How Eating Styles Are Influenced By Other People

All of us eat to live, but what our eating styles are likely influenced by those around us… and perhaps more powerfully than we think. A new study finds that husbands and wives, especially, do start to eat like each other as time passes.

Early research has tracked the spread of obesity that comes as part of our social networks, so the team that worked on the current project wanted to see how much our food and drink choices rubbed off on our family and friends.

Now while you might have relationships with friends or a romantic partner based on having some things in common, eating like those we spend time with isn’t a case of like attracting like.

Based on the research, spouses tended to start eating alike later, rather than earlier, in the study. Maybe this is can be explained because one partner in the relationship generally does all the cooking and shopping, or maybe eating becomes a way to spend time together – such as enjoying local restaurants.

The team examined socioeconomic and demographic distribution of eating for 3,418 subjects taking part in the Framingham Heart Study who were observed between 1991 and 2001.

The subjects completed two or three food questionnaires that covered what they ate the week before. They also looked at associations among their spouses, siblings and close friends.

The study assigned each subject to one of seven non-overlapping eating patterns:

1. Meat eating soda drinkers took in more animal protein, sweetened drinks and other caffeinated beverages

2. Sweets eaters ate not only more sugar loaded products, but high fat dairy and refined grains

3. Alcohol and snack eaters took in disproportionate amounts of these items than their peers

4. Light eaters did so for all meals, and desserts

5. Caffeine avoiders drank decaf soda and coffee

6. Offsetting eaters ate plenty of snack and low fat sweets, but also lots of whole grains, healthy high fat foods like nuts, and nonfat milk

7. Healthier eaters who ate the most fruits and veggies, low fat chicken, fish and beans

Even after taking into account sociodemographic factors that might influence the way eating patterns spread (such as how far away people lived from each other), spouses showed the strongest similarities in eating patterns over time.

Continues below…


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What Your Eating Style Says About You And Your Friends… Continued…

Interesting as well that across all the relationships, the eating pattern most likely to be shared was the alcohol and snack pattern. This makes sense when you think about it… items in this group are easy to share and often call for less of a time commitment compared to full meals. For Americans, alcohol is culturally associated with being social.

Researcher Mark Pachucki, PhD says believes that the people we think of as meaningful in our lives tend to share a lot of the same eating behaviors with us.

The good news is that if those closest can be a bad influence, the opposite is also likely true. We can use these people to help us make better, healthier food choices.

So while eating is part of nearly every social engagement… weddings, church gatherings, a date or family party… and the holidays are all centered around food. Knowing the power those closest to us have over our eating styles will help you make better ones for yourself, and hopefully act as a healthy eating example to those you care about as well.

The Health Effects Of Coffee

We all love our coffee… it smells fantastic, tastes delicious and get’s us all going in the morning. Plus, one of the health effects of coffee is it’s not going to break your calorie allotment for the day, unless you start adding all the fancy toppings…

A 6-ounce cup of black coffee has just 7 calories, but add half and half and the number jumps to 46 calories. Liquid nondairy cream adds 48 calories. A single teaspoon of sugar adds 23 calories.

With more good news than bad in terms of health, coffee has yet to be proven beyond doubt to prevent anything.

Studies typically don’t have people drinking (or skipping) coffee for science, they ask instead about coffee drinking habits, and this isn’t the type of research that shows cause and effect.

Coffee drinkers might have other habits that impact how healthy they are – things like better eating habits, being more active or having some protective genetics.

The average American downed 416 8-ounce cups of java during 2009. Here’s the latest news on coffee and it’s impact on some pretty serious, life altering conditions.

Type 2 Diabetes has data that’s pretty solid when it comes to coffee drinking. There are more than 15 published studies, and the vast majority of these have found a benefit from coffee on preventing diabetes.

There’s even research that decaffeinated coffee might have the same benefit as the regular kind. According to researcher Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, coffee’s benefit comes from the whole package – antioxidants, minerals like magnesium and chromium that help with insulin usage.

We know that type 2 diabetes ups the risk of stroke and heart disease. Coffee has also been associated with lower risks for heart rhythm disturbances in both men and women, and the risk of stroke in women.

In research involving almost 130,000 participants, those who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized due to abnormal heart rhythms than nondrinkers.

Parkinson’s disease also boasts data that’s always been very consistent. Drinking more coffee is associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s. It might be the caffeine, but no one is sure just how this works.

Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease has also been found to be linked to coffee drinking. A study in 2009 in Finland and Sweden found that those who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day were 65% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia and even Alzheimer’s compared to those who don’t drink, or only occasionally drink coffee.

Cancer of the liver shows consistent data when it comes to coffee drinking too, but it’s weaker than that for type 2 diabetes. All of the research has shown that high coffee intake is associated with a lower risk of liver cirrhosis and cancer. It’s interesting to be sure, but no one is sure how it works and the research demonstrates an association, not cause and effect.

Continues below…


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Coffee: Potential Health Benefits And Drawbacks… Continued…

In August 2010 coffee intake of 12 ounces per day was found to be safe for pregnant women by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ACOG. But the effects of higher caffeine doses are unknown. There is research that finds pregnant women who drink many cups of coffee might be at greater risk of miscarriage than non-drinkers or those drinking coffee at a moderate level.

But just because there are health effects of coffee, it doesn’t mean it is all good for you. Coffee has antioxidants to be sure, but it hasn’t been shown that drinking coffee brings an increase in antioxidants in the body. Do those ever-helpful antioxidants even show up in the bloodstream after drinking a steaming cup?

And caffeine raises blood pressure as well as the fight or flight chemical epinephrine (adrenaline)… this can certainly cause problems. Drinking lots of coffee, besides getting you going, also has you going… to the bathroom, a lot. Caffeine after all is a mild diuretic… making you need to go more than you normally would. Interestingly, decaf coffee has the same impact on urine production as water.

Tanning Bed Dangers Underestimated

Another warning on indoor tanning beds dangers; there’s new research appearing in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that finds the main kind of ultraviolet rays in tanning beds reach a deeper layer of skin that’s even more vulnerable to cancer causing changes.

Cumulative damage like this brings signs of aging… lax skin, brown spots, wrinkles, not to mention skin cancer.

What people, especially young people, need to understand is that whether you get your tan from the beach, a tanning bed, or incidental exposure, that glowing brown color a signal of skin cell damage.

In the latest research, 12 volunteers were exposed to both UVA1 (rays from tanning beds) and UVB rays on their buttocks. UVB waves are shorter, but both doses used in the study were equal to that used for tanning in each of the two spectrums.

The UVA1 rays were more damaging to the deeper basal skin layer than UVB light, and caused more lesions known as thymine dimers in this area.

Interesting that UVB rays brought a large number of these type of lesions overall, but they weren’t as deep into the skin, and are thought less likely to bring the changes that come with skin cancer.

Tanning indoors is like smoking for the skin according to Dr. Doris Day, a Lenox Hill Hospital dermatologist. It’s the worst thing you can do, not only because of the increased risk of skin cancer but also in terms of early aging.

You might have seen ads for tanning salons that suggest time spent in tanning can help boost the body’s natural production of vitamin D, the so called sunshine vitamin. And while vitamin D is so good for you, you don’t need a tanning bed to get it.

A few moments of natural sunlight a few times each week is all it takes. And Day points out that people burn in tanning beds, and both the levels of UVA1 and UVB you get are toxic.

Teens are particularly at risk. Of course kids this age feel immortal, but the truth is they aren’t, even though aging and skin cancer seem so far away. It’s important for young people to realize that melanoma, a potentially fatal form of skin cancer, is not a disease of old people. It can be growing and spreading without you feeling sick, in a patch of skin you might not even notice.

This new research on tanning beds and skin cancer appears just as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is deciding on a ban on the use of tanning beds by children under the age of 18. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports such a ban.

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This Beauty Treatment May Be Far Risker Than Anyone Thought… Continued…

The experts believe that a FDA ban is what’s needed to keep young people safe. Incidentally, the use of tanning beds by those under 18 is already against the law in England.

Industry groups like the Indoor Tanning Association, based in Washington, D.C. insist that if there were science to back these research claims, the FDA would already have acted. The agency has been investigating these claims since March of this year.

Industry spokespeople also point out that the latest study is about ultraviolet radiation, and tanning beds have the same ratio of UV waves as the sun. UVA1 comes from the sun too… so that the sun and indoor tanning beds offer the same risks and benefits, as long as you don’t burn the skin. There is no research that has found non-burning exposure to the sun (or a sun lamp) causes cancer.

That’s true. But…

Experts believe the broad-spectrum sun protection products on the market today need regulation – it’s also critical for patients, particularly young women, to be educated about the tanning bed dangers associated with indoor UVA tanning beds.

How To Follow A Heart Healthy Diet Plan

Everyone knows that following a heart healthy diet plan is an important way to make heart disease less likely. Now a new study appearing in PLoS Medicine finds that even those who have genes that put them at a higher risk for heart problems can get the very same benefit from healthy eating.

So, enjoying all those good-for-you fruits and veggies can overcome your genetic risk of heart attack.

Estimates are that almost 20% of the population has a copy of the “bad” heart gene according to Sonia S. Anand, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada and lead researcher on the latest study. She and her colleagues looked at how diet might affect variants in the chromosome 9p21 region.

Back in 2007 experts from different countries found that variants in this 9p21 area were associated with heart disease and more specifically, heart attack. Some of us have one copy of the gene; others have two, which is believed to make the risk of heart problems even greater.

Anand and her team examined the effects of a healthy (or unhealthy) eating plan on over 27,000 subjects of five ethnicities, Arab, Chinese, European, Latin American and South Asian. Some of the subjects were known to have high-risk genes.

In one group, from the INTERHEART study, 3,820 subjects who had heart attacks were compared with 4,294 who didn’t. The FINRISK research provided the second group, 19,129 subjects, where 1,014 were known to have heart disease.

The INTERHEART research provided different diet information with diet scores based on raw veggie and fruit intake. The score also accounted for risk foods like fried foods, salty snacks and meat.

In the FINRISK study, diet details were collected from a questionnaire that had 130 food items. The score a participant received was based on their intake of fruit, veggies and berries. If you ate at least two out of those three items each day you were given the prudent rating.

If you had bad genes and ate the least prudent diet, heart disease risk increased almost 30%, but the risk of those who had the bad genotype but were part of the high prudent eating plan group saw no increased risk of heart attack.

This suggests that diet can make bad genes behave even more badly. The opposite also was shown to be true – the better the diet the lower the risk of disease.

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How A Healthy Diet Offsets Bad Genes For Heart Disease… Continued…

The take home message here is that even with bad genetics, you might still be able to do something about them with a diet that’s regularly loaded with prudent choices like healthful fruits and veggies.

Interesting to realize that the choices you make, every single day at every single meal, can have such an impact on your health. It’s encouraging to realize that maybe you can, if not change your genes at least make them less of a threat to your health.

If the very solid research on the benefits of a heart healthy diet plan is supported by further work, it could have an impact for many at risk of heart disease. The study also serves as the first evidence in an emerging field known as nutrigenomics, or the study of the way our genes interact with the nutrients in our diet.

The Benefits Of Sleep

The benefits of sleep (and the problems caused by a lack of if) have a direct influence on heart health. We know that sleep duration has gone down from 1.5 to 2 hours a night per person over the last half century. This leaves all too many of us less productive, more emotional, with foggier, slower thinking processes and unable to fully enjoy all life has to offer.

Add to this more than one recent study that finds an association between getting less sleep (under 6 hours a night) and higher risk of heart disease.

In fact, during 2011 there was a European Heart Journal review of 15 research projects that included just about 475,000 subjects. This review found that short sleepers had a 48% higher risk of developing (or dying from) heart disease during the 7 to 25 year follow up, a 15% higher risk of dying from a stroke during that same time.

Curiously, those who got lots of sleep (9+ hours a night) also had a higher (38%) risk of developing or dying from heard disease, a 65% higher risk of stroke.

No one yet understands the mechanisms behind sleep and heart disease. It’s not that amount of sleep causes heart disease according to Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD a professor and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, but it ups the risk factors for this condition. Lack of sleep increases your risk of possible trouble.

One 2008 research project out of the University of Chicago found an association between less sleep and higher coronary artery calcification, a good predictor of subsequent coronary artery disease.

Shorter sleep also predicted worsening high blood pressure – for most of us blood pressure naturally goes down at night. It could be that with less sleep, there isn’t enough time for the needed drop to happen.

Can you reverse this trend?

No one can say for sure. One of the reasons is that sleep’s effects on the heart are a new area of study. Measuring sleep is complicated as well, and many sleep studies rely on self-reported habits, which aren’t always so accurate. When you have your sleep measured with an activity monitor, this procedure changes your natural and usual pattern of sleep.

The take home message – for most of us, sleeping less than 6 hours a night is likely not good for us. According to Phyllis Zee, sleep…

- Decreases the work your heart has to do, both blood pressure and heart rate go down at night.

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How Your Heart Is Affected By How You Sleep… Continued…

- Sleep deprivation brings less variability in your heart rate, so the rate stays elevated, looking (and feeling) like high stress to the body.

- Sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance, a risk for developing both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

- Lack of sleep can increase C-reactive protein; released with stress and inflammation – if this number is too high it’s a risk for heart disease.

- Not getting enough sleep interferes with appetite regulation, so you might eat more, or eat foods that aren’t so good for your heart.

Add all this to the troubles too little sleep gives us mentally and emotionally and you can see why getting the right amount of good, quality sleep is so important. After all, how you feel when you’re awake depends in good measure on how well you sleep each night. Practice good sleep habits and avoiding common enemies (caffeine, stimulation) of sleep to gain the most out of the benefits of sleep.

Healthy Eating And Living Habits Increase Longevity

New numbers just in on healthy living and eating bring some welcome news… Americans are living a full 12 months longer than just 10 years ago.  U.S. life expectancy went from 76.8 to 77.8 years according to numbers given by acting Director of disease prevention and health promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Carter, R. Blakey.

So why are we living longer?

Fewer people are dying from cancers like breast, colon and prostate, heart disease and HIV. This is great news out of the Health and Human Services report HealthyPeople 2010. The program, established in 1980, sets challenging, measurable goals to improve the health of all of us. The 2010 incarnation aimed to increase our life span, how well we live and remove the disparities in health care between ethnic and racial groups.

The report is based on 733 health indicators, each that had a very ambitious quantifiable target. Data was collected during the 1990s and early 2000s, and then compared to recent information – 23% of the targets set back in November 2000 for HealthyPeople 2010 were met, 48% showed improvement.

That’s leaves just 24% of the indicators moving in the wrong direction – away from the goal. Diabetes and other problems associated with obesity still clearly need to be addressed. Solving the obesity issue will help people make strides in a huge number of health problems.

While HealthyPeople 2010 didn’t make impressive gains in lowering rates of obesity, diabetes, lack of exercise and disparities in health care, experts do find some good news in the latest numbers.

Prevention was another bright spot of the findings; the numbers of adults over 50 who’d been screened for colon cancer went from just 35% in 1998 to 55% in 2008 – beating the goal that had been set. Full immunizations for children aged 19 to 35 months old went from 73% in 1998 to 78% in 2008 – close to the target of 80%.

At least we’re talking about the issue, where ten years ago, it wasn’t part of the dialog.

Today first lady Michelle Obama has taken hold of the issue and has us talking about obesity in both adults and children. This, the experts believe, is the start of real change. Part of the first lady’s plan is known as the Let’s Move campaign, aimed at bringing down childhood obesity by getting kids to exercise and make good food choices.

Already the numbers show that obesity rates in a many populations are leveling off. Progress is sure to come next.

What we eat is only part of the story…

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Latest Numbers: People In U.S. Living Longer, Healthier… Continued…

Exercise (or more properly lack of it) is also a significant contributor to the problem. Add to this that healthy foods are more expensive, less well advertised and often harder to come by. This sets people up to make unhealthy food choices. Naturally experts are calling for government and others to do all they can to make it easier for people to make healthy choices.

Moving forward to HealthyPeople 2020, the access in health care for minorities will be addressed by a law passed in 2010 that’s already helped with coverage for young adults under 25 who are now able to stay on their parents insurance plans. There’s progress in insurance coverage, and reforms are in the air that encourage healthy living and eating habits.

Chocolate Health Benefits May Prevent A Stroke

Just two chocolate bars a week is all it takes, according to some new research out of Sweden, for a woman to bring down her stroke and possibly prevent a stroke. This latest work builds on earlier findings in men and women, but also provides us with some new information on stroke type and chocolate health benefits.

A team of researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute examined 33,372 subjects taking part in the Swedish Mammography Cohort who were from 49 to 83 years old, for a period of ten years that ended in 2008.

The participants answered questions about how often they ate chocolate and 95 other foods during the previous year. The subjects were broken into 8 categories depending on how much chocolate they ate. The groups ranged from an astonishing “never” to a far more reasonable “3 or more times each day”.

During the follow up period, 1,549 strokes took place, and of that total, 1,200 were brought on by clots or another disturbance of the blood vessels. Burst vessels caused another 224, and the reason for the last 125 was not specified. But even after adjusting for stroke risk factors, Larsson and the team saw that chocolate was protective. This may be because it helps to lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke.

Stroke protection began at over 45 grams (almost 1.5 ounces) of chocolate a week, the group that ate the most chocolate got the most benefit, cutting their stroke risk by 20%. In this group the median intake (half of intakes above this point, half below) was almost 2.3 ounces of chocolate per week. And while earlier studies have shown a link between chocolate eating and stroke risk, this project uncovered a slight difference in the protection in terms of the type of stroke.

Those subjects who ate the most chocolate were protected a whole lot more from strokes due to hemorrhage than those brought on by obstructions like blood clots. No one is sure why this difference in protection might be.

Chocolate, besides tasting divine, is loaded with beneficial flavonoids that are a natural part of the cocoa and act as antioxidants once inside the body. They help protect our cells from free radical damage that can be especially troublesome for the cardiovascular system.

An intriguing quirk of nature means chocolate has eight times the antioxidants that are a natural part of strawberries.

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A Woman Can Cut Her Stroke Risk By Eating This… Continued…

Also important, the study used Swedish milk chocolate and this variety has about 30% cocoa solids, while the milk chocolate commonly sold in the U.S. probably has much less than this amount. Dark chocolate naturally has higher amounts of cocoa and is lower in sugar, fat and calories as well.

What’s more, only 1/3 of the fat in dark chocolate is known to be bad for you.

This is just another bit of research that finds chocolate health benefits, but before you tuck in, make a wise and informed choice in order to get the benefits (without the nasty calories, adding pounds) to your body. Many experts recommend chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, based on earlier research that found the higher concentration of cocoa lowers the risk of heart disease and may prevent a stroke.

Foods For Fighting Cancer

Some intriguing, but preliminary, research on foods for fighting cancer and colon cancer. Supplements of ginger have been shown to lower some indicators of inflammation in the colon according to a new study that appears in Cancer Prevention Research.

This work is an initial step in finding out if the compounds that are naturally a part of ginger root might also prevent cancer of the colon. While the study is hailed as being well done, exciting even, it’s still early in the game.

According to lead study author Suzanna M. Zick, ND, a naturopathic doctor and research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, there are many cell culture studies that have shown ginger to be an anti-inflammatory. Studies in mice and other rodents have demonstrated that ginger can stop the formation of tumors when fed to the subject animals that were exposed to a chemical that causes cancer of the colon.

Ginger has been used in food preparation in the Far East for many thousands of years. Researchers admit that there’s likely a reason for such long-standing popularity, though science has yet to figure out exactly what it is.

Naturally the researchers wanted to see if findings on ginger root in rodents translated to people.

To get the answer, the team randomly assigned 30 healthy adult subjects to take capsules of either 2 grams (in eight 250-miligram doses) of powdered ginger root or a placebo powder every day for 28 days. The amount used in the research measures out to be about 2 tablespoons of ground up ginger according to Zick.

People in the ginger study were asked to take the supplements with meals, and weren’t allowed to use any other drugs, even aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, either before or during the study as these are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects.

Both at the start and end of the research, tissue samples from the lining of each participants’ colon were taken. The team tested these samples for eicosanoids, a chemical known to increase inflammation in the digestive system.

They saw that ginger was able to bring down the level of inflammatory markers in the tissue, compared to the placebo tissue samples. And we do know that increased inflammation in the digestive tissue is very strongly associated with developing precancerous lesions, even cancerous polyps.

While the amount of ginger used in the study was way over what the average American might take in as part of our daily diet, in India, China and Japan people eat that much on a daily basis. Coincidence then that these countries also have lower rates of colorectal cancers?

Continues below…


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Find out why counting calories is bad for you and can sabotage your dieting efforts.

Discover a new way to effortlessly shed unwanted pounds and drop 9 lbs. every 11 days.

This diet is called the “Idiot Proof Diet” because it’s all worked out for you and there’s no need for calorie counting or label reading.

Click through to find out how you can be slimmer with this innovative new weight loss system…

Click through now to discover how to drop 9lbs every 11 days…
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This Spice May Reduce Inflammation In The Colon, Preventing Cancer… Continued…

Of course the Asian diet might also be protective because it has more veggies and fiber, and less red meat. Researchers are still working that out.

The side effects of ginger supplements are stomach upset, heartburn and gas, but nothing more serious. Supplements of ginger are usually well tolerated and safe for most people.

Certainly if you are at high risk of colon cancer, you’ll want to discuss this research on foods for fighting cancer with your own healthcare team. While no one is ready to have you running for supplements or putting ginger on everything you eat, it can do no harm to enjoy a little bit now and again. Certainly a preventive approach that’s neither toxic nor harmful to quality of life, and is affordable to boot, is all worth further study.

Looking For A Weight Control Diet?

Counting calories may not be enough when it comes to following a weight control diet. A diet with 15% protein may well help you keep your eating, and your weight, under control according to the findings of a new study appearing in PloS One. Paying strict attention to the percent of calories you get from protein is likely the key says Alison Gosby, Ph.D. from the University of Sydney in Australia.

Many experts think that the protein content of the diet does play a key role in determining how many calories you eat and how hungry you are. This study lends support in the form of solid numbers.

Some think protein levels that are too low might actually be driving the obesity epidemic. Interesting that from 1961 to the year 2000 there’s research that shows the diet in the U.S. went from 14% protein to just 12.5%.

Obesity numbers have risen rather dramatically during that same period.

The most recent study involved feeding 24 lean male and female subjects one of three diets with differing protein content – a 10%, 15% (recommended most often) and 25% protein diet.

The participants ate the diet over four days while at the research center. They had ready access to other foods besides the meals they were given as part of the research, and could eat freely. Everything they ate was recorded.

On the 10% protein eating plan the lean subjects ate 12% more calories (from carbs and fat filled foods) over a four-day period than they did on the higher, 15% protein diet.

Both the higher protein diets, 15% and 25%, didn’t make a difference in the amount of calories eaten by the participants. The majority of the excess energy, 70% in fact, was from snacks, instead of regular meals. Hunger was reportedly the same across all three diets.

The Australian researchers believe that people have an especially intense appetite for protein, and that when the protein content of your diet goes down too low, you keep eating in an attempt to get to that target level. This is called the protein leverage effect.

The take home message from the work is to be sure you’re getting some protein as part of each meal. This can help you make better food choices later on.

You’ll want to avoid foods high in fat and simple sugars, as these choices dilute the protein in your diet. This can encourage you to eat more than you should, take in more calories than you need, and pack on the pounds.

Here’s how to figure out the numbers.

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The “secret” to losing belly fat…

You’ve been lied to. Lied to by the fitness magazines, lied to by the government and lied to by the food industry.

Lies such as…

-> You need to eat “low calorie” to lose fat
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-> You should eat plenty of whole grains to stay healthy and lean
-> Losing fat is a slow & steady process

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Protein Key To Maintaining Weight Control… Continued…

If you want to eat a diet of 15% protein and you take in 2,000 calories a day, you’d want to eat 300 calories from protein sources. That’s 75 grams of protein; one gram has 4 calories. Some examples include having six servings of whole grains to get 18 grams, or 3 cups of dairy for a generous 24 grams.

When choosing protein rich foods, be sure to look at what comes with all that good-for-you protein. Both animal and vegetable proteins are thought to have the same effect on your health.

Vegetable sources such as beans, nuts and whole grains also bring the body beneficial fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. The best animal protein sources are fish and poultry, though if you do enjoy red meats, look for lean cuts and eat a moderate portion as part of your weight control diet.

Fat Tax On Food Introduced

In an effort to curb unhealthy eating and improve life expectancy, Denmark has become the first nation in the world to impose a  “fat tax” on food with lots of saturated fat. Things like oil, butter, milk, cheese, meat and those processed goodies will be taxed according to the percentage of fat they contain.

Any supermarket or menu item that has more than 2.3% saturated fat will be subject to a $2.90 per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) of saturated fat surcharge. This comes to an extra 15¢ for a burger, 40¢ more for a small size pack of butter. Not budget busting costs, to be sure.

And rather ironic coming from a nation whose role through the centuries has been to produce and export the most fattening of foods – cheese, butter and bacon. The butter and cheese industries are major businesses in Denmark, and bacon production dominates the market in the UK.

This move is only the latest in the nation’s bid to get people eating healthier. Back in 2004 Denmark made it illegal for any food to have more than 2% trans fats. And in 2010, the nation raised taxes on confections (cookies, candy and the like) by 25%. The taxes on other bad for you staples, things like soda, tobacco and alcohol, are even higher than those established by the European Union.

The Danish government hopes this hit to the wallet will make people think before they buy. The new tax was approved by a large majority in a parliament held back in March 2011 as a way to help increase the average life expectancy of the Danish people by as much as 3 years over the next decade. They currently boast a life expectancy of 79 years, but his falls below the European average.

The citizens, as you might expect, are wondering why the government just doesn’t make healthy foods less costly. Make fruits and veggies easier to get and cheaper. No surprise that Danes were reportedly hoarding the to-be-taxed items in the days before the tax went into effect.

Yet unlike the United States, Denmark isn’t a country known for having weight problems. In fact, just 10% of people there are considered obese, while here in the U.S. that number climbs to 30%.

So what does this move tell food and health reformers in other nations?

Continues below…


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Denmark First Nation To Enact “Fat Tax”, Are We Next..? Continued…

France has limited ketchup in both school and university cafeterias except for once a week, as part of a program to encourage healthier school lunches, though there’s no sign of a fat tax coming to France anytime soon.

In the U.S. the obesity problem is the result of so many factors a single tax isn’t considered a viable option. In fact, when it comes to soda taxes, research shows people simply switch to another calorie-laden beverage, avoiding the tax, still living unhealthily and overweight.

Would a fat tax work in the U.S.?

According to Dr. Marion Nestle, a professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health from New York University, such a thing would be impossible to enact in this country. Her certainty comes from a ready example. There’s no tax here on sweetened drinks… and though the idea has been around since the 1990s, there is no tax. Many European nations already pay taxes on such beverages.

As to the fat tax on food now being collected in Denmark, no one can say for sure how it will play out. It may be that taxing foods a nation loves will have the opposite effect, urging people to eat more of what they love. Only time will tell.