Thursday, December 25, 2008

Apples and Health

 Apples and Health
Apples may help reduce cholesterol

By Peggy Trowbridge Filippone,

There is a lot of truth in the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that has been shown to reduce cholesterol. This pectin also appears to target "bad" cholesterol (LDL) according to recent tests. Eating two apples per day has dropped cholesterol levels in test subject humans by up to 16 percent.

Apples are also good for diabetics as the soluble fiber assists in regulating blood sugar, preventing a sudden increase or drop in serum sugar levels.

Medical studies in health benefits show that a number of components in apples, especially fiber, phytonutrients, and antixoidant flavonoids, have been found to lower blood cholesterol, improve bowel function, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, prostate cancer, type II diabetes, lung disease, asthma, and age-related memory loss.

Apples are full of vitamins and minerals. There is no significant variation in the numbers between the different varieties. To get the greatest nutritional benefits, enjoy your apple unpeeled--that's where two-thirds of the fiber and many of the antioxidants are located.

One medium-sized raw, cored, unpeeled apple has only 80 calories

The Americans have a long way to go, however, to meet the "apple-a-day" recommendation. The average U.S. consumer eats just over 19 pounds of fresh apples a year, or about one apple per week, compared to Europeans, who ingest an average of 46 pounds per year. It's time for Americans to take that one-apple-a-day dietary recommendation more seriously.
In Malaysia and others Asian countries apples are considered quite expensive. Not everyone can afford to buy or to have it everyday. But luckly they can replace it with local fruits such as pineapple or guava. In India apples are the most expensive fruit.

Apple Nutrition Facts

· Apples don't have fat, cholesterol or sodium, which may help you maintain heart health and a healthy weight.

· Apples do have lots of fiber - both soluble and insoluble kinds. Fiber may help promote heart health and maintain regularity.

· Apples contain small amounts of potassium, which may promote heart health and help maintain healthy blood pressure.

· Apples rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate.

Fun Apple Facts
  • Apples are a member of the rose family.
  • Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C.
  • Hippocrates, the Greek physician considered the father of medicine, was a proponent of nutritional healing. His favorite remedies were apples, dates, and barley mush.
  • Although apples are now considered as American as apple pie, they weren't native to this country. Apples were brought here by the Pilgrims, who found North America's native apple species--crabapples--to be inedible.
  • In colonial times, apples were called "winter banana" or "melt-in-the-mouth."
  • Why do apples float? Because 25% of an apple's volume is air.
  • It takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce just one apple.
  • The whole process of digesting a raw apple takes only 85 minutes, which makes an apple one of the easiest vegetable substances for the stomach to deal with.
  • China is the world's largest apples producer. The United States came second.
  • Approximately one out of every four apples harvested in the United States is exported.
  • Apples have long been associated with love and marriage. In ancient Greece, an apple constituted a marriage proposal. A man would toss an apple to his beloved, and if she caught it, it meant she had accepted his offer. An Irish and Scottish custom called for throwing an apple peel over your shoulder, which, when it landed, would form the initial of your lover's name. Even the tradition of throwing rice (or now, birdseed) at a wedding is rooted in an ancient practice in which apples were thrown at the newlyweds. Rice and birdseed probably result in a lot less bruising...on both the apples and the bridal couple.
  • Apples were one of the foods selected for the first space flight around Earth.
Source: © 2008 Frontier Natural Products Co-op. &   ©2008, a part of The New York Times Company

Eggs in a Healthy Diet

Eggs in a Healthy Diet

By Shereen Jegtvig, Guide to Nutrition since 2004
Thursday October 2, 2008

Eggs were taken off of many people's diet food lists because they contain a lot of cholesterol. That's unfortunate, because eggs also contain lots of important nutrients. Actually, there are plenty of studies showing that eating one egg each day will not raise your cholesterol or lower your HDL, so almost everyone can enjoy eggs as part of a healthy diet.
Eggs are one of nature's near-perfect foods. They contain an easily digestible form of protein, plus loads of other valuable compounds and nutrients. With rare exceptions, there isn't any reason to avoid them, despite what you may have heard.

The reasons dietitians and traditional medical experts have recommended avoiding eggs in the past is because of two substances in eggs that continue to suffer from a terrible reputation: cholesterol and fat. Fat is a subject worth a column all its own, so we'll save that for another time. Right now, let's look closely at cholesterol.

Cholesterol is crucial for every cell in the body, and around 80 percent of cholesterol in the body is produced by the body itself, regardless of how much of it you eat or don't eat.

Most of your body's cholesterol is found within the cells, where it has all kinds of positive effects. Only about 7 percent of the body's store of cholesterol is in the blood, and even then it doesn't do any real damage until it oxidises and begins to stick to our arterial walls. Nature, in her infinite wisdom, also created the egg complete with its own built-in antioxidant. It's called lecithin, and it helps prevent egg cholesterol from becoming a problem. Interestingly, lecithin is found in the yolk, which many people mistakenly discard because it contains cholesterol.

The real point is this: Dietary cholesterol has virtually no effect on serum cholesterol (in our blood). Even Dr. Ancel Keys, author of the famous 'Seven Countries' study that gave rise to the whole fat/cholesterol/heart disease madness in the first place, has said: 'There's no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the bloo d. None. And we've known that all along.'

The points is whatever you take in your diet, you need to do some exercise to maintain your health.

Source: © 2008, a part of The New York Times Company.

© iVillage Limited 2000-2008. All rights reserved.

Yoghurt can benefit bladder cancer

Yoghurt can benefit bladder cancer, say researchers
By Shane Starling, 21-Oct-2008
Related topics: Phytochemicals, plant extracts, Probiotics and prebiotics, Cancer risk reduction, Probiotics

Two servings of yoghurt per day can reduce the risk of developing bladder cancer by up to 40 per cent, say Swedish scientists.

The researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm concluded those that consumed two yoghurt pots or yoghurt mini drinks were less likely to develop bladder cancer than those that ate no or little yoghurt.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, assessed 82,000 patients over nine years. Participants that had eaten yoghurt were more likely to remain cancer-free than those that hadn?t.

They found yoghurt consumption reduced the risk of cancer in men by 36 per cent and in women by 45 per cent. Other dairy products did not reveal such benefits and the researchers suggested this was down to the inherent functional ity present in many yoghurts and not just those with boosted probiotic levels.

"Cultured milk products, such as yoghurt, contain lactic acid bacteria, which have been shown to suppress bladder cancer in rats," said the researchers. "Our research suggests a high intake may reduce the risk."
?Total dairy intake was not significantly associated with risk of bladder cancer. However, a statistically significant inverse association was observed for the intake of cultured milk (sour milk and yoghurt).?

Healthy lifestyle
The researchers noted people that regularly ate yoghurt were more likely to value and pursue a healthy lifestyle and therefore be less likely to suffer from diseases such as bladder cancer.

The bladder cancer rates in the study may have been co-implicated with other factors such as the fact half of all cases of bladder cancer in men and a third of those in women are caused by smoking.
Around 10,000 people in Britain are diagnosed each year with the cancer that can spread to other parts of the body if it is goes undetected. The annual death rate is about 5000.

Globally, about 336,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer, according to the European School of Oncology. It is three times more likely to affect men than women.

Although at 82,000, the sample was large, there are some that question the value of studies based on dietary questionnaires because accurate responses cannot be guaranteed. People forget or are expedient with their responses to conceal dietary waywardness.

Other foods known to benefit bladder health are cruciferous vegetables. Researchers writing in the journal, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, found earlier this year that consuming raw cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli could slash the risk of bladder cancer by 36 per cent.

But only raw vegetables carried the benefit, they wrote.
"We found that only intake of raw cruciferous vegetables, but not cooked, fruit or other vegetables, showed a strong and statistically significant inverse association with bladder cancer risk."

That study, published in April, built on a study published earlier in the year that claimed to be the first epidemiological study linking isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetable to a reduced risk of bladder cancer.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008 88: Pp 1083-1087
"Cultured milk, yogurt, and dairy intake in relation to bladder cancer risk in a prospective study of Swedish women and men"
Authors: Susanna C Larsson, Swen-Olof Andersson, Jan-Erik Johansson and Alicja Wolk

Magnesium for a brain boost

Keep your mind sharp with magnesium. Research shows that this mineral helps regulate a key brain receptor that plays an important role in learning and memory. Experts believe that magnesium deficiency may result in reduced ability to learn and memorise things, while cognitive function may be improved by an abundance of magnesium.

Take action:

Include at least one portion of a magnesium-rich food, such as green, leafy vegetables or beans in your diet every day. Make sure that you also include calcium-rich foods, such as milk, yoghurt or cheese, in your diet - or else the magnesium won't be absorbed.
Source © Health24 2000-2008. All rights reserved.

Magnesium-rich foods ward off stroke in smokers
Published: Wednesday, March 26
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Diets rich magnesium, found in whole grains and vegetables, could help reduce stroke risk in smokers, researchers reported on Monday.

Their study of 26,000 male smokers in Finland found that those whose diets were high in magnesium had a significantly lower risk of one type of stroke.

While the mechanism is not clear, it may be that magnesium helps reduce high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke if untreated.

Raw broccoli is an excellent source of magnesium. Diets rich in magnesium, found in whole grains and vegetables, could help reduce stroke risk in smokers, researchers reported on Monday.
Raw broccoli is an excellent source of magnesium. Diets rich in magnesium, found in whole grains and vegetables, could help reduce stroke risk in smokers, researchers reported on Monday.
Susanna Larsson and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said the stroke finding was an offshoot of a study whose main purpose was to look at possible lung cancer therapies.

Cigarette smoking is strongly linked to stroke and it is the leading cause of heart disease and cancer.
The study of 26,556 Finnish men followed for more than 13 years found that those who consumed an average of 589 milligrams of magnesium each day in their diets had a 15 percent lower risk for cerebral infarction -- a stroke that occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked -- than those who consumed less magnesium.

The effect was stronger for men younger than 60 and the study also found that calcium, potassium and sodium intake were not associated with risk for any type of stroke, the researchers reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The y said it remains to be seen if taking magnesium dietary supplements would produce the same result.
"In addition to lowering blood pressure, magnesium may influence cholesterol concentrations or the body's use of insulin to turn glucose into energy. Either of these mechanisms would affect the risk for cerebral infarction but not hemorrhage (the cause of other types of strokes)," Larsson's team wrote.
Besides whole grains, foods high in magnesium are black beans, broccoli, halibut, peanuts, oysters, rockfish and spinach.

(Editing by Maggie Fox)
Source © Reuters 2008

Good Fish & Bad Fish

F ish is an excellent source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A diet rich in fish oil may help reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are also essential for brain and eye development. The American Heart Association suggests that we each eat at least two servings of oily fish each week to help keep our hearts healthy.

So when is fish not so good for your health?
Almost all fish is contaminated with trace amounts of mercury. While most healthy adults have no problem eliminating the mercury from their bodies, children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid some types of fish and shellfish to reduce their risk of mercury exposure.

Fish that contain the highest level of mercury are larger and older sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. It is probably a good idea for most people to avoid eating much of these fish. They can be replaced with other fish and shellfish such as shrimp, pollock, canned light tuna, salmon and catfish, which all contain much less mercury.
Most other fish fall somewhere in between. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a complete listing of the mercury levels in commercial seafood and fish. It is also interesting to note that deep-frying fish may increase the concentration of mercury in fish.

Besides mercury, fish can be a problem if it isn't prepared properly. Deep fried or served with a heavy, fat- and calorie-dense sauce will turn healthy fish into an unhealthy meal fast.

Another potential problem is eating undercooked fish, which may lead to a parasite infection. When cooking fish at home, make sure you cook your fish until it is flaky and tender; the meat should show no signs of translucency. And do not cross contaminate raw fish with uncooked or ready to serve foods; use separate utensils and plates for handling each.
Other Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you are concerned about mercury, or if you just don't want to eat fish, you need to get omega-3 fatty acids from other sources. There ar e many plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as canola oil, flax seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
The type of omega-3 fatty acids found in plants is called alpha linolenic acid. It is not exactly the same as the fats found in fish, but your body has the capability to transform alpha linolenic acid to both EPA and DHA.
What About Fish Oil Supplements?
Most people can get all of the omega-3 fatty acids they need from their diets, but EPA and DHA are also available as dietary supplements. Many people elect to take these supplements with the hope of reducing inflammation and their risk of cardiovascular disease.

DHA supplementation may be the most beneficial for babies. The developing brain accumulates large amounts of DHA during the third trimester of pregnancy through the first three months of infancy. Women can take DHA supplements during their pregnancy and in the initial months of breastfeeding to be sure their babies receive enough DHA for normal cognitive development.

Burger J, Dixon C, Boring CS, Gochfeld M. "Effect of deep-frying fish on risk from mercury." J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2003 May 9;66(9):817-28.

Cetin I, Koletzko B. "Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid supply in pregnancy and lactation." Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 May;11(3):297-302.

FDA/Center for Food Safety & Applied Nutrition. "What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish." Updated February 2005.[/link]

Source: © 2008, a part of The New York Times Company.