- Health scientists have long been puzzled by the so-called
French Paradox -- the perplexing fact that the French
consume at least as much fat and cholesterol as Americans
do, smoke more cigarettes, and yet have far lower rates
of coronary heart disease. After a thorough consideration
of the two peoples' lifestyles, researchers have isolated
yet another distinction between the French and the Americans.
The French drink much more wine than do Americans, typically
consuming it at meals.
- These facts, combined with numerous studies conducted
over the past twenty years, point to the fact that light
to moderate consumption of alcohol, especially red wine,
reduces the rate of heart disease dramatically. Research
shows that men and women who drink a glass of wine a day
exhibit a 20 to 50 percent lower risk of heart disease,
and recent studies suggest that tempered consumption of
alcohol reduces the risk of stroke.
- Alcohol increases concentrations of HDL, the 'good'
cholesterol that lowers the likelihood of heart disease
and decreases platelet aggregability: it makes the blood
less sticky and less likely to clot, thus decreasing the
risk of a heart attack. With its many antioxidant components,
including tannins, phenols, resveratrol, and quercitin,
in addition to alcohol, red wine appears to be especially
Commitment To Fitness
- One study tracked exercisers for a year to see how long
they followed through on their commitment to get in shape.
Seventy-five percent of those who exercised in the morning
were still exercising a year later. Half of those who
worked out at noontime stayed with the program, but only
25 percent of those who exercised in the evening maintained
their exercise regimen.
Conclusion: Mornings are best, and then you can rest.
Anger; Early Heart Disease
- A study from Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, 48 years
in the making, confirms that young men who reacted with
anger to stress were three times as likely to suffer from
heart disease before the age of 55 than their peers who
said they let stressful situations roll off their backs.
A recent North Carolina study of 256 men and women heart
attack victims, published in the May edition of the AHA's
(American Heart Association) Circulation, shows that those
prone to anger were also three times more likely to have
a heart attack than those least prone to anger. The North
Carolina researchers say the findings were true for individuals
with normal blood pressure levels. Anger could thus lead
to heart attacks especially among middle-aged men and
women with normal blood pressure, the researchers add.
Fighting Cavities One Of Coffee's Perks
Thinking of kicking your coffee habit? Have another cup
instead. Research has come up with a startling discovery.
Drinking coffee can help prevent tooth decay.
- Italian researchers from the University of Ancona, Italy,
led by Gabriella Gazzani, PhD, tested samples of green
and roasted Arabica and Robusta coffee. They concluded
that every sample of the roasted coffee had the unique
ability to inhibit some microorganisms, especially Streptococcus
mutants, from binding to tooth enamel, the hard outside
surface of our teeth. S mutants bacteria produce acid,
which breaks down the enamel, causing cavities. Trigonelline,
a component of coffee responsible for its aroma and bitter
taste, is the anti-adhesive that prevents dental caries
- "All coffee solutions have high anti-adhesive properties
due to both naturally occurring and roasting-induced molecules,"
says Dr. Gazzani. The study concluded that coffee from
green, unroasted beans was only somewhat protective, coffee
prepared from roasted beans was more protective, and instant
coffee provided the greatest protection. The degree of
protection was unrelated to the amount of caffeine.
in Your Cigarette?
- Cigarette smoke contains over 4700 chemical compounds,
including 60 which cause cancer. Many toxic agents are
also in cigarettes, some of which are manufactured during
the smoking process itself. A lit cigarette generates
more than 150 billion tar particles per cubic inch, making
up the visible portion of cigarette smoke. According to
chemists at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, cigarette smoke
is 10,000 times more concentrated than the automobile
pollution at rush hour on a freeway. Visible smoke, however,
contributes only 5%-8% to the total output of a cigarette.
What you can't see are the so-called vapors or gases in
the cigarette smoke. That is, besides nitrogen and oxygen,
toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, acrolein,
hydrogen cyanide, and nitrogen oxides. There are countless
How to look and feel years younger?
- A University of Chicago study of 11 healthy men aged
17 to 27 found that when their sleep was restricted to
four hours a night for six nights in a row they started
to show physical and mental characteristics usually associated
with people 60 and older. Among these were increased hypertension,
diabetic symptoms and memory loss. Luckily, the participants
were able to turn the clock back to their true age after
a few nights of 12-hour slumber. Similar effects are predicted
in women. "Beauty sleep earned its name for a reason,"
says Dr. Jaliman. "That's when tissues restore themselves."
- University of California, San Diego researchers revealed
that those who sleep six to seven hours a night live longer
than those who sleep eight or more hours or those who
get less than four hours sleep.
Five Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp
"USE IT OR LOSE IT" definitely applies what you've
got upstairs. "Your brain is like a muscle that withers
with disuse," says Duke University neurobiologist Lawrence
C. Katz, Ph.D. To keep your mind agile, Dr. Katz suggests
the following exercises:
- Get dressed or dial a phone with your eyes closed. "Your
brain has to kick into gear to be aware of your surroundings,"
Dr. Katz says.
- Create an ongoing chess game with family and coworkers.
- Take a different route to work occasionally.
- Awoken your senses at an ethnic or farmers' market.
- Switch places at the dining table. "You'll see
both your family and dining room differently," says
- Those who read regularly or attend movies, plays, concerts
or sporting events were nearly 20 percent less likely
to have died during the course of a nine-year study of
12,000 Swedes. Why? As reported in British Medical Journal,
such diversions awaken the immune system. Socializing
may also cut your risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's
disease, according to Columbia University study. Of the
1,770 adults studied, "those with high leisure activity
had thirty -eight percent less risk of developing dementia,"
says lead study author Yaakov Stern, Ph.D.
- According to recent studies conducted at Duke University
and at Nihon Fukushi University in Japan, individuals
consistently scored higher on intellectual tests after
embarking on a running program. The study at Duke University,
which involved seniors embarking on a 4-month exercise
program, showed significant improvement in memory and
other mental skills. The study in Japan had seven healthy
young people initiate a jogging regimen that lasted for
12 weeks. Like the case with Duke counterparts, their
scores on a series of complex computer-based tests significantly
increased by the end of 3-month program. Although it is
unclear exactly how exercise may strengthen mental acuity,
research suggests that maintaining a healthy flow of blood
and oxygen protects the brain. It is clear, however, that
you must continue to jog to reap the rewards - cognitive
improvements in study participants went down once they
- Older people who are sleepy during the day could be
at risk for developing memory loss or other types of cognitive
impairment. Yet simple community activities can help keep
the mind healthy and prevent boredom, say researchers
at Stanford University.
Much Water Do You Need?
- (Health Scout News) -- Recent reports have said it's
a myth that everyone should drink eight glasses of water
a day. That may have left many people wondering how much
water you really need.
- The Mayo Clinic has some guidelines that might help.
First, it's important to note food contains some of the
water you need. In general, the average man needs about
12 cups of water a day, and the average woman, nine cups,
from all sources.
- One way to tell if you are getting enough water is by
noting the color of your urine. If it is pale, you are
probably doing OK. However, if it's darker and has a stronger
odor, you probably need to drink more water.
- The clinic adds there is some evidence that drinking
plenty of water can reduce your chances of getting certain
diseases. One study suggested that it can reduce a woman's
risk of getting colon cancer.
Another Great Reason To Suck Up To Vitamin C
- Vitamin C recently added a new notch on its belt. The
vitamin helps reduce both the physical and psychological
effects of stress on people. People who have high levels
of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical
signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological
challenges. What's more, they bounce back from stressful
situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin
C in their blood.
- In one recent study, German researchers subjected 120
people to a sure-fire stressor -- a public speaking task
combined with math problems. Half of those studied were
given 1,000 mg of vitamin C. Such signs of stress as elevated
levels of the stress hormone cortisol and high blood pressure
were significantly greater in those who did not get the
vitamin supplement. Those who got vitamin C reported that
they felt less stressed when they got the vitamin.
- The researchers believe that vitamin C should be considered
an essential part of stress management. Earlier studies
showed that vitamin C abolished secretion of cortisol
in animals that had been subjected to repeated stress.
Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in
response to stress. Once it gets into the bloodstream,
it is responsible for relaying the news of stress to all
parts of the body and mind.
- Cortisol is the hormone, for example, that triggers
the “fight or flight” response to stress.
That allows us to spring into action when we sense danger.
But like many emergency-alert systems, the stress response
comes at a considerable cost. Among other effects, frequent
exposure to high levels of stress hormones exhausts the
body’s physical resources, impairs learning and
memory, and makes people susceptible to depression.
- Vitamin C is present in fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables,
especially citrus fruits and red and green peppers. One
eight-ounce glass of fresh orange juice provides 97 milligrams
of the vitamin. It’s also found in papayas, cantaloupes,
strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus
and parsley. There’s no vitamin C in animal food,
and a small amount in raw fish. But buyer beware. An unstable
substance, vitamin C is destroyed by cooking and exposure
Intense Exercise Cuts Heart Risk
Study finds jogging, rowing, lifting weights are best
(Health Scout News) -- Want to improve your heart health?
Run if you can, don't walk. Row in the water rather than
wade in it.
- A new study adds a new twist to the "no pain,
no gain" theory by finding that increased intensity
of exercise significantly lowers the risk of coronary
heart disease (CHD) in men. The research appears in tomorrow's
Journal of the American Medical Association.
- "We all know that physical activity is good for
heart disease. This is the first time we've shown that
intensity of exercise over and above the amount of energy
expenditure makes a difference," says Dr. Frank Hu,
senior author of the study and an associate professor
of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. "If
the exercise is suitable for the person, I think people
should aim for more rigorous exercise given the amount
of energy expenditure."
- The association between aerobic activity and reduced
risk for CHD was expected. More surprising were results
documenting a similar risk reduction with weight training.
"This is the first study to directly look at the
relationship between weight training and risk of CHD,
and this is the first evidence that resistance training
is beneficial for heart disease," Hu says.
- The study looked at a group of 44,452 male dentists,
optometrists, pharmacists, podiatrists, osteopaths and
veterinarians enrolled in the Health Professionals' Follow-up
Study who were interviewed at two-year intervals between
1996 and the beginning of 1998.
- Men who ran for an hour or more each week had a 42
percent reduced risk for CHD compared with men who did
not run. Men who trained with weights for 30 minutes or
more per week had a 23 percent reduced risk of CHD compared
with those who did not. Rowing for one hour or more per
week was associated with an 18 percent reduced risk. A
half-hour or more of brisk walking each day was also associated
with an 18 percent reduction in risk for CHD. The faster
you walked, the bigger the reduction.
- The physically active men in the study also tended
to have lower body mass indexes, lower total fat intake,
higher intakes of fiber, and lower incidences of smoking
and high blood pressure.
- Aerobic activity, we know, has a direct effect on heart
muscle, can raise "good" and lower "bad"
cholesterol, and can lower blood pressure. Weight training
does not have a direct effect on the muscles of the heart,
but it can have a beneficial effect on insulin resistance
and body fat, which in turn can have an effect on heart
The Blues Are Good
- Blueberries, that is. Rich in multiple antioxidants,
blueberries added to your everyday diet limit the memory
loss that comes with age. Further, they actually stimulate
the growth of new nerve cells in areas of the brain essential