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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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Green Tea Can Help Prevent Functional Decline in the Elderly

August 6, 2012
Flavonoids From Green Tea Help Prevent Cognitive Decline

Flavonoids From Green Tea Help Prevent Cognitive Decline

Green tea has long been hailed as a cardio-protective beverage due to its ability to lower levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, an established heart disease risk factor. It has also been shown to promote brain health because the active compound, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) freely crosses the blood-brain barrier to provide antioxidant support and lower damaging levels of brain inflammation.

Researchers from Japan reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrate that regular green tea consumption lowers the risk of developing functional disabilities that lead to problems with daily chores and activities, such as bathing or dressing. Drinking up to five cups of green tea each day can lower the risk of developing functional disabilities as we age by nearly one half.

Daily Green Tea Consumption Significantly Lowers Risk of Functional Decline

Green Tea Help Seniors Maintain Functional Abilities

Green Tea Help Seniors Maintain Functional Abilities

Prior studies have determined that consuming green tea lowers the risk of diseases associated with functional disability, such as osteoporosis, cognitive impairment and stroke. To date, no formal studies have been conducted to confirm the impact of green tea consumption on functional ability. Researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan modeled this study to affirm the positive results associated in the past with drinking green tea.

To design this research work, scientists handed out questionnaires to nearly 14,000 respondents aged 65 or older. The participants answered questions about general diet, green tea consumption and lifestyle. After a period of five years, researchers were able to find a close inverse link between functional disability risk and the consumption of green tea. Higher intake of green tea was associated with a dramatically lower risk of functional disability in the group studied.

Green Tea Drinking Lowers Risk of Functional Disability in the Elderly

Drink 3 to 5 Cups of Green Tea Each Day to Slow Aging

Drink 3 to 5 Cups of Green Tea Each Day to Slow Aging

The research team concluded that nearly 13% of the participants consuming the lowest amount of green tea (one cup or less each day) developed moderate to severe degrees of functional disability. By contrast, only 7% of those consuming the highest amount of green tea (5 cups or more each day) were classified with any degree of functional decline. The highest level of green tea consumption was shown to cut the risk of functional and cognitive decline by close to one-half.

The researchers noted that those consuming five or more cups of green tea each day also ate more fruit and vegetables, consumed more fish, were less likely to smoke, had fewer strokes or heart attacks, and tended to have a higher level of education. Improved dietary and lifestyle considerations are synergistic factors that compliment green tea consumption and likely contribute to the positive results in this study. Health-minded individuals already follow strict dietary principles to maintain brain health and functional abilities. Drinking 5 or more cups of green tea each day are shown to boost the healthy benefits associated with proper nutrition and lifestyle.

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How Cocoa Protects the Colon Against Cancer

July 17, 2012
Study Shows That Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Protects the Colon

Study Shows That Cocoa from Dark Chocolate Protects the Colon

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths annually, a statistic that remains constant despite increased awareness of the deadly disease. Researchers from the Science and Technology Institute of Food and Nutrition in Spain have published the result of a study in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research detailing the potent anti-carcinogenic effect of the natural chocolate compound, cocoa.

Scientists determined for the first time that regular consumption of cocoa negates the inflammatory effect of digestive oxidative stress that results in intestinal complaints and is a precursor to the genesis of colon cancer. Cocoa is now considered a ‘superfood’ as it has been shown to improve blood lipids and help prevent cardiovascular disease in past research. The result of this current study demonstrates that a daily dose of the compound can help prevent colon cancer progression.

Cocoa Polyphenols from Dark Chocolate Significantly Lower Colon Cancer Risk

Cocoa is a Powerful Antioxidant That Shields the Colon

Cocoa is a Powerful Antioxidant That Shields the Colon

Researchers studied rats that had been fed a cocoa-rich diet consisting of twelve percent cocoa, as compared to a control group that received the same diet with the chocolate compound enrichment. Both groups were exposed to a chemical known to induce colon cancer. Animals such as mice and rats have been used for decades to conduct this type of research because they exhibit a similar line of carcinogenesis that is comparable to humans.

The study leader, Dr. Maria Angeles Martin Arribas notedBeing exposed to different poisons in the diet like toxins, mutagens and pro-carcinogens, the intestinal mucus is very susceptible to pathologies… foods like cocoa, which is rich in polyphenols, seems to play an important role in protecting against disease.” After a period of eight weeks, the scientists were able to confirm the protective effect of cocoa polyphenols in protecting against this insidious form of digestive cancer.

Cocoa is a Potent Antioxidant Shown to Neutralize the Effect of Dietary Carcinogens

Dark Chocolate Must Have a 70% or Higher Cocoa Content for Optimal Benefit

Dark Chocolate Must Have a 70% or Higher Cocoa Content for Optimal Benefit

The study results showed a marked decrease in the number of pre-malignant neoplastic crypts in the lining of the colon in the cocoa treated group as compared to the control animals. Further, the researchers found a rise in antioxidant defenses in the supplemented rats and a decrease in oxidative stress biomarkers that are known to be protective against chemical exposure and the prevention of colorectal cancer.

The team concluded that the protective effect of the bioactive compounds in cocoa stopped cell-signaling pathways that typically promote cell proliferation and lead to tumor development. The treated animals also exhibited a much higher degree of apoptosis, or normal programmed cell death of potentially cancerous tissues. It is important to note that milk chocolate is not a good source of cocoa due to its low concentration of the polyphenol and high sugar content, known to promote cancer. Choose a dark chocolate with a minimum 70% cocoa content to significantly lower the risk associated with colorectal cancer.

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Red Grapes Lower Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

July 2, 2012
Macular Degeneration is the Leading Cause of Blindness in Adults Over 60

Macular Degeneration is the Leading Cause of Blindness in Adults Over 60

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition, leading to the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. The result of a study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine finds that eating grapes over a lifetime may slow or help prevent age-related macular degeneration as we age.

Red Grapes Found to Offer Significant Protection against AMD and Blindness

Red Grapes Lower Oxidative Stress to the Retina

Red Grapes Lower Oxidative Stress to the Retina

The antioxidant actions of grapes are believed to be responsible for these protective effects, as they are shown to specifically target the eye to provide a protective shield against repeated assaults perpetrated by exposure to the sun and high-intensity light sources. Silvia Finnemann, principal researcher from Fordham University in New York commented, “A lifelong diet enriched in natural antioxidants, such as those in grapes, appears to be directly beneficial for retinal pigment epithelium cells and retinal health and function.”

The study compared the impact of a diet rich in antioxidants on vision in mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet. Researchers found that the diet enriched with grapes offered dramatic protection, as it was shown to protect against oxidative damage of the retina and prevent blindness. While a diet supplemented with lutein was also effective, grapes were found to offer significantly more protection.

Red Grapes Lower Retinal Oxidative Stress to Improve Eye Health

Lifelong Consumption of Red Grapes Lowers Risk of AMD

Lifelong Consumption of Red Grapes Lowers Risk of AMD

Dr. Finnemann noted “The protective effect of the grapes in this study was remarkable, offering a benefit for vision at old age even if grapes were consumed only at young age.” The result of this study determined that age-related vision loss is a result of cumulative, oxidative damage over time. A diet rich in antioxidants, especially those provided by lifelong consumption of red grapes are directly beneficial to retinal health and function.

This study showed that adding grapes to the diet prevented blindness in mice by significantly decreasing the build-up of lipofuscin and preventing the oxidative damage to the retina. Red grapes contain the powerful antioxidant, resveratrol that has been demonstrated to provide essential support for optimal brain function and heart health. Consuming several ounces of red grapes each day may provide an important key to prevent eye damage and blindness from AMD.

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Omega-3 Fats Help Prevent Nerve Damage from Injury and Sciatica

June 19, 2012
Fats From Fish Oil Lower Inflammation to Prevent Nerve Damage

Fats From Fish Oil Lower Inflammation to Prevent Nerve Damage

People that have suffered a traumatic injury face an uphill battle as they attempt to regain their health and fight the risk of depression as a long term consequence of the event. British researchers from Queen Mary at the University of London have published the result of a study in the Journal of Neuroscience that explains how omega-3 fatty acids play a significant role in preventing and protecting nerves from injury.

The research focused on peripheral nerve cells which transmit signals between the brain and the spinal cord to the rest of the body. Omega-3 fats from food sources including sardines, salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds provide for decreased cell death from injury and may offer significant protection against future damage.

Omega-3 Fats Help Prevent Nerve Damage and Assist the Repair Process

Omega-3 Fats Help Nerve Regeneration and Development

Omega-3 Fats Help Nerve Regeneration and Development

Current research indicates that our nerves do have a limited capacity to regenerate, but recovery is severely limited depending on the extent of the injury. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the body’s normal growth and development and have been well researched for their health benefits, largely focused on brain and heart health. The body is unable to manufacture its own Omega-3 fat supply, so it is necessary to obtain sufficient intake from foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds or through supplementation.

Researchers studied the effect of Omega-3 fats on isolated mice nerve cells, known to parallel human nerve responses. They simulated nerve damage caused from an accident or injury by either stretching the cells or starving them of oxygen. Both types of damage can kill a significant portion of nerve cells, but enrichment with omega-3 fatty acids in cells gave them significant protection and decreased cell death.

EPA and DHA Fats Lower Sciatic Nerve Injury Damage and Prevent Muscle Wasting

Fish Oil Fats Shown Beneficial to Prevent Pain From Sciatica

Fish Oil Fats Shown Beneficial to Prevent Pain From Sciatica

The study also examined sciatic nerve damage in the mice. They found that a high level of omega-3 fatty acids helped mice to recover from sciatic nerve injury more quickly and more fully, and that their muscles were less likely to waste following nerve damage. The team leader, Dr. Adina Michael-Titus, Professor of Neuroscience concluded “Our previous research has shown that these fatty acids could have beneficial effects in a number of neurological conditions. This new study suggests that they could also have a role in treating peripheral nerve injuries.”

The findings from this research should come as no surprise to integrative health followers. The Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA are essential building blocks to all cellular structures in the body and are particularly dominant in the brain and nervous system. A healthy supply of Omega-3 fatty acids allows for natural cell repair and the effective chemical and electrical communications that are important to optimal nerve function. Consuming fatty fish three to four times a week or supplementing with molecularly distilled fish oil (1 to 2.4 grams total EPA/DHA) supports the nervous system and regeneration process after injury.

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Low Glycemic Diet Reduces Deadly Systemic Inflammation

June 7, 2012
Low Carbohydrate Diet Reduces Inflammation Levels to Prevent Disease

Low Carbohydrate Diet Reduces Inflammation Levels to Prevent Disease

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have published the result of a study showing that a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as leafy green vegetables, legumes and other high-fiber foods, significantly reduces markers of inflammation associated with the onset of chronic disease. The work, reported in The Journal of Nutrition, explains that a diet rich in high-fiber foods significantly improves insulin signaling and resistance that promote life-shortening diseases including cancer, cardiovascular, stroke and dementia.

Monitoring the glycemic-load of different foods lowers the risk of blood glucose spikes and also increases a hormone that helps regulate the metabolism of fat and sugar. Health minded individuals will want to ensure they eat between thirty and fifty grams of fiber from a variety of food sources each day to control systemic inflammation and lower disease risk.

Low Glycemic Diet Lowers Inflammatory Blood Marker by Nearly a Quarter

Beans, Lentils and Lean Protein Lower CRP Blood levels to Prevent Cancer and Diabetes

Beans, Lentils and Lean Protein Lower CRP Blood levels to Prevent Cancer and Diabetes

The random controlled study involved eighty healthy men and women selected from the Seattle, WA area. Half were considered to be of normal weight, and the other half were overweight or obese as measured on a standardized BMI scale. Researchers found that among overweight and obese study participants, a low-glycemic-load diet reduced a biomarker of inflammation called C-reactive protein by about 22 percent.

Other studies in the past have suggested a correlation between dietary carbohydrate and sugar consumption as measured by the glycemic index of foods and systemic inflammation. This research is important because the C-reactive protein is associated with an increased risk for many cancers as well as cardiovascular disease.

Lowering Blood Glucose Levels Increases Adiponectin to Guard Against Cancer and Diabetes

Monitor Post-Meal Blood Glucose to Eliminate Dangerous Spikes

Monitor Post-Meal Blood Glucose to Eliminate Dangerous Spikes

Dr. Marian Neuhouser, a member of the Cancer Prevention Program in the Public Health Sciences Division at the Hutchinson Center noted “Lowering inflammatory factors is important for reducing a broad range of health risks. Showing that a low-glycemic-load diet can improve health is important for the millions of Americans who are overweight or obese.”

Neuhouser and her team also found that increasing low glycemic load foods in the participants diet by just five percent resulted in increased blood levels of a protein hormone called adiponectin. The hormone is known to protect against a number of different cancer lines as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hardening of the arteries.

Many health-minded people know the importance of avoiding processed carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods while increasing dietary fiber. Dr. Neuhouser concluded “Whenever possible, choose carbohydrates that are less likely to cause rapid spikes in blood glucose… these types of low-glycemic-load carbs include whole grains; legumes such as kidney beans, soy beans, pinto beans and lentils as well as fruits such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and pears.” This study provides another chapter to the growing body of research that demonstrates the importance of dietary choices to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and most chronic illnesses.

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Study Shows Omega-3 Fats Could Help Prevent Leukemia

May 31, 2012
Omega-3 Fish Oil Compound Targets Leukemia Cells

Omega-3 Fish Oil Compound Targets Leukemia Cells

Scientists from the medical sciences division at Penn State University have discovered that a compound in fish oil appears to target leukemia stem cells and could lead to a cure for the disease. The compound is a natural extract from EPA, the Omega-3 fat component found most commonly in fish and fish oil supplements. Known as delta-12-protaglandin J3, or D12-PGJ3, the molecule is shown to target and kill the stem cells of chronic myelogenous leukemia, a common form of the disease.

Extensive research from past studies has shown that Omega-3 fats are critical to cardiovascular and brain health. This new evidence supports the regular intake of EPA omega-3 fats to selectively kill leukemia-causing stem cells that could prevent and possibly even provide a cure for this devastating disease.

Omega-3 Fat Compound Shown to Kill Stem Cells Necessary for Leukemia Progression

Fish Oil Causes Leukemia Stem Cells to Self Destruct

Fish Oil Causes Leukemia Stem Cells to Self Destruct

The research, currently being conducted on mice that exhibit metabolic characteristics similar to humans, shows that some metabolites of Omega-3 have the ability to selectively kill the leukemia-causing stem cells. Scientists determined that D12-PGJ3 kills cancer-causing stem cells in the mice’s spleen and bone marrow. Specifically, it activates a gene known as p53 in the leukemia stem cell that programs the cells own death in a process called apoptosis.

The p53 gene is a well known “tumor suppressor gene that regulates the response to DNA damage and maintains genomic stability”, noted lead study author Dr. Sandeep Prabhu. The D12-PDJ3 compound kills the leukemic stem cells (leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells), an important step to prevent the development and division of white blood cells that can be used to propagate new cancerous tissue.

Long-Chain Omega Fats Help Regenerate White Blood Cells to Prevent Leukemia

Omega-3 Fat Component Enables White Blood Cell Regeneration

Omega-3 Fat Component Enables White Blood Cell Regeneration

Current drug therapies are ineffective as they only attempt to keep the number of leukemia cells low, and carry many dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects. Drug therapy for leukemia patients fails to completely cure the disease because they do not target the source of new leukemia stem cells. Current treatments are unable to kill the leukemia stem cells and fall short of providing an effective cure for the disease.

The Omega-3 EPA fat compound, D12-PDJ3 targets regeneration of white blood stem cells, an essential step necessary to cure leukemia. The authors noted there were no side effects from administering the natural fat compound. Researchers from Penn State indicated that the compound would shortly move to human trials, with similar results anticipated. Long chain omega fats have been documented to promote human health and prevent chronic illnesses ranging from heart disease and dementia to metabolic syndrome and stroke. EPA fat compounds (500 mg per day) may help prevent and treat leukemia and other cancer lines dependent on stem cells to replicate and metastasize.