Monthly Archives: January, 2015

Curcumin may help lower inflammation in metabolic syndrome

ID-100149024Turmeric as well as one of its main ingredients, curcumin, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory activity. A new study from the journal of Clinical Nutrition evaluates curcumin’s ability to reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome. In this randomized controlled clinical trial 117 participants, who had already been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, were split in half to either receive one gram of curcumin or placebo for 8 weeks. The researchers measured levels of three inflammation blood markers at the beginning and end of the study. They found the participants who took curcumin had improved blood levels of all three inflammatory biomarkers as well as reduced fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a measure of long term blood sugar levels. “The findings of our studies, along with clinical findings reported by other groups, indicate the usefulness of daily use of curcumin supplement for the prevention and treatment of several diseases,” the study’s senior author states. Curcumin has strong antioxidant and antiinflammaotry properties which give the compound its therapeutic effects. The authors advise that even at high doses curcumin is a very safe natural supplement, but should be avoided in pregnant and lactating women. How do you incorporate curcumin and turmeric into your diet?

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Ask Well: The Best Time of Day to Exercise to Lose Weight

ID-100110814Researchers in Belgium have found that exercising in the very early hours of the morning can help the body to burn more fat and potentially keep off weight gain, compared to exercising at other times. In the study, researchers had young, healthy men to gorge themselves for 6 weeks with a diet consisting of 30% more calories and 50% more fat than what they had been eating prior. The first group of the volunteers remained sedentary while eating. The second began a strenuous, midmorning exercise routine after they had had breakfast while the third group followed the same workout regimen, but before they had eaten anything. After the 6 weeks, the first group predictably had gained the most weight, at 6 pounds, and had begun to develop insulin resistance. The second group gained 3 pounds and also developed insulin problems. But the third group of men gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. Their bodies were also burning more fat throughout the day than were the other men. It is important to note though that the early-morning exercise prevented weight gain, which is not the same thing as inducing weight loss. But the results are encouraging to anyone who is looking to have a healthier lifestyle. Does this study motivate you to work out early in the morning? What about in this weather?

 

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Ramping up e-cigarette voltage produces more formaldehyde: study

ID-100265931Smoking e-cigarettes at a higher voltage can can people to have more exposure to formaldehyde, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from Portland State University took flavored nicotine liquid made by Halo Cigs and tested it in a personal vaporizer from Innokin. The vaporizer allows consumers to adjust the voltage from 3.3V to 5.0V. The higher the voltage the greater the nicotine kick, but also the greater the amount of formaldehyde. Inhaled as a gas, formaldehyde has been linked to an increased risk of nasopharyngeal cancer and leukemia. Researchers concluded that the life-time risk of developing formaldehyde-related cancer was roughly 1 in 200 for high-voltage e-cigarettes versus 1 in 1,000 for cigarettes – at least five times higher. They found no increased risk for people smoking at a low voltage. What are you thoughts on smoking cigarettes vs. e-cigarettes? How often do you counsel patients about e-cigarettes?

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Fitness apps lack evidence-based tools

ID-100132827A new study shows smartphone fitness apps aren’t always effective in helping people stay healthy. More than half of American adults own smartphones – and half of those owners use some type of fitness app, explains David Conroy, the study’s lead researcher from Northwestern University in Chicago. Unfortunately, a vast number of them have no research defending their effectiveness. In November 2013, Conroy and colleagues identified the 100 top-selling health and fitness apps in the Apple iTunes and Google Play marketplaces. Researchers looked for any of 93 possible behavior-changing techniques and found only an average of 7 techniques per app. The study shows that social media integration is pervasive, Conroy said, even though there is only limited research showing social media can positively affect behavior. “A lot of these apps, it turns out, are kind of hollow,” he said, adding they look nice and have many features, but no techniques to motivate people who are not currently active. What do you think of fitness apps? Do youfavorite ones that truly help you to stay active?

 

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Asthma is not more prevalent in the inner city, researchers say

asthmaFor decades, childhood asthma was linked to living in urban areas. This is not the case anymore, says researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Race, ethnicity and poverty are actually more closely associated with the lung disease than location in urban neighborhoods. Looking at data from 23,065 children across the United States, they found that self-reported asthma attacks were equally found between inner city areas and all others areas. Interestingly, researchers found that “black race, Puerto Rican ethnicity and poverty rather than residence in an urban area per se are the major risk factors for prevalent asthma.” For African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, higher risk of asthma may be genetic, says Corrine Keet, assistant professor of pediatrics. For the poor, it may be stresses such as exposure to mouse and cockroach allergens, cigarette smoke, a higher rate of pre-term births and more maternal stress, she said. It is unclear whether inner-city children who have asthma may suffer more severe symptoms as a result of allergens there. Another study is currently being conducted to determine this. How often do you counsel patients with asthma symptoms?  Are you in agreement with the latest findings?

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How Vitamin D May Fight Colon Cancer

ID-100130112New observational research performed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School was just published in the journal Gut.  Researchers have associated higher levels of vitamin D with a reduced risk of colon cancer, stating that the higher the levels in the blood, the less is the likelihood of developing malignant tumors in the colon. The authors discuss how vitamin D boosts immunity in cancer as well as any other type of infection leading to greater number of T cells which target tumor cells and limit their growth. When did you have your vitamin D level check last?

 

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Blueberries May Lower Blood Pressure

ID-10069469In a new study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers found eating a cup of blueberries a day has a moderate effect on lowering blood pressure. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 40 postmenopausal women, those women who ate a cup of blueberries a day for 8 weeks saw an average decrease in systolic blood pressure by 5.1 % and a 6.3 % decrease in diastolic blood pressure. The levels of nitric oxide, responsible for relaxing blood vessels, were increased in the group who consumed blueberries while there was no significant change in the placebo group.Researchers recommend adding blueberries to your diet to help lower blood pressure. What are some of the reasons and best ways you incorporate blueberries into your daily diet?

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Stable childhood may lead to healthy adult heart

ID-100240347A long term study in Finland found adults who had a “stable, healthy” childhood were more likely to have an “ideal cardiovascular health” in adulthood. In this observational study of more than 1,000 men and women, positive psychosocial factors in childhood were associated with healthier behaviors as adults which directly influence overall heart health. Certain behaviors, like eating habits, are developed in childhood and continue into adulthood. Researchers assessed children’s psychosocial upbringing, parents education/income level, alcohol/smoking use and general life satisfaction. When they reach adulthood, researchers looked at an index developed by the American Heart Association which defined ‘ideal cardiovascular health’. This included a healthy body mass index, moderate physical activity, healthy diet, not smoking, and healthy levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood sugar. The larger number of positive psychosocial factors in childhood correlated with better cardiovascular heart health in adults. Parents were advised to spend time with their children, pay attention to mental illness which is linked with cardiovascular health, and lead by example because children develop important behaviors from what they see. What advice would you give parents to help instill healthy habits in children?

 

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Higher-fiber diet linked to lower risk of death

ID-100232441The American Journal of Epidemiology is encouraging individuals to increase their daily dietary fiber intake. Dr. Yang of the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China, collected data from 17 previous studies and reported people who ate the greatest amount of fiber were 16 % less likely to die than those who ate the least amount. The more fiber people ate the less likely they were to die from any cause. Eight of these studies proved increasing dietary fiber by 10 grams a day would decrease risk for any cause of death by 10 %. Researchers say fiber-rich foods lower the risk of chronic diseases by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, insulin and reducing inflammation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture women should consume 25 grams a day and men about 38 grams a day.It has been reported that the U.S population only consumes half the recommended goal. It is important to remember when increasing your daily fiber intake to do it slowly and drink plenty of water. Fiber-rich foods to add to your daily diet include whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. What are some of your favorite recipes/suggestions that incorporate these foods/ingredients?

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In search of a personalised diet

ID-100123942A new study lead by BBC Science and obesity experts explains every person has different eating habits and specific diets are needed for each person based on their hormones, genes,cognitive behavior etc. Instead of following a standard diet it is important to focus on your eating habits first to develop a diet specific for you. Scientists from Oxford and Cambridge followed and observed eating trends of 5 dieters for three months in their homes. The study looked at three types of over eaters, feasters, constant cravers and emotional eaters. The study found diets are based off habits. The feasters, people who have a hard time stopping eating, have a problem with their gut hormone balance. Constant cravers, people that are always hungry, have certain genes that disrupt the signals sent to the brain so they do not know when they are full. Emotional eaters eat when they feel anxious or stressed which is a habit they have developed. Overall, feasters lost the most weight and constant cravers had the hardest time losing weight. Dieters learned what type of eater they were and experts came up with plans to help them change their eating habits and practice the best diet for them. Although personalized diets are a new trend, experts say there is a lot of potential to help people lose more weight once they know more about their own body and how it affects their eating habits. Depending on the type of eater you are determines the type of diet you should try.

Would a personalized diet help people to lose weight?

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