Saturday, December 02, 2006

Five anti-aging foods for holidays

During this holiday season, you may should give following foods a high priority on your eating (or recipe) list:
Sunflower Seeds
These salty wonders have the highest natural vitamin E content of any food around. Everyone wants looking younger, and Vitamin E is one of the most important nutrients at fighting the aging effects of free radicals.
Spinach and Beans
Researchers in Australia, Indonesia and Sweden studied the diets of 400 elderly men and women, and found that those who ate the most leafy green vegetables and beans had the fewest wrinkles. The reason? Spinach and beans are full of compounds that help prevent and repair wear and tear on your skin cells as you get older.
Grape Juice
We all know drinking wine are good for youyr heart; by the same mechanism, grape juice can protect you from heart attack, stroke, as well as keep your middle-aged skin from sagging. Grapes are filled with antioxidant polyphenols that help to keep your skin flexible and elastic.
Sweet Potatoes
Overexposure to the sun is one of the primary reasons men age prematurely. But sweet potatoes may help to fight sun damage. European researchers recently found that pigments from beta-carotene-rich foods - like sweet potatoes and carrots - can build up in your skin, helping to prevent damage from ultraviolet rays.
Cheese is prbably one of the best foods you can eat for your teeth. It's a good source of calcium to keep your teeth strong. Plus, eating cheese can lower the levels of bacteria in your mouth and keep your teeth clean and cavity-free.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Enriched cocoa snack bars cut cholesterol

CocoaVia Crunch is a chocolate-based "heart-healthy" snack line marketed by Masterfoods USA since Oct. 2005. This kind of snack bar is enriched with plant-derived compounds called phytosterols. Phytosterols are plant-derived compounds that are structurally similar to the cholesterol found in mammals. Foods (such as margarine spreads) containing phytosterols have been shown to help cut cholesterol.
A latest study has concluded that eating CocoaVia Crunch snack bar can reduce people's bad cholesterol by 6%.
Considering CocoaVia's great chocolate taste (it comes from the makers of DOVE brand), it's richness in naturally occurring flavanols (which improve blood flow - similar to grape juice, red wine and green tea), I don't think I will eat chocolate bar of any other kind.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Light Drinking Cuts Risk for Death, Heart Attack

It has been know for years that moderate drinking are good for heart. Here is another study adds to the growing evidence that a drink each day helps lower heart risks and extend life span.
The study follows adults in their 70s found that those who regularly had one to seven drinks per week were 30% less likely to develop heart disease over six years. They were also less likely to die of any cause.
The findings add to evidence that modest alcohol intake benefits the cardiovascular system. However, the researchers found no evidence that the anti-inflammatory effects of alcohol deserved the credit, as some experts have suspected.
Whatever the reason, this study confirms a protective effect of light alcohol drinking.
Still, researches are quick point out that heavy drinking is a health hazard, and even moderate drinking does not have the same benefits for everyone. In their study, light drinking showed the strongest benefits in men with high levels of a protein called interleukin-6, which is associated with an elevated heart disease risk. There was also no clear benefit among women.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Juice consumption reduced risk of Alzheimer's

Here is a story made my day - according to recent study conducted by Dr. Qi Dai, assistant professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease was dramatically reduced for older people who drank fruit or vegetable juices regularly.
The incidence of Alzheimer's was 76% lower for those who drank juice three or more times a week than for those who drank juice less than once a week. It was 16% lower for those drinking juice once or twice a week, according to the report.
It's not the general kind of antioxidants in fruit juices that produce the benefit, according this study. Rather, researcher attributed the effect to polyphenols, a particularly strong antioxidant. Polyphenols are typically found in the outer sections of fruits and vegetables, only in the peel or skin. When you process the whole fruit, they go into the juice.
Studies of the biochemistry of Alzheimer's disease have focused on deposits of beta-amyloid proteins that form in the brain and the potential for antioxidants in the diet to prevent those deposits. Since studies looking at antioxidants such as beta-carotene have been disappointing, so Dr. Qi Dai and the research team turned their attention to polyphenols in fruit juice.
Next time when you drink O.J or apple cider, say Cheers !

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The miracle of green Tea

I am a firm believer of the Ancient Chinese Proverb: "Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one." From the ancient times (4,000 years ago), the Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea that treat everything from headaches to depression. Modern scientific research have demonstrated that the drink has been effective against many kind of diseases, including cancer and cardiac conditions.
Vast amount of literatures exist on the health benefits of green tea. Listed below are few I rememebered (but sorry I can't find original links).
1) in 1994, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published an article indicating that drinking green tea reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60%.
2) University of Purdue researchers recently concluded that a compound in green tea inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
3) there is also research indicating that drinking green tea lowers total cholesterol levels, as well as improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.
What makes green tea so special? The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.
In addition, the great news also hold for dieters. In November, 1999, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Researchers found that men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo. Green tea can even help prevent tooth decay. Just as its bacteria-destroying abilities can help prevent food poisoning, it can also kill the bacteria that causes dental plaque. Meanwhile, skin preparations containing green tea - from deodorants to creams - are starting to appear on the market.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Coffee as medicine

I found an excellent summary about the coffee being far more healthful than being harmful. Allow me to write down some excerts from this article. On the side effects of coffee drinking, the author notes:
"It's clear that coffee isn't for everyone. Its legendary jolt in excess doses -- that is, more than whatever your individual body can tolerate -- can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee may also raise cholesterol levels in some people and may contribute to artery clogging".
"pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee".
Like many people, I don't drink coffee in the evening - it can cost me a good night sleep. On the health benefits of coffee drinking, the author writes:
"Could lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer".
"People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't".
"There's also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities".
On the effect coffee on children -
"In fact, no studies show that coffee in reasonable amounts is in any way harmful to children."
Overall, the author writes that coffee -
"show no significant adverse affects on most healthy people". "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good".
Coffee is one of the great blessings of humanity. I raise my coffee cup to all you readers and wish you a long, health life.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why Green Tea Helps to Lose Weight

Recent studies show that green tea can help greatly in the process of losing weight. It does it by increasing the body's metabolism. If consumed regularly, it can help you burn as much as eighty calories extra. In a year, that’s about 8 pounds; you lose that much just by drinking, even without diet and exercise.To further enlighten you as to how green tea works, read on below:
Green tea slows down the absorption of fats and regulates glucose. The same substance, cathechin polyphenol, restrains the transition of glucose into fats. By doing that, experts believe that green tea is an effective glucose regulator. It effectively prevents insulin spikes and slows the rise of blood sugar after every meal. Insulin, as specialists agreed upon, promotes the storage of fats as it deals with the body’s blood sugar.
Green tea has the ability to reduce appetite. Because green teas have regulating effects on the blood sugar, people who drink it are observed to eat food as much as 60 percent lesser than usual. This particular hypothesis was proven when green tea was injected into laboratory rats for experimentation. Researchers believe that it has the same effects on humans.
Green tea is a good alternative to coffee. If you drink tea instead of coffee in the morning or throughout the day, your body gets fewer calories in the long run. The sugar and the cream included in your daily cappuccinos add inches and bulges to the waistline. But with green tea, instead of accumulating fats, you are actually reducing its build up.
Green tea affects the bodily systems positively. A parallel research about green tea brings forward its overall effects in the body. The systems benefiting from it include cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, urogenital, immune, lymphatic, and musculoskelatal systems. With this, green tea shows to have a very broad effect on the body. Only a few types of food can boast of this characteristic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sage help with Alzheimer's disease

No herb garden would be complete without sage. As a herb, sage do well outdoors in milder climates, and considered by many as one of the culinary basics. Sage has received many scientific scrutiny over the years: it improved both mood and cognitive functioning in a 2005 study, reported researchers in Neuropsychopharmacology.
Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease who were given sage extract scored significantly better on cognitive tests than a comparison group given a placebo, according to a study published in 2003 in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Calendula treats local skin problems

Calendula (or pot marigold) is an annual with beautiful, edible yellow or orange flowers. Although dried flowers can be used to make herb teas, more often people toss Calendula flowers into salads.
The real forte of Calendula is for treating local skin problems. It may be used safely wherever there is an inflammation on the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage. It soothes chapped lips, scratched hands and any other irritated skin. It will also be of benefit in slow-healing wounds and skin ulcers. It is ideal for first aid treatmentof minor burns and scalds. The German Commission E (considered the world authority on herbal remedies) has approved calendula for healing cuts and burns.
Calendula has been long used throughout Europe for wound healing and ulcer treatments. Part of its healing power appears to be based on the presence of terpenes. A triterpene glycosidecalled calendulozide B exerts a marked anti-ulcerous and sedative action.
People can make Calendula into herbal cream easily. Calendula cream was more effective than steroid cream in reducing "skin toxicity", a dry, itchy, painful skin inflammation in breast cancer patients, reported the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2004.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Spinach is good for your eye

Spinach is known for its high fiber content and its abundance of antioxidants and vitamins that studies have shown might decrease the risk of stroke and developing cataracts. Recent studies by researchers at the University of Manchester shown this leafy green might also promote super-sharp eyesight.
Green vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli are particularly rich in two antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, which produce a substance which scientists think helps protect the eyes against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Western societies. AMD primarily affects elderly people, and sufferers slowly lose their central vision, which makes day-to-day activities difficult.
When lutein and zeaxanthin (found in high concentrations in spinach) combine, they form a yellow oil, called a macular pigment. The pigment coats the macula, a small area of the retina that is responsible for distinguishing details and colors in central vision, and is thought to prevent the destruction of retinal cells by excess light and oxidation.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Oily fish may help prevent spread of prostate cancer

Scientists are exploring the possible uses of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, in preventing the spread of prostate cancer, according to study published in the British Journal of Cancer earlier this year. A recent Reuters article cited the study's chief researcher, Dr. Mick Brown, saying that while Omega-3s seemed to stop the spread of prostate cancer in its early stages, Omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, "increased the spread of tumor cells into bone marrow." Omega-6s are still widely thought to have many health benefits and Brown stressed that it is possible to strike a "healthy balance" of the two healthful fats.
Like many food nutritional studies, that larger studies are required before the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids can be proven.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Could mushrooms have cure for depression?

Could mushrooms hold a key for treating depression? A study recently published in the journal Psychopharmacology (volume 187, number 3 - August, 2006) shows that the active ingredient in a genus of mushrooms (Psilocybe) - a plant alkaloid called psilocybin - can cause mystical experiences. The experience can also prompt positive changes in attitude and behavior that may last for months. More than 60% of subjects who took the drug said they had full-on mystical experiences - one third said it was the most spiritually meaningful experience of their lives, another third reported significant fear or paranoia. Two months after they took the drug, nearly 80% of the subjects reported moderately or greatly increased well-being and satisfaction with their lives. The researchers hope their research will lead to a therapy for depression.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Curry spice inhibit Alzheimer's disease

Here is another research demonstrated that curcumin, a staple ingredient in curry, is good for the brain. Tze-Pin Ng and colleagues at the National University of Singapore have discovered that curry eating seems to boost brain power in elderly people.
Tze-Pin Ng's reports have suggested that curcumin, an antioxidant, inhibits the build-up of amyloid plaques in people with Alzheimer's. Researcher looked at the curry-eating habits of 1010 Asian people unaffected by Alzheimer's and aged between 60 and 93, and compared their performance in a standard test of cognitive function, the Mini Mental State Examination. Those people who consumed curry "occasionally" (once or more in 6 months but less than once a month) and "often" (more than once a month) had better MMSE results than those who only ate curry "never or rarely".
What is remarkable is that apparently one needs only to consume curry once in a while for the better cognitive performance to be evidenced.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What are functional foods (phoods)?

All whole foods have functional health components - carrots contain beta-carotene, grains have fiber-but some products have been manipulated to become "functional foods" (or phoods): a combination of foods and pharmaceuticals. They are ordinary foods spiked with a nutrient that has specific health properties.
Iodized salt is one of the earliest examples of a functional food. In the 1920s, iodine was added to salt to help prevent goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). As another example, in recent years, manufacturers add calcium to OJ, thus transformed the juice into a liquid delivery system for the bone-strengthening mineral.
Some other functional foods currently in markets are:
1) Eggs (from Organic Valley) laid by hens which are fed with omega-rich flaxseed. These eggs are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid, good for people with high blood cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acid can also boost joint health and ease arthritis.
2) Yogurt(from Dannon) which are mixed with Probiotics such as lactobacilli & bifidobacteria). Probiotics improve human gastrointestinal health.
3) Margarine (from Benecol) mixed with plant sterol and stanol esters. Plant sterol lowers LDL and total blood cholesterol levels.
4) Prune juice (from Sunsweet) spiked with lutein. Lutein is a vitamin found in green vegetables and egg yolks, may help strengthen vision.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Coffee cure cellulite

Cellulite is big business. $96.9 million was spent on products that claim to remove it. Recently, scientists at an Austrian lingerie manufacturer (Palmers) have hit upon an easier way to burn off the unsightly fatty deposits all day long: tights impregnated with microcapsules of caffeine.
As with other brands of tights that can contain skin products such as aloe vera, red algae, or seaweed, the caffeine-laced fabric is activated by body heat. The small drops of liquid, which last for four washes, boost metabolism, burn fat, improve the appearance of cellulite.
Caffeine-laced cream also works pretty well to against cellulite.
Right now, is the sole distributor of the caffeine tights. The initial response from customers are phenomenal.
So ladies, for your cellulite, skip gyms and grab a pair of caffeine tights.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Camel milk help diabetes patients

Although carmel's milk have been consumed for thousands of years in Africa and the Middle East, it's medical benefits toward modern diseases were not known until recently.
In 1986, an insulin-like protein has been detected in camel milk. Following clinical trials in human diabetes type 1 have shown that the daily consumption of 0.5 litre camel milk reduces the need for insulin medication by an average of 30%. The anti-diabetic properties of camel milk have been demonstrated in several other studies.
Camel milk has positive effects in controlling high blood pressure and helps in the management of Arteriosclerosis and Osteoporosis. Research has demonstrated the presence of potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral factors in camel milk. Clinical trials showed that recovery from infectious disease (e.g. Tuberculosis) was significantly faster in patients consuming camel milk regularly.
Think about it, nature designed camel's milk to help baby camels grow up in some of the world's roughest environments - deserts and steppes. That helps explain why it is 3 times as rich in Vitamin C, 10 times as rich in iron as cow's milk, as well as containing many medicinal compounds.
Few years ago, I got a chance to taste a small piece of cheese made of camel milk. It didn't taste good for sure, quite salty. Now a Austria entrepreneur called Johann Hochleitner is developing camel's milk chocolates. Yogurt and butter are also in the work.
With 20 million camels in the world, dairy experts at the United nation's Food and Agriculture Organization predict $10 billion in annual sales in 2016 for camel's milk due to strong demand.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Licorice Root for Ulcers

A friend of mine tell me that she suffer from frequent bouts of gastritis and a history of ulcers. She take Tagamet but it makes her feel tired all day. I tell her to try an herbal remedy, such as extract of licorice root.
First we've learned that a bacteria called H. pylori is implicated in many cases of ulcers once thought to be due to stress or excess stomach acid. The presence of this bacteria can usually be determined with a simple blood test, and antibiotics can cure the condition.
In cases where H. pylori is not present, or where symptoms are mild, the use of an herbal remedy, an extract of licorice root called DGL, can be effective. This form is deglycyrrhizined, which means that a component with a potent cortisone-like effect is removed. DGL, therefore, does not cause side-effects such as high-blood pressure, which regular licorice can trigger. I have seen long standing stomach problems clear up completely with this herb. It works by increasing mucus production in the stomach, thus protecting the lining. It is also anti-inflammatory.
Two other plant medicines are helpful as well. Ginger root is known to increase mucus production, and aloe vera juice is a great healer, soothing the entire gastrointestinal tract when it is taken daily.
Licorice Root (Glandular) has a long history of use by cultures throughout the world. Licorice was so valued in ancient Egypt that even King Tutankhamen was buried with a supply. Licorice is included in most Chinese herb combinations to balance the other herbs and to promote vitality. It is widely used as a flavoring, not only for candy (although most modern licorice candies are flavored with anise) but also in cough drops, syrups, tonics and laxatives. It flavors certain kinds of beer, frozen dairy desserts, gelatins, puddings and meat products. The sweet root can be chewed as a special treat.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Eating to lower cholesterol (3) -- Nuts

The 3rd categories of cholesterol-lowering foods are nuts. Nuts rich in a compound called monounsaturated fat, which can lower the bad LDL cholesterol and modestly raise the good HDL cholesterol. (Nuts contains some viscous fiber, plant sterols as well.) Monounsaturated fats are also rich in seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc.), avocados and various oils, such as vegetable, olive, safflower, sunflower and canola.

Studies have shown that people who ate about a handful of almonds a day (or 1 ounce) lowered LDL cholesterol by 4%; those who ate two handful lowered it by 9%.

How to do it ? Eat a variety of nuts, including walnuts, which pack in the most omega-3 fatty acids. Snack on nuts instead of pretzels or chips; toss chopped nuts into your oatmeal, salads and stir-fries. Remember foods rich in fats are also calorie heavy, so limit your serving size - eat no more than an ounce of nuts at one sitting.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Eating to lower cholesterol (2) -- Plant sterols

The 2nd categories of cholesterol-lowering foods are food rich in plant sterols, such soybeans or certain vegetables. Plant sterols are compounds so similar in structure to cholesterol that they compete in our intestines. That means less of the real cholesterol is absorbed.
Also based on the recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 83, No. 3, 582-591, March 2006) report, eating 2 grams of plant each day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%. But you need to consume them every day for the cholesterol-controlling benefits to continue.
How to do it ? Look for plant sterols-fortified product since plant sterols are typically extracted from soybeans or certain vegetables. Use margarine-type of spreads (Benecol, Take Control and Smart Balance). Some brand of orange juice, yogurt, cheese, salad dressings,granola bars and chocolate are also rich in plant sterols. You can also directly eat soy products for intake of plant sterols - soy milk, soy nuts, soy ice cream and cereals, crackers and chips made with soy protein.

Eating to lower cholesterol (1) -- Viscous fiber

There are 3 categories of cholesterol-lowering foods. One of them is viscous fiber - the 'sticky' type of soluble fiber found in oats, barley and beans, and certain vegetables such as okra and eggplant. Viscous fibers help binding the cholesterol in your digestive tract and sweep it out of your body. In another word, soluble fiber act as a sponge, absorbing cholesterol and carrying it out of your system. People at less-developed countries (such as China) are less prone to having high blood cholesterol because their diet are high on viscous fiber.
According to the recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol. 83, No. 3, 582-591, March 2006) report, eating 1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal a day typically produces cholesterol-lowering results. Including 10 grams of viscous fiber a day has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol by about 5%.
How to do it ? Start the day with oatmeal or psylliu-enriched cereal (I always add a bit of sugar to it). Try bean and barley-based soups, marinated bean salad, hummus sandwiches, black bean burritos and roasted eggplant. Flax is good, too. Not only does it have soluble fiber, but it's high in omega-3 fatty acids and lignans-also good for cholesterol.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Eating to lower cholesterol - research note

1) recent research indicated that culprits of high blood cholesterol, in terms of food intake, are saturated and trans fat; Cholesterol we eat is not the greatest influence on the cholesterol in our blood.
2) recent studies have shown that eating up to one egg a day didn't raise cholesterol levels or increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people. If you already have elevated cholesterol levels, 3-4 eggs per week are generally allowed. Eggs may be high in dietary cholesterol, but they don't contain much saturated fat. That also true for cholesterol-laden shrimp and other shellfish, which typically are OK in moderation as long as they're not soaked in butter or deep-fried. It looks like to me that nature has its way to package dietary cholesterol existing in eggs or shrimps, so it get digested easily by human without any harm.
3) a new study found that adding a specific combination of heart-healthy foods brought down cholesterol levels as much as first-generation statin drugs - 20% or more. This experiments shown that if a "portfolio" of foods (rich in viscous fiber, plant sterols, monounsaturated fat, see my previous three posts) - each with its own minor cholesterol-lowering benefits - could have a larger effect when eaten together.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Functional beer for menopausal women

Czech Republic's national per capita beer consumption is the world's largest. Recently scientists at the country's Research Institute for Brewing and Malting have created a non-alcoholic beer with 10 times the normal amount of the hormone phytoestrogen that they hope will help menopausal women keep their hormone levels up, thus easing the transition into post-reproductive life. The new drink is considered a breakthrough in the thriving field of "functional beer".

Friday, June 23, 2006

Drinking beer to fight prostate cancer

A main ingredient in beer may help prevent prostate cancer, according to a recent report. This ingredient is called Xanthohumol. Cancer typically results from uncontrolled cell reproduction and growth. Xanthohumol, which belongs to a group of plant compounds called flavonoids, can trigger the so-called programmed cancer cell death and therefore can controls cancer growth.
Xanthohumol is present in such small amounts in most of beers that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to benefit. The good news is that scientists in Germany have already developed a beer that contains 10 times the amount of xanthohumol as traditional brews.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Black raspberries may fight cancer

Many studies reported that black raspberries contain phytochemicals like ellagic acid, carotenoids and anthocyanins, and significant amounts of vitamins C, E, folic vitamins, minerals and other valuable beneficial compounds known to prevent cancer in animals. Recently, Public Health professor Gary Stoner , Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at Ohio State University, published another study which found rats on a berry-rich diet had fewer malignant tumors than those not on the berry regimen. The reduction in tumor response to a carcinogen in the esophagus and the colon was between 40% and 60%, and the reduction in the oral cavity was about 50% as well.
Stoner's new study demonstrated that the berries influenced the metabolism of carcinogens such that the end result is less genetic damage. And they do this by slowing the growth rate of pre-malignant pre-cancerous cells, and they also stimulate these cells to die rather than to grow. The berries also inhibit formation of blood vessels in cancerous tumors, which retard their growth. Stoner says his research group has begun human trials with a focus on pre-cancerous lesions in the esophagus, mouth and colon sites where the compounds can be absorbed most effectively.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Curry preserve brain function

People at India have low rate of Alzheimers disease. Since curries are a dietary staple there, it is natural for researchers to study the medical effect of curry on humans mental health.
It turned out that curry contains a spice called curcumin, which gives curry its yellow color, can curb mental decline and even slow the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers disease.
Firstly, people found curcumin may activate a key enzyme that protects the brain against natural cellular oxidation. Cellular oxidation causes inflammation, which causes cell death, then disease, and then neurodegeneration.
Secondly, Doctors at UCLA's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center have found that curcumin has one additional property not shared by most spices. It directly inhibits the production of amyloid plaques, the sticky substances that directly causes Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin, in fact, seems to cut the number of amyloid plaques in half.
I heard India food has been the most popular international food in UK for the last 2-3 years. In my hometown, I see several India restaurants opened in the last 2 years as well. A healthy trend!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

15 Ways to live longer

According to Forbes, here are 15 Ways to Live Longer:
1. Don't oversleep
2. Be optimistic
3. Have more sex
4. Get a pet
5. Get a VAP(Vertical Auto Profile, a medical test)
6. Be rich
7. Stop smoking
8. Chill out
9. Eat your antioxidants
10. Marry well
11. Exercise
12. Laugh a little
13. Lose weight
14. Manage stress
15. Meditate
Yes, eat more antioxidants !
From warding off heart disease to slowing degeneration diseases, including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and cancer, talk of the health benefits of antioxidants are quite common today. Antioxidants work by neutralizing highly reactive, destructive compounds called free radicals. Research shows that certain types of beans (kidney, pinto, black) are among the best sources of antioxidants, while blueberries and other berries follow close behind

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lemonade could prevent kidney stones

In 2006 American Urological Association annual meeting in Atlanta, two research groups reported that drinking lemonade could help prevent kidney stones.
Kidney stones is one of the most painful of the urologic disorders. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 1 person in 10 develops kidney stones during their lifetime and renal stone disease accounts for 7-10 of every 1000 hospital admissions.
Kidney stones form when there is a high level of calcium, oxalate, or uric acid in the urine; a lack of citrate in the urine; or insufficient water in the kidneys to dissolve waste products. The kidneys must maintain an adequate amount of water in the body to remove waste products. If dehydration occurs, high levels of substances that do not dissolve completely (e.g., calcium, oxalate, uric acid) may form crystals that slowly build up into kidney stones.
Urine normally contains chemicals-citrate, magnesium, pyrophosphate-that prevent the formation of crystals. Low levels of these inhibitors can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Of these, citrate is thought to be the most important. Lemons are rich in citrate. Clinical research demonstrated that the regular consumption of the refreshing drink- or even lemon juice mixed with water increased the production of urinary citrate. That is why drinking lemonade could help prevent kidney stones.
Simple idea, easy logic. Why didn't I have this idea before ?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hospital foods that NOT heal

Do you remember what typical hospital foods taste like in United States? I visited my mother in-law last weekend. The hospital foods she ate, looked like to me, were identical with that of 30-40 years ago. Years ago, those food may be considered as tasty and nutritious; but according to today's standard, they are lousy and bad for patients whom were already staffed with pizza, burger and trans-fat laden cookies.
What was on my mother-in-law's dinner tray in the hospital ?
White bread and margarine - white bread are not as healthy as whole grain; margarine is laden with trans fats.
Canned peaches - can't hospital bring fresh fruit? they are more nutritious. Canned fruit may contain pesticide residues.
Whole milk - which is fat filled and taken from cows injected with hormones.
Gelatin - which is low-nutrient, high-calorie, artificially colored jellied sugar water; they are for kid only, NOT for patients.
Juice - Juice from hospital are processed from concentrate rather than whole fruits.
Meat - those meat were from animals raised on antibiotics and hormones; which served with refined starches and pesticide-laced veggies.
People in US have paid so much in their health care cost; they deserve to eat some thing healthier when they are in hospitals.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Eggs, cholesterol and heart attacks

Maybe this is from my mom, I love to eat very freshly boiled eggs. Eggs are an affordable major dietary source of cholesterol and high-quality protein. Being bombarded with media about how eating eggs which rich in cholesterol can elevate the concentration of LDL (bad cholesterol), and therefore individual's risks of atherosclerosis and heart attacks, my wife set limit of one egg per week for me.
However, I noticed there are stream of scientific studies suggesting that we may exaggerated the heart risks posed by eggs' cholesterol.
A 1999 study of 38,000 participants from Harvard School of Public Health reported no increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in men or women who ate more than one egg per day.
A 2000 study of 27,000 people from Michigan State University found that cholesterol was lower in people who ate more than four eggs per week than among people who eschewed eggs.
The latest study reported earlier this year showed that when people ate three or more eggs per day their bodies made bigger LDL (bad cholesterol) - and HDL-lipoprotein (the good cholesterol) particles than when they ate no eggs. That's important because larger LDLs are less likely than small ones to enter artery walls and contribute their cholesterol load to artery-clogging plaque. (Not all bad cholesterol are bad, that is). Similarly, larger HDLs are more robust than smaller ones at hauling cholesterol out of the bloodstream and, ultimately, out of the body. This finding may help explaining above mentioned 1999 and 2000 experiments.
The authors of the same study also confirmed that lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for much of an egg yolk's color, appear to diminish an individual's risk of macular degeneration (a disease which is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65). Moreover, lutein appears to inhibit processes that jumpstart the development of atherosclerosis.
For me, I have convinced my wife that I can consume 2 eggs per week, top.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Coffee delivers more health benefits than fruit and veg

After measuring the antioxidant content of more than 100 items, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, oils and beverages, scientists found that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants, taking account of the amount per serving and level of consumption. Black tea came second, followed by bananas, dry beans and corn. According to the researcher, "Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source - nothing else comes close".
Studies have associated moderate coffee consumption with a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hot pepper treat pancreatic cancer

University of Pittsburgh pharmacologist Sanjay Srivastava and his colleagues recently reported that they found that capsaicin--the chemical that makes hot peppers hot--induced apoptosis in mice with human pancreatic cancer, an aggressive and usually fatal disease. Treated mice had tumors half the size of their untreated peers. Capsaicin triggered the cancerous cells to die off and significantly reduced the size of the tumors. Experts point out that many compounds shown to stop cancer in mice are not nearly as effective in human cancer patients. Pancreatic cancer is highly deadly, killing 31,000 of the 32,000 it will be diagnosed in this year.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Ginger root kill ovarian cancer cells

Obstetrician J. Rebecca Liu of the University of Michigan and her colleagues reported that ginger powder, roughly the same as that sold in supermarkets, killed ovarian cancer cells in vitro both by triggering apoptosis and inducing them to cannibalize themselves, a phenomenon known as autophagy. "Most ovarian cancer patients develop recurrent disease that eventually becomes resistant to standard chemotherapy, which is associated with resistance to apoptosis," Liu explains. "If ginger can cause autophagic death in addition to apoptosis, it may circumvent that resistance." "Patients are using natural products either in place of or in conjunction with chemotherapy and we don't know if they work or how they work," Liu adds. "There's no good clinical data." To that end, these new findings may well be seeds of change.
However, the study on ginger was done using cells in a lab dish, which is a long way from finding that it works in actual cancer patients, but it is the first step to testing the idea. Ovarian cancer kills 16,000 out of the 22,000 U.S. women who are diagnosed with it every year.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage fight prostate cancer

In the recent American Association for Cancer conference, Pharmacologists have demonstared that when cruciferous vegetables--such as cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage--are chewed helps control human prostate tumors grafted into mice. Phenethyl-isothiocyanate, or PEITC, prompted the prostate cancer cells to kill themselves in a process called apoptosis. By the end of a 31-day treatment cycle, treated mice had tumors nearly two times smaller than their counterparts. The lead author of this study, Shivendra Singh, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and urology and codirector of the Cancer Biochemoprevention Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, believes that prostate cancer is one of the malignancies that can be prevented by certain foods. He says: "from epidemiologic data, we know that increased consumption of vegetables reduces the risk for certain types of cancer, but now we are beginning to understand the mechanisms by which certain edible vegetables like broccoli help our bodies fight cancer and other diseases."

Friday, April 07, 2006

What is nutrigenomics ?

Nutrigenomics is a new field that tailors your food to your genes. Built around the idea that one person's medicine is another's poison, nutrigenomics, and its related technologies of proteomics (the proteins that genes order up) and metabolomics (the soup of molecules that results from metabolic activity), provide a personalized dietary road map. Customizing one's diet to one's genes and metabolism isn't anything like the traditional, one-size-fits-all food pyramid.
Imagine a doctor's being able to quickly identify a patient's DNA profile for type 2 diabetes or obesity and then get a dynamic snapshot of the patient's metabolic response to a particular diet. Food shopping might be like going to the shoe store. You'd have the size and, combined with your taste and energy expenditure, you'd select what fits.
Nutrigenomics might be the answer to our epidemic of obesity and metabolic syndrome. It could even improve how we age, better our bone and brain health, and lower our risks for certain cancers. But this approach is several years away, as our knowledge of chronic disease susceptibility genes is limited, and metabolomics is an entirely new endeavor. Although few companies are already pushing DNA diets, I believe this is way premature.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Foods to prevent bad breath

Bad breath results from two key issues: oral hygiene and gastrointestinal health. Basically this means that breath odors originate not just inside the mouth but also from your digestive tract. The culprit in both cases is largely bacteria. Here are some things you can ingest (or chew) that can help.
1. Chew on fresh coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamom, or make drinking tonics by steeping them in hot water (as a tea), are all good for fighting bad breath. says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, who has lectured on oral health. You can chew on fresh herbs or make tonics by steeping them in hot water (as a tea). These herbs make an excellent digestive as well - doubling the benefits of ending a meal this way.
2. Get some yogurt. A recent study found that a serving of yogurt each day reduces the level of odor-causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. Apparently it also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth-plaque and gum disease were reduced in the study's yogurt eaters as well. Plus, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends getting enough vitamin D from yogurt, cheese and milk if you're worried about halitosis because this vitamin creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. Be sure to get the kind of yogurt with active cultures-not overly processed or sugar-added varieties.
3. Eat more fruit like apples, carrots, celery-basically any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable is your friend when it comes to fighting halitosis. "Inside your mouth, plaque build-up causes odors," explains Cynthia Sass, ADA spokeswoman and registered dietician. "Eating foods that increase saliva production keep the mouth moist-and rinsed out. Also, many carbs and proteins can get stuck in your teeth-even healthy foods like whole grain cereal or chicken breast."
4. Eat berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C-rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing gum disease and gingivitis-oth major causes of halitosis. Get your C in foods, not supplements, which can cause gastrointestinal upset in some, according to Sass, and exacerbate bad breath.