Monday, August 26, 2013

Green Tea Consumption Lowers Stroke Risk by Nearly Thirty Percent

Stroke is a devastating medical event that debilitates more than 800,000 Americans each year and kills nearly 150,000. Along with cardiovascular disease, many people continue to think that vascular diseases are a normal part of the aging process and take the statistics and mortality figures in stride. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Arterial stiffness and the buildup of plaque in arteries around the heart, neck and brain are the result of excess refined carbohydrate and wheat consumption, lack of physical activity, stress and smoking. Fortunately there are a host of natural foods and nutrients that can help support a healthy lifestyle to help lower the risk of suffering a life changing, deadly stroke.

Green Tea Supplies a Powerful Dose of Antioxidant Catechins to Slash Stroke Risk
A group of researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Japan have published the result of an important study in Stroke, the Journal of the American Heart Association that explains how drinking green tea on a regular basis is associated with a dramatically reduced risk of stroke. Lead study author, Dr. Yoshihiro Kokubo commented “The regular action of drinking green tea daily is a benefit in preventing stroke… if you cannot readily improve your lifestyle, try to prevent stroke by drinking green tea every day.”

To conduct their study, scientists’ monitored green tea intake for a total of 83,269 Japanese adults, aged 45 to 74 years, for an average of thirteen years to see whether it had any effect on vascular health. In the first large scale study of its kind performed to date, researchers reviewed medical records for all participants and adjusted for factors such as age, sex, diet, smoking status, and weight. They determined that making small but positive lifestyle changes such as adding green tea daily to your diet can lower the risk of stroke by as much as thirty percent.

Drink Two to Four Cups of Green Tea Daily to Maximize the Anti-Inflammatory Health Benefits
Detailing the results of their study, researchers found that drinking two to four cups of green tea each day lowered the risk for hemorrhagic stroke by 32 percent. The team also investigated the effect of drinking coffee and found the beverage can yield similar results to those found with green tea consumption. Many health-minded people avoid coffee due to the highly processed nature of the bean and increased levels of homocysteine, blood pressure and blood lipids.

Researchers concluded that green tea provides a healthy dose of catechins that are potent antioxidants and exert anti-inflammatory properties that help lower stroke risk. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid that helps modulate blood sugar levels to improve vascular health. Green coffee bean extract supplements supply chlorogenic acid without the side effects experienced with coffee consumption. Lower your stroke risk by drinking up to four cups of fresh brewed, organic green tea every day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bitter Melon Juice May Help to Prevent and Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult forms of the disease to diagnose and treat, and prognosis of the illness is extremely poor as it takes the lives of nearly 50,000 men and women in the US each year. The pancreas is responsible for releasing digestive enzymes to aid the breakdown of food and stimulates the production of insulin to move sugar from the blood to the cells for fuel. The disease is on the rise along with the epidemic increase in new diabetes cases and obesity rates over the past half century, and most notably during the last few years.

Bitter Melon Juice Regulates Pancreatic Metabolism to Dramatically Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A group of scientists working at the Colorado University Cancer Center in Denver have released the results of a study in the journal Carcinogenesis, demonstrating how bitter melon juice restricts the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to metabolize glucose, thus cutting the cells' energy source and eventually killing them. In the past, researchers have shown that bitter melon juice kills breast cancer cells in a Petri-dish culture medium. This study provides compelling evidence that the natural extract effectively neutralizes pancreatic cancer cells.

Lead study author, Dr. Rajesh Agarwal commented “We used the juice… people especially in Asian countries are already consuming it in quantity. We show that it affects the glucose metabolism pathway to restrict energy and kill pancreatic cancer cells.” Scientists became interested in the connection between pancreatic cancer and bitter melon juice because diabetics are known to be at much higher risk of developing the disease and bitter melon has been shown to effect diabetes through centuries of use in China and India.

Limit Dietary Sugar and Monitor Body Weight to Prevent Metabolic Breakdown that Fuels Pancreatic Cancer
Using a mouse model to determine the effect of bitter melon juice on pancreatic cancer cells, the researchers found that the juice regulates insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells. After analyzing cell cultures, the team showed that mouse models of pancreatic cancer that were fed bitter melon juice were sixty percent less likely to develop the disease than controls. After a detailed examination, scientists found that bitter melon juice alters pancreatic cancer cell metabolism and activates the AMP-activated protein kinase, an enzyme that indicates low energy levels in the cells.

Noting that bitter melon juice may provide a natural treatment to pancreatic cancer that avoids the use of toxic pharmaceuticals, Dr. Agarwal concluded “It's a very exciting finding… many researchers are engineering new drugs to target cancer cells' ability to supply themselves with energy, and here we have a naturally-occurring compound that may do just that.” Closely monitoring body weight and sugar intake to avoid metabolic dysfunction may help to protect against pancreatic cancer. Health-minded individuals may want to supplement with bitter melon extract (500 mg/day) to provide an added level of protection against this devastating disease.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Meal Timing Influences Weight Loss as Much as Total Calories Consumed

Virtually all western cultures are presently fighting an obesity epidemic, as processed convenience foods dominate total calories consumed. Homemade meals that include fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein sources have become a rare event over the past half century, placing the health of millions at risk. Most people are aware that the total number of calories eaten and physical activity play an important role in weight management, but new research is beginning to demonstrate that the timing of meals and types of foods consumed may help prompt weight loss as much as the actual calories eaten.

Meal Timing is a Critical and Independent Factor that can Help Promote Weight Loss
A research team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has found that meal timing is a critical factor necessary to shed pounds. Publishing in the International Journal of Obesity, scientists reveal that it's not simply what you eat, but also when you eat, that may help with weight-loss regulation. Study author Dr. Frank Sheer noted “This is the first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness.”

To conduct the study and determine the importance of food timing with respect to weight loss, researchers studied 420 overweight participants from Spain who followed a 20-week weight-loss treatment program. The participants were divided into two groups (early-eaters, main meal before 3 PM and late-eaters, main meal after 3 PM) based on the self-selected timing of the main meal, which was lunch in this cohort of Mediterranean volunteers. Participants consumed forty percent of their daily calories at lunchtime, widely considered to be the main meal in Spain.

Eat Breakfast Every Day and Avoid Between Meal and Late Night Snacking
The team found that late-eaters lost significantly less weight than early-eaters, and displayed a much slower rate of weight-loss. Late-eaters also had a lower estimated insulin sensitivity, placing them at significantly higher risk for diabetes. Dr. Sheer concluded “This is the first large-scale prospective study to demonstrate that the timing of meals predicts weight-loss effectiveness… novel therapeutic strategies should incorporate not only the caloric intake and macronutrient distribution, as it is classically done, but also the timing of food.”

Interestingly, the researchers found that late-eaters losing the least amount of weight also consumed fewer calories during breakfast and were more likely to skip the first daily meal altogether, supporting previous studies concluding the importance of eating a high protein breakfast to stimulate weight loss. Scientists also accounted for other traditional factors that play a role in weight loss such as total calorie intake and expenditure, the appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin, and sleep duration, and found no differences between the two groups, indicating that meal timing is a critical and independent risk factor for weight loss.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Vegetarian Diet Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease by One-Third

Common sense dictates that a diet filed with fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes that eliminate excessive red and processed meats, fried foods and sugary sweets will benefit overall health as it naturally extends lifespan. Many people rely heavily on fast convenience and processed foods that are virtually void of any bioactive nutrients and actually stimulate the storage of body fat and encourage development and progression of most chronic illnesses that shorten our lives.

Vegetarian Diet Lowers Blood Pressure and Improves Blood Lipid Biomarkers to Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK have published the result of a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that explains how the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is thirty-two percent lower in vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in all western societies, taking the lives of more than 700,000 men and women each year in the US alone.

In the largest study of its kind conducted in the UK, scientists compared rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Lead study author Dr. Francesca Crowe noted Most of the difference in risk is probably caused by effects on cholesterol and blood pressure, and shows the important role of diet in the prevention of heart disease.” Researchers analyzed the diet of nearly 45,000 British and Scottish volunteers enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Thirty-four percent of the participants were vegetarian.

Eat Five to Nine daily Servings of Raw of Lightly Steamed Vegetables Every Day to Slash Heart Disease
Volunteers completed a lifestyle questionnaire detailing diet and exercise as well as other factors affecting health such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Almost 20,000 participants had their blood pressures recorded, and gave blood samples for cholesterol testing. Participants were tracked for nearly twenty years and researchers identified 1,235 cases of heart disease, which resulted in 169 deaths and 1,066 hospital diagnoses.

The study authors concluded “The results clearly show that the risk of heart disease in vegetarians is about a third lower than in comparable non-vegetarians.” Researchers found that vegetarians had lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels than non-vegetarians, which is thought to be the main reason behind their reduced risk of heart disease. The findings reinforce the idea that diet is critical to prevent heart disease. Nutrition experts recommend five to nine daily servings of fresh leafy greens and vegetables of all colors to halt chronic illnesses and lower risk from heart disease by one-third.