STUDY: A scientific review of all walnut-specific clinical research concludes that the body of research is strong that eating walnuts reduces the risk for heart disease due to their preventative properties.
JOURNAL: The Journal of Nutrition
AUTHORS: Elaine B. Feldman, M.D
ABSTRACT: A scientific review of all walnut-specific clinical research concludes that the body of research is strong that eating walnuts reduces the risk for heart disease due to their preventative properties.
COMMENTARY: The article, entitled "The Scientific Evidence for a Beneficial Health Relationship Between Walnuts and Coronary Heart Disease," is published in the May issue of The Journal of Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.
Key findings suggest that:
(1) Consuming walnuts did not cause a net gain in body weight
(2) Walnuts decreased serum cholesterol and reduce heart
(3) Walnuts are unique among nuts due to their polyunsaturated
fat (omega-3 and omega-6) fatty acid content.
The author, and four independent experts, evaluated the content and quality of scientific evidence for a potential beneficial health relationship between the intake of walnuts and the reduction and prevention of coronary heart disease.
Five controlled, peer-reviewed, human clinical walnut intervention trials -- involving approximately 200 subjects considered representative of the adult population in the United States at risk of coronary heart disease -- were reviewed.
"Daily intake of 1/4 - 1/2 cup of walnuts (48 to 84 grams) lowered low density lipoprotein cholesterol with little effect on high density lipoprotein cholesterol and had other beneficial effects on blood lipids, all of which have been shown in numerous other studies to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease," said article author Elaine B. Feldman, M.D., Medical College of Georgia.
Commenting on the analysis, Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D., president of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health and author of The Omega Diet, said, "Compared to most other nuts, which contain monounsaturated fatty acids, walnuts are unique because they have a perfect balance of n-6 (linoleate) and n-3 (linolenate) polyunsaturated fatty acids, a ratio of 4:1 which has been shown to decrease the risk of sudden death in the Lyon Heart Study*."
In addition, though walnuts are energy rich, clinical dietary intervention studies show that walnut consumption did not cause a net gain in body weight when eaten as a replacement food.
Include a handful of walnuts into your daily routine to get the wonderful health benefits.
STUDY: NCI Says Eat Lots of Green Veggies
JOURNAL: National Cancer Institute (NCI)
AUTHORS: Dr. Lorelei DiSogra
ABSTRACT: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, kale and broccoli should be eaten every day. Nutrition research suggests that the more green veggies you eat, the healthier you will be. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends making green vegetables an important part of your recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
COMMENTARY: But what makes green vegetables so healthy? One reason is that they are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals-substances found only in plants which help fight disease and improve health. Lutein (pronounced LOO-teen) is a powerful antioxidant found in green leafy vegetables that helps to maintain good vision. "Cataracts, which occur naturally during the aging process, cause some degree of vision loss in almost everyone over the age of 65, says Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, Director of NCI's A Day for Better Health Program. Eating green vegetables rich in lutein helps reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. That's one of the reasons that it's critical to eat green vegetables every day."
Indoles (pronounced in-DOLS) are another group of phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Indoles help protect against breast cancer (which affects one out of every eight women in the U.S.) and prostate cancer (which affects one out of every six men in the U.S.). In a recent study, men who ate cruciferous vegetables at least three times a week had a 42 percent reduction in risk of prostate cancer.
Best 'Green' Sources of Lutein
Romaine Lettuce Broccoli
Green Peas Honeydew Melon
Leafy Greens (Turnip, Collard, Mustard)
Best Sources of Indoles
Cabbage Brussels sprouts
Kale Bok Choy
Swiss Chard Watercress
There are thousands of health promoting phytochemicals found in plants and that's why it's so important to eat a wide variety of colorful - orange, red, green, white, and blue - fruits and vegetables every day. By eating fruits and vegetables from each color group, you will benefit from the unique array of phytochemicals, as well as essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that each color group has to offer.
Remember, the more colors the better whether choosing colorful fruits and vegetables at the supermarket or when eating out. Keep in mind, women should strive to eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, and men should strive for 9.
STUDY: Obese people may lower their heart disease risk by losing a moderate amount of weight
JOURNAL: Circulation 2002;105
AUTHORS: Dr. Dario Giugliano
ABSTRACT: Obese people may lower their heart disease risk by losing a moderate amount of weight, as shedding pounds appears to cut blood levels of proteins involved in inflammation, according to Italian researchers.
COMMENTARY: Obesity, a burgeoning problem in many developed nations, is a major risk factor for heart disease. Abdominal fat, in particular, is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Weight gain, especially around the abdomen, is also known to increase levels of immune system proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines cause an inflammatory response, which can contribute to the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries known as atherosclerosis.
In the new study, a team led by Dr. Dario Giugliano from the Second University of Naples, Italy, wanted to see what effect weight reduction might have in reducing levels of circulating cytokines in obese individuals.
The researchers recruited 56 healthy obese women aged 25 to 44. At the beginning of the study, they compared the obese women with 40 normal-weight women of similar age.
The investigators found that obese women had increased levels of two cytokines--called tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin 6--as well as increased expression of atherosclerosis-promoting proteins that are known to be triggered by increased cytokine levels.
After one year on a program of diet, exercise and behavioral counseling, each of the obese women lost at least 10% of their starting weight (about 22 pounds, on average). They also showed a significant reduction in their levels of cytokines and other potentially damaging proteins.
Weight loss represents a safe method for down regulating the inflammatory state and ameliorating blood-vessel dysfunction in obese women.
Cytokine levels returned toward normal values, even though women did not lose all their excess weight. This is reassuring, as the findings indicate that obese people need not reach a normal weight to reduce their heart risks. Instead losing around 10 to 20 pounds could make a difference.
Take home message is to get out there and be active.
STUDY: Variety of germs to blame for ulcers, stomach cancer
JOURNAL: Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Physiology
AUTHORS: Dr. Juanita Merchant
ABSTRACT: Chronic heartburn may keep millions reaching for antacids but taking them may actually make the stomach more hospitable to the bacteria the body is trying to kill and an antibiotic or natural antimicrobial treatment may be a better choice, researchers said.
COMMENTARY: TWO REPORTS published this week suggest that a variety of bacteria may be responsible for the inflammation that causes ulcers and stomach cancer. The studies — done so far only in mice — build on the recent and startling discovery that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori is behind most cases of stomach cancer. It turns out that H. pylori may be just one of many bacterial culprits and drugs used to lower stomach acidity may actually promote the growth of these other bacteria.
You don’t want to block acid secretion over the long term just to treat either the bacterial overgrowth or the Helicobacter infection, because that’s going to potentially create other problems by creating an environment that supports bacterial overgrowth.
Antibiotics or natural anti microbials should be used to treat such bacterial overgrowth, which will restore the normal acid-control mechanism. The strongest acid blockers are the most dangerous to use long-term.
In treating patients with gastrointestinal disorders, physicians usually aim to increase the pH of the stomach (lower its acidity) ... to try to protect their stomach linings from ulceration — which physicians initially believed was due only to stomach acid.
It is probably the body’s response to the bacteria that is causing the damage that leads to ulcers and stomach cancer. It doesn’t matter whether it is Helicobacter or bacterial overgrowth. The stomach reacts the same.
The possibility that strong acid blockers may become available over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription and that people may stay on them long term and create problems for themselves is a huge issue.
Try to eat right so that you don't need acid blocking agents. These only set you up for problems down the road. Generally following the BTD eliminates any heartburn or GERD symptoms.
Remember don't mask one problem by creating another.
STUDY: Genetic variations predict breast cancer risk
JOURNAL: Nature Genetics, 4 March 2002
AUTHORS: P D P PHAROAH, A ANTONIOU, M BOBROW, R L ZIMMERN, D F EASTON & B A J PONDER
ABSTRACT: Oral-contraceptive use and family history are among the factors physicians use to identify women who are at higher risk for developing breast cancer. But a woman's genetic makeup is a better predictor, according to a study published online by Nature Genetics.
COMMENTARY: Genetic risk profiles, which are based on variations in gene sequences between individuals, may provide substantial improvements in identifying women who should take part in disease-prevention programmes.
Breast cancer, similar to many other common diseases, runs in families. Mutation of a few genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 for example, are associated with high risk of developing cancer, but these account for only a small proportion of all breast cancer cases. Paul Pharoah and colleagues at the Strangeways Research Laboratories in Cambridge, England, looked at the incidence of breast cancer in relatives of cancer patients and determined that, in most cases, predisposition to developing cancer results from mutations in many genes, each of which bestows a small risk. The authors argue that, assuming that all the genes that contribute to breast cancer are found, genetic analysis will be able to identify women with a higher-than-average risk of developing the disease, and that these women should account for 88% of all breast cancer cases.
Even if only half the genes involved are identified, genetic analysis could substantially improve the efficacy of population-based cancer-prevention programmes.