Saturday, March 31, 2007

Study shows fruit juice benefits

A diet rich in fruit juice could cut the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other diseases, according to research.
A team at Glasgow University has carried out one of the first studies into the benefits of antioxidants.
The study found that grape, apple and cranberry juices contained high amounts of the beneficial chemicals.
Antioxidants are natural chemicals which reduce cell damage caused by free radicals, a major cause of disease and ageing.
Researchers from the Human Nutrition group at Glasgow University examined different juices and how much antioxidant they contained as well as the different chemical compounds.
Polyphenols are a very strong antioxidant that get rid of free radicals in the body.
It is believed they can maintain and improve health and also protect against chronic diseases.

Source - BBC

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gut feeling for a good remedy

Targeting stress was key to curing a painful bowel complaint, says Emma Mahony

It wasn’t until Melanie Smith sought help from a homoeopath a year ago to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that she was able to look back on seven years of suffering and see it for what it was: stress-related. “Just discovering that I was pregnant, with the stress of a major life change, triggered a flare-up,” says Smith, 35, mother of two boys, 3 and 18 months.

Like many of the million sufferers in the UK, Smith was in the dark as to why she was afflicted until that realisation. But while the cause of IBS, the most common of all diseases diagnosed by gastroenterologists, is often hard to pinpoint, the symptoms follow a traditional pattern: swelling, soreness and bloating in the stomach, either constipation or diarrhoea, and occasional blood and mucus. The unpleasant condition had dogged Smith since the age of 27, but she had learnt to live with it while holding down a demanding job as a modern-languages teacher at a secondary school in Surrey.

Conventional medicine did not help. She visited her GP twice at the onset, and was referred to a specialist gastroenterologist, a surgical consultant and a medical consultant, as well as having a colonoscopy to check for ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. “The colonoscopy showed inflammation,” Smith recalls, “but it was inconclusive and I found it an ordeal.” While IBS affects between 10 and 20 per cent of the UK’s population at any given time, treating it is not always effective. People with IBS have what appears to be a disturbance in the interaction between the gut, the brain and the autonomic nervous system that regulates the bowels, and anything from diet, levels of serotonin (the mood-controlling hormone) to emotional factors are cited as the cause.

Before she became pregnant four years ago, Smith had tried dietary changes to improve her symptoms, preparing fruit and vegetable juices. But as a vegetarian who ate some fish, she considered her diet to be good. At the same time, she was given medication prescribed by the hospital. “I had blind faith in my treatment,” she says, “and I didn’t see it as a long-term problem.”

That all changed after the pregnancy and birth of her first child. “I had been told by a GP that during pregnancy the condition can get better, but mine was bad throughout. Then, postnatally, I had a huge flare-up, and was prescribed a high dosage of steroids, which gave me steroid psychosis in which I ballooned up and I went a bit loopy.” Coming off the steroids, Smith began to question her treatment, particularly because she was seeing a lot of different specialists.

When she fell pregnant and gave birth for the second time a year later, the condition flared up again, and again she was prescribed steroids. “I thought that they must know what they were doing,” says Smith. But she had chronic diarrhoea, requiring about 20 visits to the bathroom day and night, and she started losing weight. “I was breast-feeding, but all I could do was lie on the sofa with my two-year-old reading, cuddling the baby, while my mother cooked and cleaned.”

Feeling deeply depressed, Smith agreed to a friend’s suggestion of homoeopathy. And so, seven months after the birth of her second child, she went to see Kate Mead, a London-based homoeopath, last February. Nothing could have prepared her for the transformation. “She looked washed out,” recalls Mead, who had worked in the NHS for ten years as an auxiliary nurse before qualifying as a homoeopath from the Contemporary College of Homoeopathy in Exeter.

Source - Times

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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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Folic acid can cut risk of a harelip

Pregnant women who take folic acid can dramatically cut the chances of their baby having a harelip, say researchers.

Mothers-to-be are already advised to take supplements of the B vitamin to help prevent conditions such as spina bifida.

But a study has found folic acid was more effective than previously thought, reducing the risk of facial clefts by a third.

One in 1,000 babies born in the UK has the condition, but researchers found the lowest risk was among women who combined a folate-rich diet, multivitamins and daily folic acid supplement.

The Department of Health recommends women planning a pregnancy increase their intake of folic acid and also take a daily supplement. They are advised to continue taking folic acid for the first three months of a pregnancy.

Researchers examined the effects of folic acid on facial clefts in Norway, which has one of the highest rates in Europe. They studied babies born between 1996 and 2001, of whom 377 had a harelip, 196 had a cleft palate only and 763 were healthy controls.

The study found that taking folic acid supplements reduced the risk of a harelip, with or without a cleft palate, by a third.

Diets rich in high-folate foods such as fruit and vegetables also helped reduce the risk, according to the study, published online in the British Medical Journal.

Source - Daily Mail

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Drink up your greens

Juicing fruit and veg is all the rage for detox, weight loss and even disease prevention. But how much good does it really do, asks Lucy Atkins
Between lectures, Leeds University students are busy necking slammers and buying grass at a popular campus bar. This is perhaps not so startling news until you know that the grass is wheatgrass, and the bar is a "Juice Master" juice bar. These days, the truly fashion-conscious no longer accessorise with cardboard buckets of latte, but clutch biodegradable cups brimming with freshly juiced raw fruit and vegetables.
Juice bars are nothing new. But this year Santa's sack is likely to be stuffed with DIY juicing machines as the trend for "squeeze your own detox" takes off. Celebrities such as Jordan, who lost 28lb on a juicing diet devised by "Juice Master" Jason Vale, members of Take That and even Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans have all recently sung the praises of juicing. Naturopath newspaper and magazine columnists are recommending juice blends to cure anything from psoriasis to PMT. Amazon is similarly buzzing with juicing regimes that promise to cure all ills. In The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies, Natalie Savona provides an ailment chart, cross-referenced to 365 juice blends. The Juice Master's 7lb in Seven Days Super Juice Diet, meanwhile, includes a breakdown of what each combination of fruit and veg will do for you ("anti-cancer", "great for hair, skin and nails", "detoxing" and so on). Jo Pratt's In the Mood for Food cookbook, out next January, includes two smoothies - breakfast berry and tropical fruit, designed to improve your mental wellbeing. And The Complete Idiot's Guide to Juicing by Ellen Hodgson Brown will be out in time for the January detox boom.

Juicing is big business. According to the consumer research group Mintel, the UK fruit juice market is worth around £1.4bn a year. Smoothies and juices are the biggest boom area in a total non-alcoholic drinks market that rose by 26% between 2000 and 2004 alone. Drinking fresh juice is an undoubtedly healthy way to get more fresh fruit and veg into your system. According to Vale, however, to get maximum nutrients, "Juice must be unpasteurised, made only with fresh and raw ingredients, no concentrates or added sweeteners." This is something that bottled products and some juice bars don't always achieve.
But sometimes the juice hype is scientifically shaky. "Our colons are clogged with rotting food and cannot absorb nutrients properly" says Vale, so "our cells are starved". "Think of your digestive system as the clogged M25 at rush hour on a bank holiday weekend," he suggests. "Juice is a fast motorcycle courier bypassing the blockage".

This is a great image, but according to Dr Adam Harris, consultant gastroenterologist at Kent and Sussex hospital, and honorary secretary of the British Society of Gastroenterologists, biologically inaccurate. If your colon was blocked or your digestion not functioning or absorbing nutrients properly, you would be very obviously ill. "Some disease processes such as a tumor, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease and severe constipation can narrow the diameter of the colon," Harris explains. "In the absence of disease, the only thing found in the lumen [lining] is faeces, which is entirely normal. If it wasn't, we would all be sitting on the loo all the time."

Source - Daily Mail

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Does Chocolate Have Health Benefits?

By Art Vine


Chocolate contains high levels of beneficial chemicals and antidioxants such as Seratonin, Phenylethylaminea, Pentamer and flavonoids. It is also high in essential trace elements, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E as well as many nutrients. Cocoa powder is also the highest known natural source of Magnesium.

Because it contains Seratonin and Phenylethylamine, chocolate can be good for mental health. These substances are 'mood lifting' agents which are released naturally into our system by the human brain when we are feeling happy or in love. Eating chocolate also releases Seratonin and Phenylethylamine into the system, thus (as all chocoholics know), when we are feeling down or depressed chocolate can provide a 'lift', instantly improving our mental state.

Studies indicate that a chemical found in chocolate called Pentamer help can protect against cancer.

Chocolate is very high in anidioxants in the form of flavanoids Also found in lesser amounts in tea, fruit and red wine, studies indicate they protect the heart and arteries from damage by free radicals.

Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual problems, otherwise known as PMT or PMS. This condition is caused by a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels and it's this which precipitates the violent mood swings familiar to so many women (and their families). Adding magnesium to the diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, helping to reduce or even eliminate the problem.

There are benefits for men too, as well as the high Magnesium and flavanoids content which are beneficial for the heart, arteries and hypertension, studies indicate that the cocoa butter in high quality chocolate, although technically a 'saturated fat', does not fur up the arteries or contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Chocolate is an unsurpassed nutritional source, providing high levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, a single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for the average man to walk about 170' or 50m. Napoleon carried chocolate with him on his campaigns and today most armies provide chocolate in daily ration packs for soldiers in the field. For over 100 years the British, army have issued soldiers with emergency or 'Iron Rations' of chocolate, containing very high levels of cocoa (80%+), for use in emergencies. Each 'iron ration' of 8oz's - 227g of chocolate can not only provide enough nutrition to keep a soldier going for 7 days or more, it also helps keep up moral in difficult circumstances.

STOP PRESS Nov, 06: Results of a study by Johns Hopkins University indicate that chocolate acts in a similar way to Aspirin in effectively preventing blood clots in the arteries, reducing the likelihood of heart attacks.


They say "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and chocolate, like all good things in life, has it's problems too. It contains sugar and fat in the form of chocolate butter and eating too much of either will cause health problems. As a result, chocolate has developed an undeserved reputation for being unhealthy.

But, although recognised as being addictive to many people, particularly to Women, chocolate itself is not really the cause of the major health problems it's been associated with.

These problems are caused by the simple fact that many chocoholics choose to satisfy their chocolate cravings in the unhealthiest way possible, by buying heavily advertised, mass produced, brand name, milk and white chocolates.

These products are generally very low in chocolate solids (ave less than 20%) and very, very high in sugar and saturated fats. The beneficial cocoa butter has usually been replaced with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO's), and there's no question that HVO's are catastrophically ruinous for your health. To make matters worse, because of the very low chocolate content, chocoholics have to eat 3 or 4 times more of this type of product to satisfy a craving for chocolate.

Filled chocolates, both the commercial variety and, sadly, many handmade chocolates, are some of the worst culprits, with centre's consisting almost exclusively of flavoured Fondants and pralines - fondant is virtually 100% sugar and many pralines aren't much better.

The upshot is, if you want a guaranteed way to to get very unhealthy in a very short time, this is one of the most effective ways to way do it.


To find the healthiest chocolate the first thing you need to do is start reading the labels, real chocolate should only contain the following ingredients:

Dark chocolate should contain: Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla and Lethicin in that order.

Milk chocolate should contain only Cocoa, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

White chocolate should contain only Cocoa Butter, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

Flavoured chocolates may also contain a natural flavouring such as Orange oil, spices etc, it should not contain Vanillin (artificial Vanilla), vegetable fats or anything else.

For our purposes here, the healthiest chocolate is going to be that which contains the maximum cocoa solids and the minimum sugar. This would make 100% pure chocolate the healthiest option, unfortunately this is virtually inedible because of it's bitterness.

In practice all chocolate has to have some sugar added simply to make it palatable. Dark chocolate containing 70% (or more) cocoa content is generally recognised as being the healthiest option, simply because it contains more chocolate and less sugar.

If you must eat milk or white Chocolate, you should moderate your consumption and make sure your milk chocolate contains a minimumn 35% cocoa and your white chocolate contains a minimum 30% cocoa butter, with the balance of both made up of milk solids and sugar in about equal proportions.

If you like filled chocolates, either handmade chocolate or otherwise, choose those chocolates with fillings containing high cocoa content, covered with high quality chocolate coverture. Not mass produced, high sugar content Pralines or Fondants covered with low quality coatings that barely even qualify as chocolate.

Chocolate should contain ABSOLUTELY NO Vegetable oils or artificial additives of any kind.


If you love chocolate and/or filled chocolates, there's good stuff out there if you look, and as chocolate lovers become more and more discerning, demand for the real thing grows, so it's getting more plentiful by the day. For the healthiest way to satisfy a craving for chocolates, you just have to be more choosy over what you buy to eat (or for gifts) remember, the higher the cocoa content, the healthier it is..... and the nicer it tastes.

About the Author: Art Vine is half of a wife/husband team dedicated to making real handmade chocolates.

Visit Aphrodite Chocolates website for a range of handmade chocolate gifts and chocolate articles.

Reproduced with permission.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Warm milk and garlic? It might sound vile — but it'll beat the bugs

Is there anything I can do to strengthen my immune system? I usually get two or three colds every winter and am keen to try to avoid this.

First, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables — at least five portions a day. This will ensure you get adequate supplies of vitamin C, the antioxidant that keeps your immune system strong.

As I've said before, food is the best source of nutrients such as vitamin C. Even supermarket produce, despite being transported over great distances and then kept in cold storage, still provides enough of the vitamin C and other essential nutrients the body needs.

I never take supplements but make sure I eat lots of good fresh fruit and veg. And if I can't get fresh produce, I'm happy to use frozen because it's picked and packaged so quickly it retains much of its nutrient content.

Frozen ready-meals are not great, but when it comes to berries and vegetables, they're a good alternative to fresh.

When you don't manage five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and are keen to take a supplement, I'd suggest 250mg of vitamin C, but that's all.

An adult's daily requirement is only 60mg, so this gives you more than enough — the body excretes the surplus. (Children under the age of ten need only 30mg which they can easily get from their diet.)

Larger doses than these can cause gastric upset and stomach bleeding. Some people believe taking large doses of Vitamin C — ie 1-2g — can help stop a cold or flu in its tracks, but I am not convinced the evidence for this is strong.

Source - Daily Mail

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Monday, November 27, 2006


Now is the time to be enjoying the jewel-like pomegranate. Each fruit contains around 800 juicy red seeds packed with vitamin C - one fruit contains approximately 40% of an adult's daily requirement - as well as vitamins A and E, fibre, iron and potassium. In addition, pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, which help protect healthy cells from damage by potentially destructive groups of atoms called free radicals.

Recent Israeli studies show that the antioxidants found in pomegranate juice may help reduce the build up of fatty deposits in our arteries. In the US, links are also being made between the pomegranate's antioxidant polyphenol levels and reducing the build up of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease.
To prepare the fruit, cut it in half , then hold it cut-side down and bash it with a wooden spoon. The seeds should fall out, leaving most of the bitter white membrane behind. Sprinkle them over muesli, add to fruit puddings, or mix with tropical fruits.

Pomegranate juice is widely available and particularly good for children because of its immune-boosting properties (my kids prefer the juice mixed with others as it can be quite tart). Pomegranate molasses is also worth looking out for; add it to savoury dishes such as quail and other game.

Source - Guardian

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Eat More Fruit and Veg to Prevent Gallstone Risk

Women should eat more fruit and veg if they want to cut their chances of developing gallstones, advise researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

People at risk of developing gallstones should focus mainly on leafy green vegetables and natural foods laden with vitamin C – such as citrus fruits etc. In addition they recommend consuming large amounts of dietary fiber, minerals – especially magnesium - and antioxidant vitamins – including vitamin C to lower the risk of developing gallstones.

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Eating naturally bears fruit in fighting disease

Cranberries combat bacteria and walnuts protect arteries: your food has hidden benefits

The Government’s recommended dose of vegetables and fruits is five helpings a day. This not only sounds disgustingly boring, but often is. But it needn’t be. The average British cook’s mind turns to cabbages, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli and the ubiquitous but useless lettuce. Not dishes that are likely to persuade children to keep away from the school railings to collect food parcels. Tomatoes, dates, dried apricots, figs, bananas, broad beans, peas and carrots add a bit of colour and taste.
One of the ponds at Kew Gardens is now covered with a carpet of bright red cranberries from Massachusetts. They are waiting to be harvested and made into sauce to accompany partridge, pheasant or a turkey, following the advice of the indigenous American Indians who taught their new neighbours to serve cranberry with the game that they ate at the first Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry juice is not only rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants but also has antimicrobial powers that inhibit the growth of bacteria on the bladder wall by reducing their adherence to it. It also lessens the number of mouth and gut infections.

Cranberry juice to prevent bladder infections should contain at least 25 per cent cranberry and be taken every eight hours. Blueberries and pomegranate juice are just as delicious, antioxidant-rich and health giving.

Men who eat walnuts as they sip their evening drink may not know that walnuts, like Viagra, reach parts that other foods and medicines don’t. Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine and arginine, like Viagra, causes the release of nitric oxide in the arterial walls.

Source - Times

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Eating naturally bears fruit in fighting disease

Cranberries combat bacteria and walnuts protect arteries: your food has hidden benefits

The Government’s recommended dose of vegetables and fruits is five helpings a day. This not only sounds disgustingly boring, but often is. But it needn’t be. The average British cook’s mind turns to cabbages, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli and the ubiquitous but useless lettuce. Not dishes that are likely to persuade children to keep away from the school railings to collect food parcels. Tomatoes, dates, dried apricots, figs, bananas, broad beans, peas and carrots add a bit of colour and taste.
One of the ponds at Kew Gardens is now covered with a carpet of bright red cranberries from Massachusetts. They are waiting to be harvested and made into sauce to accompany partridge, pheasant or a turkey, following the advice of the indigenous American Indians who taught their new neighbours to serve cranberry with the game that they ate at the first Thanksgiving dinner.

Cranberry juice is not only rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants but also has antimicrobial powers that inhibit the growth of bacteria on the bladder wall by reducing their adherence to it. It also lessens the number of mouth and gut infections.

Cranberry juice to prevent bladder infections should contain at least 25 per cent cranberry and be taken every eight hours. Blueberries and pomegranate juice are just as delicious, antioxidant-rich and health giving.

Source - Times

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chinese Goji berries

A new superfood said to boost peoples' sex lives and the immune system is set to hit the supermarkets. Chinese Goji berries are selling so fast in health food stores suppliers are struggling to keep up. But health experts say people should not get caught up in the hype as conventional fruit and veg is just as healthy and cheaper.

A small bag of the berries costs £4 and it is recommended people take a handful a day.

They are packed with 21 trace minerals and 18 amino acids and are also said to shift cellulite.

But the British Nutrition Foundation said Goji mania is being driven by clever marketing rather than good science.

Goji berries will go on sale in Tesco later this month and Waitrose in October.

Source: Sky News


Can chewing 40 times cure food intolerances?

Wheat, milk, cheese, citrus fruit, red meat... the list of foods that people say they can't eat because they have a food intolerance can make them unwelcome dinner party guests.

But rather than dismiss them as faddy eaters, a new book suggests that these people could be suffering from a lack of digestive enzymes.

Enzymes in food play a vital role in our body's cells. Dr Jeremy Kaslow, a biochemist, and Ellen Cutler, the authors of Enzymes For Health And Healing, claim that modern diets and lifestyles are leaving many of us prone to enzyme deficiencies that can cause food cravings, weight gain, premature ageing, lowered immunity and food intolerances.

'Enzymes are essential to every bodily function, including breathing, circulation and immune response,' says Cutler. 'But as we get older the quality and effectiveness of enzymes diminish, our bodies don't produce as many and those that remain lose their spark.

'Poor diet, digestive stress, metabolic imbalance, illness and medications also lower enzyme levels.'

The three basic groups of enzymes are systemic, digestive (made in our body) and food enzymes (obtained in our diet).

Systemic enzymes maintain blood and tissues, ensure our heart beats and our senses work, and balance the hormones that support memory and mood. While the body can make them when we are healthy, when we're ill or stressed 'it can no longer heal or rebuild itself efficiently', explains Cutler.

Source - Daily Mail

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Teen angst

LEARNING how simple natural remedies can help in adolescence will stand a teenager in good stead for the rest of their life. Treating common problems naturally, without resorting to strong medication, reduces the chances of lifelong trouble.

Teenage acne usually arises from hormonally influenced hyperactivity of the oil-producing glands in the skin. People with acne often have trouble metabolising fats and carbohydrates, which is why it's important to cut down on stodgy food and sweets, and increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Palmarosa essential oil has a balancing effect on oily skin. Neal's Yard Remedies does a palmarosa facial wash (£9 for 100ml), or you can just use a few drops of the essential oil in some warm water.

Source - Scotsman


Fruit and veg juices cut risk of Alzheimer's, study finds

Drinking fruit and vegetable juice on a regular basis can dramatically reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer's, according to a study appearing today in the American Journal of Medicine.
Researchers in Japan and the US followed almost 2,000 dementia-free volunteers for up to 10 years while monitoring their consumption of fruit and vegetable juices. The risk of Alzheimer's was reduced by 76% for those who drank juices more than three times a week, compared with those who drank them less than once a week. Qi Dai, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, wrote: "Fruit and vegetable juices may play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer's disease."

Previous studies have suggested that polyphenols, strong antioxidants found in fruit juices, might disrupt biological processes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer's.

Source Guardian


Mandarins 'cut liver cancer risk'

Eating mandarins may cut the risk of developing liver cancer and other diseases, research suggests.

Japanese scientists found the key were vitamin A compounds called carotenoids which give the fruit its orange colour.

One study found eating mandarins cut the risk of liver disease, hardened arteries and insulin resistance.

And a second found drinking the fruit's juice cut the risk of patients with chronic viral hepatitis developing liver cancer.

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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Time to grow your own tea

DO you fancy a cup of camomile or a pot of peppermint? There is a huge range of herbal teas and tempting infusions on the market, but try to grow it yourself.

Herbs have long been renowned as natural healers and many contain uplifting properties. So whether you are just after a light refreshment or a natural remedy, it won't come much fresher than from your garden or windowsill.

Indeed Jekka McVicar, RHS fruit, vegetable and herb committee member, says they are actively encouraging more people to grow their own herbs.

"Herbs can help a whole range of ailments and make a really refreshing infusion. They can be grown in many different ways, in a formal herb garden, dotted among ornamental plants in a bed or border, as pot plants on the patio, in hanging baskets or on the windowsill. So even if you don't have a garden, you can still grow your own living medicine cabinet."

Source: - Scotsman

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Juices 'may cut Alzheimer's risk'

Drinking fruit and vegetable juices frequently may significantly cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

US researchers followed almost 2,000 people for up to 10 years - providing a powerful set of results.

They found the risk was 76% lower for those who drank juice more than three times a week, compared with those who drank it less than once a week.

The study appears in the American Journal of Medicine.

Source - BBC News


Friday, June 30, 2006

Veg 'prevents artery hardening'

Eating vegetables may prevent hardening of the arteries, research suggests.

US researchers found 38% less build up of fatty deposits in the arteries of mice who were fed a mixture of vegetables, including carrots and peas.

Evidence on the effects of diet on atherosclerosis in humans is not clear but eating fruit and vegetables is known to protect against heart disease.

The study in the Journal of Nutrition said the average person only eats three portions of fruit and veg a day.


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Fruit and veg 'cut stroke risk'

Eating more than the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can cut risk of stroke, a study says.

People who ate three to five cut the risk by 11% compared with those eating fewer than three, The Lancet reported.

It was 26% lower for people who ate more than five servings, University of London researchers found in the study of data on more than 257,500 people.

The Department of Health says five or more daily portions cuts risk of heart disease, cancer and other problems.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the most common cause of disability in most developed countries.

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

High-veg diet 'wards off cancer'

Eating at least five portions a day of certain fruit and vegetables could cut the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by 50%, US researchers believe.

Onions, garlic, beans, carrots, corn, dark leafy vegetables and citrus fruits were among the most protective foods, according to the study.

A University of California team compared the diets of 2,200 people.

Cancer experts said previous studies had revealed similar findings, but more research was still needed.

Source - BBC News

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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cranberries 'block tooth decay'

Cranberries may help prevent tooth decay and cavities, research suggests.

Scientists have found a compound in the fruit can stop bacteria from clinging to the teeth, blocking the formation of damaging plaque deposits.

However, researcher Dr Hyuan Koo warned many cranberry-containing products were loaded with sugar and consuming large amounts could lead to tooth decay.

The study, by the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, will be published in Caries Research.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Yeast intake linked to longevity

Restricting the amount of yeast in the diet can increase life expectancy by 50%, research into fruit flies has shown.

It is not yet clear whether the same might be true in humans.

But the authors say their findings hint it might be what you eat rather than total calorie intake that influences longevity, contrary to current belief.

The University College London team told PLoS Biology how it could be down to metabolic pathways triggered by foods.

Source - BBC News


Saturday, April 30, 2005

Healthy Med diet can extend life

Scientists have produced powerful evidence that a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fruit and low in saturated fats can help us live longer.
It has long been thought that the diet can help to improve general health.

But a major pan-Europe study of 74,607 men and women aged over 60 has shown closely following the diet can actually extend life by up to one year.

The study, led by University of Athens Medical School, is published in the British Medical Journal.

Source - BBC News


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Apples give cancer the pip

An apple a day could keep carcinoma away, according to new research at Cornell University, in New York state. Rai Hai Liu fed cancer-prone laboratory rats the human equivalent of one, three and six apples a day for 24 weeks, he will report in the next Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Tumour incidence was reduced by 17%, 39% and 44% respectively. His team also fed apples or apple extracts to rats with breast cancer and the same regime reduced tumours by 25%, 25% and 61%. Five years ago Dr Liu reported in Nature that antioxidants in fresh apples inhibited the growth of human liver and colon cancer cells.

Apple-rich diets have already been linked to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, cataracts and even macular degeneration. "Risk of many chronic diseases in modern life appears to be reduced by whole foods, not by isolated large doses of selected food compounds," says David Jacobs of Minnesota University. Keep eating the fruit and veg.

Source The Guardian


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Apples may ward off colon cancer

An apple a day may help to keep bowel cancer at bay, say researchers.

The key could be chemicals in the fruit called procyanidins, a team from the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research believe.

These chemicals were shown to significantly reduce the number of precancerous lesions in lab animals.

The research, which could lead to new cancer treatments, was presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Source BBC News


Thursday, September 30, 2004

Diet gets healthier as people age

Contrary to popular opinion, adults do eat more healthily than they did as children.
Newcastle University researchers looked at the diets of 200 children aged 11 and 12, then again 20 years later.

They found as adults, they ate around twice the amount of fruit and vegetables and less fat and sugar as they had as children.

But the study, in Appetite, found some saw barriers, such as a perceived lack of time, to healthy eating.

This group often believed fruit and vegetables needed time for preparation and cooking and were more likely to have smaller intakes in fruit and vegetables.

Source - BBC News

(I never realised that those carrots in the fridge were a sign of aging!)


Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fruit 'helps prevent eye disease'

Eating fruit could protect against an age-related eye disease which can cause blindness, research suggests.

Researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston followed the progress of over 118,000 people for between 12 and 18 years.

Those who ate three or more servings of fruit a day were 36% less likely to develop age-related maculopathy than people who ate less than 1.5 per day.

The study is published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Age-related maculopathy, or age-related macular degeneration, is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65.

The condition is caused by the deterioration of the macula, a part of the light sensitive layer in the eye called the retina.

The cells either break down, or the tissue is damaged by the growth of blood vessels under the retina.

There is a treatment for the condition, but no cure.

Previous research has shown antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation protects against the condition, and that supplementation with high-doses of vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc delays its progress.

Diet survey

The researchers in this study looked at how the amount of fruit, vegetables and vitamins people ate related to their risk of developing the eye disease.

They followed 77,562 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study and 40,866 men who were taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

All were at least 50 years old when the study began with no diagnosis of ARM. Women were followed for up to 18 years, and men were followed for up to 12 years.

Women completed questionnaires about their diets up to five times over the follow-up period (in 1980, 1984, 1986, 1990 and 1994), and men three times, in 1986, 1990, and 1994.

They also reported their vitamin and supplement use once every two years.

Over the follow-up period, 329 women and 135 men were diagnosed with early stage ARM, and 217 women and 99 men with neovascular ARM, a more severe type of the condition.

While three or more portions of fruit a day was found to significantly cut someone's risk of developing neovascular ARM - a severe form of the disease, eating more vegetables did not appear to hold any benefit.

Bananas and oranges were strongly linked with protective benefits.

Researchers also found that levels of antioxidant vitamins or carotenoids - compounds responsible for the red, yellow and orange pigments found in some fruits and vegetables - were not directly related to ARM risk.

Food versus supplements

Writing in the journal, the researchers led by Dr Eunyoung Cho, said: "Fruit intake was inversely related to age-related maculopathy, particularly neovascular ARM, the form of this disease that frequently involves severe vision loss.

"Since none of the antioxidants or carotenoids contributed substantially, other factors may also contribute to the reduced risk."

They suggest other constituents of fruits with potential health benefit include flavanoids, fibre, folate and potassium.

Catherine Collins, a dietician based at St George's Hospital in London, said the study findings made sense because certain substances found in fruit had specific benefits for eye health.

She said the beneficial link with fruit may have been clearer in this study because people did not eat enough of lutein-rich vegetables such as spinach for them to have a noticeable effect.

She added: "There are substances in foods which give you extra benefits compared to vitamin and mineral supplements".

Source BBC News


Sunday, February 29, 2004

Fruit reduces heart disease risk

Eating three apples a day can significantly cut the risk of death from coronary heart disease, say scientists.

The fibre in apples and other fruits helps prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels.

The findings are part of a US study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

It reinforces other research which has shown the health benefits of a diet rich in fibre.

Scientists, who carried out the research, said people who eat 10 grams of fibre daily, reduce their risk of heart attack by 14% and their risk of dying from coronary heart disease by 27%.

Source BBC News


Sunday, November 30, 2003

Tomato ingredients 'fight cancer'

Several components of the humble tomato act together to help fight prostate cancer, say researchers.

It had been thought just one chemical, lycopene, had an anti-cancer effect.

But researchers at the Universities of Illinois and Ohio State found lycopene's effect is boosted by other chemicals in the fruit.

The finding, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, suggests lycopene-only dietary supplements have only a limited effect.

Lead researcher Professor John Erdman said: "It has been unclear whether lycopene itself is protective.

"This study suggests that lycopene is one factor involved in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
"But it also suggests that taking lycopene as a dietary supplement is not as effective as eating whole tomatoes.

"We believe people should consume whole tomato products - in pastas, in salads, in tomato juice and even on pizza."

The researchers exposed laboratory rats to a chemical that causes prostate cancer, and then fed them on diets containing whole tomato powder, pure lycopene or no lycopene at all.

Source BBC News


Saturday, November 30, 2002

Red wine 'could prevent cancer'

Red wine could form the basis of a cancer prevention drug, researchers say.

The drug, based on a natural compound found in the drink, is being tested at the University of Leicester.

Resveratrol is a natural agent found in grapes, peanuts and several berries.

It is present in fruit juice from these berries and in wine.

It has been suggested it could be the reason why countries in southern Europe, where a lot of red wine is drunk, have a low incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Research has already shown that resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
The Leicester team, has been awarded £1m to carry out the research along with the University of Michigan by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI).

It is the first time that a group outside America has been funded by the NCI for the early clinical development of a drug that may prevent cancer.

Source BBC News

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Monday, September 30, 2002

Tea 'to join health menu'

Tea could soon join fruit and vegetables on the list of must-have health foods.

Recent studies have suggested the traditional cuppa protects against a range of conditions including cancer, heart disease and Parkinson's.

But scientists in the United States now believe that the health benefits are so great that everyone should be urged to drink tea.

Experts believe antioxidants in tea help to repair cells in the body which have been damaged by sunlight, chemicals, stress and many foods.

Damaged cells can lead to cancer and heart disease as well as a host of other serious conditions.

Source BBC News

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Saturday, August 31, 2002

Bananas 'could prevent strokes'

A banana a day could prevent a deficiency which, scientists say, might increase the risk of stroke.

The tropical fruit is rich in potassium, and a study of 5,600 people aged over 65 suggested that those with the lowest intake of the mineral were 50% more likely to suffer a stroke.

The study also suggested that people who take diuretic drugs - which increase the amount of water excreted in the urine - may also increase the risk, perhaps because they stop potassium from the diet being absorbed by the body.

Diuretics are frequently prescribed to older people - ironically, to control blood pressure and reduce the chance of one type of stroke.

Patients with heart failure also take the drugs to relieve the strain on their heart and lungs.
Patients taking diuretics with the lowest levels of potassium in their blood were two-and-a-half times more likely to have a stroke compared with diuretic takers who had the highest levels of potassium.

The study was carried out by doctors at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, and published in the journal Neurology.

Source BBC News


Sunday, June 30, 2002

Scientists design 'anti-cancer' tomato

A tomato has been engineered to contain higher levels of a chemical which may offer protection against cancer.

The tomato was developed at Purdue University in Indiana, US, by accident as scientists hunted higher quality strains that would ripen later.

Tomatoes, even in their processed form, are already considered to be beneficial to health.
This is because they contain various antioxidant chemicals which may be able to prevent cell damage in the body.

One of these chemicals is called lycopene, the pigment which gives the fruit its traditional red colour.

It has long been associated with good health - a study of thousands of men found that eating 10 or more servings of tomato sauce or tomatoes a week reduced prostate cancer risk by 45%.

Source BBC News


Thursday, May 31, 2001

Apples and tomatoes 'good for lungs'

Scientists have found that if you want to have healthy lungs you should eat apples and tomatoes.
It has been established that eating fresh fruit and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of asthma and chronic lung diseases.
But a new study by Nottingham University suggests that apples and tomatoes may have the biggest beneficial impact.

Researchers quizzed 2,633 adults who had problems with wheezing, asthma or other lung complaints about their diet, and asked them to complete a test designed to measure their lung capacity.

Five a day
They found people who had the greatest lung capacity were those who ate more than five apples a week, or who ate tomatoes at least every other day.

Wheezing was also less common in people who ate a lot of apples.

Apples contain high levels of an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin which is also found abundantly in onions, tea and red wine, and may be important in protecting the lungs from the harmful effects of atmospheric pollutants and cigarette smoke.

Dr John Harvey, of the British Thoracic Society (BTS), said: "This is an interesting study which shows that 'a tomato and an apple a day' might help people breathe easier.

"We have known for some time that a healthy diet - rich in antioxidants - can have a positive effect on lung function; this is a ripe area for research."

National Asthma Campaign chief medical adviser Dr Martyn Partridge said: "Alteration in the oxidant/anti oxidant ration in the diet can alter susceptibility to asthma and other lung diseases.
"This latest study confirms that regular intake of fresh fruit reduces the risk of developing respiratory disease and represents a simple effective intervention that everyone can adopt to help keep themselves fit."

The research was presented to the American Thoracic Society's annual conference.

Source BBC News

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Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Fruit extract helps beat period blues

A herbal remedy made from dried fruit extract could help ease the unpleasant period symptoms women suffer each month.

In the days leading up to their periods, millions of women suffer mood swings, headaches and sore breasts.

But scientists think a fruit extract first discovered by Greek sages nearly 2,500 years ago can be used to beat the period blues.

Up to 40% of women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) so badly that they need to go to their GP and up to 2% have to take two days off a month sick.

Dieticians have given the research cautious support, but say they will be recommending women suffering from PMS try the extract.

German Researcher Rued Schellenberg from the Institute of Care and Science, near Frankfurt, found that women taking the fruit extract over three months suffered less from mood swings, anger, headaches and sore breasts than those who did not.

Agnus Castus

Better known as the fruit of the Chaste Tree.
Grows in valleys and riverbanks of the Mediterranean and Central Asia.
Has delicate violet flowers and finger shaped leaves.
Fruit is the size of a peppercorn and it has the taste and smell of pepper.

Source BBC News

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Friday, June 30, 2000

Hidden benefits for apple-eaters

There may be more reasons than simply vitamin C to eat an apple a day, according to researchers.

Scientists have examined the cancer-fighting potential of various chemicals found in the flesh and skin of the fruit.

And they have found that together, these chemicals have an effect which far outweighs that of taking only vitamin C.

The chemicals involved are called flavanoids and polyphenols, and the research study, published in Nature magazine, look at their combined "anti-oxidant" ability.

Anti-oxidants are thought to possibly protect from cancer by "mopping up" molecules responsible for cell damage, which can trigger the disease.

The researchers, from Cornell University in New York, found that eating just 100g of apple gave an anti-oxidant effect equivalent to taking some 1,500mg of vitamin C.

Source BBC News


Monday, January 31, 2000

Apples 'protect the lungs'

Eating an apple a day may be good for the lungs, researchers have discovered.

A team from St George's Hospital Medical School, London, studied the diets and lung function of more than 2,500 men aged 45-49.

The researchers measured the ability to breathe out sharply using a special test called an FEV1.

They found that good lung function was associated with high intakes of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene, citrus fruits, apples, and fruit juices.

However, after they took into consideration factors such as body mass, smoking history and exercise the only food that seemed to make a significant difference was apples.

It was found that eating five or more apples a week was linked to a slightly better lung function. Those who ate apples had a lung capacity 138 millilitres higher than those who did not.

There was no evidence to suggest that the natural decline in lung function with age could be slowed by short term increases in the number of apples eaten. But the fruit might slow deterioration caused by other factors such as pollutants.

Eating a lot of apples might simply reflect a healthy diet, suggest the authors.

Source BBC News


Apple a day adage proves true

Scientists conducting a study in Wales have found there is some truth in the old adage - an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

It is certainly proving true for 2,500 Caerphilly men.

Scientists have discovered that those men who ate five or more apples a week improved their lung capacity. Professor Peter Elwood and his research team have been following the men's eating and lifestyle habits for the last 20 years.


The link between apples and lung capacity came out from a five year study into their eating habits - they were not looking for the link.

Professor Elwood said it was first time that a link between antioxidants and improved lung performacne had been established.

"Apples contain antioxidants in particular richness," said Prof Elwood.

"I think the overall message is that we are not eating enough fruit and vegetables. "It is worth following up the research and looking at the extend of these benefits."

Healthy lungs

The conclusion about the benefits of apples to healthy lungs was just one of many findings the Cardiff University team found that influenced the group's health.

Professor Elwood said it was probably the first time that a link between antioxidants and improved lung performance had been established. "Apples contain antioxidants in particular richness," said Prof Elwood.

"I think the overall message is that we are not eating enough fruit and vegetables. "It is worth following up the research and looking at the extend of these benefits."

They discovered early on that aspirin was good in preventing heart attacks as was quitting smoking and taking more exercise.

Professor Elwood believes that it is the antioxidant properties in all fruit and vegetables that has a postive impact on health.

Source BBC News


Thursday, September 30, 1999

The uppa in the cuppa

Caffeine-filled cups of tea and coffee do not really provide the boost to mood and alertness that people think - they just beat withdrawal symptoms.

New research by Dr Peter Rogers, a psychologist from the University of Bristol, shows that caffeinated drinks have a "pick-me-up" effect only because they counter the tiredness, headaches, and slowing of reactions caused by withdrawal from caffeine in the first place.

Dr Rogers and his team found that caffeine gave the biggest lift when people were suffering from overnight caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

They conducted studies in which they gave people fruit juices with caffeine, and compared this with what happened when people were given a drink with no caffeine.

Not surprisingly, when they felt the caffeine-induced lift, people preferred the drink.

Source BBC News

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Saturday, July 31, 1999

Fruit tea linked to Parkinsonism

Tea made from tropical fruits such as the pawpaw has been linked to a higher rate of a condition with similar symptoms to Parkinson's Disease.

A study carried out in the French West Indies, where the drink is popular, found many patients with "atypical parkinsonism" as a result.

The conditions found were often as deadly as the progressive brain disorder, but started at an earlier age, and were resistant to standard Parkinson's Disease treatments.

Some patients' conditions improved when they stopped drinking the tea.

Source BBC News

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Monday, May 31, 1999

Drinking fluids cuts bladder cancer risk

Drinking more fluid can lower the risk of bladder cancer, scientists have claimed.

A study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine found that men who drank at least 11 eight-ounce glasses of fluids such as water, fruit juice, milk or coffee cut their risk of two common types of bladder cancer - papillary and flat transitional cell carcinomas - in half.
Men who drank at least six glasses of water a day cut their risk of bladder cancer in half compared with men who had less than one glass, regardless of how much they drank in total liquids.

Bladder cancer strikes an estimated 310,000 people worldwide each year.

Researchers believe the bladder lining suffers less exposure to cancer-causing substances in urine when the urine is diluted and urination is more frequent.

Source - BBC News

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Wednesday, March 31, 1999

Contraceptive in a cuppa?

Scientists at the University of Western Australia in Perth believe they've discovered a male contraceptive based on traditional Indonesian herbal tea.

Research is continuing to isolate the active ingredient in the tea which is prepared from leaves of the mangosteen fruit tree.

The researchers say the tea has been used for centuries as a contraceptive by some Indonesian women but tests on rats showed that the tea works just as well on the males.

The researchers say it destroys the sperm but has no effect on the sex drive.

When the treatment ended, normal fertility in the male rats returned.

The researchers warn that a commercial drug based on the tea could be at least five years away.

Source BBC News

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