Carotenoids linked to lower diabetes
Utrecht University Medical Center (Netherlands), April 9, 2022
A prospective study of 37,846 subjects links higher carotenoid consumption to a lower risk of diabetes. People who consume a diet high in antioxidant-rich carotenoids have a lower occurrence of diabetes, according to a new study. The researchers linked higher intakes of beta and alpha carotene with lower risks of type 2 diabetes. The research focused on dietary carotenoid intake levels consisting of beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin and the total of these six carotenoids. The study also examined how smoking (tobacco, not carotenoids) played into the subjects’ risk of developing diabetes. Thirty-one percent of the subjects smoked. “This study shows that diets high in beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are associated with reduced type 2 diabetes in generally healthy men and women.
Low selenium levels increase prostate cancer risk: Study
Danish Cancer Society Research Center, April 11, 2022
Low selenium levels could lead to a higher risk of prostate cancer, a study has concluded. Essential trace mineral Selenium (Se), has been noted to possess cancer-protective effects. The nested case control (NCC) study, performed by the Danish Cancer Society Research Center, identified 784 cases with incident prostate cancer in the cohort that consisted of 27,179 men. When compared to a subset of controls, two-thirds (525) of the cases had the advanced from of the disease at the time of diagnosis, and among these 170 had the higher-grade form of cancer. 305 cases died (212 from prostate cancer) during follow-up through 2012. The team concluded that higher levels of this Se biomarker was associated with a lower risk of the higher grade disease.
Good times with friends really can fight depression
University of Rochester, April 5, 2022
People with symptoms of depression may not feel like socializing, but doing something fun with friends can improve mood, a new study shows. “It’s the social activities—positive, everyday experiences that involve other people—that may be most likely to brighten the mood of those struggling with depression,” says Lisa Starr, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. The findings, based on real-life events, contradict earlier laboratory-based studies that suggest the moods of people with depression are relatively unresponsive to positive stimuli.
Scientists investigate a sperm-boosting nutrient which may help infertile couples
University of Sheffield (UK), April 11, 2022
Studies have already shown that lycopene, the red pigment compound found most readily in sun-ripened tomatoes, can boost sperm count by up to 70 per cent, as well as conferring other benefits on the male reproductive system. It is estimated that one in six couples are unable to conceive – in about half of cases the problem is caused by poor sperm quality. Professor Pacey said: “Studies elsewhere in the world have shown that the antioxidant properties of lycopene seem to have a beneficial effect on sperm quality. Half of the volunteers take two 7mg capsules per day of a highly absorbable form of lycopene supplement containing lactolycopene while the other half take identical dummy capsules.
Apples: For thousands of years, apples (malus sylvestrsis) have been used for a wide variety of medical complications and diseases, including diabetes, fevers, inflammatory conditions, and heart ailments. In addition to having confirmed many of the healthful properties of apples, modern research has identified invaluable phytochemicals contained by the fruits. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds that are found in plants and which have been used to treat illnesses. One of these found in apples is phloretin, a natural antibiotic. The fruits also contain pectin and pectic acids that provide essential bulk to a diet. The apple’s tannins, quercetin, alpha-farnesene, shikimic acid, and chlorogenic acid also promote health benefits, such as increasing production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so helping offset cognitive decline due to oxidative damage. With high levels of phenols, polyphenols, and other antioxidant, chemoprotective properties, apples have been shown to help guard against a variety of cancers, including leukemia and those that target the colon, lung, breast, liver, and skin. These apple’s chemicals also provide essential nutrients to improve cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, and prevent atherosclerosis
Apricots: This fruit had a long and rich history in the medical practices of China and India. In traditional Chinese medicine, apricots and their kernels are prescribed for treating asthma, cough, and constipation. The fruit is a stronghold of vitamins C and K, beta-carotene, thiamine, niacin, and iron. Japanese scientists have called attention to the apricot’s ability to inhibit the pathogenic bacteria frequent in ulcers and acute gastritis.
Bananas: Bananas are low in calories while providing essential nutrients, among them vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese. They also stimulate probiotic activity, which sustains healthy gut flora. Bacteria in our gastrointestinal system are critical for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Bananas help keep this system on track. Recent findings have indicated that bananas may offer protection against kidney cancer, particularly in women, and aid renal function.
Blueberries: Many berries have health-boosting properties. Berries that are black, blue, and red are especially known for their possession of antioxidant nutrients. Blueberries specifically contain the antioxidant groups of flavonoids, phenolic and polyphenol compounds, all of which have shown some ability to reverse cellular aging of the cognitive and motor functions. The fruit’s power was brought home in a recent study that compared the antioxidant levels of 100 different foods. Blueberries scored highest!Other examination have shown blueberries acting to protect brain health, improve memory, and sustain coordination by, for one, enhancing communication between nerve cells. This activity provides protection from serious neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. On top of this, blueberries have anti-inflammatory properties that protect the skin, joints, and the cardiovascular and neurological systems. Eating of the fruit has proven beneficial to those suffering from diabetes. It consumption prevents bone loss and inhibits cancer cell proliferation, particularly in the cases of prostate and colon cancer. With all these life-giving properties, blueberries have certainly earned the sobriquet “super food.”
Broccoli: What makes broccoli a super food is its high concentration of the phytochemicals diindolymethane and isothiocyanate, which are powerful immunomodulators, that is, substances that have strong effects on the immune system. Because it fosters immune system strength, broccoli empowers that system in the fight against cancer (breast and prostate cancer, in particular) and provides protection from bacterial and viral infections. Along with the two aforementioned phytochemicals, broccoli also contains other anticancer agents, such as glucoraphanin. Due to these observed properties, right now a substantial amount of research is being conducted on broccoli’s mutagenic qualities. This vegetable is rich in vitamins A, B5, B6, B9 (folate), C and K, and provides plenty of dietary fiber. It will also give anyone who eats it moderate amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. As with other leafy green vegetables, it contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which foster eye health. Since it has more calcium than even most dairy products, it can protect bones and increase bone mass. Thus, it’s another plant well deserving of its super food classification
Carrots: Carrots can be looked to as chief provider of carotenoids, a family of antioxidants proven to block DNA and cellular membrane damage caused by free radical activity. This vegetable is rich in the phytochemicals alpha-carotene and lycopene, both shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties, fighting against cancer especially in the colon, lung, prostate, and stomach. The less-known black and purple carrots have high levels of anthocyanin, a powerful anti-cancer biochemical that studies have found slowing cancer cell proliferation by as much as 80 percent. Other work indicates the commonplace belief that carrots improve memory is far from mythical since the vegetable has shown capacity in boosting brain function. Add to that cardiovascular benefits, such as decreasing cholesterol. Another adage has it that carrots improve vision. This has been backed by the fact that carrots are high in retinoids that benefit ocular health. Since carrots are a good source of vitamin A, they should be kept in the diet of diabetics, given that A lowers blood sugar and aids in the development of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. One cup of raw carrots can provide almost 700 percent of the daily recommended consumption of vitamin A and 220 percent of vitamin K, a substance critical for bone health. Thus, we have to dub carrots another superhero among edible plants.