Can food make you angry?

Feeling tetchy?  Itching for a scrap? Maybe it's something you ate? I have long believed in "food swings"– ply me with sweets and jam puddings and I'm a different person to my salad-eating alter ego. It's not so much a sugar rush, like the ones that some parents of small children testify to (and which  the jury is still out on), but more of a sugar slump.
A growing body of research indicates that what we eat may affect how angry we feel. Yet, for many, the food-mood link still has an aura of quackery. One recent University of California study showed that "greater trans fatty acids were significantly associated with greater aggression," says lead author and professor Beatrice Golomb. "Trans fats interfere with omega three metabolism" – and apparently, the brain's neuronsneed these essential fatty acids to keep us bright and snappy. Lack of omega three has already been linked with depression and antisocial behaviour, and according to some experts, it seems many of us post-industrialists have woefully omega-three-deficient diets.

Why asparagus is good for you

When the first spears of English asparagus appear, we can wave a joyful goodbye to the freezing weeks that marked the "hungry gap" (the low point of the British horticultural calendar) and celebrate springtime proper – that revivifying time of year when the first flush of the new season's vegetables come on stream. Sweet and juicy, British asparagus is streets ahead of the jet-lagged, bitter‑tasting Peruvian spears that sit on supermarket shelves year-round, and it will usually knock the spots off the cheaper Spanish crop, which too often arrives dehydrated from its road trip across Europe.
Asparagus deteriorates faster than most vegetables, so the speed it reaches your plate is paramount to maintaining the nutritional value and flavour. Look out for tight green tips and stalks that are moist and sappy within – asparagus with a woody, puckered, bendy stalk is past its prime.

Why is asparagus good for me?

Asparagus is an impressive source of the B-complex vitamins needed to produce energy and maintain the nervous system. They also regulate homocysteine levels in our blood – a strong risk factor for heart disease. Asparagus provides a useful amount of vitamin K – essential for strong bones. Some research suggests a deficiency of vitamin K may be a factor in the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Two cups of coffee a day HALVES the risk of breast cancer returning.

Drinking two cups of coffee a day could stop breast cancer recurring in recovering patients, new research has revealed.
Combined with the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen, coffee could halve the rate of recurrence of breast cancer, scientists have discovered. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that coffee actually boosts the effect of the drug.
They looked at 600 breast cancer patients from southern Sweden over a five year period. About 300 of them took tamoxifen - a drug commonly prescribed after breast cancer surgery. Tamoxifen is an anti-oestrogen drug that is widely used to treat breast cancer. Many breast cancers rely on the female sex hormone oestrogen to grow.
 Hormone-positive breast cancer cells have proteins which oestrogen attaches too. When it comes into contact with these proteins it fits into them and stimulates the cancer cells to divide so that the tumour grows.
Tamoxifen works by fitting into the oestrogen receptors and blocking the hormone from reaching the cancer cells. This means the tumour either grows more slowly or stops growing altogether.

Could picking your nose be GOOD for you?

A Canadian academic is encouraging his students to pick their noses in a bid to see if the habit has any health benefits. 
Professor Scott Napper is requesting his pupils to investigate the possible health benefits of eating their mucous in a bid to understand the human immune system better. He believes that eating mucous in the nose may boost the immune system by introducing small and harmless amounts of germs back into the body. His theory follows others that suggest improved hygiene has led to an increase in allergies and auto-immune disorders.

His proposed study involves splitting his class into two. Half will eat their pickings whilst other will not engage in the antisocial behaviour.  They will then observe how the immune system responds to the new habit.
Professor Napper said: ‘All you would need is a group of volunteers. You would put some sort of molecule in all their noses, and for half of the group they would go about their normal business and for the other half of the group, they would pick their nose and eat it. Then you could look for immune responses against that molecule and if they're higher in the bogy-eaters, then that would validate the idea.’

Datura inoxia

Yet more evidence of our ignorance in the West. So much we don't know!

Datura inoxia , or night blooming moon flower, has many alkaloid poisons and nerve toxins that the Aztecs and native Americans used in medicine to heal wounds and block pain. Too much of the "medicine" results in delirium, bizarre behavior and amnesia. Still, it's an ornamental flower in many gardens!

One fizzy drink a day may raise diabetes risk by fifth

Those who drank at least one 330ml can of pop, isotonic energy drink or other sugary soft beverage every day had a 22 per cent higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes,  health researchers found.
This was partly down to their higher average body weight, but results suggested that other factors, such as higher insulin resistance, were largely to blame. Those who regularly drank artificially sweetened "diet" drinks were also at higher risk of diabetes, but this could be explained by their larger size, which is a key contributor to the disease.
Dr Dora Romaguera of Imperial College London, who led the study, said: "Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population."

Are soya beans the key to wrinkle-free skin?

It has already been heralded as a natural wonder drug which stops the spread of cancer.
But now scientists have discovered that a substance found in soya beans could also be the answer to youthful, wrinkle-free skin.
Genistein, a natural plant-hormone in soya, has been found to boost the production of collagen, the protein which gives skin its strength and elasticity that depletes with age. In clinical tests, 53 per cent of women who used genistein said their skin felt firmer and appeared younger looking within just one month. It was so successful at reducing wrinkles that users dubbed it a ‘facelift in a bottle.’ Now British women are set to get their hands on the miracle serum when it goes on sale online in the UK for the first time later this month.
Formulated by Swiss cosmetic firm, Swisscode, genistein works by inhibiting the action of enzymes which reduce and degrade the production and quality of collagen and elastin – the protein which gives skin its elasticity - as the body ages.  Blocking the enzymes also stimulates the production of new collagen. 
Around 2,000 women, aged between 50 and 65 took part in a clinical trial in 2011.  Photographs were taken of the ‘crow’s feet’ wrinkles around their left eye area and they were asked to apply two or three drops of genistein to the same area twice daily.

Source  - Daily Mail

Eating nuts and spinach could reduce the symptoms of fatty liver disease caused by obesity

Eating leafy greens, sunflower oils, nuts and spinach could alleviate the symptoms of liver disease, according to new research.
Scientists believe that eating foods which are high in vitamin E could reduce the symptoms of liver disease which has been brought on by obesity.
Dr Danny Manor, an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, U.S., said: ‘The implications of our findings could have a direct impact on the lives of millions of people who are at potential risk for developing obesity-related liver disease in their lifetimes.’
Dr Manor and his team studied a group of mice that were in the advanced stage of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.  Known as NASH for short, this is a common complication of obesity characterised by fat accumulation and inflammation in the liver.  It is most common in people who are obese, have type 2 diabetes, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
It is the most severe form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and is a major cause of tissue scarring, known as cirrhosis, which leads to liver failure and may progress to liver cancer.

Mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements

Mushrooms exposed to the sun can provide as much vitamin D as a health supplement, a study has found.
Researchers recommend people take the fungi out of their wrapping and leave them outside for half an hour before eating.
Much like our skin, mushrooms transform ultraviolet light from the sun into the vitamin and continue to do so even after they have been harvested. The nutrient is essential for the immune system, strong healthy bones and teeth and the absorption of calcium.
In the study, 30 adults were given a daily capsule for 12 weeks containing either 2,000 units of vitamin D, or sun-exposed mushroom powder with high-levels of the nutrient. At the end of the trial, there was no significant difference in the participants’ vitamin D levels.
'These results provide evidence that ingesting mushrooms which have been exposed to ultraviolet light and contain vitamin D2, are a good source of vitamin D that can improve the vitamin D status of healthy adults.

Could CHILLIS hold the key to curing migraines?

Chilli peppers are providing scientists with vital clues on how to cure migraines. 
Research has found there are striking similarities between what happens in the brain during a migraine and the way skin reacts to having chilli oil rubbed into it.  Now, scientists are using the way the body deals with chilli to develop migraine drugs.
They found that when chilli oil touches the skin, the capsaicin in the pepper causes the body to release calcitonin gene-related peptides, or CGRP, leading to an increase in blood flow to the affected area.
Biotechnology companies are now targeting a chemical released during a migraine that carries a 'pain' signal from nerve to nerve. By blocking a nerve receptor from receiving the message, these companies hope to develop drugs that prevent debilitating attacks.
One company developing a migraine drug is Amgen. To test the chilli theory, researchers injected the proposed drug under the skin of patients who had chilli oil on their skin.  The drug blocked the CGRP that causes increased blood flow.

Source  - Daily Mail

Green spaces boosts wellbeing of urban dwellers

Parks, gardens and green space in urban areas can improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people living there, says a University of Exeter study. Using data from 5,000 UK households over 17 years, researchers found that living in a greener area had a significant positive effect.
The findings could help to inform urban planners and have an impact on society at large, they said. The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.
The research team examined data from a national survey that followed more than 5,000 UK households and 10,000 adults between 1991 and 2008 as they moved house around the country. They asked participants to report on their own psychological health during that time to estimate the "green space effect". Dr Mathew White and colleagues at the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health found that individuals reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they were living in greener areas.
This was true even after the researchers accounted for changes over time in participants' income, employment, marital status, physical health and housing type.

Could carrots beat prostate cancer?

Carrots are the new weapon in the war against prostate cancer, scientists have claimed.
A study led by Professor Norman Maitland at the University of York says a diet rich in Vitamin A could be the key to beating the disease because it makes it more treatable. The researchers have discovered that retenoic acid, a chemical made from Vitamin A, can reduce the ability of the cancer to invade surrounding tissue. Vitamin A can be found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and leafy green vegetables such as kale.
Prof Maitland said: 'If the cancer is confined to the prostate it’s much more treatable with conventional medicine. This is about prevention rather than cure but it can stop the spread of cancer.
'We have found that specific twin genes are turned off in malignant prostate cancer stem cells. When we turn them back on using retenoic acid, the cancer becomes less aggressive. It has been known for many years that low vitamin A in samples of men’s blood is associated with prostate cancer, but nobody knew the mechanisms involved. This is an exciting new development which links an element from our diet to prostate cancer stem cells.'

Popular Chinese medicine used for migraines could be FATAL

A herbal medicine used by alternative practitioners to treat migraines could be fatal. Zheng Tian Wan is unregulated but is available in the UK, and it has been linked to serious health complications and death, health authorities say.
The plant remedy contains aconite – a herb once dubbed the ‘Queen of Poisons’ by the ancient Greeks - and could be toxic for the heart and nervous system. The ingredient is on a UK list of restricted herbal ingredients and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have issued a statement warning against using the product.
The MHRA said the issue came to their attention after a herbal practitioner supplied a patient the unlicensed migraine pills, which have not been tested for safety and quality.  The agency said it has previously received three reports of suspected side effects to aconite.
One patient suffered kidney problems, a second was hospitalised after suffering dizziness and paraesthesia (pins and needles) and the third experienced palpitations, aches and pains with shortness of breath but recovered after stopping taking the product.
Andrea Farmer, Herbal policy manager at the MHRA, said in certain circumstances herbal medicines could be extremely dangerous: ‘Herbal medicines can have a very significant effect on the body.'

When arteries become clogged by traffic air pollution

Living near a busy road can cause heart disease, research claims.
Long-term exposure to air particles from traffic pollution can cause clogging of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, according to a study. Studying 5,000 participants with an average age of 60, researchers - who presented their findings at a conference in Rome, Italy - looked for a link between heart disease and proximity to major roads.
They determined that the closer you lived to heavy-traffic roads, the higher your level of calcium around the heart - potentially causing a condition known as aortic calcification. For every 300ft you are closer to major traffic, levels increased by 10 per cent, the study found.

Doctor warns against dementia screening

The routine screening of all elderly patients for dementia would be a “disaster” as the stigma and anxiety caused by being diagnosed before symptoms appear could greatly outweigh any benefits, an expert  has warned.
Screening is pointless in any case, because there is no treatment for dementia and no prospect of an imminent breakthrough,  says Dr Chris Fox from the University of East Anglia’s medical school.
At present, routine screening does not take place in the UK, but some have called for it. A diagnosis can be made following cognitive tests and a brain-imaging referral.
But Dr Fox, who will speak at the TEDMED Live healthcare conference in Bristol later today, believes the risk of misdiagnosis is too high. 

Beetroot 'can lower blood pressure'

Drinking a cup of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure, researchers say.
Drinking 250ml (8oz) cut high blood pressure readings by 10mm of mercury (mmHg) in a study of 15 patients, bringing some into the normal range, the journal Hypertension reports. Most marked after three to six hours, the effect was detectable a day later. Scientists say the nitrate in beetroot widens blood vessels to aid flow. And many people with angina use a nitrate drug to ease their symptoms.
The researchers, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, who have been studying beetroot's blood pressure lowering effects for years, say more work is still needed. And they warn there could be one unexpected consequence of drinking beetroot juice - it can turn your urine pink.
Nitrate is found naturally in soil, where it is taken in by vegetables through the roots to help them grow.

Why spring greens are good for you

Spring greens – not to be confused with other green leaves that grow at this time of year – are the most biddable type of cabbage. Similar to a cos lettuce in shape, but looser in form, and without much of a heart, they don't have the fibrous crunch of round cabbages.
If you show them steam, or blanch them in boiling water, spring greens positively swoon. They have a silky-soft texture, and taste sweeter and fresher than the robust, hearted cabbages we associate with winter, so they fit well with lighter spring and summer cooking.
There's no need to chop them: you can just serve them whole. But if you roll up the leaves, shred them finely, then fry them, you get a dead ringer for the crispy seaweed served in Chinese restaurants. 
Why are spring greens good for me?
You can't eat enough of them. Spring greens belong to the brassica family, whose prodigious health benefits are well documented. They provide you with a seriously useful amount of vitamin C, to support your immune system, and vitamin K, to build bone strength.
They also contain natural compounds, such as sulforaphane and indoles. A body of evidence suggests these plant chemicals have a significant anti-cancer action, and anti-inflammatory properties, which could help protect against heart disease and stroke. To make the most of the nutrients in spring greens, refrigerate them and eat as close to purchase as possible.

Source  - Guardian

Can potassium cut your stroke risk?

If you want to reduce your risk of having a stroke, you might want to cut down on salt. But would you think about how much potassium you're eating? A series of studies in the BMJ show that reducing salt to 3g a day and increasing potassium-rich foods – fruit and vegetables are good sources – would help to prevent strokes by reducing high blood pressure. So should you ditch the crisps and grab a banana instead? 
The solution
Potassium is a chemical that is essential for cells to work properly. It's particularly important in nerve and muscle cells but it is also essential to help keep the body's fluid balance in a steady state.
Low levels of potassium in the blood can cause weakness and muscle cramps. It is rare to get these problems from eating too little potassium; usually they're caused by medical conditions that make us lose potassium, through diarrhoea, kidney failure or excessive sweating.
But that's not to say that eating enough wouldn't have benefits. Hundreds of years ago we had diets that were rich in potassium and we would consume about 200mmol a day. This study suggests that many don't eat the government's recommended 90mmol a day. Some countries, the USA and Canada included, advocate 120mmol a day. As the amount of processed food we eat has risen and we consume fewer fruits and vegetables, so the amount of potassium we eat has fallen.
The BMJ research, which specifically looked at the effects of potassium on heart disease and stroke, suggests that a higher intake of potassium could cut the risk of stroke by 24%.

Source  - Guardian

An egg - it could lower your blood pressure

Egg whites could lower blood pressure in the same way as medication, new research has found.
A key component found in the whites was found to have the same blood pressure lowering properties as Captopril, a high blood-pressure drug.
Dr Zhipeng Yu, who led the research at China's Jilin University, (sorry I cannot link to proper page!) said: 'Our research suggests that there may be another reason to call it 'the incredible, edible egg. We have evidence from the laboratory that a substance in egg white - it's a peptide, one of the building blocks of proteins - reduces blood pressure about as much as a low dose of Captopril, a high-blood-pressure drug.'Dr Yu and his colleagues studied a peptide found in egg white called RVPSL.  This has a powerful ability to inhibit or block the action of ACE, a substance produced in the body that raises blood pressure. Experiments with rats showed RVPSL had no toxic effects and lowered the blood pressure.
The findings were presented to the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in New Orleans.
Dr Yu said: 'Our results support and enhance previous findings on this topic.  They were promising enough to move ahead with further research on the effects of the egg white peptide on human health.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Red wine provides NO health benefits if you are overweight

It’s been touted as a cure-all for diabetes, dementia, heart disease and even hearing loss, but the miraculous health benefits of red wine cannot be reaped if you are obese, say researchers.
Resveratrol, the active compound found in the skins of red grapes and cocoa, is an antioxidant produced by plants to help protect them from extreme environments and block the effects of ultraviolet sunlight, infections and temperature changes.
The research, published in journal Diabetes, found that although test-tube studies had suggested that resveratrol had an effect on obesity, diabetes, high blood-pressure and blood cholesterol, it had no effect on 24 obese, but otherwise healthy men.
The study, carried out by Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, gave 12 men high-dose supplements of the substance and 12 men a placebo for four weeks.  Over this period the participant’s insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and resting energy expenditure were monitored. Researchers found that there was an insignificant decrease in insulin sensitivity and no change in blood pressure, cholesterol and resting energy expenditure.

Source  - Daily Mail

Don't bother with a massage

It's long been thought that a soothing massage is the best way to ease those post-workout aches and pains.
But new research suggests - rather depressingly - that doing more exercise can be just as effective.
'It's a common belief that massage is better, but it isn't,' said Lars Andersen, the lead author of the new study, published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 'In fact, massage and exercise have the same benefits.' Earlier research has shown that massage can offer some relief from workout soreness.
To understand how well how well light exercise compares, Professor Andersen, from the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen, asked 20 women to do a shoulder exercise while hooked up to a resistance machine. The women then received a 10-minute massage on one shoulder and did a 10-minute 'recovery' exercise on the other shoulder. Some women received the massage first, while others performed the exercise first.
The recovery exercise involved shoulder shrugs like the initial exercise; but this time the women gripped an elastic tube held down by their foot to provide resistance.  Professor Andersen found that, compared to a shoulder that wasn't getting any attention, both massage and exercise each helped diminish muscle soreness.

Source  - Daily Mail

Is music the secret to a good night's sleep?

Listening to music while you sleep could improve your memory, according to a new study.

Researchers have discovered that playing sounds synchronised to the rhythm of the slow brain oscillations of people who are asleep enhances these oscillations which boosts their memory and improves the quality of their sleep.

It has long been known that slow oscillations in brain activity, which occur during so-called slow-wave sleep, are critical for retaining memories. However, it has only just been established that sound can be used to enhance these oscillations.
Co-author Dr Jan Born, of the University of Tübingen in Germany, said: ‘The beauty lies in the simplicity of applying auditory stimulation at low intensities. This approach is both practical and ethical if compared, for example, with electrical stimulation. Therefore, it portrays a straightforward tool for clinical settings to enhance sleep rhythms.’

Dr Born and his colleagues conducted tests on 11 people during which they exposed the participants to sound stimulations.  When the volunteers were exposed to stimulating sounds that were in sync with the brain's slow oscillation rhythm, they were better able to remember word associations they had learned the evening before.

Stimulation out of phase with the brain's slow oscillation rhythm was ineffective.

Source  - Daily Mail

Use reflexology to complement drugs in pain treatment

Reflexology may be as effective as painkillers, according to a new scientific survey.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that people felt about 40 per cent less pain, and were able to stand pain for about 45 per cent longer, when they used reflexology as a method of pain relief.
Dr Carol Samuel, who is a trained reflexologist and who carried out the experimental procedures as part of her PhD studies, said it was the first time this therapy had been scientifically tested as a treatment for acute pain.  She said the results suggested that reflexology could be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.
Participants attended two sessions, in which they were asked to submerge their hand in ice water. In one of the sessions they were given reflexology before they submerged their hand, and in the other session they believed they were receiving pain relief from a Tens machine, which was not actually switched on.
The researchers found that when the participants received reflexology prior to the session they were able to keep their hand in the ice water for longer before they felt pain, and that they could also tolerate the pain for a longer period of time.
Dr Samuel said: "As we predicted, reflexology decreased pain sensations. It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals."

Source  - BBC

Is drinking tea bad for you?

Do you fancy a cuppa? We drink, on average, three mugs a day. But you might want to try another tipple after hearing the case of a 47-year-old woman, published in the  New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), who developed brittle bones and lost all of her teeth after drinking too much tea
Tea may not be so great for prostates either. Last year, research from the University of Glasgow found that men who drank more than seven or more cups of tea a day had 50% higher risk of prostate cancer. And in 2009 a paper in the British Medical Journal showed that drinking very hot tea (70C or more)  increased the likelihood of oesophageal cancer.
Still gasping for that cuppa? There is some evidence that tea can be good for you too, with antioxidant properties, so maybe you're not actually drinking enough of the stuff.

Source  - Guardian


It was at the end of my first hour of Hellerwork that I began to realise its remarkable power.
At the beginning of the session, stripped to my underwear, I had had to sit side-on to a mirror and observe in horrified recognition my 21st-century posture. Slumping back, sloping shoulders, head jutting forward, belly drooping. The posture of the desk- and computer-bound. The e-posture, if you will. Depressing.
After 60 minutes of slow but intense bodywork, during which Roger Golten used his forearms, elbows and knuckles to work deeply on my chest and upper body, I sat alongside that unforgiving mirror again. I sat in exactly the same way, or at least my brain said I did, but I looked entirely different. My posture was transformed. Stranger still, I found I could breathe far more deeply than before, my ribs broadening out more, my lungs filling up more deeply.
‘We all spend far too much time in the static position of sitting, where gravity can take over. Hellerwork is a way of harmonising the body in that field of gravity,’ says Golten, 58. ‘I wake people up to the notion that aches and pains are a positive message from your body that you should do things differently.’

We all need 'nature’s Prozac’

For most of my adult life I have avoided doctors. They have been figures of fear for me since the day, aged eight, that I managed to convince my gentle and indulgent mother that I had such a bad stomach ache that I couldn’t go to school. It wasn’t the first occasion I had managed to pull off the “sick trick” – I was highly accomplished at faking symptoms that were not quite serious enough for a visit to the doctor’s surgery but allowed me a precious day at home.
But on this particular occasion I was so convincing that my alarmed mother called the doctor and, worried I would be found out, I so overdid the moans of agony when he examined me that an ambulance was called and I was rushed into hospital for an emergency – but quite unnecessary – appendectomy. As a result of that traumatic experience I have only ever gone near a doctor in the intervening years when I was pregnant or one of my three children was ill (or had pulled a “sick trick” on me).
Ironically it was severe stomach pain (real, not imagined) that forced me, for the first time in nearly 10 years, to see a doctor in late January. There were other symptoms: lethargy, loss of appetite and – something I had never suffered from before – depression. The doctor, a locum, diagnosed a possible kidney infection, and put me on antibiotics. But in the following weeks I developed unrelated infections, took two more courses of antibiotics and even underwent hospital X-rays as the locum sought to find the cause of what he called my “symptoms of a low immune system”.
[        ]
I had a severe vitamin D deficiency that had suppressed my immune system and was the likely cause of my depression. The cure was a capsule of pharmaceutical strength vitamin D (20,000 IU) to be taken once a week for three months.

Source  - Telegraph

Why a whiff of rosemary DOES help you remember

Shakespeare was right in saying rosemary can improve your memory.
Researchers have found for the first time that essential oil from the herb when sniffed in advance enables people to remember to do things. It could help patients take their medication on time, it is claimed, or even help the forgetful to post a birthday card.
In a series of tests rosemary essential oil from the herb increased the chances of remembering to do things in the future, by 60-75 per cent compared with people who had not been exposed to the oil. Other studies have shown the oil increases alertness and enhances long-term memory.
Rosemary has been long been linked to memory, with the most famous literary reference found in Hamlet when Ophelia declares: ‘There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.’
 It is used in modern-day herbal medicine as a mild painkiller and for migraines and digestive problems.
A team of psychologists at Northumbria University, Newcastle, tested the effects of essential oils from rosemary.
Dr Mark Moss, who will present the findings today at the British Psychology Society conference in Harrogate, said the benefit of aromas was becoming clear through scientific investigation.

Source  - Daily Mail

Supplements help macular degeneration of the eyes

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in those aged over 50. It causes a gradual loss of central (but not peripheral) vision which is important for activities like reading and driving. The disease does not lead to complete blindness but visual loss can occur within months, or over many years, depending on the type and severity.
As you age, it is important to protect the eyes by increasing your intake of nutrients that support eye health such as; a low GL diet, high antioxidants, B vitamins and omega 3. A number of clinical trials suggest nutrition may play a role in halting or delaying the progression of visual loss. Here’s a snapshot of some of the research and new nutritional heroes:
A recent, year-long, placebo-controlled clinical trial published in JAMA Opthamology, reveals a combination of specific antioxidants makes a substantial difference to a number of measures of eye health in those with macular degeneration. Patients were either given a combined supplement of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega 3 (DHA and EPA) or a placebo. Those on the supplements showed significant improvements in measures of eye health and the authors concluded “such supplementation may be beneficial for AMD patients.

Source  - Patrick Holford


Oleocanthal Could Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease

Here’s one more possible benefit of eating a Mediterranean diet.
Researchers from the University of Louisiana are a step closer to understanding why Alzheimer's disease seems to be not as common in Mediterranean countries, and the  possible role olive oil may play in protecting against the memory-robbing disease.
Since previous research had shown that a compound in extra-virgin olive oil called oleocanthal protected nerve cells from the damage that Alzheimer’s inflicts, the scientists led by Amal Kaddoumi set out to see if oleocanthal could decrease levels of amyloid beta -- known to play a role in Alzheimer's -- from accumulating in the brain.
The researchers examined cultured brain cells from laboratory mice, who for two weeks were administered a dose of extracted oleocanthal from extra virgin olive oil twice daily. They found that oleocanthal seemed to increase production of proteins and enzymes necessary to remove amyloid beta from the brain.
The new findings are published in the  journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

 Source  - Huff  Post

Mindfulness Meditation Could Lower Levels Of Cortisol

Even more research is drawing a clear link between mindfulness meditation and lowered stress.

A new study in the journal Health Psychology shows an association between increased mindfulness  and decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
"This is the first study to show a direct relation between resting cortisol and scores on any type of mindfulness scale," study researcher Tonya Jacobs, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis Center for Mind and Brain, said in a statement.

For the study, 57 people spent three months in a meditation retreat, where they were taught mindful breathing, observation skills, and cultivation of "positive" mental states like compassion. At the beginning and end of the retreat, the participants also had their cortisol levels measured with a saliva test, and their mindfulness levels rated on a scale, which Jacobs explained in the statement "measured the participants' propensity to let go of distressing thoughts and attend to different sensory domains, daily tasks, and the current contents of their minds."
Researchers noted that the participants' mindfulness scores on the scale were higher at the end of the retreat than at the beginning. Plus, they found an association between increases in mindfulness and decreases in cortisol levels in the saliva. However, it's important to note that this study did not use a control group to compare cortisol levels to. Researchers noted that future studies should include a larger group of participants and a study design that includes a control group.

Source  - Huff Post

Chewing gum could make you FAT

It may well give you minty-fresh breath, but chewing gum could also cause weight gain, new research suggests.
Scientists have discovered that people who chew gum eat more high calorie sweet foods. This is because the chemical responsible for the minty flavour of gum makes savoury foods, especially fruit and vegetables, taste unpleasant.
Co-author of the study, Christine Swoboda, a doctoral candidate in nutrition at Ohio State University, told LiveScience: ‘The chemical change is the same reason why when you brush your teeth and then drink orange juice, it tastes bad. We were also interested in seeing whether this helps with weight loss.’
To carry out the study, Ms Swoboda and her colleague Jennifer Temple of the University of Buffalo, enrolled 44 volunteers. Each candidate was asked to play a game in exchange for food.  

Source  - Daily Mail

Eating walnuts twice a week could slash the risk of type 2 diabetes by a quarter

Eating walnuts just two or three times a week can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by almost a quarter, according to new research.
A study of nearly 140,000 women in the U.S. showed that regular helpings of a small portion of nuts can have a powerful protective effect against a disease that is threatening to become a global epidemic.

Women who consumed a 28 gram packet of walnuts at least twice a week were 24 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who rarely or never ate them.
The latest findings, published in the Journal of Nutrition, are not the first to highlight the anti-diabetic effects of walnuts, with earlier research showing similar benefits. However, this is thought to be one of the largest studies to find regularly snacking on them can help prevent the condition. Although the latest research was carried out on female nurses, it's likely that the same benefits apply to men.
According to the charity Diabetes UK, at the current rate of increase, the numbers affected by type 2 diabetes in the UK will rise from around 2.5 million currently to four million by 2025 and five million by 2030. Left untreated, it can raise the risk of heart attacks, blindness and amputation.  Being overweight, physically inactive and having a poor diet are major risk factors for the disease.
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, U.S., tracked 137,893 nurses aged from 35 to 77 over a ten year period to see how many developed type 2 diabetes.

Source  - Daily Mail

How chewing gum can boost your brain power

Most of us don’t think twice about it, but chewing — mastication — has implications for our health.
The way we chew, for instance, can alter our digestion, teeth and even our face shape. And new research suggests how often we chew could even affect our brain power.

Here we reveal what scientists and medics now know about this instinctive act …

We've all heard the dictum about chewing each mouthful 20 times before swallowing, but actually how many times we should chew depends on what we’re eating, says gastroenterologist Dr Nick Read, chief medical adviser for charity The IBS Network.
‘The Victorians thought you needed to chew food 14 times but we generally wait until it feels right and then swallow — it’s intuitive.’  He says that because our diet has become softer, thanks to all that processed food, we now don’t need to chew for so long.  However, raw fruit and vegetables, and meat, demand more chewing.  If you don’t, lumps of food will pass through your digestive system and not be completely absorbed,’ says Dr Read.
On average, we chew 800 to 1,400 times a day.

Source  - Daily Mail

Organic food labels 'trick' us

Putting an organic label on ordinary foods can trick shoppers into believing that they are healthier, taste better and have fewer calories, new research suggests.
Known as the 'health halo effect', previous studies have shown that we perceive foods labelled as organic to be healthier.  Now, scientists at New York’s Cornell University have found the label can influence much more than health views - perceptions of taste, calories and value can be significantly altered when a food is labelled 'organic'. 
They recruited 115 people from a local shopping centre to participate in the study.  Participants were asked to evaluate three pairs of products: two yoghurts, two cookies and two bags of crisps.  One item from each food pair was labelled 'organic', while the other was labelled 'regular'.  

Source  - Daily Mail