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Dietitian Touts Disease-Fighting Benefits Of Red Produce

July 8, 2011 by  

Dietitian Touts Disease-Fighting Benefits Of Red ProduceSummertime brings along with it a bevy of delicious fruits and vegetables like watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries and red peppers. Consumers should take advantage of the availability of such produce, since dietitian Donna Fields reports that they may help to stave off several illnesses. 

Fields said that red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which include antioxidants like lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene and beta-cryptoxanthin. In addition to giving the bright produce its color, the antioxidants may also reduce an individual's chance of getting cancer.

The dietitian cited several epidemiological studies to support the disease-fighting benefits of carotenoids. She said that lycopene, in particular, has been linked to a decreased risk of cancer, especially that of the prostate.

In addition to locally grown produce, Fields said that tropical fruits like guava and papaya have powerful antioxidant properties.

"We continue to learn that bright colored fruits and vegetables are best for our bodies," says Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science, the journal in which Fields' article appears.

The finding that richly colored produce also tends to be the most healthful should make it easy for consumers to choose the most nutrient-dense foods.

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  • http://marcum1@wildblue.net coal miner

    EGGS!

    Eggs’ Antioxidant Properties May Help Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer, Study Suggests
    ScienceDaily (July 6, 2011) — One of nature’s most perfect foods may be even better for us than previously thought.

    While eggs are well known to be an excellent source of proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals, researchers at the University of Alberta recently discovered they also contain antioxidant properties, which helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

    Jianping Wu, Andreas Schieber and graduate students Chamila Nimalaratne and Daise Lopes-Lutz of the U of A Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science examined egg yolks produced by hens fed typical diets of either primarily wheat or corn. They found the yolks contained two amino acids, tryptophan and tyrosine, which have high antioxidant properties.

    After analyzing the properties, the researchers determined that two egg yolks in their raw state have almost twice as many antioxidant properties as an apple and about the same as half a serving (25 grams) of cranberries.

    However, when the eggs were fried or boiled, antioxidant properties were reduced by about half, and a little more than half if the eggs were cooked in a microwave.

    “It’s a big reduction but it still leaves eggs equal to apples in their antioxidant value,” said Wu.

    The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Food Chemistry.

    The discovery of these two amino acids, while important, may only signify the beginning of finding antioxidant properties in egg yolks, said Wu, an associate professor of agricultural, food and nutritional science.

    “Ultimately, we’re trying to map antioxidants in egg yolks so we have to look at all of the properties in the yolks that could contain antioxidants, as well as how the eggs are ingested,” said Wu, adding that he and his team will examine the other type of antioxidant already known to be in eggs, carotenoids, the yellow pigment in egg yolk, as well as peptides.

    In previous research, Wu found that egg proteins were converted by enzymes in the stomach and small intestines and produced peptides that act the same way as ACE inhibitors, prescriptions drugs that are used to lower high blood pressure.

    That finding defied common wisdom and contradicted the public perception that eggs increased high blood pressure because of their high cholesterol content. Additional research by Wu suggests the peptides can be formulated to help prevent and treat hypertension.

    Wu is convinced the peptides also have some antioxidant properties, which leads him to suggest that when he completes the next step in his research, the result will likely be that eggs have more antioxidant properties than we currently know.

    • http://marcum1@wildblue.net coal miner

      Science News
      Dietary Leucine May Fight Pre-Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome: Study Shows Improvements in Animals With Amino Acid in Diet
      ScienceDaily (July 6, 2011) — A study led by researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that adding the amino acid leucine to their diets may help those with pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

      In an animal study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, mice who had been on a high-fat diet and who also received twice the usual intake of leucine, an amino acid found in protein, showed reductions in their prediabetic conditions with lower blood sugars and less fat in their livers, two of the collection of medical problems associated with insulin resistance that make up what is known as metabolic syndrome.

      “The impact on the animals on the high-fat diet, even though it didn’t change how fat they got, was that their bodies were able to handle glucose better,” said C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., Head of the Joslin Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Kahn led the team of researchers from Joslin and Metabolon Inc. of Durham, N.C.

      “Their glucose tolerance tests improved,” he said. “Their bodies responded to insulin better than they would have before they got the leucine. It improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats. It markedly improved their pre-diabetic condition. Their metabolic syndrome also improved.”

      Mice who were fed a normal diet and given leucine showed no significant effects from taking the dietary supplement.

      Kahn said the study sought to see what effect just a small change in their environment — in this case in just one small component of the diet — might have on animals with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome.

      “We found that adding just this one amino acid to the diet changed the metabolism in a lot of different pathways,” he said. “It had effects that improved insulin sensitivity, improved their ability to metabolize sugar and fats and their overall metabolism improved.”

      Kahn said the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, shows that even small changes in how we interact with our environment can make a big difference. Such changes can be positive or negative. In this case, they were positive.

      He said it is too soon to recommend that those with prediabetes or metabolic syndrome add leucine to their diets, but said the next step should be a study in humans.

      Leucine is one of 22 amino acids that serve as building blocks of proteins. It was chosen to be tested because in vitro studies had previously shown that it has effects on insulin signaling, Kahn said. Leucine is found in all protein food sources. It is often taken in supplements by those involved in body building in order to increase muscle mass.

      In addition to Kahn, others from Joslin listed as co-authors of the study were Yazmin Macotela, Brice Emanuelli, Anneli M. Bang, Daniel O. Espinosa and Jeremie Boucher. Kirk Beebe and Walter Gall of Metabolon were also listed as co-authors

  • http://marcum1@wildblue.net coal miner

    Science News It’s Not an Apple a Day After All — It’s Strawberries: Flavonoids Could Represent Two-Fisted Assault On Diabetes and Nervous System Disorders
    ScienceDaily (June 28, 2011) — A recent study from scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies suggests that a strawberry a day (or more accurately, 37 of them) could keep not just one doctor away, but an entire fleet of them, including the neurologist, the endocrinologist, and maybe even the oncologist.

    Investigations conducted in the Salk Institute’s Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory (CNL) will appear in the June 27, 2011, issue of PLoS ONE. The report explains that fisetin, a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, lessens complications of diabetes. Previously, the lab showed that fisetin promoted survival of neurons grown in culture and enhanced memory in healthy mice. That fisetin can target multiple organs strongly suggests that a single drug could be used to mitigate numerous medical complications.

    “This manuscript describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type 1 diabetes mouse model,” says David Schubert, Ph.D., professor and head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory and one of the manuscript’s co-authors. “Moreover, it demonstrates the probable molecular basis of how the therapeutic is working.”

    Pam Maher, Ph.D., a senior staff scientist in the CNL, is the study’s corresponding author. Maher initially identified fisetin as a neuroprotective flavonoid ten years ago. “In plants, flavonoids act as sunscreens and protect leaves and fruit from insects,” she explains. “As foods they are implicated in the protective effect of the ‘Mediterranean Diet.’”

    Other celebrity flavonoids include polyphenolic compounds in blueberries and red wine.

    Although her group’s focus is neurobiology, Maher and colleagues reasoned that, like other flavonoids, fisetin might ameliorate a spectrum of disorders seen in diabetic patients. To test this, they evaluated effects of fisetin supplementation in Akita mice, a very robust model of type 1 diabetes, also called childhood onset diabetes.

    Akita mice exhibit increased blood sugar typical of type 1 diabetes and display pathologies seen in serious human complications of both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Those include diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease, retinopathy, and neuropathies in which patients lose touch or heat sensations.

    Mice fed a fisetin-enriched diet remained diabetic, but acute kidney enlargement-or hypertrophy-seen in untreated mice was reversed, and high urine protein levels, a sure sign of kidney disease, fell. Moreover, fisetin ingestion ameliorated anxiety-related behaviors seen in diabetic mice. “Most mice put in a large area become exploratory,” says Maher. “But anxious mice tend not to move around. Akita mice showed enhanced anxiety behavior, but fisetin feeding restored their locomotion to more normal levels.”

    The study also defines a likely molecular mechanism underlying these effects. Researchers observed that blood and brain levels of sugars affixed to proteins known as advanced glycation end-products-or AGEs-were reduced in fisetin-treated compared to untreated Akita mice. These decreases were accompanied by increased activity of the enzyme glyoxalase 1, which promotes removal of toxic AGE precursors.

    The discovery of an AGE-antagonizing enzyme upregulated by fisetin is very intriguing, because substantial evidence implicates high blood AGE levels with many if not most diabetic complications. “We know that fisetin increases activity of the glyoxalase enzyme and may increase its expression,” says Maher. “But what is important is that ours is the first report that any compound can enhance glyoxalase 1 activity.”

    Interestingly, excessively high AGE levels also correlate with inflammatory activity thought to promote some cancers. In fact, studies published by others confirm that fisetin decreases tumorigenicity of prostate cancer cells both in culture and in animal models, which if supported would represent a major added incentive to eat your strawberries.

    To ingest fisetin levels equivalent to those fed Akita mice, Maher estimates that humans would have to eat 37 strawberries a day, assuming that strawberry fisetin is as readily metabolizable by humans as fisetin-spiked lab chow is by mice. Rather than through diet, Maher envisions that fisetin-like drugs could be taken as a supplement.

    Schubert notes that fisetin is also effective in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. “We and others have shown that diabetes may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, making identification of a safe prophylactic like fisetin highly significant,” he says.

    Maher acknowledges that the public may be suffering from flavonoid-fatigue, given media coverage of the promises of these compounds. “Polyphenolics like fisetin and those in blueberry extracts are found in fruits and vegetables and are related to each other chemically,” she says. “There is increasing evidence that they all work in multiple diseases. Hopefully some combination of these compounds will eventually get to the clinic.”

    Schubert concurs that their findings only reinforce what common sense and our mothers told us was a healthy lifestyle. “Eat a balanced diet and as much freshly prepared organic food as possible, get some exercise, keep socially and mentally active and avoid sodas with sugar and highly processed foods since they can contain high levels of AGEs,” he advises.

    But he also worries that hoops that must be jumped through to bring a natural product like fisetin, as opposed to a totally synthetic drug, to clinical trials are daunting because it is difficult to protect patents on natural products. “We will never know if a compound like fisetin works in humans until someone is willing to support a clinical trial.”

    Also contributing to this study were Richard Dargusch and Jennifer L. Ehren, Ph.D.,of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, and Kumar Sharma, M.D., and Shinichi Okada, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Medicine at University of California, San Diego.

    Funding for the study came from the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Hewitt Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health

  • http://marcum1@wildblue.net coal miner

    Science News:
    Dietary, Lifestyle Changes Can Significantly Reduce Triglycerides
    ScienceDaily (Apr. 24, 2011) — Dietary and lifestyle changes significantly reduce elevated triglycerides (a type of blood fat) — which is associated with heart, blood vessel and other diseases — according to an American Heart Association scientific statement.

    Changes such as substituting healthy, unsaturated dietary fats for saturated ones, engaging in physical activity and losing excess weight can decrease triglycerides by 20 percent to 50 percent, according to the statement’s authors. The statement is published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

    “The good news is that high triglycerides can, in large part, be reduced through major lifestyle changes,” said Michael Miller, M.D., chair of the statement committee and professor of medicine in epidemiology and public health and director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

    “In contrast to cholesterol, where lifestyle measures are important but may not be the solution, high triglycerides are often quite responsive to lifestyle measures that include weight loss if overweight, changes in diet and regular physical activity.”

    Miller and co-authors analyzed more than 500 international studies from the past 30 years to formulate the scientific statement.

    Recommended dietary changes for those outside the normal range of triglycerides include limiting:

    added sugar to less than 5 percent to 10 percent of calories consumed — about 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men.
    fructose from both processed foods and naturally occurring foods -less than 50 to 100 grams per day
    saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories
    trans fat to- less than 1 percent of total calories; and
    alcohol, especially if triglyceride levels are higher greater than 500 mg/dL
    The amount of added sugars is not listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel of packaged foods, so it is hard to know exactly how much added sugar is in food. Because the majority of added sugar consumed by Americans comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, the American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverages per week, based on a 2000-calorie-per-day diet. People with high triglycerides should also focus on eating more vegetables, fruits lower in fructose such as cantaloupe, grapefruit, strawberries, peaches, bananas, high fiber whole-grains and “healthier” unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids found primarily in fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, lake trout, and albacore tuna.

    All patients with triglyceride levels in the borderline to high range (150-199 mg/dL) or greater are also encouraged to incorporate physical activities of at least moderate intensity (such as brisk walking) for a total of at least 150 minutes per week, because these activities may contribute an additional 20-30 percent triglyceride-lowering effect. Combining all of these lifestyle measures is likely to have the most pronounced effect — 50 percent or greater in reducing triglyceride levels.

    Triglyceride testing involves a simple blood sample, traditionally taken after a 12-hour fast. The authors suggest using non-fasting triglyceride testing as an initial screen. Although the cutoff for elevated triglycerides remains at 150 mg/dL, a new optimal level of 100 mg/dL has now been set to acknowledge the protective benefit of lifestyle in metabolic health. However, it is not a target for drug therapy because there has not been adequate study to show that drug therapy to lower triglycerides to this level is helpful. Many people can reduce their triglycerides as well as other metabolic risk factors such as blood sugar and blood pressure with diet, weight loss and increased physical activity.

    “Triglycerides are an important barometer of metabolic health,” said Neil J. Stone, M.D., co-chair of the statement and professor of medicine in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. “When the clinician sees an elevated triglyceride level, there needs to be an important conversation about risk factors and the need to eat less, eat smarter, and to move more on a daily basis to improve triglycerides and the metabolic profile.”

    In the United States, nearly one-third (31 percent) of adults have elevated triglyceride levels (more than 150 mg/dL). The percentage varies by ethnicity, and is highest among Mexican-Americans at 36 percent. Whites have the second-highest rate at 33 percent, while blacks have the lowest at 16 percent. Of concern is that triglyceride levels continue to rise in young adults (aged 20-49) and this mirrors the increased rates of obesity and diabetes identified at earlier ages.

    Co-authors are Christie Ballantyne, M.D.; Vera Bittner, M.D.; Michael H. Criqui, M.D., M.P.H.; Henry N. Ginsberg, M.D.; Anne Carol Goldberg, M.D.; William James Howard, M.D.; Marc S. Jacobson, M.D.; Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D.; Terry A. Lennie, Ph.D., R.N.; Moshe Levi, M.D.; Theodore Mazzone, M.D. and Subramanian Pennathur, M.D.

  • Josh

    The problem with these “red” or any other colour veggies and fruit…they are probably genetically modified..and dangerous to your health…so beware…even in Africa where they needed food badly they would not accept the UN recommendation that they take US genetically engineer “food”..they refused..because not safe..so what’s with feeding it to the masses at home and in Canada? Dumbed down populations I guess..no fight left in them..sad but true!

    • JimH

      Josh, I guess it’s better for Africans to starve to death, than to risk eating something that MAY be unsafe.
      What used to be called a hybrid and was OK, is now called genetically engineered and without even a study or research you KNOW it’s bad.
      Try to find any kind of produce or even seeds for your own garden that hasn’t been modified.(mostly for the better)

  • http://marcum1@wildblue.net coal miner

    Science News:
    Healthy Lifestyle Associated With Low Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death in Women
    ScienceDaily (July 7, 2011) — Adhering to a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, exercising regularly, having a low body weight and eating a healthy diet, appears to lower the risk of sudden cardiac death in women, according to a study in the July 6 issue of JAMA.

    “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) [defined as death occurring within one hour after symptom onset without evidence of circulatory collapse] accounts for more than half of all cardiac deaths, with an incidence of approximately 250,000 to 310,000 cases annually in the United States,” the authors write as background information in the study. The authors also note that no prior studies have examined the combination of multiple lifestyle factors and risk of SCD.

    Using data collected as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, Stephanie E. Chiuve, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues examined the association between a healthy lifestyle and risk of SCD. A total of 81,722 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study from June 1984 to June 2010 were included in the study, and lifestyle factors were assessed via questionnaires every two to four years. A low-risk lifestyle was defined as not smoking, having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25, exercise duration of 30 minutes/day or longer, and consuming a diet closely related to a Mediterranean-style diet (emphasizes high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and fish, with moderate alcohol intake).

    During the 26 years of follow-up, there were 321 cases of SCD among women (average age 72 years at the time of the SCD event) in the study. All four low-risk factors were significantly and independently associated with a lower risk of SCD. Not smoking, exercising and eating a healthy diet each were inversely associated with risk of SCD. BMI also was associated with the risk of SCD, with women having a BMI between 21 and 24.9 at lowest risk.

    Women at low risk for all four lifestyle factors had a 92 percent lower risk of SCD when compared with women at low risk for none of the four lifestyle factors.

    “The primary prevention of SCD remains a major public health challenge because most SCD occurs among individuals not identified as high risk,” the authors write. “In this cohort of female nurses, adherence to an overall healthy lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of SCD and may be an effective strategy for the prevention of SCD.”

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