Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jon's Health Tips - Latest Health Research

Lots of research in the last two weeks, mostly reinforcing what I already know is good for me and I make part of my regular regimen.

1. Exercise

A. Moderate exercise improves brain blood flow

A steady, healthy flow of blood to the brain achieves two things. First, the blood brings oxygen, glucose and other nutrients to the brain, which are vital for the brain's health. Second, the blood washes away brain metabolic wastes such as amyloid-beta protein released into the brain's blood vessels. Amyloid-beta protein has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

B. Brief Intense Exercise Better Than Endurance Training for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

C. Exercise may prevent stress on telomeres, a measure of cell health

D. Older and stronger: Progressive resistance training

2. Apples

'Apple a day' advice rooted in science

Apples are truly a "miracle fruit" that convey benefits beyond fiber content. Apple pectin and polyphenols in apple improve lipid metabolism and lower the production of pro-inflammatory molecules.

The results surprised Dr. Arjmandi, who stated that "incredible changes in the apple-eating women happened by 6 months- they experienced a 23% decrease in LDL cholesterol," which is known as the "bad cholesterol." The daily apple consumption also led to a lowering of lipid hydroperoxide levels and C-reactive protein in those women.

"I never expected apple consumption to reduce bad cholesterol to this extent while increasing HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol by about 4%," Arjmandi said

"Reducing body weight is an added benefit to daily apple intake" he said. Part of the reason for the weight loss could be the fruit's pectin, which is known to have a satiety effect.

3. Alcohol

A. Drinking alcohol primes certain areas of our brain to learn and remember better, says a new study.


B. More Alcohol Consumption Over 40 = Less Death


C. Excess Alcohol Consumption Causes Cancer?

A substantial number of cancer cases in both men and women can be attributed to excess alcohol consumption, according to a study published online April 7.

(I’m not impressed with this study.)

4. Blueberries

Blueberries may inhibit development of fat cells

The benefits of blueberry consumption have been demonstrated in several nutrition studies, more specifically the cardio-protective benefits derived from their high polyphenol content. Blueberries have shown potential to have a positive effect on everything from aging to metabolic syndrome. Recently, a researcher showed that blueberries polyphenols fight adipogenesis, which is the development of fat cells, and induce lipolysis, which is the breakdown of lipids/fat.

5 Green tea

Green tea enhances bone health and reduces inflammation

Dozens of epidemiological (observational) studies have shown that people who consume the highest levels of green tea polyphenols (GTP) tend to have lower risks of several chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. These findings have been followed up with animal studies, including some conducted by Shen, suggesting that the mechanism behind this correlation may have to do with lowering chronic levels of inflammation.

In Shen's most recent research, she found that green tea enhances bone health and reduces inflammation in postmenopausal women.

7. Vitamin D

A. Vitamin D may help reduce heart risk in African-Americans

Supplementation of 60,000 IU monthly improves vascular function

In recent years supplementation with Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people who are deficient in the vitamin. Now new research indicates that supplementation with the "sunshine vitamin" may be particularly beneficial for overweight African-American adults, a population at increased risk for both CVD and Vitamin D deficiency.


B. Vitamin D Levels Linked With Health of Blood Vessels


C. Use of vitamin D supplementation is clearly tricky

For example, in the colon, vitamin D seems to reduce the risk of cancer development, but it may not have any effect on later stage colon cancer. There is also concern that vitamin D may increase the risk of prostate, esophagus and pancreatic cancer. In work she has conducted in endometrial cancer, Hilakivi-Clarke found that although vitamin D was not beneficial in lean mice, in obese animals it reverses both early and advanced stages of the cancer.

8. Orange juice

Drinking 100 percent fruit juice may offer disease-fighting benefits

Highlights from a new report summarizing recent research on the potential benefits of fruit juice suggest a positive association between intake of 100 percent juice and reduced risk for several chronic diseases, including cancer, markers for cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline.

Among the fruit juices included in the review, consumption of apple, citrus, cranberry, grape, and pomegranate juices all showed beneficial effects. Markers of improved health ranged from reductions in urinary tract infections (cranberry) to improvements in age-related cognitive decline (grape and apple) to reduced risk of prostate (pomegranate) and respiratory and digestive (orange, grapefruit) cancers. Additionally, intake of all juices was linked to heightened antioxidant activity.

9. Nuts

Pistachios deliver weight management support, heart health benefits

10. Strawberries

Strawberries may slow precancerous growth in the esophagus

11. Statins

Pneumonia Death Rate Lower Among People Who Take Statins

12. Aspirin

Aspirin may lower the risk of pancreatic cancer

The use of aspirin at least once per month is associated with a significant decrease in pancreatic cancer risk.

I’m not ready to take up this heart healthy activity more than once a year, however:

Routine periodic fasting is good for your health

Fasting found to reduce cardiac risk factors, such as triglycerides, weight, and blood sugar levels

Or add much of this to my diet:

Maple syrup's health benefits

Pure maple syrup may pack similar health benefits to those found in berries, tea, red wine and flax seed

And, apparently, I’m doomed:

Frequent Shopping Prolongs Life, Study Suggests:

Those who shopped daily were 27% less likely to die, with male daily shoppers 28% less likely to die, compared with female shoppers who were 23% less likely to die.

Other articles of interest:
Caffeine and diabetes -- helpful or harmful?
Got a craving for fast food? Skip the coffee
Vegans' elevated heart risk requires omega-3s and B12
Vitamins & Supplements: Safety First
New Analysis of Essential Mineral Selenium
Eat candy without adverse health effects
3 square meals a day paired with lean protein help people feel full during weight loss

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