- Brain Food
A vegetable-rich diet could be the fountain of youth for your brain. New
research on vegetables and aging found that eating vegetables appears to help
keep the brain young and may slow the mental decline sometimes associated
with growing old. On measures of mental sharpness, older people who ate more
than two servings of vegetables daily appeared about five years younger at
the end of the six-year study than those who ate few or no vegetables. Green
leafy vegetables including spinach, kale and collards appeared to be the most
beneficial. The researchers said that may be because they contain healthy
amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that is believed to help fight chemicals
produced by the body that can damage cells. The study was published in the
journal Neurology and funded with grants from the National Institute
on Aging. Overall, people did gradually worse on these tests over time, but
those who ate more than two vegetable servings a day had about 40 percent
less mental decline than those who ate few or no vegetables.
The skin and seeds of grapes are a rich source of proanthocyanidins, a class
of antioxidant flavonoids that remove harmful free oxygen radicals from cells.
Grape products (juice and red wine) are known for their heart healthy effects,
especially in lowering levels of blood cholesterol, and because grape
seeds contain higher concentrations of these chemicals, they are widely marketed
as a dietary supplement.
Chemicals found in grape seeds significantly inhibited growth of colorectal
tumors in both cell cultures and in mice, according to researchers who have
already demonstrated the extract's anti-cancer effects in other tumor types.
Their study, published in the October 18 issue of Clinical Cancer Research,
documented a 44 percent reduction of advanced colorectal tumors in the animals,
and also revealed, for the first time, the molecular mechanism by which grape
seed extract works to inhibit cancer growth. The authors found that it increases
availability of a critical protein, Cip1/p21, in tumors that effectively freezes
the cell cycle, and often pushes a cancer cell to self destruct.
Another study at a Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta, showed
that resveratrol increases levels of an enzyme in the brain, heme oxygenase,
that was already known to shield nerve cells from damage.
Caffeine has a stronger disruptive effect on daytime, catch-up sleep after
a night of sleep deprivation than it does on a normal night's sleep, a new
study shows in Neuropsycho pharmacology, August 23, 2006. Consuming
caffeine at night is known to make it more difficult to fall asleep and to
worsen sleep quality. Recent studies have suggested that caffeine is a measure
of choice to counteract the effects of sleep deprivation on alertness and
Decaf is not Really Decaf
"Decaffeinated" may not mean completely caffeine-free. A study published
in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology finds that most decaffeinated
coffee contains some small amount of caffeine -- and if you drink enough decaf,
that small amount can add up. The study's findings are important for people
who are trying to avoid caffeine.
Slimming Helps Reduce Cancer
Fatty tissue may decrease the body's ability to kill off cancer, says a
study that found making mice leaner seemed to help them fight skin tumors.
Scientists have long known that people who are overweight are at increased
risk of certain types of cancer. The question is why, and whether slimming
down will lower that risk or do any good after a tumor forms. Rutgers
University scientists took a closer look at that question using mice engineered
to get skin cancer, and reported Monday that fat cells may secrete substances
that short-circuit one of the body's main anti-tumor defenses. Exercising
mice experienced higher levels of apoptosis, the self-destruction of bad cells,
in both sun-damaged skin and in already-formed skin tumors. The researchers
then tried the experiment again, by removing pads of fat from chubby mice
instead of having them exercise. Getting rid of fat stimulated tumor-cell
death, they report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy
Trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, were created as a
replacement for saturated fats, long known to cause heart disease. Like
saturated fats, trans fats are tasty, partially solid, and don't spoil, making
them ideal ingredients in cookies, candy bars, and that crispy outer coat
of a French fry. Many restaurants use them in deep fryers, where they can
be stored and reused, and the fats are ingredients of many solid margarines.
But a now-ponderous stack of research has shown that trans fats raise heart
disease risk four to five times more sharply than do saturated fats. Trans
fats both raise "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, and cause "good" cholesterol, or
HDL, to drop, while saturated fats only raise LDL. Moreover, trans fats are
linked to ailments such as diabetes and dementia, according to the department
of nutrition at Harvard University's School of Public Health.
A research paper appears in the October issue of The Journal of the American
Medical Association, concluded eating omega-3 oil containing food was
beneficial, based on studies conducted on fish. The evidence across different
studies showed that omega-3 oil containing food consumption lowers the risk
of death from heart disease by 36%. Omega-3 oils are found abundantly in flaxseed,
flaxseed oil, urad dal, walnuts, wheat germ and fish. Concerns have
been raised about chemicals found in fish from pollution. These include mercury,
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxins. Eating oily fish during pregnancy
may increase the risk of delivering the baby too early, scientists believe.
The researchers told New Scientist magazine in October the harm is probably
caused by high mercury levels in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.
Studies have shown that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk
of AD. Furthermore, animal studies have shown that the two predominant omega-3
fatty acids in fish oil, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid
(DHA), preserve cognitive function. Researchers say their results, coupled
with other studies, "support the idea that omega-3 fatty acids have a role
in primary prevention of AD but not in treatment of manifest disease," when
the "neuropathologic involvement is too advanced to be substantially attenuated
by anti-inflammatory treatment." The results were presented in Archives of
Neurology October 2006.
Eating walnuts at the end of a meal may help cut the damage that fatty food
can do to the arteries, research suggests. It is thought that the nuts are
rich in compounds that reduce hardening of the arteries, and keep them flexible.
A team from Barcelona's Hospital Clinico recommend eating around eight walnuts
a day. The study, which appears in the Journal of the American College of
Cardiology, also showed walnuts had more health benefits than olive oil.
tips for the vegan, sugar-free or health-conscious family
Men who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks were found to have
lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than a control group who drank
a fake tea substitute, the researchers said in a study published in the journal
Psychopharmacology. The tea drinkers also reported
a greater feeling of relaxation after performing tasks designed to raise stress
Canola oil may now be sold to consumers as a product that can reduce the
risk of coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States,
killing half a million people every year.
Canola oil and certain foods made with canola oil are allowed to start making
the claim, the Food and Drug Administration. Labels can say that limited evidence
suggests eating 19 grams or about 1 1/2 tablespoons of canola oil daily may
reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to its unsaturated fat content,
the FDA said. Canola oil should replace a similar amount of saturated fat
and not increase the total number of calories a person eats each day, FDA
Canola is a trademarked cultivar of the rapeseed plant from which rapeseed
oil is obtained. Also known as "LEAR" oil (for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed),
Canola oil was initially bred in Canada by Keith Downey and Baldur Stefansson
in the 1970s. "Canola" is a contraction of "Canadian oil, low acid". Compared
with sunflower, corn, peanut, and many other oils, Canola has a low ratio
of saturated to unsaturated fat. Rapeseed belongs to mustard family, which
includes turnip, cabbage, watercress, horseradish, and radish are also members
of this family of plants.
A diet containing curry powder may help protect the aging brain, according
a study of elderly Asians in which increased curry powder consumption was
associated with better cognitive performance on standard tests, reported in
American Journal of Epidemiology, November 1, 2006. Curry powder is
a powdered mixture of spices such as roots like turmeric (http://www.herbalgram.org/iherb/expandedcommissione/he096.asp)
and ginger, and seeds like coriander, cumin, mustard etc., used in preparing
curry, a dish cooked in Indian style seasoned with spices and fresh herbs
such as curry leaves (http://www.vepachedu.org/TSJ/April2004.html#Curry_Leaves),
coriander leaves etc. Traditionally, a pinch of turmeric powder is a must
in any south Indian dish called curry. Curcumin, found in turmeric powder,
possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (See also http://www.vedah.net/TSJ/January2006.html#Turmeric).
It's known that long-term users of anti-inflammatory drugs have a reduced
risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, although these agents can have harmful
effects in the stomach, liver and kidney, limiting their use in the elderly.
Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have been shown to protect neurons in lab
experiments but have had limited success in alleviating cognitive decline
in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.
A good diet should include a range of food types, and nuts are no exception.
For vegetarians and vegans, as well as non-vegetarians, they offer a good
source of protein, plus a range of other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Brazil nuts, in particular, are famed for their high selenium content, whilst
almonds are a useful source of vitamin E. Nuts come from different families
of plants. Peanuts are not nuts. They are actually a legume and come
from pods from leguminous family plant.
Almonds are high in vitamin E (24mg per 100g), rich in calcium (240g per
100g) and good source of protein.
Brazil Nuts are high selenium content - 100g contains about 1530mcg of the
mineral. Selenium helps immunity and cell growth, and a deficiency has been
linked to male fertility problems. Eating a handful a day (three to four nuts)
is an ideal way of boosting your intake.
Cashew Nuts are creamy coloured kidney-shaped nuts. They're a good source
of potassium, phosphorous, zinc and iron.
Coconut is the white inner flesh of this nut is typically used in desiccated,
flaked or creamed forms. Coconut milk is high in vitamin C.
Hazelnuts are relatively low in fat, but high in vitamin E and B, and make
a good snack.
Peanuts are also known as monkey nuts and groundnuts. They contain high
levels of protein, calcium and vitamin E.
Pecan Nuts are natives of Americas and related to walnuts, but have a milder
flavor. They're a good source of zinc and protein.
Pistachio Nuts are native to the Mediterranean and Middle East and their
natural color is tinged with green. They contain good amounts of calcium and
Walnuts are high in unsaturated fats, walnuts offer a good supply of vitamins,
minerals and protein. They can be cooked, eaten raw or even pickled.
See below for a recipe.
Pesticides and Fruits
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a watchdog group with
its eye on pesticide use, apples are on top of the heap for being heavily
contaminated with pesticides. EWG have come up with a wallet guide that includes
the 12 most pesticide tainted fruits and vegetables. The group calls them
the dirty dozen and they include:
• Bell Peppers
• Imported Grapes
Samples have shown that apples carry up to 36 different pesticides. What’s
more they are not the dirtiest of the dozen- peaches have earned that ranking,
with samples showing combinations of up to 45 different pesticides. The EWG
claims that by avoiding these foods, you’ll lower exposures to harmful pesticides
by 90 percent. Washing an apple is no longer a guarantee of removing pesticide
residues, either, as many of these pesticides have worked their way into the
fruit. Perhaps, it is time to change the old adage to ‘an organic apple a
day keeps the doctor away."
Watch Your Calorie Intake
A survey of 300 restaurant chefs around the country reveals that taste,
looks and customer expectations are what matter when they determine portion
size. Only one in six said the calorie content was very important and half
said it didn't matter at all. While it may make diners happy to get piles
of pasta and mountains of meat, they'll pay the price in pounds, said doctors
at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society.
Accidental overdoses and allergic reactions to prescription drugs were the
most frequent cause of serious illnesses, according to the study, the first
to reveal the nationwide scope of the problem. People over 65 faced the greatest
risks. Harmful reactions to some of the most widely used medicines, from insulin
to a common antibiotic, sent more than 700,000 Americans to emergency rooms
each year - the estimate was conservative because bad drug reactions are
likely often misdiagnosed. The CDC has estimated that about 130 million Americans
use prescribed medication every month. U.S. consumers buy far more medicine
per person than anywhere else in the world. The project was developed by
the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug
Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The study
was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers found differences in nitrogen and carbon when samples from females
at an eating-disorder clinic were compared with hair from females who didn't
have a problem. They said they were able to accurately determine the source
80 percent of the time. Just as it can be used to determine if someone has
used drugs or has been exposed to harmful amounts of mercury and lead, hair
can show what someone has been eating. Doctors and therapists often must rely
upon patients to report what and how much they eat, information that can
be unreliable. The Brigham Young University research was conducted by faculty
in integrative biology, communications, statistics and geology.
Intelligence is Inherited
Intelligence is probably one of the most heritable things. Intelligence
of a child is very much determined by the intelligence of the parents. For
decades scientists have been looking for a correlation between breastfeeding
and intelligence. Breast-fed children are more intelligent than their
bottle-fed counterparts, but this has nothing to do with the content of the
milk they receive, a study published in the British Medical Journal
said. Researchers, who analyzed data from more than 5,000
children and 3,000 mothers in the United States, found that mothers who breast-feed
tend to be more intelligent. The researchers found that children who were
breast-fed did better on IQ tests. However, they conclude that this was because
their mothers were more intelligent, better educated and able to provide
a more stimulating home environment. breast-feeding was "definitely the smart
thing to do," because of other benefits to both mother and child, including
a stronger ability to ward off infections, respiratory illnesses and protection
against developing allergies. Of course, intelligent and well-educated mothers
breastfeed their children.
TV Causes Autism in Children
Watching too much television in childhood could cause autism, experts have
They are suggesting parents limit their children's viewing - and say the
under-twos should be barred from watching TV altogether. Rates of autism
are soaring, with ten times as many youngsters diagnosed with the condition
as 30 years ago. More than one in 100 British children has autism or
a related condition such as Asperger's. Autism charities say the rise
is down to better awareness of the condition and improved diagnosis.
Others, however, believe the increase is linked to the MMR jab or even to
chemicals found in pesticides. The latest study, in the U.S., looked
at whether there was a link between rising rates of autism and the increasing
availability of children's TV, videos and DVDs. The research team concluded
that the results were "awfully suggestive" of a link between watching TV and
autism. Many parents reacted angrily to being told they could have harmed
their children's health by letting them watch their favorite cartoons. Studies
have also shown that older fathers are far more likely than younger ones to
have autistic children. Children born to men of 40 and over are nearly
six times more likely to suffer from autism than those born to men under
I is a fact that as women get older, they are more likely to have a child
with Down Syndrome. However, other factors also play a role. According to
new research in Germany, the risk of a child being born with Down Syndrome
is also dependent on how many existing siblings the child has and how big
the gap is between the child and his immediate preceding sibling. The research
is published in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften. Down Syndrome rates
were significantly higher in older mothers in their first pregnancy than in
older mothers who had already had children. Only late first pregnancies were
more likely to produce a Down Syndrome baby, not late second or third pregnancies.
In addition, the larger the gap between pregnancies, the higher the rates
of Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is the result of the genetic abnormality
trisomy 21. Trisomy has been the focus of extensive medical research but
the exact mechanism is still not understood. One feature common to most trisomies
is an increase in frequency of trisomic pregnancies with increasing maternal
age. There is strong evidence for uterine selection against genetically disadvantaged
embryos. However, as women approach the menopause and the risk of future
infertility increases, this selection, or filtering stringency, is expected
For healthy kids, more unstructured playtime may be just what the doctor
ordered. That's what the American Academy of Pediatrics is saying in a new
report. The report finds that spontaneous, free playtime is being sacrificed
as U.S. kids are becoming increasingly "overscheduled." One downside of
this is that constant, scheduled activities can lead to higher stress levels
for parents and children, and even contribute to depression in kids, the
report says. Plus, numerous studies have found that unstructured play is
important for healthy childhood development, allowing children to become
creative, to develop their own interests and problem-solving skills, and
to relate better to other people.
Baby massage is an old eastern Indian tradition of massaging babies from
newborn. Some cultures say it stimulates their survival mechanisms and help
them resist disease. It is now widely accepted that giving your baby a regular
(daily) massage aids good health and increases bonding and a whole range of
benefits, including the following, both for you and for your child:
fosters more trust and confidence in you and your baby,
induces a more relaxed state in your baby,
encourages muscular coordination,
calms the emotions and relieves trauma,
helps promote sleep,
stimulates your baby’s immune, circulatory and respiratory systems,
aids digestion and elimination,
is a natural response to your baby’s inherent need for tactile stimulation,
visibly improves the texture of the skin,
helps with colic, constipation and wind, and
helps the parent to communicate better, being more aware of the baby’s body
However, do not wake your baby for a massage. Never massage if the baby’s
body language is telling you not to. Do not massage if your baby is feeling
poorly. It is best to wait 48 hours after immunization. International Association
of Infant Massage.
In Europe, 50 people get sick with TB and eight people die of the disease
every hour, said Pierpaolo de Colombani, a WHO tuberculosis expert. About
15 percent of all TB cases in Europe are multi-drug resistant. But the incidence
of TB varies widely from West to East. For instance, Sweden has four new
cases per 100,000 people a year, compared with 177 for Tajikistan.
Tuberculosis, a respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing, is
the world's deadliest infectious disease that is curable. The World Health
Organization estimates that 1.7 million people died from TB in 2004.
Of the 20 countries in the world with the highest rates of multi-drug resistant
tuberculosis, 14 are in "the European region," according to a recent global
survey by the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
European countries also have the highest rate of extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis
known as XDR-TB.
The rate of incidence of TB in the Western European countries that belonged
to the EU before it enlarged in 2004 is 13 cases per 100,000 people every
year. That number doubles in the 10 new EU members. It doubles again to 53
in Romania and Bulgaria and yet again to 98 in the former-Soviet republics
farther East. But migration and EU expansion could change things.
Mixed Nut Munchies
Ingredients: 7.5oz ground, mixed nuts (e.g. peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts,
walnuts, cashews), 3oz wholemeal breadcrumbs, 1 onion, finely chopped, 1 tablespoon
ginger, 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped, 1 medium pepper, chopped, 4oz cheese,
grated, 2 tablespoons yogurt, 4 - 5 tablespoons milk, and salt and pepper
Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Form into
small round shapes and place on a well-greased baking tray. Bake in a preheated
oven - gas mark 4 /180 C/ 350 F - for 20 to 25 minutes, or until crispy and
brown. Makes approx. 12 rounds, dependent on size used.
Ingredients: 1 banana, chopped, 1 cup non/lowfat mixed-berry yogurt, 1/2
cup skim milk
1/2 cup sliced strawberries or 3 1/2 tablespoons strawberry jam, 1/4 cup
kiwi, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, 1/4 cup chopped dates, 2 tablespoons wheat
germ, and 6 ice cubes.
Place all ingredients in blender, add ice-cubes and blend well.
to Press Tofu
For most recipes calling for firm or extra-firm tofu (as opposed to soft
or silken), the tofu should be gently pressed first, to remove excess moisture.
If you've never done this before, this "how-to" will show you exactly what
you need to know. How to Press Tofu: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/newfoodssubstitutions/ht/presstofu.htm?nl=1
to Make Seitan
Seitan, a popular meat subsitute, can be purchased at most health food stores,
but since its so easy (and much cheaper!) to make your own, why not give it
a try? This step-by-step illustrated tutorial will show you how. Tip: Re-use
the leftover broth for a pot of soup! How to Make Seitan http://vegetarian.about.com/od/cookingtipstools/ss/HowToSeitan.htm?nl=1
Where can I buy vegetarian
ingredients in America?
This material contains only
general descriptions and is not a solicitation to sell any
insurance product or security, nor is it intended as any financial,
tax, medical or health care advice. For information about specific
needs or situations, contact your financial agent or physician.
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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