Extracts from berries and pomegranate may protect the skin from the detrimental effects of UV exposure, offering interesting dietary approaches to prevent skin wrinkles, suggests a new study. Korean scientists report that ellagic acid, a polyphenol contained in most berries, may prevent the degradation of collagen in human skin cells, which would maintain skin structure and slow the formation of wrinkles, according to findings published in Experimental Dermatology. Additional studies with lab animals showed that the polyphenol prevented the thickening of the skin on exposure to UV radiation. Topical application of ellagic acid was associated with a decrease in levels of pro-inflammatory compounds in the skin of the animals, report researchers from the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hallym University in Korea.
“Topical or dietary interventions with berries and pomegranate rich in ellagic acid and ellagitannins are promising strategies in curtailing skin wrinkling and cutaneous inflammation associated with chronic UV exposure leading to photoageing,” wrote the researchers.
According to a study, researchers showed that people with minimal eye damage due to weak or damaged blood vessels caused by vascular disease have a higher risk for memory problems. The investigators stated that problems with blood vessels in the eyes (retinopathy) may give us an important clue that blood vessels in the brain are not functioning properly, which is all the more reason to go for periodic eye screening. This could possibly help identify people at risk for dementia. One common cause of retinopathy is diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure, both of which have been linked to a greater risk for declines in memory and thinking. In an examination of data received from 39 women, results revealed that a higher number of microbleeds was associated with lower memory score and worse performance on tests of information processing speed and motor speed. When analyzed per category, presence of 5 or more microbleeds was associated with worse performance in all cognitive domains, except memory.
Can antioxidants help? Researchers showed that long-term administration of high concentrations of antioxidants, the same nutritional antioxidants that have been demonstrated to slow the progression of AMD, have yielded encouraging results in preventing the pathogenesis of retinopathy in diabetic rodents.
These results suggest the merit of testing the antioxidants in a clinical trial to prevent the development and/or progression of diabetic retinopathy, with the possibility of reducing the impact of this common vision-threatening disease.
Scientists at Georgia State University have found that whole ginger extract has promising health protective activity in the prostate, with no toxicity. The first of its kind study looks at the properties of ginger as a whole, rather than that of individual compounds found in the plant. The lab of Ritu Aneja, Associate Professor of Biology, found that the ginger extract had significant effects in stopping the growth of dangerous cells, as well as in inducing cell death in a spectrum of damaged prostate cells. In looking at the data, a human would have to consume only about 3½ ounces of whole ginger extract in a daily diet to get the beneficial effects or take a nutritional supplement with ginger. You can also steep ginger to create a hot drink, but do not use excessive ginger powder as seen in some cuisines. More than a teaspoon or powder concentrates may cause some sensitive individuals to get temporary hiccups. Instead use fresh ginger to spice your foods as seen in Asian cuisines or see that your nutritional formula contains this wonderful antioxidant.
According to a recent government study, coffee drinkers may have a 10% lower risk of dying from than non-coffee drinkers. In fact, for the past few years, several studies have shown that there may be a positive relationsip between coffee consumption and a lower risk for certain types of cancer. This government study brings us one step closer to confirming the validity of this relationship despite many other past conflicting reports. Over all, the risk of dying during the 14-year study period was about 10 percent lower for men and about 15 percent lower for women who drank anywhere from two cups to six or more cups of coffee a day. The association between coffee and lower risk of dying was similar whether the coffee drinker consumed caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
What’s in coffee that can possibly benefit us?
In a word? ANTIOXIDANTS. Coffee contains thousands of beneficial compounds, many of which are antioxidants such as those found in tea. Antioxidants protect tissues from damage caused by free radicals, toxic particles generated as a result of normal respiration. Over time, these free radicals attack tissues and genetic material, a direct cause of any number of diseases and inflammation. (Funded by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.)
When we think of fish oil, we usually think of good heart health. Well, according to new research, eating fish and/or taking fish oil supplements can help reduce the risk of problems in joints. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body can’t make them. You can only obtain them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can are typically found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. What they do in your body is block the production of the enzyme (cox-1 and cox-2) that destroys the cartilage in joints, according to the University of Maryland’s Omega-3 research department.
When taking Omega-3s, Remember this important fact…
It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 – 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side. Omega-6 fatty acids are normally found in salad dressings and snacks such as potato chips. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Anti-angiogenic (the blocking of new blood vessels) property of edible berries.
Recent studies show that edible berries may have potent chemopreventive properties. Anti-angiogenic approaches to prevent and treat cancer represent a priority area in investigative tumor biology. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a crucial role for the vascularization of tumors. The vasculature in adult skin remains normally quiescent. However, skin retains the capacity for brisk initiation of angiogenesis during inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis and skin cancers. We sought to test the effects of multiple berry extracts on inducible VEGF expression by human HaCaT keratinocytes. Six berry extracts (wild blueberry, bilberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry seed, and strawberry) and a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (GSPE) were studied. The extracts and uptake of their constituents by HaCaT were studied using a multi-channel HPLC-CoulArray approach. Antioxidant activity of the extracts was determined by ORAC. Cranberry, elderberry and raspberry seed samples were observed to possess comparable ORAC values. The antioxidant capacity of these samples was significantly lower than that of the other samples studied. The ORAC values of strawberry powder and GSPE were higher than cranberry, elderberry or raspberry seed but significantly lower than the other samples studied. Wild bilberry and blueberry extracts possessed the highest ORAC values. Each of the berry samples studied significantly inhibited both H2O2 as well as TNF alpha induced VEGF expression by the human keratinocytes. This effect was not shared by other antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol or GSPE but was commonly shared by pure flavonoids. Matrigel assay using human dermal microvascular endothelial cells showed that edible berries impair angiogenesis.
Homocysteine is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In the first report of a trial, researchers showed that homocysteine-lowering treatment with B vitamins slows the rate of brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This was a double-blind, single-centre study, which included participants with MCI, aged 70 years and older, randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of 0.8 mg folic acid, 0.5 mg vitamin B12 and 20 mg vitamin B6 (133 participants) or placebo (133 participants) for 2 years. There was significant benefit of B-vitamin treatment among participants with baseline homocysteine above the median. In this small intervention trial, B vitamins appear to slow cognitive and clinical decline in people with MCI, in particular in those with elevated homocysteine.
Evidence shows an increase in obesity is related to a reduction in average sleep duration among Americans. Although clinical studies propose that restricted sleep affects hormones related to appetite, neuronal activity in response to food stimuli after restricted and habitual sleep has not been investigated. In this study, thirty healthy, normal-weight [BMI (in kg/m2): 22–26] men and women were recruited (26 completed) to participate in a 2-phase inpatient crossover study in which they spent either 4 h/night (restricted sleep) or 9 h/night (habitual sleep) in bed. Each phase lasted 6 days. Results showed that response to food stimuli was greater after restricted sleep than after habitual sleep. In addition, a relative increase in brain activity in areas associated with reward, in response to food stimuli, was observed. http://www.ajcn.org/content/95/4/818.abstract
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Diet (refined carbs, in particular) influences many deleterious, age-related, chronic changes in human health. Some of those signs of changes can be hypertension, and metabolic disturbances such as glucose metabolism (insulin resistance). This study showed that when rats ingested a maitake mushroom extract, blood pressured was significantly lower compared to the control group. Also reported was enhanced insulin sensitivity, and lower circulating levels of a cytokine associated with inflammation – TNF-α.
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Curcumin, the phytochemical agent in the spice turmeric, which gives Indian curry its yellow colour, is also a traditional Indian medicine. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative and other properties of curcumin have only recently gained the attention of modern pharmacology. Over the past decade, research with curcumin has increased significantly. In vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated that curcumin could target pathways involved in the development of Alzheimer disease (AD), such as the β-amyloid cascade, tau phosphorylation, neuroinflammation or oxidative stress. These findings suggest that curcumin might be a promising compound for the development of AD therapy. However, its insolubility in water and poor bioavailability have limited clinical trials and its therapeutic applications. To be effective as a drug therapy, curcumin must be combined with other drugs, or new delivery strategies need to be developed. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22051121