Friday, December 24, 2004

Last-minute Gifts

Heifer International offers you the chance to give someone a gift of hope by helping an impoverished community become more self-sufficient. You can give a colleague a gift of bees and help struggling families earn income through the sale of honey, beeswax and pollen. Or honor friends who love the outdoors with a gift of trees sent in their name to families who will benefit from the difference they make. There's something for every price point and all Heifer gifts are tax deductible.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Nut vs. Pill

New studies show that vitamin E may fight prostate and lung cancer. However, it's not the vitamin E found in most supplements, but rather the form most commonly found in foods such as sesame seeds, walnuts and pecans. Popular supplements on the market provide the form alpha-tocopherol. Yet the form of vitamin E shown effective in combatting cancer was gamma-tocopherol. While some studies have shown that alpha-tocopherol helps combat cancer cells, new research seems to indicate that this is the case only when gamma-tocopherol levels are also high.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Calcium Found to Discourage Polyps

High calcium intake may reduce the risk of developing colon polyps, which are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer. According to a trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute, people who took a daily calcium supplement of over 1,200 milligrams experienced a 27 percent decreased risk of developing polyps. Other studies have found calcium-rich dairy foods to be more protective. Experts believe calcium reduces the risk of developing polyps, in part by binding bile and fatty acids in the bowel, thus reducing exposure to cancer-causing compounds. However, since excess calcium can cause other complications, it's best to consult a health practitioner before taking calcium supplements.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sleep Loss Triggers Weight Gain

Two new studies are proving that chronic sleep loss can trigger weight gain. The first study examined the impact of sleep loss on the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by fat cells and signals satiety while ghrelin, which is produced in the stomach, is responsible for triggering hunger. During the 15-year study period, researchers found a 15 percent increase in ghrelin and a 16 percent decrease in leptin in people who consistently got only five hours of sleep.

Meanwhile, a separate study measured sleep loss’ impact on cravings and found that as the study's subjects became more sleep-deprived, their food choices changed. High calorie, high-carb foods became the most appealing after two nights of little sleep.

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Underestimated Orange

Oranges originate from Southeast Asia and were first brought to the United States by Christopher Columbus himself. Today, the United States is the number one orange-producer in the world. Most people primarily consume the fruit as juice and miss out on all of the nutrition its entire package provides. Oranges naturally contain more than 60 phytonutrients, which have been linked to fighting cancer, heart disease, infections and allergies. The average orange provides over 100 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin C at only 62 calories. And whether you opt for mandarins, clementines or valencias, this fruit is a wonderful source of folate, potassium and fiber.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Label Conscious

In a recent nationwide survey conducted by The New York Times, 85 percent of the respondents said they read nutritional labels closely some or all of the time. And about 66 percent said they had used information to decide whether or not to buy a product. With the Food and Drug Administration planning to add new requirements that would make consumers more aware of the calories they were consuming with each serving, you'd think the nation was poised for greater weight control. Yet, health professional don't quite see it that way. Dr. Jeanne Goldberg, a professor of nutrition at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston told the New York Times: "My suspicion is that people take away nuggets of information, but it doesn't add up to a healthful diet."