MODESTO, Calif., April 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Almond Board of California (ABC) is pleased to honor seven nutrition researchers who were recognized this week at the American Society of Nutrition (ASN)'s Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting for their outstanding contributions to advancing the field of nutrition science, specifically expanding the knowledge base regarding the health benefits of almonds. The ASN meeting is held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2016 (EB), a conference which attracts an international audience of approximately 15,000 leading scientists specializing in various health disciplines.
To date, ABC has invested over $21 million in nutrition research that has resulted in more than 125 papers published by internationally recognized scientists in peer-reviewed journals.
"We take great pride in the quality and rigor of the nutrition research we fund, so it's gratifying to see these researchers honored for their achievements at the elite level of Experimental Biology," said Karen Lapsley, D.Sc., Chief Science Officer at the Almond Board of California.
Honorees at this year's conference included scientists from academic institutions around the world who investigated various health effects of almonds.
Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, Senior Scientist, Antioxidants Research Laboratory and Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, was named recipient of the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award, for his outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health. Dr. Blumberg has done extensive research on the antioxidant effects of almonds, ranging from quantifying their flavonoid and polyphenol content to examining their association with reducing the risk of various chronic diseasesi ii. Blumberg remarked, "Early and ongoing support from the Almond Board of California has been instrumental in helping my lab at Tufts advance the knowledge of the pharmokinetics and functions of phytochemicals."
Alyssa Burns, PhD student at the University of Florida, was honored as the winner of the Nutrition Research David Kritchevsky Graduate Student Award for her recently published study, "Diet quality improves for parents and children when almonds are incorporated into their daily diet: a randomized, crossover studyiii." Burns was selected from a group of highly qualified student researchers for her achievements in nutrition writing and research.
In addition, five researchers were named finalists in ASN's Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Competition for their ABC-supported research projects. This competition is an event that recognizes the highest caliber research presented by students and young investigators. More than 1,000 abstracts were submitted and rated by more than 200 nutrition scientists, with the top 20% scoring abstracts recognized as finalists. The scientists and their projects were:
- Yujin Lee of Pennsylvania State University: "Effects of polyphenolic-rich dark chocolate and almonds on cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese adults"
- Claire Berryman, formerly of Pennsylvania State University, now completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine: "Incorporation of almonds in a cholesterol-lowering diet improves non-ABCA1-mediated cholesterol efflux in normal weight adults"
- Jaapna Dhillon of Purdue University: "Effects of an Almond-Enriched Energy Restricted Diet on Body Composition, Visceral Adipose Tissue and Blood Pressure in Obese Adults"
- Hana Jung of Korea National Open University: "Effects of almonds on cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese Koreans"
- Andrew Taylor of University of Illinois: "Impact of Almond Consumption on the Composition of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Healthy Adult Men and Women"
Lee's research investigating the synergistic effects of almonds and dark chocolate was also selected as one of five finalists for the ASN Clinical Emerging Leader Award Oral Competition.
The science presented at EB revealed new insights on the effects of almond consumption on overall diet quality and health status, abdominal adiposity, cardiovascular risk factors and the microbiome; and adds to more than two decades of research which collectively demonstrates that almonds, when eaten as part of a healthy diet, may have beneficial effects on heart healthiv, diabetes and weight management.v
"Research is fundamental to all we do at the Almond Board," said Lapsley. "We are proud to partner with esteemed scientists at top universities around the world to continue to investigate the potential impacts almonds have in improving public health and wellness."
About California Almonds
California almonds are a natural, wholesome and nutrient-rich food -- high in vitamin E and magnesium, with 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber per one ounce (28-gram) serving. They're grown by more than 6,500 growers in California's Central Valley, which is the only region in the U.S. able to successfully grow almonds commercially. They're the second most valuable crop in California, and in fact comprise 80 percent of the world's almonds.
The majority of almond farms in California are fewer than 100 acres, and nearly 90 percent are family farms, many operated by third and fourth generation family growers. Back in 1950, almond growers decided to combine their resources to found and fund what is now the Almond Board of California, a non-profit Federal Marketing Order that operates under the supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Almond Board supports growers with a research-based approach to production and marketing. It has funded more than $42 million since 1973 in research related to almond production, quality and safety, nutrition, and environmental aspects of farming. This has led to a number of breakthroughs and a spirit of continual improvement that has helped almond growers be increasingly efficient, productive and responsible with their valuable resources. To learn more about the Almond Board's leadership in water efficiency, waste reuse, carbon reduction, bee health and more, visit its blog, and to learn more about almonds, visit almonds.com or almondsustainability.org.
i Millbury PE, Chen CY, Dolnikowski GG, Blumberg JB. Determination of flavonoids and phenolics and their distribution in almonds. J Agric Food Chem 2006; 54(14): 5027-33.
ii Li N, Jia X, Chen CY, Blumberg, JB, Song Y et al. Almond consumption reduces oxidative DNA damage and lipid perioxidation in male smokers. J Nutr 2007; 137 (12): 2717-2722.
iii Burns AM, Zitt MA, Rowe CC. Langkamp-Henken B, Volker M, Nieves Jr. C, Ukhanova M, Christman MC, Dahl WJ. Diet quality improves for parents and children when almonds are incorporated into their daily diet: a randomized, crossover study, Nutrition Research 2016; 36(1): 80-89.
iv Good news about almonds and heart health. Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. One serving of almonds (28g) has 13g of unsaturated fat and only 1g of saturated fat.
v Almonds: Nutrition and Scientific Research Summary, updated August 2015;
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SOURCE Almond Board of California