HEALTH BRIEFS: Nuts Improve Cancer Survival; Walking Prevents Heart Failure; Grape Seed Inhibits Cancer
WALKING HELPS TO PREVENT HEART FAILURE
A new study found that walking for at least 40 minutes, several times per week, at an average-to-fast pace may reduce risk heart failure risk among post-menopausal women by 25%. The benefit appears to be consistent regardless of body weight.
About 6.5 million adults have heart failure, a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body. The risk of heart failure rises with age. It is already known that physical activity lowers the risk of heart failure, but there was a misconception that simple walking is not enough to reduce this risk.
The analysis showed that walking is not only an accessible form of exercise but almost equal to all different types of exercise that have been studied previously in terms of lowering heart failure risk. Participants were between 50 and 79 years of age at enrolment. Those in the highest tertile of a measurement that combines walking frequency, duration, and speed were 25% less likely to develop heart failure compared with those in the lowest tertile.
The findings also suggested that walking frequency, duration, and speed each contribute about equally to this overall benefit. Women who walked at least twice a week had a 20 to 25% lower risk of heart failure than those who walked less frequently. Those who walked for 40 minutes or more at a time had a 21% – 25% lower risk than those taking shorter walks. Women walking at an average or fast pace showed a 26% and 38% lower risk of heart failure, respectively, compared with women who walked at a casual pace.
Researchers said the results were consistent across different age categories, ethnicities and baseline body weight in post-menopausal women, suggesting the findings can be generalized to apply to most women above 50 years old. This study was presented in Orlando at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session, in March 2018.
DASH DIET MAY REDUCE RATES OF DEPRESSION
New findings suggest that people who eat more vegetables, fruit, and whole grains may have lower rates of depression over time. People whose diets adhered more closely to the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) were less likely to develop depression than people who did not closely follow this diet.
In addition to fruit and vegetables, the DASH diet recommends fat-free or low-fat dairy products and limits foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. Studies have shown health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and lower LDL cholesterol. Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems or high blood pressure or high cholesterol, and in people who have had a stroke.
For the study, 964 participants were evaluated yearly for an average of six-and-a-half years. They were monitored for symptoms of depression such as being bothered by things that usually did not affect them and feeling hopeless about the future. They also filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods, and the researchers looked at how closely the participants followed diets such as the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and the traditional Western diet. People who followed the DASH diet closely were 11% less likely to develop depression than people in the group who did not.
On the other hand, the more closely people followed a Western diet – which is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables – the more likely they were to develop depression. This type of study cannot prove that the DASH diet leads to a reduced risk of depression, only that there is a connection. This preliminary report was released February 27, 2018. The complete study was presented at the 70th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held April 21 to 27, 2018.
NUT CONSUMPTION IMPROVES SURVIVAL IN CANCER PATIENTS
A new study has shown that people with stage III colon cancer who regularly eat nuts are at significantly lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality than those who do not consume nuts regularly.
The study followed participants for a median of 6.5 years after they were treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Those who consumed one-ounce servings of nuts at least twice per week demonstrated a 42% improvement in disease-free survival and a 57% improvement in overall survival. Furthermore, disease-free survival increased by 46% among a subgroup of nut consumers who ate tree nuts rather than peanuts. (Tree nuts include almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans, among others. In contrast, peanuts are actually in the legumes family of foods.)
These studies support the hypothesis that behaviours which make you less insulin resistant, such as eating nuts, can improve outcomes in colon cancer.
This study was posted online February 28, 2018, ahead of eventual publication in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The full-text study can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/y94cj2er for a fee.
(Editor’s note: It has also been found that raw, unroasted, unsalted nuts are healthier for the body because their fats have not been adulterated by heat.)
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT INHIBITS GROWTH OF CANCER CELLS
Chemicals found in grape seeds inhibit growth of colorectal tumours in both cell cultures and in mice, according to a study in the October 18, 2006 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. In fact, scientists found a 44% reduction of advanced colorectal tumours. They also uncovered, for the first time, the mechanism by which grape seed extract works to suppress cancer growth. The authors found that the extract increases availability of a critical protein, called Cip1/p21, that effectively freezes the cell cycle inside tumours; it can even push a cancer cell to self-destruct.
“With these results, we are not suggesting that people run out and buy and use grape seed extract. That could be dangerous since so little is known about doses and side effects,” said Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, speaking to Vitality from his office in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Skuggs School of Pharmacy in Denver, Co. “The value of this preclinical study is that it shows grape seed extract can attack cancer, and how it works, but much more investigation will be needed before these chemicals can be tested as a human cancer treatment and preventive.”
The skin and seeds of grapes are a rich source of proanthocyanidins, a class of antioxidant flavonoids that remove harmful free oxygen radicals from cells. Grape juice and red wine are known for their heart healthy effects, especially in lowering levels of blood cholesterol; and grape seeds contain higher concentrations of these chemicals.
(Editor’s note: More recently, Ty Bollinger reported in The Truth About Cancer that: “Some studies have also found that grape seed extract (GSE) may help prevent the growth of various types of cancer cells, including those of the breast, stomach, prostate, lung, and colon, at least in vitro. The University of Maryland Medical Center, while offering the caveat that test-tube studies aren’t necessarily indicative of efficacy in humans, admits that GSE could eventually prove to be a powerful anti-cancer medicine, and I’m of the persuasion that they’re right.” For more on the report by Ty Bollinger visit: https://tinyurl.com/yb2vy7wv)
DID YOU KNOW…?
- Researchers have found that the most germ-covered area of an airplane is the fold-down tray table, while bathroom surfaces were comparatively clean. Airport bathrooms were cleaner, too, while the dirtiest area of an airport was found to be water fountain knobs.
- A study found that tattoos result in ink pigments and toxic compounds being deposited in lymph nodes. Future research will determine whether they are inflammatory or cause harm to health.
- Being in the O-type blood group provides a lower risk of heart attack than being type A, B, or AB, according to research presented at the 4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure.
- A recent study found that people who are at an ideal weight chew their food almost 40 times before swallowing, while those who are overweight chew less than 10 times before swallowing.
- The amount of the potentially risky chemical BPA that is absorbed into your body by handling bank machine (ATM or ABM) receipts or cash register receipts is increased – by 18,500% – if a hand sanitizer, moisturizer, or sunscreen is present on the hands.
- About 68% of all animal poisonings are caused by human owners giving human medications to their pets. Even a minute amount of almost all drugs, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, overwhelm the animal metabolism, causing overdose.
- Having acne during your teens increases your risk of developing the deadly skin cancer known as melanoma, according to the journal Cancer.
- The SPF designation of sunscreens refers only to protection against UVB rays that burn the skin. It has no bearing on protection against UVA rays which accelerate skin aging, suppress the immune system, and cause skin cancer.
- Over 80% of all premature deaths of nursing home residents are the result of falls, according to a comprehensive study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
- Drying your hands with paper towels is far more hygienic and leaves fewer bacteria on your hands than a hot-air dryer, according to a Mayo Clinic Proceedings review.
- Sniffing rosemary essential oil enhances cognition and working memory, which is a part of short-term memory, reports Northumbria University (U.K.) scientists.
- A report from the UN World Health Organization found that 90% of the global population live in areas of high outdoor air pollution, and this causes about three million deaths per year, many due to cardiovascular disease or stroke.
- Smoking drastically alters the oral microbiome, the mix of roughly 600 beneficial probiotic species that live in the mouth.
- The idea that the sun is strongest when it is hottest is a myth. The temperature of sunlight varies at various times of the day. But the ultraviolet rays are always strongest when the sun is highest in the sky; in North America, this is usually between 11 am to 3 pm.
- Carrots, often cited as the greatest plant food source for vitamin A, provide about 18,378 IU of vitamin A per cup. But a cup of pumpkin provides 38,135 IU of vitamin A, more than twice as much.
- About one in five sunscreens on the market contain retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that can speed development of skin cancer tumours, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
- A Dutch study found that drinking three cups of green tea daily keeps blood sugar in check, reducing the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 40%.
- In a study of Mexican-American women over 65, which was reported in the journal Gerontologist, drinking chamomile tea was associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes.