Yearly Archives: 2014

Wild Rice: The protein-rich grain that almost nobody knows about!

In an earlier article I wrote about which grain is the best source for total protein, essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine; BCAA) and arginine, from a list of grains that included oats, quinoa, corn, brown rice, potato, barley and millet (http://atomic-temporary-71218033.wpcomstaging.com/2014/07/30/which-grain-is-the-best-source-for-protein-essential-amino-acids-bcaa-and-arginine).

However, I have recently discovered that wild rice is also a high-protein containing grain, comparable to that of oats and better than quinoa. In this article I will compare total protein, essential amino acids, BCAA, arginine and glutathione precursor amino acid (glutamate, cysteine, glycine) content of wild rice to that of oats, quinoa and corn.

How does wild rice compare with oats, quinoa and corn in terms of total protein content (in grams, g) per 100 calories? First, it is important to mention that the serving size needed to yield 100 calories is shown in all tables: oats, 25.7g; wild rice, 28g; quinoa, 27.2g; corn, 116g. As shown in Table 1 below, oats are best, with 4.34g of protein per 100 calories. Although oats have more protein than wild rice, wild rice has more protein than both quinoa and corn (4.1g, wild rice; 3.84g, quinoa; corn, 3.79g)!

Table 1.

t1

How do these grains rank in terms of total essential amino acid (EAA) content? As shown in Table 2, oats are best, with 1.551g of EAA per 100 calories. Second, and better than quinoa once again is wild rice, with 1.488g of EAA.

Table 2.

t2

What about BCAA content, which is well known to stimulate protein synthesis (Blomstrand 2006)? As shown in Table 3, amazingly, corn contains more BCAA’s than any of the other grains, with 769 mg. Second are oats, with 749 mg, then wild rice at 698 mg, and finally, quinoa, with 527 mg. Once again, wild rice beats quinoa!

Table 3.

t4

What about arginine content? Arginine is the precursor for the production of nitric oxide, which has been claimed to promote vasodilation in active muscle during exercise, thereby improving strength, power and recovery (Alvares et al. 2011). In terms of arginine content, wild rice is best, with 318 mg per 100 calories. Second are oats, with 306 mg. Third is quinoa with 297 mg, followed by corn, with 152 mg. Once again, a solid showing by wild rice!

What about amino acid content for glutamate, cysteine and glycine, the precursor amino acids for the formation of the antioxidant glutathione (GSH)? GSH is the most abundant antioxidant in our cells, and therefore, supplying its precursor amino acids will yield maximal GSH production (Sekhar et al. 2011). In Table 4 we see that oats contain the most combined glutamate, cysteine and glycine, with 1275 mg per 100 calories. But, once again beating quinoa is wild rice, with 955 mg. Corn (915 mg) and quinoa (751 mg) bring up the back of the list.

Table 4.

t5

In sum, quinoa is well-popularized to be a protein-rich grain. However, in a previous analysis, oats were found to be better than quinoa in terms of total protein, EAA and BCAA content, and, arginine. Results from this analysis show that wild rice is also better than quinoa in each of these categories, and, has a higher amount of precursor amino acids needed for GSH synthesis.

So, go get some wild rice!

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

References
Álvares TS, Meirelles CM, Bhambhani YN, Paschoalin VM, Gomes PS. L-Arginine as a potential ergogenic aid in healthy subjects. Sports Med. 2011 Mar 1;41(3):233-48.

Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.

Nutritional data provided by http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/

Sekhar RV, Patel SG, Guthikonda AP, Reid M, Balasubramanyam A, Taffet GE, Jahoor F. Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;94(3):847-53.

Steven Souza: Terrible Hitter or Great?

Involved in the Will Myers trade is Steven Souza. His 2014 stats at AAA, .350/.432/1.032, 75 RBI’s in 90 games are impressive. But, what I’d like to point out is that Souza was a terrible hitter from 2007-2011. In 444 games during that time, Souza hit .226 (347 hits in 1538 ABs), with walks and strike outs once for every 8.7 and 3.9 ABs, respectively. In contrast, from 2012-2014, in 278 games Souza hit .314, an almost unheard of 9 percent improvement in batting average. How did Souza do this? At least two factors are involved. Souza was able to strike out less, once every 4.9 ABs, while maintaining the same walk rate (1/8.8 ABs), thereby indicating that a better ability to make contact. Second, Souza played 3B/SS from 2007-2010, making lots of errors-92 in 249 games, which translates into 60 errors for a 162 game season! From 2012-2014, Souza played the outfield extensively, and, not having to think about errors in the infield may be a second reason for Souza’s improved success at the plate.

Stats obtained from: 
http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=souza-001ste

Restoring Boiling-Induced Sulforaphane Depletion in Broccoli with Mustard Powder!

One of the benefits that comes from eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and purple cabbage is consumption of sulforaphane, a naturally occurring anticancer compound. However, do you know that boiling these vegetables for longer than 4 minutes destroys most of their sulforaphane? Besides eating these vegetables raw (I like purple cabbage raw, but not broccoli) are there any foods that when combined reduce sulforaphane destruction? Luckily, the answer is yes!

In the figure below, the white bars indicate the amount of sulforaphane present after 4, 8 or 12 minutes of boiling. Boiling broccoli for 8 minutes destroys almost 2/3 of its sulforaphane, and after 12 minutes, sulforaphane is ~75% reduced. Adding ground mustard seeds (grey bars) at a relative to broccoli concentration of 1% or 2% restored broccoli’s sulforaphane content almost completely back to initial levels after 4, 8 and 12 minutes of boiling. It’s important to note that a mustard seed concentration of 1%, relative to broccoli translates into 3 grams of mustard seed powder per 300 grams of broccoli! That’s not a lot!

broccoli sulfurophane 2

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

Reference

Ghawi SK, Methven L, Niranjan K. The potential to intensify sulforaphane formation in cooked broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica) using mustard seeds (Sinapis alba). Food Chem. 2013 Jun 1;138(2-3):1734-41.

Is Dietary Fiber Associated with Reduced Mortality?

In an earlier I post I hypothesized that gut bacteria may be involved in mechanisms that affect lifespan. Because gut bacteria ferment dietary fiber to make short chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which may be involved in processes that mediate lifespan, investigation of large-scale epidemiological studies about the association between dietary fiber intake with all-cause mortality would be a good way to test this hypothesis. While this post won’t summarize all of the studies that relate fiber intake to mortality risk, in future posts I will sequentially investigate all the studies that have examined this association.

The Dietary National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study (Park et al. 2011) included 567,169 men and women, aged 50–71 years who provided dietary intake data for a 9-year period. Dietary intakes were assessed with a self-administered 124 item food frequency questionnaire.

Compared with the lowest dietary fiber intake (13g in men, 11g in women), death from all causes was reduced by 22%, when compared with those with the highest intake (29g in men, 26g in women). So, the answer is to eat more fiber! I should say it’s easy to get 30 grams of fiber/day. That’s pretty close to my breakfast, which includes 100g of flaxseed, 35g yacon and ~90g of medjool dates.

Which dietary component was associated with this reduced risk, fiber from grains, fruits, vegetables or beans? Relative risk (including 95% confidence intervals) for men is shown in Table 1.

Grains Fiber Mortality Table 1

In comparison with the lowest grain fiber intake, those with the highest intake had significantly reduced risk of 23%, 23%, 17%, 52% and 26% death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases and, respiratory diseases, respectively. In women, fiber from grains significantly reduced mortality risk for each of these categories by 17-28%, with the exception of deaths from infectious disease. So, for the Paleo types who say don’t eat whole grains, the evidence doesn’t support that idea!

In Table 2 we see that fiber from fruits was not significantly associated with reduced mortality risk for any outcome. Does that mean don’t eat fruit? No. Fruit intake is well documented to be associated with improved health, so other components besides fruit fiber are likely involved.

Fruit Fiber Mortality Table 2

What about mortality risk for fiber from vegetables (Table 3)?

Vegetable Fiber Mortality Table 3

In men, compared with the lowest vegetable fiber intake, those with the highest vegetable fiber intake had 5% and 8% significantly reduced all-cause mortality risk and, cancer deaths, respectively. In women, all-cause mortality was significanty reduced by 5%, whereas respiratory disease deaths were reduced by 28%.

The association between fiber from beans with mortality risk is shown in Table 4.

Beans Fiber Mortality Table 4

Fiber from beans was not associated with reduced mortality risk for any outcome in men, but, all-cause, CVD, cancer and infectious disease deaths were significantly reduced by 13%, 17%, 3% and 41%, respectively in women.

The take home message? Eat more fiber!

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

References:

Park Y, Subar AF, Hollenbeck A, Schatzkin A. Dietary fiber intake and mortality in the NIH-AARP diet and health study. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jun 27;171(12):1061-8.

 

Which grain is the best source for protein, essential amino acids, BCAA and arginine?

Listed below are total protein, essential amino acids, branched chain amino acids, and arginine content for quinoa, oats, corn, millet, barley, brown rice and potato. The values provided are for 100 calories, for each respective grain.

Let’s ask some questions:

1. Is there a difference in protein content among these 7 grains?

Yes, there is a difference. Per 100 calories, oats are king, containing more than 2x the amount of protein in barley, the lowest ranking grain on this list. In fact, oats, quinoa and corn each have approximately 2x more total protein than each of the lowest ranking grains, potato, brown rice and barley. Millet is intermediate, at 2.95 grams of protein per 100 calories.

Table 1 Grains

2. Can these grains be considered as “complete protein”?

A “complete protein” is defined as containing all of the 10 essential amino acids (EAA). As shown in the table below, each of the 7 grains contains all of the 10 essential amino acids. Oats contain the greatest amount of essential amino acids (Total EAA), followed by corn and quinoa.

Table 2 Grains

3. Which grain contains the highest amount of branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine)?

The branched chain amino acids (BCAA) leucine, isoleucine and valine are well documented to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (Blomstrand et al. 2006). Oats, corn and millet contain the highest amounts of total BCAA, followed by quinoa, brown rice, potato and barley.

Table 3 Grains

4. Which grain is highest in arginine?

Arginine is the required precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), which has been claimed to promote vasodilation in active muscle during exercise, thereby improving strength, power and recovery (Alvares et al. 2011). As shown in the table below, once again, oats contain the highest amount of arginine, followed by quinoa and brown rice.

Table 4 Grains

Conclusions:

1) Oats contain the highest amount of total protein, relative to the other grains on this list.

2) All of the 7 grains on this list contain milligram amount of all of the 10 essential amino acids, making each of them a complete protein. Oats contain the highest total amount of essential amino acids, relative to the other grains on this list.

3) Oats also contain the highest amount of branched chain amino acids and arginine, when compared with all the other grains on this list.

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

References:

Álvares TS, Meirelles CM, Bhambhani YN, Paschoalin VM, Gomes PS. L-Arginine as a potential ergogenic aid in healthy subjects. Sports Med. 2011 Mar 1;41(3):233-48.

Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK,Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.

Nutritional data provided by http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/