Drinking coffee significantly improves blood flow

Researchers found that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee significantly improved blood flow in the fingers of 27 healthy adults.
Measuring blood flow in the finger provides an indication of how well the body's smaller blood vessels are functioning. Comparing normal-strength coffee with decaf, the caffeinated version increased blood flow by 30% over a 75-minute period.
Professor Masato Tsutsui, a heart expert from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, said: "This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health."
He presented the findings at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Dallas, Texas.
The study participants were all people aged from 22 to 30 who did not regularly drink coffee. A laser technique was used to study blood circulation in the finger on a microscopic level non-invasively.

Eating nuts 'may prolong life'

People who regularly eat nuts appear to live longer, according to the largest study of its kind.
The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggested the greatest benefit was in those munching on a daily portion. The US team said nut eaters were likely to also have healthy lifestyles, but the nuts themselves were also contributing to their longer lifespan. The British Heart Foundation said more research was needed to prove the link
The study followed nearly 120,000 people for 30 years. The more regularly people consumed nuts, the less likely they were to die during the study. People eating nuts once a week were 11% less likely to have died during the study than those who never ate nuts. Up to four portions was linked to a 13% reduction in deaths and a daily handful of nuts cut the death rate during the study by 20%.
Lead researcher Dr Charles Fuchs, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, said: "The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, but we also saw a significant reduction - 11% - in the risk of dying from cancer."

Prince Charles and homeopathy: crank or revolutionary?

The Royal family has long been devoted to the practice of homeopathy - in fact, to this day, there is a court homeopath, a position that seems as anachronistic as the royal horologist or the master of the Queen’s music. The Queen’s father, George VI, was a firm convert to the cause, as was his father, George V. Indeed, Her Majesty is not only devoted to homeopathy, which she also uses on her animals, but the broader spectrum of alternative medicine - and it is said that her avoidance of illness during her 60 years on the throne is due to supplementing her conventional medical regime with herbal remedies.
But it is  Prince Charles, famously so in tune with nature that he talks to plants on his Highgrove estate, who is alternative medicine’s staunchest supporter among the Royals - and indeed one of its most enthusiastic advocates in the UK. The practice is, he told the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 2006, “rooted in ancient traditions that intuitively understood the need to maintain balance and harmony with our minds, bodies and the natural world”.

Metal in your mobile 'could double chance of stroke

Exposure to a rare metal found in mobile phones could double an individual’s risk of stroke, scientists warned.
High levels of tungsten significantly raises the risk of the disease, particularly for those under the age of 50, a new study has found. Although our current exposure to the precious metal is low, it is being increasingly used in everyday items such mobile phones, computers and light bulbs.
In the past decade, production has almost doubled, as advances in technology continue to drive 
demand.  Experts now fear its increased prevalence could pose a health risk to future generations. During its production, small amounts of the metal escape into the environment, eventually making their way into rivers and farmland.
Exposure to tiny amounts present in the air, drinking water and in the food chain is common, but it remains unclear why certain individuals have higher levels. Researchers said there is no clear evidence linking use of technology such as smartphones and laptops to increased amounts of the metal in the blood.
‘Whilst currently very low, human exposure to tungsten is set to increase,’ said lead researcher Dr Jessica Tyrrell, from the University of Exeter‘We’re not yet sure why some members of the population have higher levels of the metal in their make-up, and an important step in understanding and preventing the risks it may pose to health will be to get to the bottom of how it’s ending up in our bodies.’

Source  - Daily Mail

Does the cold remedy your family swears by really work?

When a cold strikes, you can cross ibuprofen off your shopping list. Last week researchers revealed it might make you worse.
The British Medical Journal reported that when people with respiratory tract infections such as colds, sore throats and chest and ear infections were given paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of the two, between 50 and 70 per cent of those taking ibuprofen returned to their GP within a month with worsening symptoms.
This might be because ibuprofen reduces inflammation - and an inflammatory response is part of the body's immune response to the infection.
But what about those other remedies everyone swears by for preventing and treating common winter ailments -  will they make any difference, either? We asked the experts for their view . . .

Source  - Daily Mail

Coffee – good for cancer?

A report today, based on 16 studies, says that drinking three cups of coffee may reduce the risk of liver cancer. Another concludes that coffee reduces prostate cancer risk. But it’s not all good news.
Every day Britons drink 70 million cups of coffee – roughly two each per adult. But is it good or bad for you? Many people get caught in the sugar, nicotine, caffeine trap, thinking this combination is good for energy. But this combination feeds increasing fatigue, anxiety and weight gain. In my own research we surveyed over 55,000 people and found that the two foods that most predict fatigue and stress are caffeinated drinks and sugary foods, both addictive substances. Many become hooked on caffeine and sugar to keep going, gaining weight and losing health as a result. But what are the long-term consequences?
This recent review of 16 studies involving 3,153 people (not that many for surveys) concludes that three cups of coffee a day is associated with halving risk for liver cancer. While some studies have shown an increased incidence of pancreatic cancer with coffee consumption, further studies have not shown such an association. Over the last decade considerable research has been done on the cancer-coffee link. Coffee may also reduce risk of fatal prostate cancer. 

Why almonds are good for you

A stalwart nut in Christmas cake, pudding and mincemeat, almonds figure prominently on the seasonal shopping list.
 For freshness, they're a safer bet than walnuts and hazelnuts: less prone to rancidity, so more tolerant of languishing forgotten at the back of a cupboard. When lightly baked, their creamy neutrality gives way to a much nuttier, crunchier character, making them seriously addictive. It's just so tempting to pick them out from the muesli, or the pilaf, and with an aperitif, you can easily nibble your way through a small bowlful without noticing. Ground finely, almonds give you that gloriously squidgy consistency in cakes, frangipani-filled tarts and marzipan. Toasted flaked almonds look gorgeous on top of a creamy trifle
High-protein almonds are ideal for sating the appetite in a healthy way. They are rich in monounsaturated fats; much research now links this type of fat with a reduced risk of heart disease. These nuts are one of the richest sources of vitamin E, which seems to protect against UV light damage and Alzheimer's disease.

How to get the most health benefits from your veg?

Most people would probably admit they eat broccoli more for its health-giving properties than for its flavour.
But new research shows that people who don't cook it in the right way could be wasting their time. Scientists found broccoli loses its cancer-fighting properties when it is boiled or microwaved. The researchers, who presented their findings at the American Institute for Cancer Research Annual Research Conference, found the best way to cook the vegetable is to steam it for three to four minutes.
They say steaming it until it turns a bright green colour can enhance its cancer-fighting compounds. Broccoli is an excellent source of sulforaphane, a naturally occurring plant compound that has been shown to be protective against cancer. The enzyme myrosinase in broccoli is needed for sulforaphane to form - so if the myrosinase is destroyed, sulforaphane cannot form.
The researchers found boiling and microwaving broccoli, even for just one minute, destroys most of the myrosinase it contains. In contrast, they also discovered that steaming it for up to five minutes is the best way to retain the enzyme.
‘Past food processing has tended to focus on improving taste, visuals and microbiological safety,’ said Dr Elizabeth Jeffery, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. ‘Now our task is to go further. Processing can ensure that the bioactives – the cancer protective compounds – arrive in your digestive system in a form the body can use.’

Source - Daily Mail

Could eating blueberries add years to your life?

A bowl of wild blueberries a day could protect against a range of health problems including obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Regular consumption of the berries over an eight-week period can improve or prevent metabolic syndrome, researchers say.  Metabolic syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. It increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions affecting blood vessels.
On their own, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity can potentially damage the blood vessels, but having all three together is particularly dangerous.  Berries are rich in polyphenols - antioxidants that protect cells in the heart and help lower blood pressure.  This means they may help reduce damage to the lining of blood vessels and tackle glucose intolerance - excess sugar in the blood that can lead to diabetes.

Source  - Daily Mail

Why pomegranate is good for you

With its sweetness tempered by a pleasantly bitter, slightly tannic astringency, in my book, no drink is more restorative than fresh pomegranate juice. Extracting that precious garnet juice from the jewel-like seeds of this orb-shaped fruit can be fiddly, so don't wear white, but it rewards you with a concentrated flavour that sweetened, watered down, pasteurised pomegranate "juice drinks" can never rival. And of course, sparkling pomegranate seeds bring flashes of vivid colour and a crunchy texture that brightens up everything from grain-based dishes through to salads.
The small, pink cosmetically pretty pomegranates with smooth, shiny skins usually have relatively insipid, pale juice. For ripeness and copious amounts of deeper-coloured juice, choose larger, maturer fruits with darker, drier, more matt skin that is beginning to sink in slightly at the sides.

How meditation can 'melt away' tension

Nothing creates more stress than when you feel trapped by illness. Negative thoughts and worries leave you burnt-out and create tension in the body, aggravating illnesses and injuries. 
Stress dampens the immune system and  shuts down the body's self-repair mechanisms. Yet while it's impossible to prevent stress arising, mindfulness can teach you how to deal with it.  After practice, you realise that stress (like pain) is a 'message' that melts away once it's 'delivered' or felt with full mindful awareness. When this occurs, happiness and peace fill the void.

Such contentment  boosts the immune system, restarts repair mechanisms and improves quality of life.
This week's meditation is the Tension Release, the final of three exercises taken from my book Mindfulness For Health:  A Practical Guide To Relieving Pain, Reducing Stress And Restoring Wellbeing (Piatkus).

Source  - Daily Mail

Early bedtimes could combat child obesity

Putting children to bed earlier may be a simple way to keep their weight down, research has shown.
Childhood obesity is not only caused by fast food, sugary drinks and lack of exercise, the new findings suggest. 
Lack of sleep also appears to be an important factor. Scientists made the discovery after adjusting the sleep patterns of 37 children aged eight to 11, more than a quarter of whom were overweight or obese.
For the first week of the study, children were asked to sleep their typical amount. During the second week the children randomly had their sleep time either reduced or lengthened. Over the course of the third week, they were given the opposite sleep schedule.
When children increased their sleep, they reported consuming an average 134 fewer calories per day and lost half a pound in weight. Tests showed they had lower fasting levels of the hunger-regulating hormone leptin.
'Findings from this study suggest that enhancing school-age children’s sleep at night could have important implications for prevention and treatment of obesity,” said Dr Chantelle Hart, from Temple University in Philadelphia. 'The potential role of sleep should be further explored.'
The findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.

Source  - Daily Mail