Archive for the ‘Diet, Health and Nutrition’ Category

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Broccoli Influences Gene Expression to Halt Cancer Development

September 25, 2012
Crucifers Found in Broccoli Help Prevent Cancer

Crucifers Found in Broccoli Help Prevent Cancer

Broccoli is a super star member of the cruciferous family, well known and documented as an immune boosting food that supports the healthy clearance of aberrant cancer cells before they multiply and develop into detectable tumors. Researchers reporting in the journal Clinical Epigenetics have found that the bioactive compound in broccoli, sulforaphane provides a multi-modal attack against cancer cell development and proliferation through the complex mechanism of epigenetics.

Epigenetics refers to the way that diet, toxins and other environmental contributors can change which genes get activated, or “expressed” within our genetic code to guide the accurate replication essential to cellular metabolism and repair. This can play a powerful role in preventing and promoting many chronic illnesses from cancer to heart disease and other health issues. Consuming broccoli raw or lightly steamed several times each week can supply a potent dose of sulforaphane to help prevent many types of cancer.

Broccoli and Cruciferous Vegetables Directly Influence Genetic Expression to Inhibit Cancer

Broccoli Influences our DNA to Prevent Deadly Mutations

Broccoli Influences our DNA to Prevent Deadly Mutations

In past research bodies, scientists have documented the pathway utilized by sulforaphane to inhibit the action of an enzyme known as histone deacetylase (HDAC inhibitor) that helps restore proper balance and helps prevent the development of cancer. Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have uncovered a second mechanism, DNA methylation that works in concert with HDAC inhibitors that work to maintain proper cell function. Sulforaphane from broccoli and other crucifers stimulates both HDAC and DNA methylation pathways in a synergistic fashion to prevent cancer development.

The lead study author, Dr. Emily Ho commented regarding the sulforaphane-cancer connection “Cancer is very complex and it’s usually not just one thing that has gone wrong… it’s increasingly clear that sulforaphane is a real multi-tasker. The more we find out about it, the more benefits it appears to have.”

Nutritionists Recommend Three to Five Servings of Broccoli Every Week

Eat Broccoli Several Times Each Week to Benefit

Eat Broccoli Several Times Each Week to Benefit

DNA methylation controls the healthy expression of genes. When this pathway is blocked scientists have found a significantly increased risk of conditions including cardiovascular disease, immune function, neurodegenerative disease and even aging. Foods that provide sulfur groups necessary for proper DNA methylation include onions, garlic, nuts and seeds. Sulforaphane from broccoli is found in this research to stimulate the methylation path to enable normal gene expression to thwart cancer cell genesis.

Nutrition experts recommend consuming one to two servings of broccoli (or other members of the crucifer family such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or kale) several days of the week. A rapidly growing body of evidence demonstrates that the natural, active compounds found in these vegetables help to prevent cancer and other chronic disease by dealing a two-step knockout blow to influence gene expression.

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Healthy Lifestyle Choices Mean Better Hearing Later in Life

August 21, 2012
Healthy Lifestyle Choices Mean Better Hearing Later in Life

Healthy Lifestyle Choices Mean Better Hearing Later in Life

Hearing loss is something many people fear as they get older. As children and young adults, many people watch their grandparents and parents often times struggle with hearing loss. Since it seems though only people of a certain age experience hearing loss, many young people consider it a side effect of growing old. They assume that they will experience some degree of hearing loss as they age, and attribute it to nothing other than age. They don’t think they can prevent it or that anything they do can lead to hearing loss. This, however, is not true. Many people do lose their hearing because of old age, but a number of people lose their hearing because of lifestyle choices they make today.

Smoking
People who smoke are far more likely to experience some degree of hearing loss as they age. This is something they can easily prevent by not smoking. It’s bad for people’s health on so many levels that the best option is simply to quit smoking immediately. Children and young adults who are consistently exposed to secondhand smoke are even more likely to experience problems with their hearing as they grow up. Parents who smoke are putting their kids at risk for a number of health problems, including hearing loss.

Poor Nutrition

Almost everyone is aware that eating right is good for them. They can look and feel better by eating right. They can live longer by eating right. People who eat right have a lower risk of developing heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and even diabetes. People with diabetes are far more likely to develop hearing problems later in life. By making healthy choices when it comes to eating, people can ensure that they will not develop diabetes and that they will not have hearing problems later in life because of their poor nutritional intake.

Loud Noise

It’s not a secret that people who work with loud machines and in warehouses with loud equipment are required to wear earplugs or earmuffs. The loud noises from these machines vibrate the eardrum, which can cause hearing damage. However, many people are completely unaware that mowing their own lawn can result in hearing loss. Operating tractors, lawn mowers, and even saws can cause people to lose their hearing later in life. Exposure to noise such as this, even on a small scale, can have negative effects on a person’s hearing.

Ear Wax Cleaning

Most people are good about cleaning the wax out of their ears. However, they are not as good as they think. People are largely unaware of the fact that wax inside the ear canal has a purpose. Its purpose is to protect the inner ear and eardrum from infection, disease, and insects that can get into the ear. When a person sticks a q-tip into their ear canal to remove the wax, they not only put their ears at risk for infection and disease, they are also pushing the wax closer to the ear drum, which can damage it.

Music

It’s true that many people consider loud music a good thing. They feel pumped up, energize, and motivated when they hear their favorite song, which causes them to turn up the volume and start working out, dancing, singing, or doing whatever. However, listening to music on an iPod or other music devices with ear phones can cause the ear drum to vibrate too much, which ages the ear. People who constantly listen to music this loudly will age their ears and potentially experience hearing loss at a much earlier age than other people.

The relationship between healthy lifestyle choices and hearing loss is a significant relationship. While many people are not worried that their choices today can affect their lives tomorrow, they actually affect them much more than people realize. Poor diet, smoking, and environments that people expose themselves to can cause them to become deaf or require the use of a hearing aid later in life. While it’s nice to have the option to improve poor hearing, by following the tips mentioned above you can prevent hearing loss and protect your ears in the future.

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Vegetables Shown to Enhance Gene Expression to Lower Disease Risk

February 6, 2012
A Diet Packed with Fresh Vegetables lowers Chronic Disease Risk

A Diet Packed with Fresh Vegetables lowers Chronic Disease Risk

The Chinese have known for countless generations that the food we eat directly controls our health. Ancient Greeks postulated that food should be considered a medicine, as powerful as any healing method or concoction available during that time period. Until quite recently, western intelligence was dismally unaware that the quality of our diet is immediately reflected in the chronic diseases we manifest and quality of life as well.

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at McMaster and McGill universities have published a new body of research in the journal PLoS Medicine to demonstrate the potent effect of a diet filled with fresh greens and fruits on our genetic expression. Scientists confirm that eating the proper diet holds the key to cardiovascular health for millions of at-risk individuals.

Genetic Predisposition to Heart Disease Blunted by Plenty of Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables Lower Heart Disease Risk in Predisposed Individuals

Vegetables Lower Heart Disease Risk in Predisposed Individuals

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in western civilizations, so the news of an inexpensive and natural lifestyle change to prevent heart disease should make international headlines. Most otherwise enlightened people will never hear about the result of this research and continue to eat a nutritionally defunct diet that promotes cardiovascular disease and an early death. Simple changes in macronutrient consumption are now shown to pay significant benefits to human health with no side effects other than increased lifespan.

Researchers conducting one of the largest gene-diet interaction studies on cardiovascular disease analyzed a cohort of more than 27,000 individuals across multiple ethnicities. Dr. Jamie Engert, joint principal investigator of the study from McGill University explained “We know that 9p21 genetic variants increase the risk of heart disease for those that carry it”, echoing the result of a past discovery showing that the gene is a strong marker for heart disease and can actually be modified by generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables from dietary sources.

Vegetables Stimulate Chemical Messengers to Alter Genetic Expression to Lower Chronic Disease Risk

Vegetable Consumption Influences Gene Expression to Prevent Disease

Vegetable Consumption Influences Gene Expression to Prevent Disease

After an analysis of the effect of diet on the risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers determined that individuals with the high risk genotype who consumed a prudent diet, composed mainly of raw vegetables, fruits and berries, had a similar risk of heart attack to those with the low risk genotype. Lead author of the study Dr. Ron Do noted “Our research suggests there may be an important interplay between genes and diet in cardiovascular disease.”

Forward-thinking practitioners have known for more than a quarter century that diet and heart disease are closely linked, although the focus was inadvertently placed on dietary fat avoidance. Researchers have confirmed that many fats eaten in their natural, cold-pressed form are essential for vibrant health.

Evidence continues to mount confirming the profound health benefits of vegetables and fruits eaten at the peak of freshness. The authors of this important work conclude “The risk of MI (myocardial infarction) and CVD (cardiovascular disease) conferred by Chromosome 9p21 SNPs appears to be modified by a prudent diet high in raw vegetables and fruits.” Be sure to include ten or more servings of greens each day to dramatically cut heart disease risk.

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Health Promoting Benefits of Fresh Leafy Green Vegetables Uncovered

February 1, 2012
Researchers Find That Fresh Leafy Greens Boost immune Cell Function

Researchers Find That Fresh Leafy Greens Boost immune Cell Function

We all know that our immune system is the first line of defense against a wide array of potentially deadly pathogens, bacteria and viruses. Yet many people take this crucial defense barrier for granted and do little to ensure that they are adequately protected against a multitude of microscopic invaders.

Researchers publishing the result of a research body performed at the University of Cambridge in the journal Cell demonstrate that compounds found in green vegetables, from bok choy to broccoli are the source of a chemical signal that is important to activate a fully functioning immune system. Help protect yourself and your family from maladies ranging from the common cold, influenza to autoimmune diseases and certain cancers by including healthy portions of green vegetables in your daily diet.

Include Ten or More Fresh Vegetable Servings Daily to Boost Immune Health

Ten or More Daily Servings Required to Maximize Disease-Fighting Effect of Veggies

Ten or More Daily Servings Required to Maximize Disease-Fighting Effect of Veggies

Prior research indicated the breakdown of cruciferous vegetables can yield a compound that can be converted into a molecule that triggers the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) on cell wall surfaces. Further reports found AhR’s can be regulated by dietary ingredients found primarily in vegetables including broccoli, kale, spinach and many varieties of leafy greens. This action ensures that immune cells in the gut and the skin known as intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) function properly.

Researchers fed otherwise healthy mice a vegetable-poor diet for several weeks were amazed to find that 70 to 80 percent of these protective IEL cells disappeared during this short period. Dr. Marc Veldhoen, lead study author noted that, “protective IELs exist as a network beneath the barrier of epithelial cells covering inner and outer body surfaces, where they are important as a first line of defense and in wound repair.” It was determined the number of IEL cells can be regulated by dietary ingredients found primarily in cruciferous vegetables.

A Diet High in Sugar and Processed Carbohydrates Lowers System Immune Response

Sugary Foods Negate the Health Benefits of Vegetable Consumption By Deactivating Immune Response

Sugary Foods Negate the Health Benefits of Vegetable Consumption By Deactivating Immune Response

Poor dietary intake consisting mostly of hydrogenated and oxidized fats, sugar and processed foods directly alters the surface receptors of cells lining the digestive tract, responsible for more than 80 percent of our immune response. Researchers commented “individuals fed a synthetic diet lacking this key compound experience a significant reduction in AhR activity and lose IELs. With reduced numbers of these key immune cells, individuals showed lower levels of antimicrobial proteins, heightened immune activation and greater susceptibility to injury.”

Dr. Veldhoen concluded “it’s already a good idea to eat your greens… the results offer a molecular basis for the importance of cruciferous vegetable-derived phyto-nutrients as part of a healthy diet.” The current recommendation to eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and fruit each day is anemic and insufficient in the light of this important study. Health-minded people will want to include fresh, raw greens at the core of their diet and include 10 or more generous servings each day to boost immune health.

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Cinnamon and Tumeric Improve Metabolic Markers to Lower Disease Risk

November 7, 2011
Cinnamon and Tumeric Spices are Powerful Antioxidants

Cinnamon and Tumeric Spices are Powerful Antioxidants

Many spices such as tumeric and cinnamon are powerful antioxidants that continue to gain acceptance as natural nutrients able to assist human health and prevent chronic disease. Researchers from Penn State publishing in The Journal of Nutrition provide strong evidence that these potent spices provide a protective shield to reduce the body`s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.

A diet filled with high-fat foods that have been fried or baked with trans fats increases oxidized LDL cholesterol levels and dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides. Tumeric and cinnamon taken before a high fat meal combine to lower triglyceride response by as much as 30%, preventing a cascade of harmful metabolic events that lead to heart disease and diabetes.

Tumeric and Cinnamon Spices Lower Triglycerides and Insulin Levels

Spice Duo Improves Insulin Signaling and Lowers Triglycerides

Spice Duo Improves Insulin Signaling and Lowers Triglycerides

Culinary spices have peaked interest among nutritional scientists in recent years as both turmeric and cinnamon exhibit powerful antioxidant properties that may halt dangerous metabolic imbalances prompted by poor dietary choices. To conduct the study, researchers added 14 grams of a combined turmeric-cinnamon spice blend to a 1200 calorie high-fat meal, and compared the results to a control group not receiving the spice mixture.

Blood samples were taken prior to the meal and then again at 30 minute intervals for the next three and a half hours after eating. Participants were tested again one week later, and the two groups were switched to verify the accuracy of the results. Researchers found that blood levels of insulin were reduced by 21% and triglycerides dropped 31% in response to the turmeric-cinnamon mix.

Spices are Potent Antioxidants That Lower Metabolic Damage from Poor Diet

Spices improve Metabolic Markers to Prevent Chronic Disease

Spices improve Metabolic Markers to Prevent Chronic Disease

The study authors found that the spices significantly improved two critical metabolic markers that are associated with increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. They commented “Adding spices to the meal significantly increased the ferric reducing antioxidant power, such that postprandial increases following the spiced meal were 2-fold greater than after the control meal.” They also found that the two spices interact synergistically and the impact was significantly greater when both spices were administered concurrently, compared to individual results.

Most health-conscious adults can benefit from a wide array of natural spices added to and consumed with many popular foods, regardless of specific dietary approach. Penn State authors concluded “The incorporation of spices into the diet may help normalize postprandial insulin and TG (triglyceride) and enhance antioxidant defenses.”  Include turmeric and cinnamon to your favorite meals, or take a high quality supplement with meals to maximize your defense against metabolic dysfunction and heart disease.

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Lutein Aids Cardiovascular and Eye Health

October 15, 2011
Lutein is a Potent Nutritional Agent Concentrated in the Eyeys

Lutein is a Potent Nutritional Agent Concentrated in the Eyes

Lutein has long been known as a powerful nutritional agent useful for protecting vision in aging adults and protecting against the sight-robbing condition known as macular degeneration. New research published in The Journal of Nutrition finds that the carotenoid exhibits health-promoting anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that help to lower plaque forming oxidized LDL cholesterol particles that promote arterial hardening and heart disease.

Lutein is found in abundance in dark green leafy vegetables including spinach, broccoli, kale and cabbage. Most adults and children should include a healthy serving of these vegetables as part of a nutritionally balanced diet or look to supplement daily to significantly lower heart disease risk from coronary plaque accumulation.

Lutein Accumulates in the Retina to Prevent Macular Degeneration

Lutein Dramatically Lowers Risk of Macular Degeneration

Lutein Dramatically Lowers Risk of Macular Degeneration

The study examined two groups of guinea pigs known to exhibit similar vascular characteristics to humans. Both groups were fed a diet high in cholesterol-laden foods for a period of 12 weeks, and half were supplemented with lutein. Carotenoids such as lutein are known to circulate in the blood and are stored by the body for future use when tissue saturation is reached. Research to date has shown how lutein accumulates in the retina to prevent macular degeneration and support vision, but little is known about how the compound impacts cardiovascular health.

Researchers understand that mammals with the highest levels of carotenoids circulating in their blood have the longest lifespan. Scientists were able to provide evidence that lutein is continually being stored and drawn from tissue deposits as needed. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this important carotene provides a significant degree of protection against the formation of arterial plaque and atherosclerosis. Lutein reduces the number of small, dense oxidized LDL cholesterol particles that compromise the elastic nature of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Lutein is Concentrated in a Diet Filled with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are Packed with Carotenoids to Prevent Atheroslerosis

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables are Packed with Carotenoids to Prevent Atheroslerosis

This is one of the first studies to demonstrate that carotenoids such as lutein can provide health benefits to multiple organs and should be consumed as part of a natural diet comprising a rainbow of colors from organic vegetables and fruits. Scientists have uncovered dozens of carotenoids and concede there are likely many more as yet unknown compounds that exist in a complete matrix of whole foods.

Interestingly, nutritional researchers have found that carotenoids from high quality supplements are easier to absorb when compared to carotenes from foods that are bound to fiber. Regardless of the source, carotenoids should be part of your daily antioxidant dietary plan to prevent arterial plaque formation and lower the risk of atherosclerosis.

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Six Lifestyle Factor Cut Alzheimer’s Disease Risk in Half

October 10, 2011
Six Critical Lifestyle Factors Dramatically Lower Dementia Risk

Six Critical Lifestyle Factors Dramatically Lower Dementia Risk

Would you be willing to make six simple lifestyle changes if you knew you could lower your risk of developing Alzheimer`s disease by 50%? Researchers publishing the result of a study in the journal Lancet Neurology found that the exploding incidence of this horrific form of dementia is due in large part to lifestyle changes involving diet, physical activity and education.

Alzheimer`s disease incidence is expected to triple over the next forty years, meaning that millions of new cases could be prevented by modifying controllable lifestyle risks. Scientists listed the six most important factors that can be modified in an effort to significantly lower Alzheimer`s disease risk.

Six Modifiable Risk Factors Cut Alzheimer’s Disease Risk by 50%

Education Level is Directly related to Future Risk of Alzheimer's

Education Level is Directly related to Future Risk of Alzheimer's

Researchers analyzed dozens of Alzheimer`s studies from around the world that examined hundreds of thousands of participants to determine why this insidious disease is growing at an unprecedented rate. Dr. Deborah Barnes, lead scientist performing the review concluded that there are six significant and modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Her team listed the factors in descending order of magnitude: low education, smoking, physical inactivity, depression, mid-life hypertension, diabetes and mid-life obesity.

As a group these risk factors account for 54% of the diagnosed cases of Alzheimer`s disease in the United States, accounting for 2.9 million individuals. Dr. Barnes commented on the findings, “What`s exciting is that this suggests that some very simple lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and quitting smoking, could have a tremendous impact on preventing Alzheimer`s and other dementias in the United States and worldwide.” The team will now work to determine if the relationship between each identified risk factor is casual or specifically attributable to disease development.

Daily Physical Activity Significantly Lowers Dementia Risk

A 30 Minute Walk Each day Cuts Dementia Risk

A 30 Minute Walk Each day Cuts Dementia Risk

Further research into contributing factors that increase risk for developing Alzheimer`s dementia are published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. Scientists compared physical activity duration and intensity with the development of cognitive impairment known to be a precursor to the memory-robbing illness. As participants` energy expenditure increased, the rate of cognitive decline decreased. The amount of exercise equivalent to a brisk, 30-minute walk every day was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment.

Alzheimer`s disease cases have multiplied exponentially over the past 50 years, leading health-minded practitioners and followers to ask for an explanation. Our lifestyle has changed dramatically during this time period and diet, physical activity and diseases of excess have hindered the forward progress of our cognitive health. Adopting a natural diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates combined with regular and moderate physical activity can slash many risk factors associated with Alzheimer`s dementia.