Life Extension Magazine December 2011
Consumers Do Crave Healthy Foods!
By William Faloon
Last year at this time, I wrote an editorial titled "Do Consumers Really Want Healthy Foods?"
I asked this question because we were working on vegetable soup recipes that contained only healthy ingredients, but cost more than commercial soups.
For instance, the price of the cruciferous vegetables and extra virgin olive oil contained in our soups was higher than pasta, potatoes, rice, corn, and other glucose-spiking ingredients used in commercial soups.
In response to our introduction of these "only healthy ingredient" soups, Life Extension® members answered my question with a resounding YES! We sold six times more of these cruciferous vegetable soups than anticipated.
The first problem was we could not come close to keeping up with consumer demand. The second issue was the manufacturer we contracted with had never made bulk soups that contained vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
Production problems delayed delivery for months. The third setback was that we could not find a reliable company to make the contaminant-free pouches to conveniently package these healthy soups.
When we finally delivered the soups, there was strong re-order demand, with 75% of customers who tried our Cruciferous Vegetable Soup stating they liked the taste and wanted to make it part of their regular diet.
Rather than hurriedly trying to make more of these soups—and not knowing if there would be further production issues—we sought out a larger manufacturer and spent months improving them.
The result of our pursuit is new versions of the Cruciferous Vegetable and Asian Cruciferous Vegetable Soup with improved consistency and taste.
This article describes our rationale for painstakingly developing these soups that contain ingredients that are associated with maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Consumers are frustrated that it is nearly impossible to buy prepared foods at grocery stores that contain only ingredients that have been shown to protect against common degenerative disorders.
The front side of labels promotes many foods as being healthy, but a quick look at the ingredient panel reveals the opposite.
Scientists long ago documented that eating certain vegetables is associated with reduced risks of serious health issues. Commercial soups, however, contain virtually no cauliflower,1 broccoli,2-6 asparagus,7 Brussels sprouts,8-10 or other vegetables that provide these benefits.
In fact, most vegetable soups are loaded with starches (potatoes, rice, or pasta) that spike blood sugar levels. We know most adults already suffer from high after-meal glucose surges that contribute to many health problems. The glycemic index of cruciferous vegetables, on the other hand, is extremely low.11
Life Extension thus embarked on a mission to prepare soups that contain plant ingredients shown to promote health. The objective is to provide a broad-spectrum of cruciferous and other low-calorie vegetables with no starches, preservatives or added sugars. The results are two soup recipes that provide the healthy vegetables that nutrition experts recommend Americans consume more of.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The multiple benefits of the monounsaturated fats and other constituents of olive oil are well documented in published scientific studies.12-14
Findings reveal that consumption of virgin olive oils results in reductions in markers of serious health conditions.15-47
The favorable effects on human health from virgin olive oils are so persuasive that Life Extension long ago added a standardized olive fruit concentrate to the popular Super Omega-3 fish oil supplement. We reasoned that any member seeking the benefits of highly concentrated fish oil would not want to miss out on the additive protective effects available from the olive fruit.
We start our recipe for the two vegetable soups with extra virgin olive oil to provide both taste fullness and health benefits.
A huge volume of scientific data documents how cruciferous vegetables protect against a wide range of age-related disorders.48-59 Since the early 1980s, Life Extension® has published the results from findings showing that those who eat cruciferous and certain other vegetables can help prevent serious health issues.60-77
The problem is that most Americans don't consume broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage on a regular basis to obtain these health benefits.
You would think that at least one commercial food company would recognize that when consumers are choosing a vegetable soup, they would want a variety that contains cruciferous vegetables with proven disease-protective effects.
On the contrary, profit-hungry processed food companies use the lowest-cost ingredients they can find. Since high-calorie potatoes, rice, pasta, and corn can be termed "vegetables," these are often the dominant ingredients in soups consumers are saddled with. Remember that corn is fed to cattle to fatten them up. Our soups contain health-promoting cruciferous plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Healthy Non-cruciferous Vegetables
The plant kingdom provides aging humans with a wealth of nutrients that scientists have identified as having potent health supporting properties.
In addition to cruciferous vegetables, the soups that our chef formulated contain asparagus,78-80 peppers,81-85 celery,86-90 carrots,91-93 garlic,94-99 spinach,91,100-103 thyme,104-110 parsley,111-113 basil,114-116 and tomatoes117-122 to provide the greatest variety of health-promoting plants in one satiating recipe.