High-fibre diet 'benefits heart attack patients'

If you have had a heart attack, eat plenty of fibre because it may improve your long-term chances of recovery, say US researchers.
Heart-attack survivors were more likely to be alive nine years later if they followed a high-fibre diet, a study in the British Medical Journal found. Every 10g-per-day increase in fibre intake was linked with a 15% drop in death risk during the study.
Dietary fibre may improve blood pressure and cholesterol, experts say. On average, most people in the UK get about 14g of fibre a day, against a target of at least 18g. US experts recommend up to 38g a day. Fruit, such as bananas and apples, root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, wholemeal bread, cereals and bran are all good sources of dietary fibre. A jacket potato and baked beans contain about 10g of fibre; two slices of wholemeal bread about 4g.

Almonds, perfect snack for health

A handful of almonds may well be the perfect daily snack for staving off disease.
The high-protein, nutrient-rich nuts help suppress the appetite, beat flab and also keep your heart healthy. Almonds are high in beneficial monounsaturated fats and vitamin E, which protects against UV light damage and Alzheimer’s, according to six studies presented to the American Society of Nutrition Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

And for people at risk of diabetes, eating the nuts daily moderates blood glucose concentrations.
They are also packed with minerals, among them manganese, which helps the body form strong bones and regulates blood sugar, and magnesium which is essential for organ, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and regulating blood pressure.

Source  - Daily Mail

Sugary drinks increase the risk of high blood pressure by 70%

Everyone knows that drinking sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks and some fruit juices, can cause them to pile on the pounds. But new research suggests they can also lead to an increase in blood pressure.
A review published in The American Journal of Cardiology revealed there is a strong correlation between drinking sugar-sweetened drinks and elevated blood pressure.
Dr Aaqib Habib Malik, from the Griffin Hospital in Derby, Connecticut, and his colleagues reviewed 12 studies to establish if there is a link between sweet drinks and high blood pressure, Health Day reports. The studies they looked at included almost 410,000 people. They discovered that all of the studies showed a correlation between consuming sugar-sweetened drinks and high blood pressure. 
The studies revealed that people who drink sugary drinks are between 26 and 70 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure than people who do not drink them, Daily RX reports.
They also showed that teenagers who drink three or more sugar-sweetened drinks a day are 87 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Source  - Daily Mail

Three cups of coffee a day could help keep diabetes away.

Drinking more coffee may slightly reduce your risk of diabetes, and people who drink three or more cups appear to be at the lowest risk of all, an American study has suggested.
Researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health analysed data on more than 120,000 people’s coffee consumption over several years. They found that those who increased their intake by more than a cup a day over a four-year period had an 11 per cent lower chance of developing diabetes in the following years.
Those who had consistently higher coffee consumption – of three or more cups a day – had a risk which was 37 per cent lower than people who consistently drank one or fewer cups a day, researchers found.
The study is the latest to suggest a possible link between coffee and reduced diabetes risk and while the researchers behind the paper said that bigger, clinical trials would be required to confirm their findings, they believe that existing evidence of coffee’s benefit is “well established”. However, experts in the UK said that it was still not clear that coffee was directly responsible for the lower risk scores shown in the study.

Is ibuprofen making us sick?

When people have a headache, their first reaction is often to pop a couple of painkillers.
These drugs have become such a big part of everyday life that few people even consider whether there are likely to be any ill effects from their regular use. In fact, ibuprofen is well known for irritating the gut and can cause stomach ulcers. And now, research suggests ibuprofen could be linked to the development of coeliac disease.
A review of the last 20 years of research into non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, suggests that the drugs are linked to ‘leaky gut syndrome’ meaning the walls of the intestines become more permeable, The Daily Beast reports.
And, a National Institutes of Health study supported this theory by revealing that NSAIDs can cause intestinal inflammation and increase the permeability of the intestines.
The intestinal inflammation and permeability caused by NSAIDs is problematic because it allows toxic substances to leak into the bloodstream. When this happens, an autoimmune response can be triggered which prevents digestion and effective absorption of nutrients, the researchers say. When the gut is more permeable than it should be, it also allows gluten to leak out. In people who have a predisposition to coeliac disease, the researchers believe this can lead to adverse reactions to gluten.

Source  - Daily Mail

Can resveratrol – the 'wonder chemical' in red wine – live up to the hype?

In an increasingly chemophobic world, one chemical – resveratrol – is doing rather well for itself. 
This polyphenolic stilbenoid is a natural product found in peanuts, cocoa powder and the roots of Japanese knotweed, but it only came to public prominence as the health-promoting component of red wine, in which it is present at levels of up to 14 milligrams per litre, depending on the grape variety.
As molecules go, it is certainly a multitasker, with purported activity against cardiac disease, obesity, cancer, vascular dementia and ageing. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one molecule. Can resveratrol live up to our expectations?
Many of these claims centre upon its ability to reduce oxidation in cells: its fabled antioxidant activity. All molecules, including biological ones, carry around their own cloud of electrons. These are most stable when they exist in pairs. Sometimes, though, electron pairs split. Then you’re left with an unpaired electron – and unpaired electrons like nothing more than to mess with other biological molecules.

What To Eat Now: beans and pulses

Beans were once the mainstay of the health cranks, and despite the best efforts of mainstream nutrition, they still retain a little bit of that worthy aura. 
Perhaps it's the childhood link between baked beans and gas, or that the word 'legume' itself has comedy potential in some circles. Whatever we call them - beans, pulses or legumes - they are one of the most beneficial additions to the diet for several reasons. 
Most importantly they are a good source of fibre, notably soluble fibre, which has repeatedly been shown to reduce levels of total cholesterol. In turn this can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
A meta analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1999 collated data from 67 studies, involving 2,900 people, suggested that it was a 'high intake' of soluble fibre that was needed. Earlier this month the journal of the Canadian Medical Association published the results of another review, this time specifically focused on the intake of pulses concluding that eating pulses can reduce blood lipids, including cholesterol.
They are also a valuable source of protein, and although that protein might not always be considered a complete protein, that can be simply overcome by mixing different types of beans, or eating them with other sources of protein.

Source  - Telegraph

Taking up ballet in old age may help ward off dementia

Every week you'll find Nan McDonald limbering up at the barre in a studio at the Scottish Ballet. Last year she danced in Hansel And Gretel and recently worked on Romeo And Juliet.  What might surprise you is that Nan will be 70 this summer. 
She is a regular at the Scottish Ballet's Regenerate classes - a project teaching ballet to the over-50s, which has been hugely popular. As well as classes, participants rehearse workshop performances in tandem with shows put on by professional dancers. 
Nan, who lives in Glasgow, has been dancing with Regenerate for more than ten years.
'I'd done ballet as a girl, but nothing serious,' she says. 'Keeping fit is very important to me. I liked the thought of being able to do ballet properly - and I love the music. Ballet gives you such a fantastic stretch-out. It's improved my flexibility and co-ordination.' Regenerate is one of a number of projects nationwide promoting ballet and dance as a secret weapon for health and vitality in old age.

Source  - Daily Mail

Homeopathy is no better than a placebo, scientists claim

Homeopathic medicines are as effective as placebos at treating illnesses, an Australian scientific body has claimed in a new study.
Doctors have reportedly welcomed the findings, and hope that the study will prevent patients being persuaded to use homeopathic vaccinations instead of orthodox medicines, with the former leaving people prone to life-threatening diseases including TB, it has been reported. 
Proponents of the form of alternative therapy claim that it stimulates the body to heal itself, and is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’.
"A substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if it was taken in large amounts,” according to the British Homeopathic Association (BHA).
The medicines are made by heavily diluting substances and succession – or vigorous shaking, the BHA explains. However, a working committee of medical experts at Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) analysed how effective alternative medicine are n treating illnesses and conditions, and concluded that “there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective,” Guardian Australia reported.

Source  - Independent

The vitamins you CAN mix with medication

We are often warned that supplements can be dangerous when mixed with medication. But now research is starting to show that the right combinations can be helpful in fighting illness.
Co-enzyme Q10, or CoQ10, for example, is now often recommended by doctors to patients on statins. 
Statins help to lower cholesterol and protect against heart attacks, but they can also cause muscle pain. CoQ10 seems to reduce this side effect, says GP Mike Dixon, chairman of the College of Medicine. 
‘I don’t suggest Q10 straight away, but if the patient is getting side effects I do suggest it before changing the statin,’ he says.
Q10 has also been found to help some breast cancer patients taking Herceptin. Here experts reveal the other supplements that may complement common medications. But remember, if you’re considering starting any supplement, always talk to your doctor first.

Source  - Daily Mail

Could tobacco hold the key to beating cancer?

The tobacco plant’s natural defence mechanisms could be harnessed to kill cancer cells in the human body.
Scientists have identified a molecule in the flower of the plant that usually fights off fungi and bacteria - and were stunned to find it also has the ability to identify and destroy cancer.
Called NaD1, it works by forming a pincer-like structure that grips onto lipids present in the membrane of cancer cells and rips themopen, causing the cell to expel its contents and explode.

There is some irony in the fact that a powerful defence mechanism against cancer is found in the flower of a species of ornamental tobacco plant, but this is a welcome discovery, whatever the origin,’ Dr Mark Hulett of the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science in Melbourne said.
‘The next step is to undertake pre-clinical studies to determine what role NaD1 might be able to play in treating cancer.' 
The preclinical work is being conducted by the Melbourne biotechnology company Hexima. 
'So far the preliminary trials have looked promising,' said Dr Hulett.

Source  - Daily Mail

The Alternative: the Qi Master

A visit to a so-called Qi Master may sound a rather esoteric enterprise, to say the least. But the people who file through the doors of Master Oh come with a range of far from esoteric complaints, from back pain to depression, by way of every condition you can think of. Often they are desperate, at the end of the road.
“In Western terms 'qi’ means vital energy,” says the 49-year-old Master Oh, who came to Britain from Korea 12 years ago. “In my patients I see three different qi problems – a shortage, a blockage and an imbalance. You are born with a certain level of qi. It is like your car battery. And when this energy becomes low, it creates problems, physical and emotional. I recharge people’s battery.”
Qi (or chi) lies at the heart of Chinese medicine. Master Oh works within the Korean branch, and undertook a rigorous training – involving sleep and food deprivation – in order to learn how to “channel energy from the universe”.

Chinese medicine could become available on the NHS

Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, Jeremy Hunt has suggested.
The Health Secretary indicated that the health service could look at integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Mr Hunt said his frequent travels to China — his wife’s home country — had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial. He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.
“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”
Chinese medicine can involve herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. NHS Choices states the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends acupuncture as a treatment only for lower back pain. It adds that the recommendation is based on scientific evidence. American researchers recently said that a poppy plant used for centuries in Chinese medicine may offer a remedy for chronic pain.

Vegetarians are 'less healthy'

Vegetarians are usually confident about the health benefits of their meat-free diets. But new research suggests vegetarian diets are associated with poorer health and quality of life.
The study also showed that vegetarians visit their doctors more than meat eaters and that they are more prone to allergies, cancer and mental health problems.

It showed that non-meat eaters have double the risk of allergies and a 50 per cent increased risk of heart attacks and cancer,  CBS Atlanta reports.
They are also significantly more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
However, the research from the Medical University of Graz, Austria, did reveal that vegetarians tend to be healthier in some ways. It showed that they are usually more active and that they consume less alcohol.
They are also less likely to smoke and tend to have lower BMIs.
The research also revealed that people of high socioeconomic status are more likely to be vegetarian.

Source  - Daily Mail