To enjoy the health benefits of pomegranates, it’s better to use the fresh fruit.— AFP pic
EATING pomegranates regularly could provide protection from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, according to an American study published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.
Pomegranates have been proven scientifically to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer effects. They are also thought to have an anti-aging effect that can protect our neurons.
The latest study from the American Chemical Society has revealed that this Asian fruit with small translucent red seeds could play an important role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers highlighted the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective action of compounds called urolithins.
These protective agents are produced when ellagitannins (a type of polyphenol that is present in pomegranates) are metabolized by intestinal bacteria. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants which are found in a large number of fruit and vegetables.
The researchers observed in vitro that these urolithins lowered the levels of the ß-amyloid protein which is responsible for the formation of toxic clumps between neurons that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The team of chemists sought to understand how the pomegranate compounds were able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain, and prevent the formation of these harmful proteins.
The team isolated and identified 21 compounds — most of which were polyphenols — from pomegranate extract. These polyphenols could not cross the blood-brain barrier, but some of their metabolites, the urolithins, were able to.
The beneficial role played by urolithins has been demonstrated in previous research, notably in the prevention of certain cancers (of the colon, breast and prostate) and in lowering cholesterol (triglyceride levels in the blood).
To enjoy the health benefits of the pomegranate, it’s better to use the fresh fruit.
You can extract the juice by gently squeezing the whole fruit, piercing a hole in the skin and inserting a straw. You can also press it like an orange or a lemon (the fruit pips contain the juice).
Pomegranate juice is commercially available, but it should be 100% fruit, without any added sugar
Report ties sugar-sweetened beverages to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer
Liquid candy is killing us.
So say the results of a new study, which holds sugary drinks responsible for the death of 1,600 Canadians annually.
That’s more than four deaths per day, and higher than most other wealthy industrialized countries, said Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
“We know that sugar-sweetened beverages are cause-and-effect for obesity and diabetes,” he told the Toronto Star. “There’s no intrinsic health value to it. There’s plenty of replacements. This is an easy problem to fix.
“We just have to stop drinking sugary beverages,” he added.
Those beverages include soda pop, energy and sports drinks as well as fruit beverages, sweetened iced teas and homemade sugary drinks like frescas.
The global report, published recently in the journal Circulation, evaluated statistics to estimate how many deaths were directly attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages in 2010. The conclusion: 184,000 worldwide.
The study found that diabetes induced by excessive consumption of sugary beverages was responsible for more than 70 per cent of those deaths, with cardiovascular disease and cancer trailing behind at 25 per cent and four per cent respectively.
And while 40 per cent fewer Canadians per capita die as a result of sugary drinks than in the United States, at least twice as many of us die due to the habit than in Great Britain and France, the study found.
Mozaffarian stressed the need to change the culture around soft drinks, “so that it’s not cool to drink a one-litre Big Gulp with your friends.”
He criticized sports and film celebrities for promoting energy drinks and soft drinks.
“Those movie stars would never do commercials and advertise tobacco to kids.”
Sugary drinks are the main source of added sugars in the Canadian diet, said Lesley James, a health policy analyst at the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
“Canadians are often unaware of how much sugar they’re consuming in beverage form. And the more you drink, the higher your risk is of these adverse health effects,” she said.
The foundation is pushing for a levy on sugary drink producers to force them to hike the price in hopes of scaring away customers. It says the revenue would go toward healthy lunch programs in schools across the country.
It is also calling for a legislated ban on free refills of fountain pop at chain restaurants.
“It’s liquid candy,” said Corinne Voyer, director of the Quebec Coalition on Weight-Related Problems.
A bottle of pop hits the body a lot harder than, say, a cookie, “because the sugar goes so fast into your body and your liver has to work to metabolize it all,” Voyer said. “It makes the liver very fat.”
Health Canada announced plans earlier this month for redesigned nutrition labels that will highlight added sugars and standardize portion sizes on food packaging.
“Health Canada is in the process of reviewing the evidence base for its current guidance on healthy eating to Canadians, including how the existing guidance is being used by health professionals, educators and consumer,” spokesperson Eric Morrissette wrote in an email.
Earlier this year, Ontario passed a law requiring large food chains to post calories for food and beverage items on menus.
The Tufts University study examined dietary surveys and national data across 187 countries from 1980 to 2010.
The first-line treatment for hypertension is lifestyle modification, which often includes the DASH diet. What is it and how can it be improved?
This is the companion video to How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet.
The DASH diet is one of the best studied, and consistently ranks as US News & World Report’s #1 diet. It’s one of the few diets that medical students are taught about in medical school. I was so fascinated to learn of its origins as a compromise between practicality and efficacy.
I’ve talk about the patronizing attitude many doctors have that patients can’t handle the truth in:
For more on what plants can do for high blood pressure see:
Red meat production and sales have declined as the public has become increasingly aware of the link between meat consumption and chronic disease. For consumer health, this is progress. However, the USDA is now proposing a new “checkoff” program to allocate additional funds—potentially totaling $160 million—towards the promotion and marketing of beef in 2015. And since the USDA also issues national dietary recommendations, this creates a clear conflict of interest.
Beef is bad for your health. Physicians, researchers, and medical organizations clearly state the consequences of eating red meat. Harvard University has published numerous studies associating meat consumption with chronic disease. The World Health Organization notes the correlation between meat and colorectal and prostate cancersin its dietary recommendations. The American Heart Association published findings saying that women who had two servings per day of red meat had a 30 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. Physicians Committee researchers found that eatingmeat is a risk factor for diabetes. The American Institute for Cancer Researchrecommends reducing and removing red and processed meat, as does the American Cancer Society. Even government officials in the United Kingdom have been clear in their recommendations to British citizens to cut red meat consumption.
However, the USDA has remained ambiguous when discussing red meat. In the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, the USDA recommended reducing saturated fat and cholesterol intake—neglecting to mention that a sirloin steak overloads your arteries with 155 percent of your daily maximum intake of saturated fat and 152 percent of your daily maximum cholesterol.
The USDA is accepting public comments on the proposed checkoff program until Dec. 10.Click here to take action by submitting your comments to the USDA.
Want to know more about the research? Check out this sample of studies from just the past two years linking red meat and chronic disease:
Red and Processed Meats Increase Risk of Bladder Cancer
Red Meat in Childhood Increases Risk for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Linked to Eating Red Meat
Iron in Meat Linked to Heart Disease
Even Modest Amounts of Meat Increase Risk for Diabetes
Meat-Eating is a Risk Factor for Developing Diabetes
Red and Processed Meat Endangers Health
Many Ways Meat Causes Colon Cancer
Red and Processed Meat Products Linked to Mortality
Cutting Out Meat Boosts Heart Attack Victims’ Chance of Survival
Red and Processed Meat Linked to Death for Colorectal Cancer Patients
Researchers Discover New Way Meat Causes Heart Disease
More Evidence That Red and Processed Meats Are Deadly
Today is Friday the 13th, a great day to tell you how to keep your endothelial cells healthy and functioning properly so that you don’t have to rely on luck to prevent a fatal heart attack! The most important thing we can do to prevent heart disease or stop heart disease from progressing is keep our endothelial cells healthy so that they can produce nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, and keeps our blood vessels slick enough to keep plaque from forming.
This two-part series on heart disease is growing into a three-part series. Today in Part II, let’s have a look at how endothelial cells get damaged. Tomorrow in the final part of the series, I will tell you how to protect and heal endothelial cells.
Our endothelial cells get damaged by foods that we eat, specifically, fatty foods (including animal foods, with saturated fat), fast foods, all oils, and caffeine.
Dr. Robert A. Vogel of the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated the direct and immediate impact of fatty food on our endothelial cells in 1999(1) using the Brachial Artery Tourniquet Test (BART), a noninvasive technique that uses ultrasound to measure the diameter of the brachial artery before and after consuming various foods. The test is used to determine how long it takes the brachial artery to spring back to its normal, pre-meal diameter, a measure of how much nitric oxide (a powerful vasodilator) is being produced by the endothelial cells to dilate the artery.
Dr. Vogel used a group of students to show that even one fatty meal could damage the endothelial cells lining the brachial artery wall. He started by using Brachial Artery Tourniquet Test to get a baseline measurement of how long it took the students’ artery walls to spring back to normal.
The students were divided into two groups: one group was fed a fast food breakfast with 900 calories and 50 grams of fat; the other group was fed a breakfast of 900 calories with no fat. Dr. Vogel repeated the Brachial Artery Tourniquet Test after the students ate and found some impressive results: for the “no fat” group, the arteries bounced back to normal as they had when first measured before the meal; for the “high fat” group, the arteries took significantly longer to return to normal. This shows the impact that a single meal can have on our endothelial cells.
Processed vegetable oils, dairy products, and meat (including chicken & fish) injure endothelial cells, and in doing so, reduce the number of functioning endothelial cells that can produce protective nitric oxide. Without enough nitric oxide, plaque blockages build up and grow, and eventually cause heart disease and strokes. And according to Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., MD, what BART really tells us is that with every single Western meal we eat, whether it’s meat, dairy, or olive oil, we injure our endothelium.(3) So just imagine what happens after eating one or more high-fat meals every single day, as so many Americans do!
By injuring our endothelial cells and reducing the amount of endothelial cells left to produce nitric oxide, our Standard American Diet also makes our blood “sticky”, so the mess of cholesterol, cells, and debris can cause a whole cascade of events that lead to inflammation, heart disease, plaque formation, and heart attacks.
In a follow-up study the next year, Dr. Vogel used the same Brachial Artery Tourniquet Test technique to investigate the fatty components of the Mediterranean diet to determine the impact of the “healthy” fats on the function of endothelial cells.(4)
In this study, 10 healthy subjects were fed meals with 900 calories and 50 grams of fat. The meals consisted of either olive oil, canola oil, or salmon (fish oil) with bread. In addition, two of the olive oil meals were supplemented with antioxidant vitamins (C and E) or with foods (balsamic vinegar and salad).
Vogel found that after the meals, olive oil constricted blood flow by 31%, three times as much as canola oil (10%) and 15 times as much as fish oil (2%)! So even olive oil is compromising our endothelial cells!
The study concluded that “the beneficial components of the Mediterranean and Lyon Diet Heart Study diets appear to be antioxidant-rich foods, including vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives such as vinegar, and omega-3-rich fish and canola oils” (not olive oil).(4) Canola oil may share some of the unique vasoprotective properties of other omega-3-rich oils, such as fish oil.
Dietary fruits, vegetables, and their products appear to provide some protection against the direct impairment in endothelial function produced by high-fat foods, including olive oil”.
So now we know that fats and oils, even “healthy” olive oil, injure our endothelial cells, reducing the number of endothelial cells that can produce nitric oxide, which we need to protect our arteries from plaque. Tomorrow in the final part of the series, we will look at how to keep our endothelial cells healthy to prevent or reverse heart disease.