Sunday, February 11, 2007

Want to lose weight? Eat what our ancestors ate

Ever wondering what will happen to our health if we turned away refrigerator-foods, and only eat diet our ape-like ancestors once ate, in the hunter-gatherer style ?
BBC has an interesting article about how 9 volunteers ate an ape-like diet for a couple weeks.

"They set up home in a tented enclosure at Paignton Zoo, Devon, next to the ape house, in an experiment filmed for TV. The idea, says Jill Fullerton-Smith, who helped organise the trial, was that modern diets, often dominated by processed foods and saturated fats, cause costly health problems".

They ate what is described as "a three-day rotating menu of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey" and you've probably already guessed the results. They were just fine. In fact, they were better than fine. Here's how it breaks down:

"Overall, the cholesterol levels dropped 23%, an amount usually achieved only through anti-cholesterol drugs statins. The group's average blood pressure fell from a level of 140/83 - almost hypertensive - to 122/76. Though it was not intended to be a weight loss diet, they dropped 4.4kg (9.7lbs), on average. At the same time, they increased the soluble fibre which binds cholesterol in the gut, so that it is expelled, and increased the intake of plant sterols - which help to lower cholesterol".

And, some of the participants were so full from the abundant vegetables in their diet that they weren't able to finish their daily allotments. No matter, they reportedly had excellent energy levels and were in a good mood.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Foods to help you fight high cholesterol

To reduce cholesterol level, most people either eat foods with zero/low contents of cholesterol, or taking drugs (such as statin drug). But there are natural options out there as I blogged before (part1, part2, part3). Yesterday one of my friend pointed me to an article which summarized 10 top foods which can help fighting high cholesterol. Below are those 10 foods:
1. Shitake Mushrooms; 2. Walnuts; 3. Uncooked Soy; 4. Blueberries; 5. Salmon; 6. Garlic; 7. Avocado; 8. Black Beans; 9. Apples; 10. Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables
On this article, the comment made on the No.1 food (Shitake Mushrooms) is "... has been found to lower cholesterol levels in animal studies". I like to see some human studies before I get too excited about Shitake Mushrooms. All other foods are consistent with what I have known.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ginger root, home-grown remedie for cold

In this cold season, friends, family, and co-workers will likely offer their tried-and-true remedies for warding off an impending cold. But how many of these home-grown remedies actually work? Last month, my boss at work recommend Echinacea when I got a cold. This herb has a long history of being used to fight colds and flu. Some studies have found that Echinacea lessened the duration of symptoms when taken at the first sign of a cold. The home-grown remedie I have been using for many years is Ginger root soup (add a lot of honey). My mother used it on me when I was a kid, and I think it works for me quite well, especially if used in the early stage of cold/flu.