Fresh Garlic Better Than Garlic Powder, Duh!

I’m Italian, so I’m required to like garlic, but that garlic powder I grew up on can’t hold a candle to fresh garlic. A new study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claims that raw, crushed garlic has more heart-protective effects than the dried stuff.

In the study, Dipak K. Das and colleagues point out that raw, crushed garlic generates hydrogen sulfide through a chemical reaction. Although best known as the stuff that gives rotten eggs their distinctive odor, hydrogen sulfide also acts as a chemical messenger in the body, relaxing blood vessels and allowing more blood to pass through. Processed and cooked garlic, however, loses its ability to generate hydrogen sulfide.

The scientists gave freshly crushed garlic and processed garlic to two groups of lab rats, and then studied how well the animals' hearts recovered from simulated heart attacks. "Both crushed and processed garlic reduced damage from lack of oxygen, but the fresh garlic group had a significantly greater effect on restoring good blood flow in the aorta and increased pressure in the left ventricle of the heart," Das said.

Garlic is one of the foods Dr. Fuhrman recommends diabetics eat plenty of, along side green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, eggplant, tomatoes, mushrooms and onions. Sometimes I bake garlic cloves in the oven and spread it on wholegrain bread.

Via EurekAlert!

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Cutting Alcohol, Meat and Smoking Lowers Colon Cancer Risk

Geez, I know people who do all three—in one sitting! If you know someone like this too, show them this.

New research in the International Journal of Cancer suggests lifestyle changes—such as eating less red meat, not smoking, avoiding alcohol and exercising—may lower your risk of colon cancer.

Scientists analyzed 100 studies on colon cancer risk, finding that high intake of red and processed meats, smoking, obesity and diabetes were associated with a 20% increased in the risk.

As for alcohol, people averaging one drink or more each day had a 60% higher risk of cancer. However, people who exercised regularly were 20% less likely to develop colorectal cancer.

Makes sense! Especially since last week a report came out saying vegetarians—i.e. people who don’t eat meat—have less cancer than meat eaters.

And previous findings reveal smoking and drinking heighten risk of bowel cancer, but eating fruits and vegetables, protect against cancer. Sweet!

Via Reuters.

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Citrus Nutrient May Help Stop Obesity

In college, the only citrus I got was the lime in my beer bottle, but now I know better. Citrus fruits are loaded with health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin C.

Kiwi fruit, watermelon, strawberries, mangos and raspberries are all packed with vitamin C. And in May, vitamin C was found to stave off age-related vision loss.

Now, new findings in the journal Diabetes claims another fruit nutrient, naringenin—a flavonoid in citrus fruits—halts the development of metabolic syndrome, which leads to diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

For the study, scientists fed mice a high-fat diet—to simulate a western diet—in order to induce symptoms of metabolic syndrome and discovered mice fed a fatty diet plus naringenin had “corrected” levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.

Naringenin also protected against insulin resistance. Experts say naringenin reprogrammed the liver to burn up excess fat, instead of storing it. However, more research is needed to determined naringenin’s exact effect on heart disease.

In related news, pomegranates were found to reduce inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.

Via EurekAlert!

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Scientists Find the Link Between Obesity and Diabetes

Published in the journal Cell Metabolism, researchers have determined fat cells in obese people release a protein, called pigment epithelium-derived factor or PEDF, and when let into the blood stream PEDF causes muscles and the liver to become desensitized to insulin. In response, the pancreas produces more and more insulin to counteract the problem, but eventually the pancreas craps out, leading to the development of type-2 diabetes; ScienceDaily reports.

Diabetes and obesity are major problems in the United States. In January, a report revealed 24 million Americans now have diabetes. But don’t despair! You don’t have to be another statistic. A diet based on fruits and vegetables offers amazing protection against type-2 diabetes and keeps you thin.

In related news, obesity was found to increase the risk of endometrial cancer—adding nearly 22 times more risk—and obesity has also been linked to poor ovary health and impaired fertility.

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