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October Issue Of Natural Alternatives
October 01, 2008
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1) SOME COCOA MAY IMPROVE BLOOD FLOW IN THE BRAIN
2) CERVICAL CANCER IN WOMEN WITH CHRONIC STRESS, WEAKENED IMMUNE RESPONSE
3) TO LOSE WEIGHT, TAKE A BREAKFAST BREAK
By Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A nice cup of the right kind of cocoa could hold the promise of promoting brain function as people age.
In an increasingly aging world, medical researchers are seeing more cases of dementia and are looking for ways to make brains work better.
One potential source of help may be flavanols, an antioxidant found in cocoa beans that can increase blood flow to the brain, researchers said Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Ian MacDonald of England's University of Nottingham reported on tests given to young women who were asked to do a complex task while their brains were being studied with magnetic resonance imaging.
Among the women given drinks of cocoa high in flavanols, there was a significant increase in blood flow to the brain compared with subjects who did not drink the cocoa, he said.
This raises the prospect of using flavanols in the treatment of dementia, marked by decreased blood flow in the brain, and in maintaining overall cardiovascular health, he said.
The next step, MacDonald said, is to move from healthy subjects to people who have "compromised" blood flow to the brain.
Norman Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School said he found similar health benefits in the Cuna Indian tribe in Panama. They drink cocoa exclusively.
But the cocoa typically sold in markets is low in flavanols, which usually are removed because they impart a bitter taste, Hollenberg said. He also said the findings do not mean people should indulge in chocolate.
"Chocolate is a delight. It can never be a health food because we have a calorie problem," Hollenberg said.
But, he added, in cocoa a lot of fat is removed from the chocolate. "I see a bright future for cocoa," he said.
Hollenberg, an expert in blood pressure, studied the Cuna because those who live on native islands do not have high blood pressure.
He said he found that when tribe members move to cities, their blood pressure rises. A major difference is the consumption of their own prepared cocoa, which is high in flavanols. In native areas, that is all they drink; in cities they adopt the local diet.
In addition to having low blood pressure, Hollenberg said, there are no reports of dementia among the native Cuna.
Henriette van Praag of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discussed the effects of a specific flavanol, Epichatechin, in tests in mice.
She said when that chemical was added to their food, the mice showed improved ability to solve a maze and remembered it longer than mice without the flavanol. She said Epichatechin affected the hippocampus, the brain area important in memory.
In a study reported a year ago, older men in the Netherlands who ate the equivalent of one-third of a chocolate bar every day had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of death.
The researchers said, however, it was too early to conclude that chocolate led to better health. The men who ate more cocoa products could have shared other qualities that made them healthier.
Hagen Schroeter of Mars Inc., the candy company that paid for some of the research reported Sunday, said that cocoa long has been studied for potential medical benefits. He noted that in addition to cocoa, flavanols occur in other foods such as fruits, tea and wine that have been associated with dilation of the arteries.
Mars last year announced plans to market a line of products under the name CocoaVia which is high in flavanols. Other major chocolate companies, including Hershey's, have started promoting the flavanol content of their dark chocolates.
20 CERVICAL CANCER IN WOMEN WITH CHRONIC STRESS, WEAKENED IMMUNE RESPONSE
A high level of stress may hamper the body's ability to fight off human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, placing women at a higher risk of cervical cancer, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center and published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.
Researchers questioned 106 women about their day-to-day stress over the course of the previous month, as well as any major life events, including divorce or the death of family members, over a longer time period. Seventy-eight of the women had tested positive in a Pap smear for HPV 16, while 28 had received a normal results from the same test.
HPV16 is the virus strain most strongly linked to increased risk of cervical cancer.
The researchers found that women who reported more daily stress had a less effective immune system response to infection than women who reported last stress. There did not appear to be any connection between immune system functioning and major life events, however.
"Women with higher levels of perceived stress were more likely to have an impaired immune response to HPV16," said lead researcher Carolyn Fang. "That means that women who report feeling more stressed could be at greater risk of developing cervical cancer because their immune system can't fight off one of the most common viruses that cause it."
Prior research has shown that a robust immune response to HPV infection significantly lowers the risk of cervical cancer; women whose bodies are able to clear out the virus are less likely to experience the abnormal cell changes that it can cause over the long term. The cell changes are one of the precursors to cervical cancer.
The researchers noted that the current study was not set up to determine whether stress actually caused the depressed immune response, or whether there might be some other reason for the correlation. Previous research, however, has well-established such an effect in other cases.
3) TO LOSE WEIGHT, TAKE A BREAKFAST BREAK
It is often difficult to prepare a nutritious breakfast when your mornings are already short on time. But you may want to think twice before skipping the meal altogether.There’s ample evidence to show that eating a nutritious, balanced breakfast is a must if you’re trying to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Starting your day with a healthy meal not only improves your stamina and memory during those busy first hours, it also jumpstarts your metabolism for the day, says Bob Greene, an exercise physiologist, personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey and author of “The Best Life Diet.” In fact, several studies have found that breakfast eaters consume fewer calories throughout the course of the day than breakfast skippers.
“People often pass on breakfast thinking that it will help cut calories,” Greene says. “Instead, they make up for those calories later on, often in the evening, as they raid the cupboards for chips, cookies and other high-calorie foods. And, if people skip both breakfast and lunch, their metabolism may start slowing down. That’s the last thing you need if you’re trying to shed pounds. If you’re short on time, try a protein smoothie. It provides a refreshing, on-the-go pick-me-up to keep you energized until lunch.”
Smoothies are one of the easiest things to whip up at home with a blender and a little creativity. When you begin with a lean protein base like egg whites (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup per smoothie), you’ll have a beverage that will help keep you full and satisfied. Egg whites are an all-natural protein source that is fat-free, cholesterol-free and low in calories, making them ideal for a power breakfast.
Because they’ve been pasteurized and packaged in ready-to-pour cartons, AllWhites offer a safer and more convenient alternative to cracking and separating eggs. Look for AllWhites 100 percent all-natural egg whites in the dairy case of your local supermarket.
With your protein base in place, you can get creative with your favorite fruit and juices. The following recipe has just 282 calories, and is packed with 7 grams of fiber and antioxidants from green tea, raspberries and grapefruit juice to support healthy cells. Pair it with a whole grain cracker spread with a little peanut butter, or a couple of tablespoons of nuts, and you’ll have a complete breakfast to enjoy either at home or on the way to work.
Raspberry Green Tea Protein Smoothie
Directions: Combine all ingredients in blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
1 serving (16 ounces)
Courtesy of ARAcontent
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This newsletter is for educational purposes only. It is your right to educate yourself in health and medical knowledge, to seek helpful information and make use of it for your own benefit, and for that of your family. You are the one responsible for your health. You must educate yourself in order to make decisions in all health matters. My views and advices are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medicine, but simply a help you to make educated changes in order to help your body heal itself. If you have a medical condition or concern you should consult your physician.
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