Healthy Take

Healthy Take

Why You Should Say Yes to Blueberries

While nutrition science is finding reasons for adding berries of all kinds to your diet, a new study has found that blueberries contain a compound that can potentially prevent colon cancer. The study, a joint venture of Rutgers University and the Department of Agriculture, found that the compound, pterostilbene, a potent antioxidant that is abundant in blueberries, could prevent cancer in animals and possibly has the potential for being developed into a preventative pill.

Antioxidants found in many fruits, vegetables and whole grains show potential for fighting colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States . Experts say that while the blueberry won’t cure cancer, it represents an attractive new strategy for preventing the disease.

In the study, 18 rats were given a compound to induce colon cancer. Nine rats were fed a balanced diet; the other nine were also given a pterostilbene supplement. At the end of the eight-week study, the rats that were fed pterostilbene showed 57 percent fewer precancerous lesions than those fed merely a balanced diet. Researchers say the compound also reduced other risk factors for colon cancer such as inflammation and colonic cell proliferation.

Other studies have found evidence that blueberries possibly prevent memory loss and heart disease.

Apple juice: Cloudy or clear?

When it comes to apple juice, researchers have found that the cloudy, murky-looking variety is four times healthier than the clear types. Researchers at the University of Wroclaw, Poland, compared clear and cloudy juices and found cloudy juice contains four times the concentration of polyphenols. These compounds are associated with anti-cancer activity and are found in dark chocolate and red wine as well.

In the marketplace, however, clear apple juice far outsells the cloudy varieties, likely because of a perception by consumers that the clear juices are more pure. However, the process of clarification to make the juice clear removes many of the compounds that provide the juice’s health benefits, which come mostly from the apple pulp. Retailers often favor stocking clear juices because of its longer shelf life. The study was published in the Society of Chemical Industry’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Whole-grain cereals might prevent heart failure

A study has found that those who eat whole-grain cereal seven or more times per week were 28 percent less likely to develop heart failure over the course of the study. Those who ate the cereal two to six times per week were 22 percent less likely to experience heart failure, and those who ate whole-grain cereal just once per week were 14 percent less likely to experience heart failure.

In a Physicians’ Health study, of the 10,469 physicians reporting cereal consumption, 8,266 (79 percent) ate whole-grain cereal. Twenty-one percent, or 2,203, reported eating refined cereal.

Among those who reported eating whole-grain cereal, 35 percent ate the cereal seven or more times per week, 39 percent reported two to six times per week and 26 percent reported once per week. The research was conducted from 1982 to 2006. “The significant health benefits of whole-grain cereal are not just for kids, but also for adults,” said Luc Djousse, lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Aging at Brigham & Women’s Health Hospital and Harvard Medical School . “A whole-grain, high-fiber breakfast may lower blood pressure and cholesterol and prevent heart attacks.”


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