Pistachio nuts may improve erectile function

Pistachio nuts have a unique nutritional profile – they are especially rich in plant sterols, carotenoids, tocopherols (vitamin E), and arginine.  Plant sterols are structurally similar to cholesterol, and provide a cholesterol-lowering benefit.1 All nuts have cholesterol-lowering and other cardioprotective effects, but pistachios (in a tie with Mediterranean pine nuts) have the highest plant sterol content of all nuts.  Studies investigating the effects of pistachios on cardiovascular disease risk factors not only reported reduced cholesterol levels, but also decreased inflammatory markers, increased blood antioxidant levels and reduced oxidative stress.2-4 In addition to antioxidants and plant sterols, pistachios are also rich in arginine, an amino acid that is involved in nitric oxide production, which regulates relaxation of arterial smooth muscle and therefore blood flow.  In a previous study, pistachio supplementation resulted in enhanced endothelial cell function, which means that nitric oxide availability was increased.4

Pistachios. Flickr: theogeo

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is primarily a disorder of penile blood flow, most often accompanied by chronic conditions that affect the vasculature, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Atherosclerosis in peripheral arteries is known to contribute to the impaired blood flow in this condition.  Atherosclerosis is usually preceded by endothelial dysfunction, which decreases nitric oxide bioavailability, leading to impaired blood flow regulation.  Since pistachios have confirmed cholesterol-lowering effects and are rich in arginine (which helps to produce nitric oxide), scientists tested whether pistachios could enhance erectile function in men with ED.

Subjects in the study consumed 100 grams of pistachio nuts (about 3 ounces) each day for three weeks. Erectile function was evaluated by subjects’ reports and also by blood flow measurement with ultrasound.  After three weeks of pistachio supplementation, both the erectile function scores based on subjects’ reports and the velocity of penile blood flow were improved.  The men’s cholesterol levels also improved.5

The health of the heart and blood vessels is crucial to the health of the entire body.  Eating to restore cardiovascular health will improve blood flow and nutrient delivery to all tissues, improving overall health. Like several other chronic diseases, erectile dysfunction shares the same risk factors with cardiovascular disease.  Antioxidants, plant sterols, and arginine promote blood vessel health and are provided in abundance by a high nutrient diet made up of whole plant foods.

 

References:

1. Ellegard LH, Andersson SW, Normen AL, et al: Dietary plant sterols and cholesterol metabolism. Nutr Rev 2007;65:39-45.

2. Kay CD, Gebauer SK, West SG, et al: Pistachios increase serum antioxidants and lower serum oxidized-LDL in hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr 2010;140:1093-1098.

3. Kocyigit A, Koylu AA, Keles H: Effects of pistachio nuts consumption on plasma lipid profile and oxidative status in healthy volunteers. Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD 2006;16:202-209.

4. Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, et al: Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study. Nutrition 2010;26:399-404.

5. Aldemir M, Okulu E, Neselioglu S, et al: Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 2011;23:32-38.


 

Frequent Vigorous Workouts Cut Cancer Risk

A new study of 2,560 men, ages 42 to 61, claims daily high-intensity physical activity appears to reduce cancer risk in men. The results, published British Journal of Sports Medicine, were based on data collected over one year from men with no history of cancer.

During an average follow-up of 16 years, 181 of the men died from cancer. Those who engaged in moderate- to high-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes a day were 50 percent less likely to develop cancer compared with the other men.

The researchers found that an increase of 1.2 metabolic units (oxygen consumption) was related to a decreased risk of cancer death, especially in lung and gastrointestinal cancers, after they took into account factors such as age, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and fiber/fat intake.

"The intensity of leisure-time physical activity should be at least moderate so that beneficial effect of physical activity for reducing overall cancer mortality can be achieved," the study authors wrote in a news release.

Listen, it’s hard to make a case against exercising. If you try, you’ll end up looking pretty dopey. Dr. Fuhrman considers regular exercise one of the secrets to living a long time.

Via HealthDay News.

Image credit: Mushroom and Rooster

Soy Might Help Men Not Forget Things

I’m a guy. I forget things, little things, like birthdays, where I left my car keys, or to put on underwear. Luckily, some soy might fix that.

According to a new study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, isoflavones in soy could help improve men’s mental function and memory.

Researchers recruited 34 healthy men and participants were given a daily dose of 116 milligrams of soy isoflavones. Then men were tested on memory, mental function and visual-spatial processing.

Data showed guys getting the soy isoflavones committed 23% fewer errors and needed 17% less time to complete tasks. So ladies, if your man is a big dummy. Go get him some soymilk.

Soy is a super food! Previous reports have found it lowers risk of breast cancer, improves heart health and helps build strong bones, but don’t go soy crazy. Dr. Fuhrman says no diet should be based on just one food, not even soy.

Via Nutra Ingredients.

Image credit: ImageMD

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!

Image credit: splorp

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!

Image credit: Angie Torres

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!

Image credit: SouthParkStudios.com

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!

Image credit: Esther17

Low Cholesterol Blocks Prostate Cancer

Turns out that big greasy steak is not so manly after all! New research in the American Journal of Pathology claims lower cholesterol levels may inhibit the growth of prostate tumors. To examine the connection, researchers fed mice a high-fat diet as well as the cholesterol-lowering drug Zetia, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol from the intestine, and data revealed reducing cholesterol may halt tumor angiogenesis, i.e. new blood vessel growth associated with tumors; via EurekAlert!

Actually, in July scientists determined men who eat lots of burgers, steak and cheese—all loaded with cholesterol-raising saturated fat—were nearly twice as likely to experience prostate cancer progression and another study found mice eating less fat were 27% less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Now, all this is no reason to go on Zetia. Zetia has not been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes. In stead, eat fruits and vegetables. Veggies knock out prostate cancer, heart attack, stroke and more!

Image credit: victoriafee

Belly Fat Linked to Migraines

Overweight people between the ages of 20 and 55 may be more likely to get migraine headaches. To be presented at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology's 61st Annual Meeting in Seattle, new researcher involving 22,211 people who suffered from severe headaches or migraines showed those individuals with bigger waists, i.e. more belly fat, had more headaches. In overweight women the risk was 8% higher and 4% in men; ScienceDaily investigates.

And earlier study also linked fat to headaches, with obese men reporting 15% more headaches and 28% in women. I wonder why the risk always seems to be higher in women. Must be from dealing with all the fat men!

Actually, certain foods, unhealthy foods, like cheese, alcohol and sweets, can trigger migraines, so avoiding them is a pretty good idea.

Image credit: ultraBobban

Gardasil Denied Approval for Women 27 to 45, Again!

For the second time, U.S. health regulators have denied approval for the use of Gardasil in women, ages 27 to 45. Officials want more long term clinical data. Merck’s Gardasil is said to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. Following the denial Merck’s shares dropped 79 cents. Merck is also pushing Gardasil for use among men; Reuters reports.

Now, Gardasil is no wonder drug! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received 7,802 instances of people suffering an adverse reaction to Gardasil and the vaccine only protects against 4 of the 100 strains of HPV. It also killed a 17-year old girl from New York. Not to mention, this spring the FDA ordered Merck clean up a manufacturing plant where Gardasil is produced.

Image credit: christopherdale