Cooking With Spices May Prevent Cancer

Cooks will love this. Researchers have found that cooking with spices before putting burgers on the grill can may prevent cancer that we’ve all heard is associated with cooking beef.

Scientists at Kansas State University, a leader in the area of food safety research and training, identified three spices, fingerroot (Chinese ginger), rosemary and tumeric, as being able to direct the greatest amount of antioxidant activity to preventing the formation of HCAs (heterocyclic amines), the cancer causers created when meats are barbecued, grilled, fried or broiled.

The team, supported by the Food Safety Consortium, evaluated six different spices; cumin, coriander seeds, fingerroot, galagal, rosemary and tumeric. Of these, fingerroot, rosemary and tumeric (all packed with antioxidants, by the way) can limit the amount of HCAs that form on your meat.

Rosemary was the strongest against HCA with a commercial extract available that brings numbers into the 61-79% range. This cuts the risk that comes from the HCA-associated with many cancers; colorectal, lung, mammary, pancreatic, prostate and stomach to name a few.

It appears that beef develops more HCAs than either chicken or pork according to KSU food chemistry professor J. Scott Smith. In recent years Smith has worked on projects looking for ways to cut HCAs. Those cooked beef patties we all love, that are so much a part of our summertime meals are also the cooked meat that has the highest mutagenic activity and is the most significant source of HCAs in your diet.

With grilling season almost upon us, there’s never been a better time to make spices part of your summertime cooking, whenever you can. The great thing about adding spices is that they make the meat able to stand up to the high temperature cooking (above 352 degrees F) yet block the increased HCA production that comes with intense flames.

Earlier work has shown that meat cooked under the 352-degree mark for under four minutes has low or undectable levels of HCAs, the compounds increasing as temperature and cooking times go up.

Besides adding flavor, spices will help you use less salt, another plus for your heart, and your health.

To be sure you’re handling meats and other foods safely, here are some important tips:

- Come straight home from the grocery store to keep food as cool as possible, put meats and dairy in the cart last at the store.

- Put meats and poultry in the fridge right away when you get home, Freeze chicken and ground beef that won’t be used in the next 1 to 2 days, 4 to 5 days for other cuts of meat.

- Completely thaw meat and poultry before you cook. You can do this in the fridge overnight or you can thaw sealed packages in cold water. Once thawed, don’t take meats out of the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. Using the microwave defrost program is great so long as the meat will then go right on the grill.

- Marinate meats in the fridge, not on the counter. Poultry, cubed meat or stew meat can be marinated up to 2 days; beef, veal, pork, lamb roasts, chops and steaks can be marinated up to 5 days. Don’t use the leftover marinade as a sauce as it could contain harmful bacteria picked up from the raw meat; instead reserve a portion of the marinade beforehand for use this way.

- Keep food cold at home, or if you’re taking something to another location, use an insulated cooler with ice or ice packs to keep the temperature at 40 degrees F or lower. Pack meats right from the fridge to the cooler just before you leave home.

Continues below…


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Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk… Continued…

- Keep plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand, and be sure NEVER to use the same platter/utensils for raw and cooked meat or poultry.

- Cook foods to a safe, minimum internal temperature to completely kill any harmful bacteria. Don’t be fooled by a browned outside, use a meat thermometer to be sure its cooked on the inside.

- Keep hot foods hot, at least 140 degrees F. You can move things off to the side of the grill or place them in an oven set to 200 degrees F.

- In hot weather (over 90 degrees F) food should NEVER sit out for more than one hour. Refrigerate any leftovers right away; throw away anything left out for longer than two hours no matter what the temperature outside.

The KSU team will next be looking at other marinades and powders to be used on meats; earlier research has found that marinating steaks with some herbs and spices lowers HCA production. In the meantime, enjoy cooking with spices – you may well be helping to prevent cancer as you enjoy a delicious meal.

Excess Belly Fat Increases Dementia Risk

Use whatever name you like… abdominal fat… a spare tire… love handles… muffin top… a new study out of the Boston University School of Medicine that appears online in the Annals of Neurology has found that excess belly fat may actually cause your brain to shrink and increase your dementia risk.

We already know that belly fat ups the risk of heart attack and heart disease. According to researcher Sudha Seshadri, MD, an associate professor of neurology at BUSM, deep belly fat, known to medicine as visceral fat, is the real culprit, and while earlier work has linked belly fat and dementia, most of those studies (except for one in 2008) have had fewer than 300 subjects.

Seshadri and her team did CT scans of the abdomen, and MRI scans of the brain of 733 subjects, both men and (70%) women, who were part of the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. The average age of the subjects was 60 years old.

The researchers examined the potential associations of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and the CT measure of belly fat (both visceral or deep fat, and the subcutaneous fat just under the skin) along with brain volume. The average BMI of the study participants was 28; the average waist circumference was 39 inches.

As a point of reference, experts recommend your BMI should be below 25 (overweight), nowhere near 30 (obese) or 40 (morbidly obese). According to the National Institutes of Health, women should work to keep their waist measurement under 35 inches; men should do what they can to have theirs below 40 inches.

This latest work found that greater the amount of visceral fat, the smaller the volume of the brain, though no one can explain why.

Smaller brain volume is associated with poor thinking on testing and is a greater risk for dementia. Today almost 5.3 million American suffer with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, where memory, language, thinking and judgment are affected.

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Dementia Linked To Too Much Belly Fat… Continued…

The study also found a link between higher BMI measurements and higher waist circumference… which makes intuitive sense, but isn’t always the case. Still experts are far from having all the answers… it’s important to realize that some that get Alzheimer’s disease have done everything right.

What we do know is that fat in the central part of the body serves to pad your internal organs and releases fatty acids, stress hormones and substances that can increase the risks of cardiovascular disease.

What’s more, a single fat cell can grow to a thousand times its original size and then create spin off cells. And once you have a fat cell, it’s yours for life.

The take home message from the study is that you can do something to keep your brain, and your body, healthy… lose that spare tire.

If you don’t already know, find where you stand… calculate your BMI and measure your own waistline. If the numbers aren’t where they should be andyou have excess belly fat, you need to make some changes. It isn’t easy, but it can be done with the simple methods… diet and exercise. The motivation is simple, reduce dementia risk.

Exercise Health Benefits Include Natural Stress Relief

Exercise health benefits from a good, hard workout… where you sweat like crazy and bring your heart rate up… can include reducing the effects of stress on cellular aging according to new research. It seems that brief bouts of vigorous activity reduced one of the most important signs of cellular aging – telomere shortening.

For those not up on their biology, telomeres are small strands of genetic material that look almost like a tail at the end of a cell. Experts recognize the shortening of these structures as an indicator of aging.

There’s also a growing body of evidence that suggests short telomeres are tied to health problems like coronary heart disease, diabetes and early death. Think of these structures much like a biological marker of the wear and tear of living that includes genetic influences, lifestyle and stress.

The latest research is the first to find that exercise can prevent the shortening of telomeres due to stress. The study included 63 post-menopausal women, all healthy, many highly stressed, who were divided into two groups – inactive and active based on how much they exercised over a three-day period.

At the end of each day the subjects reported the number of minutes of vigorous exercise they’d done. To be considered vigorous, the activity had to increase the heart rate and/or cause sweating. They also reported their life stress over the past month. The immune cells in the subjects’ blood were also examined to determine telomere length.

The team found that the women in the inactive group who were under stress had shorter telomeres than the active (exercising as little as 42 minutes over that three day period) women who were also considered high stress. In other words, stress affected the telomeres of sedentary women, but left no sign on the active women.

This is great news for the chronically stressed. We know that stress is bad for the body, the heart, and makes you look worn and haggard, even putting you at increased risk for infections according to study author Eli Puterman, PhD out of the University of California at San Francisco. Evidence is mounting that stress and health may be linked, and it’s empowering to find something that anyone, especially the chronically stressed, can do to help blunt the effect on the body.

Continues below…


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Professional Trainer (CPT) Reveals Truth About Quick Fat Loss…

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And he’s giving his insider report away today – you can get your copy here at Lean Body Fitness Secret
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Exercise May Blunt Effects Of Stress On The Body… Continued…

The study authors conclude that 13 minutes (or more) of vigorous exercise each day seems to be the key amount that ties into longer telomeres. These are very close to the CDC recommendations of 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (plus weight bearing exercise) every week for adults to stay fit.

This latest study builds on some fascinating earlier UCSF work that documented the effect of chronic stress on telomere length in immune cells. A 2004 UCSF-led study found that the implications of stress are felt deep inside the cells, impacting aging and possibly even disease development. USCF has also done extensive research on exercise – but this is the first work to show that working out actually offers some protection from the shortening of telomeres due to stress.

Watch for more studies to come on exercise health benefits. The next UCSF project involves participants first learning their telomere length, to see if this information offers motivation to make the lifestyle changes (more exercise, cutting stress, eating less processed red meat) that seem to have an impact on telomere length.

Reduce Blood Pressure By Not Drinking Soda

New research finds that avoiding drinking soda and other sugary drinks may help reduce blood pressure. Earlier studies had linked sugary drinks to lots of troublesome conditions – obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of risk factors that up the risk for heart disease and diabetes), but until now, no research had found that drinking too many sweetened drinks can bring up blood pressure readings.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk for heart disease and dangerous, debilitating stroke.

The latest work included 810 adults (25-79 years old) who had prehypertension (120-139 for the systolic number, or 80-89 for the diastolic number) or early stage 1 hypertension (140-159 for the systolic number, or 90-99 for the diastolic reading) who were taking part in an 18 month long trial intended to bring down blood pressure by losing weight, eating right and exercising.

The systolic number is the reading (the top number) that represents the heart at work, while the diastolic number (the bottom number) is the heart at rest. An ideal blood pressure reading is now considered anything below 120/80.

Most of the subjects in the study drank an average of 10.5 fluid ounces of sugar or high fructose corn syrup containing drinks each day. The drinks included regular soda, fruit drinks, lemonade and fruit punch. When the subjects halved their soda intake, a 1.5 point reduction in the systolic blood pressure, and a 1.1 drop in the diastolic number were the result. This stood up even after controlling for other risk factors known to be involved with hypertension. Hard to argue with that.

Americans down almost 28 ounces (in 2.3 servings) of sugared drinks every day, making it a very popular choice, and according to the American Heart Association, one in three adults in the U.S. has been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Just imagine the impact of cutting the sugar-laden drinks on those numbers if more people got the message that these drinks are hurting their heart and blood pressure.

To put these findings in perspective, data cited in the report suggests that a three-point drop in systolic blood pressure could cut the risk of dying after a stroke by 8%; heart disease death by 5%.

What accounts for the effect of sweet beverages on blood pressure isn’t understood, but there are theories. Some believe these drinks, often loaded up with sodium, can up your blood pressure. The sugar raises levels of hormones known as catecholamines that actually cause blood pressure to go up.

Director of the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, George Bakris, MD, believes that uric acid is also a factor. That high fructose corn syrup brings up uric acid levels, and this has been found to increase blood pressure. Not sure how much of this you’re taking in, Bakris suggests you start reading labels, and work to cut what you’re consuming by half and you’ll see some benefit.

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Cutting Sweetened Sodas Could Save Lives… Continued…

For now there are 20 cities and states that are thinking about taxing sugar sweetened beverages, but no legislation has passed yet. This latest study is one of a incredibly long list that show the negative impact of drinking these beverages on the body, fueling more calls for taxing them.

In a written reply, the American Beverage Association maintains the focus on losing weight, cutting calories from all foods (and drinks) and burning more calories as the best way to bring those blood pressure numbers down. Specific food choices aren’t thought to factor into things at all, while weight loss clearly does have an impact. Also fair to note, this study is a secondary analysis of another that was looking at the impact of weight loss (not cutting foods/drinks) to reduce blood pressure.

Before you place all the blame on drinking sodas… condiments like ketchup and sauces also bring their share of trouble. And just think of the amounts of these just-for-accent toppings you’re using… we’re all taking in more calories than we think, in more places than we realize.

Green Tea Health Benefits Worth Drinking For

Green tea is often in the news, and many are touting green tea health benefits. There’s a lot of research in terms of green tea and its ability to fight cancer and heart disease.

A limited number of studies also show that green tea might have a role in bringing down your cholesterol numbers, preventing diabetes and stroke, burning fat, maybe even holding off dementia. Impressive enough for American Dietetic Association spokeswoman and nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge, RD, LD to believe in green tea, in all teas in fact.

Before you jump on the green tea bandwagon, you need to understand you’ll be drinking more than a cup or two… at least three to an even better six cups a day are needed to get the benefits.

What’s more, how the tea is made is important, using bags or loose tea is the optimum choice – it must be brewed. You aren’t getting anything from an iced green tea drink you buy at the mini mart.

Green tea comes from the same plant, camellia sinensis, as black and oolong teas, and though each is created using different processing methods (green tea has minimal processing) all are typically brewed and drunk.

There are lots of varieties of green tea grown in areas all over the world, which allows for natural differences in taste and color that come as a result of growing conditions, harvesting and processing.

Drinkers say that green tea has a light, pleasing flavor.

The real world evidence for green tea benefits comes mainly from the lab, and this keeps experts from suggesting everyone start drinking it regularly.

There have been a few promising large scale studies in humans on the impact of green tea on heart disease and cancer, but it’s important to understand this research was conducted in the East, where green tea is part of everyone’s diet and where other foods (lots of fish and soy protein) and lifestyle factors may also be contributing to the benefits.

Green tea does have some key antioxidants (catechins) and compounds that are important to keeping your body healthy. Moderate green tea drinking is safe for most of us, though it does have some caffeine (not without side effects), and a small amount of vitamin K (an issue if you’re taking anticoagulants) per cup.

There are other natural sources of these healthful nutrients, foods that you can eat that might also deliver some incredible benefits to your health. Blueberries and pomegranates are both tasty options.

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Green Tea: The Hottest ‘Superfood’ Around..? Continued…

You may also have heard of tea extracts in capsules, though experts aren’t sure that you get the benefits in this form. And while this formulation probably can’t hurt you, it certainly isn’t the optimal way to get the best of green tea nutrients. Experts speculate nutritious compounds in green tea might need to be consumed at the same time.

Green tea is also part of many skin care products. It does have antioxidant properties (beating out vitamins A, C and E) and can protect against sun damage by working to subdue unhealthy cells. It’s also good for easing rosacea redness, and has been found to be a good acne treatment as well.

Green tea health benefits can certainly complement other good things you’re doing in terms of diet according to Diane McKay, PHD, a Tufts University expert on antioxidants. It’s important to get a balance of fruits, veggies, grains, seeds and nuts in what you’re eating while adding a few cups a day of delicious, delightful green tea to what you’re drinking.

Running On Empty? 10 Top Tips To Gain Energy

Do you remember the energy, the drive of your younger days? Fatigue is a common complaint of almost everyone once they arrive at middle age. Rather than adapting to the feeling of being run down and out of gas… do something to gain energy and get yourself going again!

1. Check for a health problem – fatigue is a symptom that appears with many illnesses, things like diabetes, heart disease arthritis, anemia, thyroid disease and even sleep apnea. And don’t forget to check the medicine cabinet… often drugs can contribute to those feelings of exhaustion. Suspect drugs for blood pressure, as well as antihistamines, diuretics or narcotic medications. If you’re unusually tired after starting a new medication, talk with your doctor.

2. Exercise - even though it might be the last thing you want to do, many studies have shown that being active boosts energy levels. It sure gets your blood pumping, which improves your circulation, making it easier for blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the brain and muscles of the body. According to Kerry J. Steward of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, those who are active have a greater sense of self-confidence, but also have stronger, more efficient hearts, lungs and muscles.

If you’re struggling to get motivated, use that iPod or MP3 player to create a workout playlist of songs (120 to 140 beats a minute) to help keep you going. The tunes aren’t just a distraction form all the sweating and straining, research has found that matching the tempo of your workout to music can increase you capacity for exercise by 15%.

Yoga might be especially effective for giving you more energy. A British study reported improvements in clear thinking, energy and confidence after only six weeks of once a week yoga classes. University of Oregon researchers offered yoga classes to 135 subjects (men and women) who were 65 to 85 years old, and at the end of six months, the subjects reported an improved sense of well-being and a boost in their overall energy levels.

3. Drink lots of water - dehydration takes away your energy and hurts your physical performance. It makes sense that being dehydrated can cause fatigue even when you’re just doing things around the house and yard. Dehydration also has been found to decrease alertness and impact concentration. You’ll know if you’re drinking enough water by the color of your urine – pale yellow or straw colored is okay, anything else is a sign you need to be drinking more water. Eating water based fruits and veggies is another great choice, but be sure to include a serving of a potassium rich food as well. Any non-alcoholic drink, water included, over ice is an almost instant pick me up.

4. Eat small meals, more often – some people battling fatigue might benefit from eating smaller meals regularly during the day as this helps to steady blood sugar levels. You’ll also want to choose whole grains and complex carbs as they take longer to digest and help keep blood sugar levels stable. And remember, more often does NOT mean bigger portions, be sure and keep an eye on the size of the meals. Small means small.

There’s also been research that suggests low doses of caffeine during the day work are better than the giant cup to start the day. Researchers found that those who work odd hours got a better boost from caffeine when they drank small amounts, and they did better on cognitive tests.

5. Get enough sleep – sounds obvious, but lack of sleep is one of the main causes of fatigue, so if you’re burning the midnight oil understand you can’t do this forever. Eventually you’ll need to get to bed early enough to catch up on your sleep. When those participating in a 2004 Stanford University study were allowed to sleep as long as they wished, they had more vigor and were less tired. Experts are also finding that good sleep habits may also have critical health benefits.

If you’re up late on a regular basis, consider an afternoon nap. Hardly an indulgence, napping restores wakefulness and helps in performance and learning. A ten minute nap is usually enough to get you going again, but don’t nap longer than 30 minutes or you’re likely to impact your nighttime sleep.

6. Get some omega-3 fish oils – according to a 2009 Italian study, subjects who took a fish oil capsule for 21 days demonstrated faster mental reaction times than those who didn’t take the capsule. The capsule-takers also said they felt more vigorous. Another fatigue busting food is dark chocolate (with at least 60% cocoa) as it contains a stimulant that boosts energy without giving you the jitters that come with other sweets, so you feel energetic for longer.

Continues below…


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Professional Trainer (CPT) Reveals Truth About Quick Fat Loss…

Have you ever dreamt about hiring a personal trainer? Just think of the results you’d achieve! Well, now you can have access to your own PT at no cost.

Mike Geary, a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer(CPT), has blown the lid off the ‘Professional’ health industry and released a no-cost “no-gimick”insiders report which reveals the explosive truth about fat loss…

And he’s giving his insider report away today – you can get your copy here at Lean Body Fitness Secret
*Disclosure: compensated affiliate*


Running On Empty? 10 Top Tips To Get Your Energy Back… Continued…

7. Be aware of your own body clock - some of us have all kinds of energy in the morning, others don’t warm up until later on… at their best by the end of the day. You need to be aware of your own daily energy patterns and schedule demanding things when your energy level is up.

8. Lose extra weight – dropping a bit of weight can give you a major energy boost. Even small reductions help with mood, feelings of vigor and the overall quality of your life. The most pain-free weight loss comes from cutting back on your portion sizes, eating a balanced (lots of fruits and veggies) diet and being more active overall.

9. Get rid of clutter – all that mess lying around is a drain on your energy, reminding your silently of things you’ve yet to do. Working in small increments to clean up – say a half hour a day, or a bookshelf each afternoon – is the way to go, you’ll see the progress but won’t be overwhelmed by the task.

10. Change up your daily routine - doing the same things day after day drain your energy, instead switch things up and the reward chemical of the brain, dopamine, is released. This gets the body ready for action. Even just taking a new way to work, shifting up your workout routine, or eating outside instead of the kitchen table can be enough.

If all else fails experts suggest you fake it – slap on a smile, put on a brightly colored shirt or try a new perfume – by faking having energy, your body soon catches on and you actually gain energy. Research has shown that a simple smile releases endorphins and ups serotonin levels, and all this helps you come to feel the energy and vigor you’re faking.

Sunscreens and Sun Safety Tips

All of us, no matter our complexion type, need to be smarter about following sun safety tips. Your dermatologist will tell you wearing lots of sunscreen is the best protection against skin cancer. In recognition of the 33rd summer without FDA sunscreen safety guidelines, the Environmental Working Group has released its annual report on sunscreens, labeling some as “modern day snake oil”. They worry about the effectiveness, never mind the common sense of slathering yourself with potentially hazardous chemicals that break down in sunlight. Is your favorite product on EWG’s list, now’s the time to find out.

It might also interest those in the U.S. to know that Europeans have more options for sunscreen than we do, by a lot.

What’s more, these products would earn four star ratings from the FDA for UVA protection, providing up to five times more protection that what we’re using today.

Only too willing to use the same types of compounds, U.S. sunscreen makers have been cooling their heels for five years as they wait for the FDA to approve them.

According to the report, 92% of the sunscreens sold under the brand names you know either don’t provide sufficient protection from the sun, or are made with hazardous chemicals – or both.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to finalize its 1978 sunscreen safety standards for sunscreens. Though UVB labels already exist, it’s the UVA rays that are associated with wrinkles and sagging, and also with skin cancer. UVB rays lead to sunburn and can also up the risks of skin cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration’s own draft of safety regulations from 2007 says that the agency isn’t convinced that sunscreen use by itself will help prevent skin cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) agrees.

There have also been studies that find an increase in melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) in sunscreen users. Maybe people stay out in the sun longer, thinking they are protected… or maybe the free radicals created by the breakdown of the sunscreen chemicals are to blame… no one can say for sure.

Also troubling is a recent FDA study that finds a form of vitamin A (added by manufacturers to 41% of products) might speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. While the vitamin might be perfectly fine in your night cream or skin lotion, exposing it to sunlight seems to bring on alarming potential. To be safe, avoid products with retinyl palmitate or “retinol” on the label.

The report also highlights the fact that while there are more high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreens on the market than ever before… beware.

Nearly one in six products you’ll find on store shelves boasts an SPF over 50, as compared to just one in eight in 2009. The higher numbers don’t bring any better protection. It may, in fact, leave you with a misleading sense of security.

The EWG report is intended to bring these issues to the attention of sunbathers everywhere. The group is quick to point out that they do not recommend ditching your sunscreen – rather they’re encouraging consumers not to rely on these products as a single defense against the sun.

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And even better than that, they ate all of the foods they enjoy, and still lost all the weight they wanted to.

No magic pills… no fad diets… no calorie-counting…

It’s the best tip for real-world weight loss and it can help you finally get that trim, toned body you’ve been looking for…

Discover more about this amazing method here…
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What You Must Know About Sunscreens… Continued…

Be sure the product you use offers both UVA and UVB protection, and use enough to fill a shot glass – 30 minutes before going out, and every two hours you’re out in the sun. And while there’s no sunscreen on the market today that meets EWG’s criteria (blocking UV rays, remaining effective for several hours, no harmful ingredients when degrading), the mineral type (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are preferable to chemical sunscreens. Spray sunscreens are easy to apply but less effective.

If you’re worried about skin cancer, you’ll also want to look for shade, avoid the peak hours of the day and wear protective clothing (a hat too) if possible.

Remember, exposure to the sun is also critical to the body’s production of vitamin D, an entirely natural, beneficial process that sunscreens tend to block. In 2008, the American Medical Association recognized the value of natural sunlight and continues to recommend 10 minutes of exposure, without sunscreen, a few times a week.

In a sublime sense of timing, this fall the FDA is expected to release it’s sun safety tips regarding sunscreen label changes and that one to four star rating system to help consumers identify quality products.

Teeth Brushing Every Day Keeps Killer Disease Away

You do this every day… and now new research has found that teeth brushing each day isn’t just good for your smile, it might also reduce your chances of having a heart attack. Poor oral hygiene is linked to higher levels of risk for heart disease and low-grade inflammation. Over the last 20 years medicine has been increasingly interested in a link between dental disease (periodontal disease in particular) and heart disease.

The findings of the latest work in this area appear in the journal BMJ, and come as the result of an examination of more than 11,000 men and women who were part of the Scottish Health Survey, a national, population-based survey that examined lifestyle habits like level of activity, smoking status and oral health routine.

For the present work, researchers combined data from the 1995, 1998 and 2003 surveys of adults over 35 years old. Survey interviewers visited households and collected information on demographics and lifestyle factors; they measured height and weight and asked about activity. On a separate visit, nurses took the medical and family history as well as blood samples.

As part of the survey, the subjects were asked if they visited a dentist at least once every six months, every one to two years, rarely or never. They also supplied information on how often they brushed; twice a day, once a day or less than every day.

In the end, the analysis found that that:

- 62% of participants went to a dentist every six months… dentists reading this are smiling now.

- 71% brushed two times a day… more good news for the dentists.

After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors (obesity, smoking, social class, family heart disease history), the team found that those who said they brushed less frequently had a 70% increased risk of heart disease. These subjects were also more likely to test positive for the typical bloodstream inflammatory markers… things like fibrinogen and C-reactive protein. The researchers suggest that systemic inflammation could be the underlying thing that links both oral health and heart health, though more work is needed to be sure.

Not taking care of your teeth is the major cause of periodontal disease, a chronic infection of the tissues around the teeth. The gum infections add to the inflammatory burden on a person, thus increasing cardiovascular risks.

Richard Watt, DDS of University College London believes that the results confirm and further strengthen the association between oral hygiene and the risk of heart disease. This is hardly a shock to most experts. Even more exciting to researchers is that the change to make is a simple, easy one… brush more often, don’t neglect your teeth.

Your dentist, and the American Dental Association, will tell you that proper brushing is the best way to clean both your teeth and gums. Here are the basics for a quick reminder:

- Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, rounded bristles.

- Place the bristles along the gumline at a 45-degree angle so that they touch both the tooth and the gum. Gently brush the outer surfaces of two to three teeth at a time using a vibrating back and forth motion, then move on to the next few teeth and repeat.

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Brushing Teeth Every Day Keeps Killer Disease Away… Continued…

- Use the same 45-degree angle and motions (back and forth, and rolling) to cover all the tooth surfaces.

- Tilt the brush vertically behind the front teeth; make a few up and down motions.

- Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a back and forth scrubbing motion.

- Brush your tongue from back to front.

Remember, to make sure your teeth brushing is most effective, you’ll want to get a new toothbrush every three to four months to be sure its not harboring bacteria that can cause periodontal disease as well as colds and flu.

Gain Exercising Benefits In Just Ten Minutes

How often do you schedule things in ten minute increments? I’ll be there in ten minutes… Just give me ten more minutes… Ten minutes and I’m outta here… familiar to us all.¬† Now science finds that ten minutes exercising benefits include metabolic changes that last for at least an hour. What’s more, the more fit you are, the more benefits you’re probably getting. The work appears in the May 26, 2010 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

We’ve all heard exercise is good for the body, but experts wanted to understand what exactly causes the health benefits from working up a good sweat with exercise, as opposed to eating more olive oil than saturated fat in your diet.

Even more important, are some of us simply more biologically tuned into the benefits than others? These are the types of questions addressed by a new field known as metabolomics. In fact, science has just begun to catalog the metabolic variability between people according to Dr. Robert Gerszten of Massachusetts General Hospital.

In the latest work, Gerszten and a team of researchers out of Mass General and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard measured biochemical changes in the blood of many different people – healthy middle aged and those who got short of breath with exercise as well as marathon runners.

When 70 healthy subjects were put on a treadmill, the team found over 20 metabolites that change during the workout – naturally produced compounds that help burn calories and fat, while also improving blood sugar control. Some compounds weren’t thought to be involved with exercise until now, others got more active during the exercise (like those involved in processing fat), while still more linked to cellular stress went down with exercise.

While the findings might seem strange, they do jive with the current health advice that even short spurts of exercise are good for you.

Gerszten found the metabolic changes that started after 10 minutes on the treadmill were still measurable 60 minutes after a subject cooled down. Thinner people had greater increases in a metabolite called niacinamide, a nutrient byproduct that has a role in blood sugar control.

When they looked at fat breakdown, the researchers saw that those who were more fit (measured by oxygen intake during exercise) seemed to burn more fat than the less fit, or with those who have shortness of breath, which is a possible symptom of heart disease.

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Ten Minutes Of Exercise; Effects Last For Hours… Continued…

Those who are the fittest among us – in this case 25 Boston Marathon runners – had ten fold increases in that same metabolite after the race. The differences in metabolites helped the researchers tell which subjects had finished the race in less than four hours, and who had gone a little slower.

Never think that science will be able to bring us a pill that will take the place of a workout. This latest work shows plainly how complex the body’s response to exercise can be, and that even small bursts of exercise might have incredible benefits to the body.

Researchers are looking for nutritional compounds that might help tweak metabolic processes in some specific ways. Duke University Medical Center Research Dr. Debbie Muoio discovered something interesting in the muscles of diabetic animals, and is working on a pilot study of 25 older adults who have pre-diabetes to see if supplements of carnitine might work to control blood sugar in those who don’t have enough of it in the body.

No more excuses… the work in this area is bringing us yet more proof that exercising benefits, even for just ten minutes, can truly help your body burn fat and age less quickly.

Heart Disease Risk Easily Lowered Research Finds

According to new research, the first to look at a very recent time period, appearing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, improvements in heart disease risk  like lowering those cholesterol numbers and blood pressure readings account for a significant decline in heart disease deaths.

Changes in behavior and modification of risk factors make up 48% of the decreased mortality rate overall according to study author Harindra C. Wijeysundera, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

While medical and surgical interventions are certainly important, changing behavior and impacting those risk factors continues to be even more so. After all, heart disease (the buildup of plaque inside the arteries of the heart) is still the leading cause of death, though the death rates have gone down over the last 30 years.

Wijeysundera and his colleagues wanted to learn more about what factors were involved in the decrease. This helps in planning health policy, as well as developing prevention and treatment strategies that can be used moving forward.

The researchers compared the death rates for heart disease between the years 1994 and 2005, when the death rate from coronary heart disease dropped by 35%.

The team used statistics that integrates information on population size, heart disease death rates, changes in risk factors and changes in the use of treatments to see what has been making the difference.

The risk factors used were things like smoking status, diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and exercise. Researchers only looked at therapies known to be effective, today there are many more medications and improved surgical procedures than were available in the 1970s and 1980s.

What the team expected to see wasn’t born out by the data.

The researchers found that medications and surgeries accounted for only 43% of the lowered death rate. In case you’re doing the math: 48% + 43% = 91%. The statistical model could not account for the remaining 9% of the declining coronary heart disease death rate.

Looking at the role specific treatments played in cutting death rates, the team saw that acute or emergency treatment like primary angioplasty accounted for less than 1% of the lower death rate. Sounds like a small number, but don’t take this to mean such surgical treatments don’t work, in fact, they work very well.

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Experts Reveal How To Lower Heart Disease Risk… Continued…

Today many people are going beyond acute care to living with chronic disease, managing their condition by taking medication and making lifestyle changes that affect their risk.

There were some worrisome trends in the findings.

Increases in diabetes and obesity that came over this time were linked to an increase in coronary heart disease death rates. The diabetes brought a 6% increase in mortality from coronary heart disease, this is important to understand. The average BMI rose by 0.4, and this works out to a 2.3% increased coronary heart disease death rate.

P.K. Shah, MD, director of cardiology for the Cedars Heart Institute, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, who reviewed the work, puts it simply, “You get the most bang for the buck with prevention.”

Focusing attention (yours and your doctor’s) on prevention and modifying the heart disease risk factors you have, managing any disease that is present, are keys to keeping people with coronary heart disease alive longer.