Friday, May 27, 2005

Keeping Mosquitos at Bay

While many of us are excited about the arrival of summer, the change in seasons brings an unwelcome counterpart -- bugs! The popular repellant DEET is one of the most effective ways of preventing a mosquito from spotting you and it offers the only proven protection against the deer ticks that carry Lyme disease. While protection is important, you should use this chemical cautiously as it has been linked to seizures and comas. Search your local health food store for plant-based alternatives containing oil of geranium, cedar, lemon grass, soy or citronella. While they aren't as effective, they may do the trick for those brief periods outdoors when you're not at serious risk.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

New Link Between Diet and Cancer

Breast cancer patients who follow a low-fat diet may reduce the chance that their tumors will return, according to new research unveiled at this week's meeting of American Society of Clinical Oncology. The study showed that women who followed a low-fat diet had more than a 20 percent reduction in their rate of recurrence over five years. It's still unclear if the benefit stems from the reduced amount of fat that these women consumed or their consequential weight loss. Another factor could be the foods that these women chose to substitute for the fat in their diet -- possibly more fruits and vegetables. In any case, researchers agree that this is the first time that a large, rigorous study has shown the impact of diet on any cancer.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Brushing Out Toxins

While we may be conscious of the food that we put in our mouths, most of us don't put much thought into our choice of toothpaste. Sure, we may veer away from conventional brands that contain saccharine. But even brands that promote themselves as "all natural" can contain plenty of undesirable ingredients. Some of the top offenders include titanium dioxide, silica and the popular foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), an industrial-strength soap which is thought to help other chemicals get past your body's protective barriers. The Environmental Working Group has sifted through all of the toothpastes on the market and checked their ingredients for unhealthy inclusions. Click on the link above to see where your toothpaste ranks.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The China Study

While it might not qualify as light summer reading, The China Study is definitely a page-turner. Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, presents the exhaustive findings of his research, examining more than 350 variables of health and nutrition. With surveys from 6,500 adults in 65 counties, representing 2,500 counties across rural China and Taiwan, his study aims to connect the dots between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Campbell concludes that proper nutrition can have a dramatic effect on reducing and reversing these ailments as well as obesity. In addition, he includes a whole section entitled "Why You Haven't Heard This Before," which throws light on the tremendous impact that special interest groups have on the information that makes it into the public realm.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Why You Should Give a Fig About Figs

Dried figs are proven to have six times the antioxidant power of vitamin C, E or beta-carotene, according to laboratory tests conducted at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. When tests were later conducted on people, figs were seen to boost antioxidant capacity in the bloodstream by as much as 18 percent. Apparently, as the fruit undergoes dehydration, its phenol content gets boosted. So how do other dried fruits fare? While the fig has no rivals, apricots, cranberries, dates and raisins all showed impressive antioxidant potency.