Site Search

advertisement

Other Sites for More Information

advertisement


advertisement

Tuesday
Mar012011

Pass the Pistachios, Please

Not only can they help lower cholesterol, but new evidence suggests that eating pistachios may help protect against lung cancer and other malignancies. A small study from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center showed that consuming about two ounces of pistachios a day increased serum gamma-tocopherol, a constituent of vitamin E that may reduce the risk of lung cancer. A total of 36 healthy participants took part in the six week trial; half were in a control group and remained on their normal diet and half consumed two ounces of pistachios daily. The researchers found that energy-adjusted dietary intake of gamma-tocopherol was “significantly higher” at the end of the study in those on the pistachio diet compared with those on the control diet. The lead researcher noted that epidemiologic studies suggest gamma-tocopherol is protective against prostate cancer, and theorized that pistachios, rich in the compound, may help lower the risk of other cancers. Other good sources of gamma-tocopherol include peanuts, pecans, walnuts, soybean and corn oils. The data was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research conference in December of 2010.

More on the health benefits of nuts.

Monday
Feb282011

Vitamin D in Winter Time

Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient with a central role in maintaining health. I recommend prudent daily sun exposure to support the natural production of vitamin D in our skin as one of the best ways to get enough of this vitamin. But with decreased daylight hours in the winter, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Decreased or insufficient levels of vitamin D have been linked to:

  • Suppressed immunity - Our innate systems of defense may not function efficiently without adequate vitamin D, allowing increased susceptibility to infectious agents.
  • Increased risk of chronic disease - Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a higher than normal risk of heart disease and several kinds of cancer.
  • Heightened inflammation - Vitamin D is a key cofactor in regulating inflammation throughout the body.

Speak with your doctor about checking vitamin D levels and if supplementing may help, and learn more about vitamin D.

Sunday
Feb272011

Wondering about Thyroid Health?

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, about one in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in her lifetime. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck that influences metabolism and the function of the kidneys, heart, liver, brain and skin. It is important to make sure your thyroid is functioning normally - learn about the symptoms of thyroid disease, such as changes in sleep and energy levels, weight loss or gain and hair loss; create a personal health history and then talk with your physician if you have questions or concerns. Simple tests can help determine if your thyroid is over- or under-functioning, and proper medications and lifestyle changes can help address any concerns. 

Friday
Feb252011

Folic Acid Levels and Hearing Loss

No one knows for sure why we're prone to become hard of hearing as we get older. But a new study suggests that low levels of folic acid may play a role. The study was small - only 126 healthy Nigerian men and women over the age of 60 took part - but it found that low blood levels of folic acid were significantly associated with hearing loss in high frequencies. Folic acid, a B vitamin, is found in spinach, other green vegetables and beans as well as fortified products such as orange juice, baked goods, and cereals. Other natural sources include asparagus, bananas, melons, lemons, legumes, yeast, and mushrooms. The study was published in the December, 2010, issue of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. In addition to its potential role in the auditory system, the researchers noted that folate has important roles in cellular metabolism, the nervous system and vascular function, and they called for further study into the role of vitamins in hearing, particularly in developing countries where malnutrition is common.

Watch and learn how to make a folic acid-rich Turkish Spinach Salad in my healthy kitchen.

Thursday
Feb242011

A New Way to Prevent Colds

In addition to washing your hands, avoiding people who are sick and eating a diet rich in antioxidants, you may want to add a new strategy your preventing-a-winter-cold list: getting exercise five days per week.  Researchers found that individuals who reported performing regular physical activity at least five days a week spent 43 percent fewer days suffering with a cold than those who exercised no more than once a week. An added benefit, when they did catch a cold, was reduced severity and symptoms among those who exercised most. Most likely these reductions in colds and symptoms are linked to the increased immune system activity that occurs during aerobic exercise.

Make it a point to walk (indoors, if necessary) for 30-45 minutes per day, or if you don’t already have a gym membership, buy one and use the aerobic equipment such as stationary bicycles, treadmills or elliptical trainers.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Exercise

Wednesday
Feb232011

How Pomegranate Juice Affects Cancer Spread

We've known for some time that pomegranate juice extract helps slow the progression of prostate cancer, not only in the lab but in humans as well. Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have identified the components of pomegranate juice that provide the beneficial effect. Their discovery could lead to better treatment of prostate cancer by modifying the active components to make them even more effective. In addition, the investigators learned that pomegranate juice inhibits the function of a bone-marrow protein that induces cancer cells to metastasize to bone, where they can then form new tumors. Because the proteins and genes involved in the movement of prostate cancer cells are pretty much the same as those involved in the movement of other kinds of cancer cells, the modifications of pomegranate juice envisioned could possibly work in other types of cancer treatment. The study was presented on December 12 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology.

Tuesday
Feb222011

Are You Getting Enough Lutein?

If you or someone you know is getting on in years, you may want to consider supplementing your diet with lutein. Lutein and another carotenoid, zeaxanthin, form the yellow pigment of the retina, and absorb blue light which is a potentially harmful component of sunlight. There is very good evidence that the lutein in food helps protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common age-related eye disorders. The best thing you can do for your eyes this month, and in the future, is to make sure your diet contains plenty of lutein-rich produce, including:

  • Fruits - Mangoes, watermelon and tomatoes are good sources of lutein
  • Vegetables - Corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, squash and dark leafy greens (such as kale, collards and bok choy) provide lutein

In addition to the foods listed above, you can get zeaxanthin through orange bell peppers, oranges, corn and honeydew melon. I recommend eating five to seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day. If you are unable to get adequate lutein through your diet, you may want to consider a vision-supportive supplement; talk with your doctor. For more information on supporting healthy vision, check out Dr. Weil’s Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide!

Monday
Feb212011

Job Stress and Women's Hearts

The more on-the-job strain, the more likely women are to have a heart attack, stroke or clogged arteries. These findings come from an analysis of the health of more than 17,000 working women, average age 57, participating in the long-running Women's Health Study, which is looking at heart disease and cancer prevention.  Most of the women participating were health professionals, from nurses' aides to Ph.D.s. They filled out questionnaires about their jobs that were then divided into four groups depending on the extent of the stress the women reported. Ten years later, the researchers found that women with demanding jobs and little control were nearly twice as likely to have had a heart attack as women with less demanding jobs and more control. Those with the most stress had a 40 percent higher overall risk of heart attacks, strokes or clogged arteries that required bypass surgery or angioplasty, a procedure to open the arteries. In addition, women who were worried about losing their jobs had higher blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body weight than those who weren't worried about job security.

Check out the Women's Health Center.