Folic acid in all bread 'could put pensioners' health at risk'

All loaves of bread will be treated with vitamins under controversial plans which have been condemned as 'medication of the masses.'

A Government-commissioned report is this week expected to back the compulsory fortification of flour with folic acid to prevent babies being born with spina bifida.

But the move has sparked warnings that it would take away individual choice - and could endanger the health of elderly people by masking vitamin deficiencies.

Around 150 babies are born with birth defects such as spina bifida every year and another 750 pregnancies are terminated after scans reveal the problem in an unborn child.

Folic acid can prevent the problem so women are encouraged to take daily supplements of 400 micrograms from the moment they stop using contraception up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

However as half of all births in the UK are unplanned many fail to do so.

Research suggests that adding folic acid to all white and brown flour, as they do in the USA, would cut cases by more than 40 per cent.

In light of this, a new report by the Scientific Committee Advisory Committee on Nutrition, is this week expected to call for folic acid to be added to flour used in the UK.

When its draft report was published, Professor Sheila Bingham, chair of the committee's subgroup on folate and disease prevention, pointed out that many food and drinks are already fortified.

Source - Daily Mail

Folic acid may be ‘force fed’ via bread

BRITAIN will take the first step towards mass medication of the population this week with the publication of proposals to add the vitamin folic acid to bread.
A report commissioned by ministers will recommend the compulsory fortification of flour and bread with folic acid to help prevent babies being born with birth defects.



It will say the benefits seen in the United States and Canada, where the strategy has helped reduce birth defects such as spina bifida by as much as 50%, justify such state intervention.

It will, however, be controversial: critics claim it takes away individual choice and could have other health risks, including contributing to neurological damage in the elderly.

In Australia, where a similar proposal is being advocated, there has been vocal opposition from the food industry, which claims it is backed by up to 90% of the public in polls.

In Britain, the move is being proposed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which was commissioned by ministers to examine the case for adding folic acid to bread.

Source - Times

Paws for thought

Acupuncture for animals in pain? Sounds barking


Like most bull mastiffs, three-year-old Nellie loves nothing more than a long, vigorous walk. But when her owner, Heather Smith, bought Nellie at eight weeks old, in September 2003, it didn’t take long to realise that something was seriously wrong. “When Nellie walked, she was wobbly on her hind legs,” she recalls. “Her legs were bowed and sometimes she seemed in pain.”
Her vet took X-rays, which revealed a genetic condition called hip dysplasia. In Nellie’s hind legs the balls at the end of the femurs do not fit snugly into their sockets, and are ragged, impairing proper movement. Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition that can, in severe cases, leave dogs immobile. Often the only solution is a hip replacement. “My vet told me that the joints on her hind legs would become severely arthritic,” says Smith, a full-time carer from Burlesdon, Southampton. “At the time I could walk her for only ten minutes on a lead so she didn’t overdo it. It’s heartbreaking when a dog can’t even run across the beach.”



The vet recommended a double hip replacement when Nellie was fully grown. But the operation is traumatic and has a long recovery time. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed, but a blood test revealed an underfunctioning kidney that might be aggravated by medication. Soon after the diagnosis, Smith began taking Nellie for twice-weekly, 30-minute aquatherapy sessions at a pool for dogs. It kept Nellie exercised but didn’t change the long-term prognosis.

Source - Times

Drink up your greens

Juicing fruit and veg is all the rage for detox, weight loss and even disease prevention. But how much good does it really do, asks Lucy Atkins
Between lectures, Leeds University students are busy necking slammers and buying grass at a popular campus bar. This is perhaps not so startling news until you know that the grass is wheatgrass, and the bar is a "Juice Master" juice bar. These days, the truly fashion-conscious no longer accessorise with cardboard buckets of latte, but clutch biodegradable cups brimming with freshly juiced raw fruit and vegetables.
Juice bars are nothing new. But this year Santa's sack is likely to be stuffed with DIY juicing machines as the trend for "squeeze your own detox" takes off. Celebrities such as Jordan, who lost 28lb on a juicing diet devised by "Juice Master" Jason Vale, members of Take That and even Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans have all recently sung the praises of juicing. Naturopath newspaper and magazine columnists are recommending juice blends to cure anything from psoriasis to PMT. Amazon is similarly buzzing with juicing regimes that promise to cure all ills. In The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies, Natalie Savona provides an ailment chart, cross-referenced to 365 juice blends. The Juice Master's 7lb in Seven Days Super Juice Diet, meanwhile, includes a breakdown of what each combination of fruit and veg will do for you ("anti-cancer", "great for hair, skin and nails", "detoxing" and so on). Jo Pratt's In the Mood for Food cookbook, out next January, includes two smoothies - breakfast berry and tropical fruit, designed to improve your mental wellbeing. And The Complete Idiot's Guide to Juicing by Ellen Hodgson Brown will be out in time for the January detox boom.


Juicing is big business. According to the consumer research group Mintel, the UK fruit juice market is worth around £1.4bn a year. Smoothies and juices are the biggest boom area in a total non-alcoholic drinks market that rose by 26% between 2000 and 2004 alone. Drinking fresh juice is an undoubtedly healthy way to get more fresh fruit and veg into your system. According to Vale, however, to get maximum nutrients, "Juice must be unpasteurised, made only with fresh and raw ingredients, no concentrates or added sweeteners." This is something that bottled products and some juice bars don't always achieve.
But sometimes the juice hype is scientifically shaky. "Our colons are clogged with rotting food and cannot absorb nutrients properly" says Vale, so "our cells are starved". "Think of your digestive system as the clogged M25 at rush hour on a bank holiday weekend," he suggests. "Juice is a fast motorcycle courier bypassing the blockage".

This is a great image, but according to Dr Adam Harris, consultant gastroenterologist at Kent and Sussex hospital, and honorary secretary of the British Society of Gastroenterologists, biologically inaccurate. If your colon was blocked or your digestion not functioning or absorbing nutrients properly, you would be very obviously ill. "Some disease processes such as a tumor, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease and severe constipation can narrow the diameter of the colon," Harris explains. "In the absence of disease, the only thing found in the lumen [lining] is faeces, which is entirely normal. If it wasn't, we would all be sitting on the loo all the time."


Source - Daily Mail

Herbal Supplement Fails To Relieve Hot Flashes In Large NIH Trial

The herbal supplement black cohosh, whether used alone or with other botanical supplements, did not relieve hot flashes in postmenopausal women or those approaching menopause, who participated in the Herbal Alternatives (HALT) for Menopause Study, according to results from the clinical trial. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that women using menopausal hormone therapy, however, did receive significant relief from their hot flashes and night sweats.

The 12-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, compared several herbal regimens and menopausal hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progesterone) to placebo in women ages 45 to 55.

The HALT Study was conducted by Katherine M. Newton, Ph.D., of the Group Health Center for Health Studies, Seattle, and the University of Washington, and colleagues. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), two components of NIH, funded the research. The findings are reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"In recent years, scientific studies have raised questions about the safety of certain types of menopausal hormone therapy in some women. Interest has grown in alternatives to hormones, including herbal supplements, for controlling hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause," says NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. "Testing the safety and efficacy of various treatments in randomized clinical trials such as HALT is critically important in helping women in mid-life and their doctors to make informed choices."

Three-hundred and fifty-one women, ages 45 to 55, took part in the HALT Study, conducted at the Seattle-based Group Health Center for Health Studies. Each participant was experiencing at least two hot flashes and/or night sweats daily at the start of the study. The women were approaching menopause, having missed at least one menstrual cycle in the preceding 12 months, or were postmenopausal, having had no menstrual cycle in at least 12 months. Researchers included women who were perimenopausal (or in the menopause transition) because most previous studies looked only at postmenopausal women, who tend to have fewer symptoms than women going through menopause.


Source - Medical News Today

Olive oil 'can cut cancer risk'

Adding plenty of olive oil to a diet could help protect against cell damage that can lead to cancer, experts say.

A study of 182 European men found those who had 25 millilitres of olive oil per day had reduced levels of a substance which indicates cell damage.

The Danish team said it may explain why many cancer rates are higher in northern Europe than the south, where olive oil is a major part of the diet.

The study is in the Federation American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Expert Advice Online On Alternative Medicine

As alternative medicine becomes more popular, a growing number of people are accessing the internet for information. The problem is sifting through tons of web pages, and deciding what is reliable and what isn't. Hence the creation of www.safealternativemedicine.co.uk.
SafeAlternativeMedicine was created at the end of 2005. It is a unique reference point on safe alternative medicine. Their features and articles are written by experts and professional journalists who have a particular interest in this area.

There are several dedicated sections in the website, including:

-- Anti Ageing
-- Aromatherapy
-- Beauty and Skin Care
-- ComplementaryTherapies
-- Complementary Therapy
-- Heart Health
-- Helping with Cancer
-- Herbal Health
-- Massage
-- Men's Health
-- Mental Health
-- Mind & Body Health
-- Nutrition
-- Sports Health
-- Women's Health

Opinion of the Editor of Medical News Today

I found it easy to navigate around this web site, the information is clear and useful. Of all the alternative medicine web sites I have seen on the internet, I would say this one, for me, is the best.

Source - Medical News Today

Protect Patients From Exploitation By Alternative Medicines Industry

It is time to protect patients from 'vile and cynical exploitation' by the alternative medicines industry, argues a cancer expert in this week's BMJ.

It is estimated that up to 80% of all patients with cancer take a complementary treatment or follow a dietary programme to help treat their cancer, writes Jonathan Waxman, Professor of Oncology at Imperial College London.

Yet the rationale for the use of many of these approaches is obtuse - one might even be tempted to write misleading, he says.

Indeed the claims made by companies to support the sales of such products may be overtly and malignly incorrect and, in many cases, the products may be doctored by chemicals borrowed from the conventional pharmaceutical industry. The reason that these products are accessible to patients is that they are not subject to the testing of pharmaceuticals because they are classified as food supplements.

So why do patients take alternative medicines" Why is science disregarded" How can it be that treatments that don't work are regarded as life saving"

Waxman believes that it is because the complementary therapists offer something that doctors cannot offer - hope. If you eat this, take that, avoid this, and really believe this then we can promise you sincerely that you will be cured.

And if the patient is not cured, it is the patient who has failed, not the alternative therapy. The patient has let down the alternative practitioner and disappointed his family who have encouraged his 'treatment.'

Source - Medical News Today

Swedish Massage Benefits Osteoarthritis Patients

Massage therapy is a safe and effective way to reduce pain and improve function in adults with osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) report in the first clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of this treatment.

The 16-week study conducted to identify the potential benefits of Swedish massage on osteoarthritis patients with pain, stiffness and limited range of motion was published in the December 11 Archives of Internal Medicine. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects 21 million Americans and causes more physical limitation than lung disease, heart disease and diabetes mellitus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The 68 study participants, who were at least age 35 with x-rays confirming their diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee, were randomly assigned either to an intervention group that received massage therapy immediately, or to a wait-list control group that received massage after an initial eight-week delay. Both groups were encouraged to continue previously prescribed medications and treatments.

Participants in the massage intervention group received a standard one-hour Swedish massage twice a week for four weeks, followed by Swedish massage once a week for the next four weeks at the Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine at the Saint Barnabus Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, New Jersey. After the first eight weeks of massage therapy, participants had improved flexibility, less pain and improved range of motion.

Source - Medical News Today

Spiritual Interventions Do Not Help Recovery, But May Relax Heart Patients

Stress and depression can increase the risk of heart disease and impair recovery from heart attacks. And although not as soundly proven, optimistic and relaxed patients seem to weather illness better than the gloomy and anxious. Can spiritual interventions make tests and treatments easier for patients? Like many areas of alternative medicine, this has not been fully investigated, reports the December 2006 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch. But two studies serve as models for further research.

In the first study, researchers looked at whether prayer on behalf of a patient could assist recovery from bypass surgery. A third of the patients were prayed for after being told that this might or might not be done; a third did not receive prayer; and a third received prayer after being told this would occur. The researchers concluded that prayer had no effect on complication-free recovery from bypass.

In the second study, researchers randomly assigned patients to one of four groups before elective cardiac catheterization and angiography. One group received standard care. The others, in addition to standard care, received either prayer; music, imagery, and touch (MIT) therapy; or both prayer and MIT therapy. MIT therapy included instruction in meditation and deep breathing, and the application of "healing touch" hand positions by trained practitioners. The investigators found that neither prayer nor MIT therapy was beneficial in preventing subsequent heart problems.

However, patients who received MIT therapy experienced a clear decrease in anxiety and distress before the catheterization-and were less likely to die during the subsequent six months. But it's not clear whether it was the music, imagery, or touch that might have helped, reports the Harvard Men's Health Watch.

Source - Medical News Today

Depression: the great happy pill betrayal

The Christmas holiday period is the toughest time of year for many. More people commit suicide during the festive season, and the Samaritans helpline expects to receive a call every six seconds as people confront their loneliness or mounting debts.

At this time of celebration, it is a sobering thought that, as a nation, we are becoming less successful at beating misery - and that's a year-round problem.

• Depressed or stressed?

The statistics make pretty grim reading. Across the UK, more people than ever are suffering from depression. One in ten people is depressed at any one time, affecting one in three families. Every 14 minutes, someone in the UK kills themselves, and depression is one of the main causes.
At the same time, depression and chronic anxiety cost the taxpayer £7 billion a year. Add to that the £12billion in lost productivity - or 1 per cent of our total national income - and it's clear depression is not a problem merely for the individual.

So what are we doing to tackle this problem? Not enough, say the experts. Doctors have agreed a step-by-step approach to tackling depression which recommends all patients should be offered a short course (ten to 12 weeks) of psychological treatment or 'talking therapy'.

The guidelines, drawn up in 2004 by the Government's treatment advisory body NICE, recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - a form of therapy that helps people recognise unhappiness triggers and develop coping strategies.

Research has shown that talking therapies work just as well as antidepressant drugs in the short term, but in the long term they are more effective at preventing relapse.

However, a Mail investigation has found these guidelines are being consistently ignored, because talking therapies are not funded across the NHS.


Source - Daily Mail

Bad hangovers: Why alcohol is only half the story

A couple of drinks was enough to give Louisa Saunders a sore head and coughing fits. Then she learnt that it was nothing to do with alcohol - and that she wasn't the only one reacting against a hidden chemical
There comes a point in everybody's life when it's time to put the brakes on. Babies arrive, the long-hours culture begins to wear you down and, well, the years roll on. With the best will in the world, you find you just can't put it away like you used to. It's what used to be called middle age.

I had to accept, as I reached my mid-thirties, that I'd become an awfully cheap date. Once an enthusiastic drinker of beer, proud to swill pints like a man, now a couple of halves was all it took to put me under the table.

But it was more than just a problem of capacity. Even after one or two drinks, it seemed the hangover would begin halfway through the evening and continue for the rest of the night. I'd get home feeling like hell - ravenously hungry, even if I'd been out to dinner, yet with evil indigestion. I'd down some water and sugary foods in an attempt at first aid, then spend a fitful night with a foggy head and a heart full of feverish anxieties. A full recovery could take several days.

So, you can imagine how much fun my social life was. Parties soon lost their pull when the consequences were so punishing. Weeks would go by without me touching a drop.

When I noticed that I also lost my voice after a night out, I assumed this was caused by the cigarettes that went with the drinks. Curiously, though, a recent rash of non-smoking parties quickly brought about just the same rasping hoarseness.

Then one day in the office here at The Independent, someone cracked open some birthday champagne. I took one sip and began to cough. A few sips later and I was coughing and wheezing like a chain-smoking, 80-year-old miner. The reaction was so sudden and dramatic that it prompted me to put a few words into an internet search engine and soon I was pretty sure I'd nailed the culprit: sulphites.


Source - Independemt

Liver reprieve

OUR livers can take a battering at this time of year, but there are supplements that can give this vital organ a boost. Milk thistle (£6.80 for 30 capsules or £4.95 for 50ml), for example, cleanses and repairs the liver and offers some protection against hangovers. Take it after a big night, or even better, before you go out.

If you already have a hangover, Nux Vomica 30c (£5 for 125 tablets) can help if you're feeling irritable and nauseous. It is also a good remedy if you have overindulged in food, alcohol or tobacco.

One last tip is to drink lots of water, which will rehydrate your system.


Source - Scotsman

Nutrition the key to beating the bottle

Ever more doctors believe that a diet of fish, high-cholesterol food and vitamins is the best cure for alcoholism


The news earlier this year that Britons are the heaviest drinkers and the most obese in Europe is no coincidence to Dr James Braly, the author of Nutrition Revolution and Dangerous Grains. Braly, though still a lonely voice, belongs to a growing band of alternative practitioners who believe that nutrition and alcoholism are intrinsically linked. In Braly’s addiction recovery centre, Bridging the Gaps, based in Winchester, Virginia, the emphasis is placed squarely on diet rather than drugs.
“Patients are first hooked up to an IV [intravenous drip] for ten days and fed high levels of fish oils (3 and 6), vitamins B and C, calcium, magnesium and zinc because their gastrointestinal systems have been grossly compromised by their habit,” he says. “This is followed with a wholefood diet (including four to six servings of fish a day, as well as high-cholesterol foods such as eggs), exercise and therapy. The combination has meant that 85 per cent of my patients do not succumb to a relapse. Coffee is also forbidden because it raises cortisol levels, reduces dopamine and leads to cravings of carbohydrates and sugar.”



Braly’s theory is that most alcoholics are depressed, and that depression and low cholestoral are linked. Ergo, by attacking depression with high-cholesterol foods such as eggs and foods high in mood-boosting amino acids, such as fish, patients are more open to the therapy needed to beat their addiction. The severity of “abstinence symptoms” (cravings, anxiety, fuzzy thinking, restlessness) are radically reduced within the first few days of his treatment, he says, allowing patients to be receptive to counselling and exercise programmes.



Source - Times

No long term benefits of baby massage

A gentle massage appears to lower levels of stress hormones in unsettled babies, but there's no evidence that infant massage has any benefit on growth or development, a scientific analysis shows.

Infant massage has long been used in many Asian and African cultures to ease colic and crying, help babies sleep, and even aid their growth and development.

There has also been growing interest in infant massage among parents in Western countries.

UK researchers seeking to assess the science behind the practice analysed 23 clinical trials.

They report their findings in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organisation that evaluates medical research.

The trials involved infants aged six months and under who were randomly assigned to receive massage or not.


Source - Health News

Mangoes for diabetes?

A mango a day may one day protect against diabetes and high cholesterol, a preliminary study suggests.

The study is analysing how individual components of the luscious summer favourite affect human cells.

And early results, presented at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress in Melbourne this week, suggest that some mango components act on the same pathways that diabetes and cholesterol drugs target.


Source - Health News

Beat back pain - by slouching

You boy! Over there! Slump down and pay attention. For generations, we have been told that an upright posture brings productivity and a life free from back pain. The word "slouch" is redolent of laziness and moral decrepitude, which is why it is surprising I can even write this, slumped at a deckchair-style 135 degrees.
Far from indicating that I am a decadent cad fully deserving of spinal agonies, this rakish angle is, according to researchers, the ideal posture for office workers. If you sit with back and legs at 90 degrees, nearly all upper-body weight is concentrated on the lowest two spinal levels. Spinal disc material can shift out of line, leading to chronic back pain, according to the study of 22 volunteers at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.

Source - Guardian

Have yourself a chilli little Christmas

Nigella Lawson has, apparently, switched from kitchen goddess to kitchen devil. The reason: her new series on BBC2, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, is full of chillies. Heaps of them, in ribs, in soups. She tells the Radio Times: "Because a lot of Christmas is dominated by leftover turkey, having some hot things to go with it is divine." This means "turkey is boring, and chillies are quite exciting". She continues: "Quite apart from the fact that chillies are so red and shiny, I feel they've been fashioned by Santa's elves." This means, "I'm a bit nutty, but aren't I delicious!"Jamie Oliver, meanwhile, is likewise chucking chillies about on the new Sainsbury's advert. He puts them on a butternut squash. I couldn't agree more, but I worry about Jamie; this is his 200th advert for Sainsbury's. He's going to start annoying people soon.
Jamie's overexposure, though, is nothing compared with that of the chilli. This vegetable is the new garlic, except that unlike garlic - "blood thinner" this, "gets rid of veruccas" that - its medicinal properties are actually proven. It stimulates the adrenal glands, which is why it gets rid of hang-overs. The hot part also shrinks cancerous tumours, apparently. As with garlic, it used to be acceptable to use it powdered, until someone said, "Why are we using this disgusting thing for convenience when it isn't even that convenient?" and overnight it became unacceptable.

Fresh chilli, however, is the most brilliant thing - the equivalent of putting a thumping bass line under a mediocre tune, the way young people do. It will work whatever happens. Some foods are tastier with it than others, but its impact is a constant. It's like an incredibly strong personality that is also very friendly - you'd never call it bland, but do you not find it a bit suspect, the way it gets on with everybody? It's also hard to modulate.

Source - Guardian

Herbal Supplement Fails To Relieve Hot Flashes In Large NIH Trial

The herbal supplement black cohosh, whether used alone or with other botanical supplements, did not relieve hot flashes in postmenopausal women or those approaching menopause, who participated in the Herbal Alternatives (HALT) for Menopause Study, according to results from the clinical trial. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), found that women using menopausal hormone therapy, however, did receive significant relief from their hot flashes and night sweats.

The 12-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, compared several herbal regimens and menopausal hormone therapy (estrogen with or without progesterone) to placebo in women ages 45 to 55.

The HALT Study was conducted by Katherine M. Newton, Ph.D., of the Group Health Center for Health Studies, Seattle, and the University of Washington, and colleagues. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), two components of NIH, funded the research. The findings are reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"In recent years, scientific studies have raised questions about the safety of certain types of menopausal hormone therapy in some women. Interest has grown in alternatives to hormones, including herbal supplements, for controlling hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause," says NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. "Testing the safety and efficacy of various treatments in randomized clinical trials such as HALT is critically important in helping women in mid-life and their doctors to make informed choices."

Three-hundred and fifty-one women, ages 45 to 55, took part in the HALT Study, conducted at the Seattle-based Group Health Center for Health Studies. Each participant was experiencing at least two hot flashes and/or night sweats daily at the start of the study. The women were approaching menopause, having missed at least one menstrual cycle in the preceding 12 months, or were postmenopausal, having had no menstrual cycle in at least 12 months. Researchers included women who were perimenopausal (or in the menopause transition) because most previous studies looked only at postmenopausal women, who tend to have fewer symptoms than women going through menopause.

Does Chocolate Have Health Benefits?

By Art Vine

THE UPSIDE OF CHOCOLATE!

Chocolate contains high levels of beneficial chemicals and antidioxants such as Seratonin, Phenylethylaminea, Pentamer and flavonoids. It is also high in essential trace elements, minerals and vitamins such as iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A. B1, C, D, and E as well as many nutrients. Cocoa powder is also the highest known natural source of Magnesium.

Because it contains Seratonin and Phenylethylamine, chocolate can be good for mental health. These substances are 'mood lifting' agents which are released naturally into our system by the human brain when we are feeling happy or in love. Eating chocolate also releases Seratonin and Phenylethylamine into the system, thus (as all chocoholics know), when we are feeling down or depressed chocolate can provide a 'lift', instantly improving our mental state.

Studies indicate that a chemical found in chocolate called Pentamer help can protect against cancer.

Chocolate is very high in anidioxants in the form of flavanoids Also found in lesser amounts in tea, fruit and red wine, studies indicate they protect the heart and arteries from damage by free radicals.

Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual problems, otherwise known as PMT or PMS. This condition is caused by a pre-menstrual drop in progesterone levels and it's this which precipitates the violent mood swings familiar to so many women (and their families). Adding magnesium to the diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, helping to reduce or even eliminate the problem.

There are benefits for men too, as well as the high Magnesium and flavanoids content which are beneficial for the heart, arteries and hypertension, studies indicate that the cocoa butter in high quality chocolate, although technically a 'saturated fat', does not fur up the arteries or contribute to high cholesterol levels.

Chocolate is an unsurpassed nutritional source, providing high levels of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, a single chocolate chip can provide enough energy for the average man to walk about 170' or 50m. Napoleon carried chocolate with him on his campaigns and today most armies provide chocolate in daily ration packs for soldiers in the field. For over 100 years the British, army have issued soldiers with emergency or 'Iron Rations' of chocolate, containing very high levels of cocoa (80%+), for use in emergencies. Each 'iron ration' of 8oz's - 227g of chocolate can not only provide enough nutrition to keep a soldier going for 7 days or more, it also helps keep up moral in difficult circumstances.

STOP PRESS Nov, 06: Results of a study by Johns Hopkins University indicate that chocolate acts in a similar way to Aspirin in effectively preventing blood clots in the arteries, reducing the likelihood of heart attacks.

THE DOWN SIDE OF CHOCOLATE!

They say "there's no such thing as a free lunch" and chocolate, like all good things in life, has it's problems too. It contains sugar and fat in the form of chocolate butter and eating too much of either will cause health problems. As a result, chocolate has developed an undeserved reputation for being unhealthy.

But, although recognised as being addictive to many people, particularly to Women, chocolate itself is not really the cause of the major health problems it's been associated with.

These problems are caused by the simple fact that many chocoholics choose to satisfy their chocolate cravings in the unhealthiest way possible, by buying heavily advertised, mass produced, brand name, milk and white chocolates.

These products are generally very low in chocolate solids (ave less than 20%) and very, very high in sugar and saturated fats. The beneficial cocoa butter has usually been replaced with Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (HVO's), and there's no question that HVO's are catastrophically ruinous for your health. To make matters worse, because of the very low chocolate content, chocoholics have to eat 3 or 4 times more of this type of product to satisfy a craving for chocolate.

Filled chocolates, both the commercial variety and, sadly, many handmade chocolates, are some of the worst culprits, with centre's consisting almost exclusively of flavoured Fondants and pralines - fondant is virtually 100% sugar and many pralines aren't much better.

The upshot is, if you want a guaranteed way to to get very unhealthy in a very short time, this is one of the most effective ways to way do it.

WHAT IS THE HEALTHIEST CHOCOLATE?

To find the healthiest chocolate the first thing you need to do is start reading the labels, real chocolate should only contain the following ingredients:

Dark chocolate should contain: Cocoa, Sugar, Vanilla and Lethicin in that order.

Milk chocolate should contain only Cocoa, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

White chocolate should contain only Cocoa Butter, Sugar, Milk solids/fats, Vanilla and Lethicin.

Flavoured chocolates may also contain a natural flavouring such as Orange oil, spices etc, it should not contain Vanillin (artificial Vanilla), vegetable fats or anything else.

For our purposes here, the healthiest chocolate is going to be that which contains the maximum cocoa solids and the minimum sugar. This would make 100% pure chocolate the healthiest option, unfortunately this is virtually inedible because of it's bitterness.

In practice all chocolate has to have some sugar added simply to make it palatable. Dark chocolate containing 70% (or more) cocoa content is generally recognised as being the healthiest option, simply because it contains more chocolate and less sugar.

If you must eat milk or white Chocolate, you should moderate your consumption and make sure your milk chocolate contains a minimumn 35% cocoa and your white chocolate contains a minimum 30% cocoa butter, with the balance of both made up of milk solids and sugar in about equal proportions.

If you like filled chocolates, either handmade chocolate or otherwise, choose those chocolates with fillings containing high cocoa content, covered with high quality chocolate coverture. Not mass produced, high sugar content Pralines or Fondants covered with low quality coatings that barely even qualify as chocolate.

Chocolate should contain ABSOLUTELY NO Vegetable oils or artificial additives of any kind.

BUT ALL'S NOT DOOM AND GLOOM!

If you love chocolate and/or filled chocolates, there's good stuff out there if you look, and as chocolate lovers become more and more discerning, demand for the real thing grows, so it's getting more plentiful by the day. For the healthiest way to satisfy a craving for chocolates, you just have to be more choosy over what you buy to eat (or for gifts) remember, the higher the cocoa content, the healthier it is..... and the nicer it tastes.

About the Author: Art Vine is half of a wife/husband team dedicated to making real handmade chocolates.

Visit Aphrodite Chocolates website for a range of handmade chocolate gifts and chocolate articles.

Reproduced with permission.

Vitamin link to bone loss probed

Scientists in Northern Ireland are to investigate if B-vitamin supplements can help prevent osteoporosis.

The University of Ulster scientists are based at the Northern Ireland Centre for Food and Health (NICHE) at the Coleraine campus.

They are recruiting healthy post-menopausal women, aged 45 and over, for the bone study.

Osteoporosis - loss of bone density, mass and strength - affects about three million people in the UK.

Source - BBC News

Natural chemical 'beats morphine'

The human body produces a natural painkiller several times more potent than morphine, research suggests.

When given to rats, the chemical, called opiorphin, was able to curb pain at much lower concentration than the powerful painkiller morphine.

The French team said their findings could be lead to new pain treatments.

But other scientists were unsure of the significance of the work, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Source - BBC News

Good old Cranberries



Research has shown that cranberries have multiple benefits on human health, the benefits range from increased HDL and reduced LDL, and in lab tests it can kill H. pylori bacteria, which can cause stomach cancer and ulcers. In addition, a compound in cranberries prevents plaque formation on teeth, and extracts of chemicals in cranberries also appear to prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying in a test tube. It is possible that it protects body cells against free radicals and oxidation, conditions related to high levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood, ulcers, stroke and a wide range of cancers, including stomach cancer breast cancer. It also prevents or treats urinary infections.

Research has so far found that cranberry juice can be used by women as a natural medicine and antibiotic to prevent or treat urinary infections, like cystitis. The juice contains “antibiotic” compounds called proanthocyanidins that annihilate the Escherichia coli bacteria which cause urinary tract infections and it prevents these bacteria from adhering to the mucosal cells which line the urinary tract.

Red wine molecule helps mice live longer

A compound in red wine and grapes can extend the life span of obese mice and help them enjoy a healthier old age, scientists say.

The molecule known as resveratrol not only enabled the mice to live longer than other overweight rodents, it also reduced the negative health effects of eating a high-calorie diet.

Resveratrol has been shown to have same effect in studies on yeast, flies and worms. But the scientists say their research is the first to show it works in mammals.

"It is possible to find a molecule that activates the body's natural defences against ageing. You can use it to enhance the health of a mouse or mammal. That is unprecedented," says Associate Professor David Sinclair, of Harvard Medical School.

He adds that the study, reported online today in the journal Nature, is proof of the principle that it works in mammals.

But the real test will be to develop formulations or find other molecules to treat age-related illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease and cancer in humans.

Researchers already know that restricting calories can prolong life in mice and other organisms.

Resveratrol seems to mimic the beneficial effects of eating less without the hassle of dieting.


Source - News in science

Parents told to massage babies for good night's sleep

Parents who want to ensure their newborn baby sleeps at night should try giving their child a massage.

Researchers have found it can be as good as rocking at lowering stress levels in infants, helping them sleep better and cry less.

It can also promote and strengthen the bonds between parents and their new baby.

They concluded that massage could be a useful technique for parents who want to find ways to improve their babies' sleep and ability to relax.

Infant massage has traditionally been used in some parts of the world including Africa, Asia and the former Soviet Union.

It is also increasingly being recommended to UK parents in antenatal or special baby massage classes. In each case the parents giving the massage had been trained by health workers.

Overall the research showed infants benefited from massage as they tended to cry less, sleep better and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who did not receive massages.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Garlic as an effective medicine

GARLIC is an effective medicine. It has antimicrobial properties and works well to combat congestion and the build-up of catarrh.

Garlic has other uses as a medicinal herb. It lowers cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, and is used to treat diabetes. Its effect on lowering blood sugar appears to be due to increased hepatic metabolism, an increased release of insulin, or an insulin-sparing effect.

A clove of raw garlic finely chopped and added to vegetables at the last minute is a great way to include it in your evening meal. Consider taking supplementary garlic capsules if you need an extra boost. Try Viridian garlic capsules (£8.05 for 30).

Source - Scotsman

Crackdown on deadly Chinese imports

DEADLY fake medicines, including tablets made with yellow road paint and unhygienic pregnancy testing kits, are part of a tide of counterfeit goods from China posing a danger to health, consumers were warned yesterday.

Heart pills coated with furniture polish and bottles of bogus shampoo which caused skin damage were among five million items seized by customs officials at ports, including those in Scotland, in the past year.

The EU Tax and Customs Commissioner, Laszlo Kovacs, said the fakes, which cost European Union countries £336 million a year, were "a growing danger for the health and safety and lives of our citizens".

He said counterfeit goods no longer involve imitation luxury watches, but condoms and HIV and pregnancy testing kits manufactured under unhygienic conditions.


Source - Scotsman

The English patient

Film director Anthony Minghella is never in one place for too long and the hectic pace takes a toll on his health. Here he explains why traditional Chinese medicine plays such a key role in his life




There’s a good deal of irony in my heralding a terrific book about traditional Chinese medicine. First, because it’s almost exclusively aimed at women and, secondly, because I am far from an example of good health and fitness. But I’m convinced that the alternative treatments I pursue, from Pilates to Thai yoga massage and, in particular, the visits to a couple of great practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, have enabled me to manage a hectic transatlantic career that makes unreasonable demands on my stamina and focus.
As a film director, it’s not unusual for me to get off a plane in another country and start work as if no journey had occurred. The toll of these schedules is hard to quantify but, without maintenance, the body soon complains and fails. Typically, Western medicine is called on at the failure stage. Other forms of healthcare can start earlier, at the complaint stage.



Xiaolan Zhao lives in Toronto. Her book, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women: Reflections of the Moon on Water, is constructed in chapters that take women through the stages of their lives. She writes about how traditional Chinese medicine began more than 5,000 years ago, 4,500 years before the scientific traditions of the West, in a culture that forbade human dissection. Practitioners relied on their powers of observation, developing a different understanding of the body and disease compared with the West. Dr Xiaolan worked as a surgeon in China, but also trained as a doctor of herbal medicine and acupuncture. She champions an integrated approach to health that is balanced between the traditions of the East and West.

I suffer from a chronically underactive thyroid gland, a condition shared by several members of my family. This results in a lack of the hormone thyroxine which, among other functions, regulates the pace of our metabolism. Thyroid deficiency affects many sites in the body, such as the skin, joints and hair. It also contributes to weight gain, tiredness and depression. None of these things is serious in itself; collectively they can be disabling. I can monitor my condition by how much my hands claw in the mornings, my joints ache, my waistline thickens or I am suddenly poleaxed with exhaustion at almost exactly four o’clock in the afternoon.

Since my condition was diagnosed by my GP in the early Nineties, I’ve been taking thyroxine in increasing dosages. Five or six years ago, on a visit to Toronto, I heard about Dr Xiaolan from my friend Michael Ondaatje, the author of The English Patient (Minghella directed the film). He spoke of her as a great spirit, suggesting that she had saved many of his friends from invasive surgery by using traditional Chinese medicine. I went to see her. And I found her to be remarkable.



Source - Times

Finding the eczema factor

Steroid creams couldn't help one woman's skin condition, says David Mattin, but homoeopathy changed her life.

Caroline Grime has no memory of a life without eczema. According to her mother, the chronic condition started when Grime was 2. The accounting officer from Manchester, now 28, was always self-conscious about the inflamed, broken skin on her arms and legs, on her torso and around her neck and hairline.

Then there was the constant, maddening itch. “Eventually, I became used to always scratching and my sleep being interrupted,” she says. “I went to my doctor on numerous occasions. But in my mid-20s, my eczema became worse than ever. I scratched so much that my arms and legs bled and I developed an infection, for which I had to take antibiotics and days off work.”

The National Eczema Society claims that one in 12 adults in the UK suffers from eczema, a form of dermatitis that affects the upper layers of the skin. In atopic eczema, the skin develops a hypersensitive reaction to allergens, either airborne or consumed; the disorder is thought to run in families and is linked to other atopic (that is, allergic) conditions such as hay fever and asthma.

Although no one else in her family has eczema, Grime also suffers from both hayfever and asthma. Over the years, she was often prescribed the steroid cream Betnovate; although it helped to reduce the inflammation, it did not clear up the eczema. It was only after Grime suffered her worst flare-up three years ago that she decided to look elsewhere for a remedy. “A friend had had success with homoeopathy and she suggested Annie Hirsch’s clinic.”

Homoeopaths treat like with like. An illness, then, is treated with an ultra-diluted dose of a natural substance that will, in a healthy person, cause that illness to arise. Homoeopaths claim such medicines can stimulate the body’s own healing power. Most scientists, however, are sceptical about the effectiveness of homoeopathic remedies, and many say they work no better than placebos.

Although Grime was aware of the scientific criticisms, it didn’t deter her. She arrived at Hirsch’s clinic in Manchester in April 2004, she says, with an open mind. And she admits: “I was desperate to find an effective treatment.”

Source - Times

It's hot to be cold

Cold spells can boost your immunity and help muscle pain and depression. But is plunging into an ice bath or a freezing chamber going too far? A sceptical Ellie Levenson examines the evidence
I'm not good at being cold: a fondness for moaning and a tendency to be pathetic rather put me off the winter months. When I was in Berlin one December and temperatures plunged below -12°C, the only way I could cope was by eating fried food on the hour and drinking hot wine on the half hour. I own more fleeces than I've had hot dinners and I've had quite a lot of those. My hot water bottle is currently one of my most treasured possessions.

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But snuggling up, it seems, is no longer the way to get through winter. Not only has recent research from the Scripps Research Institute in California shown that reducing the core body temperature of mice makes them live for longer, but cryotherapy, where people are exposed for short bursts of time to extremely cold temperatures, is the latest treatment fad. Right now being cold is very hot indeed.
Cryotherapy - which is popular in Poland, where it is available in many conventional hospitals - involves standing in chambers filled with cold, dry air at temperatures as low as -135°C. The London Kriotherapy Centre (which uses the Polish spelling) claims this treatment can help a range of ailments from muscular injuries to depression. Cryotherapy is also used by sports teams to decrease the amount of time needed for muscles to recover between training sessions.

The exposure to extreme cold is supposed to stimulate the temperature receptors in the skin to tell the brain to withdraw blood to the body's core. Once this is over, blood is pumped vigorously back around the body, stimulating oxygen and nutrient supply to areas that need revitalising. "Our motto is that you don't have to feel bad to feel better." says Charlie Brooks, director of the centre, who recommends taking 10 two-minute treatments (at £30 a time) over a two-week period.

Tony Wilson, a physiotherapist at the University of Southampton, says that in theory these claims for cold are true but that such extreme temperatures are not necessary. "What they say about the treatment is correct but you might as well just get in a cold bath and save your money," he says. This is what the marathon runner Paula Radcliffe does before a race, describing on her website her pre-race routine: "... five hours before the start of the race, I eat my last meal. Another big bowl of porridge, some banana, some biscuits, a yoghurt and a little chocolate: fuel for later in the day. After eating, I relax again, take a shower and then go for my pre-race ice bath. Athletes mix the ice and water depending on their appetite for discomfort. Some like it colder than others. I like it very cold."

Source - Guardian

Depressive Realism

Here's a depressing thought: what if being depressed, at least a little bit, is actually a good thing? And if it is - if being generally pessimistic is a useful personality trait to have - then isn't that a cause for optimism? In which case, is it really a depressing thought after all? Shouldn't it make you happy about being depressed, in fact, and therefore not depressed? Recently, I have been attempting to resolve this paradox, but my brain just locks up, rendering all further thought or action impossible, like whenever I try to use those self-service checkouts at Sainsbury's.

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The cause of all this trauma was discovering "depressive realism" - the theory that people suffering from depression might have a less distorted picture of the world than the non-depressed. This has been controversial ever since it was first proposed in the 1970s, when two psychologists, Lyn Abramson and Lauren Alloy, recruited groups of non-depressed and mildly depressed people and sat them in front of a light bulb and a button. The subject pressed the button, and the bulb either came on or it didn't. In fact, the button didn't control the bulb at all, but the non-depressed people were much more likely to believe they were in charge of events. The non-depressed people, it seemed, were too caught up in protecting their self-esteem to make accurate judgments.
Recent research has thrown doubt on some aspects of this downbeat conclusion, but not on the general point that happiness may be largely a matter of delusion. We're rubbish, for example, at predicting what will make us happy in the future, as Daniel Gilbert points out in Stumbling On Happiness, which became a bestseller this year, presumably because people thought reading it would make them happy. (Presumably it didn't.) We treat our future selves like beloved children, Gilbert writes, dedicating our lives to making them happy - and they respond like rebellious teenagers, throwing it back in our faces.

Source - Guardian

Warm milk and garlic? It might sound vile — but it'll beat the bugs

Is there anything I can do to strengthen my immune system? I usually get two or three colds every winter and am keen to try to avoid this.


First, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables — at least five portions a day. This will ensure you get adequate supplies of vitamin C, the antioxidant that keeps your immune system strong.

As I've said before, food is the best source of nutrients such as vitamin C. Even supermarket produce, despite being transported over great distances and then kept in cold storage, still provides enough of the vitamin C and other essential nutrients the body needs.

I never take supplements but make sure I eat lots of good fresh fruit and veg. And if I can't get fresh produce, I'm happy to use frozen because it's picked and packaged so quickly it retains much of its nutrient content.

Frozen ready-meals are not great, but when it comes to berries and vegetables, they're a good alternative to fresh.

When you don't manage five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and are keen to take a supplement, I'd suggest 250mg of vitamin C, but that's all.

An adult's daily requirement is only 60mg, so this gives you more than enough — the body excretes the surplus. (Children under the age of ten need only 30mg which they can easily get from their diet.)

Larger doses than these can cause gastric upset and stomach bleeding. Some people believe taking large doses of Vitamin C — ie 1-2g — can help stop a cold or flu in its tracks, but I am not convinced the evidence for this is strong.

Source - Daily Mail

Good for stress.

IF THE Christmas party season is filling you with dread, try Rhodiola rosea, a plant indigenous to Siberia. It's a powerful herb that helps the body adapt to physical, mental or emotional stress. It is also excellent for improving mental and physical performance and for centuries has been prized as a powerful stimulant - it is the major ingredient in many love potions of folklore. Research and anecdotal evidence have shown that it can help men suffering from erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation.

Viridian sells rhodiola in capsule form (£9.60 for 30), with a bilberry, alfalfa and spirulina base. See www.viridian-nutrition.com for more information.

Gill Hames is at Neal's Yard Remedies, 102 Hanover Street, Edinburgh (0131 226 3223, www.nealsyardremedies.com)


Source - Scotsman

How to cope with the misery of backache

BACK problems crept up on me slowly. There was no dramatic incident, just a gradual ache which spread across my lower back and gradually got worse. Since then, despite the best efforts of top-notch osteopaths, physios and complementary practitioners, my bad back has become a fact of life. At times, I have cried with rage and frustration.

The problem seems to be a weak link in the lower vertebrae, where a disc can start to bulge out from its moorings (it has never, thank goodness, actually "slipped"), exacerbated by a sedentary office-based job and the fact that I clench my jaws tightly all night when I should be relaxed.

As anyone with a bad back will know (and this includes the Queen, recently crippled by sciatica, in which the pain from the back shoots down the leg), whenever it "goes" there's a dreadful split second of realisation as you feel the ripple or crunch of the thing giving way, before the searing pain of muscle spasm sets in.

Along with the ruined holidays, there have been the interviews that I have conducted lying down, and long meetings around boardroom tables where, obliged to sit upright, I've been so distracted by pain that I could barely concentrate on the business in hand.

I think I have now worked out what needs to be done to keep the thing in check - enough exercises to maintain sufficient strength in the "core muscles" of the stomach and back. But it's never quite that simple. An incautious piece of lifting, or something out of the usual range of movement patterns, can still throw the blasted thing even when I'm feeling strong and - theoretically - less vulnerable.

The thing is not to panic; it will, gradually, get better. There are, however, many remedies and treatments that can either protect you or get rid of the pain more quickly. Over the years, this is what I've tried.
( Alice Hart-Davis' article goes on to list various terapies and her reaction to them. )

Source - Scotsman

Nature 'can help people keep fit'

Getting in touch with nature can help keep people fit, reducing the burden of sickness on the health service, conservation experts say.

Natural England is launching a campaign to get people to spend more time outside among the country's wildlife and natural environment.

It said being close to nature could cut stress and increase physical activity.

The conservation agency said the aim was to help prevent ill-health, such as obesity, rather than treat it.

Natural England health adviser Dr William Bird said: "Increasing evidence suggests that both physical and mental health are improved through contact with nature.

Source: BBC News

Eat Chocolate for a Healthy Heart

A few squares of dark chocolate a day could cut your risk of heart attack, say scientists.

A new study has found those who regularly eat chocolate have a lower risk of blood clotting problems which can trigger a deadly heart problems.

The researchers are advising people that eating a little bit of chocolate, especially the dark kind, or drinking hot cocoa regularly could be good for your health.

It is a message that will be welcomed by many Britons given that we are the biggest chocolate eaters in Europe.

Typically we munch our way through an average 22lb of chocolate per year, costing each of us around £72 annually.

The latest study, which could further boost sales, actually arose by accident out of other research into aspirin.

The trial by John Hopkins University involved hundreds of people who were asked to embark on exercise, stop smoking and cut out foods such as wine, chocolate and caffeine prior to the start of the trial.

Unfortunately 139 people were unable to give up their regular chocolate treat and when they admitted their 'crime' had to be excluded from the trial.

However lead researcher Diane Becker decided to monitor their blood anyway to see if the chocolate had any effect on them.

She looked at the activity of platelets, which can clump together and so cause clots.

If one of these clots leads to a blockage it can trigger a heart attack.

The team found the blood of those who were having a regular nibble of chocolate typically took an average of 130 seconds to clot when placed in a special hair-thin tube.

By contrast those who stayed away from chocolate had blood that clotted within 123 seconds.


Source - Daily Mail

Stronger than morphine

According to new research, the human body produces a painkiller that could be several times more powerful than morphine. Opiorphine is a natural painkiller found in human saliva.

Source: The Free Dictionary

I was frozen to improve my health

The latest alternative health fad is ‘whole body cryotherapy’.

This rather bizarre sounding treatment involves exposing yourself to extremely cold, dry air in a sealed room for up to three minutes at a time.

In Poland cryotherapy has become a popular treatment for rejuvenating and revitalising the body. It is also widely used by eastern European athletes as an alternative to the ‘ice bath’ to aid post-training recovery.

But it seems there could be also serious medical uses for the treatment. Some experts claim it can alleviate the painful symptoms of everything from rheumatism and osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, and even suggest it as an anti-cellulite and skin-firming treatment.

Cryotherapy apparently shrinks the molecules in the body and then, when you emerge from the cold, the molecules then expand, increasing the blood flow which then helps ease pain and swelling, as well as fighting inflammation.


Source - Daily Mail

Superfoods

Now is the time to be enjoying the jewel-like pomegranate. Each fruit contains around 800 juicy red seeds packed with vitamin C - one fruit contains approximately 40% of an adult's daily requirement - as well as vitamins A and E, fibre, iron and potassium. In addition, pomegranates contain powerful antioxidants, such as ellagic acid, which help protect healthy cells from damage by potentially destructive groups of atoms called free radicals.

Recent Israeli studies show that the antioxidants found in pomegranate juice may help reduce the build up of fatty deposits in our arteries. In the US, links are also being made between the pomegranate's antioxidant polyphenol levels and reducing the build up of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer's disease.
To prepare the fruit, cut it in half , then hold it cut-side down and bash it with a wooden spoon. The seeds should fall out, leaving most of the bitter white membrane behind. Sprinkle them over muesli, add to fruit puddings, or mix with tropical fruits.

Pomegranate juice is widely available and particularly good for children because of its immune-boosting properties (my kids prefer the juice mixed with others as it can be quite tart). Pomegranate molasses is also worth looking out for; add it to savoury dishes such as quail and other game.

Source - Guardian

Health shops give bad advice on depression

Only one in 13 drugs recommended by health shops to treat depression is proven to work, according to a survey published today based on health food shops in a city centre. Staff were more likely to prescribe multivitamins than St John's Wort, the only alternative medicine scientifically proved to have an effect.
Ginseng, liquid tonic, cat's claw, ginkgo biloba and royal jelly were also suggested as treatments, despite some having "potentially serious drug interactions".


The findings, published today in Psychiatric Bulletin, the journal from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, emerged after Joyce Reed, a junior doctor at St James's university hospital in Leeds, surveyed staff at 10 health food shops within three miles of Leeds city centre. Dr Reed turned up or rang as a customer with a range of symptoms typical of moderate depression, including lethargy, poor concentration, weight loss and weepiness.
Most of the staff asked extra questions but only two asked if a GP had been consulted, and only three asked about depression. Only one pointed out she was not medically trained. They made no response when Dr Reed claimed to be taking oral contraceptives, despite evidence that St John's wort can affect the pill.

Dr Reed, and her co-author Peter Trigwell, a consultant psychiatrist at Leeds general infirmary, admit that the "public nature" of health food shops may lead staff to avoid asking personal questions. But they were concerned that "staff are unlikely to warn customers about potential interactions and adverse side effects".

Last month the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists warned that alternative remedies used to treat menopausal symptoms could cause problems. Difficulties include interacting with the blood-thinning agent warfarin and anti-depressants.

Source - Guardian

NITS are the bane of every parent's life

NITS are the bane of every parent's life, but there are some extremely effective natural solutions.

Head lice lay their eggs very close to the scalp, but attached to the hairs so that, as the hair grows, the egg is moved away from the scalp. The 'glue' is extremely strong: the eggs cannot simply be combed out of untreated hair.
A simple base shampoo with tea tree and lavender essential oils added is useful, but washing the hair is not enough. To get rid of lice, massage rosemary and cedarwood hair treatment (£7 for 75g) into the hair.

And coconut oil makes the hair smooth and slippery so the lice lose their grip. After applying, comb through the hair with a fine nit comb and again one hour later. It takes seven to ten days for lice to hatch from their eggs, so it is important to repeat this treatment on a weekly basis until no more lice are present. Bug Buster combs (£1.75) are recommended by the Department of Health.

If the lice are very persistent, boil up some Quassia chips (75p for 25g) and, after allowing to cool a little, use the warm infusion as a final rinse. It tastes very bitter, so don't get any in your mouth.

Source - Scotsman

Pomegranate - Food for the Brain


A new US study conducted by researchers at the Loma Linda University in California found that pomegranate juice is very beneficial for preserving the health of the brain and keeping Alzheimer's at a distance, they allege that a daily glass of antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice could halve the build-up of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer's.

Eat More Fruit and Veg to Prevent Gallstone Risk

Women should eat more fruit and veg if they want to cut their chances of developing gallstones, advise researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

People at risk of developing gallstones should focus mainly on leafy green vegetables and natural foods laden with vitamin C – such as citrus fruits etc. In addition they recommend consuming large amounts of dietary fiber, minerals – especially magnesium - and antioxidant vitamins – including vitamin C to lower the risk of developing gallstones.

Latitude granted to homeopathy infuriates medical establishment

New regulations allowing homeopathic remedies to put therapeutic claims on labels must be annulled, says the medical establishment. Lord Taverne, chairman of the charity Sense About Science, tabled a debate yesterday in the Lords on the rules, which he described as "disgraceful".
The rules allow remedies to be licensed based on observed symptoms and to be labelled to indicate what ailments they purport to treat. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the rules could improve consumer information. But hundreds of scientists, doctors and scientific societies have expressed concern. "It has come as a shock to the medical and scientific world," said Lord Taverne: "What is at issue here is the notion of trust between the public and drug regulation."

Source Guardian

Curry spice 'help for arthritis'

Extract of a spice used in curry could help prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, US research suggests.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in Asian medicine to treat inflammatory disorders and its extract can be found in western dietary supplements.

Now lab work by University of Arizona researchers, in Arthritis & Rheumatism, shows just how the spice's curcuminoid extracts have a therapeutic effect.

Experts say new drugs may be found, but eating more spices is unlikely to work.

The researchers said clinical trials were needed before turmeric supplements could be recommended for medicinal use.

Source - BBC

Alarm as homeopathic treatments are free to make health claims without trials

Lives will be put at risk by a controversial law which allows homeopathic medicines to make unproven scientific claims, leading doctors have warned.

More than 700 medics, scientists and members of the public have signed a statement criticising a new law which they say makes a mockery out of conventional medicine.

The Government's medicines safety watchdog says the change gives patients clearer information. But critics fear that giving legitimacy to pills and potions that are based on 'magic' rather than science will cost lives.

One expert likened the change to categorising Smarties as a medicine, on the basis that chocolate makes you feel better.

Homeopathy, which has won the backing of Prince Charles, claims to prevent diseases such as malaria by using dilute forms of herbs, minerals and other materials that in higher concentrations could produce the symptoms of the condition.

Popular treatments include arnica, a plant-based remedy used to treat cuts and bruises, and malaria nosode, anti-malaria tablets made from African swamp water, rotting plants and mosquito eggs and larvae.

However, a recent study published in the Lancet suggested that the benefits of homeopathy are all in the imagination, with alternative remedies performing no better than dummy pills in clinical trials.

Until recently, homeopathic medicine manufacturers were banned from claiming new products could treat specific ailments.

But regulations introduced last month by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency allow the manufacturers to make such claims, as long as they can prove the remedy is safe.

Source - Daily Mail

Ginger to boost your immune system

SOME foodstuffs act as positive guards to our health. You can use more of them in your diet or introduce them in a number of other ways

Ginger is stimulating and warming, and also boosts the immune system. You can use it fresh or powdered in food and drinks. Winter Warmer Tea Blend (£2.95 for 50g), which contains ginger slices, warms and soothes aching joints. A little fresh ginger grated into hot water makes a safe and pleasant remedy for morning sickness during pregnancy, while ginger essential oil (£10 for 10ml) can be blended in a base oil and massaged over the kidney area to stimulate the immune system. Rubbing the oil or a warming salve (£7 for 45g) on the feet can aid circulation and has a warming effect.


Source - Scotsman

Eating naturally bears fruit in fighting disease

Cranberries combat bacteria and walnuts protect arteries: your food has hidden benefits


The Government’s recommended dose of vegetables and fruits is five helpings a day. This not only sounds disgustingly boring, but often is. But it needn’t be. The average British cook’s mind turns to cabbages, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli and the ubiquitous but useless lettuce. Not dishes that are likely to persuade children to keep away from the school railings to collect food parcels. Tomatoes, dates, dried apricots, figs, bananas, broad beans, peas and carrots add a bit of colour and taste.
One of the ponds at Kew Gardens is now covered with a carpet of bright red cranberries from Massachusetts. They are waiting to be harvested and made into sauce to accompany partridge, pheasant or a turkey, following the advice of the indigenous American Indians who taught their new neighbours to serve cranberry with the game that they ate at the first Thanksgiving dinner.



Cranberry juice is not only rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants but also has antimicrobial powers that inhibit the growth of bacteria on the bladder wall by reducing their adherence to it. It also lessens the number of mouth and gut infections.

Cranberry juice to prevent bladder infections should contain at least 25 per cent cranberry and be taken every eight hours. Blueberries and pomegranate juice are just as delicious, antioxidant-rich and health giving.

Men who eat walnuts as they sip their evening drink may not know that walnuts, like Viagra, reach parts that other foods and medicines don’t. Walnuts contain the amino acid arginine and arginine, like Viagra, causes the release of nitric oxide in the arterial walls.



Source - Times

Eating naturally bears fruit in fighting disease

Cranberries combat bacteria and walnuts protect arteries: your food has hidden benefits


The Government’s recommended dose of vegetables and fruits is five helpings a day. This not only sounds disgustingly boring, but often is. But it needn’t be. The average British cook’s mind turns to cabbages, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli and the ubiquitous but useless lettuce. Not dishes that are likely to persuade children to keep away from the school railings to collect food parcels. Tomatoes, dates, dried apricots, figs, bananas, broad beans, peas and carrots add a bit of colour and taste.
One of the ponds at Kew Gardens is now covered with a carpet of bright red cranberries from Massachusetts. They are waiting to be harvested and made into sauce to accompany partridge, pheasant or a turkey, following the advice of the indigenous American Indians who taught their new neighbours to serve cranberry with the game that they ate at the first Thanksgiving dinner.



Cranberry juice is not only rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants but also has antimicrobial powers that inhibit the growth of bacteria on the bladder wall by reducing their adherence to it. It also lessens the number of mouth and gut infections.

Cranberry juice to prevent bladder infections should contain at least 25 per cent cranberry and be taken every eight hours. Blueberries and pomegranate juice are just as delicious, antioxidant-rich and health giving.



Source - Times

Can a beam of light cure chronic pain?

Laser therapy is something normally associated with beauty treatments such as hair removal - but now a new form of it, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), is being used to help reduce pain, heal wounds and even knit broken bones.

We are all exposed to light every day without these apparently extraordinary benefits - what makes LLLT different, explains Professor Mary Dyson, former director of the Tissue Repair Unit of Guy's hospital in London, is that this particular light operates at a wavelength which encourages the body to start healing itself.

'It stimulates the cells to start producing all sorts of growth factors, which is why it can help with wound healing and bone repair,' she says. 'It also has an effect similar to an anti-inflammatory drug — hence the pain relief.'

Speeding up bone healing by beaming light onto it may sound a bit flaky, but American researchers are taking it very seriously.

In fact, it may even help regrow spines one day, according to Dr Juanita Anders of the Uniformed Services University in Maryland, who has been testing its effects on the damaged spinal cords of rats. Besides causing the nerves to regrow to some extent, it reduces inflammation.

At the Medical College of Wisconsin, researchers have been using LLLT to restore the vision of rats whose retinas have been deliberately damaged. They reported that 95 per cent of the injuries were repaired.

Source - Daily Mail

Bring some colour to your cheeks

Why should we eat orange food in autumn? Because it’s seasonal and full of immune-building antioxidants, says chef Allegra McEvedy


Why are tomatoes red and what does that redness do for you? Why is a pink grapefruit better for you than a yellow one? Are black grapes really more nutritious than red ones? (Yes.) And what is it that makes pumpkins so vibrantly orange? For most of us, when we sit down to a plate of food our first impressions come from appearance and smell, long before flavour comes into play. The decision about whether we like what we see is determined by several factors, such as texture and complexity of appearance, but far and away the most important is colour.
There are a lot of people in the food-supply business who realised this a long time ago and, unfortunately, they have been trying to dupe us subtly ever since with an assortment of devices such as chemical preservative sprays and even genetic modification. Yet it isn’t just the food suppliers who are at fault. Joe Public has been lazy, choosing to go for the easy option: “Wouldn’t a summer berry pavlova be delicious after the Christmas turkey!” We rarely stop to work out that those strawberries have come a minimum of 4,000 miles and have been squirted with all sorts of funniness to keep them in pristine condition for a scary amount of time.



The tragedy is that strawberries in mid- winter don’t do any kind of justice to their seasonal counterpart when it comes to flavour, nor for that matter do they do your body much good. A strawberry that has been flown in from Morocco, if you’re lucky, or South Africa, if you’re not, will contain less than 10 per cent of the iron, vitamin C and immune-building antioxidants than one bought locally in summer.



Source - Times

Help keep your brain hot with curry

EATING curry may keep the brain active, a study of elderly Asians suggests. Consumers of curry were found to have sharper brains and better cognitive performance than those who never or seldom ate it.
The magic ingredient may be curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric, which possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, say the authors of the study, led by Tze-Pin Ng from the National University of Singapore.



It is known that long-term users of anti-inflammatory drugs have a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, while antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have been shown to protect brain cells in laboratory experiments but have had limited success in alleviating cognitive decline in dementia patients.

In their study the team compared scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination for three categories of regular curry consumption in 1,010 Asians who were between 60 and 93 years old in 2003. Most of them ate curry at least occasionally (once every six months), 43 per cent ate it often or very often (between monthly and daily) while 16 per cent said that they never or rarely ate it.

The team report in the American Journal of Epidemiology that people who consumed curry “occasionally” and “often or very often” had significantly better MMSE scores than those who “never or rarely” ate it.


Source - Times

Eating bread 'raises cancer risk'

People who eat a lot of bread are at greater risk of kidney cancer, Italian research has suggested.

The study of more than 2,300 people also claimed pasta and rice could moderately raise the risk, while vegetables and poultry reduced it.

Cancer Research UK said it was the first time such a claim had been made and warned people not to be alarmed.

A spokesman for the charity said smoking and being overweight were the only well-established avoidable causes.

Folic acid 'hinders malaria drug'

Pregnant women taking folic acid to protect their baby's development may be at greater risk of malaria as a result, Kenyan research suggests.

The supplement interacts with a common antimalarial drug, rendering it less effective, the work shows.

Expectant mums on high dose folic acid, as recommended in Kenya, were twice as likely as others to fail treatment with sulfacoxine-pyrimethamine (SP).

The study appears in Public Library of Science Clinical Trials.

Berry juice may be a heart tonic

Scientists in India have developed a way to extract juice effectively for the first time from a berry which is thought to be good for the heart.

Sea buckthorn is a known source of cholesterol-lowering compounds which could prevent clogging of the arteries.

It is used in Tibet, Mongolia, China and Russia for health drinks.

But the researchers, writing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, report current extraction methods produce juice of poor quality.

Source - BBC News

Pregnant women 'oily fish alert'

Eating too much oily fish during pregnancy may increase the risk of delivering the baby too early, scientists believe.
The researchers told New Scientist magazine the harm is probably caused by high mercury levels in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.

But experts warn it is important for pregnant women, and indeed everyone, to eat enough fish to keep healthy.

Pregnant women should eat fish twice a week, says the Food Standards Agency.

Source - BBC

Alcoholic milk 'cuts allergies'

Ingredients of a mildly alcoholic milk drink could help protect children from food allergies, research has suggested.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made from live bacteria cultures which is credited with having health benefits in parts of eastern Europe.

Research published by the Society of Chemical Industry reports kefir contains bacteria which could help reduce allergic responses.

Experts warned that much more testing needed to be done on the product.

Source - BBC

One of natures great protectors.

ONE of nature's great protectors, propolis is a natural antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Used by the Soviet Union to treat battle wounds and fever during the Second World War, it is the brown, sticky substance that bees use to build ramparts to defend their hive's entrance. It also forms an antiseptic barrier from bacterial or viral attack. The entire inside of the hive is coated with propolis, creating one of nature's most sterile environments.

Just as it creates a hive's auto-immune system, propolis is similarly believed to strengthen the human immune system by encouraging the thymus gland to produce extra white blood cells. Known as nature's penicillin, propolis is a natural antibiotic without side-effects, and it has also been known to fight bacterial strains that have become resistant to synthetic antibiotics.

Propolis repels bacterial and fungal infections on the skin, such as herpes, and treats infections of the mouth and throat. It's a great winter remedy. For coughs, colds and sore throats, take ten drops in a little water three times a day


Source - Scotsman

One of natures great protectors.

ONE of nature's great protectors, propolis is a natural antibiotic, an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Used by the Soviet Union to treat battle wounds and fever during the Second World War, it is the brown, sticky substance that bees use to build ramparts to defend their hive's entrance. It also forms an antiseptic barrier from bacterial or viral attack. The entire inside of the hive is coated with propolis, creating one of nature's most sterile environments.

Just as it creates a hive's auto-immune system, propolis is similarly believed to strengthen the human immune system by encouraging the thymus gland to produce extra white blood cells. Known as nature's penicillin, propolis is a natural antibiotic without side-effects, and it has also been known to fight bacterial strains that have become resistant to synthetic antibiotics.

Propolis repels bacterial and fungal infections on the skin, such as herpes, and treats infections of the mouth and throat. It's a great winter remedy. For coughs, colds and sore throats, take ten drops in a little water three times a day


Source - Scotsman

A very painful chapter - The novelist Michael Arditti turned to cranial osteopathy for back ache. It nearly killed him

In my late twenties, I gave up dairy products.
I also gave up meat, wheat, alcohol, tea, coffee, processed food and as many E-numbers as I could without becoming a hermit, but it’s the dairy products that are pertinent here.



I had suffered from depressive illness for years and had failed to respond to a plethora of drugs. An open-minded doctor encouraged me to visit a dietary therapist, who turned out to be inspirational. Refreshingly free of any “Your body is a temple” cant, she explained how the toxins in food generated toxins in the brain, an insight which, though lost to the Tesco generation, stretched back to Hippocrates, who said: “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

So it proved for me. The change of diet combined with psychotherapy set me well on the road to recovery and I happily threw away my pills. Over the next decade, I worked as a theatre critic and wrote three novels, bolstered by a weekly regimen of yoga, aromatherapy and reflexology. I stuck religiously to my diet, issuing indulgent friends and hostesses with lengthy lists of requirements. At home I enjoyed regular goat and sheep cheeses brought by a friend from France.

Although the use of unpasteurised milk made them more flavoursome than their English counterparts, it also made them potentially lethal. Indeed, one contained a bug, which changed — and almost destroyed — my life.

My earliest intimation that something was wrong came with a series of stabbing pains at the base of my spine. At first I attributed them to posture and the hours spent hunched over a computer but after a couple of days the pains grew so intense that I could barely move, let alone leave the house. I rang and spoke to my doctor for the first time in a decade. She said simply: “You’re very tall, Michael. Tall people get sciatica. You’ve got sciatica,” before prescribing a week in bed.

Meanwhile, a friend urged me to call a husband-and-wife team of cranial osteopaths. Their willingness to visit me contrasted with my doctor’s phone diagnosis and confirmed my faith in holistic medicine. The couple appeared to be affable, down-to-earth and, above all, effective. On the first visit, as on all later ones, it was the man who took the lead, applying gentle pressure to various points of my body and rebalancing my energies. His wife, who was heavily pregnant, lent advice and the occasional hand. At the end of the initial treatment the pain had dwindled and I felt full of hope.

Source - Times

Catch of the day - Should we be giving our children fish oil supplements? Lucy Atkins examines the evidence

When 12-year-old Thomas Wood was given fish oil supplements last year, the transformation seemed dramatic. "The change in him was amazing," says his father, Frank, a postman. "He became very organised. He started waking up early and was keen to learn. His teacher couldn't believe how well he did in his Sats - he managed to get all fours, which was incredible for him. Seeing him in his last class assembly, we were amazed. Usually you could pick him out because he'd be jumping around, but he was sitting still, calm. Everyone noticed the difference."

Thomas was given the supplements as part of an initiative by Middlesbrough LEA to see whether they could improve the academic performance and concentration of children aged eight to 11. Others have followed. This academic year, education chiefs at Durham county council offered £1m worth of donated Eye Q fish oil supplements to 5,000 GCSE students. Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, dyslexia or dyspraxia may already be aware of promising research into the role of fish oils. But now fish oil supplements are hitting the mainstream as the newest dietary must-have for diligent parents everywhere. Bung your child a brainy pill with his muesli, the hype goes, and he will become serene, reasonable and perform brilliantly in spelling tests. It is a tempting proposition.
Omega-3 fatty acids, found naturally in oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or salmon, have long been known to be important for brain function (not to mention heart health). The problem is that our modern diet - even post-Jamie Oliver - contains paltry amounts of oily fish (only fresh, not tinned, tuna counts). Most children are therefore officially deficient in omega-3. Brands such as St Ivel, Flora, Müller or Kingsmill have already cottoned on to this deficit's market potential and are bunging omega-3s in everything from yogurt to sliced bread. But the real revolution is happening in the supplements aisle where vitamin manufacturers from Sanatogen to Bassets are offering chewy, strawberry-flavoured fish oil supplements aimed at kids and their doting parents.

This all sounds quite useful - after all, who wants to force a kipper down their six-year-old's throat twice a week? The only problem is a lack of evidence that fish oils help to develop mentally normal kids.

Here is what we know: scientists have established pretty convincingly that healthy adults who have relatively low levels of omega-3 in their bloodstream are more likely to be mildly depressed, pessimistic and impulsive than those who have high levels of omega-3. There is good evidence to show that omega-3 supplements can reduce the symptoms of depression in adults. Preliminary studies also show that omega-3 could help adults with conditions such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. When it comes to children's behaviour and academic performance, however, the evidence is more mixed.

Source - Guardian

Severely troubled boys 'soothed by fish oils'

· School findings warrant more research, say experts
· Big improvement seen in behaviour after 20 weeks

Experts on omega-3 fatty acids said yesterday there was an urgent need for properly conducted scientific research on the impact of diet on the brain, amid claims that fish oils have dramatically improved the behaviour of boys with some of the UK's most severe emotional and social problems.
The Cotswold community school in Wiltshire, a residential school for boys who cannot be handled in mainstream care homes and schools, has treated its children with fish oil supplements for 20 weeks and measured changes in their behaviour. A nutritionist, Jackie Stordy, analysed records of the boys' behaviour, using school logs of the number of times the children had to be restrained.

The children's scores for hyperactivity, impulsiveness and oppositional behaviour were also compared before and after.
After 20 weeks the number of times staff had to restrain the boys had dropped by 46%. The length of time they had to be restrained dropped by 42% and their scores for impulsiveness and hyperactivity improved by 20%, said Dr Stordy.

For nearly all the boys there was a small but significant improvement, except two who did not take the fish oil and showed no improvement. Three showed dramatic improvements. "Their scores moved into the normal range for the population, which is remarkable," Dr Stordy said.

Source - Guardian

Sleepy in the car?

I always keep a bottle of Litsea Essential Oil (£4.35 for 10ml) in the car, as I find it more effective than coffee in helping me stay alert behind the wheel. I put about four drops on a hankie and inhale from time to time. It can also be used in a burner, diluted in a massage oil or added to a warm bath.

Litsea essential oil is steam-distilled from the small, pepper-like fruits of a plant commonly called may chang, which grows wild from north-east India to south Vietnam. It is a non-toxic and non-irritant oil that is soothing and uplifting. It is used to treat stress-related tension, which may cause conditions such as headaches, high blood pressure, travel sickness, indigestion, flatulence and muscular aches. It has similarly been used to ease arrhythmias.

Source - Scotsman

Can exercise beat cancer?

Simply keeping active as a teenager is the new hope in preventing breast cancer. Simon Crompton reports


Some scary figures were released last week: the number of women with breast cancer has risen by 81 per cent in the past 33 years. Although breast cancer death rates are also falling, the statistics are deeply worrying for women, not least because scientists says that it’s hard to pin down the exact cause of the rise.
However, a more hopeful message will emerge at the National Cancer Research Institute Conference in Birmingham next week. The conference will hear that there is something women can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer: exercise. The message will be made in a keynote speech supported by the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and will mark a new era in official acknowledgement from cancer research bodies that there is a clear link between activity and a reduction in breast cancer.



Professor Leslie Bernstein, the chair in cancer research at the University of California, will draw on 20 years’ research into the effect of exercise on breast cancer rates and will conclude that young girls can significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer as they get older if they exercise regularly in their teens. And both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal adults can improve their odds of staying clear of the disease by keeping active.

Her research indicates that exercising over a lifetime seems to have the strongest protective effect; young women who exercise for just four hours a week over their entire reproductive years experience more than a 50 per cent reduction in breast cancer risk. But exercising in adolescence may be particularly crucial; another of her studies showed that breast cancer risk was reduced by 30 per cent among women who exercised for two hours or more every week during their teens. It all gives extra cause for concern over Britain’s couch-potato youth.



Source - Times