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Coffee against Breast Cancer

A new research has suggested that the intake of coffee per day may reduce the risk of a sub-type of breast cancer, ER-negative breast cancer, by sixty percent.


Wonder Coffee

There are many talks and written records on how coffee came to be as what we see it now, but there is that strongest and most accepted legend about the discovery and drinking of coffee.

A goat shepherd named Kaldi noticed the strange behavior of his goats that were jumping and running around in excitement and full of energy after eating the fruits of an unknown bush. Kaldi soon found out that those fruits his goats tasted were cherry-like, and tasted the leaves for himself and soon enough, he became full of energy.

Kaldi took those bush’s fruit and branches to a monastery and the Abbot there decided to cook them. However, it turned bitter and the Abbot threw the entire pot into the fire. The cherries then started to burn, and the beans inside produced a pleasant aroma that made the abbot create a drink of the roasted beans. This is how then coffee came to be.

The black liquid in our morning cup is considered to be one of the most popular beverages after water. After petroleum, it is the most traded commodity in the world.

Before we know coffee as a drink, it first originated from coffee cherries which grow along the coffee tree’s branches. It takes a year for these cherries to mature. Inside the cherries are the coffee beans, and the coffee beans are then grinded on its way to become a beverage.

Scientifically, coffee contains a substance called caffeine. Caffeine is absorbed and distributed, particularly to the brain, quickly and is excreted through the urine many hours after consumption. It acts as a stimulant for the central nervous system ad diuretic. It also relieves fatigue and drowsiness for a short while and also treats migraine head aches. However, caffeine does not reduce he effects of alcohol, for many believe that it can “sober up” an intoxicated person. Excessive intake of caffeine can also result to nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, tremors, difficulty in sleeping and fast heart rate.

Taking coffee must be regulated, for research suggests coffee being addictive if taken in certain amounts during the day and can cause depression, chronic headaches, deprivation of sleep and increased blood pressure and sugar. However, proper coffee intake will give you as much benefits as you can get.

Coffee can help in prevention and risk reduction of certain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and liver diseases. It also reduces the risk of diabetes and skin cancer. No one said that coffee can cure it, but knowing that that delicious drink every morning provides many health benefits gives reassurance. Coffee also contains antioxidants that fight the body’s free radicals. It also increases brain power every morning. It helps in mind concentration in the midst of work. Drinking coffee after a work out can also reduce muscle pains.

The Study

A new study suggests the reduction of risks of certain breast cancer types by 60 per cent through high consumption of coffee daily. Breast cancer can be divided into non-hormone responsive (estrogen receptor (ER) negative) and hormone-responsive (ER positive) subtypes.

Results of the study published at the Breast Cancer Research show that drinking five cups of coffee or more daily could help in reducing the risk of anti-oestrogen-resistant oestrogen-receptor (ER-negative) breast cancer, a breast cancer sub type.

Karolinska Institutet-based team of Swedish researchers found out that women coffee drinkers showed lower breast cancer incidence than those who rarely drank coffee by comparing the lifestyle factors of age-matched women with and without breast cancer.

According to Jingmei Li, the lead researcher, and other researchers, no evidence was found to prove that postmenopausal breast cancer overall risk is heightened by consuming coffee. However, ER-negative breast cancer decrease in postmenopausal women was found with high intake of coffee daily. Modest decrease in the overall risk of breast cancer through coffee consumption was also reported by the researchers.

Looking deeper into the study, Li and her co-workers separated the breast cancer sub types. They have found “heavy coffee drinkers”, who take 5 cups or more a day, to have a notable decrease in ER-negative breast cancer.

The Swedish researchers said that because of coffee’s complex chemical make-up, it becomes a light on the aetiology of breast cancer. Some experimental studies have also shown the potential of these chemicals to alter the risk of cancer through significant biological mechanisms. However, they also added that the stand of the scientific community is divided over that beverage’s toxicity.

In simpler words, Li and her co-workers have found out that the risk for ER-negative breast cancer was significantly decreased compared to ER-positive breast cancer with the help of high consumption of coffee. They also added that future studies should now be gradually performed as to verify the significant benefit of high coffee consumption to breast cancer sub types.

Coffee is a complex mixture of polyphenols and caffeine, and with this, previous experimental studies have suggested that it may play a role both as an agent for chemo-prevention and as a carcinogen.

Association between postmenopausal breast cancer risk and coffee were assessed by the researchers in a large population of 6,000 people.

Breast Cancer Prevention

The way to live a healthy and productive life is to keep the body away from diseases and illnesses. Breast cancer, a type of cancer experienced by women, prevention starts with various factors that can be controlled.

  • Controlling alcohol intake is important to prevent breast cancer. If wanting to drink alcohol including beer, wine or liquor, make sure to take no more than one drink per day.
  • Breast feeding could also help. The longer time you breast feed, the greater the protection you get.
  • Overweight people have higher risks of developing breast cancer, especially if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopausal.
  • Exposure to environmental pollution could also contribute to breast cancer, though further studies are needed. A link between exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from vehicle exhaust and air pollution and breast cancer was found in some researches.
  • Getting plenty of physical activity helps you prevent gaining of weight or reducing it, therefore preventing breast cancer development.
  • If you are taking hormone therapy for menopausal symptom, its better to discontinue before you develop breast cancer.

No research has yet shown a direct link of diet to breast cancer prevention. Though there are some studies, only minimal effects are shown. Still, taking a healthy diet would help one reduce risk of other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In addition, taking a healthy diet helps one maintain healthy weight, a key factor in preventing breast cancer.

Sources
shaka.mistral.co.uk
amolife.com
mayoclinic.com
nutraingredients.com

Dark Chocolate for Oxidative Stress

A new study reveals the possibility of reducing muscle damage from oxidative stress by consuming dark chocolate before exercise.


Chocolate

Cocoa is known to be a key ingredient in many foods.  The wonder and fame of cocoa have invaded people in every part of the globe, however a few only know of its origin. The origin of the chocolate first started when the cacao tree was discovered in the tropical rainforest of Central and South America. The pods of the cacao tree contain seeds which can then be processed into chocolate. The first group known to first discover and make chocolate were the early cultures of Central America and Mexico, and together with the Aztec and Mayan people, they were able to make a spicy drink when they mixed cacao seeds with various seasonings.

The seeds were brought back to Spain by the conquistadors where they created new recipes from the seeds of the cacao plant. Through further development of technology and innovations, chocolate has continuously developed from its texture to taste as it becomes the chocolate we come to know now of, and it remains to be one of the world’s most favorite flavors.

As mentioned, chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao trees that grows on the shade of tropical rainforests near the equator. The cacao trees produce brightly colored pods and if opened, you’ll find cacao seeds, typically 30 to 50 in number, which are nestled together in one pulp. These seeds undergo certain processes to become the chocolate we now know of.

Dark Chocolate and its benefits

Despite the pleasure and happiness that consuming chocolate gives us, it is also important that we also watch for our health too, even when taking something as irresistible as chocolate.

Not all chocolates are made equally, and with this notion, dark chocolate contains more cocoa, therefore containing more flavonoids, compounds that act as antioxidants that helps ward off free radicals, than other types of chocolates.

A small bar of dark chocolate everyday helps in the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol level therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. It also lowers insulin resistance levels and can act as effective cough suppressant due to its theobromine content. The positive mood that is created by dark chocolate helps in improving information processing in the brain.

Visual contrast sensitivity and cognitive performance was also developed due to the cocoa flavanols found in dark chocolate, where researchers have observed that blood flow to the retina and brain was improved. This is according to the researchers from the University of Reading, whose work was published in the journal Physiology and Behavior.

Dark chocolates contain much more flavonoids than milk or white chocolate – not to mention that milk and white chocolates are packed with sugar. The flavonoid compounds present in dark chocolate are useful in treating patients with anemia and those with poor dietary habits. It also boosts the immune system and prevents chronic illnesses and detoxifies the body, making the body healthier and sick-free.

Though dark chocolate is known to provide a lot of health benefits for the body, it is still important to take note that too much chocolate may deprive you of the benefits you expect, therefore regulating the amount is important.

Oxidative Stress

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are naturally produced by oxygen-breathing organisms. These ROS play an important role in many body functions. However, when these ROS are over produced in the body due to exogenous sources like cigarette smoke exposure, environment pollution, excess alcohol consumption, asbestos, ionizing radiation exposure, bacterial, fungal or viral infection, intense exercise, and even simple aging, the body’s antioxidant defenses may be overwhelmed and this can lead to oxidative stress.

Generally speaking, oxidative stress is termed as an oxidative damage in a cell, tissue or organ caused by ROS. Oxidative stress is also found to be an underlying mechanism in the development and increased risk of many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Study

A new study has found that possible damage effects of oxidative stress to the muscles may be reduced by dark chocolate consumption before exercising. Findings published in the European Journal of Nutrition states that dark chocolate with 70 percent of cocoa is correlated to oxidative stress blunting after exercise because of a reduction in the levels of the compound F2-isoprostane.

14 healthy mean were recruited by Davison and his co-workers to take part in the study. Volunteers were asked to take dark chocolate of 100 grams, a control bar, or nothing at all. After two hours, they were required to perform 2.5 hours of cycling at a maximal oxygen uptake level of 60 percent.

A boost in antioxidant status prior to cycling and reduced F2-isoprostane levels 1 hour after cycling were observed due to the intake of dark chocolate, compared to the control bar.

A better continuance of concentration of plasma glucose was also achieved for men who took dark chocolate because of increased insulin levels before the trial and after cycling, according to the scientists. In contrast, there were no observed changes in immune response markers, known to be influenced by rigorous exercise.

Glen Davison and his co-scientists from Aberystwyth University in Wales said that the minimal effects in the study is important physiologically, but occurs from metabolic changes because of cocoa, therefore directing to the modulation of the major plasma constituents.

Dark chocolate as well was observed to be effective in blunting the increase in plasma total antioxidant status due to exercise, as was monitored in other trials, supporting the idea that physiological significance is shown by the improved total antioxidant status in dark chocolate.

The findings of the researchers reported that effects were evident after only 100 grams serving of dark chocolate, and that it is possible that through different timing and quantity of dark chocolate ingestion would result to greater blunting on the response of oxidative stress, though further study is still needed.

The researchers also wrote that acute consumption of dark chocolate results is quite similar to those who were observed to be following ingestion of dark chocolate daily for 2 weeks.

The Nestle Research Center funded the study. Affiliations of the other scientists included the Loughborough University, the University of Newcastle in the UK and the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Sources
takbo.ph
nutraingredients.com
fmnh.org
genox.com
foodproductdesign.com

Tai Chi Promotes Heart Health: Study Says

A clinical study showed the effect of practicing Tai Chi for a better quality of life in people with heart diseases.


With the varying types of diseases and conditions that occur all over the world, the best way to prevent the acquiring of such is to live healthy – eating right, exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle. A well-balanced diet is not merely enough as our body also needs to keep moving to ensure healthy blood flow. The body needs regular exercise to work out the muscles and joints, improve endurance and prevent numerous diseases as well. However, not everyone will benefit equally from exercise. We should always be aware of one’s fitness level in order to identify the correct degree of exercise to be performed without straining the muscles.

When talking about exercise, the thing that first pops in our mind are weight training, cycling, running, hiking, swimming, gym trainings or vigorous exercises that produce a lot of sweat and energy. However, there is one specific exercise that won’t stress you out, but instead give you a relaxing feeling while absorbing the benefits it can give.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi Chuan, can be translated to “Supreme Ultimate Force”, where ‘supreme ultimate’ is associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, a balance or dynamic duality in everything and ‘force’ is the way in achieving such yin-yang.  Tai Chi Chuan, or simply Tai Chi, is a slow, meditative exercise for health, relaxation and self-defense which originated from China, but is known all throughout America and all over the world for its health benefits.

To the Chinese, illnesses and sickness are all results of imbalances in the flow of chi or “life energy” in the body. This imbalance, as they say, is because of too much yin or yang therefore causing turbulence or delayed flow of blood and chi.

Many practitioners of Tai Chi do not only treat it as a meditative exercise for the body, but also puts importance on its combat aspects. It was treated as a potent art and was used by a few families for self defense. The proper positions for the transmission of energy or “chi” and the methods of single-weightiness, relaxation techniques and control of breath were formed for the purpose of succeeding in combat in a capable and scientific manner. A Tai Chi student must be able to appreciate this martial context because the four major Tai Chi Styles: Chen, Yang, Wu and Sun, places great emphasis in grasping the meaning of Tai Chi and its purposes being for meditative wellbeing and physical health as Tai Chi is also considered an exercise and sports regimen.

Tai Chi aims in developing a calm and tranquil mind, keeping focus in performing precise execution of these exercises. Learning Tai Chi in such a way would help one develop alignment, balance, fine-scale motor control, movement rhythm and many more.

Tai Chi has its origin from martial arts, therefore, it does have some martial arts applications. “Push Hands”, a two person exercise develops the principles of Tai Chi by being sensitive of another person’s “chi” or vital energy. With this, Tai Chi’s martial arts concepts are developed in a slow-tempo combat. However, long-time practitioners could become very skillful in martial arts. What Tai chi puts emphasis on is channeling potentially destructive energy away, in the form of kick or punch, in a way that would drive off the destructive energy in a direction with no danger.

Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi is known to be a slow and gentle exercise unlike any other, but nonetheless, it gives one numerous health benefits for the body. First of all, it addresses the key components of fitness namely muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and aerobic conditioning. Some studies have also shown the possibility of practicing Tai Chi in reducing the fear of falling.

A good number of studies have proven that Tai Chi also benefits many health conditions when combined with standard treatment for medical problems such as arthritis, low bone density, breast cancer, heart diseases, heart failure, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, sleep problems and stroke.

The Study

Benefits of exercising, as most people see it, can only be acquired through vigorous workouts like weight lifting and the like. However, a clinical study from the April issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine in association with the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that Tai Chi, a Chinese practice, improves systolic heart rate, patient’s mood, quality of life, and self-efficacy.

In the United States, people who are not playing sports, weight lifting, and the like are acquiring a lot of health benefits from practicing Tai Chi, and they are often seen to be moving in a slow flowing motion, transitioning into different poses.

The study published reported the result of the clinical study at the Harvard Medical School in Boston and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This study observed patients with heart failure taking a Tai Chi class twice a week.

This was done for three months. Later on, it was observed that the patients practicing Tai Chi increased in confidence in performing their everyday tasks and were also able to live their lifestyles more actively than those who took classes in health education. Results can also be compared to the benefits of Tai Chi for stroke.

Results from those who engaged in Tai Chi in previous studies were found to have lowered their blood pressure, improved bone density and immune system, even though these effects might also be acquired from performing thorough aerobic exercises.

This study is only limited to a lesser active form of Tai Chi, therefore not finding improvement in aerobic fitness, but a significant improvement in attitude and health of heart disease patients.

Dr. Gloria Y. Yeh, the study’s lead author, said that the real aim of this activity is to get patients to actively continue exercising.  She also said that adherence is one of the biggest advantages of any exercise regimen and with this, accessibility becomes Tai Chi’s most important component. For 12 weeks, more than three-fourths of the participants of the study continued practicing Tai Chi, and six months later, many were still practicing it.

Ways to promote a Healthy Heart

There are many ways to promote a healthy heart. First off is to follow a heart healthy diet by limiting intake of fats and hydrogenated oils, refined sugar intake from cakes and cookies, using extra virgin olive oil and garlic in cooking to lower cholesterol and adding omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. Regular exercise must also be followed by exercising 3-4 times a week, stretching before training and keeping one hydrated and resting between sets.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is also important by avoiding smoking and second hand smoke which are causes of heart disease, limiting alcohol intake, reducing stress and anxiety and keeping weight within limits.

Blood indicators in the development of heart disease must also be given attention. Watching out for high levels of cholesterol, triglyceride levels, homocysteine levels, and C-reactive Protein levels must be done for these are all potential risk factors in the development of heart diseases.


Sources

naturalnews.com
health.harvard.edu
patiencetaichi.com
chebucto.ns.ca
healthy-heart-guide.com

Cayenne Pepper May Help You Get Rid of Extra Weight

A new study from Purdue University reports that cayenne pepper helps curb the appetite and promotes the burning of calories as well.


If you have a special fondness for hot and spicy foods and you are looking for foods to curb your appetite in your goal to lose the extra weight, then consuming cayenne pepper would be the best choice. Cayenne pepper is a member of the Capsicum family of vegetables commonly known as chili peppers. The cayenne pepper powder come from red hot chili peppers that are dried and grounded, pulped then baked to cakes and sifted.

Since time immemorial, cayenne pepper has been known to be of many uses to the body’s health, but before that, it is first known for its culinary uses. It is commonly used as a cooking spice, to add flavor to the foods served at the table. It can be added to sea foods such as sardines, scallops, oysters, smoked salmon, fried mussels, lobster, crab and crayfish. It can also be eaten or added to eggs in many ways, and is also good for roasted and grilled meat.  If you want some spiciness in your dishes, you can add it to sauces and stews and as well as sprinkle it on fish, chicken and vegetables to add some spice.

Health Benefits of the Amazing Cayenne Pepper

Many studies from around the world have reported on the wonders that cayenne pepper has given to the human body because of the nutrients that it contain such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin B6, dietary fiber and Vitamin K.

  • It contains high concentrations of capsaicin which has been studied for its ability to reduce pain, ulcer and promote cardiovascular benefits as well as in opening drained nasal passages. The spicier the chili pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.
  • Capsaicin is also shown to provide pain relief in many conditions as it is said to be a useful treatment for osteoarthritis pain and head aches.
  • Furthermore, 200 patients with psoriasis underwent a double-blind placebo controlled trial where they were given topical preparations with capsaicin or placebo. Capsaicin-fed patients showed improvement on traced symptoms of psoriasis.
  • In addition, it is also a great source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for the health of epithelial tissues. Vitamin A’s antioxidant activity makes cayenne prevent free radical damage which can lead to colon cancer, atherosclerosis and other heart diseases.
  • It is also being studied to fight inflammation and treat conditions with pain such as arthritis, and diabetic neuropathy. A study where a mouse was injected with a substance that causes inflammatory arthritis and then fed with diet consisted of capsaicin showed delayed onset of arthritis and reduced inflammation in the paws.
  • Cayenne pepper and other chili peppers are also known to show cardiovascular benefits. It reduces triglyceride levels and blood cholesterol while dissolving the substance fibrin that causes blood clot.
  • The capsaicin in cayenne pepper can also clear congestion for its peppery heat rouses secretions that help in removing mucus in the nose and congested lungs.
  • Its bright red color signifies high amounts of beta-carotene or Vitamin A, which provides anti-infective activities and boosts the body’s immunity from many kinds of conditions. Cayenne is also popularly known to prevent ulcers. Not just that, they also kill the bacteria ingested and stimulates the cells to secrete protective juices to prevent ulcer.
  • The heat felt after consuming hot peppers takes energy and calories from the body, therefore showing the possibility to lose weight.

The Study

Purdue University’s new study suggests that hot cayenne pepper contributes to burning calories and curbing the appetite.

This study, published in Physiology and Behavior, observed the effects of small amounts (half a teaspoon) of cayenne pepper in foods. Results showed that tasting it could increase its effectiveness as an appetite suppressor and boost the outflow of energy.

The study consisted of 25 non-overweight people, where 13 of them liked spicy food and 12 did not.  The participants were observed for six weeks and the researchers examined the effect of the consumption of cayenne pepper in their appetite. Increased body temperature and burning of more calories were evident in all participants after their consumption of spice. Those who did not take spicy food frequently said that after spice consumption, they were less hungry and felt less cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods.

Richard Mattes, a foods and nutrition distinguished professor as well as the lead author of the study, said that their results showed that red pepper consumption helps in appetite management and burning of more calories after every meal.

The Importance of Losing Weight

A lot of medical conditions have been associated with obesity.  Health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, as well as heart and vascular diseases could lead to a decline in a person’s quality of life.  Diabetes may cause complications such as retinopathy, nephropathy and poor wound healing which could lead to the loss of vision, loss of kidney function and the loss of limb, respectively. Arthritis may develop because the excess weight places added pressure to the joints and this may force a person to become immobile because of too much pain, leading to the loss of independence. Heart and vascular diseases may cause life-threatening conditions such as myocardial infarction, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and heart failure, among many others.

The importance of healthy living, therefore, had been emphasized over and over again, and for good reason. It is not simply enough that we exercise – it should be done regularly and consistently and after careful planning in order to meet the body’s needs. It is not simply enough that we eat – we should make sure that the foods we consume are beneficial to the body.  It is not simply enough that we do not smoke – we must take necessary precautions when it comes to second hand smoke as well because it poses health dangers too.

The first step to achieving the good health that you desire is to make the decision to live a healthy life. Of course, this may require lifestyle modification and maybe a little tweak here and there but the end-result of your choices will not only be of benefit to you, but the persons around you most especially to the people that you love.

Sources
nutraingredients.com
theepicentre.com
cayennepepper.info
whfoods.com

Tangerine Flavonoids May Prevent Obesity and Atherosclerosis

A new study paves the way to the possible health benefits of a tangerine flavonoid, nobiletin, in preventing obesity and atherosclerosis.


What are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids, or bioflavonoids as it is called when used in supplements, are a class of plant based compounds. They are polyphenols and a diverse group of phytochemicals that are mostly found in vegetables, fruits and herbs and are responsible for their different colors. They can be found in high amounts in foods such as grains, legumes, nuts, teas, onions, honey and many more. The teas, specifically black, green or white tea, are high sources of a flavonoid known particularly as quercetin. Furthermore, onions contain myricertin and kaempferol; honey has myricertin and quercetin. Other good sources of flavonoid include buckwheat, tangerines, strawberries, blueberries, beans and spinach. However, the composition and concentration of flavonoid in each plant may vary depending on certain factors such as maturity, growing condition, plant part and variety.

There are different types of flavonoids, which may vary depending on the plant source. One of the most important is the flavonoid quercetin as it acts as building blocks for other flavonoids and can be found in foods like apples and onions. There are also flavonoids that can be found in citrus fruits, and among these citrus flavonoids are the compounds hesperidin and rutin which are present in fruits like tangerines, grapefruits and oranges. There are other well known flavonoids that include compounds like PCO (proanthocyanins), polyphenols and genistein which can be found in a variety of food sources and has been known to give great health benefits. The polyphenols, primary source of a class of flavonoid called EGCG (epigallocatechin-gallate) is known to be an effective natural compound to fight cancer.

Health benefits of Flavonoids

Studies have been performed to prove that flavonoids are necessary for human health and may also show some healing potential. This is because flavonoids are known to perform antioxidant activities. Flavonoids are even considered to be more powerful than Vitamin C and Vitamin E in eradicating the body’s free radicals and in preventing cellular damage to the body. They also have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, vasodilatory and antiallergenic effects.

The flavonoid quercetin is the most known compound to provide many health benefits. It suggests delay of the onset of diseases like cancer that is triggered by free radicals. Clinical studies show low rates of pancreatic, lung and breast cancer brought about by the intake of foods with high amounts of quercetin. It can also slow down low density lipoprotein oxidation, thus preventing heart diseases. A recent study conducted in Finland and the Netherlands suggested that people who consume large amounts of flavonoids, especially quercetin, showed a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Quercetin also provides anti-inflammatory action, therefore reducing allergic reactions like sinusitis and chronic asthma. The anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin may also be ideal for the treatment of minor problems like eczema and bug bites, as well as disorders affecting joints, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic gout and the like.

Aside from flavonoids being acquired from the diet, it can also be beneficial as supplements as they strengthen blood vessels. The flavonoids PCO and citrus flavonoids help in repairing problems like chronic hemorrhoids and varicose veins.

Doses of flavonoid supplements will vary depending on the type consumed and the specific condition. However, if long term health is considered, a mixture of quercetin, rutin, and hesperidin will do the job. Instructions on the label must be always followed. To improve the flavonoid’s protective action and taste, it is usually combined with Vitamin C. But still, nothing beats natural sources like grape seeds and green tea where flavonoids are greatly found.

The Study

A new research reports that tangerine flavonoid does not only prevent obesity but also gives protection from type-2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. It suggests that nobiletin, high concentrations of which are found in tangerine’s white pith, helps maintain healthy levels of glucose, insulin and cholesterol, as well as preventing fat build up.

Dr. Murray Huff, from the Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, and USA vascular biology research group director said that mice treated with nobiletin were originally protected against obesity, but as the study progresses, it shows that it also protected the mice from build up of plaque in arteries which can cause atherosclerosis that can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Nobiletin was observed to prevent fat build up in human cells by the stimulation of gene expression involved in the burning of excess fat, as well as in slowing down the genes responsible for fat manufacture. The authors said that sensitivity to insulin and glucose tolerance in the peripheral tissues and liver were restored by nobiletin and the improvement in these parameters may lead to prevent atherosclerosis.

A second group where the western diet was administered with nobiletin, however, showed no rise or difference in cholesterol levels, glucose and insulin and a normal amount of weight was maintained. It was also monitored that mice fed with nobiletin were found to have less fatty livers and were more insulin sensitive.

According to the researchers, their studies give evidence, both in the physiological and molecular level, that nobiletin has the ability to regulate the metabolism of hepatic lipid and prevent insulin resistance abnormalities. It also corrects dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis and glucose homeostasis and it protects the body from further development of atherosclerosis through a variety of mechanisms.

Dr. Huff cited that the study gives way for future studies in testing the many potential of nobiletin to reduce metabolic syndrome risks and related conditions. However, Huff suspects that tangerines lack enough nobiletin to transfer the same effects that it did to mice to the humans, adding that supplements are most likely required.

They also suggested that inflammation and foam cell formation reduction may as well help in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, though it was not evaluated in their study.

The research of Dr. Huff was mostly focused on observing the properties of bioactive molecules that are naturally occurring. A research of his two years ago where he discovered a flavonoid called naringenin in grape fruit offered the same protection against obesity and other metabolic syndromes and drew attention internationally. This time, he said that what was interesting was that nobiletin is ten times more potent in its protective effects than naringenin, and this time they have proven that it can also prevent atherosclerosis.

Sources
herbs2000.com
dietaryfiberfood.com
nutraingredients.com

Acai Juice Work Wonders for the Joints

A new study conducted by the NIS Labs shows that acai juice intake is now being linked to reduced joint pain and improvements in the antioxidant levels in the blood.


The human body is composed of bones, specifically 206 for the adult body. These bones allow us to stand up straight since it serves as the frame work of the whole body. While these structures are important, the ability to move is just as essential. Every time we sit down, eat, exercise, play, and work, our body moves in different angles, ways and directions. A part of our body twists and folds and this is made possible by the joints located in the many parts of our body. Through our joints we can swivel, stretch and pivot because it allows movement in a certain spot.

The Pain of Joint Pains

Joint pain, or also called arthralgia, is a common health condition that can occur in not only one but also in other joints of the body, sometimes simultaneously. Most people point out that the reason for this kind of pain is because of old age. Though it may be directly related to aging, it can also be caused by serious conditions such as osteoarthritis (OA), where there is a degeneration of the cartilage in the joint and is very common in people older than 45 years old, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the cartilage in the joints and could lead to stiffness and pain. Other common causes of joint pains include wear and tear, injury, fracture, sprain, and cartilage damage. Inflammation of the joint, metabolic disorders like gout and pseudo-gout, bone diseases, tumors and cancers near a joint can also produce joint pains.

Joint pains vary according to cause. Some will experience swelling and stiffness due to OA or RA. Joints that are affected may become swollen, red and very painful when touched and mobility of the joints becomes restricted because of the accompanying pain.

To keep the joints healthy and pain-free, living a healthy lifestyle and taking the right food is the best course to take especially those that are rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Exercise and meditation should be done regularly as well as precautions during vigorous activities. Wearing comfortable footwear will also keep your ankle joints healthy. Sitting at one place for 30 minutes should also be avoided and it is recommended that one take regular breaks as often as possible to stretch and to prevent stiffening of the joints.

Wonder of Acai

The Acai Palm is very common throughout northern South America, most especially along seasonal flood plains and in the river edges of Brazil. There, it is mostly widely distributed because of the numerous properties of the Acai fruit or the Acai berry. The Acai Palm produces a highly nutritious and edible berry 1-2 cm in diameter which comes from green to dark rich purple in color.

The Acai berry is considered as an herbal medicine by the Brazilians. Its oil is used to treat diarrhea and wash skin ulcers. The seeds are prepared for fevers. From the Acai berry also comes the Acai juice. It comes in a dark purple color extracted from the small round fruit. It is often served fresh and ice cold. It is a nourishing drink that is also used to produce mousses, liquor, ice cream and sweets.

It is no wonder that Acai berry and Acai juice are considered to be a treasure by those who drink it.  It is one of the most nutritious foods of the Amazon because it is rich with phytonutrients, as well as Vitamin B, minerals, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. The most abundant mineral found in Acai is potassium and that a small intake of it provides the body with more than what it needs. Acai berry is also rich in anthocyanins that are known to possess antioxidant activity. In a research known as French Paradox, it says that anthocyanins are the antioxidants that protect the French from heart disease. By the neutralization of free radicals, the Acai berry may actually help maintain healthy functioning of systems and organs.

However, there are a lot of circulating reports saying that this wonder berry is being used by scammers for easy money. A great deal of scammers nowadays are creating products with purple coloring and which tastes exactly the same as this wonder fruit, but does nothing to the body. If you are one of the people who are still interested in the health benefits provided by Acai berry, you need to be very cautious. Exercise caution and research a lot about the product, and only pick the ones that offer real Acai berry which can give you the full benefits that you deserve.

Acai Juice for Joints

A recent study has shown that a glass of Acai juice a day have been associated with reduced joint pains, alongside advanced antioxidant levels in the blood.

Consumption of 120 ml of Acai juice for twelve weeks were related to an increase in the antioxidant levels of 14 study participants and an improvement in physical well being according to results published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods.

14 old adults with varying degrees of joint pains were sought for the test by Dr. Jensen. Each of the 14 participants received 120 ml of Acai juice daily for a period of three months.

Dr. Gitte Jensen from NIS Labs in Oregon stated that the findings show a relationship between pain and antioxidant.

Specifically, results showed relief from pain and enhancement on the motion range in the spine and other extremities. Only two weeks from the starting period, antioxidant levels showed improvement and continued to rise throughout the 12 weeks of the study according to the researchers. However, no significant changes were reported to the inflammation marker, C-reactive protein.

Researchers from NIS Labs, Oregon-based Cascade Chiropractic and Rehabilitation and AIBMR Life Sciences performed the study which was funded by MonaVie LLC.

How to Promote Healthy Joints

Aside from Acai berry, here are other means to ensure that you keep your bones healthy:

  • Keep moving. Because joints are meant for movement, keeping these structures fixed for long periods of time can cause weakness of the muscles that surround them.
  • Lose the extra weight. Remember that those extra pounds can cause unnecessary stress to the joints and could lead to early wear and tear.
  • Observe proper posture. Something as simple as picking up an object from the floor can lead to joint pain if done in a wrong manner as this can strain ligaments or impinge nerves which would eventually lead to immobility and joint stiffening.
  • Take Supplements. Examples of supplements that promote joint health are Chondroitin and Glucosamine

Sources
familyhealthguide.co.uk
library.thinkquest.org
health-report.co.uk
nutraingredients.com
articlesbase.com

Grape Polyphenols Help Fight Diabetes, Research Says

A study made by researchers from the South of France revealed that grape polyphenol extract can significantly aid in the fight against diabetes.


Researchers coming from the South of France’s University of Montpellier reported that rats that were given a high-sugar and high-fat diet managed to display reduced fat accumulation in their muscle tissue provided that their diet was supplemented with grape polyphenols. The researchers believe that the antioxidant compounds that are found in red grapes are responsible for preventing fat build up.  Furthermore, the antioxidants positively affect the body’s insulin response.  Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for fat and sugar metabolism.

Diets that contain high amounts of saturated fat are said to further worsen a person’s resistance to insulin.  What happens is that the cells no longer adequately respond to the normal insulin levels produced inside the body.  As the researchers explained in the British Journal of Nutrition, this is a typical marker of diabetes onset.

Diabetes Facts

According to the 2005-2007 figures provided by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 8 percent of the American population, or approximately 24 million people. The financial impact associated with diabetes is staggering – estimated to be $175 billion, from which $116 billion is spent on medications. Aside from the financial aspect of diabetes, the emotional and social impact could not be overlooked. A diabetic person would normally suffer anxiety and depression regarding his health. His activities would also be affected especially when complications such as retinopathy, cataracts and poor sensation have occurred. This would lead us to conclude that indeed, prevention is better than cure.

Details of the Study

The study, conducted at the University of Montpellier, made use of rats as its subjects. The lab rats were randomly assigned into three different groups.  One group was given a standard diet for a lab rat and the remaining two groups were given a high-fat, high-sugar diet, with one group given an additional grape polyphenol extract. The results revealed that the lab rats who were given the grape polyphenol extract exhibited lower levels of triglycerides in their muscular cell membranes as compared to those who were not given the grape extract. Furthermore, the group that was fed with grape extract had an increase in the levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in their cell membranes.

Complications of Diabetes

If the condition remains uncontrolled, diabetes can actually precipitate the development of other serious health conditions. Below are some of the complications brought about by diabetes:

Retinopathy. Also known as diabetic retinopathy, this condition is mainly because of the very high levels of sugar in the blood which damages the small blood vessels in the eyes, specifically in the area of the retina a tissue that is sensitive to light and is essential for good vision. The blood vessels can either swell, causing fluid to leak out, while some people experience an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina’s surface.  Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among Americans.

Nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy affects the functional units of the kidney known as the nephrons.  Once extensive damage to the nephrons occurs, kidney damage may follow suit. High levels of sugar in the bloodstream, or hyperglycemia, can once again cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidney. The kidneys are mainly responsible for removing wastes from our body, and if kidney disease develops, the wastes, which are toxic to the human body, will start to accumulate. Nephropathy is one of the most common causes of mortality and morbidity in persons diagnosed with diabetes. It is so dangerous because it can lead to kidney failure which may precipitate the need for a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Neuropathies. Commonly known as nerve damage, diabetic neuropathy presents dangers to the person. High levels of blood sugar leading to damaged blood vessels may cause inflammation which, in turn, could trigger the development of neuropathies.  Problems on the nerves may occur in almost any organ in the body – legs, feet, arms, hands, and sex organs.  Symptoms such as a tingling sensation, pain or numbness may occur. Diabetics are often cautioned not to go barefooted around the house because the condition tends to cause the loss of sensation, especially in the areas of the foot. A small wound could be the source of a big problem, especially because diabetics typically exhibit delayed wound healing since their blood is viscous and has difficulty reaching distal parts of the body.

How to Deal with Diabetes

The cost of diabetic medications could significantly affect a person’s finances.  However, there are a lot of natural means to help you prevent, and deal, with the condition.  Below are excellent recommendations:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you haven’t been living a healthy lifestyle, then it’s time to act now before it’s too late.  This would mean eating the right kinds of food and regularly exercising. Obese individuals are more prone to develop diabetes. Foods, herbs and spices such as lupin seeds, flax seeds, avocadoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, blueberries, cherries, almonds, onions, cinnamon, ginkgo biloba, bilberry, bitter melon, garlic and barley are excellent for diabetes management.  Drinking green tea has also been found to help in the prevention, management and control of diabetes due to its antioxidant content.

  • Take in Supplements.

Manganese supplements aid in the repair of pancreas, the organ responsible for the production of insulin. 5-10 milligrams of manganese per day could very well do the trick.

Coenzyme Q10 helps enhance circulation and it also acts as a blood sugar stabilizer. Take 100mg of CoQ10 each day for healthy blood sugar levels.

Zinc supplements should be taken because diabetics have been found to have zinc deficiency. 50-80 milligrams is the recommended dosage.

  • Know what to Avoid

When going grocery shopping, learn to read the labels. Just because the box says it’s sugar-free doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll give in right away.  Be wary of foods and beverages that contain a lot of sugar – as sweet as it may seem, it won’t do you any good. Aside from sugar, avoid foods that contain saturated fats. If you already are a diagnosed diabetic, continuous intake of saturated fats will most likely double your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Sources
nutraingredients.com
nei.nih.gov
nlm.nih.gov
diabetes.niddk.nih.gov

Green Tea Associated with Mental Alertness

Green tea has long been associated with a number of health benefits such as cancer and stress prevention, but a recent study has found that it can enhance a person’s memory.


Green tea rose to stardom and has been well-known all over the world since it was subjected to the glaring lights of the spotlight with the numerous studies conducted regarding its health benefits.  A study conducted by researchers from Japan revealed that drinking 5 cups of green tea in a day could significantly reduce one’s risk of developing different types of cancer by 50 percent.  Furthermore, consuming 5 cups of this beverage each day has also been associated with a reduction in the levels of stress according to the results of yet another study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  While this may sound like too much, it is actually not – especially when you start drinking green tea instead of what you normally drink such as water after a run or coffee in the morning.

What Makes Green Tea Special?

The power behind green tea’s knockout punch is its very potent antioxidant content. The polyphenols that it contains are commonly referred to as catechins and these help combat and neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals.  Free radicals are by-products of oxidative processes and these are said to be the cause of different forms of health conditions such as cancer, premature aging and heart disease. Because of this, the catechin content of green tea is also able to boost a person’s immune system thereby promoting overall health. Aside from polyphenols, it also contains alkaloids and L-theanine which further contributes to green tea’s health benefits.

Green Tea for Mental Alertness

A study conducted in Korea revealed that taking green tea extract supplements can actually enhance a person’s memory and promote mental alertness. The results of the study which was published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods showed that green tea extract coupled with L-theanine was linked to improvement in general memory, as well as in a person’s immediate and delayed recall ability. Funding for the said study was provided by LG Household & Health Care, Ltd., a Korean company which also manufactured the ingredient which was utilized in the study.

The study involved ninety-one participants who were already diagnosed with mild level cognitive impairment, which is an important risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.  The 91 participants were assigned randomly to receive either a placebo supplement made of lactose plus maltodextrin or 1,680 milligrams of a combination of L-theanine and green tea extract. The supplements were given for a period of 16 weeks.  After the said period, different tests were administered to the participants in order to assess attention levels and memory.  The results of the tests revealed that the group of participants who received the green tea extract plus L-theanine supplement showed signs of improved memory.  Electroencephalogram tests (EEG) also revealed improvements in mental alertness indicators in particular areas of the brain.

The researchers wrote that the use of LGNC-07, which is actually a combination of L-theanine and green tea extract, as a nutraceutical candidate used to enhance cognitive performance should be taken into account. However, the researchers believe that there is a need to conduct more studies to further investigate the ability of LGNC-07 to improve a person’s cognitive functions in order to establish its potential health benefit.

More Reasons to go for Green Tea

Much has been said about green tea – and for good reason.  It has been the subject of worldwide studies and there are facts to support its health claims.  There are a lot of life-threatening diseases that can be prevented simply by consuming sufficient amounts of green tea.  Aside from taking green tea in beverage form, you can also take it in the form of supplements.

Aside from green tea’s capability to help prevent cancer and promote mental alertness, there are other conditions that can greatly benefit from green tea consumption:

Hypercholesterolemia. This is a condition which is characterized by high levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Excessive LDL levels are dangerous since the fatty plaques can deposit in the walls of blood vessels.  There will be a resultant narrowing of the blood vessels and blood flow will become turbulent in the specific area. Because of this, the fatty plaques may dislodge and may travel through the bloodstream.  The clot, now called an embolus, can lodge in small arteries such as in the brain causing a stroke, or in the lungs causing pulmonary embolism. Both conditions are life-threatening and necessary steps should be taken to ensure prevention.

Studies have shown that green tea can help raise the levels of good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol levels in the body. A study conducted on men revealed that those who drink green tea have lower LDL levels compared to those who do not. Furthermore, a study made in animals revealed that the polyphenols in green tea blocks cholesterol absorption in the intestines and aids in its secretion.

Diabetes. The condition is associated with complications that can significantly lead to a reduction in a person’s quality of life.  Common complications include retinopathy, nephropathy, cataracts, and diabetic foot which can lead to amputation. The good news is that green tea has been found to promote healthy blood sugar levels by properly regulating and lowering high sugar levels in the blood.

Obesity. Being obese is linked to the development of conditions such as stroke, heart attack and arthritis – and these are only some of those that are brought about by obesity. Because of its dangers, a lot of people are mightily trying to win the battle of the bulge. The fight to conquer and overcome obesity is still going on and some have resorted to taking diet pills.  However, the danger lies in the safety of the product that you are using.  Weight loss products may possess harmful adverse effects that can actually do harm than good, and this is why sticking to natural alternatives is the best decision you’ll ever make.

Green tea has been known to help promote weight loss in overweight and obese people because of its ability to burn fats due to its catechin content.  Several studies have revealed that the intake of green tea can help enhance a person’s metabolic rate.

Sources
nccam.nih.gov
livestrong.com
nutraingredients.com

Selenium against Prostate Cancer Risk

A study conducted by researchers from the Ohio State University found that selenium can reduce specific markers that increase the risk of prostate cancer.


The Dreaded Prostate Cancer

The average age of prostate cancer diagnosis is 67 years old.  This is according to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance and Epidemiology and End Results Center; this is based on the incidence of prostate cancer in the United States from 2003 to 2007. Based on the same data, more than 16 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 210,000 men will be diagnosed of prostate cancer and over 32,000 will die of the dreaded condition.

There are no assured means of preventing prostate cancer. But making smart choices in the foods that you eat and avoiding the risk factors associated with it can help in preventing the disease. Like other types of cancer, prostate cancer starts when cells begin to behave abnormally. It is clear that this behavior of the cells is caused by the mutation of the genes but researchers are still trying to better understand what causes and what triggers the mutation.

Lowering the risk of prostate cancer will take a little more than just diet modification. Taking bigger steps like changing your lifestyle and avoiding cancer-inducing habits may help in reducing your risk. Studies show that lifestyle intervention is the best approach in preventing prostate cancer and other diseases for people with heightened risk.

Natural Ways to Lower Your Risk

The nutritional guidelines for preventing prostate cancer is yet to be established. But so far, studies show that specific eating habits are linked to a lowered risk of developing the disease. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can supply the body with essential nutrients that helps in preventing different kinds of cancer.  Food sources rich in cancer-fighting substances like folate, vitamin B complex and diindolylmethane, which is found in cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage and broccoli, are well-recommended.  Sensible eating means balancing your calorie intake according to your body’s requirement.

The incidence of prostate cancer varies in different countries. Studies show that the highest rate appears in populations with the highest intake of fat. Foods rich in saturated fats, like those found in red meats, can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Eating whole-grain foods like whole-wheat breads and brown rice while limiting the consumption of refined sugar and white flour can also help in preventing the disease.

Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids is also linked to a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. Omega-3 is found in salmon, mackerel, herrings and other cold-water fishes. Although there are mixed scientific evidence regarding the potency of omega-3 in lowering the risk of developing cancer, adding foods rich in the nutrient into your daily diet offers other health benefits like the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Soybean products and other legumes are rich in phytoestogens, an enzyme found in plants that act like estrogen in the body. These chemicals can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A good evidence for this is the low incidence of prostate cancer in Asian countries where soybeans and soybean products are popular food choices.

Green tea contains various antioxidants like polyphenols that has been found to lower the risk of developing cancer. Vitamin D, on the other hand, has also showed strong potential in lowering the risk of developing prostate cancer. Foods rich in vitamin D are egg yolks, and fish liver oil. Exposing the skin to the sun for a few minutes a day will also trigger the production of vitamin D in the body.

The high incidence of prostate cancer drives state and privately-funded studies to determine better ways to prevent the disease. Researchers are also looking at the potency of some nutrients in fighting prostate cancer risk. A study conducted by researchers from the Ohio State University found that the supplementation of selenium can lower the levels of prostate cancer markers such as prostate specific antigen (PSA) and help in reducing the risk of the disease.

Selenium to Lower the Risk of Prostate Cancer

A study published in the Nutrition Research journal showed that selenium glycinate can improve the activities of plasma enzymes and reduce the levels of prostate cancer markers. The researchers from the Ohio State University said that the regular supplementation of selenium in a group of 30 middle-aged Americans resulted to a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer. They added that their study contradicts the popular notion that selenium cannot improve the activity of blood glutathione peroxides and lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Head researcher Dr Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition and his co-authors said that if selenium has the ability to lower prostate-specific antigens in study participants, it can also lower the risk of prostate cancer.  This could be better achieved by introducing the nutrient in daily diet. They used a certain form of selenium called selenium glycinate which has not been used in previous studies. The researchers added that selenium glycinate has significantly high bioactivity.

The researchers reported that the supplementation of selenium raised the levels of erythrocyte and plasma activities in study participants. They also found that cancer risk marker serum PSA was lowered by selenium glycinate. But they added that the reduction in prostate cancer markers does not necessarily mean a lower risk of developing the disease.

Health Benefits of Selenium

Selenium is a mineral present in the soil and which appears in small amounts in some foods and in water. The nutrient plays an important role in metabolism and recent studies show that selenium has strong antioxidant properties. Although there are some evidences suggesting that high levels of selenium can increase the risk of skin cancer, regulated levels of the nutrient can result to a lower risk of developing various diseases. Population studies show that selenium deficiency is rare in healthy people.

The Recommended Dietary Intake of selenium for adults and children aged 14 years and above is 55 to 70 micrograms in a day. For the prevention of prostate cancer, men can take as much as 200 micrograms a day. But the threshold for selenium intake should be no more than 400 micrograms; anything beyond this is considered an overdose. Selenium has been used as a treatment for asthma, infertility and arthritis. But more importantly, selenium can act as an antioxidant which neutralizes cancer-causing free radicals and at the same time improve the potency of other antioxidants.


Sources

nutraingredients.com
webmd.com
webmd.com
mayoclinic.com
seer.cancer.gov

Eating Pecans Promote A Healthier Heart

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that the antioxidants in pecans can lower the risk of heart disease.


Heart Disease

Heart disease is a term used to refer to a variety of health conditions that involves the heart. It is often interchanged with cardiovascular disease which is commonly used to define the condition involving the narrowing of the blood vessels that can lead to chest pains, heart attack and stroke. Unlike cancer and other chronic diseases wherein the causes remain to be unclear, the causes of heart diseases are well-established and the condition can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Most diseases are caused by the damage caused by the accumulation of fatty plaques in the arteries. The arteries are responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to different parts of the body. In order to properly perform these tasks, the arteries need to stay strong and flexible. Aging and poor, unhealthy habits can put too much pressure in the arteries and make the walls stiff, weak and thick with fatty plaques. This disorder will lead to the insufficient distribution of blood in organs and tissues. Because of this, nutrition and oxygenation are compromised.

Atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries caused by deposition of fatty plaques, is the most common cardiovascular disease. The other heart conditions are heart arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms, cardiomyopathy or the enlargement and thickening of the heart muscle, heart infection and valvular heart diseases.

Although heart diseases are caused by different factors, studies show that they are primarily due to unhealthy diet and habits, and lack of exercise.

The Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Getting older increases the risk of heart disease. The heart and blood vessels become more at risk of damage. Men are also more at risk of developing the disease than women although a woman’s risk is increased after menopause. Certain heart diseases are also caused by genetic factors. The condition can run in the family and some individuals can be more inclined of developing the condition than others.

Smoking has always been proven to be bad for the health. Nicotine in tobacco can constrict the blood vessels, making blood flow difficult resulting to an increase in blood pressure, while its carbon monoxide content can damage the lining and make them more at risk of damage. Population studies show that the incidence of heart disease is higher in smokers than in non-smokers.

A diet rich in sodium and harmful fats can lead to the development of heart disease. Hypertension, or chronically high blood pressure, can cause the blood vessels to become thick and hard. The accumulation of cholesterol plaques on the walls of the arteries can inhibit the healthy flow of blood and cause serious complications. The other risk factors of heart disease are obesity and diabetes – two health conditions that share similar risk factors: the lack of exercise, poor eating habits and high stress levels.

The risk factors of developing heart disease can be countered by healthy lifestyle choices. Eating the right kinds of food, for example, will supply the body with the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy heart and prevent damage. A study conducted by researchers from Loma Linda University School of Public Health found that the antioxidants in pecans can contribute in the prevention of heart disease.

Pecans Against Heart Disease

The study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that pecans contain potent antioxidants flavan-3-ol and gamma-tocopherol that helps in lowering the risk of heart disease. The researchers said that these compounds can double the amount of antioxidants in the blood plasma and inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by more than 30 percent. Head researcher Dr Ella Haddad said that the consumption of pecans can improve the levels of antioxidants in the body and added that antioxidants are needed in order to prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease.

The researchers explained in their study that pecan is a good source of various kinds of vitamin E, especially in the form of tocopherols. This is in addition to its phenolic content which also has antioxidant properties. Formation of plaque on the surface of the blood vessels is primarily due to the high concentration of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood. The antioxidants in pecan can help in lowering oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by preventing oxidation. The researchers said that the bioactive content of pecans like flavan-3-ol monomers and gamma-tocopherol exhibit strong antioxidant action in vitro but it has not been established whether this is the case in the human body. The study aimed to investigate and measure the antioxidant effects of pecans after ingestion.

Blood and urine samples were taken from 16 study participants. Prior to these, they were randomly assigned three meals with pecans blended with water, whole pecans and a control meal with equivalent nutritional content. And in between each treatment was one week of washout period.  Study participants who ate meals with whole and blended pecans doubled their gamma-tocopherol blood levels after eight hours. The researchers also observed that the oxidation of LDL cholesterol was reduced by 33 percent after 3 hours. The researchers concluded that their findings are another addition to the health benefits of pecans in preventing various diseases and that the antioxidants in pecans can be absorbed and used by the body.

Natural Ways to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Eating foods rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, low in sodium and LDL cholesterol, and regular exercise are a few of the lifestyle choices you can make in order to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Dietary fiber helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol.

A high sodium diet can make the blood thicker and increase blood pressure. It has also been linked to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association, the recommended sodium consumption should not be greater than 2,300 milligrams or approximately 1 teaspoon a day. For those with existing heart conditions, only 1500 milligrams of sodium is recommended. Avoiding foods and processed products that are rich in sodium as well as carefully avoiding the use of condiments that are sodium-rich can help in reducing your sodium intake.

Avoid foods rich in saturated and trans fats. These foods can increase the LDL cholesterol levels in your blood which is a strong risk factor of heart disease. Regular exercise also helps in keeping the heart healthy and strong while promoting the healthy flow of blood through the blood vessels.


Sources

nutraingredients.com
disabled-world.com
mayoclinic.com
mayoclinic.com

Books Authored by Frank Mangano


The Blood Pressure Miracle The 60 Day Prescription Free Cholesterol Cure Alzheimer's Defense You Can Attract It Power Of Thin Power Of Thin
Discovering The Truth About
High Blood Pressure May Save
A Life...It Could Be YOURS
Win The War Naturally
Against High Cholesterol
Learn How You Can Prevent,
Slow And Even Halt
Alzheimer's Disease
You Can Attract It ...
Using The Law of Attraction
to Get What You Want
Power Of Thin
Change Your Thinking
Change Your Weight
The Mangano Method:
An All-Natural Approach
To Fight Gout