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Showing posts from 2013

Dulse Seaweed a Heart Health Powerhouse

Dulse (palmaria palmata), a protein-rich red seaweed, could become a new protein source to compete with current protein crops like soybeans, according to scientists at Ireland’s Teagasc Food Research Centre.

Dulse harvested from October to January usually has the highest protein content. This functional food also contributes levels of essential amino acids such as leucine, valine and methionine, similar to those contained in legumes like peas or beans. It may even help protect against cardiovascular disease. The Agriculture and
Food Development Authority reports that for the first time, researchers have identified a renin-inhibitory peptide in dulse that helps to reduce high blood pressure, like ACE-1 inhibitors commonly used in drug therapy.

Fare Sharing: Three Is the Perfect Number

With increasing traffic congestion and escalating gas prices, carpooling has become a way of life in America’s biggest cities. Now new high-tech innovations such as ridesharing apps that make the process more efficient have given rise to a new class of riders know as “slugs”.
The term was originally coined by bus drivers trying to distinguish between commuters awaiting carpool drivers and people standing in line for the bus, just as they used to stay vigilant for fake bus tokens known as slugs. In many urban centers with specific lanes dedicated to cars with three occupants (HOV-3), having clearly marked entry and exit points benefits everyone—drivers move faster and save gas; riders get to work; and the environment gets a break. The magic number is three—something about having just two occupants doesn’t seem as safe to many people, although the concept is the same. If the worst happens and no drivers show up, there’s always the bus.
Source: Grist.com

Protein for Breakfast Curbs Food Cravings

Skipping breakfast or eating sugary breakfast breads and cereals sets us up for increased appetite all day long, while protein-rich food effectively satiates us, according to a recent University of Missouri-Columbia study. Subjects were 20 overweight young women, ages 18 to 20, divided into three groups: those that skipped breakfast, ate cereal, or enjoyed a 350-calorie, high-protein breakfast of eggs and lean meat. Researchers tracking brain function concluded that those eating the high-protein breakfast were better able to control their eating throughout the day and evening. For people that don’t currently eat breakfast, lead researcher Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, says it only takes about three days to acclimate the body. Leidy suggests first trying plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or egg or meat burritos. Aim for 35 grams of protein in the morning for all-day control of food cravings.

Toddlers Want to Help Out

A new study conducted by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, Germany, suggests that young children are intrinsically motivated to see others helped.
The researchers observed three groups of 2-year-olds that all saw an adult dropping a small item and struggling to pick it up. One group was allowed to intervene and help the adult. Another group was held back from helping by their parents. The third group watched the adult receive help from another adult.
The researchers found that children’s feelings of sympathy (measured by dilated pupil size, which corresponds to increased feelings of concern) were twice as high when they were unable to help the adult and no help was provided, compared to the same indicator when they were able to provide assistance. Ten of the 12 children that were allowed to help did so. The toddlers’ concerns likewise decreased when they watched someone else help the adult.
The study’s authors concluded that young chil…

Bounce House Boo-Boos

A staple at amusement parks, fast-food restaurants and kids’ backyard parties, inflatable bounce houses look and sound like a lot of fun—yet can cause problems. “I was surprised by the number of injuries, especially by the rapid increase,” says Dr. Gary A. Smith, lead author of a recent study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy that he founded at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio. From fewer than 1,000 injuries sending kids 17 and under to emergency rooms in 1995, the number skyrocketed to nearly 11,000 in 2010. Most injuries result from falls or collisions within the bounce houses or from falling
out of them; only 3 percent required a hospital stay.
Bounce house injuries are similar to those associated with trampolines, and more than a third of the study injuries involved children 5 and younger. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends against letting children younger than 6 use full-size trampolines, and Smith says barring that age group f…

How Fracking Affects Your Farmer's Market

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by guest blogger Harriet Shugarman, executive director and founder of ClimateMama and a mentor and climate leader for the Climate Reality Project As we become more careful about what we put into our bodies, options and opportunities to be more health conscious abound: organic, non-GMO, gluten free...the list goes on. Will we soon be adding frack-free to this growing list? And even if we wanted to, would we have enough information to be able to?
As a quick reminder, fracking is a drilling technique that involves the fracturing of rock through the use of high-pressure, chemical-laced water that is pumped deep underground, releasing natural gas and oil that has been trapped in the rock for millennia. Some of the "treated" water stays underground, and some of it flows back and then needs to be "stored" or "cleaned." Currently there is no safe way to put this wastewater back into the water cycle.
And it's posing a highly underreported threat to our food suppl…

Another Plus for Natural Birth

A team of researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut, has found that vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein, UCP2 (mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2), in the brains of newborns that improves brain development and function in adulthood. It influences neurons and circuits in the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory. The protein is also involved in the cellular metabolism of fat, a key component of breast milk, suggesting that induction of UCP2 by natural birth may aid the transition to breastfeeding. The researchers also found that this protein expression is impaired in the brains of babies delivered by Caesarean section. These results suggest, “The increasing prevalence of C-sections, driven by convenience rather than medical necessity, may have a previously unsuspected lasting effect on brain development and function in humans,” observes Tamas Horvath, chair of Yale’s Department of Comparative Medicine.

Coffee and Vision Loss Linked

Easing up on java consumption or switching to decaf may be a wise move for coffee lovers, according to a scientific paper published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. The study links heavy consumption of the caffeinated beverage to an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, a condition in which fluid builds up inside the eye and puts pressure on the optic nerve. This leads to some vision loss and in serious cases, total blindness.
Researchers obtained data from 78,977 women from the Nurses’ Health Study and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study that focused on caffeinated coffee, tea and cola servings. They found that drinking three or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily was linked with an increased risk of developing the eye condition, especially for women with a family history of glaucoma. However, the researchers did not find associations with consumption of decaffeinated tea, chocolate or coffee.
“Because this is the first [such] …

Nature’s Own Sports Drink

If Mother Nature chose an ideal sports drink for light-to-medium exercise, it might be coconut water, the clear liquid found most abundantly inside young, green coconuts. That’s the conclusion reached by Indiana University Southeast lecturer Chhandashri Bhattacharya, Ph.D., in presenting his research to the American Chemical Society.
“Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more,” says Bhattacharya. “It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you get rid of them.” A 12-ounce serving of coconut water may also help balance the typical American diet, which is too low in potassium and too high in sodium derived from excess salt; individuals consuming such diets tend to have twice the risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent higher risk of death from all disease-related causes. Coconut water is also high in healthful antioxidants.

The Exercise Advantage

Taking a brisk walk or  bike ride may stave off cognitive decline better than reaching for the daily crossword puzzle, says a new study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh reviewed the medical records of more than 600 Scots born in 1936 that were given MRI scans at age 73.
“People in their 70's that participated in more physical exercise, including walking several times a week, had less brain shrinkage and other signs of aging in the brain than those that were less physically active,” says study author Alan J. Gow, Ph.D.
Surprisingly, the study showed that participating in mentally and socially stimulating activities, such as visiting family and friends, reading or even learning a new language, did little to ward off the symptoms of an aging brain. Study participants will undergo a second MRI scan at age 76, and researchers plan to compare the two scans to see if the links between exercise and better brain health hold up.

Stone Fruits Keep Waistlines Trim

Some favorite summer fruits, like peaches, plums and nectarines, may help ward off metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions including high blood sugar levels and excess fat around the waist that can lead to serious health issues such as stroke, heart disease and diabetes. A study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, presented at the American Chemical Society’s 2012 National Meeting & Exposition, reported that pitted fruits contain bioactive compounds that can potentially fight the syndrome.
According to food scientist Luis Cisneros- Zevallos, Ph.D., “The phenolic compounds in the fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties… and may also reduce the oxidation of the bad cholesterol, or LDL, which is associated with cardiovascular disease.”

Red, White and True

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Bag the guesswork of grocery shopping and let the American Heart Association (AHA) Heart-Check mark help identify healthy foods. The red-and-white icon, created in 1995 and now found on product packaging, is a solid first step in building a heart-friendly diet.
The AHA is now beginning to include foods with high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—the “good” fats—in the Heart-Check program. Updated requirements also covering sodium, sugar
and fiber will take effect in 2014 to allow food manufacturers time to reformulate their products.

Looking to help a charity in the community? Read this...

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Four month old Baby Justice arrived in Denver today on transport from Gallup, New Mexico to Misha May Foundation Dog Training and Rescue. Attached are 2 of his photos from when he was with his New Mexico Angels receiving treatment for his horrible neck wound, and love for his broken spirit.
Justice is the sole survivor of his family group which included mom and 5 siblings. He was dehydrated, starving and injured when he was finally caught. He had been abused by humans and attacked by dogs.
I met the transport and was surprised at how small he and his crate were. So quiet and still. I took him, crate and all, so as not to threaten him with unfamiliar touch.
At my house, I had his apartment ready - a huge Great Dane sized crate. I simply put him, small crate and all, into the large crate. I opened his small crate door to give him access to additional blankets, food, water (with Rescue Remedy) and an elimination area. He is cuddled with his familiar toys given to him by his NM angels.

The Saltshaker Thief

Before reaching for the saltshaker, consider that excessive dietary salt not only burdens the kidneys and increases the risk of hypertension; it may also deplete vital calcium.
Research by Canadian medical researchers at the University of Alberta recently discovered an important link between sodium and calcium, which appear to be regulated by the same molecule in the body. When sodium intake becomes too high, the body excretes it via urine, taking calcium with it and creating a risk for developing kidney stones and osteoporosis. So, pass the pepper instead.

Dirty Pool: Great Lakes Under Siege by Global Warming

Don Scavia, director of the University of Michigan Graham Sustainability Institute, stated in a regional leaders’ conference that climate change is aggravating the effects of devastating algae blooms in the Great Lakes by increasing the intensity of spring rains that wash phosphorus into the water.

Rampant algae levels degrade water quality because as algae decompose, oxygen levels can drop low enough to kill fish. After the United States and Canada signed the initial Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972, many local governments banned detergents containing phosphorus and the algae
problem faded, but it has returned in the past decade.

Analysts note that while the practice of planting crops without plowing the ground may help prevent erosion, it leaves high concentrations of fertilizer phosphorus in the upper layers of soil, where it easily runs off into waterways. A task force of academic and government experts has recommended more than 50 helpful practices, including providin…

Keep Tabs on Radiation Exposure

The cumulative exposure to ionizing radiation used in medical diagnostic tests from dental and chest X-rays, mammograms, heart health exams and other procedures adds up, often reaching or surpassing the recommended lifetime limit of 100 milliSieverts (mSv) set by the American College of Radiology, according to a recent Harvard Medical School advisory.

Among the tests that emit ionizing radiation are computerized tomography (CT scans), cardiac catheterizations, coronary CT angiograms, cardiac calcium scoring and some types of stress tests. Heart tests that pose no radiation risk include electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Dr. Warren Manning, chief of noninvasive cardiac imaging and testing at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, and a Harvard Medical School professor, advises, “One or two CT scans over a lifetime is appropriate. But if you have a condition that requires repeated monitoring, a test that does not expo…

Supplementation Cuts Colon Cancer Risk

A diet enhanced with multivitamin and mineral supplements may dramatically lower the risk of developing precancerous colon cancer lesions, according to research published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Nearly 150,000 men and women in the United States are diagnosed with this second-most common form of cancer each year. In the study, rats were fed a high-fat (20 percent) diet for 32 weeks. Those fed a high-fat, low-fiber diet and also exposed to a carcinogen, developed precancerous lesions of the colon. The animals that underwent a similar diet and treatment, but also received daily vitamin and mineral supplements, showed an 84 percent reduction in the formation of precancerous lesions and did not develop tumors.

Red Meat Raises a Red Flag

Steak is still one of America’s favorite meals, but regular consumption of red meat products comes at a high cost for health.

In a recent large study, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers found red meat to be causally associated with mortality, including from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH, and his team observed 37,698 men from the HSPH Health Professionals Follow- Up Study for up to 22 years and 83,644 women from the National Institutes of Health Nurses’ Health Study for up to 28 years, all of whom were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer at the beginning of the study.

The researchers assessed diets via questionnaires every four years and documented a combined 23,926 deaths in the two studies, of which 5,910 were from CVD and 9,464 from cancer. Their evaluation revealed that one daily serving of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 percen…