Diet Soda Increases Cardiovascular Disease Risk

Drinking diet soda increases the risk of vascular events, according to new research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011. In findings involving 2,564 individuals in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS), scientists said that people who drank diet soda every day had a significantly higher risk of vascular events than those who reported no soda drinking. NOMAS is a collaboration of investigators at Columbia University and Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, launched in 1993 to examine stroke incidence and risk factors in a multi-ethnic urban population. “If our results are confirmed with future studies, then it would suggest that diet soda may not be the optimal substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages for protection against vascular outcomes,” says lead author Hannah Gardener, Sc.D., epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In the soda study, researchers asked subjects at the outset to report how much and what kind of soda they drank. Based on the data, they grouped participants into seven consumption categories: No soda, moderate regular soda intake, daily regular soda, moderate diet soda, daily diet soda, moderate diet and regular soda, and daily diet and regular soda. During an average follow-up of 9.3 years, 559 vascular events occurred, including stroke. Even after accounting for patients’ lifestyle habits, metabolic syndrome, and vascular disease and heart disease history, the increased risk of vascular events among those who consumed diet soda persisted at a rate 48 percent higher. Diet soda can adversely affect health: • Caffeine, artificial sweeteners and sodium in diet soda can have negative health effects. • Diet soda may not aid in weight loss or management. • Body mass gain may be a consequence of artificial sweetener consumption. • Acids in diet soda can affect dental health. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Fish Oil For Diabetes

A molecular mechanism that makes omega-3 fatty acids so effective in reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance may lead to a simple dietary remedy for the more than 23 million Americans suffering from diabetes and other conditions. Jerold Olefsky, M.D., and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine recently identified key receptors on white blood cells, or macrophages, which are found in obese body fat. Obesity and diabetes are closely associated. The scientists say omega-3 fatty acids activate this cell macrophage receptor, resulting in anti-inflammatory effects and improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is the condition in which the hormone insulin becomes less effective at regulating blood sugar levels in the body, leading to type 2 diabetes and other health problems. These cell macrophages digest cellular debris and pathogens as an immune system response. Part of this response involves the macrophages producing proteins that cause inflammation, a method for destroying harmful cells and objects. Obese fat tissue contains lots of these macrophages producing lots of protein, which can result in chronic inflammation and rising insulin resistance. Fish oils, or omega-3 fatty acids, interact with receptors located on macrophages, generating a strong anti-inflammatory effect. “It’s just an incredibly potent effect,” says Olefsky. “The omega-3 fatty acids kill the inflammatory response. This is nature at work. The receptor responds to a natural product—omega-3 fatty acids—so that the inflammatory process can be controlled.” Fish oils safely do this and suggest a possible way to treat the problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation. In addition to fish oil supplementation, healthy dietary choices for diabetes management include: • Fiber-rich foods—legumes, whole wheat flour, wheat bran. • Healthy carbohydrates—low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables. • Reduced amounts of food products containing saturated and trans fats. • Limited intake of meats, eggs and other high cholesterol foods. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Fiber Intake And Chinese Food Therapy Improve Longevity

Dietary fiber may be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases, according to a new Archives of Internal Medicine study. In addition to a balanced diet, Chinese food therapy can effectively prevent illness utilizing natural foods. Fiber has been hypothesized to lower risks of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and obesity. It is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure, promote weight loss, and reduce inflammation. Yikyung Par, Sc.D., of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and colleagues analyzed data from 219,123 men and 168,999 women. Participants completed a food frequency questionnaire at the beginning of the study. Participants’ fiber intake ranged from 13 to 29 grams per day in men and from 11 to 26 grams per day in women. The risk of cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases was reduced by 24 to 56 percent in men and 34 to 59 percent in women with high fiber intakes. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 grams per 1,000 calories of dietary fiber. A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits. Traditional Chinese medicine recommends that diet should change according to the season. As winter is a yin season, yang foods can offer warmth and energy during this time of the year. During summer, a yang period, yin foods can cool and lighten the diet. Both types of food should be included in the diet to keep the constitution in balance. Medicinal foods can: • Improve health. • Combat symptoms of health conditions. • Reduce adverse side effects of medications. • Strengthen vitality after illness. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Antioxidants Associated With Longer Life

High blood levels of antioxidants appear to be associated with longer life. Oxygen-related damage to DNA, proteins and fats may play a role in the development of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene are all carotenoids with antioxidant properties which can counteract this damage. There are several dozen carotenoids that have antioxidant activity in the foods that we eat. Beta-carotene is the most well-known, since in most countries it is the most common in fruits and vegetables. However, in the U.S., lycopene from tomatoes now is consumed in approximately the same amount as beta-carotene. Antioxidants (including carotenoids) have been studied for their ability to prevent chronic disease. Findings suggest eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases. Chaoyang Li, M.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues assessed the relationship between alpha-carotene and increased mortality risk for a JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine study. Among 15,318 adults who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Follow-Up Study, researchers assessed wellness in participants over a 16-year follow-up. Participants with higher levels of alpha-carotene in the blood had a lower mortality risk compared to those with lower levels. Higher alpha-carotene concentration also appeared to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. “Alpha-carotene is chemically similar to beta-carotene but may be more effective at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the brain, liver and skin,” the authors write. Consumption of yellow-orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash) and dark-green (broccoli, green beans, green peas, spinach, turnips greens, collards, and leaf lettuce) vegetables, which have a high alpha-carotene content, has been previously associated with a decreased risk of lung cancer. In addition to a diet high in levels of antioxidants, traditional Chinese medicine therapies can aid in promoting longevity and wellness. Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy can: • Reduce stress. • Restore balance. • Increase vitality. • Enhance the body’s natural healing abilities. … Read More

Sleep Deprived Students Eat More Fatty Foods

Teens that sleep less than eight hours per night eat higher proportions of fatty foods and snacks than adolescents who sleep eight hours or more, according to a new study in the journal Sleep. Short sleep duration may increase obesity risk by causing small changes in eating patterns that cumulatively alter energy balance, especially in girls. Shorter sleep duration is associated with an increase in the percentage of calories consumed from fats and a decrease in the percentage of calories from carbohydrates. Teens who sleep less than eight hours per night consume 2.2 percent more calories from fats and 3 percent fewer calories from carbs than teens who sleep eight hours or more. “The relative increase in fat consumption among shorter sleepers by 2.2 percent per day chronically may contribute to cumulative increases in energy consumption that would be expected to increase risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease,” says author Susan Redline, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. There is also an association between sleep duration and snacking. For each one-hour increase in sleep duration, the odds of consuming a high amount of calories from snacks decrease by an average of 21 percent. There are numerous pathways by which sleep loss may promote weight gain. Reductions in sleep duration may alter metabolic rate and affect hormones that regulate appetite. Sleep restriction may also initiate stress responses that promote overeating and reduce the motivation to exercise. Sleep may be the missing link in obesity interventions that focus only on diet and exercise. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens get at least nine hours of sleep each night to feel alert and well rested during the day. Tips for improving sleep: • Relax an hour before bedtime by reducing daily activities. • Ensure lighting, sound and temperature are conducive to sleep. • Exercise regularly. • Avoid sleep medications. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for the treatment of sleep disorders as well as a wide range of other health conditions. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Vitamin D For Respiratory Viruses

Vitamin D may help reduce the incidence and severity of viral respiratory tract infections including influenza, according to a new Yale University School of Medicine and Greenwich Hospital study. To determine if the declining concentrations of vitamin D seen in the fall and winter could be a factor in the seasonal increased prevalence of respiratory viral infections such as the flu, James Sabetta, M.D., and colleagues followed 198 adults during the fall and winter. Of the 18 participants who maintained high vitamin D levels, only three (16.6 percent) developed viral infections. Of the 180 other participants, 81 (45 percent) developed viral infections. Those with the higher vitamin D levels also experienced a marked reduction in respiratory tract infection symptoms such as nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, fever, chills, fatigue, and general malaise. They also had less days ill. The lower levels of vitamin D seen in the winter may contribute to the prevalence of influenza. Indoor crowding is commonly thought to contribute to the influenza epidemics seen each winter. However, influenza epidemics do not occur in summer in crowded workplaces or other gatherings, despite the presence of the virus and a multitude of nonimmune people. Findings have implications for understanding the seasonality of certain infections and higher infection rates among individuals who are predisposed to lower concentrations of vitamin D, such as obese individuals. Vitamin D, which we get partially from exposure to sunlight, has known benefits: • Boosts the immune system. • Decreases high blood pressure. • Reduces the risk of developing arthritis. • Combats viral infections. Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director. … Read More

Fewer Sugary Sodas, Reduced Blood Pressure

Consuming fewer sugar-sweetened beverages may reduce blood pressure, according to a new study. Sugar-sweetened beverages, one of the most common sources of excess sugar in the diet, have been previously linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. "Our findings suggest that reducing sugar-sweetened beverages and sugar consumption may be an important dietary strategy to lower blood pressure and further reduce other blood pressure-related diseases," says lead author Liwei Chen, M.D., assistant professor at Louisiana State University Health Science Center School of Public Health. “Reductions in blood pressure would be anticipated by reducing sugar-sweetened beverages consumption by an average of two servings per day,” says Chen. Using data on 810 adults with prehypertension and stage I hypertension, researchers concluded that reducing intake of sodas lowered blood pressure significantly. American adults consume an average of 2.3 servings (28 ounces) of sugar-sweetened beverages per day, such as drinks sweetened with sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, regular soft drinks, fruit drinks, and lemonade. The findings have relevant public health implications, as even minor reductions in blood pressure can have significant health benefits on a population level. The study appears in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Sugar contains empty calories with no nutrients. Read labels and avoid ingredients that are forms of sugar including: • Glucose • Dextrose • Fructose • Maltose Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. … Read More

Health Benefits Of Chocolate

Chocolate has health benefits, in small quantities and if it’s dark chocolate. New research appearing in the European Heart Journal indicates that one small square of chocolate daily can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Researchers in Germany surveyed over 19,000 people and found that those who ate the most amount of chocolate had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who consumed less chocolate. “Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food, such as snacks, in order to keep body weight stable,” says Brian Buijsse, M.D., a nutritional epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition. Flavonols in cocoa may be the ingredient in chocolate which produces the beneficial effect on blood pressure and heart health. Because there is a greater amount of cocoa in dark chocolate, dark chocolate may have an increased health benefit. Health benefits of chocolate: • Lowers blood pressure. • Increases endorphin production which improves mood. • The serotonin content in chocolate regulates sleep and acts as an anti-depressant. • Reduces LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. Flavonols may improve heart health by increasing the availability of nitric oxide from cells that line the blood vessel walls. Nitric oxide causes the muscle cells of the blood vessels to relax and widen, which can contribute to lower blood pressure. … Read More

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