An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure!

Archive for November, 2012

Sugar Sweetened Beverages Increase Risk Of Heart Disease

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Disease in Men
Cola Drinks
Men who drank a sugar-sweetened beverage (12-ounces) a day had a 20 percent higher risk of heart disease compared to men who didn’t
drink any sugar-sweetened drinks, according to research published in Circulation, an American Heart Association journal.

“This study adds to the growing evidence that sugary beverages are detrimental to cardiovascular health,” said researchers from the department of nutrition and epidemiology in the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “Certainly, it provides strong justification for reducing sugary beverage consumption among patients, and more importantly, in the general population.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The most crucial risk factors include obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes and poor diet.
Researchers, who studied 42,883 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, found that the increase persisted even after controlling for other risk factors, including smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol use and family history of heart disease. Less frequent consumption of the sweetened beverages such as twice weekly and twice monthly  did not increase risk.
Researchers also measured different lipids and proteins in the blood, which are indicators (biomarkers) for heart disease. These included the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP), harmful lipids called triglycerides and good lipids called high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Compared to non-drinkers, those who consumed sugary beverages daily had higher triglyceride and CRP and lower HDL levels.
Artificially sweetened beverages were not linked to increased risk or biomarkers for heart disease in this particular study.
Beginning in January 1986 and every two years until December 2008, participants responded to questionnaires about diet and other health habits. They also provided a blood sample halfway through the survey. Follow-up was 22 years.
Participants were primarily Caucasian men 40-75 years old. All were employed in a health-related profession.
Health habits of the men in the study may differ from those of the general public, but findings in women from the 2009 Nurses’ Health Study were comparable.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than half of discretionary calories come from added sugars . For most American men, that’s no more than 150 calories per day and 100 for most American women. Discretionary calories are those left in your “energy allowance” after consuming the recommended types and amounts of foods to meet all daily nutrient requirements.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded the analysis and the National Institutes of Health funded the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.
Story Source:  American Heart Association    Journal Reference: Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Biomarkers of Risk in Men. Circulation, March 12 2012
American Heart Association  Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to increased risk of heart disease in men, study suggests.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Spinach Boosts Muscle Strength

Popeye Was Right…
Eating Spinach Really Does Boost Muscle Strength!
Fresh Spinach
A Swedish study now suggests that “Popeye” may have been onto something with his gobbling of spinach.
In controlled scientific tests with laboratory subjects, nitrates like those found naturally in spinach, beet root, chard and lettuce had a “powerful effect” on boosting muscle strength.

Researchers fed one group of mice water enriched with nitrate for a week, then compared the animals’ muscles to those of a control group. The mice given nitrate had much stronger muscles, particularly in the legs and feet. They also had higher concentrations of two proteins involved in the body’s calcium balance, an important factor in muscle contraction.

The subjects were given an amount of nitrate equivalent to what a human would obtain from 7 to 10 ounces of fresh spinach. It was important to note, researchers explained, that the development of stronger muscles was linked to doses obtainable from a normal diet, especially one providing more vegetables.
Journal Reference: Journal of Nutrition
This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

How Hot Pepper Helps Support Heart Health

Capsaicin, The Compound Naturally Present In Hot Peppers Such As Cayenne, Helps Maintain Healthy Hearts  Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Scientists have reported the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the No. 1 cause of death in the world. The report was presented at the National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) held in San Diego.

The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot constituents, substances called “capsaicinoids.” These are the natural substances that give cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their intemse heat. Capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in topical ointments, rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and pain.

Previous research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.

“Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health,” said researchers “We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information.”

The team of scientists found that capsaicin substances boosts heart health in two ways. They lower cholesterol levels by reducing accumulation of cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion in the feces. They also block action of the gene that makes arteries contract, restricting the flow of blood to the heart and other organs. The blocking action allows more blood to flow through blood vessels.

“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health,” said the food and nutritional scientists at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and emphasized “But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chilies to an excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. And remember, chilies are no substitute for the prescription medications proven to be beneficial.”

The researchers fed laboratory subjects high-cholesterol diets, divided them into groups, and supplemented each group’s food with either no capsaicinoids (the control group) or various amounts of capsaicinoids. The scientists then analyzed the effects.

In addition to reducing total cholesterol levels in the blood, capsaicinoids reduced levels of the so-called “bad” cholesterol (which deposits into blood vessels), but did not affect levels of the so-called “good” cholesterol. The team found indications that capsaicinoids may reduce the size of deposits that already have formed in blood vessels, narrowing arteries in ways that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
Capsaicinoids also blocked the activity of a gene that produces cyclooxygenase-2, a substance that makes the muscles around blood vessels constrict. By effectively blocking the gene, muscles can relax and widen, allowing more blood to flow.

Story Source: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Journal Reference: American Chemical Society (ACS) (2012) Hot pepper compound could help hearts.

This article is for informational and educational purposes only;  It is not intended to provide 

medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

Keep Your Brain Sharp with Flavonoids From Fruits & Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Optimizing dietary intake

with naturally-derived flavonoids

is good for your brain health…

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet especially rich in flavonoids (nutrients found in abundance in certain fruits and vegetables, as well as in coffee, tea and dark chocolate) could help keep your brain sharp as you get older.
Researchers from Institut National de la Santé Et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM)  France and the Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 report that people who ate foods naturally high in flavonoids performed significantly better on cognitive tests than those who reported low intakes of the nutrients.
Known as the PAQUID (Personnes Agées Quid) study, 1,640 subjects, (average age 77) and free of dementia at the start, were given food-frequency questionnaires that analyzed their dietary intakes of flavonoids. A range of
assessment tools also were administered to measure the subjects’ cognitive function. Subjects were then tested four times over the next 10 years.
Reporting in American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers reported that subjects with the highest flavonoid intakes (between 13.6 and 36.9 milligrams per day) were found to have better cognitive function than those with the
lowest intakes. And those who consumed the most flavonoids maintained their cognitive superiority after 10 years of follow-up; Subjects with the lowest intakes lost an average of 2.1 points on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) while subjects with the highest intakes lost only 1.2 points.
Cognitive performance declines naturally with age, but the results of the study suggest that this decline could be slowed by increased intake of key flavonoids in the diet.
Not surprisingly, flavonoids have been receiving interest in recent years; A mounting body of scientific evidence: both epidemiological and laboratory-based studies linking a number of key flavonoids with lower risk for some cancers.
A regular diet high in fruits and vegetables is worth following for other health benefits, as well…
“We know that a diet high in flavonoids is also a diet high in fruits and vegetables. In these foods you also find antioxidant vitamins, fiber and other nutrients that may be beneficial to keep in good health,” the team of scientists explained. “This kind of diet is also associated with less morbidity resulting from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes. Therefore, to keep in good health, rather than focusing on a specific nutrient, it would more beneficial to adopt a diet with more fruits and vegetables, more fish; Less saturated fat, less salt, less processed foods.
“Only randomized trials would give a confirmation, ” they continued, “but it would be long and expensive, whereas we already know that ‘healthy’ dietary patterns are more likely to be beneficial for health.”
Journal Reference: American Journal of Epidemiology

This article is for informational and educational

purposes only;  It is not intended to provide
medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Consult your doctor or healthcare professional.

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