Ultraviolet: Go into the Light

Ultraviolet light is kind of a big deal and way more essential to health than you might think. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on the subject. Have a look:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body makes after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus…


…Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D.
Now check out this research on UV light. Apparently it offers a “double whammy” against cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters reports:
Using ultraviolet light may one day offer a "double whammy" to kill cancer cells by better focusing antibody-based drugs and triggering the body's own defenses to eliminate tumors, researchers said on Tuesday.


In two studies with mice, a British team cloaked antibodies -- the immune system proteins that tag germs and cancer cells for elimination -- with an organic oil that blocked them from reacting until illuminated with ultraviolet light.

The researchers used engineered immune system proteins called monoclonal antibodies. They are made to home in on proteins known to be overactive in tumor cells.

When the light unblocked the organic coating, the antibodies switched on and attracted killer T-cells to attack the tumor, said Colin Self, a researcher at Newcastle University, who led the studies.
Pretty cool information. Kind of knew this already. Remember this quote from Dr. Fuhrman? Here it is again:
In addition to its significant cancer-protective effects, recent studies demonstrate that vitamin D also can inhibit the growth of existing breast and prostate cancer cells. Likewise, it helps inhibit the progression and metastasis of a wide spectrum of cancers, suggesting therapeutic value in the treatment of those who already have cancer.1
Got to love the UV-vitamin D link!
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Booming China, Booming Disease

Here’s some not-so good news from China. First from the AFP, the Western influence on Chinese diet is causing a spike in breast cancer cases. More from the report:
Increasing numbers of Chinese urban women are suffering from breast cancer due to unhealthy diets and a spike in work stress in the rapidly modernising country, state media said Tuesday.


Breast cancer is up 31 percent in the financial hub of Shanghai over the past decade, and 23 percent in the capital, Beijing, according to data from the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited by the China Daily.

"Unhealthy lifestyles are mostly to blame for the growing numbers," the paper quoted Qiao Youlin, a cancer researcher at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, as saying.
And now, it seems increased pollution is causing a lot more birth defects in China. Here’s another report from the AFP. Check it out:
The rate of defects appeared to increase near the country's countless coal mines, which produce the bulk of China's energy but are also responsible for serious air and water pollution, the China Daily newspaper said, quoting government officials.


Birth defects nationwide have increased from 104.9 per 10,000 births in 2001 to 145.5 last year, it said, citing a report by the National Population and Family Planning Commission.

They affect about one million of the 20 million babies born every year, with about 300,000 babies suffering from "visible deformities."
My hope is China learns from the mistakes of other heavily industrialized nations…like us!

Boxed Rice Blues

Convenience food is tempting. Think about it, after a hard-day’s work, the gym, chasing after kids, the rush-hour commute, or whatever else consumes your time. It’s tempting to succumb to the quick-and-easy allure of convenience foods. Instead, consider this quote from Dr. Fuhrman:
Food manufacturers remove the most valuable part of the food and then add bleach, preservatives, salt, sugar, and food coloring to make breads, breakfast cereals, and other convenience foods. Yet many Americans consider such food healthy merely because it is low in fat.
And the Standard American Diet is chock full of convenience foods; canned pasta, fast food, dried macaroni and cheese, and—relevant to this post—boxed rice dishes. Karen Collins, R.D. of MSNBC agrees they’re convenient, but at a cost. Here’s an excerpt:
Boxed rice may be convenient, but these products offer little more than refined grains and lots of excess sodium. Eating a one-cup portion of rice prepared according to package directions (including the prepackaged seasonings and added margarine) can provide up to 1350 milligrams of sodium. Compare that to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines’ recommended limit of 2300 mg per day and you’re well on your way to sodium overload.


Sodium recommendations are designed to prevent or control high blood pressure and reduce risk of stomach cancer. While the guidelines are set for the general public, people who are more sensitive to the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium — namely black men and women, older adults and those already diagnosed with hypertension — are encouraged to limit sodium even further, to 1500 mg per day or less.
I used to eat a lot of this junk—packets of flavored rice and pilaf mixes—but no more! Why? Well, first let’s consider all that sodium Karen Collins brings up. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of salt. This quote should give you his lowdown on sodium. Take a look:
High salt intake, and resultant high blood pressure later in life, does not merely increase the risk and incidence of stroke. It also can lead to kidney failure, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Salt consumption is linked to both stomach cancer and hypertension.1 For optimal health, I recommend that no salt at all be added to any food.
And those refined grains are no better! Even if manufacturers claim they are “enriched.” Dr. Fuhrman explains all this much better than I can—time for another quote! Check it out:
White pasta, white rice and white bread are just like sugar; because their fiber has been removed, these nutrient deficient foods are absorbed too rapidly. This, in turn, will raise glucose, triglyceride, and insulin levels in your blood. Refined grains are undesirable and will sabotage your weight-loss and cholesterol-lowering efforts.
Makes me wonder how in the HECK I used to eat that stuff. My typical dinner used to be a rice-packet with a can of tuna fish thrown into the pot. I know—CRAZY! It’s hard to believe I would eat something like that, especially now that I’ve…to be continued. Continue Reading...

Broccoli Takes on Skin Cancer

Green veggies don’t mess around. They are packed with nutrients! Just get a load of this chart:



And the nutrients in green vegetables are serious cancer-fighters. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Green vegetables have demonstrated the most dramatic protection against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage) contain a symphony of phytonutrients with potent anti-cancer effects.


Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
Important recent studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables and the compounds they contain can do the following:
  • halt the growth of breast cancer cells1
  • dramatically reduce the risk of colon cancer2
  • prevent the replication of prostate cancer cells and induce death of cancerous cells3
  • inhibit the progression of lung cancer4
Now, check out this new report. Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports that broccoli may help fight skin cancer:
Scientists have discovered that an extract of broccoli sprouts protects the skin against the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.


That's not the same as calling the extract a sunscreen, however.

"This is not a sunscreen, because it does not absorb the ultraviolet rays of the sun," explained Dr. Paul Talalay, a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "We don't want people covering their bodies with broccoli and going to the beach. They will have no protection whatsoever."

Exposure to ultraviolet or UV rays is the primary cause of most skin cancers. The incidence of skin cancer in the United States is on the rise as men and women who had too many sunburns earlier in life get older and develop the disease.

Talalay started working on skin cancer prevention about 25 years ago. "Cells contain an elaborate network of protective genes that code for proteins that protect against four principal injurious processes to which all of our cells are exposed and which are the causes of cancer, degenerative disease and aging," he explained.
A bunch of green people on the beach would be funny, but we’ve heard this before. Remember this post from The Cancer Blog linking broccoli to cancer-protection. Here’s a bit:
The researchers are convinced that there is a biological mechanism behind the protective effect. It is explained in the article that a compound resulting from the digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isofavone in soy, reduce the two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancer to spread…


…The study found that when cancer cells were treated with high levels of compounds found in broccoli and soy, the drawing mechanism to the organs was reduced by 80 percent compared to untreated cells.
For more on this topic, give these posts a whirl:
Oh! And if you like broccoli humor, you’ll enjoy these video posts:
Broccoli…hear it roar!

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Women's Health: The Good, The Bad

Okay, let’s start with the good. A new study shows exercise has nice benefits on women’s hearts. More from the prolific Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Researchers assessed cardiovascular risk factors and exercise levels in more than 27,000 women, ages 45-90 (average age 55) enrolled in the Women's Health Study who were followed for more than 11 years for new diagnosis of heart attack and stroke.


Women who exercised the most were 40 percent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who did the least amount of exercise.

"Regular physical activity is enormously beneficial in preventing heart attack and stroke," lead author Dr. Samia Mora, instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in the divisions of preventive and cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.
Sadly, there are two sides to every coin, onto the bad news. Another studied has determined that weight-gain increases breast cancer risk. This time Amanda Gardner of HealthDay News reports:
Women who gain weight any time after the age of 18 are more likely to develop breast cancer than women who maintain a stable weight, a new study suggests.


In other words, when it comes to breast cancer, there's no good time to gain weight as an adult.

"We found that weight gain throughout adulthood as well as weight gain at specific stages of life were associated with risk of breast cancer, compared with maintaining a stable weight," said study lead author Jiyoung Ahn, a fellow with the nutritional epidemiology branch at the National Cancer Institute's division of cancer epidemiology and genetics. "Specific stages include during early reproductive years, late reproductive years, and perimenopausal and postmenopausal years."
Well, if all this doesn’t convince you. Here’s Dr. Fuhrman on obesity and exercise:
After carefully examining the twenty-five major studies available on the subject, I have found that the evidence indicates that optimal weight, as determined by who lives the longest, occurs at weights at least 10 percent below the average body-weight tables. Most weight guideline charts still place the public at risk by reinforcing an unhealthy overweight standard. By my calculations, it is not merely 75 percent of Americans that are overweight, it is more like 85 percent…


… Exercise is important for healthy psychological function and to maintain significant muscle and bone mass as we age. It has been shown to improve mental function; to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; and to improve sleep patterns, aiding healthful cycles of deep sleep.

Health Points: Tuesday

The program, which targets childhood obesity, is in more than 100 New York City schools plus 20 schools in other states and 20 in Cape Town, South Africa, where a non-governmental organization became interested.

The children earn prizes like medals and certificates each time they notch 26 miles — a marathon — and they can track their progress on personal Web pages.

The running club is best known for putting on the New York City Marathon, which draws world-class runners and hobbyists alike on the annual race through the five boroughs. But foundation Executive Director Cliff Sperber said the purpose of the Mighty Milers isn't to raise a new generation of marathoners
Spurred by the growing crisis in child obesity, the nation’s schools have made “considerable improvements” in nutrition, fitness and health over the last six years, according to a new government survey that found that more schools require physical education and fewer sell French fries.


The survey, which is conducted every six years, shows that more schools than six years ago offer salads and vegetables and that fewer permit bake sales. More states and school districts insist that elementary schools schedule recess and that physical education teachers have at least undergraduate training. More states have enacted policies to prohibit smoking at school and to require courses on pregnancy prevention.

Perhaps most striking, 30 percent of school districts have banned junk food from school vending machines, up from 4 percent in 2000. Schools offering fried potatoes in their cafeterias declined, to 19 percent from 40 percent.
The November 29 meeting will consider a request from the Center for Science in the Public Interest to limit salt in processed food and to require additional health information on food labels about salt and sodium content of foods, among other changes.


In 2005, the group petitioned the FDA to reclassify salt as a food additive, rather than its longtime designation as a food "generally recognized as safe."

It has cited the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from high blood pressure. Cutting salt intake can reduce changes of developing and curtail the condition, according to the American Heart Association.
"Calcium deficiency, due either to low calcium in the diet or to vitamin D deficiency, is very common in older women, who are also the population at highest risk of breast cancer and breast cancer bone metastases," lead researcher Dr. Colin R. Dunstan pointed out to Reuters Health. Metastasis occurs as cancer progresses and the cells spread from the primary site to attack other areas of the body.


Dunstan of the ANZAC Research Institute in Concord and colleagues conducted dietary studies in a mouse model of breast cancer growth in bone. The results are published in the journal Cancer Research.

The researchers found that after breast cancer tumor was implanted into the animals, the mice that were feed a diet containing only 0.1 percent calcium showed signs of high bone turnover compared with the animals feed a diet with a normal 0.6-percent calcium content.
It's Halloween and you're watching your fat intake. However, you aren't willing to completely sacrifice the chocolately goodness of the holiday. Which of the following is the lowest fat treat to sneak from the kids loot pile?
  • Butterfinger bar
  • Milky Way bar
  • plain M & M's
  • Snickers Bar
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  • Kit Kat bar
If you live in an area where shopping for organic food poses a challenge, don't throw in the all-natural kitchen towel! Many Americans in similar circumstances have found the perfect solution: community supported agriculture, or "CSA." First popular in Japan and Switzerland in the 1960s, the CSA movement has -- pardon the pun -- taken root with a vengeance in the United States, where it is sometimes referred to as "subscription farming."


How, exactly, does a CSA work?

By definition, CSAs are composed of "a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The spraying is aimed at the light brown apple moth, an invasive species from Australia that has infested 12 California counties stretching from north of San Francisco to Los Angeles. The U.S. Department of Agriculture fears that if the moth, which consumes 250 varieties of plants, crosses into the San Joaquin Valley, the infestation could cause up to $2.6 billion in losses.


Hundreds of residents reported feeling short of breath and sharp stomach pains after spraying began. Environmentalists quickly sued, claiming the state never prepared an environmental impact report to ensure the airborne chemical droplets were safe for residents and aquatic life.

In lifting the ban, O'Farrell found the agriculture department's health-monitoring plan adequate to address concerns of residents. The government monitoring program will "accept and investigate" medical complaints after the pesticide is sprayed, the judge wrote.
British researchers found that among more than 10,000 adults who were followed for five years, women who routinely slept for six hours or less were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to develop high blood pressure.


Compared with women who said they typically got seven hours of sleep a night, those who logged in six hours were 42 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure, while those who routinely slept no more than five hours had a 31 percent higher risk.

There was, however, no clear relationship between amount of sleep and blood pressure among men, the study authors report in the journal Hypertension.

Threats to America

Check this out from Adbusters magazine. It’s make you think…


(via We Like It Raw)

Fruit Fights Head and Neck Cancer

New research claims a compound in fruit helps ward off head and neck cancer. Tan Ee Lyn of Reuters reports:
Lupeol, a compound in fruits like mangoes, grapes and strawberries, appears to be effective in killing and curbing the spread of cancer cells in the head and neck, a study in Hong Kong has found.


An experiment with mice showed lupeol worked most effectively with chemotherapy drugs and had almost no side effects, scientists at the University of Hong Kong said in a report published in the September issue of the journal Cancer Research.

"It can suppress the movement of cancer cells and suppress their growth and it is found to be even more effective than conventional drugs (eg. cisplatin)," said Anthony Yuen, a professor at the University of Hong Kong's surgery department.

"It's even more effective if we combine it with chemotherapy drugs, and has very little side effects," he said.
Not exactly new news, Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about this for years. Fruits and veggies have amazing anti-cancer properties. Time for a quote:
Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of raw vegetables and fresh fruits and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get.
Now here’s a great recipe to go along with this information:
Green Banana Power Blended Salad
2-3 ounces washed baby spinach
3-4 ounces washed romaine lettuce
1 banana
½ avocado
5 medjool dates
1 tablespoon Dr. Fuhrman’s Black Fig Vinegar (optional)
Blend well into a smooth pudding-like consistency in the food processor, Vita-Mix, or a powerful blender by shoving the lettuce down into the blades with a cucumber or carrot used as a plunging tool. Blending raw greens until smooth greatly increase the absorption of nutrients from out digestive tract, delivering a powerful nutrient punch. Serves 2.
Yummy!
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Chocolate Milk...is Good?

How do you feel about milk? Well, if you grew up in the US you probably think it’s a wholesome part of the good ole’ American meal. But, the truth is, milk really isn’t fit for human consumption. Dr. Fuhrman tells us why in his book Disease-Proof Your Child:
Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story. Besides the link between high-saturated-fat foods (dairy fat) and cancer, there is a body of scientific literature linking the consumption of cow's milk to many other diseases. If we expect our children to resist many common illnesses, they simply must consume less milk, cheese, and butter. Dairy foods should be consumed in limited quantity or not at all.
Granted, Dr. Fuhrman’s my boss, but truth be told. I’ve never found anything appetizing about milk, and, I still think it’s gross when people drink a big frothy glass of milk with dinner—yuck! Speaking of gross, get a load of Mutant Milk:


But evidently some “experts” think not just milk, but chocolate milk is a “good-for-you” treat. Yeah, I know, I hit the ceiling too. EMaxHealth has more:
Chocolate milk is a healthy treat in disguise. This Official Drink of Halloween has the chocolaty taste that witches, ghosts and superheroes adore, but behind its tasty chocolaty costume, chocolate milk is packed with calcium and other essential nutrients that growing kids need at Halloween or any time of year.


"Lowfat chocolate milk is one of those rare treats that kids love and moms can feel good about," said registered dietitian and mother-of-two Liz Weiss, co-author of The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers. "It's a nutrient-packed form of chocolate that always seems to satisfy. Plus, chocolate milk is such a better alternative than sugar-filled sodas and fruit drinks that contain little or no nutrients."

In fact, chocolate milk may be one answer to help curb the excessive consumption of nutrient-void soft drinks, which some experts say is a major contributor to childhood obesity in this country. Studies have shown that kids who drink flavored milk tend to drink fewer sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks, which are the No. 1 source of calories and added sugars in a child's diet.
Despite this blather, Dr. Fuhrman makes it very clear. Milk and dairy consumption can set you up for a whole host of diseases. Take Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and ovarian cancer for example. Take a look:
Parkinson’s disease
Recent studies have shown that men who consume more dairy products and who are big milk drinkers have a higher occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.


Honglei Chen, M.D., of Harvard University reported his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition (December 2004) and presented a few other studies, one of which was the Parkinson’s Disease Honolulu Study, that showed the same association. The interesting finding was that it was not the fat in milk and dairy that were implicated. Usually, the high saturated fat content of dairy is blamed for its disease risk. But in this case, according to Chen, fat was “out of the picture.” Calcium and added vitamin D also were unrelated. That means something else in dairy is the culprit. The relationship between Parkinson’s and milk consumption has been suspected for decades1 and was first reported by researchers a few years ago. Chen’s and other recent prospective studies have confirmed the earlier, less definitive findings.

Heart disease
A related recent finding is that deaths from heart disease also are strongly associated with milk drinking in adulthood. Of particular interest is that (as is the case with Parkinson’s) the association is with the non-fat portion of milk. Non-fat and skim milk consumption shows the same association as that of whole milk. Researchers found that heart disease death is strongly associated with circulating antibodies against milk. These antibodies are found to bind to human lymphocytes and platelets, thus increasing the likelihood of clot formation. The researchers also concluded that the non-fat aspects of milk have atherogenic effects (plaque-building) both biochemical and immunological, and the simultaneous attack from all these directions explains why milk was found to have such a strong effect on death rate.2

Ovarian cancer
A recent study of 61,000 women found that those who consumed more than 2 glasses of milk per day had twice the risk of serous ovarian cancer than women who consumed fewer than two glasses. The risk of those who drank two glasses a day was double that of women who rarely drank milk.3 Lactose in milk seemed to be the primary culprit. Again this larger study confirms earlier studies with the same findings.
Heck, who needs dairy! According to Dr. Fuhrman vegetables pack all the calcium you’ll ever need. Here’s more from his book Eat to Live:
Green vegetables, beans, tofu, sesame seeds, and even oranges contain lots of usable calcium, without problems associated with diary. Keep in mind that you retain the calcium better and just do not need as much when you don’t consume a diet heavy in animal products and sodium, sugar, and caffeine…


…Many green vegetables have calcium-absorption rates of over 50 percent, compared with about 32 percent for milk.4 Additionally since animal protein induces calcium excretion in the urine, the calcium retention from vegetables is higher. All green vegetables are high in calcium.
So instead of serving your kids chocolate milk, give this nutrient-dense chocolate smoothie a try. Enjoy:
Chocolate Smoothie
5 ounces organic baby spinach
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup soy milk
1 medium banana
3 medjool dates or 6 deglet noor dates
2 tablespoons Dr. Fuhrman's Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender until smooth and creamy. Serves 2.
See, you don’t need milk to have a good time!
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Health Points: Tuesday

J&B Meats Corp. is recalling 173,554 pounds (78.7 tonnes) of frozen ground beef products sold under "Topps" and "Sam's Choice" labels due to possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. government said this weekend.

The Coal Valley, Illinois-based company produced the patties in June and distributed them to retail stores nationwide, the U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or FSIS, said in a statement.
Scientists reported progress yesterday toward one of medicine’s long-sought goals: the development of a blood test that can accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, and even do so years before truly debilitating memory loss.


A team of scientists, based mainly at Stanford University, developed a test that was about 90 percent accurate in distinguishing the blood of people with Alzheimer’s from the blood of those without the disease. The test was about 80 percent accurate in predicting which patients with mild memory loss would go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease two to six years later.
A diverse group of low-income women participated in the study, Dr. Alyson B. Moadel of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, noted in an interview with Reuters Health. "Our patients really enjoyed the yoga classes, it was very well received by them," she said. "It really fit in with their own cultural interests."


There is mounting evidence that yoga can improve quality of life in both healthy and chronically ill people, Moadel and her team point out in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, while quality of life may be particularly affected for cancer survivors who belong to ethnic minorities and other underserved minority populations.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first U.S. state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, the bill's author.


"I think parents will be comforted that when they buy one of these chewy products it will be safe," Ma told The Associated Press on Sunday after the bill was signed into law.
New suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in sheep have been reported in Britain, the environment ministry said on Monday, in another county from the confirmed cases in this year's outbreak.


A three-kilometre (1.8-mile) temporary control zone has been imposed around premises close to the town of Rye, near the southern English coast, after sheep showed possible symptoms of the disease. Tests were being carried out.
Good news for us early birds who grit their teeth to get through the afternoon because our evolutionary bio-rhythms are at their lowest ebb.


Research by Liverpool’s John Moores University has shown that the mere thought of an afternoon siesta can help reduce the risk of a heart attack. The length of the nap is irrelevant as it is in the minutes just before we drop off when the beneficial changes to our body take place.
President Hu Jintao said Monday China would step up efforts to improve food safety and prevent the spread of animal diseases, in a speech opening the Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.


"We will intensify efforts to prevent animal and plant epidemic diseases and improve the quality and safety of agricultural products," Hu said.

Later in the speech, he said: "We must ensure food and drug safety."
A turning point came in 2002, scientists conclude Monday in the annual "Report to the Nation" on cancer. Between 2002 and 2004, death rates dropped by an average of 2.1 percent a year.


That may not sound like much, but between 1993 and 2001, deaths rates dropped on average 1.1 percent a year.

The big change was a two-pronged gain against colorectal cancer.

Fat-Cancer Links

I feel like this is Health 101, but, maybe some people still don’t know this—drum-roll please—OBESITY IS BAD FOR YOU! Okay, I’ve said my piece, now here’s Dr. Fuhrman’s. From his book Eat to Live:
Obesity is not just a cosmetic issue—extra weight leads to an earlier death, as many studies confirm.1 Overweight individuals are more likely to die from all causes, including heart disease and cancer. Two-thirds of those with weight problems also have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, or another obesity related condition.2 It is a major cause of early mortality in the United States.3
Let’s focus on cancer for the moment. Check out these two new reports linking obesity to different kinds of cancer. The first is from the AFP. Apparently obesity and gullet cancer are joined at the hip—the very fat hips. Here’s more:
The probe, carried out in Australia, looked at 793 people with oesophageal cancer, who were compared with 1,580 counterparts matched for age and place of residence.


Risks of developing this cancer were higher among individuals who had gastric acid reflux, which has long been associated with such tumours.

But another big risk factor was obesity.

Those with a body mass index (BMI, a measure of fat) of 40 or more were six times more at risk than people with a BMI of between 18.5 and 25, which is deemed to be a standard for good health.
Now, after you finish giggling over the word “probe.” Feast your eyes on this report. According to new research obese people have an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. More from Robert Preidt of HealthDay News:
Obese people are six times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than people with healthy weight, says an Australian study that looked at 800 people with esophageal tumors and 1,600 people without the disease.


People with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more were six times as likely to have esophageal cancer as those with a BMI between 18.5 and 25 (a BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity).

According to a team from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, the finding held true even after accounting for other factors known to be linked to the disease, such as high alcohol consumption and smoking.

This suggests that obesity is an independent risk factor for esophageal cancer, said the study authors, who explained that higher levels of fat tissue in the body increase insulin production. This, in turn, boosts levels of circulating insulin-like growth factor.
I’m no scientist, but, I do a lot of reading—I plow through health news like a tazamian devil. And from what I’ve noticed, through my layman eyes, is being overweight or dare I say “fat” is never good; especially for cancer-risk. More proof:
All this is a huge reason why I decided to change my life, slim down, and get super-healthy. In fact, maybe I should share my story with you all one day—wink, wink. To be continued…


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Fat and Ovarian Cancer

If you read this blog often enough, you’ll soon realize that consuming too much animal products, too often is hardly health-promoting—but don’t take my word for it! I’ll let Dr. Fuhrman explain. Here’s a quote:
There is still some controversy about which foods cause which cancers and whether certain types of fat are the culprits with certain cancers, but there’s one thing we know for sure; raw vegetables and fresh fruits have powerful anti-cancer agents. Studies have repeatedly shown the correlation between consumption of these foods and a lower incidence of various cancers, including those of the breast, colon, rectum, lung, stomach, prostate, and pancreas.1 This means that your risk of cancer decreases with an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and the earlier in life you start eating large amounts of these foods, the more protection you get…


…In rural China where the diets are nearly vegetarian, the average cholesterol levels are low and you see lower cancer rates, not higher. Those with the lowest cholesterol in the China study actually had the lowest cancer rates as well. Obviously, there is a difference between one who has a low cholesterol because his dietary style earns it, and one whose cholesterol seems unjustifiably low on a modern heart-disease-promoting diet that almost everyone in the west eats…

…Worldwide, there is a linear relationship between higher-fat animal products, saturated fat intake, and breast cancer.2 However, there are areas of the world even today where populations eat predominantly unrefined plant foods in childhood and breast cancer is simply unheard of. Rates of breast cancer deaths (in the 50-to-70 age range) range widely from 3.4 per 100,000 in Gambia to 10 per 100,000 in rural China, 20 per 100,000 in India, 90 per 100,000 in the United States, and 120 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.3
Now, if you’re still a non-believer in the power of fruits and vegetables, check out this report in HealthDay News. According to a new study plant fiber and less fat helps prevent ovarian cancer—who would have thought? Read on:
On average, the women had managed to add one serving of fruits or vegetables to their daily diet by end of the six-year follow-up. They had also reduced their daily fat consumption by about 8 percent.


The findings support "the idea that lifestyle changes can be made with intensive help," said Dr. Robert Morgan, section head of medical gynecologic oncology, City of Hope Cancer Center, Duarte, Calif. He was not involved in the study.

Morgan noted that many of his patients ask him about ways they can reduce their cancer risk through diet and exercise. But he said he's found that "it's difficult to change habits, especially if they are longstanding."

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cancer killer of women. Some 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with the disease every year, and about 15,000 women will die from it during the same time frame.
Seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Fruits and veggies taste great, and, they’re great for you! Kind of win-win—know what I mean?
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Health's Hard Times

Nicholas Bakalar of The New York Times shows us that economic hard times can actually be healthy times—or at least was the case for Cuba. Take a look:
Using national vital statistics and other sources, the researchers gathered data on energy intake, body weight and physical activity in Cuba from 1980 to 2005. In Cienfuegos, a large city on the southern coast, obesity rates decreased to less than 7 percent in 1995 from more than 14 percent in 1991. As more food became available, obesity increased to about 12 percent again by 2002.


Nationwide, coronary heart disease mortality declined 35 percent from 1997 to 2002. Diabetes mortality was down to less than 10 per 100,000 in 2003 from 19 per 100,000 in 1988. The death rate from all causes declined to 4.7 per thousand in 2002 from 5.9 per thousand in 1982.
I can see it now…The Poverty Diet!

The PSA Test Debate

In August a report came out which called into the question the effectiveness of frequent prostate cancer screenings. More from HealthDay News:
The researchers looked at more than 17,000 men who had prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing every two years or every four years. Among 4,202 Swedish men screened every two years, the overall incidence of prostate cancer diagnosis over 10 years was 13.14 percent, compared to 8.41 percent among the 13,301 Dutch men who were screened every four years, said the researchers from Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The total number of interval cancers -- those diagnosed based on symptoms during the years between screening tests -- was 31 (0.74 percent) among the Swedish men and 57 (0.43 percent) among the Dutch men.

The differences in the interval cancer rates and aggressive interval cancer rates between the two groups were not statistically significant, the study authors said. This indicates that two-year screenings don't reduce the number of interval cancers, as might be expected.
So, I guess this tells us prostate screenings are “kinda” effective. Certainly contrary to this study contending that PSA testing is still “valuable.” Dennis Thompson of HealthDay News reports:
The cancer society recommends annual screenings for prostate cancer beginning at age 50 for most men, and at age 45 for men at high risk. Those at high risk include blacks and men who've had a close relative suffer from prostate cancer before age 65.


The screening involves two steps: undergoing a digital rectal exam and testing for PSA levels in the blood.

In the rectal exam, the doctor feels the prostate to see if there are any bumps or hard spots that might signify cancer.

And although PSA is not an indicator of cancer, but a protein created during inflammation of the prostate, doctors have found that highly elevated levels indicate an increased risk for cancer.

Studies now show that the regular testing of PSA levels can indicate cancer risk by showing rises or falls in the protein's levels.
And here’s one more side of the debate. Dr. Fuhrman isn’t sold on PSA tests. In fact, he believes they’re wrought with false confidence. Some of his thoughts:
Incredible as it may seem, the PSA test does not accurately detect cancer. If you are over 60 years old, the chance of having a prostate biopsy positive for cancer is high, and the likelihood you have prostate cancer is the same whether or not you have an elevated PSA. More and more studies in recent years have demonstrated that prostate cancer is found at the same high rate in those with lower, so-called “normal” PSAs as those with elevated PSAs.1 An interesting study from Stanford University in California showed that the ability of PSA to detect cancer from 1998 to 2003 was only 2 percent. The elevations in PSA (between 2 and 10) were related to benign enlargement of the prostate, not cancer.


Remember, the pharmaceutical/medical industry is big business. Too often, treatments are promoted from a financially-biased perspective, leading to overly invasive and aggressive care without documented benefits.

If you want to have your prostate biopsied, radiated, and cut out, go ahead, but you do not need a PSA blood test first to decide. The PSA test is just an excuse to give men a prostate biopsy.
Ultimately it’s your decision, but, all this will certainly have you scratching your head.

Breast Cancer Fighting Foods

Lucy Danziger of SELF magazine offers up four varieties of food that fight breast cancer. Check it out:
Cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are powerful cancer fighters and appear to contain chemicals that turn on your body's natural detox enzymes. Eat them raw or slightly steamed (cooking breaks down the protective chemicals). Shoot for five servings a week.


Berries: The more colorful, the better! These fruits are rich in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage, and strawberries and raspberries contain ellagaic acid, which has been shown to protect against breast cancer in lab studies. Sneak these in wherever you can...toss some in your smoothie or even have some with dessert.
She also suggests fish and whole grains—not too sure about that—but berries and veggies—hooray!

Fat and Meat DON'T Impact Prostate Cancer?

I know. Kind of an unbelievable headline, but by now you’ve got to be used to a certain level of junk science, after all, low-carb diets are founded on it! Anyway, Reuters reports on a new study claiming fat and meat are unlikely to impact prostate cancer risk. Take a look:
In an email to Reuters Health, principal investigator Dr. Laurence N. Kolonel and first author Song-Yi Park of the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, said: "Although diet is likely to influence prostate cancer risk, the intake of total and saturated fat do not appear to be important contributors. However, because high intake of fat can lead to obesity as well as other cancers, the consumption of high fat foods should be limited."


Fat and meat in the diet as potential risk factors for prostate cancer have been the focus of numerous studies, but the results have been inconsistent, the study team notes in a report of their study published in the International Journal of Cancer. Some studies have found a positive relationship between prostate cancer and diets high in fat and meat, while others have found no relationship.

Kolonel, Park, and their colleagues looked for ties between prostate cancer risk and the consumption of different fats (including total, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat, and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids), cholesterol, meat (including total, red, processed and poultry), fish and fats from meat in 82,483 men enrolled in a study of diet and cancer. The men were age 45 or older at enrollment between 1993 and1996 and they resided in Hawaii or Los Angeles.
Now, I’d love to rap on this, but, I’m just a snarky blogger. This calls for an expert. “Who you gonna call?” Dr. Fuhrman! Here’s an excerpt from a previous post. Dr. Fuhrman makes it pretty clear that animal products don’t do prostate cancer risk any favors. Check it out:
Men's diets as toddlers and children most powerfully affect the age when they mature and develop facial hair. The prostate gland is essentially a dormant organ until puberty (much like the female breast), when heightened testosterone levels stimulate its development…


…When the death rates for prostate cancer and testicular cancer were examined in forty-two countries and correlated with dietary practices in a carefully designed study, they found that cheese consumption was most closely linked with the incidence of testicular cancer for ages twenty to thirty-nine, and milk was the most closely associated with prostate cancer of all foods.1 Meat, coffee, and animal fats also showed a positive correlation.
Feel free to enjoy the original post: Prostate Cancer: A Growing Disease In Men.
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Cancer Leads to Divorce?

Obviously cancer is bad, but is it bad for marriage? Hard to believe, but a new study claims divorce-risk increases if one partner suffers from testicular or cervical cancer. Michael Kahn of Reuters is on it:
The research compared divorce rates of 215,000 cancer survivors with those among couples free of cancer over a 17-year period.


However, testicular and cervical cancer seemed to lead to a higher chance of marriages breaking up, the study found.

Women with cervical cancer had nearly a 70 percent greater risk of divorce at the age of 20, a level that fell to 19 percent at 60. For testicular cancer, the divorce risk was 34 percent at 20 and 16 percent at 60, it said.

The reason could be because both diseases affect intimacy and result in decreased sexual activity, said Astri Syse of the Norwegian Cancer Registry, who led the study.
For more on cancer—from the usual to the unusual—check out DiseaseProof’s cancer archive.