A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention improves inflammatory and oxidative stress markers of patients with obstructive sleep apnea

Inflammation and oxidative stress are implicated in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) pathophysiology. We aimed at exploring whether the combination of a weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention with OSA standard care, i.e., continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) prescription, can lead to greater improvements in inflammation and oxidative stress, compared to standard care alone. This was a randomized controlled clinical trial in 187 adult, overweight patients with moderate-to-severe OSA. Participants were randomized to a standard care (SCG, n = 65), a Mediterranean diet (MDG, n = 62) or a Mediterranean lifestyle group (MLG, n = 60). All groups received OSA standard care. Intervention arms participated in a 6-month behavioral weight-loss intervention based on the Mediterranean diet, while the MLG also received counselling on physical activity and sleep habits. A weight-loss Mediterranean diet/lifestyle intervention on top of CPAP has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits in OSA.

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Health warning labels on wine bottles and how they influence perceived risk of consumption

Wine is an essential part of European culture. Unfortunately, the consumption of alcohol, such as wine, can have negative health effects. Health warning labels (HWLs) are increasingly presented as a measure to warn consumers of the threat alcohol poses to their health. At present, only a few countries in Europe have introduced mandatory HWLs on wine bottles. This may be due to the cultural and economic significance of wine and the European public’s refusal to accept HWLs on a product like wine. To investigate this issue, the authors conducted an online experiment in the German-speaking part of Switzerland and assessed the perception of risk in participants who were presented wine bottles featuring different types of HWLs. They also studied how health beliefs and cultural worldviews influence the perception and acceptance of HWLs. The study revealed a small effect of HWLs on consumers’ risk perception. There was no difference between a simple text-only HWL and a label featuring a deterring picture (image-and-text HWL). The major determinants of HWL acceptability were cultural worldviews and health beliefs. That is, participants who opposed government intervention for collective wellbeing and espoused a belief in the health benefits of wine were less likely to accept HWLs on wine. More research is needed to assess the effectiveness of HWLs in real-life situations and the importance of culture to the acceptance of such a public intervention measure.

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Olive mill wastewater as a functional resource of bioactive compounds for Agro-Food Industries

Olive oil production represents an agro-industrial activity of vital economic importance for many Mediterranean countries. However, it is associated with the generation of a huge amount of by-products, both in solid and liquid forms, mainly constituted by olive mill wastewater, olive pomace, wood, leaves, and stones. Although for many years olive by-products have only been considered as a relevant environmental issue, in the last decades, numerous studies have deeply described their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, anticancer, anti-hyperglycemic activities. Therefore, the increasing interest in natural bioactive compounds represents a new challenge for olive mills. Studies have focused on optimizing methods to extract phenols from olive oil by-products for pharmaceutical or cosmetic applications and attempts have been made to describe microorganisms and metabolic activity involved in the treatment of such complex and variable by-products. However, few studies have investigated olive oil by-products in order to produce added-value ingredients and/or preservatives for food industries. This post is based in a review which provides an overview of the prospective of liquid olive oil by-products as a source of high nutritional value compounds to produce new functional additives or ingredients and to explore potential and future research opportunities.

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Ancient origins of modern wines

Wine was being made almost 8.000 years ago! The earliest known wine remains, which were discovered in clay jars from the South Caucasus in Georgia, have been attested by chemical analysis to date to ca. 6.000–5.800 BCE. This agrees with climatic and environmental reconstructions, as well as with archaeobotanical evidence, which points to Georgia being the cradle of viticulture and wine making (McGovern et al. 2017). Not far from Georgia, in the Zagros Mountains in northwestern Iran, wine remains dated to ca. 5.400 BCE have been preserved in pottery vessels together with traces of resin, which might have been added as a preservative (McGovern 2003). This suggests that early Iranian wine had a similar taste to the Greek retsina of today, to which pine resin is added during the fermentation process. Does this mean that all ancient wines had this resinated taste? Not necessarily! The ancient written sources, when approached from an oenological point of view, suggest that ancient Greek and Roman wine makers were quite advanced, as they could produce many of the drinks that we know today.

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The Mediterranean diet and physical activity: better together than apart for the prevention of premature mortality

Diet and physical activity (PA) have been studied extensively in epidemiology as single or combined lifestyle factors; however, their interaction has not been studied thoroughly. Studying potential synergisms between lifestyle components with a comprehensive interaction analysis, including additive measures of interaction, provides key insights into the nature of their joint effect and helps target interventions more effectively. First, a comprehensive review was conducted to assess the potential research gap regarding reported interaction analyses conducted in studies assessing the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) in combination with PA on all-cause mortality. Thereafter, we prospectively assessed the joint association of the MedDiet with PA on all-cause mortality in the Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra (SUN) cohort, followed by both multiplicative and additive interaction analyses. Studying interactions between lifestyle factors, such as the MedDiet and PA, is particularly relevant given the current research gaps in studying the complexities of combined aspects of lifestyle in comparison with isolated behaviours. Authors findings underline the important public health message of adhering to both the MedDiet and PA for the prevention of premature mortality.

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Origin of wine lignans

Plant lignans possess several properties beneficial for human health and therefore, increasing their contents in foods and beverages is desirable. One of the lignan sources in human diet is wine. To elucidate the origin of lignans contained in wine, LC-MS was used to analyze resinol-related lignans in must, seeds, stems, and wine prepared using stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, and Qvevri (clay vessel). White wines aged in stainless steel tanks contained significantly lower amounts of lignan aglycones (20-60 µg/L) than red and Qvevri wines (300-500 µg/L). Generally, white wines aged in stainless steel tanks contained only low amounts of isolariciresinol and matairesinol. Qvevri wines and red wine aged in stainless steel tank contained up to five lignan compounds and in wine aged in oak barrel, six different lignans were identified. Consistently, only low concentration of isolariciresinol has been found in must, whereas more lignan compounds have been found in grape seeds (isolariciresinol, secoisolariciresinol, and pinoresinol) and stems (isolariciresinol and syringaresinol). Consequently, we conclude that lignan content in wine can be increased by maturation in contact with grape berries, seeds, or stems or with wood.

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Towards a sustainable viticulture: The combination of deficit irrigation strategies and agroecological practices in Mediterranean vineyards. A review and update

This post summarizes a review of the state of the art of different physiologically-based water-saving irrigation strategies and methods used to improve productive water use efficiency and berry and wine quality in vineyards. Authors also show how these irrigation practices, combined with more sustainable soil management and other agroecological practices, can help to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on wine grapes cultivation and make irrigated Mediterranean vineyards more resilient and sustainable. The authors also review optimum vine water status ranges and the thresholds proposed for better deficit irrigation scheduling in vineyards. In addition. They consider sustainable soil management practices – such as cover crops, mulching, composting, reduced tillage, mutualistic plant-microorganisms interactions, and agroforestry . The idea is to design sustainable and climate-change-resilient agricultural systems (e.g. vineyards) in Mediterranean semi-arid areas.

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Influence of low temperature and cultivar on mechanical extraction of high quality virgin olive oil

The malaxation step, one of the most important phases of the virgin olive oil (VOO) mechanical extraction process involved in the development of the main quality characteristics of the final product, was carried out at a low temperature (18 °C). The rapid control of malaxer temperature was handled with the same chiller as that of the heat exchanger used in a semi-industrial extraction plant. Low temperature was used during the full olive paste kneading process and also for half of this process, which showed that there was a significant impact on the phenolic and volatile contents of VOO. Trials were conducted on three different cultivars (Canino, Moraiolo and Peranzana), and their phenolic and volatile concentrations showed different quantitative and qualitative effects due to the prolonged use of low temperature after the crushing phase, as a function of the different genetic origins of the olives. The process of phenolic compound solubilization into the oily phase was negatively influenced by the use of low temperature during the entire malaxation period for all the cultivars, whereas the volatile fraction showed an improvement in VOO flavor mainly due to the oil extracted from Canino olives.

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Correlating wine astringency with physical measures – current knowledge and future directions

Oral tribology receives growing attention in the field of food sciences as it offers great opportunities to establish correlations between physical parameters, such as the coefficient of friction, and sensory effects when interacting with components of the human mouth. One important aspect covers the astringency produced by wine, which can be described as the sensation of dryness and puckering in the mouth, specifically occurring between the tongue and the palate after swallowing. Therefore, this post reports the resulst of a study which aims at shedding some light on recent trends to correlate physical measures, such as the coefficient of friction derived by oral tribology, with prevailing theories on underlying physiological causes for sensory perception of wines. Some successful cases reported the potential of correlating wine astringency perception with the coefficient of friction in tribological experiments. Our critical assessment demonstrates that the findings are still contradictory, which urgently asks for more systematic studies. Therefore, the authors summarize the current challenges and hypothesize on future research directions with a particular emphasis on the comparability, reproducibility and transferability of studies using different experimental test-rigs and procedures.

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