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.