Pomegranate and heart health

I feel like I’m always harping on about pomegranate Juice and how wonderful it is, but honestly its not without good cause. And just to back up my rantings I found this in the press…

Daily Mail 26.9.05: Just 1 glass a day of pomegranate juice improves blood flow to the heart by over a third, found a study led by Dr. Dean Ornish of California Uni. It’s full of vitamins A,C, E & folic acid. 1 glass contains as many antioxidants as 2 glasses of red wine.(Yet red wine receives all the publicity for being good for the heart.) Scientists examined the effect of the juice on heart disease patients in a US study. They all had reduced blood flow to the heart caused by arteries clogged with fat. They were compared with a group given a similar placebo drink. After 3 months the pomegranate drinkers had a 17% increase in heart blood flow. The placebo group worsened by 18% – meaning the pomegranate group were 35% better off according to a report in the ‘American Journal of Cardiology.’ It may also help prevent heart disease. ”

…See what I mean?

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Tryptophan

I have been asked about Tryptophan recently and it reminded me about the whole issues of when Tryptophan was banned back in the early 1990’s.

L-Tryptophan is a natural amino acid that can be sued as a safe and effective sleep aid. It increases the brains levels of serotonin, so it also has milk antidepressant properties. But back in the 90’s there were issues with one batch of contaminated Tryptophan (which I think had been a Chinese product but I may be wrong – all UK sources were fine anyway)

Tryptophan and 5HTP

Tryptophan earned an undeserved and unfounded reputation as a dangerous supplement. Manufacturers of tryptophan supplements were urged to recall their products, and now only the 5HTP form is available. Sighhhhh

However the Serotone 5HTP is a valid product in itself as serotone and 5HTP are both natural chemicals produced by our bodies to help regulate appetite, mood, sexual desire, sleep patterns and stress levels. These functions are badly affected if seratonin levels in the body are reduced.

Serotonin levels can become too low because of emotional or physical pressures, imbalanced diet, nutritional deficiencies, insufficient exercise (aerobic and muscular), alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. This can result in sleep problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders such as cravings, weight problems, restless leg syndrome, migraines, fibromyalgia, and low pain threshold. Supplementing your diet with 5-HTP helps to increase and maintain the levels of serotonin in the body and gives relief in many ways – as an antidepressant to raise the spirits; a calming, natural relaxant to reduce anxiety and induce normal sleep; for weight control by reducing cravings or the desire to overeat. Its anti-inflammatory properties are also thought to relieve arthritis.

Cranberry Juice fighting viruses

This is not the first time I have raved on about Cranberry juice. Its usually about the taste because I really love it, especially with Blueberries, but I have just come across some wonderful news – especially good news for those of us who have ever suffered from a gastrointestinal virus.

Cranberry Juice is shown to have anti-bacterial properties

Cranberry juice may offer protection against these pesky and debilitating bugs. Researchers from St. Francis College in Brooklyn found that adding cranberry juice to intestinal viruses in the laboratory seems to make them inactive. Their findings were reported at a July meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Atlanta. The scientists became interested in cranberry juice’s antibacterial properties after noting the growing number of studies that show the drink’s power fighting urinary tract infections in women. The study tested cranberry juice’s effects in fighting two types of intestinal animal viruses and found that it prevented the viruses from attaching to red blood cells or infecting host cells. And the cultures showed no viral particles after treatment with the juice. It is thought that the juice’s tannins and flavonoids may be responsible for this benefit. How wonderful is that?

I read this info on the Nutrition and Healing newsletter. see http://www.wrightnewsletter.com/

Soy can help reduce risk of fractures post menopause

I’m menopausal or even post, so I have an intimate interest in any research going on in this field. Seeking always the more natural alternatives to conventional medicine I never stepped into the HRT lane. Soy isoflavones where the only thing I turned to. And now in the news today I find soy comes into its own again where I see a new study has found that eating soy foods could help postmenopausal women reduce the chance of developing fractures.

Soy may help bone mineral density

The study is “the Shanghai Women’s Health Study” and is headed by Dr Xiao-Ou Shu carried out on 24,000 postmenopausal women.

Although previous studies have shown a link between soy products and bone mineral density, this study is the first of its kind to investigate the association between soy consumption and the risk of fracture.

The participants were asked about their dietary habits and intake of food. Four and a half years later, they were then asked if they had suffered any fractures in the time that had elapsed. The subjects completed a food frequency questionnaire and at follow-up 4.5 years later, they were asked if they had suffered any fractures. Women who ate soy and who had been menopausal for more than ten years were found to have reduced the risk of fracture by 29 per cent. Those within ten years of menopause cut the risk of fracture by 48 per cent, and fracture risk was lessened in soy-eating women even after adjusting controls such as age and osteoporosis risk factors.

The moral is of coarse eat more soy, as i have suffered a mild intolerance to soy I’m appreciative of supplements which I seem to be OK with.

Business for breakfast

6.45 am and its breakfast time, not my normal breakfast or my normal time: today I am a guest at the BNI business breakfast.

These doo’s are great for networking, and the Belmont chapter in Leicester where I was just a few moments ago, had a wonderful buzz, funny, quick and sharp business acumen around the table – but I’m far too nervous to eat!!! In fact I forgo the fry up, even the veggie full breakfast cant tempt me today, and I pick at the fresh fruit and yogurt selection – which is grand. The yogurts on offer are a wonderful fare, but I’m trying out a little food combining to keep the gas down, so I opt for the fresh fruit picking out mainly grapes and oranges, with pineapple, apple and grapefruit too – yummy even if only picked at as I chat.

I met some great people, an image consultant , and I’d gone without make-up this morning and a brown bag with my dark suit, oh dear 😦 printers, financial advisers, IT services and an estate agent. But here’s what I found interesting – did you know that companies can get tax relief on things like the petrol purchased for the car used for work if you don’t use the company car, or the company car itself, or the broadband connection and PC used for working at home, and incentives and rewards given for staff suggestions, and golden handshakes and so many more things. It was an eye opener to me and definitely worth talking to the accountants about tax relief.

For entrepreneurs I’d definately recommend going to at least one BNI breakfast.

Depression and St johns Wort

My Mother suffered from depression for years back in the late 60’s early 70’s. In those days people attitude toward depression was far from what it is now. It was not uncommon for her to be told to pull her self together, by friends, family and the medical profession. What my mum went through has had a definite effect on me and my attitude toward depression.

Fortunately times have changed and so have everyone’s attitudes towards depression. Do you know that it affects as many as one in eight men and one in five women at some time in their lives.

It is now known that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemical messenger in the brain that pass signals from one brain cell to another. It would seem that all sorts of events can trigger this imbalance – big events like bereavement, relationship breakdowns to the normal hormonal swings in women.

I am especially interested in the use of St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to treat or help mild to moderate depression. There is absolutely loads of info around on this now. Here are a few recommended reading sites:
http://nccam.nih.gov/health/stjohnswort/
http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/faq/herbal.htm
http://www.hypericum.com/

These give both the for’s and against and the cautions.

So as a generalisation it can be seen that a standardised preparation of St John’s Wort are as effective as the prescribed antidepressants in treating mild to moderated depression, but without so many side effects. (Please be aware of the cautions though if you are interested, you must not take St Johns Wort without consulting your doctor as there are several categories of people who should not try it.)

St Johns Wort seems to work by encouraging the serotonin re work for longer – that’s lesley speak – and the active elements also increase nocturnal production of melatonin hormone which is the brains own natural sedative, thus improving the quality of sleep.

St Johns Wort is available in different forms, but 900mg a day in some way is recommended: see this info on dosage and remember it takes a while to build up in your system.

p.s St Johns Wort is also good for piles!

Galactosemia

Someone I met at the Allergy Show has just contacted me as his child has Galactosemia. I had not come across this before and so have looked into it a little. My findings below. My heart goes out to those who have this and their families.

Galactosemia is a metabolic disorder characterised by the partial or total lack of the enzyme galactose-1-phosphate uridyl transferase normally present in our blood. This results in the inability to process the galactose, an enzyme present in lactose – the sugar in milk. It is not a common disease (around 1 in 80,000 births), but can be extremely sever in its symptoms.

Galactosemia can usually be spotted in the first days and weeks of life with feeding difficulties, vomiting, jaundice, failure to thrive, liver and kidney disease due to the babies inability to convert galactose in milk, into glucose, the sugar used by the body. The condition can vary from life threatening to a more chronic problem involving the liver, bleeding and infection. Long term symptoms can include include damage to the ovaries in females, speech problems, developmental delay and specific learning difficulties. Growth may be delayed but the final height is normal.

Once diagnosed galactose can be removed removed from the diet and there is quick improvement in a short space of time.

The Dairy Free Diet must be lifelong, but this does not prevent the long-term complications, which occur in the majority of patients.

There are some great websites and support services out there, here are just a few:
www.galactosaemia.org.
http://www.galactosemia.org/
http://depts.washington.edu/transmet/gal.html