Saturday, March 28, 2009

Vegetarian diet cuts cancer risk

Compared to meat-eaters, individuals following a vegetarian diet are reported to be less likely to suffer from various cancers.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vegetarians and fish-eaters are less likely to develop cancer. The study shows eating less meat lowers the overall risk of suffering from cancer.

While previous studies had linked red meat to higher colorectal cancer risk, the new study reported this type of cancer to be more frequent among the vegans.

Scientists concluded that diet and different lifestyle factors play a critical role in determining an individual's risk of suffering from cancer.

They therefore urged individuals to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, adding that adopting a vegetarian diet with the aim of lowering the risk of cancer needs more research.

Intelligent people live longer?

Having a lower IQ is reported to be strongly associated with a higher risk of death from accidents, coronary heart disease and suicide.

According to a Wellcome Trust study conducted in the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow, cognitive ability determines an individual's risk of death. Individuals who score higher on IQ tests are believed to exhibit healthier behaviors, smoke or drink less, adopt a healthier diet and exercise more; they therefore are less likely to die.

Preschool education programs and better nourishment were linked to higher IQ scores. Education was considered as the sole factor influencing the relationship between IQ and death.

Scientists concluded that any attempts to improve educational opportunities may also have health benefits, leading to an increased lifespan.

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Drinking hot tea increases cancer risk

Iranian scientists have found that drinking hot tea increases the risk of esophageal cancer, the British Medical Journal reported.

The study published on Friday said that drinking black tea at temperatures of 70C or higher increased the risk of the cancer, as it damaged the tissues of the throat.

A team led by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences conducted research to study the drinking habits among 300 people diagnosed with the disease in the northern province of Golestan.

The research showed that those drinking hot tea increased the risk as twice while drinking very hot drink could raise the risk to eightfold. The study backed previous findings that hot liquids may cause damage to the throat's epithelial lining and lead to cancer.

The study concluded there was no link between the amount of tea consumed and the risk of cancer but that the speed of drinking was an important factor. Esophageal cancers kill more than 500,000 people worldwide each year.

Tobacco and alcohol are the main factors linked to the development of esophageal cancers in Europe and the American nations.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Health benefits of fruit juice

Scientists believe drinking fresh fruit and vegetable juice is an easy way to obtain more vitamins and minerals in the daily diet.

Fresh juice is a rich source of bio-available vitamins and minerals; vitamins are important compounds for activating the enzymes, the catalysts in hundreds of body chemical reactions including digestion and energy production.

In addition, the body absorbs more vitamin and minerals by consuming fresh juice compared with whole fruits and vegetables.

Vitamins and minerals reduce the risk of strokes or heart attacks, improve the hair and nail condition, and provide essential compounds necessary for growth, health, normal metabolism and physical well-being.

The following is a list of juices and their effects on the general health.

- Carrot + Ginger + Apple - Boosts and cleanses the system.

- Apple + Cucumber + Celery - Prevents cancer, reduces cholesterol, and allays upset stomachs and alleviates headaches.

- Tomato + Carrot + Apple - Improves the skin complexion and bad breath.

- Bitter gourd + Apple + Milk - Prevents bad breath and reduces internal body heat.

- Orange + Ginger + Cucumber - Improves Skin texture and moisture and reduces body heat.

- Pineapple + Apple + Watermelon - Dispels excess salt, nourishes the bladder and kidney.
- Apple + Cucumber + Kiwi - Improves skin complexion.

- Pear and Banana - Regulates sugar content.

- Carrot + Apple + Pear + Mango - Clears body heat, counteracts toxicity, decreases blood pressure and fights oxidization.

- Honeydew + Grape + Watermelon + Milk - Due to its rich vitamin C and B2 content, increases cell activity and strengthens body immunity.

- Papaya + Pineapple + Milk - Due to its rich vitamin C, E and Iron content, improves skin complexion and metabolism.

- Banana + Pineapple + Milk - Prevents constipation.

Bananas cut risk of renal cancer

Recent studies suggest the regular consumption of bananas is effective in promoting kidney health and cutting the risk of renal cancer.

According to the results published in the International Journal of Cancer, due to the high amounts of potassium, individuals who eat bananas four to six times a week halve the risk of developing kidney cancer compared to those who do not eat the fruit.

About 190,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, exposure to toxic chemicals such as asbestos and cadmium, and a high intake of fruit juices.

Bananas also lower blood pressure, regulate heart function, promote bone health, and protect eyesight.

Alternative medicine: Tomato

Tomatoes are not only heart healthy but can also fight several types of cancer and help develop healthy teeth, bones, skin and hair.

Botanical: Lycopersicon lycopersicum Family: N.O. Solanaceae Synonyms: Lycopersicon, pomme d'amour, pomodoro Habitat: The tomato which originated from the highlands of the west coast of South America is now available all over the world.

Description: Tomatoes are perennial vines, typically reaching 1-3m in height. The fruit botanically classified as a berry has fleshy internal segments filled with seeds and a watery matrix.

The tomato's predominant colors are red, yellow and green; however, purple and brown ones are also produced. They range in size from small cherry tomatoes to medium plum/roma tomatoes to large slicing/beefsteak tomatoes.

Part Used Medicinally: Fruit Constituents: Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and other vitamins like A, B1, B2, B6, E, K and niacin. They are rich in molybdenum, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, copper, phosphorous, manganese, dietary fiber and chromium. In addition, tomatoes contain small amounts of nicotine (coumaric and chlorogenic acid).

Containing only 20 calories, they are a good source of phytochemical lycopene, beta-carotene and several other carotenoids. Medicinal Uses: Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants which play a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system and fighting against infection. Due to their high content of lycopene (a powerful anti-oxidant) and phytonutrients, tomatoes lower the risk of prostate, colorectal, pancreatic and stomach cancers.

The consumption of tomatoes with fat-rich avocado, nuts and olive oil increases the fruits anti-cancer properties. Eating tomatoes and broccoli together has shown better results against prostate cancer. Two powerful compounds found in tomatoes, coumaric acid and chlorogenic acid, are thought to block the effects of nitrosamines, thus reducing the risk of lung cancer.

The tomato's high antioxidant content prevents from inflammation and the progression or severity of atherosclerosis, diabetic complications and asthma.

The tomato's high potassium content makes it an effective stroke preventer and lowers blood pressure. The vitamin K found in tomatoes helps maintain healthy bones by activating osteocalcin, a protein which anchors calcium inside the bones.

It also helps prevent hemorrhages. Tomatoes are acidic, so they may upset the stomach in individuals with gastrointestinal discomfort. Individuals with high cholesterol levels, those whose work involves traveling long distances, those who have recently undergone a surgical procedure and smokers benefit from this fruit. The blood thinning effects of tomato juice are noteworthy for individuals at higher risk of blood clot formation.

A tomato-rich diet helps improve skin texture and color. Tomatoes help in liver congestion (cirrhosis) and gallstones. The nicotinic acid in tomato can help reduce blood cholesterol and prevent heart diseases.

A high dietary intake of tomato products helps lower LDL and cholesterol levels. Its high chromium content helps control blood sugar in diabetics and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in type 2 diabetics.

Tomatoes are heart-healthy because their vitamin B6 and folates are needed to help the body convert homocysteine, a potentially dangerous chemical, into other benign molecules. High levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessel walls and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Tomatoes can also fight chronic degenerative ailments such as atherosclerosis, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease. Tomatoes are a good source of riboflavin, which helps reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

Preparation: Using a whole tomato is more recommended as it contains more lycopene. Bright red tomatoes have the highest amounts of beta-carotene and lycopene. Cooking tomatoes in oil especially olive oil helps the body absorb more lycopene.

It is important not to cook tomatoes in aluminum cookware since their high acid content will interact with the metal causing deleterious health effects.

It should be noted that cooking and canning do not reduce the nutritional value of tomatoes. Concentrated tomato products such as tomato paste are recommended over whole fresh tomatoes as they deliver more carotenoids and protect the skin against the damaging effects of the sun. Caution:

The tomato plant's leaves contain toxic alkaloids. Tomatoes are one of the foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions including eczema, hives, skin rash, headache, runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, gastrointestinal disturbances, depression, hyperactivity and insomnia. I

Individuals who suspect food allergy to be an underlying factor in their health problems should not use this fruit.

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Vitamin C lowers gout risk in men

Men who take high amounts of vitamin C supplements are placed at a lower risk of developing gout, a common inflammatory joint disease.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the regular intake of supplements rich in vitamin C such as sprouts, peppers and oranges lowers the risk of gout in men. Those who take 1,000 - 1,499 mg vitamin C per day are reported to be at a 34 percent lower risk of developing gout.

Vitamin C alleviates the pain associated with gout by tackling the inflammatory processes and lowers uric acid levels - high levels of which form crystal deposits in and around joints, causing the pain and swelling associated with the condition.

Scientists urge individuals at risk of developing gout - overweight individuals and those taking certain medications as well as individuals who drink too much alcohol, and following an unhealthy diet high in meat -- to adopt a healthy diet that is rich in vitamin C.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Optimistic women live longer, healthier

Optimistic women who tend to see the glass half full rather than half empty live longer and much healthier, a new study has found.

According to the study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, women who expect good rather than bad things to happen are 14 percent less likely to die from any cause.

Compared to their pessimistic peers, optimists are more likely to be slim and physically active and are less likely to smoke. They are also less prone to high blood pressure and diabetes. Their strong social relationships helps them cope with chronic stress, lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The risk of death secondary to heart problems is reduced by 30 percent in these women. "Cynically hostile" women considered as highly mistrustful individuals are 16 percent more likely to die from any cause and 23 percent more vulnerable to death from cancer. Scientists concluded that optimism is directly linked to longevity.

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Religious individuals less stressed

Religious individuals less stressed

Religious individuals or those who simply believe in the existence of God are less likely to experience anxiety and stress in life.

Anxiety is a double-edged sword that can both cause the individual to become more alert after making a mistake or paralyze him/her with fear.

According to a study published in Psychological Science, there is a significant difference between the brain of believers and non-believers at the time of stress.

The anterior cingulate cortex of the brain that modifies behavior by signaling when attention or control is needed is less active in those who have faith in God.

These individuals are reported to be less anxious and feel less stressed when they make mistakes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Men who exercise live longer

Beginning to regularly exercise at the age of 50 is reported to have the same impact on an individual's lifespan as quitting smoking.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, the most physically active men at the age of 50 live 2.3 years longer than sedentary men and 1.1 years longer than those with medium levels of activity.

Similar to smoking cessation, any increase in physical activity among middle-aged and older men lowers the mortality rate in the long run. These men are believed to live as long as those who were used to regular exercise before that age.

Regular exercise not only adds to an old man's lifespan but also alleviates fatigue and lowers the risks of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Scientists therefore urge men to start exercising and adopt a more active lifestyle regardless of their age.

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Action speaks louder than words

By Xinhua writer Li Rong

BEIJING, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- At a time of widespread trade contraction, deep job cuts and prevailing pessimism, the call for "free trade" tends to give way to barriers preventing others from taking a share of the market.

In a bid to counter the trend, a 200-strong Chinese trade mission embarked this week on a trade and investment tour in four European nations of Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Britain, and clinched a number of procurement deals worth 15 billion U.S. dollars.

Action speaks louder than words. The trade and investment tour reflects China's commitment to an open market and showed its recognition of the urgent need to call the world's attentions to the hazard of trade protectionism.

History has proved closing doors for self-protection would only make an economic crisis worse. The mood for seclusion could be dangerous as it spreads fast if not promptly controlled.

In this era of globalization, nobody is spared from the ongoing economic crisis. While countries around the world come up with their own remedies, some unfortunately resorted to trade barriers and the United States, the world's largest economy, even included a "buy American" provision in its economic stimulus package.

As many economists have noted, holding money for home products and services will further choke growth opportunities, thus causing the current crisis to linger longer or even spill over in extreme cases.

As China has owed its prosperity to opening up to the outside world, it knows better than anyone else that no country can ever thrive by isolating itself from the rest of the world.

China and Europe are highly complimentary to each other economically, as they are at different stages of economic development. The trade and investment deals between China and the four European countries during the trip would definitely stimulate growth and create jobs in Europe and benefit China's own development as well.

The win-win results of the trade and investment mission set an example for expanded trade cooperation and have drawn positive responses from China's European partners as a British business delegation has decided to visit China at the end of April.

As long as countries keep away from trade protectionism and engage in comprehensive cooperation of mutual benefit, the global economy will roll back the economic downturn sooner than later.

Crisis also means opportunity

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Saturday that the current international financial crisis, despite its severe impact on China's economy, also means an opportunity for the country.

China should take the opportunity to change its development pattern and realize structural adjustment so as to maintain a steady and relatively fast economic growth, Hu said when joining a panel discussion with deputies of the National People's Congress (NPC) from south China's Guangdong Province.

"Challenge and opportunity always come together. Under certain conditions, one could be transformed into the other," Hu said.

Hu said China should make full use of its advantages to break the bottlenecks of development. He also called for efforts to promptly and creatively implement the policies and plans of the central government to create conditions for solid and rapid development in the future.