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Strawberries may be sweet and juicy, but they are more than just their taste. This fruit can reduce inflammation and cognitive issues related to aging.
In a study published in the Journals of Gerontology Series A, a team of researchers from the Salk Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory discovered that these are all due to the dietary flavonoid called fisetin, which is abundant in strawberries. The research team fed prematurely aging mice a daily dose of fisetin with their food for seven months, and a different group of prematurely aging mice was fed with the same food but without fisetin. During the study period, they subjected the mice to various activity and memory tests. In addition, they looked at the levels of specific proteins in the mice associated with brain function, stress responses, and inflammation.
Results revealed that getting more of fisetin can provide benefits to memory and osteoarthritis symptoms. The group of mice that did not receive fisetin showed increased markers of inflammation and stress, as well as difficulties on the cognitive tests. On the other hand, the group that received fisetin did not show any sign of age-related decline both physically and cognitively. In addition, there were no signs of toxicity or adverse effects from taking the compound fisetin, even at high doses.
Earlier studies have also found fisetin to be beneficial to the conditions of mercury exposure, homocysteine clearance, diabetic neuropathy, and liver damage. Fisetin can also be found in other fruits, such as apples, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, persimmons, and tomatoes. It can also be obtained from vegetables, such as cucumbers and onions as well as some types of nuts. However, strawberries have the highest amount of this powerful flavonoid among other dietary sources. (MORE)
Not all drinks were made to quench a person’s thirst: Far from it, alcoholic beverages and those that contain sugar make us even thirstier, and scientists may have found the reason why. In a study published in Cell Metabolism, research indicated the liver hormone FGF21, or fibroblast growth factor 21, to be responsible for the brain’s actions to increase water intake to prevent dehydration.
Looking for water after a sweet night out
Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) have been studying FGF21 for a long time, with earlier research pointing out the hormone’s ability to act using the brain’s reward pathway to control the need for sugar and alcohol in favor of drinking water.
“We knew that exposure to alcohol or sugar turns on production of FGF21 in the liver. What we now show is that this hormone then travels in the blood to a specific part of the brain, the hypothalamus, to stimulate thirst, thereby preventing dehydration,” explained Dr. Steven Kliewer, a professor at UT Southwestern. “Unexpectedly, FGF21 works through a new pathway that is independent of the classical renin-angiotensin-aldosterone thirst pathway in the kidneys.”
In the study, the team discovered that FGF21 regulated hydration in response to nutrient stress. Using both healthy mice and those that were mutated to be genetically unable to produce FGF21, they discovered that while both mice were able to drink similar amounts of water after a standard diet, the mutated mice were unable to produce FGF21 after they were subjected to a high-fat/low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet. According to researchers, this established the role of the hormone in the signaling pathway. (MORE)
Among the plethora of vitamins and minerals and other essential nutrients, vitamin B12 is said to be the ultimate brain booster. It is vital for red blood cell formation, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.
According to Jaclyn London, the nutrition director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, a deficiency in vitamin B12 is associated with age-related cognitive decline and impaired nerve function, which is why getting enough vitamin B12 is crucial as we age.
What is vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods, but it can also be added to others. It is also available as a dietary supplement and a prescription medication. Vitamin B12 contains the mineral cobalt, so compounds with vitamin B12 activity are collectively called “cobalamins.” Methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin are the forms of vitamin B12 that are active in human metabolism.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 depends on a person’s age:
Adults and teenagers need 2.4 micrograms per day
Children between nine and 13 years old need 1.8 micrograms per day
Children between four and eight years old need 1.2 micrograms per day
Toddlers between one and three years old need 0.9 micrograms per day
Infants between seven and 12 months old require 0.5 μg of vitamin B12 per day, while babies less than six months old only need 0.4 micrograms. Pregnant women require 2.6 micrograms while breastfeeding women need 2.8 micrograms per day. (MORE)
If you want a healthy liver and gut, an article on EurekAlert!recommended taking up a Mediterranean-style diet. A study on American and Turkish patients with liver cirrhosis showed that eating fermented milk products and vegetables – plus moderate amounts of chocolate, coffee, and tea – could reduce the chances of serious complications that send you to the hospital.
Such a diet would also benefit the diversity of the beneficial bacteria living in the gut, which contributes to the protection of the liver.
The study was comprised of nearly 300 participants in the U.S. and Turkey. They were divided into three groups: Healthy individuals, patients with compensated cirrhosis, and patients with decompensated cirrhosis. (Related: Salep (orchid extract) found to offer protective effects against isoniazid medication toxicity of the liver.)
According to the results, all of the Turkish participants showed much better microbial diversity than the American cohort.
Cirrhosis of the liver claims more than a million lives every year. While it is a serious and increasing cause of death, it is also easy to prevent.
The amount of alcohol consumption, the type and quality of alcohol that is drunk, and the levels of viral hepatitis B and C are the main factors that determine the risk of death from liver cirrhosis. These factors differ from country to country.
Furthermore, there is a link between gut microbiota and the development and progression of cirrhosis. Microbial diversity was shown to progressively weaken in all three groups.
Experts say diet affects gut microbe diversity and liver cirrhosis
The study’s lead author, Dr. Jasmohan Bajaj, explained that diet plays a big role in deciding what microbes are found in the gut. His research team wished to find out if there was a link between diet, microbial diversity, and their effects on patients suffering from cirrhosis. (MORE)
5 of the most powerful natural medicines that you should have in your kitchen
Food. It not only prevents us from starving, but it helps us build a healthier body, too.
You see, Mother Nature is pretty clever. She not only gave us food as a way to prevent starving to death, but also as a way to help heal our bodies. Here’s the tricky part: knowing which foods benefit us the most. That’s because not all food has been studied for benefits outside of typical vitamin and mineral content. But, several foods have been looked at in studies for their remarkable healing properties.
In an examination of over 28 studies, it was found that this flavonoid-rich fruit enhances cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of disease. This involved hundreds of healthy non-smoking adults, aged 18-64 years old.
Flavonoids are antioxidants. And antioxidants are things that fight the oxidation of your cells.
Oxidation is not a good thing.
If you’ve ever seen a rusty piece of metal, then you’ve seen what oxidation does. It destroys metal; turns it into rusty flakes. So, when it comes to living tissue, this same process destroys cells. Cells age quicker. Which leads to them dying sooner. This means a person’s body ages faster than it should.
Of course, your cells will never turn into rust. But because oxidation means cells age quicker than they should, this is why people who don’t get enough antioxidants suffer from premature aging.
Thankfully, apples help prevent that. Their antioxidants help neutralize ‘free radicals’ that oxidize cells. This prevents oxidative damage from happening. So, if you can prevent that, you have a strong ally in your fight to prevent disease and premature aging. (MORE)