Offering a unique reference point on alternative medicine and complementary therapies.

Posts Tagged "healthy eating"

A Mediterranean Diet Can Reduce Risk of Parkinsons Disease

A new study has found that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruit can potentially halve the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The findings of the study were published in the European Journal of Neurology. These results provide further evidence of the role that diet can play in preventing this debilitating disease. The study conducted by the University of Tokyo, studied the diets of 249 newly-diagnosed Parkinson’s patients. These were compared to the diets of 368 healthy volunteers. The researchers then split them into three groups: “Healthy” diets which consisted of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, pulses, mushrooms. “Western” diets consisting mainly red meat, animal fats, processed meats. The last group was “Light” meals, which was roughly between the Healthy and Western diet. The results found that the “Healthy” group who ate mainly fresh fruit and vegetables had a 46% lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, than the other groups who had little or none of the healthy foods.  The results also found that neither of the other two diets had any protective action against the disease. The exact reason why certain foods have a protective effect on, and possibly reduce risk of Parkinsons disease is not yet known for certain. Although, some research suggests that this illness may be result when cells in the body undergo oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when cells are exposed to the damaging effects of “free radicals”. The chemical definition of a free radical is an atom or a group of atoms that contain at least one unpaired electron. Electrons are essential to provide a chemically stable atom. An unpaired electron is very reactive and will join to other atoms and this will cause a chemical reaction. Free radicals in the body are also very reactive and will react with other compounds leading to chemical changes in the body. Free radicals can be found in pollution, radiation, food preservatives, cigarette smoke and car fumes. A diet high in saturated fat can lead to an increase in free radicals as the process of heating oil can produce a large number of free radicals. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and pulses are full of antioxidants, which help to neutralise the effects of these free radicals....

Read More

Top Health Benefits of Avocados

The perceived health benefits of avocados usually results in a spilt response amongst the public. Many people believe that the high fat content of avocados makes them unhealthy and can cause weight gain and increase cholesterol levels. This is a myth as even though avocados are high in fat, they can actually help to reduce cholesterol levels. This is only one of the many help benefits of this nutritious food. Avocados are high in calories, but its food value should not be solely determined by this value. An average sized avocado contains approximately 250 calories. Avocados also contain many other vitamins and nutrients that make this a true health food. Avocados are a rich source of vitamin E, which is essential for heart and skin health. This health property of avocados also helps to maintain a healthy immune system. This fruit is a very good source of monounsaturated fat, which helps to lower cholesterol levels. Avocados also contain omega 3 fatty acids and oleic acid, which play an important role in lowering cholesterol levels. They also contain beta-sitosterol which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. They are an excellent source of fat for people who have difficulty assimilating other fatty foods. This is important as fats such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are important for good general health. Avocados contain high amounts of Lutein, which helps to protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataracts. This delicious food also contains beta-carotene, which is essential for good eye health. Due to the good levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids, avocados can help to prevent osteoarthritis. This is because of the anti-inflammatory action of the omega-3 fats. Avocados have been found to improve the absorption of other nutrients. Studies have shown that this fruit greatly improves the absorption of carotenoids (e.g beta-carotene, lycopene). The high vitamin E content of avocados makes avocados very effective antioxidants. Antioxidants are very important in the prevention of illnesses and diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and cancer. We hope you found our article on the top health benefits of avocados useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Eating Less Can Improve Memory

Researchers have found that eating less can help improve memory. The Italian study was looking into the theory of “calorie restriction”, as being able to boost health and extend life. This study was conducted by scientists at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome. This theory was tested on lab rats and the results found that cutting back on the number of calories by 25-30% (600 calories a day in humans) helped to boost the production of the memory and learning protein, CREB1. Lead researcher Dr. Giovambattista Pani said that this 25-30% decrease in the number of calories only equates to not eating a cake at the end of a meal. He continued, “Our findings identify for the first time an important mediator of the effects of diet on the brain. This discovery has important implications to develop future therapies to keep our brain young and prevent brain degeneration and the ageing process”. The findings of this study are very promising as the incidence of illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise. Helping to keep the brain young could be invaluable in our ageing population. Studies have also suggested that a cup of tea or coffee may also be beneficial, as caffeine has been related to increasing the levels of CREB1 which is made in the body. So, why mot substitute that end of dinner dessert for a cup of tea? You may find yourself being more alert when paying the bill! We hope you found this article about how eating less can improve memory useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Quality over Quantity for Successful Weight Loss

Scientists have discovered that the quality of food that you eat, rather than the quantity of food has the biggest impact on successful weight loss. They also found that diet has a bigger influence on weight loss than exercise or sleep. The study was led by Professor Frank Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. He said that the findings of this study underline the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight loss and obesity. The team of scientists found that the key to weight loss was not just based on focusing on calories. They recommended focusing on the quality of foods, especially carbohydrates. Other recommendations were: Cut out: potatoes, sweetened drinks, refined grains such as white bread, white rice, processed foods and cereals low in fibre. Eat more: fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, yoghurt. The results of this study are based on the results from three large-scale studies of US health workers, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Professor Frank Hu said: ‘These findings underscore the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight gain and obesity”. He also said that idea that there are no good or bad foods is a false myth. The studies monitored the health of more than 100,000 individuals for up to 20 years. All of the participants were initially free of chronic disease and were not obese. The participants gained an average of 3.35lbs, resulting in nearly 17lbs over the 20 year period. The scientists found that increased daily consumption of certain foods were associated with the largest amount of weight gain. These “bad” foods include sugary drinks and crisps. Certain foods actually lowered weight gain with increased consumption. These include nuts, vegetables, whole grains and fruits. As you might expect exercise also reduced weight gain, whilst alcohol consumption increased weight gain. Co-author of the study Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, from the Harvard School of Public Health said that on average an adult gains around one pound every year. He continued, ‘Because the weight gain is so gradual and occurs over many years, it has been difficult for scientists and for individuals themselves to...

Read More

Superfoods: Pomegranate health benefits

Pomegranates have been promoted as a superfood that can help to treat and prevent many illnesses. This fruit has gained a lot of publicity as a natural remedy for the immune system, infertility and heart health. This superfood has been found to contain vitamins A, C and E as well as iron and antioxidants. On the whole, the pomegranate health benefits are many. A recent study has found that pomegranates can slow the ageing process.  A group of 60 volunteers took a daily dose of an extract of the fruit that contained the peel, pith and seeds. The volunteers took a capsule of the extract once a day for one month. Researchers found a significant decrease in a biochemical marker that is associated with cell damage. This cell damage can affect brain, liver and kidney function. Another result of this cell damage is the increased ageing effect on the skin. These powerful antioxidants are found in pomegranate juice, but are mainly present in the inedible rind, husk and white pith. These parts of the fruit have been made into a tablet and drink. The study was led by Dr Sergio Streitenberger and was funded by Pomegreat PurePlus. Dr Streitenberger said, ‘We are very excited about this study which we believe demonstrates that regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation. We hope you found this pomegranate health benefits article useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More
Cherry Juice for Insomnia

Cherry Juice for Insomnia

Scientists have discovered that drinking cherry juice can help both the quality and duration of sleep. This may seem like good news for those with a sweet tooth, but only a sour type of the juice has this beneficial effect. The research was conducted at the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University. The researchers found that Montmorency cherry juice increases levels of melatonin. Melatonin is the main hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s circadian cycle. The circadian rhythm is an internal body clock that plays an essential role when we fall asleep and wake up. Our bodies produce more melatonin when it is dark (night-time) and less in day light. The volunteers were given a 30ml dose of the sour cherry juice or a placebo juice twice a day for seven days. The volunteers were also fitted with sensors to monitor their sleep patterns. The cherry juice group resulted in an increase of around 25 minutes in their total sleep time, and 16 percent increase in the quality of their sleep. These results could benefit many people, who have difficulty with sleep due to work patterns or jet lag. This simple remedy could reduce the reliance on sleeping pills, which generally have many undesirable side effects. Melatonin is currently not available to buy over the counter in the UK, although it is available in many other countries. Dr Jason Ellis, director of the Centre for Sleep Research, School of Life Sciences, said ‘What makes these findings exciting is that the melatonin contained in tart cherry juice is sufficient to elicit a healthy sleep response.’ We hope you found this article on the benefits of cherry juice for insomnia useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Does a Weekend Detox Work?

Many vitamin companies now offer a quick fix way of detoxifying your body, rather than following a long term strict health plan. These products are not surprisingly very popular and promote improved general health. Weekend detox plans, or short detox programmes can sometimes be interpreted as a break from an unhealthy lifestyle. This can be a shock to the body, and you might experience unpleasant side effects such as diarrhoea and headaches during the detox. Many of these products contain vitamins and herbs that help to support our natural detoxification process. The body actually detoxifies itself naturally. We naturally cleanse our system of toxins through the liver, colon, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic system. We are continually consuming toxins through the air we breathe, food, free radicals, medication, alcohol and natural metabolic processes in the body. Fried foods, pesticides in fruits and vegetables and the over consumption of animal fats can compound the amount of toxins that we are exposed to. Our natural detox processes usually neutralise these toxins, but problems can arise when the body is overloaded with toxins, or after a bout of illness. Chronic conditions such as migraines, irregular periods or constipation can also lead to a build-up of toxins. If you have had a period of excessive alcohol intake or an unhealthy diet, a quick fix detox can leave you with a number of side effects. You should not be surprised to have diarrhoea, headaches, fatigue and drowsiness. A possible reason for the unpleasant side effects is that the detox remedies stimulate our natural cleansing organs and can eliminate small amounts of vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are replaced by the following a healthy diet whilst on the detox programme. These side effects can be minimised by drinking plenty of water, and following a simple diet of organic fruits and vegetables. During the detox, you should aim to drink two litres of water a day. Fruits should be eaten on an empty stomach (approx 2 hours after a meal). Certain foods and drinks should be avoided during the detox programme, as they counteract the cleansing action. Coffee, alcohol, caffeinated drinks and regular tea should be avoided as they all cause dehydration and add...

Read More

Benefits of Vitamin C: The Ultimate Vitamin!

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is the most widely known and used nutritional supplement. This vitamin is known for its immune boosting effects, but vitamin C has a number of other properties that might surprise you.  It is involved in most metabolic functions of the body, including tissue growth and repair and healthy gums. Vitamin C is also required for healthy adrenal function, which helps the body cope with stress. This essential vitamin plays an important role in transporting haemoglobin around the body, and allowing the body to absorb iron from foods. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy. This disease causes poor wound healing, bleeding gums, weakness and weak blood vessels. Scurvy has also been linked with heart disease. Luckily, this disease is not very common, although a healthy diet and supplementation are essential to prevent scurvy. Health Benefits: Colds Vitamin C sales are generally at their highest in the autumn and winter months. This is partly down to the immune boosting effects and the wide spread marketing by vitamin companies. There is no harm in taking extra vitamin C throughout the winter months, but there is no clear evidence that suggests that this vitamin can prevent colds. Vitamin C can however shorten the duration of a cold. Studies have shown that a dose of 1000mg vitamin C a day can shorten the duration of colds. Antioxidant Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants that we have at our disposal. This vitamin is our main water soluble antioxidant, and can help to fight damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been linked with a number of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and arthritis. Vitamin C can help to provide protection against these illnesses by neutralising the free radicals. This vitamin works synergistically with vitamin E. These two vitamins work more effectively when taken together as opposed to taken individually. This effect makes them very powerful antioxidants as vitamin E is fat soluble and vitamin C is water soluble. This results in antioxidant action in both water soluble and fat soluble cells. Heart Disease A deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to heart disease. Several studies have shown that a lack of vitamin C...

Read More

Weight Loss Supplements: Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid that helps the body turn fat into energy. This amino acid helps to move fat that lives outside the cells inside the cells, where it is used for burning to produce energy. Due to this property, it is not surprising that carnitine has become a popular weight loss and sports supplement. Carnitine is required to carry long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria (part of the cell which is required for energy production), so that they can be metabolised into energy. Carnitine is an important supplement for the heart as this organ uses fatty acids as a source of energy. This amino acid is not considered to be essential, as it is produced in the body, although a number of conditions can lead to a deficiency. A deficiency in carnitine can occur when there is a lack of the amino acids lysine and methionine in the diet. People who are lacking in vitamin B6, C and iron are also likely to be deficient in carnintine. Recent studies have found that carnitine is important in converting stored body fat into energy, reducing angina attacks, improving heart health, lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining liver health. Carnitine deficiency has been related to a number of heart conditions including angina, arrhythmia and heart failure. This amino acid may also benefit general heart health by reducing the build up of fatty acids. These fats build up within the cell and bloodstream as triglycerides and cholesterol. Supplementing with carnitine can greatly reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, while improving the ratio between HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol. The increase in HDL (good) cholesterol levels is an important factor in preventing heart disease. Carnitine also promotes the antioxidant action of vitamins C and E. It can therefore be used as part of an anti-ageing programme alongside these vitamins.  Carnitine can be obtained from food, but mainly from meats, and other animal sources. It is not found in vegetable protein. Vegetarians are therefore likely to be deficient in this amino acid. The typical daily dose of carnitine (available as l-carnitine) is between 500-1000mg. This should be taken on an empty stomach for maximum benefit. Please consult your doctor if you are...

Read More

Health Benefits of Pomegranates

Pomegranates have been promoted as a superfood in recent in years. The list of is health benefits seems to increase all the time. Although this may sound too good, there is a lot of scientific research that back up the health benefits. The health benefits of pomegranates are thought to range from lowering cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease and diabetes. Pomegranates are also packed full of antioxidants, which as we know are essential for optimal health, prevention of diseases and anti-ageing. This superfood is also packed full of vitamins such as B Vitamins, Vitamins C, A and E, as well as Iron and Magnesium. The variety of nutrients available in pomegranates indicates that this is a must have for everyone.  Pomegranates can either be eaten or taken as a juice. Top Health Benefits of Pomegranates: Antioxidant Action. Pomegranates are full of antioxidants that help keep you healthy. The deep purple colour gives this fruit its powerful antioxidant properties. This antioxidant action may help prevent against illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Heart Health. This superfood has been found to reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Studies have found that pomegranates can help promote good blood flow. Some clinical trials have also found this fruit to lower levels of bad cholesterol (due to fibre content) and keep the arteries healthy. Pomegranates can also help to lower blood pressure. Immune Boost. Pomegranates can help to boost your immune system due to the amounts of Vitamin A, C and E. This fruit can help prevent against colds and flu during the winter months. Anti-Ageing. The anti-ageing properties of pomegranates are partly due to its powerful antioxidant action. This fruit contains natural chemicals that help to “mop-up” harmful free radicals that can accelerate the ageing process. Certain countries in the Middle East and Asia pomegranates to promote healthy glowing skin. We hope you found our article on the health benefits of pomegranates useful. Please let us know by rating it...

Read More

Health Benefits of Papaya

This fruit is traditionally grown in tropical countries around the world, but the Papaya was believed to have originated from Central America. Papaya was called “fruit of the angels” by the Conquistadors due to its heavenly taste. Papaya’s can be grown all year round and are available in many groceries and supermarkets. Papaya is often referred to as a superfood, as it has many health benefits. Papaya’s have traditionally been used to support the digestive system. Papaya fruit contains an enzyme similar to bromelain, called papain.This enzyme helps to breaks down protein, which makes it an excellent digestive aide. Papain, like bromelain is also helpful in reducing inflammation and in treating allergies. There are many health benefits of Papaya, and it is a very underused fruit. It contains many essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. Papaya is also a good source of fibre, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Together, these properties make papaya a good natural remedy for promoting the health of the cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems. Papaya has been touted as an anti-ageing food. This may bebecause this fruit promotes better digestion, and helps the body to absorbvital nutrients. Papaya also contains beta-carotene which can help to preventprostate cancer in men. This fruit is also a good source of lutein, which havebeen found to protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Papaya has also been found to be helpful in diabetes,although more research is required. Studies have found that papaya contains soluble fibre that helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. This is promising as people who may be prone to developing diabetes can include papaya as part of their daily diet to help prevent the illness. In summary, this fruit has many health benefits and shouldform part of your diet. Alongside being a health food, it is a delicious fruitthat can also been made into a...

Read More