Pic: Eliseo Hernández
Use your noggin: Moving meditation
Physiologists, neurologists and other scientists have explored and documented why exercise forms like bike riding are so beneficial for mental health: from mood-boosting cannabinoid and endorphin release to the proliferation of proteins like the onerously titled brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and wonderfully named compound, noggin – both of which promote brain cell growth and better cognitive fluidity (which can help reduce stress).
Cycling has also been shown to reduce levels of stress-inducing chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline.
More prosaic benefits include cardiovascular regulation, skill and goal attainment (which boosts confidence and can reduce stress) and communing with nature and other riders.
“Just cruising on your bike, feeling the wind, even the rain, hearing the birds and just trying to connect with the feelings of your legs pedalling will be of great help for boosting your mind,” says Luxembourg-based Delphine Dard-Pourrat, a behavioural economist, yoga teacher, cyclist and fellow Haute Route bike race ambassador.
Frustrated vertical farmers will launch a global sustainability standard in 2021 after years of campaigning failed to budge the EU from its soil-based organic fixation.
The German-based Association for Vertical Farming (AVF), which has about 150 members worldwide, will present the standard/seal to its members at a September meeting in Munich, AVF chairwoman Christine Zimmermann-Loessl tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
It is intended the certification will be in play by year’s end.
“For many years, we have tried to explain the benefits of vertical farming to regulators in the EU and other countries; to show we are an ally of the organic movement, not a competitor or an enemy,” Zimmermann-Loessl says.
The first-ever pan-European good manufacturing practice (GMP) for sports nutrition is the topic of hot debate as industry weighs up whether it will help enforce quality and weed out bad actors lacing products with doping analogs like steroids and stimulants.
Specialized Nutrition Europe (SNE) and The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) argue the voluntary GMP will build confidence in the sector among elite and other athletes.
However, the European Specialized Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), Europe’s largest sports nutrition-focused industry body, says the standard is ill-defined and will sow confusion.
Beetroot shot market leader Beet It is challenging other beetroot players to put up their nitrate (NO3) numbers or ship out of the rising sports nutrition category.
“Athletes are being misled by beetroot products that are not labelled with their nitrate content, or by beetroot products that do not provide an adequate dose of nitrate per serving,” said Beet It brand manager, Jonathan Cartwright.
Cartwright explained this labelling coyness by pointing to a 2018 study that found many beetroot drinks and supplements contained nitrate levels below the 300mg efficacious dose backed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and in some 200+ peer-reviewed studies.
“Our data reveal marked variation between different products and often even between different samples of the same product,” researchers in that study concluded.
Lawrence Mallinson, the managing director of UK-based Beet It owner James White Drinks, added that achieving beetroot nitrate potency and consistency was a supply and formulation chain challenge not paid due respect by many manufacturers in the sector.
“Beetroots have highly variable nitrate content and unless you try very hard – as we do – to ensure the beetroot juice is highly concentrated in a way to protect the nitrate – there is likely to be little there,” Mallinson said, noting a consumer would need, “293 pills of one particular product to get the nitrate equivalent of one of our Beet It shots.”
The IOC in a 2018 consensus statement found nitrate could aid muscle function and athletic performance when consumed at daily doses of 310-560mg.
The International Probiotics Association (IPA) has weighed in on Spain’s recent decision to permit probiotic labelling despite an EU ban, saying an international standard could resolve Europe’s increasingly splintered probiotics position.
“The establishment of global requirements would satisfy the triumvirate of authorities, consumers and, industry and will certainly lead to quality products, better consumer satisfaction, and health and well-being,” IPA executive director George Paraskevakos told NutraIngredients.
Spain’s recent decision to use EU mutual recognition principles to allow the term ‘probiotic’ on-product despite an EU ban on probiotics as an unauthorised health claim, has provoked law experts to question how much longer the EU ban can last.