For March 19, 2018
- Fiber is in Again
Fiber is in Again
Some Healthy Dietary Advice
(MSNBC Health, September 24 1999) � Recent research has put dietary fiber back in the limelight. New data from the well-known Nurses� Health Study has demonstrated that women who ate the most fiber slashed their risk of heart disease almost in half compared to the women who ate the least fiber. While individual studies may occasionally display varying results, research overall strongly supports the benefits of a mostly plant-based diet with whole grains for protection against both heart disease and cancer.
THE NEW STUDY, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at consumption of various sources of dietary fiber over a 10-year period. Dietary fiber comes only from plant foods: fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and grains. For some time, scientists considered the soluble fiber in oats, produce and beans to be the most important type for heart disease protection because of its demonstrated effects in lowering blood cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, found mainly in whole grains, but also in dried beans and vegetables, does not affect cholesterol. Yet in this study, it was specifically the fiber from grain products that was linked with the drop in heart disease.
But was it really the fiber that was protective, or did these people have other healthy habits that were responsible? When other factors known to influence heart health, like smoking, family history, and intake of saturated fat, calories and alcohol were considered in this study, fiber from grain products remained a significant protector.
Individual studies need to be considered in comparison to findings from other research. The Iowa Women�s Health Study showed 30 to 36 percent fewer heart disease deaths among those who ate the most whole grains compared to those who ate the least. Although these findings have not always been repeated, several others have demonstrated 24 to 33 percent lower heart disease risk with each six- to 10-gram increase in grain fiber.
TO SUPPLEMENT OR NOT
To some, these studies may suggest that we should all be downing fiber supplements. That conclusion is not supported. Scientists say that fiber could offer heart disease protection by reducing insulin resistance and blood triglycerides. Yet fiber might not be the real reason for whole grains� protection against heart disease. Whole grains are higher in magnesium and vitamins E and B-6 than refined grains, each of which may have heart benefits. Whole grains also contain weak plant estrogens, which scientists say could be important.
The nutritional benefits of whole grains may also offer protection against some forms of cancer. This same Nurses� Health Study was the basis for a report released a few months ago which did not show the expected reduction of colon cancer risk from increasing dietary fiber.
The overall body of research, however, does support a possible link between whole grains and lower risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer. Substances formed when bacteria ferment fiber in the colon may offer protective benefits. A major report on diet and cancer from the American Institute for Cancer Research notes, however, that even when fiber shows up as a protective factor, it could as likely be a marker for increased intake of vitamins or even phytochemicals found in whole grains.
Although media reports may focus on the value of �fiber� in reducing risk of heart disease, a common thread linking this new study to many previous studies is the likelihood that a mostly plant-based diet centered around whole grains, vegetables and fruits offers protection against both heart disease and cancer.
- Study: Snoring Device Helps Couples
Study: Snoring Device Helps Couples
Gadget May Help More Wives Get Quality ZZZ�s
(MSNBC Health) � ROCHESTER, Minn., Oct. 4 1999 � Research published Monday backs up what many wives have said for years � while their partners snore away, they�re left counting sheep. But a new device may offer some relief.
INVESTIGATORS AT the Mayo Clinic studied 10 married couples in which the husband was being checked for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing recurrently stops and starts as someone snores. Scientists monitored the sleep of patients and their spouses simultaneously, measuring the number of disordered breathing episodes in the patient and the number of sleep interruptions of the partner. They also checked the percentage of time each person spent sleeping.
Results showed that when the husbands were fitted with an oxygen mask-like device that stopped snoring and irregular breathing episodes, wives on average got more than one hour extra sleep. �As we suspected, the spouses experienced significant improvements in sleep quality when their husbands were treated with the device,� said John Shepard, medical director at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center and senior author of the study. �The average percentage of time that spouses spent sleeping increased from 74 percent to 87 percent, which adds more than an extra hour of sleep per night.�
The research, published in the October issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, noted that obstructive sleep apnea is considered serious because it raises blood pressure and strains the cardiovascular system. It also makes uninterrupted sleep impossible for patients and bed partners, the article said.
There are several other possible cures for snoring, but none are considered 100 percent effective. One such contraption consists of a molded mouthpiece to pull the lower jaw and tongue forward, opening the airway.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
- Dehydration Worsens Exercise-Induced Asthma
Dehydration Worsens Exercise-Induced Asthma
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)--With the return of hot weather, a word of warning to people with asthma: Dehydration can cause bronchospasm, a constriction or "tightening" of lung airways. And dehydration can make asthma brought on by exercise worse, report researchers.
Lead investigator Paula Maxwell of the University of Buffalo, New York, and colleagues compared airway reactivity after 6 minutes of high-intensity exercise in eight young adults with exercise-induced asthma and eight without the condition. Subjects first exercised when fully hydrated and again after 24 hours of voluntary water deprivation.
Hydration status had no effect on lung function in normal subjects, but the study showed that in individuals with exercise-induced asthma, dehydration resulted in a significant decrease in FEV1, a measure of lung function based on the amount of air blown out in one second.
This decline in lung function was evident both before and after exercise in these individuals, the research team reported Friday at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Seattle, Washington.
The investigators also noted that the rate of decline in lung function was the same in asthmatics whether they were hydrated or dehydrated, but when dehydrated, asthmatics start out with worse lung function than usual, and therefore experience more breathing problems than when they have enough water on board.
"Asthmatics are more sensitive than non-asthmatics to dehydration, but we need to investigate this condition further to determine how it affects (lung) function," said study co-author Dr. Frank Cerny, associate professor and chair of the University of Buffalo department of physical therapy, exercise, and nutrition sciences.
"The message continues to be, 'Drink fluids whenever you get the chance,'" he added. "If you have asthma, dehydration may make it worse, particularly during exercise."
Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1999;47:639-646, 755-756.
- Exercise As An Antidepressant
Exercise As An Antidepressant
Exercise is being touted as a viable component for treating depression, schizophrenia and alcohol addiction, according to a report published in the American Psychological Association.
This is a review of studies going back to 1981, so it�s not new research. One thing that�s interesting is this review finds non-aerobic exercises such as weight lifting to be just as effective in treating psychological ailments as aerobics.
The researchers say most regular exercises, including simply going for a 20-minute walk three times a week, is apparently more effective than placebo pills in reducing symptoms of anxiety in some patients.
In my view, this study almost nailed it, but not quite. In my book, drawing on the best research, I contend exercise is a placebo. And while it makes you feel better, let�s not give it more curative power than it deserves.
Just taking the time off to go exercise is something that can be psychologically good for you � because you�re taking a break from what�s bothering you.
If you enjoy exercising, do it, and you�ll probably feel better. But this isn�t true if you hate it. The main point in my book, "Eat, Drink and Be Merry," is to embrace those activities that you have fun doing because, ultimately, they�ll be the most beneficial.
Source: Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, June 1999.
- Vitamin C Can Lower Blood Pressure
Vitamin C Can Lower Blood Pressure
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) � Heart patients with high blood pressure may receive substantial benefit from a daily dose of vitamin C - something researchers said could be an inexpensive alternative to prescription drugs.
A dose of 500 milligrams each day lowered blood pressure by up to 9 percent, a level comparable to expensive prescription drugs, according to researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine and the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.
"It may provide a way to bring their blood pressure back within acceptable levels without the cost or possible side effects of prescription drugs," said Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute and one of the lead researchers.
He was quick to caution, however, that more study is needed and that vitamin C is not a substitute for medication.
"It's not an alternative therapy," Frei said. "We certainly don't want people to discontinue their medication."
Others said the study was far too small to be conclusive. "I think it would be unfortunate if people with hypertension went out and started taking extra vitamin C on the basis of a single study," said Alice Lichtenstein, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at Tufts University in Boston.
Still, other researchers said the study published this week in the British medical journal Lancet shows promise.
"This is one of the best studies to date," said Dr. Kenny Jialal at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. "When you get 500 milligrams of vitamin C you clearly show a reduction."
The study divided a group of 39 patients with mild to moderate hypertension into two groups. About half took daily doses of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, while the others took a placebo.
After one month, the average blood pressure of patients who took vitamin C dropped 9.1 percent, significantly more than the patients in the placebo group, who averaged a 2.7 percent decline.
Both groups continued to take their regular medication for hypertension during the vitamin C study.
Frei said vitamin C may improve the way the body synthesizes nitric oxide, a compound important for keeping blood vessels relaxed. The vitamin also may work to improve anti-hypertension medication, he said.
- Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories
Wrap it Up: Delicious Ways to Save Time and Cut Calories
(Prevention, September 1999) � Wraps are the latest sandwich sensation -- all thanks to health-conscious Californians, who have turned eating on the go into an art form. So, next time you go for a boring, condiment-heavy sandwich for lunch, reach for a wrap instead.
The availability now of a variety of soft flatbreads such as tortillas, lavosh (or lavash), naan and others is key. These unleavened breads are often made with whole grains and are turning up in savory flavors like spinach, sun-dried tomato, chipotle chili and garden herb. With fewer calories than two pieces of traditional sandwich bread, tortillas are thin and pliable. For the recipes that follow, we've used large wrappers (about 10 inches for the tortillas) to make one sandwich per serving. If you prefer, you can use smaller wrappers and make two apiece.
Use these recipes as starting points for your own creations. Once you master the art of wrapping, you'll appreciate how ideal these fast-fix sandwiches are for satisfying meals in a snap.
Here is one example of a great wrap recipie:
Frozen potatoes, jarred salsa, and jalapenos make this a super-easy breakfast dish. For variety, spread prepared guacamole on the tortillas in place of the salsa or add some sliced avocado when assembling the wraps. Fat-free liquid egg substitute works fine for the filling; use about 1 cup and eliminate the milk.
- 2 c frozen Potatoes O'Brien
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tbsp skim milk
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 c prepared salsa
- 2 lg whole wheat tortillas
- 2 Boston lettuce leaves
- 1/2 c chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp pickled jalapeno pepper slices
1. Coat an 8-in. nonstick frying pan with vegetable cooking spray. Add 1 c potatoes and saute until lightly browned.
2. In a sm bowl, beat together eggs, egg whites, and milk. Stir in cilantro, pepper, and 1/4 c salsa. Pour half of the mixture over the potatoes. Cook over med-high heat until eggs are set; use a spatula to let any uncooked egg reach the bottom of the pan.
3. Spread 1 tortilla with 2 tbsp of remaining salsa. Slide eggs onto tortilla. Top with half of the lettuce, tomatoes, and peppers. Roll tightly and serve immediately.
4. Repeat to make a second burrito. Serves 2.
Diet Exchanges: Milk 0.1; Vegetable 0.4; Fruit 0; Bread 3.3; Meat 1.4
Nutritional info: Cal 314; Fat 8.2 g (23% of cal); Sat fat 1.6 g; Chol 213 mg; Fiber 9.8 g; Pro 16.9 g; Carb 53.1 g; Sodium 770 mg
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