Why should we eat five a day and will an apple keep the doctor away? A food writer explores the science behind it..

Deciding what to eat is no longer a simple matter of instinct or appetite. Every choice we make about food is complicated.
Is meat good or bad for us? Why is five a day recommended for fruit and vegetables? And can diet really  cause cancer – or prevent it?
As a food writer, I am often asked these questions, and in an effort to answer them I have looked at the latest scientific research, hopefully exposing some of the myths and providing a practical guide to the things we eat.
An apple a day does keep the doctor away


The phrase ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was originally a marketing slogan dreamt up by American apple growers at the start of the 20th Century. Their fruit had been made into cider, but after the drink was banned during Prohibition they tried to promote apples as being good to eat instead. So how true is that old adage?
Apples have taken a bashing lately for being full of sugar, which dentists warn causes tooth decay, but advising against them is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Apples are a good source of fibre. There are two types  – the first is insoluble, also referred to as roughage, which increases the bulk of stools, and in turn stimulates gut contractions and keeps the bowels moving regularly.
Cider vinegar is an important part of our diet
Cider vinegar is an important part of our diet
The second type, soluble fibre – which apples contain – dissolves in the stomach, forming a viscous gel. It helps food move along the gut too by adding bulk, but it also lowers cholesterol by binding to it in the gut. This gel slows down the rate at which sugar enters the bloodstream, keeping energy levels steady.
The Department of Health recommends that adults consume 18g of fibre per day, and a medium apple provides about 3g – similar to a bowl of brown rice. Several studies into the cholesterol-lowering properties of apples recommend eating two a day to get a beneficial dose.
By hitting the daily recommended fibre intake, we may be lowering our risk of colorectal cancer. While diets containing more than 80g of meat per day have been linked to a higher incidence of these tumours, a fibre-rich diet seems to cancel out this effect. The peel, which contains insoluble fibre, has the highest concentration of disease-fighting flavonoids and polyphenols, although this research is based on concentrated extracts rather than the whole fruit.
As for vitamins, variety matters. A single old-fashioned Ribston Pippin has more Vitamin C than a whole pound of Golden Delicious.
You can drink some of the goodness in an apple as well as eating it. Juicing doesn’t alter the vitamin content dramatically, although you do lose a lot of the fibre. Cider vinegar has long been used as a folk-medicine tonic. Science has shown that it can lower blood-sugar levels and that it helps with weight loss, probably by suppressing appetite.
A 2009 Japanese study showed drinking a 500ml drink with a tablespoonful or half-tablespoon of cider vinegar led to greater weight loss, because people ate less, and lower blood cholesterol than drinking water. Mix a splash with honey and oil to make a healthy salad dressing.


What is the best breakfast?
What is the best breakfast?
Packaged cereals shout about nutritional goodness. But a recent survey by the consumer organisation Which? showed 32 out of 50 types were shockingly high in sugar. This is the type of refined sugar dentists are right to be concerned about. And, it can be argued, these cereals won’t keep us full until lunch.
Sugary breakfast cereals have a high glycaemic index (GI) score – a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood-sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of digestible carbohydrate in a food raises blood glucose following consumption, relative to consumption of glucose. GI scores are calculated in relation to glucose, which has the highest score of 100.
The higher a GI reading, the faster the food is digested and the quicker we are hungry again. Conversely, the lower the GI, the longer we feel full and the fewer calories we consume.
This is the reason why a low GI diet is associated with healthy weight, and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, according to the University of Sydney’s International GI Group.
Cornflakes, which are some of the least sugary cereals, have a GI score of more than 80, which is similar to white bread. Low-GI breakfast foods include muesli (avoid added-sugar varieties) and porridge.
‘Go to work on an egg’ – another old marketing phrase – is good advice. Eggs contain protein which makes you feel fuller for longer. A poached egg on wholegrain toast is a great choice.
A full English fried breakfast contains protein and fat as well as carbohydrate – and will keep you full for a long time. However, the calories can be alarmingly high, so a regular fried breakfast will only make you put on weight. As for bread, sourdough has a higher acidity than others due to the addition of lactbacillus, which produces lactic acid, giving it a distinctive tangy taste. There is ongoing research into how this element aids absorption of nutrients such as calcium, zinc and iron better than standard bread.
A glass of freshly squeezed juice is a refreshing shot of vitamins. The British Dietetic Association recommends a small (150ml) glass. Best of all, have the fruit whole or eat some chopped up with live natural yogurt.


No one food will kill or cure. But the good news is that a balanced, varied diet has room for fats and carbs – just choose the right kind in the right amounts. Fats help build our cells and are part of good health, but they are high in calories. Eating too many calories can lead to you becoming overweight, which raises risks of heart disease and cancer. Butter has been demonised in the past, but like other fats it delivers and contains fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and E.
Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, pytochemicals and fibres and are low in calories
Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, pytochemicals and fibres and are low in calories
Wholegrains are another key food. ‘They provide fibre and micronutrients such as folic acid, magnesium and Vitamin E,’ says Professor Walter Willett of Harvard Medical School, where researchers have shown how a diet rich in grains is associated with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Oatcakes, porridge, wholegrain couscous, brown rice and quinoa are good options.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends having no more than 500g of cooked red meat in a week due to the risk of colon cancer. A slice of roast beef is 45g, a thick piece of lamb 90g and a small steak is 100g.
Moderate wine-drinking is championed by Professor Roger Corder, at Barts and the London School of Medicine. In his book The Wine Diet, he recommends traditionally made red wines, which are high in polyphenols, especially one type, procyanadins. These seem to be particularly good for cardiovascular health by protecting against the damage to your blood vessels that causes disease. Such wines range from those from Madiran in south-west France (look for the Tannat grape) to the Douro in Portugal.
The word ‘superfood’ refers to those that are rich in phytochemicals, the micronutrients in food other than vitamins and minerals that protect your body against disease. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage and green tea are also rich in these compounds and are affordable.


Butter is also an important part of our diet
Butter is also an important part of our diet
Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre and they are low in calories. But only a third of adults eat their five a day, according to the Government. Five turns out to be a number created by the State Nutritionist for California in 1998. She looked at the average figure of what people ate and doubled it.
A 2011 study in the European Heart Journal showed that people who ate eight a day were 22 per cent less at risk of dying of heart disease than those who ate three a day.
It’s good to eat vegetables in abundance because they are very high in micronutrients and have less sugar than fruit. Eat as many different kinds as possible and try to ‘eat a rainbow’, as the pigments are linked to different phytochemicals.
A number of micronutrients, including Vitamin C, are best consumed raw or steamed, rather than boiled, in order to not destroy the more fragile types and lose water-soluble vitamins in cooking water.
But fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K can be more useful when cooked in a little fat. The antioxidant lypocene in tomatoes is better absorbed this way.
What To Eat, by Hattie Ellis, is published by Portobello at £14.99.

Radiation From Needless Medical Tests Can Give You Cancer Read more: Radiation From Needless Medical Tests Can Give You Cancer Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

A new initiative designed to stop unnecessary medical testing will spare countless cardiac patients from being needlessly exposed to cancer-causing radiation, a top medical expert says.

Read more: Radiation From Needless Medical Tests Can Give You Cancer
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

New treatment for prostate cancer gives 'perfect results' for nine in ten men: research

A new treatment for prostate cancer can rid the disease from nine in ten men without debilitating side effects, a study has found, leading to new hope for tens of thousands of men. 


Licorice Root May Treat Diabetes

A new German study has found that licorice root may contain anti-diabetic properties.
In addition to having anti-inflammatory properties, substances called amorfrutins from the plant’s root were found to reduce blood sugar levels in mice.
Furthermore, the study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week , found the substance helped prevent the mice from developing a fatty liver and improved insulin resistance, leading scientists to suggest that licorice root could be used in the treatment of complex metabolic disorders.
In their study, the amorfrutins worked by activating various genes that reduced the plasma concentration of certain fatty acids and glucose, researchers said. The reduced glucose level, in turn, prevented the development of insulin resistance.
But before you go tucking into a bag of black licorice candy, scientists point out that the concentration of amorfrutins is too low to be effective in sweets or tea.

Read more: Study: Licorice Root May Treat Diabetes
Important: At Risk For A Heart Attack? Find Out Now.

No proof bad gums cause heart trouble, experts say

By MyHealthNewsDaily

Preventing heart disease is not as easy as brushing your teeth.

While numerous studies have linked gum disease with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, there is no proof that bad gums actually cause heart disease or strokes, an American Heart Association committee said after reviewing 500 journal articles and studies.

Moreover, claims that dental treatment may prevent heart attack or stroke are unwarranted, the committee of doctors, dentists and infectious-disease researchers said in a statement.


New treatment for prostate cancer gives 'perfect results' for nine in ten men: research

A new treatment for prostate cancer can rid the disease from nine in ten men without debilitating side effects, a study has found, leading to new hope for tens of thousands of men.

New treatment for prostate cancer gives 'perfect results' for nine in ten men: research
MRI showing prostate cancer in a 75 year old male. Photo: ALAMY

It is hoped the new treatment, which involves heating only the tumours with a highly focused ultrasound, will mean men can be treated without an overnight stay in hospital and avoiding the distressing side effects associated with current therapies.

A study has found that focal HIFU, high-intensity focused ultrasound, provides the 'perfect' outcome of no major side effects and free of cancer 12 months after treatment, in nine out of ten cases.

Traditional surgery or radiotherapy can only provide the perfect outcome in half of cases currently.

Experts have said the results are 'very encouraging' and were a 'paradigm' shift in treatment of the disease.

It is hoped that large scale trials can now begin so the treatment could be offered routinely on the NHS within five years.


This is How Your Brain Ages

This is How Your Brain Ages
Presented by: Term Life Insurance Resource

Why maintaining a healthy gut is crucial to preventing cancer

(NaturalNews) It is said that roughly 80 percent of human health and immunity originates in the gut, which includes, of course, the body's ability to ward off cancer. And a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has found that poor gut health is directly responsible for causing cancers, that would otherwise be blocked intestinally, to enter the body and proliferate.

Dr. Scott Waldman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Thomas Jefferson University, and his colleagues discovered that guanylyl cyclase C (GC-C), an intestinal hormone receptor, plays a key role in suppressing tumor growth. This enzyme helps maintain a healthy intestinal wall, which effectively keeps cancer cells at bay by blocking them from entering the body.

But when GC-C is at suboptimal levels in the gut, the intestinal walls become more prone to protrusion, which causes inflammation of the intestinal lining and the eventual leakage of cancer cells and other harmful materials directly into the body. If left unchecked, this enzymatic abnormality ends up resulting in damaged DNA and the development of tumors in various places in the body, including in the liver, lungs, and lymph nodes.

Scar-free operation that removes your appendix through your MOUTH

Open wide — your appendix is about to be removed through your mouth.

It sounds unbelievable, but it’s just one of the ways doctors are using our natural orifices to avoid skin incisions and scarring in surgery.

More than 1,000 patients in Britain, Europe and the U.S. have undergone so-called natural orifice surgery, which many doctors see as the biggest advance since keyhole was pioneered.

Instead of cutting the skin, the new approach uses natural orifices — the mouth, urethra, vagina and rectum — as internal highways to access and remove or repair internal organs.

The first woman to have her appendix removed through her vagina, needed only paracetamol after the procedure and was back at work two days later

The first woman to have her appendix removed through her vagina, needed only paracetamol after the procedure and was back at work two days later

Already, it has been used to remove appendices, gallbladders, prostates and diseased kidneys.

New robotic cutting devices in development that snake their way through body cavities will increase the scope of the technique.

‘With further advancement in medical robotics we are likely to be able to do more and more complex surgery through natural orifices.

'There are many trials under way around the world,’ says Dr Mikael Sodergren, academic clinical lecturer in surgery and specialist registrar in general surgery at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The technique offers the multiple attractions of scarless surgery, reduced pain because of fewer and smaller incisions, and lower risk of infections.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2127421/Scar-free-operation-removes-appendix-MOUTH.html#ixzz1rgFI0NSI

10 Sobering Stats on College Drinking Deaths


April 9, 2012

It is easy for educators and parents to become overdramatic when warning young students about the dangers of alcohol. Flooded with extensive media coverage of seemingly every college drinking death, their genuine concern can become panic. The truth is, most college students who drink do not binge, and suicide may even be a higher cause of death among this demographic. Nevertheless, one alcohol-related student death is too many, especially since it’s so easily prevented. With that in mind, here are 10 sobering reminders why you should drink responsibly.

THE 10

Sleep apnea linked to depression

'They may not fully wake up, but they will not get the proper amount of rest'

(ABCNEWS.GO) — Gasping for air and stopping breathing while sleeping has been linked to depression, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The condition, known as sleep apnea, occurs when a person’s breathing is paused or interrupted while sleeping. The pauses, which can last a couple seconds to a minute, can cut off oxygen from the brain and the rest of the body. Symptoms of the condition include snoring, daytime fatigue and restless sleep.

“When a person stops breathing like this, they are momentarily brought out of deeper levels of sleep,” said Anne G Wheaton, a CDC epidemiologist and lead author of the study. “They may not fully wake up, but they will not get the proper amount of rest.”

Hot pepper compound could help hearts

Scientists say latest evidence shows chili peppers have potential to protect against top cause of death in developed world.

Chili pepper By Thinkstock/Imagebank SAN DIEGO — The food that inspires wariness is on course for inspiring even more wonder from a medical standpoint as scientists reported this week the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the number one cause of death in the developed world. The report was part of the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, being held in San Diego this week.

The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed “capsaicinoids.” The component that gives cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their heat, capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and certain forms of pain. Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and ease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.