Flaxseed Proteins Lower Blood Pressure

New research in the Journal of Functional Foods suggests flaxseeds contain amino acids that may help lower blood pressure. The study is a little complicated, but scientists determined a protein in flaxseed meal acts as an ACE-inhibitor, lowering blood pressure and reducing angiotensin. Angiotensin causes blood vessels to contract and induces hypertension. Researchers noted that these proteins have beneficial effects in the kidneys that may also help lower blood pressure; Food Navigator reports.

I eat flaxseeds everyday. Flaxseeds are potent sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids are great sources of iron, zinc, calcium, protein, magnesium, vitamin E and folate, all potent disease-fighters, but flaxseed oil is a drag. According to Dr. Fuhrman, flaxseed oil is nothing but fat and devoid of all the nutrients that make flaxseed so good. Maybe you can use it on a squeaky door.

In related news, previous research has shown salt decreases levels of nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that reduces blood pressure and all that high blood pressure makes it hard for kids to think.

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Inadequate Vitamin D Linked to High Pain Killer Use

Not getting enough vitamin D might turn you into a pill popper. Findings in the journal Pain Medicine reveal patients taking narcotic pain medication with inadequate levels of vitamin D were taking much higher doses, nearly double that of individuals with sufficient vitamin D. For the study, experts examined the vitamin D levels of 267 chronic pain patients. Scientists are encouraged by the results because vitamin D is inexpensive, readily available and improve overall quality of life; via ScienceDaily.

If you don’t know by now, vitamin D is derived from the sun. Our bodies convert ultraviolet rays into vitamin D which acts as a hormone and tells our system to absorption of calcium and phosphorus and sufficient vitamin D has been shown to ward off depression in the winter and prostate cancer.

So get outside and get your vitamin D, or else! In the past low vitamin D has been associated with multiple sclerosis, increased incidences of C-sections and sudden cardiac death.

 

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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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Nanoparticles in Personal Care Products Harm the Environment

At the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society scientists expressed concern over the environmental and human health risks of nanotechnology, microscopic particles used in personal care products like sunscreen and cosmetics that are highly effective at penetrating the skin. Researchers suggest the chemicals many nanoparticles contain, like nano-titanium dioxide, which blocks ultraviolet rays, may harm the environment, such as possibly disrupting beneficial soil microbes; via EurekAlert!

Like many experts, Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges the potential of nanotechnology, but urges caution. Saying nanoparticles are 70 times smaller than a red blood cell allowing them to penetrate the skin, possibly elude the immune system and reach the brain. Nanotechnology in food packaging has already drawn heavy scrutiny by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Carbon nanotubes, used to make car bumpers, computer displays and bicycle components, pose health risks similar to inhaling asbestos. So many factories manufacture nanoparticles in closed chemical reactors and require workers to wear respirators.

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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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Low Blood Pressure, Low Cholesterol Still Great for Heart Health

Two old standbys ring true! Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists claim maintaining low blood pressure and reducing LDL, or bad, cholesterol still provide the greatest protection against cardiovascular trouble. For the study, researchers recruited 3,437 men and examined their arteries with ultrasound probes and the men with the lowest levels of LDL cholesterol and the lowest blood pressure levels had the least growth of fatty deposits in the linings of their blood vessels; HealthDay News investigates.

Good thing fruits and vegetables have been shown to lower cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. Healthy plant nutrients and fiber do it naturally. Just don’t be like this guy, his diet was based on butter and when he had emergency surgery to save his life. His heart was coated in fat! The video is very yucky.

And in recent news, salt was found to reduce an enzyme that lowers blood pressure and eating eggs everyday, which are very high in cholesterol, was found to increase heart failure risk by 8% to 23% among middle-aged men and women.

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Stressed Out Kids Have Higher Heart Risks

As a kid, the hardest life gets is trying to decide whether to play video games, pick your nose or jump on the bed, but a new study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine reveals teenagers who endure a lot of interpersonal stress, like family problems and harassment by peers, had increased blood levels of C-reactive protein, linked to chronic inflammation leading to cardiovascular disease as adults. Scientists asked 69 high school seniors to keep daily records of interpersonal strife for two weeks and discovered daily stress-inducers boosted C-reactive protein levels; Reuters investigates.

The association between childhood and adult health is becoming more and more obvious. Last week, research by the American Heart Association discovered overweight children as young as 3 can begin showing signs of heart disease, such as higher C-reactive protein levels. Another report claimed young adults told they have heart problems may have a 91% chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

In related news, young and middle-aged African Americans living in the United States were found to be 20 times more likely to suffer heart failure than white Americans.

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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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U.S. Blacks Have High Heart Failure Risk

New findings in the New England Journal of Medicine reveal young and middle-aged African-Americans living in the United States are 20 times more likely to suffer heart failure. Data reported average age of heart failure onset among blacks was 39, with hypertension, obesity, and kidney problems also seen earlier in blacks. The research also associates young people not getting their blood pressure checked, lack of health insurance and not taking medications as other risk factors; Reuters investigates.

Not matter what color you are. Diet is a major contributing factor to heart failure. In December, a study showed eating eggs and diary can raise heart failure risk up to 23% and people with 7 pounds of abdominal fat, i.e. chub, are 11% more likely to have a heart failure, but a diet rich in fruits and vegetables naturally lowers LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In related news, black and Hispanic children were found to have less type-1 diabetes than white kids, with Caucasian children posting the highest rate, but a recent report revealed African-Americans living in poorer communities have limited access to healthy foods.

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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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Obesity Shortens Lifespan the Same as Smoking...

Smoking is a drag, no pun intended, but apparently obesity is equally bad. New findings published in The Lancet found moderate obesity shortens life expectancy by up to 4 years and severe obesity can shave off 10 years. Scientists compare these effects to lifelong smoking. The study followed 895,000 people in Europe and North America. During the study 100,000 participants died. Researchers claim carrying a third more than your optimum weight can shorten your life by roughly 3 years, for most people that is 50 to 60 extra pounds; from Medical News Today.

Obesity news is never good. Just last week obesity was linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as poor reproductive ability in women, and just a little bit of belly fat makes it hard to breathe. Maybe that’s because your mouth is always stuffed with food!

So, if you’ve got a weight problem. Consider this. Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber. This fills your stomach quickly without all the extra calories, i.e. you’ll lose weight.

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Have Fewer Heart Attacks. Just Cut Salt a Little.

Salt is in everything! We all know that. And now a new study highlighted at the American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention annual conference claims cutting salt just a little, only 1 gram, could result in 250,000 fewer new cases of heart disease. Experts say Americans consume 50% more salt than we did 40 years ago, between 9 to 12 grams of salt a day, most of it coming from processed food. Their research model determined 800,000 "life years" could be saved for every gram of salt eliminated from our diets; HealthDay News reports.

And here’s a pair of coincidental studies. Presented at the American Heart Association's Conference of the Council High Blood Pressure Research, scientists reported that cutting salt can help control high-blood pressure. Then in February research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a low-salt diet lowers systolic blood pressure and improves the ability of blood vessels to widen.

In related news, earlier research revealed people with metabolic syndrome have increased sensitivity to salt and higher blood pressure and a British study determined individuals who lowered salt intake were 25% less likely to develop heart disease. Long story short, don’t eat salt. Uh, duh!

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Flies and Chicken Poop Spreading Super Bugs!

New findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment claim flies flitting around chicken crap help spread drug-resistant superbugs. Test samples matched antibiotic-resistant bacteria on houseflies and poop found at intensive poultry-farming barns in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Flies spread all sorts of nastiness, such as cholera and salmonellosis. As many as 30,000 flies buzz in and out of poultry-houses every six weeks; Reuters reports.

In December, a study revealed trucks transporting chickens along highways leave behind a trail of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, setting up a health risk for people traveling these routes and individuals living nearby. Then last month Japanese researchers determined 20% of their poultry is contaminated with salmonella. Other countries only post 4% to 9%.

In the U.S. we eat sick or injured animals all the time. Warning! This video is graphic, but you’ll see how cattle ranchers and slaughterhouses feed us cows with infected tumors, chickens living in feces and pigs pumped with antibiotics. No, no human health risks there!

Via ChooseVeg.com.

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Exercise Great After a Heart Attack, Period.

Whether you like weights or cardio, all exercise helps after a heart attack. Published in the journal Circulation, researchers enrolled 209 heart attack survivors in a four-week exercise routine including either a 10-minute warm-up followed by 40 minutes of cycling or 10 exercises with weights and rubber bands. At the end of the study the endothelial function of both groups, i.e. the amount blood vessels widen to increase blood flow, more than doubled, jumping from 4% to 10%; HealthDay News investigates.

And many health experts believe more exercise, coupled with better diet, would cut world cancer in half and other studies have linked aerobic fitness with appetite suppression and bone strength. For fun, mix up your workout! Maybe try Yoga it’s been associated with diabetes control, or Tai Chi which fights arthritis.

But don’t kill yourself! A recent report linked mental tiredness with quicker physical exhaustion. I blog a lot and I exercise a lot and if I don’t relax, I really feel it at the gym.

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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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Overweight Kids Can Have Heart Disease

Presented at this year's American Heart Association's Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention researchers claim overweight children as young as age 3 can starting showing signs of cardiovascular disease. Data on over 3,090 kids, ages 3 to 6, revealed good cholesterol levels (HDL) were lower in overweight children and C-reactive protein levels, associated with coronary events, were elevated in kids with higher body mass indexes; HealthDay News explains.

It’s true. Dr. Fuhrman points out that lipoprotein abnormality, i.e. high LDL and low HDL, which cause heart attack deaths in adulthood start to develop in early childhood. What you eat as a kid affects lifetime cholesterol levels, but don’t fret! Maybe you’re like me and ate fairly crappy early on, no worries. Start gobbling down fruits and veggies and you can aggressively reverse any damage you’ve done!

Now this is really scary. Children already have the attention span of a flea and previous studies link low HDL to poor memory. And worse, when kids grow up and want to play football, they’re encouraged to get big and bulk up which just like professional football players, inflates their risk of heart disease.

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Abnormal Heart Rhythm Increases Death-Risk in Diabetics

The new study published in the European Heart Journal involved 11,140 participants with type-2 diabetes. Data at the beginning of the study claims risk of death due to atrial fibrillation, i.e. irregular heart heat, was 61%. The risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke was 77% and 68% for heart failure. However, researchers determined these risks could be lowered if doctors prescribed aggressive treatments to diabetic patients with atrial fibrillation, in this case blood pressure-lowering drugs; via HealthDay News.

Relax, drugs aren’t the only option. Superior nutrition, i.e. lots of fruits and vegetables, has amazing cardio-protective effects, like rejuvenating blood vessels. High-nutrient diets are more effective than drugs at reserving heart disease and preventing diabetes.

In related news, studies have linked diabetes with heightened risk Alzheimer's disease, zinc, a nutrient found in peas, broccoli and kale, lowers the risk of diabetes in women and now the U.S. has 3 million more people with diabetes than in 2005. Eek!

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Men Should Add Impact Exercise for Strong Bones

New findings in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggest high-impact exercise, like running, helps keep bones strong in men. Scientists studied 42 athletic men, ages 19 to 45, and discovered running yielded bigger benefits for bone density than strengthen training, both runners and weight-lifters had higher bone density than road cyclists, weight-lifters had strong bones due to bigger muscles, but runners had even stronger bones, regardless of muscle size; Reuters reports.

In January, another study on cyclists showed despite having less body fat and more muscle, bike-riders had weaker bones and were 2.5 to 3 times more likely to develop osteoporosis. Researchers recommended adding running or weight-training. Not a bad idea, because in the U.S. the lifetime rate of bone fracture is 40% in 50-year-old women and over 13% in men, with 300,000 hip fractures each year.

Time for some shameless marketing! Strong bones need strong muscles. Muscles strength is directly related to bone density and in Dr. Fuhrman’s DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life he demonstrates a bunch of bone-building exercises you can do at home and it’s a lot cheaper than a gym membership!

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Diabetes: Brits Get Drugs Before Better Diet

In the United Kingdom 1 in 3 people with diabetes are given medication too soon, instead of being encouraged to eat better and exercise. The study, presented at a Diabetes UK conference, revealed 36% of the 650 people studied were put on medication within 1 month of being diagnosed, despite medical guidelines recommending lifestyle changes be tried first. Startling when you consider 400 people a day are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in the United Kingdom; BBC News investigates.

This is sad, especially in light of all the research linking diet to diabetes, such as the dangers of drinking soda and the benefits of eating vegetables. Consuming a lot of high-fiber, high-nutrient foods, i.e. fruits and veggies, improves pancreatic function and lowers insulin resistance, allowing glucose levels to return to normal range without medications.

The UK’s had a rough go of it. Health officials recently urged people to buy less saturated fat and Prince Charles blasted junk food for children’s disconnect with nature, but luckily they’ve enlisted Wallace and Gromit to help fight obesity and improve health!

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Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes Increase Dementia Risk

New findings in the Archives of Neurology reveal obesity, along with heart disease and diabetes heighten the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In a series of studies researchers examined over 10,000 individuals with conditions such as obesity and determined those participants with metabolic syndrome-related ailments had reduced cognitive function later in life, leading to Alzheimer's; HealthDay News reports.

Dr. Fuhrman insists a diet rich in green vegetables helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while diets low in vegetables and high in meat actually increase the likelihood of developing dementia. Exercise has also been shown to protect against dementia.

But we’re still a whacked out country! In 2008, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's reached 5 million. Although later in the year it was discovered internet searches can keep our brains healthy, but I don’t think that includes looking for funneh LOLcats.

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Health-Points: Friday 3.13.09

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Obesity Harms Fertility, Bad for Ovary Health

Ladies, please stay thin. A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals obese women have unhealthier ovaries, associated with poorer reproductive outcomes. The excess fat may alter the metabolism of eggs which is harmful to embryo formation. Scientists followed 96 women looking to get pregnant and determined obese women had altered maturation of ovary follicles, metabolism and androgen activity, the precursor of all estrogen; ScienceDaily investigates.

Obesity is bad. That’s obvious. Obesity costs the United States $150 billion in healthcare spending each year. And recently reports show obesity leads to migraines, thyroid inflammation and even gum disease. In the experiment, obese mice had 40% more bone loss in their tooth sockets. Pretty hard to eat cheese with no teeth! Then again, eating cheese is a bad idea. It’s yucky.

An often overlooked danger of obesity is the link to global warming. We burn more fuel hauling around heavier people than skinnier people. Fat people are Hummers and thin people are Mini Coopers.

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Belly Fat Takes Your Breath Away

Some people think love handles are cute, but a new study claims carrying extra weight around the abdomen impairs lung function. Published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers examined data on 120,000 people in France, assessing smoking history, alcohol consumption and lung function with respect to Body Mass Index, determining participants with chubby waists, over 35 inches for women and over 40 inches for men, had impaired function; Reuters reports.

Belly fat gets a ton of bad press. In February, a study of 22,211 people with migraines revealed those with bigger waists had more headaches. According to Dr. Fuhrman a diet full of toxins, like alcohol, contributes to headaches and migraines as well. Belly felt has also been linked to greater risk of death.

I can relate to this. When I was slimming down and running a lot my breathing felt sort and shallow, but now it’s much deeper, especially when I do Yoga and I recover a lot faster after a run too.

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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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Lose Weight. Avoid Fast Food. Walk Lots.

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology determined people living in towns with high-concentrations of fast food restaurants ate more fast food and gained more weight, but people from neighborhoods that required a lot of walking to get around, lost weight. Experts surveyed over 1,200 residents of Portland, Oregon, ages 50 to 75, tracking key markers such as body weight, eating habits and physically activity, and discovered people surrounded by fast food had a weight increase of 3 pounds, but those doing a lot of walking had a weight decrease of 2.7 pounds in one year; ScienceDaily reports.

Strikingly similar to last month’s study linking high-density of fast food restaurants in a neighborhood to 13% higher risk of stroke among residents and this is related to yesterday’s post about the lack of healthy foods being sold in low-income communities.

And a previous report showed kids’ whose school is within walking distance of fast food restaurants are more likely to be obese and drink soda. But come on. At the end of the day there’s no gun to your head, no one’s forcing you to eat fast food!

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Healthy Foods Hard to Find in Poor Neighborhoods

According to a new study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition retailers in low income communities are less likely to sell healthy food, such fruits and vegetables. Stores in wealthier areas tend to offer healthier fare. Researchers examined survey data from 759 Baltimore, Maryland residents and discovered 24% of blacks lived in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food, compared to only 5% of whites. Experts propose offering tax breaks to stores in poorer areas for selling healthier food or distributing cash subsides so residents can buy fruits and veggies; HealthDay News reports.

Sadly, this predicament is very common. More and more supermarkets are moving out of New York City, leaving low income residents with small bodegas and drugs stores mostly selling junk food and few, if any, fresh fruits and vegetables. To make matters worse, many of these neighborhoods are already wrought with fast food, deepening local epidemics of heart disease and diabetes.

In related news, people living in communities with a lot of fast food restaurants were found to have an increased risk of stroke. Overall likelihood was 13% higher and increased 1% per restaurant.

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High Blood Pressure Makes it Hard for Kids to Think

If you’re kid can’t concentrate. He might have high blood pressure. New research in the Journal of Pediatrics claims children with hypertension struggle with complicated tasks and have more memory problems than kids with normal blood pressure. The study involved 32 children, ages 10 to 18, newly diagnosed with hypertension, and paired them up with 32 kids with normal blood pressure. Parents of both sets of kids were surveyed to determine their children’s mental aptitude and data revealed the hypertensive group performed more poorly and had more anxiety and depression; ScienceDaily investigates.

Many people don’t realize it, but heart disease starts young. Dr. Fuhrman explains that lipoprotein abnormalities, i.e. problems with high LDL and low HDL, associated with heart attack deaths in adulthood, begin in childhood and bad foods habits, like eating a lot of saturated fat, are established when you’re a kid. That’s why it’s important for the whole family to eat healthfully, that way everyone can avoid heart disease and high blood pressure.

But some health officials would sooner put kids on statins than educate them and their parents on the benefits of improved nutrition. Fortunately, other experts call giving kids statins a monumental failure.

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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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Omega-3 DHA Revs Up Heart Health in Men

New findings in the Journal of Nutrition claim supplementing with omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may lower inflammation in men with elevated levels of triglycerides (hyperrtriglyceridaemia). Participants, 34 men with hyperrtriglyceridaemia, ages 39 to 66, were given a placebo or DHA supplement for 45 days. Results showed DHA decreased the levels of circulating white blood cells, down 11.7%, and these reductions continued until the end of the 90-day study; via Nutraingredients.

In January, a study determined infants of breastfeeding mothers taking a DHA supplement scored better on development tests and had less mental delay. Makes sense, Dr. Fuhrman lists a host of mental problems associated with deficiency in DHA fatty acids, such as depression and dyslexia.

Time for some shameless promotion! Hey, it’s relevant. Dr. Fuhrman sells his own DHA supplement. It’s derived from micro algae, is free of environmental contaminants and is 100% vegan.

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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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Low-Calorie Veggies Outwit "Obesity Gene"

Eating low calorie foods may offset genes strongly associated with obesity. Printed in PLoS ONE, experts studied 2,275 children, finding kids who consumed an energy (or calorie) dense diet, such as fatty foods, had more fat mass after 3 years. Researchers then looked to see if children carrying the obesity gene had an increased risk of getting fat with a high energy diet. They did not. Meaning the effects of eating a low-energy diet, more fruits and vegetables, may not be impaired by genetics; EurekAlert reports.

Another report indicated kids with a certain gene variant are more likely to consume junk food, such as sweets, which can lead to weight gain. But I guess ditching the sweets and eating more fruit and veggies would squash this gene too. So can family lifestyle! If a family eats healthfully, it reduces the risk of obesity linked to family history.

Fruits and vegetables are excellent low-calorie foods, specifically green veggies. Foods like Romaine lettuce, broccoli, kale and Swiss chard are low-energy and highly nutritious!

 

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Health-Points: Friday 3.6.09

  • More gross news from the infamous peanut plant responsible for the deadly salmonella outbreak stemming from contaminated peanut butter, investigators claim dead mice and rodent droppings were found throughout a Texas plant run by the company; from Reuters.
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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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Half of Irish Consumers Don't Read Food Labels

Irish consumers aren’t paying attention. A new survey by Ireland’s Nutrition and Health Foundation claims 61% of men and 40% of females never read nutrition labels before making a purchase. Experts questioned 536 people in local supermarkets and determined only 32% of those surveyed knew the difference between salt and sodium and only 10% understood the difference between energy and calories; Food Navigator reports.

Read nutrition facts carefully. Labels on many processed foods, like potato chips, are deceptive and sometimes contain too much salt even though they say sodium or contain trans-fat when the package reads trans-fat free. Scoundrels!

Ireland is consumed with national health, especially obesity. The government wants to limit the amount of Subway sandwich shops, saying their food is too high in calories.

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Fat Gut Leads to Bad Sex Life

See ladies, guys can feel fat and not sexy too. According to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the fatter a man is, the lower his testosterone and the lamer his sex life will be. Scientists determined high BMI was associated with diminished hormone levels and study participants, 64 obese men followed for two years, rated their sexual quality of life as low; HealthDay News reports.

Sadly, the research advocates gastric bypass as a way to shrink waistlines, dumb idea! Weight-loss surgery has been linked to lots of complications, such as depression and bone loss. If you want to lose weight and stay wowsers in the trousers, eat your veggies.

Oh, and being chubby and drinking is a double-whammy. The other day a report revealed drinking too much alcohol raises—no pun intended—risk of erectile dysfunction. Eek!

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Good Foods, Bad Foods. Making Kids Mental!

When I was just a little blogger, my mom put the kibosh on a lot of foods. No chips. No bacon. No white bread. No fast food. No snack cakes. And I’m sure there were others, but I’m too emotionally scarred to remember. Now, did all this make be neurotic? No, never!

Sorry. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in written form. But seriously, some doctors and nutritionists believe uber vigilant parents who classify certain foods as bad, such as salt and sugar, and other foods as good, like veggies, might be driving their kids crazy.

Some say parents can be too obsessive about their children’s diet and despite their good intentions cause food anxieties. Experts worry this can lead to clinical eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, which have been diagnosed in increasing numbers among young people over the past two decades. In the past, weight-gain was the criteria for bad foods, like fat and sugar, but that has evolved into a broader concept of health concerns, such as diabetes, heart disease and hyperactivity; The New York Times investigates.

Personally, I wouldn’t say my mom’s food tyranny made me anxious. For the most part, it kept me in check. To this day I’ve never had Whiz. Even when I was fat and bloated I avoided the horrible foods. Sure, I ate poorly, but never Big Macs, nachos or Little Debbie.

Now, if I have kids—wow, I just got the chills—I’ll lead by example, like Dr. Fuhrman says. I’ll eat my veggies and encourage my kid to do the same. I won’t keep crap in the house. And if little Gerry asks, I’ll tell him other daddies let their kids eat junk because they’re mean. Kidding!

Via Slash Food.

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TV Turns Up Asthma Risk in Kids...

To be published in an upcoming issue of Thorax, new research claims children who watch more than two hours of television each day have a higher risk of asthma. The study tracked respiratory function of 3,000 children from birth to 11.5 years of age. Starting at age 3.5, parents were asked to describe their child’s respiratory health and if they manifested any symptoms, such as wheezing, or if they had been diagnosed with asthma. Data revealed only 6% of kids developed asthma, but those watching two or more hours of TV each day were twice as likely have asthma; HealthDay News reports.

Sitting around watching Sponge Bob all day isn’t healthy, especially since previous research has associated obesity with a greater likelihood of asthma, as well as exposure to common household chemicals like cleaning sprays and air fresheners. So get the kids out of the house!

In related news, traffic pollution, specifically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the byproduct of incomplete gasoline combustion, has been linked to asthma risk in babies.

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Hip Fractures Increase Mortality in Men and Women

I nearly broke a hip shoveling snow yesterday! But new research in the Journal of the American Medical Association claims older men and women, age 60 and older, are at higher risk of mortality, i.e. death, 5 to 10 years after sustaining low-trauma fractures to the hips. Participants had suffered a break between April 1989 and May 2007 and scientists determined the risk factors associated with mortality were the bone break, weak quadriceps, smoking and low physical activity; Journal Watch reports.

Busted hips aren’t part of life, unless you get hit by a truck or something. Watch your diet, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid animal products, salt and caffeine. Get plenty of vitamin D, it boosts absorption of calcium. And exercise, toning muscles keeps bones strong. Try using a rowing machine, doing back extensions, and for women, wearing a weighted vest builds strength and burns calories.

Now, time for a shameless plug! If you’re a man or women worried about your bones and developing osteoporosis, check out Dr. Fuhrman’s new DVD. It’ll give you strong bones for life!

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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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Asthma Risk, Pregnant Moms Avoid Traffic Pollution!

We all hate traffic. But unborn babies hate it more. According to a new research in the journal PLoS One exposure to traffic pollution in the womb may increase a child’s risk of developing asthma later in life. The suspect pollutants are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the byproducts of incomplete combustion of gasoline, which scientists believe cause genetic disturbances leading to asthma. This information is extremely pertinent to families living in high-traffic areas; HealthDay News reports.

Car pollution is only one of a long list of asthma-causing chemicals. Previous studies have associated acetaminophen, a.k.a. Tylenol, to a higher incidence of asthma-related symptoms in children ages 6 to 7 years. And even the season change is to blame! Believe it or not, babies born in the fall have a 30% greater risk of developing asthma.

Here’s some advice. Dr. Fuhrman insists it’s the parents’ job to shield kids from harmful environments. That means in the womb too. Oh, cockroaches have been linked asthma-risk too.

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Protein Possibly Links Mad Cow to Alzheimer's

While not claiming a direct link between mad cow and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in the journal Nature suggests prion protein, an infectious agent associated with the neurodegenerative illness Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human equivalent of mad cow, may relate to mad cow disease itself. Prion protein is a misfolded protein that can arise from genetic mutations or can be contracted by eating tainted meat, such as cattle infected with mad cow disease; The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

This summer South Koreans went berserk when officials began renegotiating beef imports with the U.S. fueled by fears over a 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease in the United States. Before that, the Bush administration backed a federal appeal to stop meatpackers from testing their animals for mad cow.

With in the past few years both the U.S. and Canada reported incidents of mad cow disease. I don’t eat red meat. I’m way too crazy already. Eek!

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