Citrus Nutrient May Help Stop Obesity

In college, the only citrus I got was the lime in my beer bottle, but now I know better. Citrus fruits are loaded with health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin C.

Kiwi fruit, watermelon, strawberries, mangos and raspberries are all packed with vitamin C. And in May, vitamin C was found to stave off age-related vision loss.

Now, new findings in the journal Diabetes claims another fruit nutrient, naringenin—a flavonoid in citrus fruits—halts the development of metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

For the study, scientists fed mice a high-fat diet—to simulate a western diet—in order to induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome and discovered mice fed a fatty diet plus naringenin had “corrected” levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.

Naringenin also protected against insulin resistance. Experts say naringenin reprogrammed the liver to burn up excess fat, instead of storing it. However, more research is needed to determined naringenin’s exact effect on heart disease.

In related news, pomegranates were found to reduce inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.

Via EurekAlert!

Image credit: adamjtaylor

Charlotte Kicks Diabetes and Heart Disease

Summer is right around the corner. Perfect time to slim down and look great in your swimsuit.  Even singer Alanis Morissette lost the weight and now looks hot and sexy. And check out Charlotte, today’s she’s thin and healthy:

About a year and a half later I am off all my diabetic and heart medications. I have had no further heart problems and my diabetes is gone. My fasting blood sugar averages 79 without treatment. Since July 29, 2003 until now my total cholesterol has dropped from 219 to 130, my triglycerides are down from 174 to 73 and my LDL cholesterol has lowered from 149 to 70.

My current weight is around 130, slightly less than half my maximum. Since I wear a larger size on the bottom than on the top, I give it with two numbers. I have gone from a plus-size 24W/26W to a misses 8/10, which is a smaller size than I have ever worn in my adult life. As hard as it is to imagine, the last time I was this weight I was under age 12…continue reading.

Image credit: DrFuhrman.com

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.

Image credit: Nikita Kashner

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.

Image credit: juanjoseixas

U.S. Cholesterol: LDL Down, Triglycerides Up

At the American Heart Association's annual meeting researchers revealed LDL cholesterol levels in U.S. adults have dropped since 1980, but triglyceride levels are 5 times higher. Scientists cite increased awareness of the dangers of high-fat diets and statins for the drop in LDL and the surge in obesity for the jump in triglycerides; Reuters reports.

Okay, it’s good to hear people are getting wise to high-fat diets. Diets rich in saturated fat are linked to heart disease, but statins are no saving grace. They have serious side effects and only offer a band aid solution. However, plant-based diets lower cholesterol, improve triglycerides, reverse cardiovascular disease and promote healthy bodyweight.