade,” said Trisha Anderson, founder of Frontier Soups.  “Many of our soups, stews and chilis are gluten free and have vegetarian options.  The home cook simply adds fresh and pantry items to perfectly seasoned dried ingredients for a healthy, homemade meal with the convenience of a mix.”

Frontier Soups makes 34 all natural “soup kit” mixes; 28 are gluten-free. Home cooks add broth and some fresh and pantry ingredients, which helps give them their homemade, long simmered taste, but with little hands-on prep time.  Enchilada soup is the newest, and the offerings range from Italian wedding soup and white bean chili with artichoke hearts to comfort food soups like corn chowder and a chicken stew that tastes like the inside of a chicken pot pie.


David Kirkpatrick, chief marketing officer at The Fave Juice Company recommends the consumption of fruits and vegetables. “I read an article in AARP’s magazine, about a study from Vanderbilt University, which found that people who downed three or more servings of fruit or vegetable juice a week had a 76% lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who drank less than a serving weekly. That was right when we launched the all natural Fave Juice, which provides three full servings of vegetables in each 8-oz. glass – the most of any juice, and 50% more than the best vegetable juices today. The response has been terrific, and we are growing as quickly as we can in supermarkets and food stores nationwide.”


If you want a healthy snack, there are some great alternatives to high calories sugary products, acknowledges Darcy Zbinovec, CEO of Among Friends Baking Mixes. “Our hand-crafted baking mixes are produced using non-GMO whole grains which gives our products higher nutrition and a lower glycemic index all while tasting great. This is especially good for people over 50 who still crave a great cookie.”

Fans of bananas were impressed by one of the new products at the expo, Barnanas. “Barnanas are a good source of fiber and potassium,” said Caue Suplicy, founder. “Foods containing high levels of fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease and will help maintain normal blood sugar levels; whereas potassium supports the function of muscles and nerves also aids in prevention of high blood pressure. It’s the perfect healthy snack.”


And if you have a senior dog or cat, there are great products to help them too.  Halo, Ellen DeGeneres pet food company, is coming out with a formula specifically for seniors later this spring.

“Many times vets recommend senior foods because they are lower in calories and higher in fiber,” said Dr. Donna Spector, consulting veterinarian for Halo, Purely for Pets. “This makes them appropriate for older pets who have a slower metabolism and are more likely to gain weight and struggle with obesity and constipation. By adding some canned food to your aging pet’s feeding plan, you can help decrease the overall calories while providing additional water to help your older pet combat dehydration. Halo formulas also contain fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains which are beneficial for an aging pets gastrointestinal health to avoid constipation.”


Skincare products for mature skin were also at the expo. “No matter your age, the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking smooth and radiant is staying moist!” said Stefanie, of Dragonfyre Apothecary. “I always recommend, first and foremost, drinking more water and using a hyaluronic acid-based moisturizer like our Andswere Prestige Hyaluronan Serum. Hyaluronic acid, or HA, can hold a 1000 times its own weight in moisture, so I always recommend using an HA serum prior to applying morning and evening moisturizers to help keep that moisture in the skin. When your skin is properly moisturized and your body properly hydrated, those fine lines look visibly reduced and the skin looks fuller.”

By the age of 50 we begin to obsess about anti aging products, acknowledged Cherylanne DeVita who runs DeVita International, “But in reality, the best money you can spend for yourself for anti aging is a great chemical free sunblock. Preferably one which contains just zinc oxide as the active ingredient.”

DeVita recommends using products that contain high concentrations of hyaluronic acids (naturally-sourced vegan, of course), and peptide chains. “Never leave the house without sunscreen, even in the winter or when the sun is behind the clouds. UV rays are still there doing their damage.”

Other highlights at the Expo included:

Amy’s organic nondairy frozen desserts, Asian meals, pizza, vegan candy bars, meatless meat starters —Amy’s, a popular brand of natural and organic convenience foods, has many celeb fans, including  Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirstie Alley, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, Dr. Oz, Tyra Banks, Heather Bauer, RD, Jessica Simpson, Bethany Frankel, Joy Bauer, RD, David Zinczenko (author of Eat This, Not That).

Smari Icelandic Yogurt:  “It’s nonfat, high in calcium and has the highest protein content per ounce of any yogurt that’s made in the US.  Plus it’s organic.  All good things for any age.

McConnell’s Ice Cream:  Authentic, fine ice cream– the good stuff – dense, creamy and indulgent

PJ’s Organics:  including three breakfast burritos (Surf’s Up Breakfast, Skinny Breakfast, and Denver Breakfast and Chicken & Cheese with Green Chilies. All of PJ’s Organics’ frozen burritos, the 4 new flavors are non-GMO, USDA Organic, and epitomize Mexican cuisine perfectly.

Indianlife products — low in sodium and high in flavor and healthy ingredients. Based on beloved family recipes, their vegetarian or vegan products are made with all natural, non-GMO and organic ingredients and their exclusive spice blends.

Susan Hornik is a contributor to HGTV’s, NBC‘s The Clicker,,, Brainworld, Redbook, Canada’s Chatelaine, Daytime Confidential,  CSQ, UK”s Look, First for Women, Twist, Discover Hollywood, Dish, Maxim, Health,,‘s


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