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September 16, 2014

Omega-3 Supplementation May Help Reduce Behavioral Problems in Children

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 3:53 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Behavioral issues such as aggression and anti-social behavior can be a huge problem for elementary-aged children, most often treated with therapy and prescription drugs. A recent study suggests that high-dose omega-3 supplementation could reduce anti-social behavior in children while also changing parental attitudes toward the children.

Participants in the study included 200 children between the ages of 8 and 16 with behavioral issues. Over the course of six months, half of the group was given a juice drink containing 1000 mg of omega-3s (300 mg DHA, 200 mg EPA, 400 mg ALA, and 100 mg DPA) while the other half was given a placebo.

Six months after the conclusion of the study, the researchers found a 41.6% reduction in parent-rated child externalized behavior problems. Additionally, a 68.4% reduction in childhood depression was observed.

The researchers also found that anti-social behavior on the part of the caregivers was reduced when the children were given omega-3s.

The researchers highlighted the fact that the changes were not observed immediately after the end of the six-month treatment period but rather six months later. They noted that more than half of the positive results – 60.9% – seen here were due to a change in the parents’ attitudes. They believe this change in parental attitude can be attributed to the fact that the children were easier to deal with, and put less stress on the parents.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 22, 2014, in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, better moods, and aiding your 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 omega-3s. If you don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.



September 15, 2014

Thykaloids Found in Spinach May Aid Weight Loss

Filed under: Diet & Weight loss — Emma @ 10:43 am
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

A recent study suggests that taking a supplement that included a patented spinach extract containing green leaf membranes called thylakoids may lower measures of “hedonic hunger” by as much as 95%.

Hedonic hunger is eating for pleasure rather than to satisfy a biological need. A good example of hedonic hunger is continuing to eat potato after your body is no longer physically hungry.

vParticipants in the study included 38 overweight women between the ages of 40 and 65. They were given either 5 grams daily of spinach extract or a placebo every day before breakfast over the course of 12 weeks. All the participants were told to follow a 3 meal a day schedule and to increase their physical activity.

At the conclusion of the study, the extract group had an average loss of 11 lbs, which as 43% more body weight than the placebo group loss of 7.5 lbs. They also had a significant decrease in total LDL cholesterol.

In addition, the researchers found that taking the spinach extract was associated with an increased release of the hormone GLP-1, which is responsible for feelings of satiety. The spinach group also had decreased urges for sweets and chocolate, which is a measure of hedonic hunger, when compared with the control group.

The researchers believe that the thykaloids in the spinach extract extend the period of digestion, which makes us feel satiated and reduces hedonic hunger.

Researchers from Lund University in Sweden conducted the study. It was published in the October 2014 issue of Appetite.

In order to get the weight loss benefits seen here, the researchers recommend that spinach be consumed in a “green drink” form. Because our bodies can’t digest thykaloids, the spinach must be crushed, filtrated, and centrifuged – or, in other words, run through a blender. Thykaloids can also be found in other green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, kale, and collard greens.

In addition to weight loss, previous studies suggest that the thykaloids found in spinach may help with insulin regulation.



September 12, 2014

Pomegranate Juice May Aid Blood Sugar Management in Diabetics

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

Complications arising from high blood sugar kill approximately 3.4 million type-2 diabetics every year, and this number is expected to continue rising. A recent study suggests that drinking pomegranate juice may help control blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes. 

Participants in the study included 85 people with type-2 diabetes, half of whom drank 1.5 mL of juice per kg of body weight while the other half drank a placebo. The researchers assessed blood sugar, insulin levels, and beta cell function (the cells that store and release insulin) three hours after digestion. 

They found that drinking pomegranate juice was associated with an average lower fasting glucose level (8.5 mmol/L) when compared with the control group (9.44 mmol/L).  However, approximately 20% of the pomegranate juice group did not see any benefit from drinking pomegranate juice. 

A statistical increase in beta-cell function was seen three hours after consumption of the pomegranate juice, compared to the control group. Additionally, the juice group saw a statistically significant decrease in insulin resistance three hours after drinking the juice. 

The researchers believe that the health benefits seen here were most likely due to the high antioxidant levels of pomegranate juice- more than three times higher per ounce than green tea or wine.

Researchers from the Jordan University of Science and Technology conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 22, 2014, in Nutrition Research.

Pomegranates are packed with protective vitamins, and ongoing research is investigating their ability to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, improve heart health, reduce cholesterol and reduce joint pain.



September 11, 2014

Flavanols May Lower Risk of Ovarian Cancer

Filed under: Flavonoids — Sarah @ 2:53 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.  A recent study suggests that regularly consuming flavanols and flavanone bioactive compounds that are usually found in tea, citrus, fruit, and fruit juices may lower the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 21%.

Participants in the study included 171,940 women between the ages of 25 and 55 years old. All of the women completed a questionnaire at the onset of the study in order to determine their risk of developing cancer or cardiovascular diseases. They also completed biennial follow-up questionnaires to keep track of changes in lifestyle and disease diagnoses. The women also filled out food frequency questionnaires every four years in order to assess flavonoid intake.

The researchers found that oranges and orange juice were the main sources of flavonoids, consumed by 27% and 54% of participants, respectively. Black tea accounted for 31% of flavonoid consumption, onions 20%, and apples 10%. 

After analyzing the data, the researchers found that intake of 75 mg/day of flavanols and flavanone was associated with up to a 21% reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia in the UK conducted the study. It was published in the October 2014 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown that flavanols may decrease inflammation, protect DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow.

Foods high in flavanols include citrus fruits, grapes, strawberries, tea, cooked greens and dark chocolate, all of which are can be easily incorporated into your daily diet.



September 10, 2014

Curcumin Plus Piperine May Ease Osteoarthritis Suffering

Filed under: Curcumin — Emma @ 2:53 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Knee osteoarthritis is a painful illness that affects mobility.  It results from aging and wear and tear on the knee. A recent study suggests that curcumin and piperine may improve symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. 

Participants in the study included 40 people with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis. Over the course of six weeks, 19 of them took 1500 mg of a combination of curcuminoids and piperine three times daily, while the other half took a placebo.

At the conclusion of the study, the curcumin/piperine group had improvements in osteoarthritis impairment as measured by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), visual analogue scale, and Lequesne’s pain functional index. The curcumin group showed improvements in all of the tests, with the exception of the stiffness section of the WOMAC score.

Researchers from Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences in Tehran conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 22, 2014, in Phytotherapy Research.

Curcumin has been used in folk remedies for years to ease menstrual cramping, help heal wounds, and to improve the appearance of skin. Recent studies have suggested that it may also protect against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and arthritis. All of these benefits are attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.

The spiciness of black pepper is due to the alkaloid piperine, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  It has been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to treat gastrointestinal distress, pain and inflammation.



September 9, 2014

Lycopene-Rich Foods May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

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

Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer in men around the world. Rates are highest in developed countries, possibly due to a Westernized diet and lifestyle.  A recent study suggests that men who eat more than 10 portions a week of tomatoes have an 18% lower risk of developing prostate cancer.

Participants in the study included 1,806 men between the ages of 50 and 69 who had prostate cancer and 12,005 men without cancer, all from the United Kingdom. The researchers compared the diets and lifestyles of the men with and without prostate cancer to determine if there was a link with the development of prostate cancer.

After examining the data, the researchers found that men who had optimal intakes of selenium, calcium, and foods rich in lycopene had the lowest risk of developing prostate cancer. Additionally, men who ate over 10 portions per week of tomatoes and tomato products – for example, baked beans or tomato juice – had an 18% reduction in prostate cancer risk. 

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Oxford University in the UK conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 13, 2014, in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

The results seen here are most likely due to the high lycopene content of tomatoes and tomato products. Previous studies have shown that lycopene may have a positive effect on heart health, bone health, and skin health.

If you want to increase lycopene levels you may want to consider taking a lycopene supplement, or increasing your consumption of red-pigmented foods such as tomatoes, peppers and papayas. Certain diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are also high in lycopene.



September 8, 2014

Omega-3s Combined With Sterols May Help Reduce Cholesterol, Trigylcerides

Filed under: Omega-3 — Sarah @ 3:26 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

According to the WHO, approximately 40% of adults over the age of 25 worldwide have high triglyceride concentrations. A recent study suggests that taking low dose omega-3s in combination with plant sterols may reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with high cholesterol. 

Participants in the study included 332 adults with high cholesterol. Over the course of four weeks, they were given 2.5 grams of sterols with varying levels of omega-3s (0, 0.9, 1.3, and 1.8 grams of EPA and DHA).

In the 314 people who completed the study, the researchers noted lower triglyceride levels that ranged from 9.3% to 16.2%, compared with the control group.  The participants that received the highest level of omega-3s had the biggest reduction. Additionally, LDL cholesterol levels were lowered by 11.5% and 14.7%, when compared with the control group.  These results were also dosage dependent.

Researchers from Unilever Research and Development in the Netherlands and Food Files in Sweden conducted the study. It was published on August 13, 2014, in The Journal of Nutrition.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, better moods, and aiding your 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 omega-3s. For vegans like the ones in this study or for folks who just don’t like fish, consider taking a daily high quality non-fish supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

Plant sterols have previously been shown to reduce cholesterol, sometimes by as much as 17%. They can be found in small quantities in fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, cereals and legumes. There are also a number of foods that are fortified with plant sterols, such as spreads, mayonnaise, orange juice and granola bars.

Eating a balanced, healthy diet is a great way to protect your heart against cardiovascular heart disease, but if you think you’re not meeting your goals, consider adding a daily supplement to your routine.



September 5, 2014

Eating Fish Once A Week May Help Keep Your Brain Healthy

Filed under: Omega-3 — Emma @ 2:37 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

As we age, our brains lose some of their structural integrity.  A recent study suggests that eating baked or broiled fish once per week may lower the risk of age-related grey matter loss in the brain.

Participants in the study included 260 cognitively normal adults over the age of 65. The researchers conducted blood tests and MRI of their brains.  Additionally, each participant filled out a food frequency questionnaire to determine fish intake. The researchers followed the participants for ten years, between 1989 and 1999.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that participants who ate broiled or baked fish once a week had less loss of structural integrity compared to those who did not eat fish.  Specifically, they had 4.3% bigger grey matter volumes in the area of the brain responsible for memory and 14% bigger grey matter volumes in the area of the brain responsible for cognition. 

No brain health benefits were noted for fried fish. 

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 29, 2014, in American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

More and more research has shown us that fish consumption is extremely important to maintaining good health, especially as we age. Many of these studies have linked the positive health benefits of fish to their omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with benefits ranging from improved heart health, better moods, improved joint mobility, and aiding your immune system.

If you don’t like the taste of fish or are concerned about the mercury levels that can be found in some fish, try adding a high quality supplement to your daily routine. Make sure, however, that your supplement has been tested for potency and purity in order to get the most out investment.



September 4, 2014

Seaweed Shown to be Good Source of Iodine

Filed under: Algae — Sarah @ 2:35 pm
Sarah
Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor

Iodine deficiency is a growing problem in the Western world due to several factors, including the removal of iodine supplements from many foods, reduced sodium intake, and reduced consumption of dairy products and seafood. Iodine deficiency can lead to tiredness, dry hair, skin and nails, tired muscles, and underactive thyroid. According to a recent study, seaweed supplementation may help increase iodine levels in women with iodine deficiency.

Participants in this study were healthy, non-pregnant women of childbearing age who had self-reported low dairy product and seafood consumption. They were given a branded form of seaweed supplement that contained approximately 700 ?g/g of iodine daily for two weeks.

After two weeks of supplementation, urinary iodine excretion increased by approximately 50%.  Concentrations of thyroid-stimulating hormone increased from 1.5 to 2.1

The women found the seaweed to be palatable and acceptable as a whole food or a food ingredient, and proved to be an effective source of iodine.  The researchers therefore concluded that seaweed supplementation could potentially be used to boost iodine levels in deficient populations.

Researchers from the University of Galsgow in Scotland conducted the study. It was published in the September 2014 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked seaweed extracts to boosting the immune system, weight loss and improving liver health.



September 3, 2014

Sea Buckthorn Oil May Ease Vaginal Dryness in Postmenopausal Women

Filed under: Lifestyle — Emma @ 3:14 pm
Emma
Emma McGowan NatureCity author & contributor

Vaginal dryness is caused by the drying and thinning of mucous membranes and increases the risk of urinary tract infections.  A recent study suggests that sea buckthorn oil supplements may offer relief from vaginal dryness.

Vaginal dryness affects approximately 40% of postmenopausal women and can also affect women who are using hormonal birth control or are breast-feeding. Estrogen based medications are often prescribed to treat vaginal dryness, but use of these may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Participants in the study included 116 postmenopausal women with symptoms of vaginal dryness. Over the course of three months, the women took either 3 grams of sea buckthorn oil or a placebo daily.

The researchers assessed the epithelial integrity of the vaginal mucosa through a gynecological examination and also measured perceived vaginal dryness by administering questionnaires.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the sea buckthorn oil improved vaginal dryness when compared with the placebo.   They believe this is due to the essential fatty acids, vitamin E and carotenoids found in sea buckthorn oil, which aid in the normal function of mucous membranes.

Researchers from Aromtech and the University of Turkhu conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 21, 2014, in Maturitas: The European Menopause Journal.

Sea buckthorn is a shrub that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It is purported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbiological properties, and has been used for the treatment of skin diseases and digestive tract issues.

Previous studies have suggested that sea buckthorn may be effective in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, regulating blood sugar and reducing the risk of diabetes and possibly even some cancers.



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