Club Food

Why You Should Consider Chia Seeds

Chia seeds may be small, but they are loaded with a wealth of important nutrients that can help to support a healthy and nutritious diet.

These versatile and nutritious tiny seeds are commonly ground, stirred, or sprinkled into smoothies, yogurt, pudding, salads, and oatmeal making them great for those on the go. The gel produced from the ground seeds can even be used as an egg substitute in pancakes and bake goodies.

One of the big pluses to chia seed is that although they are rich in nutrients they are very low in calories. Just two tablespoons contain 18% of the daily recommended value of calcium, 137 calories, 30% of the RDV for manganese and magnesium, as well as 27% of the RDV for phosphorus. They are also rich sources of zinc, potassium, and vitamin B, for all of these reasons, it makes them an extremely efficient source of nutrients.

To go along with the nutrient profile, chia seeds are a good source of fibre-containing 11 grams in that same 2 tablespoons. As most people don’t reach the DRV of 30 grams, adding chia seeds to your diet is a good option to help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Those looking to up intake of anti-ageing antioxidants that can help to prevent or delay certain types of cell damage may want to consider chia seeds as well as they are a rich source of antioxidants due to the presence of chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol which are believed to help protect the heart and liver as well as having anti-ageing and anti-carcinogenic characteristics.

Those looking to add more plant-based protein to their diet may find chia seeds to be a good option as they are approximately 14% protein, and they are a complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids that are required for human nutrition including isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, histidine, and valine which help build proteins, grow muscle, and transport nutrients.

Another plus is that gram for gram chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon does which has various anti-inflammatory properties and may also help to support better brain and heart health as well as improve stress response.

The rich calcium, magnesium and protein content will also help to support healthy bones which again is good news for those looking to increase intake of more plant-based options as 25 grams of chia seeds contains 157 grams of calcium which is more than the content of 100 ml of dairy milk.

Studies suggest that regular consumption of chia seeds could significantly reduce blood pressure for those with hypertension, and the rich omega-3 content can work as a blood thinner reducing overall blood pressure. The reductions can support overall heart health and may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. It is worth noting that those taking medications should consult with their physician as very large quantities of chia seeds could potentially interact with certain blood pressure or blood sugar medications.

The body digests chia seeds slowly which will provide slow-release energy and help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, while the fibre content can slow the absorption of sugar into the blood and decrease overall blood sugar levels.

Additionally, the high concentration of soluble fibre makes chia seeds expand in the stomach which can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and reduce snacking which can help to support healthy weight loss as part of a healthy diet when combined with exercise.

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Source: WorldHealth.net.

Medicinal Herbs Found to Have Antioxidant & Anti-Tumor Effects

A study published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine has revealed that medicinal plants including ginkgo biloba, jujube, ginseng, and astragalus have antioxidant and anti-tumor properties.

The mentioned medicinal plants have a history of use in traditional medicine, are commonly available, and are said to not have any adverse effects when consumed. Clinical studies have shown polysaccharides from plants to have antioxidant, anti-inflammation, cell viability promotion, immune regulation, and anti-tumor effects in disease models.

Researchers from Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital and Jinan University investigated the antioxidant and antitumor properties of the polysaccharides from these medicinal plants, and identified the signaling pathways involved in the initiation and progress of diseases that are associated with cancer and oxidative stress.

These plant polysaccharides were found to have potential to fight oxidative stress and cancer related disorders in both animal and cell models as well as in clinical cases. The polysaccharides treat oxidative stress and cancer through ROS centered pathways and transcription factor related pathways with or without further involvement of inflammatory and death receptor pathways; some may also affect tumorigenic pathways to have their antitumor roles.

A review suggesting using polysaccharides as anti-cancer agents published in Carbohydrate Polymers focusing on research within the last 5 years, proposed mechanisms of action, and anti-cancer activity compared to conventional anti-cancer drugs found them to have exhibited good anti-cancer activity across a variety of cancer cell lines that could be used as alternatives to existing chemotherapeutic cancer agents which had selective activity against tumor cells with minimal toxic side effects.

The polysaccharides in the review were isolated from plants, microorganisms, fungi, and marine sources that have been shown to act on cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death, and kills cancer cells via preventing their spread by acting on DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, disruption of mitochondrial membrane, and production of nitric oxide.

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Source: WorldHealt.net

When It Comes To Chocolate Darker Is Healthier

Those with a sweet tooth will be happy to know that in moderation, dark chocolate is good for cardiovascular health, according to a study collaborative study between Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra and the University of Gothenburg that was published in the journal Nutrition.

A few squares of dark chocolate, especially those containing 90% cocoa content can help to greatly improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to this study.

30 healthy participants between the ages of 18-27 were divided into 2 groups: one group eating 20g of chocolate containing 55% cocoa content, and the other eating 20g of chocolate with 90% cocoa content. Participant blood pressure was taken at baseline, then again after 30 days.

Eating chocolate was found to improve blood pressure, but those in the 90% group had more dramatic results; those in the 90% group after one month showed an average reduction of 3.5 mmHg in systolic and 2.3 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure, while those in the 55% group had an average reduction of 2.4 mmHg in systolic and 1.7 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure.

Based on their findings the team concluded that eating small amounts of dark chocolate can be of benefit to the cardiovascular system regardless of age, but they noted while the findings provide a positive correlation between dark chocolate and cardiovascular biomarkers how they affect other factors of a healthy lifestyle requires further research.

“The extent to which cocoa may interact with other healthy lifestyle strategies remains to be explored, and further research is needed to clarify the underlying mechanisms and to define optimal amounts of regular cocoa-rich dark chocolate intake,” says lead author Dr. Telmo Pereira.

A study published in Heart investigating the health benefits of chocolate involving 21,000 participants taking note of eating habits also observed cumulative evidence between chocolate intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Flavanols found within dark chocolate may be responsible for a lot of these health benefits as multiple studies have shown direct links between eating flavonoid rich foods and human health. Many foods contain flavonoids which have been explored for antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor properties.

Choose your chocolate with scrutiny as not as types of chocolate have flavanols, which are also what gives chocolate the slightly bitter taste. Many commercially available chocolates have been stripped of the beneficial flavanols in favor of more mellow taste.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Machine Learning Identifies Potential Anti-Cancer Molecules in Food

The internet is rife with myths and articles making dubious claims about certain foods and their anti-cancer properties. We have all seen the articles of questionable scientific merit gracing social media suggesting that such-and-such foods can cure cancer, the majority of which are highly questionable. A new study offers a unique kind of insight into the potential true effectiveness of food in fighting cancer.

Investigating molecules in food with machine learning

There is no doubt that there are many foods that contain a myriad of active molecules, and perhaps some of these food myths may have a grain of truth to them. A team of researchers decided to do some real myth-busting and put a variety of bioactive molecules found in foods to the test to see if they might potentially help to combat cancer.

The research team chose to use the power of machine learning to help assess a total of 7,962 biologically active compounds encountered in dietary sources. These molecules were compiled into a database and fed into a machine learning algorithm, which determined that of these compounds, there were 110 molecules that appeared to have anti-cancer properties.

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Source: Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

 

Cocoa for Cardiovascular Health

Food.Chocolate.DarkEuropean Union Consortium researchers report two studies that suggest that consuming cocoa flavanols – plant-derived bioactives from the cacao bean – may help to improve cardiovascular function and lessen the burden on the heart that comes with the aging and stiffening of arteries.

In the first study, Christian Heiss, from the University Duesseldorf  (Germany), and colleagues enrolled two groups of 22 young (under 35 years) and 20 older (50-80 years) healthy men, to consume either a flavanol-containing drink, or a flavanol-free control drink, twice a day for two weeks. The researchers then measured the effect of flavanols on hallmarks of cardiovascular aging, such as arterial stiffness (as measured by pulse wave velocity), blood pressure and flow-mediated vasodilation (the extent to which blood vessels dilate in response to nitric oxide).  The team observed that vasodilation was significantly improved in both age groups that consumed flavanols over the course of the study (by 33% in the younger age group and 32% in the older age group over the control intervention). As well, among the older age group, a statistically and clinically significant decrease in systolic blood pressure of 4 mmHg over control was also seen.

In the second study, Roberto Sansone, from the University Duesseldorf (Germany), and colleagues , enrolled 100 healthy middle-aged men and women (ages 35 to 60 years) with low risk of cardiovascular disease.  The participants were randomly and blindly assigned into groups that consumed either a flavanol-containing drink or a flavanol-free control drink, twice a day for four weeks. The researchers also measured cholesterol levels in the study groups, in addition to vasodilation, arterial stiffness and blood pressure. The team observed that cocoa flavanols increased flow-mediated vasodilation by 21%.; as well as decreased blood pressure (systolic by 4.4 mmHg, diastolic by 3.9 mmHg), and decreased  total cholesterol (by 0.2 mmol/L), LDL cholesterol (by 0.17 mmol/L), and raised HDL cholesterol (by 0.1 mmol/L).

Taken collectively, the Consortium submits that flavanols are effective at mitigating age-related changes in blood vessels, and could thereby reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals.

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Eating Green Leafy Vegetables Keeps Mental Abilities Sharp

Food.Vegetables1Something as easy as adding more spinach, kale, collards and mustard greens to your diet could help slow cognitive decline, according to new research. The study also examined the nutrients responsible for the effect, linking vitamin K consumption to slower cognitive decline for the first time.

“Losing one’s memory or cognitive abilities is one of the biggest fears for people as they get older,” said Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., assistant provost for community research at Rush University Medical Center and leader of the research team. “Since declining cognitive ability is central to Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

The researchers tracked the diets and cognitive abilities of more than 950 older adults for an average of five years and saw a significant decrease in the rate of cognitive decline for study participants who consumed greater amounts of green leafy vegetables. People who ate one to two servings per day had the cognitive ability of a person 11 years younger than those who consumed none.

In addition to green leafy vegetables, other good sources of vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene include brightly colored fruits and vegetables.

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Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). “Eating green leafy vegetables keeps mental abilities sharp.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2015.

Blueberries Confer Immune and Cardiovascular Benefits

Food.BlueberryAbundant in the flavonoids anthocyanin and flavanol, blueberries have been shown in previous studies to improve cognitive performance and brain health. Steven R. McAnulty, from Appalachian State University (North Carolina, USA), and colleagues enrolled 25 men and postmenopausal women, to receive a daily supplement of blueberry powder (equivalent of 250 gm of blueberries), or placebo, for six weeks. Among those receiving the supplement, the researchers observed that natural killer cells rose by 4%. As well, among pre-hypertensive subjects, the blueberry powder caused significant reduction of diastolic blood pressure.

The study authors write that: “blueberry ingestion for six weeks increases natural killer cells and reduces augmentation index, aortic systolic pressure, and diastolic pressures in sedentary males and females.”

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Fish Oil Supports Brain Structure

Food.Fish.Oil.SupplementOn average, one person is diagnosed every minute with Alzheimer’s disease, a condition for which no cure presently exists and thus for which intensive efforts to prevent or slow cognitive decline with age is focused.

Lori Daiello, from the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center at Rhode Island Hospital (Rhode Island, USA), and colleagues completed a retrospective study of older adults (229 cognitively normal individuals, 397 patients with mild cognitive impairment, and 193 patients with Alzheimer’s disease), enrolled in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, who were assessed with neuropsychological tests and brain magnetic resonance imaging every 6 months.

Researchers tracked global cognitive status, and cerebral cortex gray matter and hippocampus and ventricular volumes. The study found that fish oil supplement use during the study was associated with significantly lower rates of cognitive decline as measured by two standardized assessment scales, but this benefit was observed only for the group of participants without dementia at the time of enrollment. Importantly, the study authors report that: “[fish oil supplements] use during the study was also associated with less atrophy in one or more brain regions of interest.”

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Source: WorldHealth.net

Eating Baked, Broiled Fish Weekly Boosts Brain Health

Food.SalmonEating baked or broiled fish once a week is good for the brain, regardless of how much omega-3 fatty acid it contains, according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The findings, published online recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, add to growing evidence that lifestyle factors contribute to brain health later in life.

“Our study shows that people who ate a diet that included baked or broiled, but not fried, fish have larger brain volumes in regions associated with memory and cognition,” senior investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, Pitt School of Medicine said. “We did not find a relationship between omega-3 levels and these brain changes, which surprised us a little. It led us to conclude that we were tapping into a more general set of lifestyle factors that were affecting brain health of which diet is just one part.”

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Source: University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. “Eating baked, broiled fish weekly boosts brain health, study says.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 August 2014.

Rosemary, Oregano Contain Diabetes-Fighting Compounds

Food.Rosemary.LavenderThe popular culinary herbs oregano and rosemary are packed with healthful compounds, and now lab tests show they could work in much the same way as prescription anti-diabetic medication, scientists report. In their new study published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they found that how the herbs are grown makes a difference, and they also identified which compounds contribute the most to this promising trait.

The researchers tested four different herbs, either greenhouse-grown or dried commercial versions, for their ability to interfere with a diabetes-related enzyme, which is also a target of a prescription drug for the disease.

They found that greenhouse herbs contained more polyphenols and flavonoids compared to the equivalent commercial herbs. But this didn’t affect the concentration required to inhibit the enzyme. Commercial extracts of Greek oregano, Mexican oregano and rosemary were better inhibitors of the enzyme, required to reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, than greenhouse-grown herbs.

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Source: American Chemical Society. “Rosemary, oregano contain diabetes-fighting compounds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014.


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