We live in a world that is constantly evolving. New things are discovered every day that make each of us healthier and help provide a better life in the world of food research. Let’s dive into the fascinating and delicious new strides scientists have made about what (and how!) we eat.

1. Algae, quinoa, and legumes are three excellent protein substitutes

According to the Institute of Food Technologists (ITF), these three foods are considered some of the best protein sources and perfect substitutes for meat consumption. The strangest ingredient of the three foods is most certainly algae. However, it can be incorporated into all kinds of foods, from cereal to dressings. There are thousands of strands of algae to choose from and they are easy to digest along with being a heart-healthy alternative. It is not surprising that customers are getting more excited about the use of algae. According to the lead of food application development at Solazyme, Beata Klamczynska:

“The more they learn, the more excited they get. Just a little education eliminates any doubts.”

Quinoa and legumes are also great alternative sources of protein. Legumes, also known as pulses, beans, and lentils, can improve blood cholesterol and have the added effect of satiating your hunger for longer. Quinoa, along with being easy to make, also has high sources of magnesium, which can help fight chronic pain in muscles.

2. Wine linked to preventing depressive-like behaviors

New food research presented at the end of March focuses on how resveratrol, an ingredient found in the skins of red grapes, can have beneficial effects on inflammation and depression-related behaviors that come from social stress. In a lab experiment on rats, the research team showed a link between social stressors like bullying that cause depression and inflammation. The team was able to use an injection of resveratrol to not only eliminate the inflammation but prevent the depressive-like behavior that normally occurred.

As Susan K. Wood, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and leader of the research team points out:

“Our research is very relevant to today’s society because it investigates potential treatments for people with an increased susceptibility to depression and related disorders that arise due to social stress.”

If it’s okayed by your doctor, having a glass of vino may not be such a bad idea after all.

3. Eggs shown not to increase cardiovascular disease

A commonly held belief is that cholesterol from eggs is a major contributor to heart disease. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland might be disproving this theory and instead shows that even those who are genetically predisposed to heart disease might not suffer any negative impacts from the dietary cholesterol found in eggs.

Furthermore, this new food research goes on to state that no link could be found between consuming eggs and the thickening of the common carotid artery walls (better known as atherosclerosis) either. The study does make a caveat, however, as the highest control group only consumed as much as 520mg of dietary cholesterol, or approximately one egg.

4. Women who drink beer have a lower chance of heart attack

Alcohol has always had a back-and-forth relationship in the scientific community, but recently we found out that women who consume one to two drinks a week to one or twice a month have a 30% lower risk of a heart attack. This is compared to those women who never drink or are classified as heavy drinkers.

This new food research from the University of Gothenburg also warns that those who have a high consumption of spirits have an almost 50% higher risk of dying of cancer compared with those who drink moderately or less.

Even with the shown benefits, don’t start pounding back drinks quite yet, though. The authors mention in the conclusion of this study that it is:

[P]remature to recommend that women should drink beer regularly, as this protection must be compared with the possible disadvantages of alcohol consumption.”

5. Eating leafy vegetables can slow cognitive decline

Adding two servings of veggies like kale, collards, or mustard greens could allow a person to have the cognitive abilities of someone that is 11 years younger. This is according to a new study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB).

The major takeaway of this experiment was that vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta-carotene were most likely helping to keep the brain healthy. While folate and beta-carotene have been linked to slowing cognitive decline, this is the first time that vitamin K has ever been shown to also have these attributes.

6. Organic meat and milk are superior to non-organic

The debate rages on between organic and non-organic foodstuffs. While most plants and vegetables do not show a large different between the two categories, a new food research study shows dramatic results for meats and milks. Switching from heavily processed milk and meat to organic could raise your omega-3 fat intake by close to 50%, but would not increase the amount of calories and saturated fat you ingest.

Why is this increase in omega-3 fatty acids important? Here is what Chris Seal, Professor of Food and Human Nutrition at Newcastle University had to say:

“Omega-3s are linked to reductions in cardiovascular disease, improved neurological development and function, and better immune function.”

All these benefits just from a simple change in your diet. It’s important to note that conventional milk contains 74% more iodine, an essential mineral, than organic milk, however, this is not much of a benefit in the United States as iodine (especially in salt) is so widespread.

What fun food facts do you know?