Playing a musical instrument can sharpen your thoughts

Playing a musical instrument could help protect against mental decline through age or illness, according to a new study.
Researchers at St Andrews University found that musicians have sharper minds and are able to pick up and correct mistakes quicker than non-musicians. Musicians also responded faster than those with little or no musical training, with no loss in accuracy, the study found.
The researchers measured the behavioural and brain responses of amateur musicians compared with non-musicians when performing simple mental tasks. The results showed that playing a musical instrument, even at moderate levels, improves a person's ability to detect errors and adjust responses more effectively.
The research was led by psychologist Ines Jentzsch, a reader in the university's School of Psychology and Neuroscience.
'Our study shows that even moderate levels of musical activity can benefit brain functioning,' she said. 'Our findings could have important implications as the processes involved are amongst the first to be affected by ageing, as well as a number of mental illnesses such as depression.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Fluoride in tap water - does it raise dementia risk?

Adding fluoride to tap water leaves fewer children needing fillings, according to NHS figures out yesterday.
The statistics revealed that England’s ten million children required 3.5million fillings last year. And many of the areas with the lowest rates of fillings are the ones that have added the powerful enamel-protecting chemical to their tap water. Nevertheless, critics of the mass fluoridisation scheme insist that there is evidence it could be putting youngsters at risk of dementia in later life.
Youngsters in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire – where supplies have been treated since 1968 – had fewer cavities than children in any other region. And the three medicated areas of Newcastle, Gateshead and North Tyneside had 32 per cent fewer fillings than neighbouring South Tyneside, which has chosen not to add fluoride to its water supplies. 
Last night campaigners claimed the data should persuade more areas to sign up to the scheme.  However some experts are worried about the measure, concerned that it will have unforeseen consequences for the nation’s health. Opponents claim the substance often leaves teeth mottled and could even accelerate the onset of dementia.
Last night Philippe Grandjean, professor of environmental health at Harvard University, said: ‘The possible effects on degenerative brain diseases are uncertain.

Source  - Daily Mail

Copper bracelets 'do not improve RA symptoms'

Wearing copper or magnetic bracelets does not appear to have a therapeutic effect on rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a study has discovered.

A team at the University of York looked at 70 patients with active symptoms and gave them four different devices to wear over a five-month period, some of which were copper or magnetic and others that were neither (placebos). 
Participants reported their pain, disability and medication use and also provided blood samples so that changes in inflammation could be monitored.

It was found that the magnetic and copper bracelets provided no more meaningful therapeutic effects on pain and swelling than the placebo devices.

Lead author Dr Stewart Richmond said in the journal PLOS ONE: 'People who suffer with RA may be better off saving their money or spending it on other complementary interventions, such as dietary fish oils, for example.'

Source  - netdoctor

Three common health myths

Health advice can be really confusing and some dogmas are just wrong.Today I am going to look at three common health myths; calcium makes your bones strong; statins and eating cholesterol diet are the best way to lower cholesterol and protect yourself from heart disease; and high fibre wholemeal bread helps keep you ‘regular’.
Healthy Bones  - The old adage that ‘Bones are made of calcium, and milk is rich in calcium, so drink milk to strengthen bones.’ is misleading at best. The general perception is that a lack of calcium increases the risk of a thinning of the bones as you age and the sales of calcium supplements have remained strong, especially amongst women.
However, evidence clearly shows that there is little correlation between rates of osteoporosis and calcium intake from milk. And recent studies also show that giving calcium only supplements alone doesn’t significantly reduce the risk of fractures in post-menopausal women. So does taking extra calcium help?
The RDA for calcium is between 800 and 1200mg, with the average dietary intake around 900mg. Some people incorrectly supplement 1,000mg of calcium on top of their normal daily intake. The problem with this is that studies show that in men, those supplementing more than 1,000 mg of calcium a day had a higher risk of cardiovascular death, but not stroke related deaths. Calcium, particularly if taken without magnesium and vitamin D, encourages deposition in arteries and raises blood pressure.

Turmeric more Effective than Prozac at Treating Depression

It’s common knowledge in the natural health world that pharmaceuticals often (if not always) do more harm than good. It’s also clear that foods, herbs, and other natural sources can offer similar benefits without those nasty side effects. 
Once again, our beliefs have been affirmed by science:  A recent study published in Phytotherapy Research says that not only is turmeric effective at treating depression, it may even be more effective than some of the most common anti-depressant drugs currently on the market. While previous studies have indicated the effectiveness of turmeric (curcumin) in treating serious depression, this study was the first randomized controlled clinical trial of its kind.
Researchers with the Department of Pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India compared the effects of turmeric and Prozac (fluoxetine), both used together and individually, in 60 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD).
According to, the researchers used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale to measure their results:
 "We observed that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine [Prozac] (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups; however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58). Interestingly, the mean change in HAM-D17 score at the end of six weeks was comparable in all three groups (P = 0.77). This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”

Source  - Alternative

Why yoghurt is good for you

A good natural yoghurt is one of life's simplest, yet most pleasing foods; the chalky creaminess cut by its clean, refreshing, mild acidity. Throughout the Middle East and France, more jellied "set" yoghurt gets the thumbs up. In the UK, a slacker, creamier consistency seems to be the majority preference. 
Nuances among yoghurts made with different milks are interesting – snowy-white goat's milk, sharper sheep's milk yoghurt, and buffalo milk yoghurt, which tastes like a richer version of the standard cow's milk. Taste differences among brands are marked too. Our shelves are loaded with low-fat yoghurts, but full-fat will always win out for its superior flavour and texture. Low-fat yoghurts often have starches, gums, even gelatine added to improve the texture once the fat is removed.
The health benefits of the lactic bacteria in yoghurt are well known. These include immune system support; less constipation, stomach acidity and diarrhoea; lower body fat; protection against food poisoning bugs; stronger bones and fresher breath. A highly nutritious food, providing appetite-satisfying protein, and a clutch of vitamins and minerals, unsweetened yoghurt makes an extremely healthy snack. Don't pour off the whey liquid that separates from the milk solids – it's full of protein. Organic milk is more nutritious than the non-organic equivalent.

Green juice: drink your way to five a day

Move over flat whites. A drink with the colour and consistency of Labyrinth's Bog of Eternal Stench is stealthily emerging as the nation's must-slurp beverage: green juice. Drinks made from leafy green vegetables are popping up on supermarket shelves (Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Whole Foods all now stock branded green juices), in juice bars such as Crussh, in recipe books (thanks Gwyneth Paltrow) and on Instagram, currently clogged with #greenjuice selfies. Meanwhile, New York is experiencing a "juice bar brawl" as a flurry of brands each claim their juice is the healthiest.
While vegetable juice is nothing new, with the likes of V8  and carrot juice doing the rounds for years, green juicing uses large quantities of leafy veg and brassicas such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli. The other main difference between (fresh) green juice and traditional vegetable drinks is the technique - cold-pressing, where the juice is extracted by a method of crushing and pressing. Traditional centrifugal juicers, the type usually sold in Britain, use fast-spinning blades that heat up as they whir, thus, cold-press converts say, oxidising and therefore destroying some of the nutrients in the juice. Clare Neill, co-founder of juice company Radiance Cleanse, says juice from a centrifugal machine "oxidises faster because so much air has gone through the juice while it's being made."

Sugar is 'the most dangerous drug of our time'

Sugary foods and drinks should come with a smoking-style health warning, according to a leading Dutch health expert.
Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam's health service, said that sugar is ‘the most dangerous drug of our time’. The health chief - from a city that has a famously liberal attitude to cannabis - added that sugar is a drug like alcohol and tobacco and that its use should be discouraged. Writing on a public health website, he said that users should be made aware of the dangers.
He wrote: ‘This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of this time and is easy to obtain. Just as with smoking labels, soft drinks and sweet products should come with the warning that sugar is addictive and bad for the health.’
Mr Van der Velpen wrote that more and more people are becoming overweight and that this is increasing healthcare costs at a time when many governments are trying to save money. He added that obesity could be tackled by encouraging people to take more exercise, but that changing people’s diets would be more effective.
He cites research which suggests that when people are eating fats and proteins they stop when they are full, but that when they are eating sugars they will keep eating until their stomachs hurt.

Source  - Daily Mail

Ancient fokelore remedy.

Mushrooms grown in Siberia could be used to create a new treatment for AIDS, Russian scientists claim.
The researchers say that Chaga mushrooms growing on birch trees are a ‘promising’ subject for further research. Scientists at the Vector Institute, near Novosibirsk, say that they have three different mushrooms all of which could be used in antiretroviral medicines but that the Chaga mushroom is showing the most promise.
'Strains of these mushrooms demonstrated low toxicity and a strong antiviral effect,' a statement from the Institute said. They could be effective against influenza, smallpox and HIV, The Siberian Times reports.
The mushrooms are thought to contain betulinic acid which has antiretroviral and anti-inflammatory properties.They  have been used by traditional healers in Siberia for centuries. Some people believe they also have cancer-combating properties.
Chaga mushrooms are referenced as a treatment for cancer in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Cancer Ward which was published in 1967.

Source  - Daily Mail

Keep calm and carry on taking the Calpol

It’s the middle of the night. You’re walking the floor with a feverish child, their nose running, eyes huge with tears – too young to explain what hurts, or how much. They’re definitely not well, but not A&E-department ill. Most parents will recognise that moment of desperation: it’s time to hit the bottle. 
The bottle with lurid pink mixture, that is: Calpol. It shifts 12 million units a year in the UK, and a study in 2007 found that 84 per cent of children had been given paracetamol by the age of six months. Such is our dependence on this formula that we have been dubbed the Calpol Generation.
Don’t blame parents for that – I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat in a busy GP’s surgery only to be told to dose up one of my children with infant paracetamol. It is also the nurse’s standard advice after any jab. But the safety of the medication is in doubt after a number of studies linking paracetamol to asthma.
The latest, by Spanish academics, appears to have frightening headline statistics: children aged six and seven given the medicine once a month were five times more likely to have asthma. Even having it once a year increased the chances by 70 per cent. The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, put forward the theory that paracetamol may reduce levels of a chemical, glutathione, in the lungs and blood, which results in damage to the lung tissue.
Yikes. I’d put myself in the “once a year” rather than “once a month” category (I take a last-resort attitude to all medicine thanks to the vile kaolin and morphine mixture that GPs used to dole out for sickness bugs when I was a child). But I’ve probably used Calpol enough to wonder whether I’ll be bulk-buying inhalers for my daughters.

Red wine and blueberries could boost immune system

Researchers examined the effects of 446 different chemical compounds on the immune system and identified two which had a significant impact.
The two compounds appeared to work with vitamin D to increase the activity of a gene known as CAMP which helps boost the body's ability to fight disease. One of the compounds, resveratrol, which is found in red grapes, is thought to have various healthy effects on the body such as fighting cancer and lowering the risk of heart disease. But the new study, by researchers from Oregon State University, was the first to clearly show the way in which the compound works with vitamin D to produce this effect.
The other compound which stood out in the study was pterostilbene, found in blueberries, which previous studies have linked to lower cholesterol and better heart health. 
Dr Adrian Gombart, who led the study, said: "Out of a study of hundreds of compounds, just these two popped right out. Their synergy with vitamin D to increase CAMP gene expression was significant and intriguing."

What's the point of acupuncture?

Suffering with an aching back, or even morning sickness? Don’t be surprised  if your GP suggests acupuncture. More than half of British doctors have prescribed it, according to one survey, and the NHS spends about £25 million on it.
Acupuncture is based on the ancient belief that inserting needles into the body restores energy balance, while Western practitioners say the needles trigger production of pain-killing chemicals. Sceptics, however, say much of the supposed benefit is down to a placebo effect. Here we take look at the conditions where this alternative treatment shows most promise...

BACK PAIN -THE EVIDENCE The evidence for acupuncture relieving back pain has been so compelling that the government health watchdog NICE now recommends it. In some areas, this is provided by the NHS.
A major review of 29 studies last year by Andrew Vickers, an epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, found acupuncture had a clear and ‘robust’ effect on chronic back pain.
                        -EXPERT COMMENT ‘Most of the  evidence that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence uses is for lower back pain, but acupuncture can be useful for neck and shoulder pain too,’ says Dr Tom Margham, a GP and spokesman for the charity Arthritis Research UK.   ‘Just as with any other treatment, some people have a better response than others. Many physiotherapists use it as part of a suite  of treatments, alongside exercises.’

Source  - Daily Mail

How hypnotherapy is helping patients beat IBS

Hypnotherapy to encourage positive thinking could help people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The new approach uses a technique often known as positive visualisation and it can involve patients imagining the digestive system as a river.
A study last year at Manchester University found three-quarters of  IBS patients experienced improvement in their symptoms after hypnotherapy, and the effects lasted for five years  or more. But the researchers say many sufferers are being denied the treatment because of prejudice
‘Sadly many health professions are sceptical,’ says  Professor Peter Whorwell, who pioneered the treatment at Manchester. ‘It works for people who are quite ill and who have not responded to other treatments.’
IBS, which is experienced by 10 to 15 per cent of the population, affects the digestive system and can cause stomach cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. Its cause is not known. Treatments include diet changes, laxatives and anti-depressants.
The hypnotherapy treatment involves weekly sessions for three months,  during which patients are given suggestions about how they can gain control over their gut.
‘They might be imagining their gut as a river, for example,’ says Prof Whorwell, ‘and modifying its flow according to  their needs – a fast-flowing stream being slowed down to a gently meandering river, or the reverse for someone suffering from constipation.'
Source  - Daily Mail

If that copper bracelet eases your arthritis, it's just a trick of the mind

Copper and magnetic bracelets worn to help relieve the crippling pain of arthritis are useless, scientists say.
The healing effect that some users report is no different when wearing wrist straps made of any other material, according to the first scientific study into the treatment. Magnetic and copper bracelets are said to help a variety of ailments, including the chronic joint pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Manufacturers of the bracelets, which cost between £30 and £50, suggest these conditions can be alleviated by rebalancing the body’s magnetic field or topping up depleted copper levels through the skin. However, the research shows they were no better than a wrist strap that was not magnetic or did not contain copper.
Although previous research has cast doubt on the effectiveness of the bands, the latest trial, by York University, is the first scientific study of its kind.
It studied the use of copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps for pain management in rheumatoid arthritis.
'Devices such as these provide a placebo effect for users who believe in them,' said Dr Stewart Richmond, a research fellow in the Department of Health Sciences at York, who led the study.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why broccoli is good for you.

Trademarked brands of boutique broccoli are sprouting up on supermarket shelves, wooing us with their discreet ® symbol and not-so-discreet claims of exceptional tenderness. But any broccoli should do that job – be it familiar calabrese, trendy purple sprouting, or less common romanesco – provided it's truly fresh.
You know you've got your hands on freshly cut stuff when your nail sinks into the stalk – a sign that it will taste sweet and juicy. As the days after cutting roll by, the stalk becomes tougher, and the sweetness gradually gives way to a progressively more bitter and cabbage-like taste.
Broccoli is a vegetable best cooked very briefly (preferably steamed), or gently and for a long time – as in the classic Puglian orecchiette pasta dish with anchovies and chilli below. If steaming or boiling, it's important to dry off the broccoli in the pan, perhaps with a little butter or sesame oil.
It pays to be cynical about anything touted as a "superfood", but broccoli genuinely deserves this status thanks to its unique package of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying micronutrients. Broccoli offers high levels of immune system-boosting vitamin C, bone-strengthening vitamin K, and folate, which plays a strategic role in regulating cell growth and reproduction. It's also packed with glucosinolate compounds, such as sulforaphane and glucoraphanin, which help to fight cancer. By reducing inflammation, eating broccoli could also help lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Time to slap on the BROCCOLI?

Before heading out in the sun, most people apply a bit of sunscreen to their exposed skin. 
However, a new study suggests that broccoli could be just as effective. When rubbed directly into the skin, broccoli could also reduce the chance of a person developing skin cancer, the researchers believe.
Sally Dickinson, research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department of the University of Arizona Cancer Centre, has teamed up with researchers from John Hopkins University in Baltimore for the pilot study.
Dr Dickinson said: ‘We're searching for better methods to prevent skin cancer in formats that are affordable and manageable for public use.’
According to the team, the green vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane which could help prevent skin cancer. Sulforaphane is not only highly effective at inhibiting cancer-causing pathways - such as the AP-1 protein - it also triggers chemoprotective genes. These genes protect healthy tissue from the toxic effects of the chemotherapy drugs that are used to combat cancerous growths.
Dr Dickinson said: ‘Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays.

Source  - Daily Mail

Red wine - what's behind its healthy reputation?

In recent years, red wine has received some pretty good press. When we think of a healthy form of alcohol, red wine tends to be the top choice. But why - and does it deserve all the attention?
Scientists agree that there is something in red wine that, when drunk in moderation, can help to protect the heart, reduce 'bad' cholesterol and prevent blood clots. But there is little agreement of what is causing those beneficial effects.
Recently, Uruguayan chemists went to such great lengths to discover the secret of their healthy home-grown red wine that they sequenced the genome of the Tannat grape from which it is made. That was prompted by the discovery that those wines contained high levels of procyanidins - a class of flavanols found in plants, fruit and cocoa beans. Roger Corder, professor of experimental therapeutics at Queen Mary University of London and author of The Red Wine Diet, made the discovery and confirms that the Tannat wines contain three to four times more procyanidins than Cabernet Sauvignon. He says they - alongside the high concentration of tannins, which combat the ageing of cells - are likely to be behind its health-giving properties. Other scientists are excited about a compound found in the skin of red grapes called resveratrol.
For many years, it has been hailed as a kind of wonder drug - an anti-ageing compound, which could extend life, combat obesity and cure cancer. But, so far, studies on resveratrol have taken place in the lab - as yet there is no evidence that it can be effective in humans.

The hidden dangers of deodorant sprays

Walk past a teenage boy and you’ll almost certainly be left with the lingering smell of spray deodorant - 50 per cent of children now use deodorant by the age of 11, according to one survey, with self-consciousness about body odour often spurring them to spray to excess.
For most teenage boys, only the market leader Lynx will do.  Thanks to its insistent marketing campaigns  - including the slogan: ‘Get the look that gets the girl’ — the deodorant is the world’s best-selling male grooming product, sold in 60 countries and boasting eight million users in the UK alone.
The primary target for spray deodorants is thought to be 13 to 18-year-olds, with mums the main buyers, according to Marketing Magazine. So powerful is its hold on the teen market that some teachers have gone on to online forums to complain about ‘the Lynx effect’, sharing anecdotes about having to teach through the fug of deodorant.
But some experts are concerned teenagers are over-using deodorant, warning that inhaling chemicals from the aerosols may cause allergic skin reactions, asthma and breathing difficulties. In very rare cases they may even trigger fatal heart problems.
Maureen Jenkins, director of clinical services at Allergy UK, says: ‘Around one in three adults in the UK have some form of allergic disease — asthma, rhinitis or eczema — and their symptoms are easily aggravated by perfumed products and exacerbated by aerosol chemicals.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Good gut bacteria could protect obese people from heart disease

Good bacteria in the gut protect obese people from heart attacks and strokes, according to scientists.
A study has found a link between the medical problems caused by being overweight, and the bacterial species in the intestines. People with less of these bugs are more likely to develop metabolic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
A flora with decreased bacterial richness seems to function entirely differently to the healthy variety with greater diversity. Professor Jeroen Raes, of Vrije University in Belgium, said: ‘This is an amazing result with possibly enormous implications for the treatment and even prevention of the greatest public health issue of our time. But we are not there yet. Now we need studies in which we can monitor people for a longer period.’
Metabolic conditions are becoming endemic because of people failing to exercise and eating foods that are high in sugar and fat. It is expected obesity levels will nearly double from 400 million in 2005, to more than 700 million in 2015 – and the trend is expected to persist at least until 2030.

A glass a day keeps the doctor away

A few glasses of wine each week could ward off depression, according to a new study. 
Spanish scientists have found that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, particularly wine, can be linked with a lower risk of depression. Those who consumed two to seven small glasses of wine weekly were 32 per cent less likely to suffer from depression compared with people who never drank alcohol.
The study looked at 5,505 men and women aged 55 to 80 in Spain, who were involved in a research trial evaluating the effects of the Mediterranean diet on heart disease risk.  None of them had depression at the start of the study and all were light-to-moderate.
During a follow-up period of up to seven years, 443 people reported that they were diagnosed with depression. Researchers said that light to moderate drinkers, who drank 5 to 15 grams of alcohol daily on average, had a lower risk of depression compared with people who didn't.

Source  - Daily Mail

Daydreamers are more likely to develop insomnia because their brains find it difficult to 'shut down' at night

Daydreamers are more likely to be insomniacs, according to a new study.
Brain scans of insomniacs have revealed that regions of the brain associated with wandering thoughts do not shut down when the brain is given complex tasks. This means sufferers usually put more effort into daytime jobs than healthy sleepers.
The discovery of variations in brain activity between sufferers and people without the condition could be a marker to target in the search for effective treatment, according to scientistsA team from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, led by Dr Sean Drummond, associate psychiatry professor at the University of California uncovered the link between the affected daytime and nightime brain activity in primary insomniacs
Source  - Daily Mail

Eating broccoli could prevent the most common form of arthritis

A new study has found that eating broccoli could help prevent or slow the most common form of arthritis.

Researchers found that sulforaphane - a compound usually found in broccoli but also in sprouts and cabbage - slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease affecting the hands, feet, spine, hips and knees.
Ian Clark, professor of musculoskeletal biology said: “The results from this study are very promising. We have shown that this works in the three laboratory models we have tried, in cartilage cells, tissue and mice. We now want to show this works in humans. It would be very powerful if we could. As well as treating those who already have the condition, you need to be able to tell healthy people how to protect their joints into the future.”

Mediterranean diet may reduce dementia risk

Eating a Mediterranean diet is good for the mind, research has concluded.

Scientists say people who eat large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil have a lower risk of age-related diseases such as dementia.
The research, by the University of Exeter's Medical School, is the first systematic review of previous studies into the diet's benefits to the brain. It comes after research last month showed the same diet could help counteract a genetic risk of strokes.
The team, supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula, analysed 12 eligible pieces of research, 11 observational studies and one randomised control trial.
In nine of the 12 studies, a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with better cognitive function, lower rates of cognitive decline and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. However, results for mild cognitive impairment - the stage before Alzheimer's or dementia, when someone could be experiencing some cognitive difficulties - were inconsistent.
Lead researcher Iliana Lourida said: "Mediterranean food is both delicious and nutritious, and our systematic review shows it may help to protect the ageing brain by reducing the risk of dementia. While the link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and dementia risk is not new, ours is the first study to systematically analyse all existing evidence."

Blueberries cut type-2 diabetes risk

Eating more fruit, particularly blueberries, apples and grapes, is linked to a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes, suggests a study in the British Medical Journal.
Blueberries cut the risk by 26% compared with 2% for three servings of any whole fruit - but fruit juice did not appear to have the same effect. The research looked at the diets of more than 187,000 people in the US. But Diabetes UK said the results of the study should be treated with caution.
Researchers from the UK, US and Singapore used data from three large studies of nurses and health professionals in the US to examine the link between fruit consumption and the risk of contracting type-2 diabetes.In these studies, 6.5% of participants (12,198 out of 187,382) developed type-2 diabetes.
The studies used food frequency questionnaires to follow up the participants every four years, asking how often, on average, they ate a standard portion of each fruit. The fruits used in the study were grapes or raisins, peaches, plums or apricots, prunes, bananas, cantaloupe, apples or pears, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries and blueberries. The researchers' analysis of the data showed that three servings per week of blueberries, grapes and raisins, and apples and pears significantly reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes. While all fruit was shown to reduce the risk, these fruits appeared to be particularly effective.