Pomegranates Slow Prostate Cancer

More good news for pomegranates! A new study in The Journal of Urology found pomegranate juice slows the doubling time of prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA’s are used to track and diagnosis prostate cancer. For the study, participants, 48 men with rising PSA levels after surgery or radiotherapy, who drank one glass of pomegranate juice each day, had longer doubling times during a 56 month follow-up than men not drinking pomegranate juice; Nutra Ingredients investigates.

And last week, nutrients found pomegranates called polyphenols were shown to reduce cell inflammation, helping to prevent heart disease and diabetes. And other research revealed test subjects drinking pomegranate juice actually had better PSA scores.

In March, a report on fish linked omega-3 fatty acids with lower risk of prostate cancer. Dr. Fuhrman sells a DHA supplement that provides essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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Plant Flavonoids Reduce Ovarian Cancer Risk

New research in the International Journal of Cancer suggests plant-based flavonoids may lower ovarian cancer risk in women by protecting cells against damage. Flavonoids are antioxidants found in foods like seeds, nuts, celery and other green vegetables. For the study, scientists assessed the diet of 1,141 women with ovarian cancer and 1,183 women without over a one-week period, finding that women with the highest intake of the flavonoid apigenin had a “borderline significant decrease” in ovarian cancer risk; Reuters reports.

In July, a report showed flavonoids protect the heart by preventing free radicals and cell dysfunction, leading to heart trouble. And data has shown combining tomatoes with broccoli optimize the benefits of flavonoids. Apples and pears are also loaded with flavonoids.

Granted, all these healthful plant compounds are great, but instead of just eating fruits and vegetables. People prefer their butter and tortilla chips infused with nutrients. Yuck.

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Charred Meat Raises Pancreatic Cancer Risk

Bad news for that greasy steak! Discussed at the 2009 Meeting of the American Association of Cancer Research, individuals who regularly eat burned or barbecued red meat may have a 60% higher risk of pancreatic cancer. Charred meat contains cancer-causers like heterocyclic amines. For the study, researchers closely monitored the diet of 62,000 healthy people. Over nine years 208 participants were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The participants eating foods like hamburgers were far more likely to develop cancer. And very well-done meat came with a 70% higher cancer risk; Reuters reports.

Barbecued meat is a nightmare. Last year, a study showed diets loaded with red meat increase risk of colon cancer. Grilled chicken is no better. In January, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine warned against grilled chicken, due to PhIP, another known carcinogen. And fake charring food is horrible too. Smoke flavorings are now being linked with liver and kidney problems.

But some folks don’t take a hint. The ballpark for the Gateway Grizzlies, a minor league baseball team in Illinois, sells a grilled burger topped with bacon and cheese served in a glazed doughnut. Eek!

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Europe Blasts Smoke Flavoring, Cites Health Risks

A new report by The European Food Safety Authority warns about the dangers of artificial smoke flavorings, claiming products like Unismoke and Zesti Smoke may cause adverse health effects, namely changes in the liver and kidneys and inability to gain weight. However, experts note testing has only been conducted on rats that were given a high intake of smoke flavoring, adding that long-term studies are needed; via FoodNavigator.

Regular smoking isn’t much better. Along with butter, cheese and salt, Dr. Fuhrman considers smoked foods as some of the worst stuff you can eat. And data shows processed and smoked meats, like ham and sausage, increase risk of stomach cancer, but last year that didn’t stop people from eating 7 billion hotdogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day!

In related news, someone figured out how to make smoked bacon even more horrible. Fully cooked bacon rolled in wax paper and stuffed into a can. Seriously, I’m going to vomit.

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Breastfeeding Cuts Moms' Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

Good news mommies. New findings in the upcoming May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology claim mothers who breastfed were 10% percent less likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke than women who had never breastfed. The study, which involved nearly 140,000 postmenopausal women, also showed women who breastfed for at least one month had less diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol; from EurekAlert!

The benefits of breastfeeding are innumerable. Previous reports pin breastfeeding to breast cancer prevention, less likelihood of children becoming obese and reduced risk of allergies. Last year, it was reported 77% of new moms are breastfeeding. Not too shabby.

But some breastfeeding news can be icky. A Swiss restaurant was told no, they can’t serve human breast milk. Although, the story about the Chinese cop who breastfed infants in need during the rescue effort following last year’s deadly earthquake is heartwarming.

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More Problems with Multivitamins

A new report by ConsumerLab.com discovered many multivitamins either contain significantly more or less of an ingredient than they claim and some are even contaminated with lead. Scientists tested several products, including three for children, and found many exceeded tolerable limits of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, folic acid, niacin and zinc, which can cause health risks like liver damage and bone-weakening. And a vitamin water examined had 15 times the amount folic acid stated; Reuters reports.

Our society loves magic pills and we forget foods like fruits and veggies are loaded with healthful nutrients. For example, broccoli is packed with vitamin K, which fights prostate cancer. Eating seeds and nuts helps prevent type-2 diabetes. And greens like Bok Choy contain compounds that neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against cancer.

In related news, a recent study showed high-dose beta-carotene may raise lung cancer risk. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s multi does not contain things like isolated beta-carotene, vitamin A and copper, which have be linked to cancer, birth defects and liver problems.

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Too Much Meat and Dairy Harm Sperm

No, no! Don’t mess with my sperm. A new study in the journal Fertility and Sterility reveals diets low in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and high processed meats and full-fat dairy heighten risk of low-quality sperm. The study involved 61 men visiting a fertility clinic. Of the participants, half had poor sperm quality. Those men also had a higher intake of meat and dairy, but the other half of men had normal sperm counts and tended to eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts cite increased levels of antioxidants, like vitamin C and lycopene, for better sperm; Reuters investigates.

Antioxidants are like Superman and Batman rolled up in one. Take blueberries, they’re packed with healthful nutrients, like flavonoids, which are associated with cancer prevention and plants like broccoli protect against things such as respiratory inflammation and stroke, while antioxidant-devoid foods like hotdogs and bacon may lead to leukemia and raise lung cancer risk.

The bad news for meat keeps piling up. Just last month, a study linked processed meat to increased death risk, as high as 50% and recently red meat was pinned to blindness. Eek!

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Big Guys More at Risk for Abnormal Heart Rhythm

New findings in the European Heart Journal reveal older men who were big in their 20s are more likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation, i.e. abnormal heart rhythm. The study, started in 1970, involved more than 7,000 men, ages 45 to 55, and asked participants to state their weight at 20 years old. Results showed atrial fibrillation increases linearly with body size and weight gain, and the larger men were in their 20s the more weight they gained throughout life. Researchers claim abnormal heart rhythm among men 60 to 70 years old will become more common as our overweight population ages; via EurekAlert!

More reason to be slim, at all ages, especially since a recent showed men with fat guts have lamer sex lives. Not something any guy wants to hear! Now, not only will veggies keep you fit and trim, but vegetable-based diets naturally prevent cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer, both very manly issues.

In related news, previous research suggests type-2 diabetics with irregular heart beat have 77% higher risk of heart attack or stroke and 68% increased risk of heart failure.

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Broccoli Whacks Bacteria Linked to Gastric Cancer

A new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research discovered eating just 2.5 ounces of broccoli each day helped reduce Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) a bacterium closely tied to stomach damage and gastric cancer. Broccoli sprouts provide sulforaphane, a known cancer-fighter, which acts as an antibiotic against H. pylori. The experiment involved 48 people infected with H. pylori with half the participants eating broccoli sprouts each day. The others ate alfalfa sprouts, which do not contain sulforaphane. After 8 weeks the broccoli group had significantly lower levels of H. pylori. No change was observed in the alfalfa group; HealthDay News reports.

Sulforaphane has also been linked to undoing cell damage associated with hyperglycaemia and diabetes, but all fruits and vegetables are health-protective, such reducing risk of colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Other research has revealed populations eating an additional 20% more cruciferous vegetables have 40% less cancer.

Last week, a report showed vitamin K, found in leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Broccoli has also been shown to protect against respiratory inflammation.

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Folic Acid Ups Colon Cancer Risk

This is definitely one acid trip you don’t want to go on. New findings in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology reveal foods fortified with folic acid may increase colon cancer rates. In 2000, the Chilean government instituted a mandatory folic acid fortification in wheat flour in order to help prevent spina bifida. Since that time, reported cases of colon cancer have jumped 162% in people ages 35 to 64 and 190% in people 65 to 79 and there was a slight increase in breast cancer rates too. Chile uses a higher dose of folic acid than other countries; from Medical News Today.

In 2007, a similar study reported 15,000 more cases of colon cancer with folic acid enrichment and another report showed folic acid harms the heart. In general, enriched foods are pretty silly. Food producers strip all the nutrients out of food and then put something back in and call it healthy? Pretty kooky.

In the past, folic acid supplements have been shown to heighten men’s risk of prostate cancer, 9.7% after 10 years. That why supplements, like Gentle Care, don’t contain folic acid.

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Booze Raises Breast Cancer Risk in the Other Breast

Put down the tequila! Appearing in the American Journal of Epidemiology experts believe alcohol use may increase women’s chances of developing cancer in one breast after having already having had cancer in the other. For the study, researchers compared patterns of drinking and cigarette smoking among 708 women with a history of cancer and 1,399 who did not. Drinkers who had breast cancer were 30% more likely to get it again in the other breast but oddly no association was found with smoking; via Reuters.

Other studies claim alcohol harms the heart and even shrinks brain volume overtime, about 1.9% per decade. Now, in addition to eating right, exercising and breastfeeding, Dr. Fuhrman recommends not drinking avoiding or smoking as ways to prevent breast cancer.

And drinking when you’re pregnant is a really bad idea. I’m sure most women don’t, but a previous report suggested some women fib about boozing while they’re pregnant.

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Health-Points: Friday 4.3.09

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Ha Ha! Atkins Diet Raises Heart Risks, Duh!

More bad news for the Atkins fad, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association new research reveals the high-protein, i.e. high-saturated, Atkins diet reduces blood vessel dilation, an important factor in heart health. Scientists placed 18 healthy people on three different diets, the Atkins diet (50% fat) and two others lower in saturated fat, 30% and 10%. Four weeks after completing the experiment, Atkins participants performed the worst on a blood vessel test. Atkins Nutritionals had no intelligent rebuttal; HealthDay News reports.

High-fat diets are dangerous. A couple years ago, a study linked the Atkins diet with inflammation linked with heart and artery disease. Atkins himself was overweight and had heart problems. In addition to heart problems, consuming copious amounts of meat, i.e. saturated fat, and little to no fiber and fruit, heightens risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Recently, hotdogs were tied to leukemia risk and red meat with blindness.

In related news, a previous report showed low-carb high-protein diets sap people’s energy and discourage activity and another study revealed Atkins produced only modest weight-loss results with limited sustainability in the long run. Tisk, tisk.

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Vitamin K Battles Prostate Cancer!

A new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention shows vitamin K, found in leafy green such as spinach and broccoli, may help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Scientists recruited 250 participants with prostate cancer and 494 healthy people. Data revealed every 0.1 increase of undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC), associated low with low vitamin K intake, resulted in 38% higher likelihood of advanced-stage prostate cancer and 21% increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer; NutraIngredients reports.

Actually, last week it was determined omega-3 fatty acids, in this case found in fish, but are also contained in micro algae, protect against aggressive prostate cancer tumors and other reports highlight broccoli’s protective effects against prostate cancer, while foods high in saturated fat, like read meat and dairy, increase risk of prostate cancer.

Vitamins are great, but they’re not magical pills. Last year, a study showed just taking vitamins, like vitamin C and E, don’t prevent prostate cancer. You have to eat healthy too!

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