Open Science Research Excellence

M J Reis Lima




Consumption Habits of Low-Fat Plant Sterol-Enriched Yoghurt Enriched with Phytosterols

The increasing interest in plant sterol enriched foods is due to the fact that they reduce blood cholesterol concentrations without adverse side effects. In this context, enriched foods with phytosterols may be helpful in protecting population against atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the present work was to evaluate in a population of Viseu, Portugal, the consumption habits low-fat, plant sterol-enriched yoghurt. For this study, 577 inquiries were made and the sample was randomly selected for people shopping in various supermarkets. The preliminary results showed that the biggest consumers of these products were women aged 45 to 65 years old. Most of the people who claimed to buy these products consumed them once a day. Also, most of the consumers under antidyslipidemic therapeutics noticed positive effects on hypercholesterolemia.

Consumption habits, fermented milk, functional foods, low fat, phytosterols.
Phenolic Content and Antioxidant Activity Determination in Broccoli and Lamb’s Lettuce

Broccoli has been widely recognized as a wealthy vegetable which contains multiple nutrients with potent anti-cancer properties. Lamb’s lettuce has been used as food for many centuries but only recently became commercially available and literature is therefore exiguous concerning these vegetables. The aim of this work was to evaluate the influence of the extraction conditions on the yield of phenolic compounds and the corresponding antioxidant capacity of broccoli and lamb’s lettuce. The results indicate that lamb’s lettuce, compared to broccoli, contains simultaneously a large amount of total polyphenols as well as high antioxidant activity. It is clearly demonstrated that extraction solvent significantly influences the antioxidant activity. Methanol is the solvent that can globally maximize the antioxidant extraction yield. The results presented herein prove lamb’s lettuce as a very interesting source of polyphenols, and thus a potential health-promoting food.

Broccoli, lamb’s lettuce, extraction, antioxidant activity, phenolic compounds.
The Coexistence of Dual Form of Malnutrition among Portuguese Institutionalized Elderly People

In the present study we evaluated the nutritional status of 214 institutionalized elderly residents of both genders, aged 65 years and older of 11 care homes located in the district of Viseu (center of Portugal). The evaluation was based on anthropometric measurements and the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) score.

The mean age of the subjects was 82.3 ± 6.1 years-old. Most of the elderly residents were female (72.0%). The majority had 4 years of formal education (51.9%) and was widowed (74.3%) or married (14.0%).

Men presented a mean age of 81.2±8.5 years-old, weight 69.3±14.5 kg and BMI 25.33±6.5 kg/m2. In women, the mean age was 84.5±8.2 years-old, weight 61.2±14.7 kg and BMI 27.43±5.6 kg/m2.

The evaluation of the nutritional status using the MNA score showed that 24.0% of the residents show a risk of undernutrition and 76.0% of them were well nourished.

There was a high prevalence of obese (24.8%) and overweight residents (33.2%) according to the BMI. 7.5% were considered underweight.

We also found that according to their waist circumference measurements 88.3% of the residents were at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and 64.0% of them presented very high risk for CVD (WC≥88 cm for women and WC ≥102 cm for men).

The present study revealed the coexistence of a dual form of malnutrition (undernourished and overweight) among the institutionalized Portuguese concomitantly with an excess of abdominal adiposity. The high prevalence of residents at high risk for CVD should not be overlooked.

Given the vulnerability of the group of institutionalized elderly, our study highlights the importance of the classification of nutritional status based on both instruments: the BMI and the MNA.

Nutritional status, MNA, BMI, elderly.
Tomato Lycopene: Functional Proprieties and Health Benefits
The growing concerns for physical wellbeing and health have been reflected in the way we choose food in our table. Nowadays, we are all more informed consumers and choose healthier foods. On the other hand, stroke, cancer and atherosclerosis may be somehow minimized by the intake of some bioactive compounds present in food, the so-called nutraceuticals and functional foods. The aim of this work was to make a revision of the published studies about the effects of some bioactive compounds, namely lycopene in human health, in the prevention of diseases, thus playing the role of a functional food. Free radical in human body can induce cell damage and consequently can be responsible for the development of some cancers and chronic diseases. Lycopene is one of the most powerful antioxidants known, being the predominant carotenoid in tomato. The respective chemistry, bioavailability, and its functional role in the prevention of several diseases will be object of this work. On the other hand, the inclusion of lycopene in some foods can also be made by biotechnology and represents a way to recover the wastes in the tomato industry with nutritional positive effects in health.
Tomato, lycopene, bioavailability, functional foods, carotenoids, cancer and antioxidants.
Systolic Blood Pressure and Its Determinants: Study in a Population Attending Pharmacies in a Portuguese Coastal City
Hypertension is a common condition causing cardio and cerebrovascular complications. Portugal has one of the highest mortality rates from stroke and a high prevalence of hypertension. Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) is an important risk factor for cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction and stroke) and premature mortality, particularly in the elderly population. The present study aims to estimate the prevalence of hypertension in a Portuguese population living in a coastal city and to identify some of its determinants (namely gender, age, the body mass index and physical activity frequency). A total of 91 adults who attended three pharmacies of a coastal city in the center of Portugal, between May and August of 2013 were evaluated. Attendants who reported to have diabetes or taking antihypertensive drugs in the 2 previous weeks were excluded from the study. Sociodemographic factors, BMI, habits of exercise and BP were assessed. Hypertension was defined as blood pressure ≥140/90 mmHg. The majority of the studied population was constituted by women (75.8%), with a mean age of 54.2±1.6 years old, married or living in civil union and that had completed secondary school or had higher education (40%). They presented a mean BMI of 26.2±4.76 Kg/m2., and were sedentary. The mean BP was 127.0±17.77mmHg- 74.69 ± 9.53. In this population we found 4.3% of people with hypertension and 16.1% with normal high blood pressure. Men exhibit a tendency to present higher systolic blood pressure values than women. Of all the factors considered, SBP values also tended to be higher with age and higher BMI values. Despite the fact that the mean values of SBP did not present values higher than 140 mmHg we must be concerned because the studied population is undiagnosed for hypertension. Although this is a preliminary study, it might be a prelude to the upcoming research about the underlying factors responsible for the occurrence of SBP.
Hypertension, age, exercise, obesity, gender.