What’s New in Natural Products
By Susan Hornik
What does it take to lead a longer life? Fiftyisthenewfifty.com’s Susan Hornik meandered down the numerous aisles at the annual Natural Products Expo West, talking to vendors, reading label after label of products which promote anti-aging. And while there is no secret Fountain of Youth out there, with so many new products debuting this year, expect your local health store to soon be filled with organic products that might feature turmeric, chia, quinoa, dark chocolate, green tea extract, antioxidants, vitamin supplements and coconut water!
There were a plethora of plant-based protein foods exhibiting at the Expo. “A whole food plants-based diet can prevent and reverse a number of common diseases, such as inflammation, anxiety, heart disease, lupus, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc., said Monica Klausner, founder of Veestro, a nationwide, chef-prepared, plant-based home delivery meal service.
“Numerous scientific studies –including The China Study, which surveys over 6,500 people from over 65 countries and remains the largest and most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted- prove that a plant based diet is enhancing and extending lives,” said Klausner.
“We’ve heard from many of our customers over 50 who are thrilled they have found Veestro,” Klausner enthused. “Many–if not all of them– have health issues, and were looking for a healthier way to eat, but didn’t know where to start! Veestro provides them with a complete solution, 100% plant based meals that are delicious and conveniently delivered straight to their homes.”
Grow Your Own
Organic aeroponic vertical gardens that enable the 50+ consumer to grow their own healthy vegetables and fruits, were on display as well.
“There is such a different connection and appreciation for your food when you grow it yourself from a seed,” said Wendy Coleman, co-founder of LA Farms, a full service urban produce grower which utilizes Tower Garden aeroponic technology. ”Many people may not know that produce can lose up to 50 per cent of its nutritional value in the time that it takes to travel from the farm to your market. For people over 50 paying close attention to their health, getting 100 per cent of the nutritional quality of their food by growing it themselves and eating it freshly harvested is a simple choice that can have a very positive impact. And the taste of living produce is bursting with flavor and is such a delicious treat!”
A percentage of LAUF’s revenues is donated to a range of meaningful projects under Coleman’s mission to provide communities with access to locally grown healthy food. This year, she and her partners are donating a 10-garden commercial farm to New York teacher and TED Talk sensation Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine for PS 55’s National Health & Wellness Center.
With a growing number of digestive issues, people over 50 are increasingly seeking a gluten free lifestyle. “Many simply try going gluten free because of misinformation from their friends, but what happens is they end up finding that they have more energy so they stay with it,” acknowledged Allison Wolin Luckman, owner/president of Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies, a Long Island-based gluten free bakery.
“More and more of the 50 and over demographic are turning to gluten free as a holistic approach to inflammation caused by arthritis and sports related injuries.
While it is not exactly purely ‘carb free,’ the alternative carbohydrates used to replace traditional flours often cause less of an inflammatory response within the digestive tract and the entire circulatory system,” said Luckman.
Sometimes if you are on the run, it’s tempting to buy a frozen dinner which is not the healthiest food you can find. “Most so called healthy frozen meals offer low calorie counts but are often filled with poor quality and artificial ingredients,” noted Leo Griffin, chief executive officer of Artisan Bistro. The company was founded with a mission to create healthy food that is delicious, convenient and sustainable.
“In contrast, all of our entrées, burritos, bowls and breakfasts are nutrient-dense and made with organic, sustainable, gluten free and non-GMO ingredients that offer a genuinely healthy selection straight from the freezer aisle,” said Griffin.
Griffin continued: “By using authentic herbs and spices, we keep sodium low without compromising taste to benefit and provide a nutritious meal option for consumers 50 years of age and older, and just as importantly, we never use artificial ingredients or preservatives, just clean, natural ingredients that ensures a hearty and convenient meal for every age and lifestyle,”
While flavored water continues to be popular with the over 50 demographic, the key is to make sure there are no calories or hidden sweeteners. “We have so many fans who are over 50 who seek tasty flavored water without relying on the sweeteners,” said Paul Palacios, marketing manager for Hint Water.
“That what’s makes Hint a special brand; it’s infused with fruit oils that are extracted from fruit peels, and is designed to encourage you to drink more water,” said Palacios. “Hint is recommended for diabetes, and the brand is ‘real certified’ by the U.S. Healthful Food Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting diet-related diseases.” You can find Hint at Wholefoods, Bristol Farms, or online at drinkhint.com.
With aging teeth an issue, there is even a healthy alternative for soda, called Zevia. “Our product is a great option for anyone who loves soda but is looking for an alternative to the calorie content in full calorie sodas and the artificial sweeteners found in conventional diet soda,” said Paddy Spence, ceo. “Zevia comes in 15 familiar soda flavors but is sweetened with stevia and monkfruit, which are both naturally zero calories. Since our sodas have zero glycemic index, they’re a great option for diabetics, offering a guilt-free way to satisfy sugar and soda cravings while avoiding worries about any effects on blood glucose levels.”
Much has been said about the Mediterranean diet and its effects on people over 50. “Studies have shown a direct link between Mediterranean foods/following a Mediterranean-based diet and a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses,” said Aimee Tsakirellis, Marketing Director of Cedar Foods.
“It also aids in diabetes management and inflammation relief. Eating whole, nutritious foods in a specific balanced diet over a period of time is truly a vital piece of maintaining a higher overall quality of life, especially for people over the age of 50. Cedar’s Mediterranean Foods, Inc. is 100% committed to providing quality products using all natural, non-GMO, whole ingredients. Our vast array of products and flavor profiles assist in keeping a Mediterranean diet fun, delicious, and full of variety. Each of our products not only work well as they are, but are great as substitutes for higher-in-fat foods, condiments, and dips, and can be applied as ingredients in main recipes.”
At the Expo, Cedar’s showcased their revamped Organic Hommus line, which includes three flavors- Original, Roasted Red Pepper, and Garlic Lovers. The new line showcases a brand new recipe and updated artwork. They also presented Cedar’s All Natural Beet Scallion Hommus, which has many health benefits as well.
Finding a healthy granola is always a challenge “Everyone loves granola, but too often what they think is a healthier option is actually full of excess sugar and high in fat. We had been snacking on granola in the office and looking at the product labels. We were astounded to see how much sugar there was in the tiny quarter-cup serving sizes. We knew that we could make a better product, so we set out to make a healthier granola,” said Katrina Yolen, U.S. director of marketing at Barbara’s.
“Barbara’s Better Granola is packed with protein, lower in sugar and fat, and still delivers the delicious granola flavor we all love. Not only is our new line of Barbara’s Better Granola a good source of protein that comes from oats, almonds, and wheat, but it also delivers other added benefits consumers are looking for, such as ancient grains and seeds, whole grains, ALA omega 3’s and fiber.”
Chia seeds are a rich plant-based source of Omega-3s; an excellent source of dietary fiber, complete protein and antioxidants. Both the Maya and Aztecs held this ancient seed in high esteem for increasing vitality, strength, and overall good health. Chia seeds have seen explosive growth in recent years; according to recent data from SPINS, a leading provider of syndicated market research, chia was the top ingredient across all natural products last year, growing by more than 350 percent.
Which is why MammaChia developed a chia granola, for people wanting to kickstart their day. “Our new, organic Chia Vitality Granola Clusters are a crisp and crunchy way to enjoy all of the nutritional benefits of chia for breakfast or an anytime pick-me-up,” said Janie Hoffman, Mamma Chia founder and chief executive officer, and author of Chia Vitality and The Chia Cookbook. “We’re thrilled to answer our community’s requests for more ways to enjoy the endless benefits of chia seeds throughout the day.”