Could Full-Fat Dairy Be Good For You?

Health experts have long warned people away from full-fat dairy products because they contain high levels of saturated fat, which is thought to raise levels of LDL—or “bad” cholesterol. But a major new study has concluded that in moderation, whole milk and full-fat yogurt and cheese could in fact help protect against heart disease and stroke. Researchers examined data from more than 130,000 people across 21 countries over nine years and found that participants who ate two or more daily servings of full-fat dairy had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease, a 34 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 23 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. (A serving was 8 oz of milk or yogurt, or a half-ounce slice of cheese.) Butter consumption wasn’t linked to similar benefits—though that may have been because most of the study’s subjects ate little of it. Study co-author Mahshid (Read More)

Potassium Protects the Heart

People often eat bananas, avocados, and leafy greens for various health benefits. New research adds another benefit: These and other potassium rich foods may help prevent heart disease, ScienceDaily.com reports. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that a high-potassium diet makes arteries more flexible, and thus could reduce the risk for atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.” For the study, the researchers fed mice with a genetic susceptibility to heart disease a diet with low, normal, high levels of potassium. The mice on the low-potassium diet had more severe narrowing and hardening of the arteries than those with adequate potassium intake. High potassium diets had the opposite effects, suggesting that potassium rich foods – which also include potatoes, spinach, carrots, and artichokes – could also help prevent heart disease in people.   Mineral Depletion. Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg (Read More)

Scarfing Snacks in the Office

Catered meetings, donuts in the office kitchen, and sugary vending machine snacks could be expanding the waistlines of American employees, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers asked more than 5,000 employees across the U.S. about the food and drink they bought at work or got for free in common rooms, meetings, or social events. Nearly a quarter of participants obtained food at work at least once a week, each consuming an average of 1,300 calories a week—more than half the recommended daily calorie intake for the average adult. Most of the food was high in added sugar—cookies, brownies, pizza, and cakes were among the most commonly offered munchies—and more than 70 percent of the calories consumed in the office came from freebies. To change employees’ habits, study co-author Stephen Onufrak tells ABCNews.com, companies should “encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially when the (Read More)

Fast Food and Infertility

Women trying to get pregnant should steer clear of fast foods and eat more fresh fruit instead. That’s the conclusion of a new study that followed the diets of nearly 5,600 women in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the U.K. Researchers found that participants who ate meals at fast-food restaurants at least four times a week took nearly a month longer to conceive than those who rarely ate fast food. And while women who rarely or never ate fast food had an 8 percent risk of infertility—defined as not being able to get pregnant after a year of trying—the risk was 16 percent among regular fast-food eaters. Meanwhile, women who ate fruit at least three times a day got pregnant two weeks faster on average than women who ate fruit less than once a month. “It shows that healthier foods support conception,” study leader Jessica Grieger tells NBCNews.com. Researchers note that (Read More)

Settling the Egg Debate

You can safely eat a dozen eggs a week—or possibly more—without increasing your risk of heart disease, according to new research. Like butter and red meat, eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, and for decades many physicians advised patients to cut back on such foods to keep their heart healthy. To test the health effect of eggs, researchers at the University of Sydney put 128 people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes—a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease—on two different diets for a year. One group ate 12 eggs a week and the other ate two eggs or fewer a week. At the end of the study, the researchers found no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk factors in either group, including in blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol and blood-sugar levels, MedicalDaily.com reports. “Our research indicates people do not need to hold back from eating eggs,” study author Nick Fuller says, “if this (Read More)

Sluggish? Tired? Foggy? Iodine May Hold The Key

Maybe it’s time to rejuvenate your thyroid – that master of metabolism. When your thyroid is functioning at less than optimum, you can bet that you will feel sluggish, tired and foggy. It is estimated that as high as twenty percent of all adults have hypothyroidism that has not been clinically diagnosed. And when the condition is diagnosed, the drugs used to combat it often yield little or no results. You see, the thyroid produces four different hormones and the drug addresses only one of these by replacing it. If you had four bad tires on your car, would you only replace one? Even worse, the “hormone replacement” drug actually depresses the thyroid from producing any hormones because it begins to feel as if “someone else” is doing its job, so why work?

Grilling Causes Inflammation

Regularly eating grilled, broiled, or roasted meat, chicken, or fish may increase the risk for high blood pressure, a new study shows. Harvard researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing the diet and cooking methods of more than 86,000 women and 17,000 men who were followed for up to 16 years. They found those who ate foods cooked by high heat more than 15 times a month were 17 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who ate them less frequently. The people who preferred their meats well-done were also 15 percent more likely to become hypertensive, reports Reuters.com. “The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” says the study’s lead researcher, Gang Liu. Lowering the heat could help reduce these health (Read More)

Processed Foods and Cancer

Eating “ultra-processed” foods—including packaged breads, snacks, baked goods, instant soups, chicken nuggets, and frozen meatballs—could increase your risk for developing cancer, new research suggests. A team of scientists at France’s Université Sorbonne Paris Cité analyzed the dietary records of nearly 105,000 adults. After tracking cancer diagnoses among the group over the course of five years, they found that every 10 percent increase in the consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with a 12 percent increase in cancer risk. Ultra-processed foods are loaded with sugar and fat, and have fewer vitamins and less fiber than fresh foods. They also contain additives, including nitrates and artificial flavors, colors, emulsifiers, and sweeteners. Certain types of plastic packaging could also contaminate processed foods with potentially harmful chemicals. The study’s authors caution that larger-scale studies are needed, reports BBC.com, but say their findings “suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing (Read More)

The Great Cholesterol Myth

 More Doctors And Researchers Speak Out About the Cholesterol Myth A recent conference entitled “Heart Disease in the 21st Century: Beyond the Lipid Hypothesis” was filled with speakers who did not believe that you should avoid saturated fats or limit your cholesterol or use polyunsaturated fats in your diet. In fact they presented evidence that was just the opposite – saturated fats are extremely important to good health, high cholesterol foods do not contribute to high cholesterol and polyunsaturated fats are bad for your health! Emerging science from intensive study on lowering cholesterol levels was found to be wanting in extending life even one day. In fact, there was a finding that lower cholesterol levels were associated with cancer and premature death! As an explanation, one speaker said, “Cardiologists and others have confusion about a statistical association of cholesterol with causation. It’s as if they saw a house burning and (Read More)

Why Supplement?

It is amazing how many people share the same experience.  When they try talking to their doctors about using vitamin and mineral supplements, they are met with condescension, laughter or belittlement. These are the same doctors mind you, that when working with a woman who has just become pregnant, insist that they take a prenatal multivitamin/mineral supplement for the health of their baby. Fortunately people are educating themselves on the value of a good quality multi-vitamin/mineral supplement because they have access to the thousands of peer-reviewed studies published every year validating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements in the prevention and treatment of disease. Despite the media frenzied attempt to discredit nutritional supplements, the latest government-sponsored survey, found that more than half of American adults take nutritional supplements and more than three-quarters of U.S. Physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients, and a similar (Read More)