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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Most of America's Salt Comes from Processed Food

Presented at the 2009 American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke Conference, experts claim switching to a low sodium diet is the most important lifestyle change people with heart problems can make, but many people ignore their doctor’s recommendation. Scientists surveyed 116 heart patients on what they ate for three days, finding 70% of sodium intake comes from processed foods such as deli meats and fast food; HealthDay News reports.

Boxed breakfast cereals are another high-salt culprit, especially kids’ cereals. Salt is bad news for your heart. Sodium decreases levels of a helpful enzyme that helps blood vessels relax and lowers blood pressure. And consuming a lot of salt worsens metabolic syndrome, which is a known precursor to cardiovascular disease.

As for meat, a recent study revealed men eating too much red or processed meat had a 27% higher risk of dying from heart disease and women had a 50% greater risk. Eek!

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Teenage Belly Fat Means Adult Heart Trouble

New research in the journal Diabetes shows young adults who had too much belly fat as teenagers have a higher risk of heart disease later in life. Among the 612 participants, men ages 18 to 20, those whose body mass index increased during adolescence had greater amounts of fat surrounding their abdominal organs. Belly fat, or visceral fat, has been closely linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease; via Reuters.

No pun intended, but this is a BIG deal. A previous report reveals young men who are obese at age 18 are more likely to die prematurely as adults. Too make matters worse, our high rate of childhood obesity is expected to skyrocket heart disease among teenagers.

In related news, teenage Latino children switching to a diet consisting of more fiber and less sugar had significant drops in blood sugar and glucose, slashing diabetes risk.

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Low-Fat Diets Heart Healthier After Weight-Loss

New findings in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveal diets low in saturated fat are healthier and help keep LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, in check after someone loses weight. For the study, experts assigned 26 healthy, non-obese diets to one diet, Atkins, South Beach or Ornish, for one month apiece, with the intent of studying biological effects of each diet, specifically cholesterol, blood vessel function and inflammation. Data concluded high-fat diets, like Atkins, raised LDL, but the low-fat, vegetarian Ornish style had the best affect on blood vessel function; Reuters reports.

A low-fat diet, i.e. eating less animal foods and more fruits and veggies, has been proven to not only prevent heart trouble, but reserve it. And just last week, scientists found pomegranates help fight cell inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Also, a previous report observed fad diets, such as high-protein low-carbohydrate, don’t hold up overtime, with dieters gaining back weight after only six months.

High-fat diets, like Atkins, are dangerous. A recent study showed participants eating an Atkins diet plan, consuming 50% saturated fat, performed the worst on blood vessel testing.

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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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Pomegranates Fight Cell Inflammation

A new study in Journal of Inflammation claims polyphenols, plant nutrients that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, contained in pomegranate extract inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds, potentially preventing chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, diabetes and arthritis. For the study, scientists stimulated cells to prompt an inflammatory response and then incubated the cells with pomegranate. Results showed pomegranate extract decreased pro-inflammatory reaction; Bakery and Snacks investigates.

Pomegranates are the real deal. Dr. Fuhrman calls them potent disease-fighters, especially for prostate cancer. In 2006, a study revealed men drinking pomegranate juice had better PSA scores. And pomegranates have also been found to help prevent atherosclerosis and diabetes.

In related news, the term “antioxidants” is resonating with consumers and increasing their willingness to try products including them. Maybe that’s the why the pomegranate phone is so darn cool.

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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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Health-Points: Friday 4.24.09

  • Onto a better food, presented at this year’s Experimental Biology Conference, blueberries were found to help combat abdominal fat. In the study, rats eating a lot of blueberries lost belly fat. Excess abdominal fat has been closely associated to heart disease and diabetes. The rats also experienced lower cholesterol and better glucose control, even if their diet wasn’t heart-healthy; via WebMD Health News.
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Diabetic Men Who Stay Fit Live Longer

New findings in the journal Diabetes Care suggest men with type-2 diabetes who stay fit and active have less chance of dying. The study involved 1,703 African American men and 1,445 Caucasian men with type-2 diabetes. Over a 7-year period, death rate for African Americans in the low-fit group was 46% percent, moderate-fit group 27% and 15% for the high-fit group. Numbers for Caucasians were 37%, 19% and 9% respectively, leading researchers to stress the importance of cardiovascular fitness for diabetics; via Reuters.

Let’s be honest. No one should get diabetes. Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables slashes the risk of type-2 diabetes, but exercise is still great, especially for men. Last month, a report highlighted the importance of impact training, like running, for men to build stronger bones. Just don’t go overboard! Mental fatigue can kill your workout.

We all know exercise helps prevent type-2 diabetes. Good thing, because a recent study showed obesity, heart disease and diabetes all increase risk of dementia, i.e. going nuts.

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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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Green-News: Wednesday 4.22.09

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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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Guess What? Fast Food Leads to Bad Food Habits.

A new study in the Journal of Happiness Studies suggests kids and adults eating fast food, like hamburgers, fries, pizza and soda, develop poor eating habits and obesity. Researchers claim children ages 2 to 12 who regularly eat fast food have a higher risk of becoming overweight. Mothers consuming fast food were more likely to have kids who eat fast food and drink more soda, but despite these kids being overweight, they were found to be happier than kids who ate less fast food. Leading scientists recommend healthy eating campaigns also focus on reduction of happiness; via Booster Shots.

Okay, even when I was a fat load, I avoided fast food like the plague. But not everyone does. In the Mediterranean, which traditionally had a healthy diet, fast food is now invading countries like Greece and muscling out good food. This does not bode well. New research found people living in neighborhoods with a lot of fast food restaurants, ate more fast food and gained more weight.

Fast food is gross and apparently indestructible too. Burgers kept in cool, dry basement will last forever and don’t decompose, seriously! But they’re great for painting pictures, like the Mona Lisa in grease.

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Diabetes Drug Linked to More Factures in Women

Published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, scientists claim the drug thiazolidinedione, used to control type-2 diabetes, raises fracture risk in women by 45%. In two case studies women who refilled more than eight prescriptions for rosiglitazone or pioglitazone, derivative drugs of thiazolidinedione, had 2.5 times higher risk of facture than women not using the drugs. Data showed evidence of bone wasting among women using thiazolidinediones, such as a 1.11% loss of bone density at the lumbar spine and 1.24% at the hip; Med Page Today investigates.

As of 2007, diabetes has affected 246 million people worldwide, an epidemic worse than the death toll from AIDS, so literally all the drugs in the world aren’t helping. Diet is a far more effective approach, eating lots of healthy foods like green vegetables, beans and nuts has been proven to prevent and reverse type-2 diabetes.

Keeping your bones strong is important, especially as you age, it lowers risk of osteoporosis and bone breaks. In his DVD Osteoporosis Protection for Life, Dr. Fuhrman demonstrates exercises that strengthen muscles and promote bone density.

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Leaders of the Vegan Movement Develop Parkinson's: Case Studies

Herbert Shelton (1895 - 1985), a naturopath and chiropractor and the influential founder of the American Natural Hygiene Society and Nature Cure movement in America and prolific health writer advocated a natural food vegetarian diet of mostly raw fruits, vegetables and nuts. I read all of his highly motivating books, newsletters and writings in my teens. He lived in Texas, was physically fit, grew lots of his own food and ate carefully and fasted periodically. Of course he did not get cancer, he did not get heart disease, but he died of Parkinson's disease and was so severely affected by the age of 78 that even walking was difficult. In 1973 when I met him he was already severely hunched over and had a difficult time walking and caring for himself. Though he lived many years with this significant disability, the quality of his later years was extremely poor.

Prominent Vegetarian and Health Advocate, this leader in the natural health movement and a personal friend to me also suffered from and eventually died from a fall related to his Parkinson's disease. During his young adult life he embarked on the path of healthy living and vegetarianism. A follower of Shelton's works, he operated a large health food store, one of the first to sell organic fruits and vegetables in America; he became a leader in the health food industry. Of course he was not at risk of cancer or heart disease with his excellent diet, but he developed Parkinson's which limited the quality of his later years.

When he was developing his Parkinsonian tremors, I ordered blood tests and was shocked to see his blood results showing almost a zero DHA level on his fatty acid test, in spite of adequate ALA consumption from nuts and seeds eaten daily. I had never seen a DHA level that low before. Since that time I have drawn DHA blood levels on other patients with Parkinson's and also found very low DHA levels.

Was it a coincidence, that these leaders in the natural food, vegetarian movement, who ate a very healthy vegan diet and no junk food would both develop Parkinson's? I thought to myself--could it be that deficiencies in DHA predispose one to Parkinson's? Do men have worse ability to convert short chain omega-3 into long chain DHA? Is that why Parkinson's affects more men than women? Is there evidence to suggest that DHA deficiencies lead to later life neurologic problems? Are there primate studies to show DHA deficiencies in monkeys leads to Parkinson's? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding, yes.

More than 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disease that is clinically characterized by resting tremor, muscular rigidity, gait problems and impaired ability to initiate movements. Recent scientific findings show diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have a protective effect on this type of neurodegenerative disease. Studies in animals clearly show that supplementation of DHA can alter brain DHA concentrations and thereby modify brain functions leading to reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.1

A recent study examined mice which were exposed to two diets; one group was fed a diet with DHA and other omega-3 fatty acids; while the other group was given ordinary food, lacking DHA. After a period of time they were given a dose of a chemical that causes the same damage to the brain as Parkinson's disease. The mice on the DHA diet seemed to be immune to the effects of the chemical, whereas the mice that ate ordinary food developed symptoms of the disease.

According to the researchers, among the mice that had been given omega-3 supplementation - in particular DHA - omega-3 fatty acids replaced the omega-6 fatty acids in their brains. Due to the fact that concentrations of other omega-3s (LNA and EPA) had maintained levels in both groups of mice, the researchers suggested that the protective effect against Parkinson's indeed came from DHA.2

Another conclusion drawn from this finding is that a brain containing a lot of omega-6 fatty acids may create a fertile ground for developing Parkinson's disease. These fatty acids, are abundant in foods rich in either vegetable oil or animal fat, which we already know contribute negatively to our health.

Another study observed the effect of DHA on monkeys treated with MPTP, a drug that induces Parkinson's like symptoms, and the results suggested that DHA can reduce the severity of, or delay the development of these drug-induced symptoms and therefore can offer therapeutic benefits in the treatment of Parkinson's. 3

Overall, this research provides evidence that DHA deficiencies can leave us vulnerable to developing diseases like Parkinson's and Alheizmer's. If you are a nutritarian, flexitarain, vegan, or vegetarian and you are not taking DHA or confirming your levels are adequate with blood work you are being negligent, and potentially increasing your risk of such a disease in later life. All the good efforts on proper nutrition can be undone with one deficiency such as Vitamin D, B12, or DHA. I see this every week in my practice.

History repeats itself: Some authors, doctors and leaders of the vegan movement today are heavily biased towards the idea of not needing these supplements. They simply give inadequate nutritional advice and in spite of all the science they still pooh-pooh taking long-chain omega-3 DHA. They are risking the quality of their own lives and that of their followers.

Likewise, I have seen so many vegan-promoting doctors and authors negate the need for taking B12, as well as dismiss the need to take vitamin D, stating minimal sunshine is enough. They also deny the need for omega-3 supplementation. There is so much scientific literature available today pointing to the contrary, however, this irresponsible information keeps radiating from the podium of lecture halls.

It reminds me of all the statements in the past, that the need for B12 was exaggerated and that the small amount of bacteria on organic produce or in seaweed was sufficient.

TC Fry (1926 - 1996), another long-term Natural Hygienist, raw foodest, vegetarian-fruitarian, advocated you did not need supplements as food contained all that we need. He died of an atherosclerotic-related embolism at the age of 70. I saw his hospital record at his death and reviewed his blood work drawn immediately prior to his death. It was quite revealing. He had severe B12, deficiency, so long-standing that his B12 levels were almost undetectable and the lowest I have ever seen. It is kind of interesting reading internet interpretations of why he died, such as "did not practice what he preached," "cheated on his diet," "too much sex," "ozone treatments for his vascular disease". He died prematurely simply because long-standing B12 deficiency leads to extremely high homocysteine levels, which can cause intra-vascular inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

I have seen this over and over again in vegans not supplementing with B12. I even had a patient with extremely severe hyper-homocysteinemia and vascular disease who flew in to see me from Scandinavia. When I diagnosed the problem and discussed how to solve it, she still refused to take the B12 supplements, stating that Dr. Shelton and Dr. Vetrano said that nature provided us with all that we need in natural plant foods. She flew home angry that I disagreed. She died soon after.

Don't be fooled into thinking that by merely eating right you are doing all you can do to protect your health. People must be made aware that by neglecting to take the supplements that are essential to assuring nutritional excellence, they are putting themselves in harm's way. Specifically, not taking DHA, B12 and vitamin D can be potentially dangerous and even life threatening.

Dr. Fuhrman's DHA Purity is a pure, fresh, all vegan, concentrated liquid. This DHA is derived from algae grown under sanitary laboratory conditions.

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Discover the Delicious Health Benefits of Organic Food!

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Laura Klein of OrganicAuthority and does NOT necessarily represent the opinions of DiseaseProof or Dr. Fuhrman.

Ok, I’m addicted to organic foods and am a self proclaimed organic foodie! I guess you could say I’m a big fan of organic everything, especially organic food. That's why I founded my own website!

As I studied to be a professionally trained chef in culinary school, it was the tasty flavor of organic foods that got me hooked on the organic movement. Before culinary school, I could have cared less about organic foods and “green” what? I simply couldn’t believe how much better organic foods tasted when compared to the other normal stuff.

As a chef-in-training, all I cared about was what produced the best tasting food products. And what I discovered was the critical secret behind high-end chefs and five-star restaurants. Organic food! You can have all the culinary training in the world, but if you start with low quality ingredients, you get a low quality result.

I also discovered that organic foods are simply more nutritious and a powerful healing tool for the human body. I look at organic food as the most delicious type of preventive medicine available to us! But don’t just take it from me. Other vetted resources agree that organic food is nutrient-rich and fantastic for your health.

In a study published in March 2008 by The Organic Center, scientific evidence settled the lingering question. Are organic foods really more nutritious? And the answer is a resounding YES! Consider the following:

  • Organic plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains) contain higher levels of eight of 11 nutrients studied, including significantly greater concentrations of health-promoting polyphenols and antioxidants.
  • Organically grown plant-based foods are 25% more nutrient dense, on average, than their conventional food counterparts. That means they deliver more essential nutrients per serving or calorie consumed than conventionally-grown foods.
  • Nutrients present in organic foods are “in a more biologically active form,” according to Neal Davies, a professor at Washington State University (WSU) and a co-author of the center’s report. A+ for Organic Farming!

In another recent study entitled “Living Soil, Food Quality, and the Future of Food", presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), several inspiring conclusions were offered about the health benefits of organic farming and its nutritional impact in food:

  • Higher levels of fertilizer negatively impact the density of certain nutrients in harvested foodstuffs, which is called the "dilution [of nutrients] effect." Organic farming can, under some circumstances, delay the onset of the "dilution effect."
  • Compared to typical conventional farms, the nitrogen cycle on organic farms is rooted in substantially more complex biological processes and soil-plant interactions; for this reason, organic farming offers great promise in consistently producing nutrient-enriched foods.

Clearly, organic food equals healthier food. It’s that simple. And that tasty too!

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Many U.S. Children on Diabetes and Blood Pressure Pills

After examining prescription records of nearly 6 million children and adolescents experts found prescriptions for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol medication increased by more than 15% among children from 2004 to 2007. The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, showed separately diabetes medications rose 23% and blood pressure medications 15%, but cholesterol-lowering drugs dropped 23%. Scientists attribute the drop to bad press associated with medications like Crestor and Lipitor. However, the rise in childhood obesity and doctors’ willingness to prescribe medications to young children is being blamed for the increase; HealthDay News investigates.

Actually, a recent study showed overweight children as young as age 3 may start showing signs of cardiovascular disease, so it’s easy to see why doctors would dole out pills, but a family-based approach to good nutrition is best for keeping kids healthy and off drugs.

And here’s some of bad press on cholesterol-lowering drugs. In January, Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor were found to cause eyelid droop and double vision as potential side effects. Eek!

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More Fiber, Less Sugar Cuts Diabetes Risk in Latinos

New findings in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggest eating more fiber and less sugar can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes in adolescent Latinos. For the study, 66 overweight Latino teenagers were put into three groups. One group attended weekly classes on nutrition, specifically reducing sugar and increasing fiber. Group two was given nutrition education twice a week and did some strength training. The final group served as a control. After 16 weeks teens who ate less sugar and more fiber had substantial drops in blood glucose and insulin levels; Reuters reports.

In New York City, type-2 diabetes hits ethnic groups hard as they abandon traditional diets in favor of standard American fare, 800,000 people in NYC have diabetes. Yesterday, a study showed 22% of Hispanic children in America, ages 1 to 4, are obese. Dr. Fuhrman recommends the whole family eat healthy early to promote good eating habits later in life.

In related news, research shows children going to high school within walking distance of fast food restaurants are more likely to eat less fruits and vegetables and drink more soda.

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Early Weight Gain Linked to Impaired Mobility Later

A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology claims carrying around extra bodyweight earlier in life is associated with decreased mobility later on. Researchers examined 2,845 individuals with no reported mobility issues, collecting new information on their mobility limitations every six months for the next seven years. Data revealed women who were overweight or obese during their mid-20s to 70s were three times more likely to develop mobility limitations. Men only had about half that risk; via ScienceDaily.

Not only do extra pounds slow you down, but a recent study revealed obesity can shorten lifespan by 4 to 10 years, similar to cigarette smoking. Good thing healthy foods like grapes help fight abdominal fat and protect against high blood sugar and insulin resistance.

So, if you don’t feel like shuffling around when you get older. Stay active! Start doing weight-bearing exercises, like jumping, to keep your muscles strong and your bones sturdy.

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American Indian Children Hit Hard by Obesity...

A new study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine claims 1 in 5 Native American preschoolers are obese. Children were considered obese if their body-mass index (BMI) placed them in the 95th percentile or higher on government growth charts. Of the 8,550 participants the rate of obesity among Asians was 13%, whites 16%, blacks 21%, Hispanics 22% and a startling 31% for American Indian children. Researchers cite possible genetic disparities as reason why, but also blame lifestyle issues such as low-income status; the Associated Press reports.

Makes sense, a recent report linked childhood poverty with an 82% higher risk of cardiovascular problems later in life and in February, researchers determined 89% of American preschoolers are not active enough. Not a good combination, especially when you consider weight gain in very young children increases their chances of becoming obese as they mature. Add all that up and you’re in a lot of trouble, no matter what race you are.

Occupation doesn't seem to matter either. Many emergency responder recruits, like ambulance drivers and firemen, are overweight and unable to meet national fitness standards. Even U.S. combat troops in Iraq are getting fat! I still can't believe that.

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Chubby Belly a Predictor of Heart Failure

I admit, a little “chub” on a girl is super cute, but it’s probably not healthy. Published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, experts believe larger waist circumferences are associated with higher risk of congestive heart failure in both men and women. For the study, researchers analyzed data on more than 36,000 women and over 43,000 men, ages 45-83, who filled out health questionnaires and were followed for seven years. Based on their answers scientists determined women with a normal body mass index (BMI) and a 10 centimeter larger waist measurement had a 15% higher risk of heart failure and men with normal BMI and a 10 centimeter larger waist size had a 30% higher risk; via EurekAlert!

Belly fat gets a lot of bad press. Over the past few months excess abdominal fat has been linked to impaired respiratory function, lame sex life, more headaches and migraines, and increased risk of stroke. And according to Dr. Fuhrman that extra umbilical fat is an excellent indicator that people are overweight, even if they’ve already lost weight.

Maintaining a healthy bodyweight is an important component of heart health. In the November 2003 Healthy Times, Dr. Fuhrman explains why heart problems are preventable and how nutrition helps reverse cardiovascular disease.

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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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Less Sugary Drinks Mean More Weight-Loss

Not exactly a revelation, but new research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found reducing calories from sugary beverages, even as little as one serving per day can result in over two pounds of weight-loss over 18 months. Experts examined the diets of 810 adults, ages 25 to 79, for 18 months, finding that sugar-sweetened drinks accounted for 37% of calories consumed, leading researchers to claim cutting sugary drinks is more important for losing weight than eating less; via HealthDay News.

Soda’s not your friend, despite how cute the Coca-Cola polar bears are. All the high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks raises type-2 diabetes risk and soda is pretty creepy, it has the same pH as vinegar and leaches calcium from your bones and let’s not forget. Cola will rot your feet with the gout. Eek!

Last week, scientists determined women drinking sweetened beverages have a 35% higher risk of heart disease and other studies have linked soda with kidney disease and metabolic syndrome.

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Spacemen Need to Exercise Harder to Stay Fit in Space

Life for little green men isn’t easy. New findings in The Journal of Applied Physiology reveal astronauts floating around in space need tougher workouts. Typically, astronauts spend six months on an International Space Station and during this time, despite regular exercise, crew members can lose 15% muscle mass and 20% to 30% of muscle performance. Experts say by clinical standards this is a major loss of muscle, prompting them to recommend a balance of high-intensity resistance and aerobic exercise, in order to protect against the effects of a microgravity environment; Newswise reports.

If you’re zipping around in space or just sitting on the couch, exercise is important. According to Dr. Fuhrman staying physically active not only keeps you fit and trim, but improves your psychological function, by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. And resistance training is very important, in both men and for women it helps bolster bone density, which staves off osteoporosis and bone breaks.

In related news, all exercise, whether you are pumping iron or running cross-country, is helpful after a heart attack, increasing the amount blood vessels widen to allow for greater blood flow.

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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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Cholesterol Crystals Tied to Heart Attacks

A study in the American Journal of Cardiology claims cholesterol in the arteries crystallizes from a liquid to a solid, expanding and disrupting plaque, leading to potential heart attack and stroke. Researchers examined coronary arteries from patients who died from cardiovascular events and when compared to a control group, they discovered cholesterol crystals following a cardiac attack damaged artery linings and appeared much further away from the site of attack, putting survivors of an attack at higher risk; ScienceDaily reports.

Cutting cholesterol is a bid deal! Studies show the more animal products in a population's diet the higher their cholesterol levels and the more heart attacks they have, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, which are loaded with fiber and plant nutrients, effectively cuts cholesterol, even putting cholesterol-lowering medications to shame.

And a recent report showed why lowering cholesterol and blood pressure is still the major preventer of heart trouble. Actually, in the May 2006 edition of Healthy Times, Dr. Fuhrman discusses how superior diet protects against and reverses cardiovascular disease.

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Health-Points: Friday 4.3.09

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Sugary Drinks Heighten Coronary Danger in Women

New research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found women drinking sweetened beverages may have a 35% higher risk of heart disease. For the study, experts evaluated data from nearly 89,000 women without heart problems, stroke or diabetes in 1980, using questionnaires to track dietary habits. After 24 years, researchers documented over 3,000 incidences of fatal and non-fatal coronary artery disease; via Food Navigator.

Warning labels have even been suggested for soda, due to probable weight-gain associated with over-consumption. Also, soda has been linked with the gout, a buildup of uric acid, causing arthritis or worse. However, a report this November revealed taking soft drinks out of schools, while good intentioned, doesn’t stop kids from getting their soda fix.

In the past, sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup have raised concern over mercury contamination and sugary drinks’ link to weight-gain and obesity is causing politicians to consider taxes on non-diet soft drinks, such as New York governor David Paterson.

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Infant Fat Linked to Childhood Obesity

Don’t put the baby on the treadmill just yet, but a new study in the journal Pediatrics claims gaining weight as an infant might foreshadow obesity later in life. A group of 559 mother and child pairs were examined after three years. For example, two infants with the same birth weight, but after six months differed in weight by 1.5 pounds, the larger being 18.4 pounds, puts the bigger child at a 40% higher risk of being obese at age 3; from EurekAlert!

Actually, other studies have linked a baby’s weight-gain to high blood pressure, saying babies who put on weight too rapidly can develop hypertension as adults. So don’t be like this idiot and only feed your toddler French fries. The woman needs her head examined.

In February, research found obese women are more likely to give birth to children with congenital anomalies, like cleft palate, and obesity can give kids heart disease too.

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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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A Life of Poverty Boosts Heart Risks

Not what you want to hear right now. New findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggest the longer an individual remains in poverty, the more likely they are to develop heart disease. Studying more than 1,800 adults in the U.S. those who were disadvantaged during childhood and adulthood were 82% more likely to develop cardiovascular problems, compared to well off individuals. This is most likely do to more risk factors, such poor people are more likely to smoke and be obese; Reuters investigates.

In past, during the Great Depression, some research indicates death rates actually increased, occurrences of cirrhosis, suicide and homicide, which makes sense considering the harsh times. Also, new reports claim as money becomes harder and harder to come by, purchases of bad, cheaper foods like fast food and pasta are the rise. Eek!

I think we’re all feeling the pinch right now, but there are ways to stay heart healthy, most importantly don’t let your diet slack, look for marked down fruits and veggies and avoiding processed foods and secondhand smoke.

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