A compound in blueberries may be good for preventing bowel cancer,according
to US scientists.
The key ingredient, pterostilbene, is a natural antioxidant and mops up highly
reactive molecules called free radicals that can trigger cancer growth.
Similar antioxidants have already been identified in grapes (and red wine).
Other work, also in mice, suggests pterostilbene may be good for lowering
blood cholesterol too.
Beef Damages Son's Sperm
The University of Rochester found men whose mothers ate a lot of beef during
pregnancy had lower sperm counts. The Human Reproduction study found they
were three times more likely to have a sperm count so low they could be classified
as sub-fertile. Among sons of mothers who ate a lot of beef, 17.7% had a
sperm concentration below the World Health Organization sub-fertility threshold
of 20 million sperm per millilitre of seminal fluid. The figure for the sons
of lower beef consumers was 5.7%.
Scientists found a component called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found
in green tea prevents HIV from binding to immune system cells by getting
there first. Once EGCG has bound to immune system cells there is no room
for HIV to take hold in its usual fashion. The joint UK and US work appears
in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Green tea has been
linked to a positive effect on a wide range of conditions, including heart
disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.
As scientists learn more about the key role of inflammation in diabetes,
heart disease and other disorders, new research from Washington University
School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that fat in the belly may be an
important promoter of that inflammation. Excess fat is known to be associated
with disease, but now the researchers have confirmed that fat cells inside
the abdomen are secreting molecules that increase inflammation. It's the
first evidence of a potential mechanistic link between abdominal fat and
systemic inflammation. For years, scientists have been aware of a relationship
between disease risk and excess belly fat. "Apple-shaped" people, who carry
fat in the abdomen, have a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and other
problems than "pear-shaped" people, who tend to store fat in the hips and
Too much abdominal fat is associated with a defect in the body's response
to insulin. During medical exams, some physicians measure waist circumference
to identify patients at increased risk for these problems. Not just any belly
fat will cause inflammation, however. Back in 2004, Washington University
investigators found that removing abdominal fat with liposuction did not
provide the metabolic benefits normally associated with similar amounts of
fat loss induced by dieting or exercising. In this new study, researchers
looked instead at visceral fat that surrounds the organs in the gut. Unlike
subcutaneous fat, visceral fat is not easy to remove surgically because it
is very close to the intestines and other internal organs. Since they couldn't
just take out the fat, the research team decided to analyze the blood that
ran through it to determine whether visceral fat was involved in inflammation
or whether, like subcutaneous fat, it was merely a marker of potential problems.
Reporting in the journal Diabetes, the research team says visceral
fat likely contributes to increases in systemic inflammation and insulin
Balanced Omegas for
A report, published online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, suggests
that we need to balance out our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The current typical American diet contains 20 times more omega-6 than omega-3,
a ratio that researchers say should be lowered to 4-to-1, or even 2-to-1.
The study suggests that people whose diets contain dramatically more of one
kind of polyunsaturated fatty acid than another may be at greater risk for
both clinical depression and certain inflammatory diseases. The greatest
risk of fish oil omega-3 supplementation is heavy metal poisoning by the
body's accumulation of traces of heavy metals, in particular mercury, lead,
nickel, arsenic and cadmium as well as other contaminants (PCBs, furans,
dioxins), which may be found in fish oil supplements. Botanical sources of
Omega-3 fatty acid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid): Chia,
Kiwi, Perilla, Flax, Lingonberry, Purslane, Sea Buckthorn, urad lentil, and
Omega-3 fatty acids seem to affect areas of the brain associated with emotion.
People with lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids were more apt to have
a negative outlook and to be more impulsive, while those with higher levels
typically were more agreeable and less likely to exhibit a sour mood. As
the researchers theorized, the higher the intake of omega-3 the larger were
the volumes of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with mood and
regulation of emotion.
While these findings hint that omega-3s may contribute to structural improvement
in areas of the brain related to emotion, the same areas where gray matter
is reduced in people with mood disorders such as depression. Further studies
are needed to determine whether eating omega- 3 fats actually causes changes
in the brain, the researchers note.
Exercise Boosts Brainpower
Exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region
linked with memory and memory loss, U.S. researchers reported in the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences. Tests on mice showed they grew
new brain cells in a brain region called the dentate gyrus, a part of the
hippocampus that is known to be affected in the age-related memory decline
that begins around age 30 for most humans. The researchers used magnetic
resonance imaging scans to help document the process in mice, and then used
MRIs to look at the brains of people before and after exercise. They
found the same patterns, which suggests that people also grow new brain cells
when they exercise.
Chinese, Italian and Mexican Restaurant Food
The typical items on a Chinese restaurant contain high amounts of sodium
and calories. That's the warning from consumer group Center for Science in
the Public Interest. In a report released this week, the group notes that
even the vegetable dishes served at Chinese restaurants are high in calories
and sodium. Some of the dishes contain more than the total allowance of sodium
and almost all of the 2,000 calories an average adult needs per day, the
report found. It offers some advice for diners: Order vegetable rather than
meat or noodle dishes; ask for extra vegetables; order meat, seafood or tofu
stir-fried or braised, rather than deep-fried; hold the sauce, and use a
fork or chopsticks to leave more sauce behind; steer clear of high-sodium
duck sauce, hot mustard, hoisin sauce and soy sauce; share a meal or take
half home for later; and ask for brown rice instead of white rice. The group
adds that Chinese restaurants aren't the only culprits out there. The food
served at Italian and Mexican restaurants could be worse for you because
much of it is high in artery-clogging saturated fats.
Fruits are not
Fewer than a third of American adults eat the amount of fruits and vegetables
the government recommends, a trend that's remained steady for more than a
decade, health officials said. That's "well below" the government's
goal of getting 75 percent of Americans to eat two servings of fruits and
three of vegetables each day by 2010. Younger adults, age 18 to 24, ate the
fewest vegetables. Nearly four-fifths of that age category scraped the veggies
to the side of their plates, if they had vegetables on the plate at all.
Not only are fruits and vegetables lower-calorie, they also have minerals
and fiber that help guard against chronic diseases and cancer, the CDC says.
The federal agency is baffled at American behavior said it didn't know why
people weren't eating more veggies or fruits.
That delicious calorie laden, unhealthy chocolate bar is also responsible
for another sin. Child labor is extensively used in cocoa production, BBC
The omega-3 fatty acid may be a "brain food" that helps ward off depression
because it increases gray matter in three areas that tend to be smaller in
people who have serious depression, a study suggests. The increase could
help explain why past studies have found that the omega-3 acid DHA reduces
symptoms of depression. Omega-3 fats can be found in flaxseed, urad lentils,
some leafy vegetables such as purslane, and nuts.
Deep red tomatoes get their rich color from lycopene, a disease-fighting
antioxidant. A new study, however, suggests that a special variety of orange-colored
tomatoes provide a different form of lycopene, one that our bodies may more
Researchers found that eating spaghetti covered in sauce made from these
orange tomatoes, called Tangerine tomatoes, caused a noticeable boost in
this form of lycopene in participants' blood. Lycopene belongs to a family
of antioxidants called the carotenoids, which give certain fruits and vegetables
their distinctive colors. Carotenoids are thought to have a number of health
benefits, such as reducing the risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular
disease and macular degeneration. The findings appear in a recent issue of
the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Lycopene is an aggregate
of carotenoids that contains a variety of related compounds called isomers.
Isomers share the same chemical formula, yet differ in chemical structure.
In the case of tomatoes, the different lycopene isomers play a part in determining
the color of the fruit.
and Alcohol are Deadly
"All drugs are dangerous. Even the ones people know and love and use every
day." New "landmark" research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more
dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be
classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study. According
to existing British and U.S. drug policy, alcohol and tobacco are legal,
while cannabis and Ecstasy are both illegal. Tobacco causes 40 percent of
all hospital illnesses, while alcohol is blamed for more than half of all
visits to hospital emergency rooms. The substances also harm society in other
ways, damaging families and occupying police services.
Unlike the measles or whooping cough, you don't get the genital warts and
cervical cancer caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) from casual contact.
The fact it that it is a sexually transmitted disease. In this country (US),
there are about 9,700 new cases of cervical cancer and 3,700 deaths each year.
The HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases in the US, so
common that researchers estimate that most people will have some form of it
in their lifetime due to the growing promiscuity. Young adults are especially
at risk because they tend to be the most sexually active group. Many women
find themselves scrambling to understand HPV after a routine Pap smear determines
they have it. It is too late, already! Frequently, men are the silent carriers
who spread HPV to their sexual partners. And even when people know they have
HPV, they often think condoms offer 100 percent protection, when research
has shown that they don't.
Certainly and very apparent, doctors say, having more sexual partners increases
a person's chance of contracting HPV, given the fact that HPV can be contracted
from just one sexual encounter.
Given the social behavior and all, the only solution seems to be vaccinating
young girls from certain contracting HPV in this society. The scenario might
go something like this: A drug company develops a vaccine that could help
wipe out most future cases of cervical cancer. State governments add it to
their list of required vaccines for school. Girls line up for shots. Years
later, fewer of them die prematurely despite promiscuous behavior and everyone
lives happily ever after. Easier said than done! In the real world, the notion
of requiring the HPV vaccine for young girls is much more complicated than
that, especially when the disease is preventable by change in social behavior
- though uncontrollable like the preventable obesity problem. The debate has
been especially hot in states such as Texas, where state lawmakers are making
moves to rescind a vaccine mandate backed by Gov. Rick Perry.
That wariness persists even though Merck backed off from its mandate push
last month, saying it would instead provide vaccine information only if requested
by government officials. Meanwhile, there are concerns about the cost
of the vaccine and whether insurance companies will pay for it. The
three-dose regimen costs about $360. Some also worry that, in this age of
drug recalls, more research is needed to determine the long-term effects
of the HPV vaccine.
Walking Quiets Smokers' Cravings
Just a small amount of exercise may be all it takes to reduce nicotine cravings.
A study published in the journal Addiction suggests that five minutes of moderate
exercise could help smokers quit. The researchers reviewed 12 studies on
the connection between exercise and nicotine deprivation. When asked to rate
their need for a cigarette, people who had just done some type of moderate
physical exercise such as walking or flexing and tensing muscles reported
a reduced desire to smoke. The Associated Press quotes other experts who warn
that it's not clear how long the effects of exercise would last; it may not
be enough over the long term, and would have to be combined with other anti-smoking
Smoking and Skin
Smoking not only can wrinkle the face and turn it yellow -- it can do the
same to the whole body, researchers reported. The study, published
in the Archives of Dermatology, shows that smoking affects the skin all over
the body, even skin protected from the sun. Several previous studies have
found that cigarette smoking contributes to premature skin aging as measured
by facial wrinkles, the study said, but little has been done to measure the
aging of skin not exposed to light. Cigarette smoke, among other things,
causes blood vessels beneath the skin to constrict, reducing blood supply
to the skin. Smoking can also damage the connective tissue that supports both
the skin and the internal organs.
Desk Jobs and Clot Risk
Sitting at a desk all day could put you at risk of dangerous blood clots.
A study in the New Zealand Medical Journal found that office workers could
be at risk for deep-vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form
in the deep veins of the leg. The researchers found that 34% of the patients
(62 patients) had been sitting down at work for long periods.
Mind Body and Spirit
Transmitted Diseases in Women
One in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with the sexually transmitted
virus that in some forms can cause cervical cancer, according to the first
broad national estimate. The figure is mostly in line with previous assessments.
The highest prevalence, about 45 percent, was found in 14- to-24-year-olds,
according to a report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers have estimated that 20 million Americans have some form of HPV.
The study concluded that 26.8 percent of U.S. women are infected, a figure
that is comparable to earlier estimates using smaller groups. The new nationally
representative report is based on vaginal swab specimens from 1,921 women
tested in 2003-04. The report appears in February issue of Journal
of the American Medical Association. An estimated 11,150 U.S. women will
be diagnosed this year with cervical cancer, and about 3,670 will die from
it. The study underscores the need for educating young women against promiscuity
and need for vaccinations.
Ovulatory dysfunction, is a disorder in which ovulation does not occur regularly.
Ovulation is the term used to define the release of an egg from the ovary.
This process is essential for pregnancy to occur. Ovulation is a complex
process and depends on an adequate amount of appropriate hormones at appropriate
times of the menstrual cycle. Anything that disrupts the hormonal regulation
of the female cycle may result in ovulatory dysfunction.
Ovulatory dysfunction can occur in any woman that has undergone puberty.
Women who have reproductive organs that did not develop fully may not be
capable of ovulating. Ovulatory dysfunction is very common in women approaching
menopause. Once menopause sets in, women stop ovulating. As many as 30-40%
of all women may experience ovulatory dysfunction. This is one of the most
common and most manageable causes of infertility.
Women having trouble getting pregnant because ovulatory dysfunction may want
to drink a daily glass of whole milk, according to a Harvard study appearing
in February issue of the journal Human Reproduction. Women with ovulatory
dysfunction who ate one serving of high-fat dairy food a day were 27 percent
less likely to be infertile than women with ovulatory dysfunction who avoided
full-fat dairy foods.
Canker Sour Remedy
CankerMelts patches reduce pain and speed resolution of canker sores. During
the 85th General Session of the International Association for Dental Research,
scientists reported that they have developed a method for the effective healing
of, and relief of pain associated with, canker sores. Canker sores (scientifically
known as aphthous ulcers) are painful recurring ulcers inside the mouth that
afflict 60 million Americans. They are not viral or contagious. The most
common form, called minor aphthous ulcers, are less than 10 mm in diameter
and typically heal within 10-14 days. The direct cause of canker sores is
unknown, but studies have shown that stress, family history, and cuts in
the mouth (like those caused by braces or accidental bites) are indirect
causes. Diet may be a factor for some people as well, though specific triggering
foods have not been identified. There are no significant complications caused
by unhealed canker sores, but the acute mouth pain can interfere with the
ability to eat, drink, or speak and impair the sufferer’s quality of life.
Licorice has been used for over 4000 years as a healing agent. The medicinal
capabilities of licorice root (Glycyrrhiza) extract (GX) have been established
by long-term clinical use and, most recently, by scientific research. GX
has been identified to have anti-inflammatory, soothing, and coating abilities
and provides proven, rapid relief for canker sores. The researchers presenting
in New Orleans reported on a study of a new, patented dissolving oral patch
with this traditional herbal medicine. In randomized, controlled trials conducted
by researchers at the University of Washington and Orahealth Corporation,
8 out of 10 people using an oral GX patch (CankerMelts®) had no more
base pain after 3 days of use. Further, the canker sores treated with the
oral GX patch shrank to one-tenth their original size after 7 days, while
untreated canker sores grew larger. In a separate prior study, 26 out of
27 canker sores (96%) that were treated with the CankerMelts oral patch healed
in 3 or fewer days.
The gels and mouthwashes used for years by canker sore sufferers are designed
to numb the pain or cover the ulcer in a protective coating to protect against
irritation. To many people, this is simply inadequate: A numb mouth and days
or weeks of excruciating pain can make it tough to enjoy your favorite foods
and drinks or talk comfortably with friends and family. The CankerMelts oral
patch technology allows the disc to stick inside the mouth, in contact with
the sore and usually covering the sore to protect it from irritation. Pain
relief (not numbing of the mouth) is achieved in roughly 10 minutes, and
the all-natural disc dissolves slowly in the mouth, providing 2-6 hours of
time-released medication exactly in the needed spot.
Red Pepper Gazpacho Soup
INGREDIENTS:5 ripe tomatoes; 1/2 cucumber, chopped; 1 red bell pepper; 2
cloves garlic; 1/4 cup water; dash cayenne pepper; 2 tbsp fresh parsley,
chopped; 1 avocado, diced (optional).
PREPARATION: Blend together all ingredients except parsley and avocado until
smooth. Gently stir in avocado and parsley. If possible, chill for
at least two hours to let the flavors mingle. Serve chilled or room temperature.
INGREDIENTS: 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips; 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh
mushrooms; 1 onion, sliced; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1/2 tsp curry powder; 1/2 tsp
chili powder; 1/4 tsp cumin; flour tortillas; sour cream (optional).
PREPARATION:Sautee the peppers, mushrooms and onion in olive oil for 3 to
5 minutes. Add the spices and continue cooking for another 2 minutes, or
until veggies are tender. Place a few spoonfuls of the mixture in a flour
tortilla, top with sour cream if desired and enjoy! http://vegetarian.about.com/od/maindishentreerecipes/r/mushroomfajitas.htm?nl=1
Raw Vegetable Recipes
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The primary sources cited
above, New York Times (NYT),
Washington Post (WP), Mercury News,
Bayarea.com, Chicago Tribune, USA Today,
Intellihealthnews, Deccan Chronicle
(DC), the Hindu, Hindustan Times,
Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP, womenfitness.net,