Is Ugli Fruit Good for You, or is it a Hybridized Disaster that Wreaks Havoc on our Health?

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There’s a fruit out there that basically looks like you could develop a rash upon touching it, let alone eating it. Even its name is odd: ugli fruit. In some ways, it resembles an avocado gone rogue, but it’s significantly larger, lumpier, speckled with knobby yellow and green hues and tastes nothing like an avocado.

But, as the saying goes, it’s what’s on the inside that counts

This is definitely true for ugli fruit, a tangelo hybrid from Jamaica that is grapefruit, oranges and tangerines all in one. Despite its grotesque outward appearance, it’s rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and folate and is also low in calories. Additionally, it’s tasty, with a unique combination of sweetness that carries a subtle zing. While these blood pressure-lowering and digestive benefits are wonderful for our health, there are those who consider it shun-worthy because it’s a hybrid.

The hybrid food debate: the experts weigh in

Mark Sisson, a popular nutrition author and Ironman competitor, says “. . . hybridization isn’t some monolith to be universally condemned,” adding that “Hybrids aren’t a big deal either way. Eat them, or don’t, but don’t fret. You’ve got bigger things to be concerned with.” Those “bigger things,” he says, include the vegetable oils foods are cooked in as well as meat quality and the amount of stress in society. Those, he feels, will wreak havoc on our health, not the likes of ugli fruit.

For those likening hybrids to GMOs, he’s adamant it is not the same. He says that the GMO process, with its dangerous herbicides and pesticides, takes away from healthy benefits while the manual hybrid process is one that occurs in nature all the time anyway and is designed to add healthy benefits. Ever hear about pollen, wind and bees?

Then there’s the well-known nutrition expert David Wolfe, who essentially says applauding hybrid fruits or vegetables is nonsense. His main point is that hybrid fruits are missing out on certain nutrients, or as he says, “vital electrics.” In turn, he argues, we are too. He says that such foods are “biologically weak,” and the imbalance creates a fruit that “is confused.”

Ugli fruit and medications: a good mix?

For those concerned that ugli fruit may interfere with their medications since it is partially a grapefruit, not to worry. David Wolfe would be quick to point out that ugli fruit is indeed missing a compound that grapefruits do have. That compound is furanocoumarin, and it’s been shown to be problematic when it comes to interaction with certain medications. As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor when introducing something new in your diet that you may be unsure of.

 

Six Ways Women can Reduce their Risk of Stroke

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Studies have shown that women are more at risk of suffering a stroke than men, and for the first time, women and their physicians are now armed with evidence-based guidelines on how best to reduce those risks.

“The take-home here is really about starting prevention earlier,” Dr. Cheryl Bushnell, an associate professor at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., told National Public Radio. Bushnell is the lead author of the guidelines published recently in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association.

“For the most part the focus of our guideline is for women who are thinking about getting pregnant,” said Bushnell, who added that that includes women who are actively trying to avoid pregnancy with birth control pills and women who are trying to become pregnant.

“The only controversy for us is that we are recommending blood pressure treatment [with medication] during pregnancy,” Bushnell says. “That’s something the obstetricians may disagree with.”

Dr. Diana Greene-Chandos, M.D., Director of Neuroscience Critical Care and Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, added that women should be evaluated a little differently for stroke risk than men.

“Evaluation and management of stroke in women has some nuances that are unique to women. In particular, a woman may present with sudden pain in her face and limb, sudden nausea or sudden hiccups rather than the more common stroke symptoms seen in both sexes,” she told Natural News. “When evaluating a woman, particular attention needs to be paid to her headache history; whether she is pregnant, on oral contraceptives or on hormone replacement therapy; and if she has a history of autoimmune diseases such a lupus.”

How to reduce women’s risk of stroke

There are several ways that women can mitigate their risk of stroke, experts say. Michale J. (Mickey) Barber, M.D., an anesthesiologist and academic, as well as an age management expert who works primarily with women on heart disease/stroke prevention, offered the following measures in particular:

— Control that blood pressure. Like other experts, such as Bushnell, Barber says she believes that keeping blood pressure under control is vital. “Many women tend to ignore or are undertreated for hypertension. The first step in many cases is to improve body composition as a drop in weight of 10 pounds can translate to a drop in systolic BP by 10 mm mercury,” she told Natural News.

— Watch low folate and vitamin B12 levels. “These levels are reflected by high homocysteine levels,” she said. “It is common in women over the age of 45 to become less and less efficient at absorbing B-12 from the gut. High levels of homocysteine increase thrombosis (clot), impair microcirculatory function and increase inflammation.”

— Diet is, as always, very important. Barber recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables “to provide adequate antioxidants to counter oxidative stress (inflammation).” As reported by Natural News, some of the best antioxidant foods include berries (tropical acai berries rank the highest, followed by blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, raspberries, pomegranates and strawberries); veggies like kale, spinach and broccoli; legumes like black beans and kidney beans; nuts and grains like pecans, walnuts and steel-cut oats; and chocolate (in moderation) [http://www.naturalnews.com].

— Eat like a Greek. Barber recommends a Mediterranean-style diet consisting of higher intake of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, as well as moderate-to-higher consumption of fish and limited animal fats. Obesity is a huge stroke factor.

— Exercise. Making time for vigorous physical exercise “like your life depends on it” is vital, says Barber. This is especially true as we age; a sedentary lifestyle is not conducive to a long, productive life.

— Limit alcohol and stop smoking. Some alcohol — like red wines — has been found to be beneficial for the heart, in limited amounts, but there is nothing good that comes from smoking. Besides increasing your risk of cancer, smoking is devastating to your heart and cardiovascular system, and this can be especially true for women.

Some other things that women can do to reduce their risk, Barber said, is to consider a low-dose aspirin per day (after discussing this with your health professional), eliminating toxic stress, increasing your meditation and controlling diabetes or pre-diabetic conditions “with a low glycemic diet and exercise.”

 

Vitamin C Could Reduce Risk of Stroke

The benefits of vitamin C on the immune system have been well documented for a number of years. Vitamin C is crucial to the overall health of the body in its efforts to fight off infections – both bacterial and viral. Recent research has discovered another advantage to ensuring that levels of vitamin C are at the optimum.

Strokes and vitamin C

Recently, at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, a small French study presented evidence that those people who have normal levels of vitamin C showed a significantly reduced risk for hemorrhagic stroke when compared to those people whose vitamin C levels were deficient or low. Hemorrhagic stroke, while less common than ischemic stroke, is more deadly.

Dr. Stephane Vannier, of Frances’ Pontchalilou University Hospital, cited the results of this study as pointing to low levels of vitamin C as a risk factor for strokes of this type. Other risk factors that he pointed out include being overweight, having high blood pressure and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.

Details of French study are startling

Dr. Vannier, and his colleagues, studied 130 people. Half of those people had not had a stroke while the other half had suffered one. Out of all 130 people, 45 percent had vitamin C levels that were classified as being very low. Another 45 percent of the study participants had levels of vitamin C that were normal. Of those 65 people in the study that had never had a stroke, all of them had normal levels of vitamin C.

Accumulating evidence shows stroke and vitamin C connection

This French study data is still quite new as it has not yet been through the peer review phase. However, it already corroborates some earlier studies that showed similar results. A University of Cambridge study, undertaken in 2008, showed that participants with high vitamin C levels in their blood had a 42 percent reduction in the occurrence of strokes.

Another study, undertaken in 1995 and cited in the British Medical Journal, showed that among elderly people, those with lower levels of vitamin C showed the greatest risk of having a stroke.

Recently, a 20-year research project was completed in Japan. Dr. Tetsuji Yokoyama, an epidemiologist who led the study, stated that his study showed that sufficient levels of vitamin C had positive effects on all types of strokes, including the type that is most common. Of the more than 2,100 participants in the Japanese study, those people who were in the group with the lowest amounts of vitamin C suffered more strokes.

Given all the research that points to the plethora of benefits that are possible with the correct levels of vitamin C, it makes sense to enjoy an extra serving of fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Men need 90 milligrams a day while women should get 75.

Six Undeniable, Research-Proven Reasons to Drink Green Tea Daily

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There have been many studies on green tea consumption’s health benefits as well as the benefits of green tea extracts. Obviously, drinking green tea has more traditional roots in Asian countries than in western nations.

Drinking green tea has become more popular in western countries, since its health benefits have been increasingly publicized over the past few decades. But along with those benefits, there have been concerns over tea’s fluoride content.

The youngest leaves cultivated properly with buds have the least significant amount of fluoride. Japanese jasmine green tea is made from young leaves grown seasonally at moderately high altitudes, making its fluoride content very low.

Tea bags with older tea leaves, black teas, decaffeinated and instant teas, as well as cheap brick package teas have the highest fluoride concentrations.

So a simple rule is to use high quality, young, loose-leaf green teas, such as jasmine and others grown in areas that don’t irrigate with fluoridated water, which is almost anywhere outside the USA. Besides, the compounds responsible for all the health benefits are fewer in older plant leaves than younger ones.

If you’re still not too keen on drinking substantial amounts of green tea, fluoride and caffeine free green tea extracts are available. Green tea extracts are often used in anticancer studies that prove green tea compounds’ efficacy on fighting cancer.

Research samples supporting green tea health benefits

(1) The 2009 journal, Phytochemistry, published a study that looked into the potential for green tea’s antioxidant catechin compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to inhibit metabolic syndrome, the precursor of type 2 diabetes. The research team discovered promising potential for EGCG to create that effect.

(2) Also in 2009, a Japanese study recorded in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded: “A more frequent consumption of green tea was associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms in the community-dwelling older population.”

(3) Another Japanese study, recorded in the 2008 Journal of Nutrition, determined from an epidemiological study (large population statistical analysis) and a review of several animal randomized control tests (RCT) that higher green tea consumption has a positive effect on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

(4) A New York in vitro (petri dish) study determined that immunoglobulin E (IgE), a principle allergen antibody, was reduced with green tea extracts, further supporting evidence of green tea’s anti-allergy capacity and immune system support. Recorded in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science 2010.

(5) This study discusses the cancer preventative properties of green tea that are mediated by EGCG, which induces cancer cell apoptosis (cell suicide) and cell growth arrest. The research team delineate the biochemical activities of green tea’s preventative actions against colon, skin, lung, prostate, and breast cancer.

(6) A Hong Kong, China, study using both in vitro and in vivo human testing determined that green tea provides significant protection against DNA damage, or genoprotective effects. They used a “comet assay” to determine DNA damage from H2O2. Published in the 2011 British Journal of Nutrition.

Conclusion

Even more green tea studies are available if you can handle wading neck deep through intense medical and biological babble. They can be very educational if you take the time to look up some of those esoteric terms.

Consumer discretion is advised for researching, shopping, and sampling green teas for the optimum health benefits with minimal fluoride concerns as discussed earlier.

Green tea extract supplements may pack even more powerful antioxidant, anti-cancer, and immune system support than a few cups of green tea. But if you’re a tea lover, hold the sugar and drink up with the knowledge that you’re supporting your resistance to disease.

 

Think Coffee is Bad for You? Think Again!

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Throw out everything you think you know about coffee right out the window. Why? Most of us have always been led to believe that it’s not good for you and that you shouldn’t drink much of it. But if you look into the science you’ll probably be surprised at the truth – it’s actually pretty darn healthy.

Brimming with nutrients and antioxidants, studies show that it can help you improve your overall health, reduce your risk of developing some serious diseases and even prolong your life span. Here are just a few benefits you get from drinking coffee regularly.

Caffeine – Yes There Are Benefits!

The number one thing you probably think of when you think of coffee is caffeine. While to many it’s become a long four-letter word, the truth is that there are good things about consuming caffeine.

  • Once caffeine is consumed it travels to your brain.
  • Once in the brain it blocks Adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter
  • Once Adenosine is blocked, other neurotransmitters increase
  • Once levels of the other neurotransmitters your neurons are fired up all over the place

What does that mean? According to controlled studies, researchers say that many brain functions improve. Your mood improves, your energy levels come up, memory increases, reaction times increase and you get an overall boost in cognitive function.

coffee-benefitsPhysical Performance Benefits

Coffee not only affects your mood and brain function, but also your physical performance. When you consume caffeine, your body starts breaking down fat cells into free fatty acids. This means your body can start burning up that fat as fuel for energy. In fact, caffeiene can provide an 11-12 percent increase in your physical performance (see the National Institutes of Health).

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

There are many studies that point to the possibility of reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes with caffeine. This is huge, as type 2 diabetes is a substantial health problem, affecting hundreds of millions of people.

A massive review published on JAMA Internal Medicine (formerly known as Archives of Internal Medicine) in 2009 reviewed 18 different studies relevant to coffee consumption. These studies included a staggering number of participants – over 450,000. What they found was somewhat surprising. They say that you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 7% with each cup of daily coffee.

Protecting Your Liver

Your liver is a vital organ, carrying out many different functions for your body. There are a number of diseases that primarly target and affect your live including fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. Previous data shows that if you drink four or more cups of coffee per day you have a substantially lower risk of developing a liver disease. This is especially true for alcoholic cirrhosis.

Blood Pressure, Heart Disease and Stroke

It’s commonly believed that drinking coffee will elevate your blood pressure. The myth of it leading to heart disease has all but been wiped out. The truth is actually the opposite. Sure, caffeine in coffee can increase your heart rate (a very small bit), but if you drink it regularly you probably won’t experience this (in some cases you can so if you DO have a history of high blood pressure talk to your doctor).

If you look at the study published on ScienceDirect then you’ll see that regular, moderate coffee consumption has actually been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease in women.