Saturday, September 19, 2009

Study finds fruit-rich diet prevents asthma

A study suggests that eating a fruit-rich diet could help protect children from respiratory allergies and asthma. UK, Greek and Spanish researchers assessed the diet and health of almost 700 children living in rural areas of Crete, where such conditions are rare.

The research found 80% of the children ate fresh fruit, and over two-thirds of them fresh vegetables, at least twice a day.

Eating oranges, apples, tomatoes and grapes each day, which around 300 children did, was shown to have a protective effect against wheezing and allergic rhinitis. Children who ate nuts - a rich source of vitamin E - at least three times a week, again just over 300, were less likely to wheeze.

However, high consumption of margarine more than once a week (331 children) doubled the chances of asthma and allergic rhinitis, compared with those who ate it less frequently, the findings showed. Some 5 to 10 percent of children suffer from asthma in different parts of the world.

Mediterranean diet increases life span

Scientists at the University of Cambridge claim that following the Mediterranean dietary pattern increases the life span of Americans.

According to the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, individuals with diets closer to the Mediterranean are 21 percent less likely to have a five year mortality rate.

Findings show that the beneficial effects of the diet include reduced mortality risk secondary to cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The study shows by closely following the Mediterranean diet smokers who are not overweight halve their risk of death. In addition, smokers strongly benefit from the antioxidant and blood fat-lowering effects of the Mediterranean-style eating.

The Mediterranean diet which consists of large amounts of fruit and vegetables, seafood, grain and olive, is low in dairy food and red meat.

Mediterranean diet lowers diabetes risk

Spanish scientists suggest a traditional Mediterranean diet can help protect individuals against type 2 diabetes and its complications.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, following the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of developing diabetes by 83 percent.

Findings revealed a high intake of fiber and vegetable fat along with a low intake of trans-fatty acids not only reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease but also had a protective role against diabetes.

University of Navarra researchers claimed that using virgin oil for cooking, frying, spreading on bread and as salad dressing had an important role in the diets beneficial effects.

Olive oil has positive impacts on blood glucose control and inflammation reduction. The Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol.

Low-salt diet can tackle hypertension

A new study shows that including too much salt in the daily regimen may contribute to high blood pressure resistant to treatment.

According to the study presented at the American Heart Association's Fall Conference, adopting a high-salt diet leads to high blood pressure which remains above goal levels despite taking three anti-hypertension medications.

The study showed that adopting a low-salt diet is associated with a considerable drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.

Findings revealed that salt restriction effectively lowers blood pressure by reducing intravascular fluid retention and improving vascular function.

Scientists concluded that patients who despite taking multiple blood pressure-lowering drugs continue to suffer from an uncontrolled high blood pressure can lower their BP by adopting a low-salt diet.

Western diet ups heart attack risk

A recent US study has revealed that the typical western diet is responsible for a considerable number of heart attacks in the world.

According to the study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, following a western diet rich in fat, salt and meat accounts for about 35 percent of heart attacks.

The study reported that a salt-rich diet places individuals at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular events by increasing blood pressure and harmful lipid levels.

Findings revealed that an Oriental diet which is high in tofu and salty soy sauce does not influence the risk of developing heart problems.

Scientists concluded that regardless of which region one resides in, the higher the regular intake of fried and salty foods is, the greater the risk of heart attack.

They urged individuals to adopt a healthy diet high in fruit and vegetables to reduce the global heart attack risk.

Mediterranean diet improves diabetes management

While the Mediterranean diet had long been linked to greater weight loss, a new study finds this diet more efficient in controlling blood sugar.

According to the study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean-style diet is more effective in diabetes management compared to typical low-fat, calorie-restricted diets.

Following a Mediterranean diet with at least 30% of daily calories from fat (mostly olive oil) delays the need for taking diabetes medication and improves certain heart disease risk factors.

The Mediterranean diet -- rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat and processed foods -- also resulted in trimmer waistlines and increased the "good" HDL-cholesterol levels, all of which are considered to be heart-healthy changes in the body.

Scientists concluded that reducing the need for diabetes treatment should also be added to the Mediterranean diet's long list of health benefits including greater longevity.

Night-time eating ups obesity risk

Excessive late-night eating and midnight raids on the refrigerator are linked to increased weight gain and worse health consequences, a new study finds.

Recent studies have reported that circadian rhythms -- the body's internal clock -- have a critical role in how the body spends energy.

According to the study published in the International Journal of Obesity, late-night snackers are more likely to gain weight, adding that mice eating at unusual hours put on twice as much weight, despite exercising and eating as much as others.

Night-fed mice are reported to weight 7.8 percent more than those fed during the day. "Better timing of meals could be a critical element in slowing the ever-increasing incidence of obesity," scientists concluded, claiming that simply changing the timing of meals and snacks can considerably help reduce weight.

Scientists concluded that night-time eating is one factor among many others contributing to weight gain.

Larger thighs may add to longevity: Study

Individuals with narrow thighs are believed to die sooner than their counterparts who have larger thigh circumference, a new study finds.

Previous studies had reported that obesity is the strongest risk factor affecting one's health, adding that waist size (abdominal obesity) is a good predictor of heart disease, diabetes and early death. According to the study published in the British Medical Journal, thigh size is an accurate marker of longevity and narrower thighs increase the risk of premature death.

Individuals whose thighs are less than 60 centimeters in circumference are at a greater risk of premature death. The risk is reported to be doubled in those with the thighs less than 55 centimeters. "Additionally we found that the risk was more highly related to thigh circumference than to waist circumference," said lead researcher Professor Berit Heitmann, adding that the results are similar for both sexes.

Those with narrower thighs lack the muscle mass necessary to ensure proper glucose and lipid metabolism, a condition leading to type 2 diabetes and, in the long-run, heart disease. Scientists believe thigh size could soon be used as a marker for identifying patients at-risk of early death or other serious health problems.

Genes link gum disease to heart attacks

Researchers have discovered a genetic link between a certain type of dental disease and the increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.

Previous studies had revealed the high frequency of heart events, pancreatic cancer and the reactivation of latent HIV-1 among individuals suffering from periodontitis --a gum disease that results in loss of connective tissue and the bone supporting the teeth.

The main reason linking coronary heart disease (CHD) to the gum disease, however, remains unclear. According to a study presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics, a genetic locus on chromosome 9 is responsible for the higher risk of CHD among patients with periodontitis. CHD and periodontitis are both characterized by an imbalanced immune reaction and chronic inflammation.

Both diseases, furthermore, have similar risk factors including smoking, diabetes and obesity. The bacteria found in the oral cavity are akin to those in coronary plaques, indicating that the bacteria involved in gum disease is a possible trigger for low grade inflammatory responses and changes in the arteries leading to cardiovascular events.

Scientists urged individuals with periodontitis to reduce their risk factors and take preventive measures at early stage to prevent possible heart events. They also recommended the dentists to take gum disease seriously and diagnose and treat it as early as possible with the aim of preventing further heart-related complications.

Gum disease increases cancer 'risk'

A new study warns that chronic gum disease, which had long been linked to heart attack and stroke, is a risk factor for cancers of the head and neck.

According to the study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, chronic periodontitis, an advanced gum disease determined by progressive loss of bone and soft tissue that surround the teeth, is associated with increased risk of head and neck tumors.

Periodontitis significantly increases the risk of head and neck cancer even in subjects who had never used tobacco and alcohol. With each millimeter of alveolar bone loss, the risk of developing head and neck cancer is reported to increase by more than 4-fold.

Scientists believe that their findings explain the reason for which the rate of head and neck cancer continues to climb despite the considerable decline in smoking rates in the past 40 years.

Drinking tea strengthens bones

Drinking tea not only refreshes your mind but also this ancient drink has beneficial effects on bones, a new study has disclosed.

The Australian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed tea may help preserve the hip structure in elderly women.

The findings showed that bone mineral density is 2.8% higher in tea drinkers. In addition, during a 4-year period the tea drinkers lost an average of 1.6% of total hip density compared to 4.0% in non-tea drinkers.

Previous studies had also shown that drinking tea was associated with a higher bone mineral density and a reduced risk of hip fracture. Bone mineral density is the second most important risk factor for hip fractures apart from aging.

Lifestyle factors, including dietary intake of calcium, protein, and sodium, affect bone density and the risk for hip fractures.

Green tea tackles colorectal cancer

A recent animal study suggests that polyphenon E, a compound found in green tea extract limits the growth of colorectal tumors in rats.

According to results presented at the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, rats on a diet containing polyphenon E are less likely to develop colon cancer. The study shows polyphenon E decreases the number of malignant tumors per rat and the tumor size.

Findings reveal 67 percent of the rats on a normal diet developed malignant tumors while in the treated group the risk was about 27 percent.

In addition, tea polyphenols decreased the tumors per rat by 80 percent compared to the control group.

It should be noted that at the same conference, black raspberry gel and 'Blueberry Punch' (an antioxidant-boosted beverage) were reported to be effective in treating oral cancer lesions and prostate cancer.

Green tea lowers prostate cancer risk

Japanese scientists suggest drinking daily five or more cups of green tea could halve the risk of developing advanced prostate cancer.

According to the article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, there was a 50 percent lower risk of having advanced prostate cancer in men who drank five or more cups of green tea daily compared with those who had less than a cup.

Findings show while drinking green tea lowers the risk of advanced prostate cancer; it is not associated with localized prostate cancer.

Researchers claim that a substance called catechin in green tea is responsible for reducing cancer risk by curbing testosterone levels which cause prostate cancer.

The study suggests that the lower incidence of prostate cancer in Asians may be linked to the higher consumption of green tea.

Previous studies had reported various health benefits for the green tea catechin including reduced cancer and heart attack risks.

Scientists say exercise strengthens brain

Scientists say exercise boosts brainpower by building new brain cells in a brain region linked with memory and memory loss.

Researchers have conducted tests on mice and found out exercise affects a part of the brain called dentate gyrus, which is responsible for age-related memory loss.

Later they used magnetic resonance images to figure out the effect of exercise on human. They found similar patterns in human. "Once these findings were established in mice, we were interested in determining how exercise affects the hippocampal cerebral blood volume maps of humans," they wrote.

They, however, could not dissect the brains of people to see if new neurons grew, but they could use MRI to have a peek.

Exercise hastens prostate cancer growth

American researchers suggest that exercising is associated with an accelerated tumor growth rate compared to a sedentary lifestyle.

According to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego, cancerous cells in active mice multiply twice as quickly as in their peers who do not exercise.

Findings showed that exercise speeds up the tumor growth by increasing the blood flow of the prostate gland. Duke University Medical Center scientists recommend prostate cancer patients to continue exercising despite the findings of the present study.

They maintain although exercise may promote tumor growth, it reduces the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity which are the leading causes of several life-threatening complications.

Exercise ups anemia risk in young men

While exercise is believed to be good for health, a new study finds that strenuous physical activity places young men at an increased risk of iron deficiency.

According to the study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, intense physical activity increases the risk of developing anemia (low blood count) as well as iron deficiency in young men.

An intense six-month training program is reported to not only triple the risk of anemia to over 50 percent but also to double the risk of iron deficiency from about 15 to 27 percent.

"Iron deficiency and anemia are generally uncommon findings in healthy male adolescents. However, athletes who engage in strenuous physical activity are known to be at increased risk for so-called 'sports anemia," reported scientists.

Researchers believe drinking sufficient amounts of water is the main reason, which may contribute to the condition through temporarily diluting the blood and subsequently damaging blood cells.