New research suggests that tea, citrus fruits and juices may help stave off the risk of ovarian cancer. Studies show that dietary flavonoids significantly lower the chance of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women. Researchers say in particular consuming a couple of cups of black tea every day has been associated with a 31% reduction in cancer risk. The main sources of the protective compounds include tea, citrus fruits and juices, as well as red wine, apples and grapes, which are easily incorporated, making them simple yet effective dietary changes.
Green leafy vegetables may help improve visual processing because they contain carotenoid compounds, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important to eye health. Young, healthy men and women were enrolled in a study where they were randomly assigned to 3 groups: the first group received placebo, the second received zeaxanthin only and the third group received a mix of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3s. In both the group receiving zeaxanthin and the group receiving the combination supplement, researchers observed that visual acuity increased 12% while visual motor reaction time increased by 10%. Researchers say that supplementation resulted in significant improvements in visual processing speed.
Beneficial to mental and emotional health, B-complex vitamins need to be replenished daily. During a study, adults ages 50 years and older who reported experiencing depression were given a combination of antidepressant medication, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 over a year. Participants were monitored for changes and found that remission of symptoms were achieved by 75.8% and 85.5% after one year. Results also showed a significant reduction in the risk of relapse among participants who took the B-vitamins. Researchers concluded that, while B vitamins did not increase short-term effectiveness of treatments, they did see improvement in antidepressant response after continued treatment.
Before there were “organic” labels, all meat was grass-fed until we began to manage animals’ diets in an effort to increase production and lower costs. Nowadays, there are all kinds of labels on the market, making it harder to discern which is healthiest. “Conventional” beef is the most common meat in the U.S. (95%) and comes from cows that have been injected with hormones and antibiotics and fattened with grains, making it nutritionally inferior as well as laden with pesticide residues and GMOs. Another type, “grass-fed, grain-finished” refers to what you typically get when you buy “organic” beef in the U.S. and means that the cows were raised on pasture, but then fattened up with grains for 30 days. Alternatively, meat labeled “grass-fed, grass-finished” comes from cows that were raised entirely on pasture and contains more nutrients than grain-fed meat, including omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins B, E, and K. All in all, nutrition experts advise against eating conventional meat altogether if possible and say that grain-finished meat is a step above conventional whereas grass-finished meat is the best option when deciding what to eat.
In the past, studies suggested that dietary nitrate (NO3−) improves muscle function during exercise. Kansas State University colleagues recently found that beetroot juice can help increase blood flow to muscles during exercise by approximately 38%, especially to the less-oxygenated, fast-twitch muscles. After seeing that dietary nitrate supplementation via beetroot juice improves metabolic control in fast-twitch muscles, the study concluded that a drinking beetroot juice may be a method of inducing these beneficial effects during high-intensity workouts.
Recent studies reported that non-caloric artificial sweeteners alter gut flora and promote glucose intolerance. Researchers found that feeding mice a mixture of saccharin, sucralose, or aspartame in place of regular drinking water increased blood sugar levels compared to a glucose solution or water alone, with saccharin showing the greatest impact. Saccharin-fed mice treated with gut bacteria-fighting antibiotics showed a reversal of the glucose intolerance. Researchers also evaluated non-diabetic subjects for artificial sweetener intake, blood sugar metabolism and gut microbiota and determined that those who consumed the most artificial sweeteners had higher fasting glucose levels, poorer glucose tolerance and altered gut bacteria levels compared to the subjects that did not consume artificial sweeteners. With reports from 2004 estimating that 15% of the population regularly used artificial sweeteners and from 2008 showing that 65% of American households bought at least one sucralose-containing product, researchers say their results beg for a review of non-calorie artificial sweeteners usage.