The secret to dark chocolate's health benefits?

The idea that dark chocolate is good for your health is nothing new, however the exact reason why it's so darn beneficial has remained something of a mystery...until now.
Researchers have discovered a specific stomach bacteria that breaks down chocolate and ferments it into anti-inflammatory compounds, making the dark stuff highly useful in terms of heart health.
Findings were presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). 
"We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the 'good' ones and the 'bad' ones," explained Louisiana State University undergraduate student and study researcher Maria Moore. "The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate," she said. "When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory."
"When these compounds are absorbed by the body, they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, reducing the long-term risk of stroke," said leader researcher John Finley, Ph.D. of Louisiana State. Finley also noted that the study is the first to examine the effects of dark chocolate on various types of stomach bacteria.

Source  - Daily News

Olive oil on salad 'reduces blood pressure'

Consuming olive oil on salad could help to lower a person's blood pressure, potentially improving their health on a long-term basis, a new study has found.

Olive oil is a common feature of a Mediterranean diet, which has long been regarded as a healthy eating plan, as it also contains lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. This is in great contrast to the traditional British diet, which typically involves large quantities of butter, red meat and animal fat.

Further proving that eating a Mediterranean-style diet is a healthy option is a new study carried out by a team from King's College London and the University of California, which discovered blood pressure levels could potentially be lowered by consuming such food.

Olive oil contains unsaturated fats, while nitrates and nitrites are found in salad ingredients such as spinach, celery and carrots. Together, these form nitro fatty acids, which the researchers decided to investigate further.

Source  - Health News

How cherry juice helps you sleep

A drink of tart cherry juice in the morning and evening may help people sleep better at night, according to a new report.
Researchers from Louisiana State University in the US found that drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia.
These findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, which is being held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in San Diego
Insomnia is a common health problem among older adults, impacting an estimated 23 to 34 percent of the population ages 65 and older. Insomnia - defined as trouble sleeping on average more than three nights per week - can be an annoyance for some, but long-lasting sleeplessness can seriously affect health, especially in the elderly.
Insomnia is linked to a higher prevalence of chronic pain, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and a decline of cognitive function, or dementia. Individuals with insomnia may turn to sleeping pills. 

Source  - Daily Mail

Alternative Health: pregnancy

During her 12 years working as an obstetrician in the NHS, Gowri Motha became increasingly convinced that many of her colleagues were missing the point. “Obstetricians need to look at a pregnant woman in a holistic way, not simply as a uterus and cervix in isolation,” she says. “Until then how can you help her to have a normal birth? A woman needs to be well, by which I mean needs a sense of wellness in her body: she isn’t stiff, she doesn’t have back problems, she isn’t bloated – a sign she isn’t digesting her food.”
Motha, 64, augments her conventional medical expertise with a wide range of complementary disciplines – including reflexology, ayurveda, hypnotherapy and an energetic practice called Creative Healing – to help her clients have the easiest births possible. “Reflexology is key, as most pregnant mothers feel anxiety. Deep reflexology helps the whole body to detox and relax, and aids lymphatic drainage.” Creative Healing also targets the lymphatic system, as well as “dealing with the flow of fluids distinct from blood and lymph”.
Motha uses Creative Healing not just during pregnancy but also for those trying to become pregnant. “It can treat the flow of the female system and correct most ovulation disturbances. It also supports the spine, which needs to be supple for birth.” (Indeed Motha has some clients who come to her with spinal issues alone.) She is strict on diet, too: no sugar, wheat or dairy. “If you don’t eat carefully, your birth passage can become swollen, which makes it difficult to give birth.” Her mission? To make birth a human experience, not a medical one.

Why is a Mediterranean diet so good for you?

The Mediterranean diet is widely known to have health benefits but scientists have never worked out what makes it so good for you – until now.
A study led by King’s College London found that the combination of olive oil and salad holds the key to keeping the risk of high blood pressure down.
A large salad with a simple dressing combines the necessary unsaturated fats with nitrate-rich vegetables.
The findings were published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the USA by scientists at Kings College, the University of California and University of Pittsburgh.
They suggest that the protective effect of the Mediterranean diet comes from the nitro fatty acids it generates, which inhibit an enzyme linked to high blood pressure.
A Mediterranean diet typically includes unsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts and avocados, along with vegetables like spinach, celery and carrots that are rich in nitrite and nitrates.

Mobile phone child health risk investigation

A major investigation into whether mobile phones and other wireless technologies affect children's mental development is getting under way.
The study - funded by the government and industry - will track 2,500 11- and 12-year-olds from September. It will look at their cognitive ability - thinking skills, memory and attention - and then repeat the tests in 2017. The researchers say "very little" is known about what impact these technologies have on children.
The World Health Organization has said research in this area is of the "highest priority". More than 160 secondary schools in the outer London area will receive invitations to enrol pupils into the study. Much of the research into mobile phone use has focused on adults and in particular, the risk of brain cancer. No evidence of harm has been established to date.
Nonetheless, NHS advice is that children under the age of 16 should use mobile phones only for essential purposes and, where possible, with hands-free kits.

Beets Are So Healthy

There has been enormous research interest in beets because of the the unusual mix of antioxidants that they contain. The unique combination of nutritional and nutriceutical components establishes the red beet as a marvelous vegetable, easy to grow and process its natural products. Its strong vasodilation properties, imparted pigments, flavonoids and organic nitrogen have lead to deep investigations by pharmaceutical companies to reap the enormous array of health benefits. Fortunately, a vegetable can’t be patented, so the beet will always remain as a very useful dietary tool in both the prevention and treatment of disease.
When it comes to antioxidant phytonutrients that give most red vegetables their distinct color, we’ve become accustomed to thinking about anthocyanins. (Red cabbage, for example, gets it wonderful red color primarily from anthocyanins.) Beets demonstrate their antioxidant uniqueness by getting their red color primarily from betalain antioxidant pigments (and not primarily from anthocyanins). 

Dogs are FOUR times better at detecting prostate cancer than traditional tests

Dogs are almost four times better at detecting prostate cancer than traditional tests.
Medical Detection Dogs accurately detect the disease 90 per cent of the time, research has shown.  In contrast, traditional PSA tests often give false positives – three in four positive results from the tests turn out to be false and result in unnecessary and invasive tests.
Specially trained Cancer Detection Dogs can detect cancer cells in urine samples. The dogs are trained by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, in Buckinghamshire.
Dr Claire Guest, Chief Executive and Director of Operations at Medical Detection Dogs, said:
‘These results from the detection dogs are remarkable. 
Over the years, millions of pounds of NHS funding have been poured into the traditional test methods, and yet there has been little improvement in their reliability. This has caused a huge waste of resources, not to mention the distress to the impacted individuals. Moreover, the detection dogs provide alternative solution that yields consistently accurate results. If our detection dogs were a machine, there would be huge demand for them.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Fruit juice timebomb

The appalling diets of the nation’s teenagers have been exposed by a report which shows that many are already putting themselves at risk of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
And last night health experts warned that fruit juice – seen by many as a healthy option – should be drunk no more than once a day because of its high sugar content. Girls and boys aged 11 to 19 typically eat 42 per cent too much sugar and 14 per cent too much saturated fat.
Only 10 per cent of teenage boys and 7 per cent of teenage girls manage to get their five portions of fruit and veg a day. Adults do not fare a great deal better. Only a third get their five-a-day and the diet of the average adult exceeds recommended sugar limits by 10 per cent.
The report, the Government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, also shows  that children aged ten and under typically exceed the recommended daily limit of sugar by 34 per cent.  Their main sources of sugar are fruit juice, soft drinks, cereal bars, biscuits and cakes.
It reveals that adults are eating half the recommended weekly amount of oily fish – which protects against heart disease, cancer and dementia – while teenagers and children only manage a fifth of  this amount.

Source  - Daily Mail

The resveratrol myth

Claims of the healthy and life-extending properties of a much-hyped ingredient in red wine and chocolate are unfounded, research suggests. 
The anti-oxidant resveratrol, found in dark chocolate, red wine, and berries, has no significant impact on life-span, heart disease or cancer, say scientists. It cannot explain the “French Paradox” – the low incidence of heart disease suffered by people in France despite a diet laden with cholesterol and saturated fat, they believe. Other as-yet unidentified plant compounds might be conferring health benefits associated with their diet, according to the study.
The lead researcher Professor Richard Semba, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US, said: “The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that doesn’t stand the test of time. The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn’t find that.”
Belief in the properties of resveratrol has led to a plethora of supplements containing the compound.

Could yoga cure INCONTINENCE?

Yoga could help women who suffer from urinary incontinence, new research suggests.
It can improve pelvic health and help women gain more control over their bladders. U.S. researchers found it can also prevent accidental urine leakage.
‘Yoga is often directed at mindful awareness, increasing relaxation, and relieving anxiety and stress,’ said first author Alison Huang, assistant professor in the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

‘For these reasons, yoga has been directed at a variety of other conditions - metabolic syndrome or pain syndromes - but there's also a reason to think that it could help for incontinence as well.’

The researchers recruited 20 women who were 40 years old and older and who suffered urinary incontinence on a daily basis. Half were randomly assigned to take part in a six week yoga therapy programme and the other half were not. 
The women who took part in the yoga programme experienced an overall 70 per cent reduction in the frequency of their urine leakage.  The group that did not start yoga therapy only had a 13 per cent improvement.

Source  - Daily Mail