Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pomegranates: the fruity panacea

Pomegranates are being hailed as a super-food which can protect the heart.

Scientists in Israel have shown that drinking a daily glass of the fruit's juice can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

"Pomegranate juice contains the highest antioxidant capacity compared to other juices, red wine and green tea," said Professor Michael Aviram, who led the team.

This is good news, for antioxidants are the naturally occurring substances in plants that protect the body from free radicals - 'bad' chemicals in the blood.

Free radicals alter cholesterol in a process known as oxidation, which is thought to speed up the hardening of the arteries.

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High dose vitamin E death warning

Elderly people could be risking their lives if they take even moderately high doses of vitamin E, evidence suggests.

The latest study by Johns Hopkins University found people who took even half of the recommended current maximum dose had an increased risk of death.

The authors told the American Heart Association meeting that policy makers should consider lowering the upper safety limit.

Experts said eating healthily remained the best way to get vital nutrients.

But critics said the findings could be biased because although there are many types of vitamin E that come in tablet form studies, such as this one, tended to focus on synthetic rather than natural vitamin E.

The current study's authors acknowledged that because most of the people involved in the trial were aged 60 and older and had conditions such as heart disease, the findings might not apply to young healthy adults.

Previous studies have suggested high dose vitamins, including vitamin E, can do more harm than good.

Source BBC News

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