Red Meat Pinned to Blindness in Old Age

Sorry cows, a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology links higher risk of age-related macular degeneration, i.e. blindness, with heavy consumption of red meat. Australian researchers recruited 6,734 people, ages 58 to 69, living in Melbourne, surveying them about how much meat they ate, and then taking macular photographs of their retinas to evaluate eye health. Findings revealed participants eating red meat 10 times a week were 47% more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration than those eating less red meat; Medical News Today reports.

Red meat is vile. In November a report found harmful bacteria, called Subtilase cytotoxin gravitates to red meat and dairy products. Then just last week, consuming large amounts of red and processed meat was associated with higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular mortality and beyond that, eating red meat has been linked to metabolic syndrome, a known predictor of heart disease.

In related news, previous research shows antioxidants from foods, such as spinach, kale and collard greens promote eye health and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

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Antioxidants Linked with Fewer Hip Fractures

New findings in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reveal antioxidants, such as lycopene, carotenoids and lutein, reduce the likelihood of hip fractures. The 17-year long study, involving 946 individuals, 576 Caucasian women and 370 Caucasian men with an average age of 75, found participants with the highest average intakes of all carotenoids had significantly lower risk of hip fractures, lycopene linked to the lowest risk of hip fracture and non-vertebral fracture; NutraIngredients reports.

In the past, other antioxidants found in plants, such as flavonoids, have been associated with heart health and blueberries, which are packed with nutrients like tannins, anthocyanidins and polyphenols help to prolong mental health and prevent cancer.

But be careful with the vitamins you get outside of food. Recently, a 10-year analysis of 77,000 people showed high-dose beta carotene supplements increase risk of lung cancer. Eek!

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Eating Soy as a Kid Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

New research in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention found women who ate soy as a child may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The study involved 1,600 Asian Americans with or without breast cancer, revealing those women who consumed soy regularly as a child, once a week or more, were 60% less likely to develop breast cancer and regular soy consumption as an adulthood was linked to 25% less risk of breast cancer, compared to women not eating soy; Reuters reports.

Soy is a super food! Previous reports suggest soy helps lower cholesterol and improve artery health of stroke patients and another study showed soy foods reduce the risk of estrogen receptor (ER)-positive tumors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative tumor, which are associated with breast cancer.

I’ve been on a soy bean kick lately, although the farting makes Yoga interesting. Soymilk is cool too and, despite the obvious conflict of interest, even cows drink soymilk!

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Protect Against Prostate Cancer

Published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research scientists have determined omega-3 fatty acids found in fish offer protection against advanced prostate cancer. The team studied 466 men with prostate cancer and 478 healthy men. Participants with the highest intake of omega-3’s had 63% less risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer compared to men with limited consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, even men with genetic predisposition to prostate cancer had a decreased risk of disease; via HealthDay News.

Earlier this month, omega-3’s were shown to lower inflammation in men with elevated levels of triglycerides, which improves heart health. Also, omega-3 fatty acids were found to shield the liver against insulin resistance linked to obesity, boost brain power and intelligence in girls, and help reduce the risk of type-1 diabetes. Not too shabby.

Dr. Fuhrman is big on omega-3, associating them with good neurological health. Oh, and if you’re not into fish, don’t worries, micro algae-derived fatty acids are just as good.

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Red Meat, Processed Meat Lead to Death

New findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine link increased risk of cancer mortality and cardiovascular mortality with eating large amounts of red and processed meat. The largest study of its kind, researchers surveyed over 545,000 men and women, ages 50 to 71, on their eating habits and then followed them for 10 years, during this time 70,000 participants died, revealing men eating the equivalent of one quarter-pound hamburger each day had a 22% higher risk of dying of cancer and 27% for heart disease, compared to men eating only 5 ounces per week. Women had a 20% higher risk of death from cancer and 50% for heart disease; the Associated Press reports.

The low-carb kooks must be throwing a tantrum right now, but this study isn’t the first. In November, findings in the journal Cancer Research showed consuming foods high in saturated fat such as red meat heighten the risk of cancer in the small intestine and last January, a study in the International Journal of Cancer revealed foods like red meat amplify breast cancer risk with every 25 grams of meat resulting in a higher risk.

As for cardiovascular mortality, that’s obvious. According to Dr. Fuhrman, eating a lot of animal products, like meat and dairy, raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease, but diets rich in fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol and prevent and reverse cardiovascular events. In December, experts determined eating two servings of red meat each day raise the risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to heart disease.

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Folic Acid Pills Up Prostate Cancer Risk

Most people think vitamins are healthy. No questions asked. Not always the case. According to new research in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute daily folic acid supplementation may increase men’s risk of prostate cancer. The study showed men taking 1 mg of folic acid everyday had more than twice the risk of developing prostate cancer than participants taking a placebo. Experts examined data on 643 men, with an average age of 57.4. After ten years the cancer risk among supplement-takers was 9.7%, but only 3.3% for men taking the placebo; Med News Today reports.

Isolated beta-carotene isn’t the only thing that can increase men’s risk of prostate cancer. Eating too much meat messes with a hormones resulting in more prostate cancer, while foods like broccoli provide protect against prostate cancer. And in the past, a study of 300,000 men revealed men taking more than seven vitamins a week had double the risk of getting fatal prostate cancer, compared to men who never took pills.

Now, I’m not into hocking products, but this is relevant. Dr. Fuhrman has known about link between folic acid and prostate cancer for a long time, that’s why his daily vitamin supplement Gentle Care has no folic acid and no isolated beta-carotene. Isolated beta-carotene was recently found to raise lung cancer risk. Eek!

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Health-Points: Friday 3.20.09

  • I guess I’m going to die soon, because I’m a big dummy! New findings in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reveals an association between higher IQ and decreased mortality, i.e. death, in men. Researchers believe people with higher IQ test scores are less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol and more likely to eat better and exercise; ScienceDaily reports.
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Grapes Help Fight Abdominal Fat

A new study in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests polyphenols, found in grape seeds, may protect against oxidative stress linked to obesity. Scientists fed hamsters a high-fat diet supplemented with Chardonnay grape seed extract for 12 weeks. At the end of the experiment mice not given the grape seed extract had more abdominal fat than mice given the extract. Also, data revealed the high-fat group had increases in blood sugar, triglycerides and insulin resistance, while the extract group was “in part” protected from these effects; via Food Navigator.

In October, grapes were shown to lower blood pressure and reduce heart damage, but lots of plant foods, like blueberries and kiwis, contain polyphenols, antioxidants and other nutrients shown to prevent cancer. Nuts and seeds are other excellent sources phytochemicals and fibers that prevent blood vessel inflammation, raise good cholesterol and lower blood glucose.

I snack on grapes when I’m chained to my desk blogging. Good thing I find them on the cheap! As a kid, my grandfather had an old-school Italian grapevine growing all over the garage. It was cool.

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Mushrooms Lower Breast Cancer Risk

A new study of more than 2,000 women in China revealed women who ate more fresh or dried mushrooms had a lower risk of breast cancer. Published in International Journal of Cancer, scientists examined 1,009 breast cancer patients, ages 20 to 87, and an equal number of healthy women. Determining that participants who ate 10 grams or more per day of fresh mushrooms were two-thirds less likely to develop breast cancer than people who didn’t eat mushrooms and women consuming 4 grams or more of dried mushrooms were 50% less likely to develop breast cancer than non-mushroom eaters; Reuters reports.

But most people won’t eat mushrooms, a lot my friends won’t go near them and they’re not alone, Americans list mushrooms, along with blueberries and peas, as 20 of their most hated foods. Insanity! According to Dr. Fuhrman eating mushrooms, along with green vegetables, tomatoes, garlic and other veggies, will keep you slim and even reduce your risk of diabetes. Not too shabby.

In related news, experts believe mushrooms, with their chewy texture, make excellent substitutes for meat and can help combat obesity. Then just last week, mushrooms were found to prevent colon cancer tumors in mice. Oh goodie, I got some white button mushrooms in the fridge right now!

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Health-Points: Friday 3.13.09

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More Vitamin D Needed in Winter...

New research in the Journal of Nutrition suggests quadrupling Vitamin D levels in the winter. For the study, scientists recruited 112 women, average age of 22.2, giving some a placebo between March 2005 and September 2005 and then given a placebo or a vitamin D supplement until February 2006. At the end of the experiment, women on the vitamin D supplement had higher serum levels 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 35.3 nanomoles per liter compared to only 10.9 nanomoles per liter. The body manufactures Vitamin D from ultra-violet light derived from the sun; NutraIngredients reports.

Dr. Fuhrman is a huge proponent of vitamin D, especially for bone health, more so than calcium. Vitamin D also helps reduce risk of hip fractures, multiple sclerosis and boosts physical strength in young girls. And it was not too long ago the American Academy of Pediatrics suggested doubling kids’ intake of vitamin D, citing evidence vitamin D helps prevent serious illness, like cancer and diabetes.

Vitamin D deficiency has drawn increased attention over the past few months. Previous studies have associated insufficient Vitamin D with stunted growth, hypertension and rickets. In the winter, when the days are shorter and sunlight is in short supply, therapeutic lights can keep the sunshine coming.

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People Getting Hip to Antioxidants

Good news! The word “antioxidant” seems to resonate with consumers. New research in the journal Food Quality and Preference shows people associate words such as “fiber” and “antioxidants” with healthiness and willingness to try a product. Women and old people reacted the most positively to antioxidant-rich foods and both young and older people were interested in a products disease-preventing claims, especially in the short-term; NutraIngredients reports.

Fruits and vegetables are prime sources of antioxidants. Just last month, nutrients in blueberries were found to shrink cancer tumors in lab rats and Dr. Fuhrman links plant nutrients with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

In related news, taking concentrated beta carotene, found in most multivitamins, may increase your risk of lung cancer. High-dose beta carotene supplements interfere with the absorption of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Eek!

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Magic Mushrooms Boost Immunity

Some mushrooms will kill you! But others will make you big and strong. A new study in the journal BMC Immunology reveals eating mushrooms bolstered the immune system of mice. To investigate, experts fed mice white button, crimini, maitake, oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Libratory mice eating a diet consisting of 2% white buttons mushrooms were more protected against colon inflammation and related symptoms, such as weight-loss and colon injury, known risk factors for the development of colon tumors. Researchers expect similar beneficial effects in humans; Reuters reports.

Dr. Fuhrman considers mushrooms an excellent substitute for meat and some scientists believe mushrooms’ low energy content, i.e. low calories, can combat obesity, satisfying people but not overstuffing them with extra calories. Mushrooms fight prostate cancer too.

But many people dislike mushrooms. In the United Kingdom, mushrooms are one the healthy foods Britons force themselves to choke down and the United States hates mushrooms.

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Broccoli Sprouts Protect Against Respiratory Inflammation

I love broccoli! This is great awesome. A new study in the journal Clinical Immunology claims consuming broccoli sprouts contributed to a significant boosting antioxidant which protect airways against inflammation and asthma. Researchers gave test subjects varying does of oral sulforaphane, an anti-cancer agent found in green vegetables like broccoli, for three days and rinses of nasal passages revealed high doses result in a 101% to 199% increase in GSTP1 and NQO1 antioxidant enzymes; Food Navigator reports.

Previous studies show broccoli protects blood vessels against heart disease and stroke, especially good for diabetics, who are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Eating broccoli also helps fight prostate cancer and skin cancer.

Wow, asthma has been all over the news lately, this week we’ve seen reports link asthma risk with traffic pollution and watching too much television. Eek!

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Beta Carotene Supplements May Increase Lung Cancer Risk

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a new 10-year analysis of more than 77,000 adults, men and women ages 50 to 76, revealed long term use of high-dose beta carotene supplements may heighten the risk of lung cancer, especially in smokers. Scientists used questionnaires to assess participants’ intake of dietary supplements and then tracked them for the next four years. These findings mirror a 2007 study showing vitamin C and E and folate supplements do not decrease the risk of lung cancer; ScienceDaily explains.

According to Dr. Fuhrman high-dose beta carotene supplements interfere with the absorption of antioxidants, like carotenoids and other antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. This can increase cancer-risk. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s formulates his vitamins without beta carotene.

But getting beta carotene from veggies is just fine! Foods like carrots, mangos and oranges, as well as leafy greens like cabbage, Bok Choy and broccoli are loaded with beta carotene and other health-protecting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Vitamins aren’t magic pills! Previous reports show vitamins alone can’t prevent heart disease or prostate cancer, i.e. a bacon cheese burger with a side of Centrum Silver isn’t healthy.

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Too Much Alcohol Might Put Mr. Peeps on the Fritz!

Okay guys, a few drinks with friends and flirting with girls might sound like a good time, but a new survey of 1,580 men suggests a correlation between drinking and erectile dysfunction (ED). Published in UroToday, the findings indicate if kept to the current guidelines drinking was associated with a low-risk of ED, which implies if you drink more you’ll have a greater risk of underperforming. But even if the risk is low, experts warn this is not encouragement to start drinking; Medical News Today explains.

Talk about a catch-22! Now, if you’re looking to live healthfully, boozing isn’t going to help. Previous studies link alcohol consumption with high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and belly fat. As for erectile dysfunction, ED is seen as a predicator of cardiovascular disease. So drink pomegranate juice instead, it’s good for your heart and your wiener. Yippee!

In related news, last week researchers determined women who drank just one glass of wine per day had an increased risk of cancer, in some cases as high as 22%.

Via Health and Men.

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