Regular Exercise Reduces Risk of Cancer
Cancer patients can reduce the risks of side effects and cancer recurrence by exercising regularly, a new report shows.
The report, “Move More: Physical activity the underrated ‘wonder drug,’ “from Macmillan Cancer Support in the U.K., says that 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, the amount recommended by the U.K.’s four chief medical officers, is the minimum amount required to see the benefits.
Moderate intensity activity includes exercise such as cycling and very brisk walking, but also household tasks such as heavy cleaning and mowing the lawn.
The report presents four key findings:
Breast cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 40% by doing 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.
Bowel cancer patients’ risk of recurrence and dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 50% by doing significant amounts of physical activity; this means about six hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week.
Prostate cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease can be reduced by up to 30% by doing the recommended 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity.
After treatment, all cancer patients can reduce their risk of side effects from cancer and its treatment, including fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, and heart disease, by doing the recommended levels of physical activity.
Gastroesophageal Reflux is Really an Auto Immune Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux spurs the esophageal cells to release chemicals called cytokines, which attract inflammatory cells to the esophagus. It is those inflammatory cells, drawn to the esophagus by cytokines, that cause the esophageal damage that is characteristic of GERD. The condition is manifested by symptoms such as heartburn and chest pain.
“Currently, we treat GERD by giving medications to prevent the stomach from making acid,” said Dr. Rhonda Souza, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study appearing the November issue of Gastroenterology. “But if GERD is really an immune-mediated injury, maybe we should create medications that would prevent these cytokines from attracting inflammatory cells to the esophagus and starting the injury in the first place.”
In the study, researchers created GERD in rats by connecting the duodenum to the esophagus. This operation allows stomach acid and bile to enter the esophagus. Researchers were surprised to learn that esophagitis didn’t develop for a number of weeks after the operation.
“That doesn’t make sense if GERD is really the result of an acid burn, as we all were taught in medical school,” said Dr. Stuart Spechler, professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. “Chemical injuries develop immediately. If you spill battery acid on your hand, you don’t have to wait a month to see the damage.”
Previous studies had shown that if an animal esophagus is perfused with highly concentrated acid, esophageal damage develops quickly. In humans, however, the large majority of reflux episodes do not contain such highly concentrated acid.
Dr. Souza, who is also a staff physician at the Dallas Veterans Affairs Medical Center and part of the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern, and Dr. Spechler, chief of gastroenterology at the Dallas VA, said the method they used to produce GERD in rats is a reasonable representation of how GERD develops in humans — acidic digestive juices from the stomach surge into the esophagus.
Soon after the operation, they expected to see the death of surface cells of the esophagus, and they expected to see the injury progress later to the deeper layers. Instead, they found the opposite. Three days after the surgery, there was no damage to surface cells, but the researchers did find inflammatory cells in the deeper layers of the esophagus. Those inflammatory cells didn’t rise to the surface layer until three weeks after the initial acid exposure.
The study was supported by the Dallas VA Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.
Folate is Important for Adolescents
Folate is linked with academic achievement in a study of Swedish teenagers. Most of us are aware of the importance of the B vitamin folate in pregnancy to support the healthy development of a baby in the womb, and increasingly to support the brain health of the elderly. According to this Swedish study it appears to be important for the academic achievement of teens too.
Researchers studied 386 Swedish 15-year olds and compared their intake of folate with their school grades in 10 core subjects. They found that folate intake was significantly associated with academic achievement – the teens that ate the most folate got the best grades. The best dietary sources of folate are dark green leafy vegetables (think spinach, kale, salad leaves) and pulses (lentils and beans) – not usually top of the list of favorite foods for teens!
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Pure, extra virgin olive oil is not only a light and delicate addition to many wonderful dishes, it is one of the most health-promoting types of oils available. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that researchers are discovering has excellent health benefits.
Protection Against Chronic Degenerative Disease
In many parts of the world, a high fat intake is associated with degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, asthma, colon cancer, and arthritis. But in some parts of the world, a high fat intake is actually associated with lower rates of these conditions. A closer look at the foods eaten in these places reveals that the high fat intake is actually due to the generous use of olive oil. Comparing these areas, such as the Mediterranean, where olive oil is the main fat used, to other regions, like the United States, where other fats such as animal fats, hydrogenated fats and vegetable oils like corn oil dominate, turns up some very interesting data. It turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma.
Live Longer: Eat an Olive-Rich Mediterranean-Style Diet
In a prospective study (one in which participants are chosen and then followed forward in time) involving 5,611 adults 60 years or older, adherence to a Mediterranean style dietary pattern – characterized by high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables, soups, and poultry – was associated with a significantly lower risk of death from all causes. After 6.2 years, those most closely following a Mediterranean ‘olive oil and salad’ dietary pattern had a 50% reduced risk of overall mortality.
Virgin Olive Oil the Best Oil for Heart Health
Virgin olive oil, a much richer source of polyphenols than refined olive or other refined oils, is the best vegetable oil for heart health, shows the results of the Eurolive study, published in the September 2006 Annals of Internal Medicine.
A study published in the January 2005 issue of Annals of Oncology has identified oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid found in olive oil, as having the ability to reduce the affect of an oncogene (a gene that will turn a host cell into a cancer cell). This particular oncogene is associated with the rapid growth of breast cancer tumors. The conclusion of the researchers was that oleic acid when combined with drug therapy encouraged the self-destruction of aggressive, treatment-resistant cancer cells thus destroying the cancer. Olive oil has been positively indicated in studies on prostate and endometrial cancers as well.
Unlike other fats, which are associated with a higher risk of colon cancer, olive oil helps protect the cells of the colon from carcinogens. A study published in the November 2003 issue of Food Chemistry Toxicology suggests that the antioxidants in olive oil reduce the amount of carcinogens formed when meat is cooked.
Extra-virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. It is used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.
Virgin olive oil comes from virgin oil production only, has acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Pure olive oil. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are usually a blend of refined and virgin production oil.
Olive oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity. It commonly lacks a strong flavor.
Olive Oil Lowers Blood Pressure
Theodora Psaltopoulou and colleagues from the University of Athens, Greece investigated whether the Mediterranean diet as a whole, or just olive oil, is responsible for the reduction in blood pressure associated with this way of eating. Their finding: while the diet as a whole reduces blood pressure, olive oil, by itself, is largely responsible.
A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked. “Who would like this $20 bill?”
Hands started going up. He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you – but first, let me do this.”
He proceeded to crumple the 20 dollar note up. He then asked. “Who still wants it?” Still the hands were up in the air.
“Well,” he replied, “what if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty. “Now, who still wants it?”
Still the hands went into the air.
“My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by … WHO WE ARE.
You are special – don’t ever forget it.”