Monday, April 30, 2007

Mediterranean diet 'could prevent asthma'

Eating a Mediterranean diet could help protect children from respiratory allergies and asthma, a study suggests.

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.

They found those with a diet rich in fruit and vegetables were protected against both conditions.
UK experts said the study, in Thorax, added to existing evidence that diet could help control asthma symptoms.

Source - BBC News

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Diet high in cholesterol can trigger onset of Alzheimer's, warn scientists

An unhealthy diet filled with high-cholesterol foods can increase your risk of Alzheimer's Disease, say scientists.

Studies have found that eating lots of foods containing saturated fats, such as butter and red meat, can boost levels of proteins in the brain linked to dementia. Now scientists have discovered this may be because such a diet affects cholesterol-clearing substances in the brain.

They hope the discovery could lead to new drugs which allow the clogging fats to be cleared more effectively and so help slow down the progression of the debilitating brain condition.

In Britain 500,000 people have Alzheimer's Disease in which the progressive loss of their brain cells leads to memory loss, mood changes and eventually death.
One of the key characteristics of people with the condition is the formation of clumps, or 'plaques' of beta amyloid proteins which are thought to destroy brain cells.

Scientists increasingly believe diet and lifestyle may affect the build up of these damaging proteins.

Studies have found a Mediterranean-style diet rich in plant foods and fish and low in red meat cuts the risk of developing the brain disease by up to two-thirds.
Research in mice has also found that those given high-cholesterol diets have more amyloid beta proteins in their brain.

And there is growing evidence that taking cholesterol-lowering statins makes people less likely to develop Alzheimer's later in life.

Source - Daily Mail

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Superfoods: are they merely a fad?

FROM blueberries and broccoli to tea and tomatoes, the widely-lauded "superfoods" are credited with a host of amazing powers - from helping us look younger to protecting us from deadly cancers and heart disease. But does the constant expansion of the list of must-eat items compromise the claims of food manufacturers that these should be an essential part of a healthy diet?
A study by researchers at Ulster University yesterday revealed that the watercress diet, favoured by celebrities such as Liz Hurley, can dramatically cut the risk of cancer.
The research - funded by the Watercress Alliance - found the salad leaf can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even kill them. But nutritionists yesterday expressed scepticism that the results were any use to shoppers. The trial involved 60 men and women eating an 85g bag (a cereal-bowlful) of watercress a day for eight weeks.
"That's completely impractical for a normal person," said Carina Norris, a Fife-based nutritionist. "Watercress has quite a peppery taste, so while it might work as an extra ingredient in a salad or a sandwich, there is no way any sensible person would consume that much. You are better getting your nutrients and vitamins from a range of sources."
She added: "The worrying aspect of this obsession with superfoods is that consumers hear too many claims of this kind and will simply get bored of the notion and go back to eating less healthy food."
Karol Sikora, professor of cancer medicine at Imperial College, said the watercress claims were "grossly overstated". He added: "Fruits and vegetables all affect DNA damage, hence the five-a-day strategy to prevent cancer. There is nothing special about watercress.
"I don't think people will seriously convert to eating 85g of the stuff each day. That's an awful lot of cress! You might even turn green. Much better to look holistically at your diet and ensure that there's plenty of fruit and vegetables, fibre and as little fat as possible.
"The other weakness in the study is that it doesn't actually show a reduction in cancer incidence - it's only a long-term surrogate that's changed." He said a long-term study would take 20 years, "by which time the investigators and their subjects would be rather bored".
Although their benefits can be overstated - a large dollop of retailer marketing goes towards promoting them - superfoods are a worthwhile addition to any diet.

Source - Scotsman

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Friday, February 09, 2007

How three cups of coffee can cut Alzheimer's risk

DRINKING three cups of coffee a day can significantly reduce the chance of developing Alzheimer's disease, say researchers.
A ten-year study of 600 elderly men found those getting a regular caffeine fix experienced a much smaller decline in their mental abilities than non coffee-drinkers. Researchers believe caffeine may trigger a chain reaction in the brain that prevents the damage of Alzheimer's.
In a report on their findings, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they raised the possibility that doctors may one day recommend coffee to the elderly.
"Drinking three cups a day was associated with the smallest cognitive decline," they said."
Alzheimer's affects an estimated 750,000 people in the UK.
Most die within ten years of being diagnosed, and the cost of caring for victims is more than for stroke, heart disease and cancer put together.

Source - Scotsman

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

High-fibre diet 'can cut cancer risk for women under 50'

A breakfast bowl of muesli, wholemeal sandwiches at lunch and fruit in the evening could halve a woman's risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers have found that younger women who eat a high-fibre diet appear to be protected against the disease - at least until the menopause.

A study of 35,000 women over seven years found those with the highest fibre intake of 30 grams a day had a 50 per cent lower incidence of breast cancer than those eating 20 grams a day. But the effect was only seen in pre-menopausal women up to the age of about 50. In post-menopausal women, a high-fibre diet offered no protection.

Source - Independent

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Olive oil 'can cut cancer risk'

Adding plenty of olive oil to a diet could help protect against cell damage that can lead to cancer, experts say.

A study of 182 European men found those who had 25 millilitres of olive oil per day had reduced levels of a substance which indicates cell damage.

The Danish team said it may explain why many cancer rates are higher in northern Europe than the south, where olive oil is a major part of the diet.

The study is in the Federation American Societies for Experimental Biology.

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