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August 29, 2014

Whey Protein May Help Diabetics Control Glucose Levels

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 12:41 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Erratic glucose levels can endanger the health of type-2 diabetics. A recent study has found that drinking whey protein may help people with type 2 diabetes control their glucose levels.

Participants in the study included 15 individuals with type-2 diabetes who took either 50 grams of whey in 250 ml of water or just 250 ml of water on two different days. After consuming the whey or placebo, all of the participants ate a high-glycemic index breakfast of three slices of white bread and sugary jelly in order to induce a post-meal glucose spike.

The researchers took blood samples 30 minutes before the high glucose index meal as well as at the 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minute intervals afterward.

The researchers found that glucose levels were reduced by 28% during the 180- minute post-meal period in the whey group. Additionally, insulin was 105% higher and C-peptide responses were 43% higher in the control group when compared with the whey group. Finally, early insulin response was 96% higher after whey supplementation.

Researchers from Lund University, Tel Aviv University, and University of Jerusalem conducted the study. It was published in the September 2014 issue of Diabetologia.

Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, but is only approximately 1% of the composition of milk. It is obtained as a byproduct of cheese making and can be purchased in powder form from health food stores. Additionally, it can be found in ricotta cheese, which is one of the only cheeses that do not have the whey removed, and also in yogurt.

August 28, 2014

Coffee May Help Alleviate Annoying Ringing in The Ear

Filed under: Antioxidants — Sarah @ 10:00 am
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Tinnitus is the bothersome condition of ringing or noise in the ear. It affects approximately 1 in 5 people. A recent study suggests that drinking coffee daily could lower incidences of tinnitus in women.

Participants in the study included more than 65,000 women between the ages of 30 and 44 who did not have tinnitus at the onset of the study in 1991. The participants completed a lifestyle and medical history questionnaire every two years and food frequency questionnaires every four years.

After the 18 years of follow up, 5,289 cases of tinnitus were recorded. When the researchers examined the data on coffee drinking, they found that women who drank between 450 and 499 mg per day (or approximately five 8 oz. cups), the reported incidences of tinnitus were 15% lower than women who drank less than 150 mg per day (approximately one and a half cups).

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on March 6, 2014 in the American Journal of Medicine.

Previous studies have shown that coffee has a number of health benefits. These benefits are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols and include reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities.

One note to coffee drinkers: be careful how you take your coffee. A double latte with whipped cream and three sugars may provide the health benefits seen here, but the high fat and sugar content can have other negative effects.

August 27, 2014

This Supplement Combination May Reduce Negative Effects of Stress

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 10:00 am
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Chronic stress results in overexposure to stress hormones that can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. A recent study suggests that taking 400 mg of soy-based phosphatidylserine (PS) and 400 mg of phosphatidic acid complex (PA) may lower the stress reactions in the nervous systems and hormone glands of extremely stressed men.

Participants in the study included 75 healthy male volunteers with chronic stress levels. Over the course of 42 days they were given either a placebo, 200 mg PS and 200 mg PA or 400 mg PS and 400 mg PA daily. Chronic stress levels were measured with the Trier Inventory for Chronic Stress Test (TSST).

At the conclusion of the study, no significant changes were noted in the 200 mg group. However, the 400 mg group had normalized adrenocorticotropic hormone and lower salivary and serum cortisol responses to the TSST.

Researchers from Diagnostic Assessment and Clinical Research Organization in Germany as well as Lonza, Ltd., in Switzerland conducted the study. It was published on July 31, 2014, in Lipids in Health and Disease.

PS is an essential component of all of our cells membranes, which are essentially the “shells” of our cells. It keeps the cells intact and moves nutrients into them and waste out.

Previous studies suggest that PS may help with declining mental function as well as alleviating depression. Others have found that it may help with thinking ability and improved memory.

PA is often used to increase the effects of strength training as well as improve mental acuity. It is believed that PA enhances the anabolic effects of resistance training.

August 26, 2014

WHO Says Up to 87% Not Eating Enough Fruit and Vegetables

Filed under: Antioxidants — Sarah @ 10:14 am
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that people worldwide are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that 60% to 87% of the world’s population across all 13 geographic regions is not consuming the recommended five servings per day.

According to the WHO, as a result of not eating enough fruits and vegetables, most of the world’s population isn’t getting enough quantity or enough variety of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are organic compounds found in fruits and vegetables.

People who did eat the recommended amount had five to six times the amount of phytonutrients when compared with those who didn’t.

Additionally, the researchers examined specific regions of the world and found that fruiting vegetables (i.e. tomatoes and corn) are the cost commonly available vegetables across all regions. Populations in European regions showed high levels of beta-carotene, indicating high consumption of and easy access to carrots. Adults in Asia had lower levels of ellagic acid, probably due to the scarceness of berries. In South and Central America, much of the population is lacking lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for healthy vision.

Researchers from the Nutrilite Health Institute and California State University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 11, 2014, in the British Journal of Nutrition.

There are a myriad of reasons for eating more fruits and vegetables, as they are packed with a wide varitey of powerful antioxidants. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables have been linked with healthier looking skin, heart health benefits and healthier levels of cholesterol. This is often attributed to the ability of antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body.

August 25, 2014

Tree Nuts May Help Diabetics Manage Blood Sugar

Filed under: Lifestyle — Sarah @ 8:09 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A huge part of a diabetic’s life is monitoring their blood sugar levels, also known as glycemic control. A recent study suggests that eating tree nuts on a daily basis may improve glycemic control in diabetics.

For this study, researchers examined data from 12 randomized controlled dietary trials comparing diets including tree nuts with diets without tree nuts. The researchers looked at the effect the tree nuts had on Hb1ac, fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and/or HOMA-IR in a total of 450 primarily middle-aged adults.

The tree nuts included looked at in the studies were almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that a daily median intake of 56 grams of tree nuts over an eight week period significantly lowered HbA1c and fasting glucose in people with type 2 diabetes when compared with control diets. They did not notice statistically significant effects for fasting insulin or HOMA-IR but did see a trend favoring tree nuts.

Researchers from the University of Toronto conducted the study. It was published on July 30, 2014, in the journal PLOS One.

Tree nuts include almonds, macadamias, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. They are a rich source of magnesium, vitamin E, protein and beneficial phytochemicals. Numerous studies have associated phytochemicals with antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

In the United States, tree nuts are typically consumed in the form of snack food. If you want to add more tree nuts to your diet, you replace unhealthy snacks such as chips and candy bars with raw, unsalted tree nuts.

August 22, 2014

Could Pistachios Help Diabetics With Their Heart Health?

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 10:04 am
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

People with type-2 diabetes are at higher risk for heart problems than people who don’t have diabetes. A recent study suggests diabetics may be able to lower their blood pressure during stressful situations and improve heart health by eating two servings of pistachios daily.

Participants in the study included 30 adults between the ages of 40 and 70 who had well-managed type-2 diabetes. For the first two weeks of the study, the participants consumed the typical American diet containing 36% fat and 12% saturated fats.

They were then randomly assigned to one of two test diets. The first was a standard heart-healthy diet consisting of 27% fat and 7% saturated fats. The second was a moderate-fat diet with 33% fat and 7% saturated fats and two servings of pistachios per day of approximately 3 ounces.

Following a two week washout period, participants switched test diets.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that, while laboratory blood pressure was unchanged, real-world measures of blood pressure were significantly lower after the pistachio diet, especially during sleep. They also noted that vascular constriction during stress (in this case, immersing the hand in icy water for two minutes and a difficult math test) was lower after the pistachio diet.

Improvements in heart rate variability were also recorded. Heart rate variability measures how well the nervous system controls heart function.

Researchers from Penn State University conducted the study. It was published in the June 2014 issue of the Journal of American Hypertension.

Pistachios have high levels of protein and antioxidants and have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration (age related vision loss), strengthen the immune system and protect against heart attacks. To maximize the benefits of pistachios and nuts in general, it is important to avoid salted, oil-roasted nuts.

August 21, 2014

Depression and Mild Cognitive Decline May Lead to Increased Brain Aging

Filed under: Lifestyle — Sarah @ 4:43 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that people who develop depression and mild cognitive impairment after the age of 65 are more likely to have accelerated brain aging, putting them at higher risk for dementia. The study also found that older adults with major depression are twice as likely to develop dementia as those who have never suffered depression.

Participants in the study included 80 older adults who were in remission after treatment for major depressive episodes. Of those participants, 36 had mild cognitive impairment and 44 had normal cognitive function.

The researchers tested their blood for 242 proteins that are part of biologic pathways associated with cancer, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders, and psychiatric and neurological disorders. They also performed PET and MRI brain scans to search for cerebrovascular disease, brain atrophy or shrinkage, and beta-amyloid- a protein that is a marker of the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

After analyzing the tests, the researchers found that the participants with mild cognitive impairment were more likely to have differences in the 24 proteins involved in the regulation of immune and inflammatory pathways, intracellular signaling, cell survival, and protein and lipid balance. The brain scans also showed that the mild cognitive impairment group was more likely to have cerebrovascular disease.

These results suggest that older adults with depression and mild cognitive impairment may be more susceptible to accelerated brain aging. This puts them at risk for developing dementia.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published on August 5, 2014, in Molecular Psychiatry.

Previous studies have identified 6 pillars of a brain-healthy lifestyle. They are regular exercise, healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, stress management and an active social life. Incorporating all of these into your daily life may help reduce the risk of developing dementia.

August 20, 2014

Study Recommends Starting Vitamin D Supplementation At Birth

Filed under: Vitamin D — Emma @ 3:44 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Vitamin D has been associated with a wide range of health benefits but most Americans are vitamin D deficient. To combat that, a recent study suggests that vitamin D supplementation should start as early as when infants are breastfeeding.

Participants in the study included 213 breastfeeding mothers and infants who were given either 200, 400, 600 or 800 IU of vitamin D a day. All of the participants lived at 41 degrees north latitude and the study was performed in winter.

The researchers found that infant levels of vitamin D at 1 month were less than half the level of the mothers. Infant levels at birth were almost equal to the level of the mothers, meaning infant levels fell significantly between birth and one month of age.

The infants started receiving the supplements at the age of one month and continued through nine months. The researchers found that blood levels of vitamin D increased proportionately to the dosage, meaning higher dosages resulted in higher blood levels.

They concluded that 400 IU daily was an adequate amount for breastfeeding mothers to raise vitamin D levels in infants.

Researchers from the University of Iowa conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 18, 2014, in the journal Pediatric Research.

Previous studies have associated vitamin D with reducing the risk of skin damage, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

August 19, 2014

Vitamin C May Help Boost Physical Activity Levels

Filed under: Vitamin C — Emma @ 5:08 pm
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking vitamin C supplements may be good not only for lowering the incidence of the common cold but also for increasing weekly activity levels.

Participants in the study included 28 non-smoking men between the ages of 18 and 35. Over the course of eight weeks, they took either 1,000 mg of vitamin C daily or a placebo.

In the final two weeks of the study, the physical activity score for the vitamin C group had a 60% increase compared with a 20% increase for the placebo group.

Additionally, the vitamin C group had fewer episodes of the common old and the length of their colds was reduced by an average of 59% when compared with the placebo group.

The results were particularly noticeable for those participants who had low to average vitamin C levels at the beginning of the study.

Researchers from Arizona State University, Isagenix Internaional, and the Cancer Treatment Centers for America conducted the study. It was published on July 9, 2014, in the journal Nutrients.

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that has been linked to numerous other health benefits including heart health, brain health, eye health and improved mood. It can be found in high levels in citrus fruits and dark leafy greens such as cantaloupe, oranges, kiwis, and papaya, and in dark leafy greens such as broccoli and kale.

August 18, 2014

Eating Fish May Slow Cognitive Decline

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 5:03 pm
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Memory loss is a natural part of human aging, but there are steps you can take to slow the process down. A recent study suggests that eating more fish may slow cognitive decline in adults over the age of 65.

Participants in the study included 1,566 people over the age of 55 who lived in China. The researchers assessed dietary intake via three day 24 hour recalls at the onset of the study. They then followed all of the participants for approximately five years.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that there was no association between cognitive function and fish consumption for participants between the ages of 55 and 64. However, for those 65 and over, eating at least one serving (approximately 100 grams) of fish per week was associated with a difference in the annual rate of cognitive decline of 1.6 years, compared to those who ate less than one serving per week.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina and Duke University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 30, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

The results found here were probably due to the high omega-3 levels found in fish. Omega-3s have also been shown to improve inflammation, mood, joint mobility, age related macular degeneration, and the immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s.

If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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