Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lutein and Zeaxanthin for Healthier Knees

Lutein and zeaxanthin, aside from maintaining our good vision and preventing cardiovascular disease, can also lower the risk of getting arthritis when we get older.

I dread imagining myself having arthritis. I want to be mobile and move around as I want. Limiting my movement because of the pain arthritis may cause is scary.

A 10 year study led by Dr. Yuanyuan Wang of Monash University in Melbourne, highlights the potential of diet to modify the risk of osteoarthritis.

The findings "highlight the potential of diet to modify the risk of osteoarthritis," they report in the online journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. Dr. Yuanyuan Wang of Monash University in Melbourne led the research.

The study was made to 293 men and women who were all:

  • middle aged
  • healthy
  • having healthy and pain free knees

All subjects completed a 121 food frequency intake questionnaire to mainly to assess antioxidant intake.

After 10 years, all the knees of the subjects were examined using MRI(magnetic resonance imaging) for cartilage volume, bone area, cartilage defects and bone marrow lesions.

The results:

  • The subjects who had higher levels of dietary vitamin C had a 50% reduced risk of bone marrow lesions
  • The subjects who had high fruit intake had a 28% reduced risk of bone marrow lesions
  • The subjects who had higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin had 29% reduced risk of cartilage defects.

The bones that meet in our knee joints have cartilages that serves as a cushion and shock absorber. It also enables the knee bones to slide smoothly from each other. Without these cartilages, the bones would rub against each other causing pain.

Some causes that can damage the cartilage of the knees.

  • Alignment of the knees(bow legged or knock-knee'd)
  • Overweight
  • Physical injury

In the long run, cartilages in the joints can be damaged through wear and tear. Intake of lutein and zeaxanthin as the study above suggests, can minimize the damage when we get older.

Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the carotenoid family just like the popular beta-carotene. They are fat soluble meaning they can be stored in our bodies.

Lutein can be found in the red, orange, and yellow pigments of fruits and vegetables. Some sources are:

  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Green peas
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Yellow corn

The egg yolk is also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin.

If your diet are short of these sources, lutein supplements are also commercially available.

The benefits of lutein in our bodies:

  • It maintains good vision for the eyes.
  • It lowers the risk of macular degeneration.
  • It lowers the risk of cataracts
  • May help in preventing or slowing down of artery thickening which could result in atherosclerosis and eventually to cardiovascular disease.

Our knees may be strong today but how about several years from now? It could be damaged from wear and tear. Maybe we should be taking precautions to prevent or minimize the damage to make us mobile and productive for a longer time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rockin' Blogger Award

I received this award yesterday from Markeff who blogs about a wide variety of interesting subjects. Thanks Mark! It's an honor.

This blog was started by Roberta Ferguson about a month ago. It was originally intended for rockin' girl bloggers but no sooner that men were also tagged. Men rocks too you know!(lol)

This is the badge for the ladies:

I proudly present this to:

The Joke Blog


Sir Paul McCartney & The Beatles

...and for the gentlemen:

I proudly
present this to:

Nihal's Anything n Everything

All of Tea and How to Drink Tea

I really like your blogs, girls and guys, so keep blogging for the world to see.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quit Eating Junk Foods

Junk foods does not contain the nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants for that our body needs.

Knowing that junk foods can be bad for our health, do you have the will to abstain from it?
Here are some tips on how to quit eating those delicious but harmful foods by Mehdi.

10 Ways to Quit Eating Junk Food

Related posts:

Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals
Eating Junk Foods Can Make You Blind
Children Should Be Taught Not To Eat Junk Foods

These posts may interest you.

Meditation Can Give You a Lift
Caffeine and Meditation

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Glutathione: The Mother of all Antioxidants

I have just read a blog post about glutathione, one of our body's internal antioxidants.

It clearly details how important antioxidants are to our health. Suggestions are also given on how to elevate the glutathione levels in our body.

It really is very informative. Here's the link to the post:
Glutathione: The Mother of all Antioxidants

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals

How can we motivate our children to eat vegetables because it's good for their health?

"The greens make your bones strong, the yellow tidbits keep your eyes healthy and the rest of the colors keep you from spanking."

Sounds familiar?

Sometimes we force our kids to eat what's good for them because it doesn't appeal to their taste. They would rather eat junk foods. Not all kids though.

A book to motivate kids has just launched - written by Craig S. Cousineau, a student at the University of Michigan, majoring in molecular biology. It is a science fiction for children but emphasizes the importance of nutrition.

Characters portray antioxidants battling free radicals. That's what children loves, stories.

Here's the press release....

Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals" (ISBN: 9781933255279), by Craig S. Cousineau, has just been released by DNA Press. Heroic characters portray antioxidants battling evil oxygen radicals in this lively, science-based story. Skippy and Oaf are rats living at a science and nutrition research laboratory. Skippy, a very intelligent rat, is concerned about his friend Oaf's terrible eating habits, and tries to get his friend to eat healthier food. Oaf is skeptical until Skippy explains the science of nutrition at a molecular level, complete with descriptions of battles between superheroes (antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables) and oxygen-radical villains. Based on fascinating scientific information and including a lesson on genomes and DNA, the book is illustrated by playful drawings that clarify its key concepts.

(PRWEB) July 16, 2007 -- The DNA Press team is happy to announce the publication of "Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals", a book that gives children the tools they need to make the right choices about the food they eat. Craig Cousineau, a student at the University of Michigan, majoring in molecular biology, wrote the book while working as an intern at the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District.

"Skippy and Oaf" will help children and their parents understand the research behind nutrition and why fruits and vegetables are good for them," says the young author. "Oftentimes when a child is told what they should eat without being told why, they won't eat the right foods willingly or may completely refuse. This book not only explains to children what they should eat, but it also tells them why. It uses information about genetics and microbiology that they might not otherwise start learning about until they are in high school."

inspires children to start eating more fruits and vegetables.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of overweight children in the United States has tripled over the past 30 years, with one in five children now being overweight.

"Parents and teachers are looking for books that deal with this topic and can help educate children," says Kristine Paulsen, General Education Director at the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District. "This book teaches children and their parents about health and nutrition in an entertaining way. Reading "Skippy and Oaf" inspires children to start eating more fruits and vegetables."

Delta-Schoolcraft ISD used "Skippy and Oaf" as the centerpiece in two pilot projects aimed at introducing elementary students to healthy eating and nutrition. 75% of participating students increased the number of healthy foods they were eating, 90% of the students talked about the book at home, and 76% of the parents believe this experience will impact the food choices their children will make in the future.

Following is a sample of the many enthusiastic parent responses:

* "Skippy and Oaf made my son more aware of why fruits and vegetables are good for him and opened him to eating things he might avoid."
* "This book made my daughter aware that veggies are a good snack. It's not just Mom saying it."
* "My daughter tried new foods and I didn't have to 'make' her."

"Schools in Michigan, California and South Carolina have begun using this book and the feedback from teachers has been great," says Ms. Paulsen.

Joanne Woodard, a teacher in Poway, California, wrote, "My first-grade children loved the book. Every day they wanted to know when we were going to read the 'Skippy and Oaf' book and what the 'Skippy' snack was going to be that day. I can't believe how much the children understood and were fascinated by the information about DNA, oxygen radicals and antioxidants."

"Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals" can help children and their families improve their nutrition and become excited about the science behind good eating.

read the entire press release

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Eating Junk Foods Can Make You Blind
Quit Eating Junk Foods
Children Should Be Taught Not To Eat Junk Foods

These posts may interest you.

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Caffeine and Meditation

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is gaining popularity these days because of its antioxidant content. The darker(more cocoa solids) the more flavonoids it contains.

A research was done comparing the blood pressure levels of dark chocolate eaters and white chocolate eaters. After several weeks, the blood pressure of dark chocolate eaters dropped while the latter maintained its blood pressure.

That's good news as far as blood pressure is concerned but the research was made on a daily intake of a chocolate portion containing only 30 calories. It's roughly one small square of chocolate from a bar. That's the safe amount to bring out the benefits of dark chocolate as far as antioxidants are concerned. Larger servings would elevate the intake of sugars, calories and fats which may not be beneficial for the health.

When choosing a dark chocolate, opt for the one containing at least 70% cocoa solids for it contains more antioxidants. Limit your intake though because the antioxidant benefits may be offset by the effects of high sugar, calorie and fats that chocolate also contains.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Eating Junk Foods Can Make You Blind

1 out of 7 people in Australia above 50 years old suffers from Macular Degeneration. Only a few years ago, this disease only affected people aged 65 and above. Now, even people over 40 are affected by this disease.

Macular Degeneration eventually leads to blindness. It affects the macula, the part of our retina responsible for central vision.

Experts have attributed this sad occurrence to poor nutrition. Junk and processed foods flood the grocery stores. These foods deplete the antioxidant levels in and around the retina of the eyes. With little antioxidant defenses, oxidative stress can result and damage the macula.

To prevent yourself from Macular Degeneration, you need to eat foods which contain antioxidants. Eggs are also very important for the eyes because it contains lutein and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants which can be found near the retina.

The next time you are thinking of eating junk foods, think twice. Are you willing to sacrifice the future of healthy eyes from the craving of the present?

reference: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22033406-421,00.html

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Skippy and Oaf: The Battle Against Oxygen Radicals
Quit Eating Junk Foods
Children Should Be Taught Not To Eat Junk Foods

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Caffeine and Meditation

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Antioxidants and Exposure to Radiation

Radiation is one of the external triggers of free radical chain reaction in a living thing. The high levels of radiation surrounding the Chernobyl reactor plant had damaging results to living organisms surrounding it.

Observations on the survival of different species of birds surrounding the Chernobyl plant due to the high levels of radiation raised some questions from the scientists.

Why the population of some species declined more than the others.

They observed that the species affected most were those whose antioxidant levels were low. The characteristics of these groups are:

- Brightly colored birds who use up carotenoids(an antioxidant) for feather pigmentation making the substance less available in their body to counteract free radical damage.

-Birds who lay large eggs. Many antioxidants go with the egg depleting their bodies of antioxidants to scavenge free radicals.

The scientists concluded that species of birds which had low levels of antioxidants caused a decline in population compared to the species who had higher levels of antioxidants.

Well that is the case at the vicinity of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor plant, not in our daily environment. However, exposure to sunlight and electromagnetic radiation may have some effect in our bodies. Our antioxidant defenses are always at our disposal but there are times when the levels decrease. Heavy irregular exercises, stress, secondhand smoke can bring our antioxidant levels down.

Always eat fruits and vegetable which are good sources of antioxidants. If not available, take antioxidant supplements to keep the antioxidant defenses in constant supply.

reference: http://www.stackyard.com/news/2007/07/environment/02_chernobyl_birds.html

You may also want to read:

Aging - Antioxidants and Cognitive Brain Function
Antioxidants and Secondhand Smoke
Antioxidant Lycopene Can Treat Many Diseases
Meditation Can Give You a Lift

Psychological Stress Can Induce Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress occurs when the antioxidants present in some parts of the body cannot cope up with the free radical chain reactions acquired from internal or external sources. The cells hit by these free radical chain reactions may become damaged or deformed.

Psychological stress can create free radicals which may lead to oxidative stress in the brain if antioxidants in the area are inadequate.

A positive mood can reverse the process. Being in the presence of loved ones, reading funny comics, watching funny movies or reading jokes can well reverse the process of free radical formation created by psychological stress.

I found a blog about jokes in the MyBlogLog Community authored by Yasmin. I was working late one night and getting stressed, I read some entries on her blog and had quite a good laugh. I felt some energy getting back to me. Laughter is a positive mood that take your worries or stress away.

When you are in a stressful mood. Try visiting The Joke Blog, you'll feel a lot better.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Essential Infonews on Antioxidants

I came across this article from TheNewsRoom. It summarizes the important antioxidants needed by our body. Hope you'll find the information useful.

Coq10, N-Acetyl Cysteine are some ingredients of Advanced Antioxidant with Red Wine Extract

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Free Radical Stealing an Electron

Free Radicals are Highly Reactive

Normally, electrons in an atom come in pairs. If an electron is lost, leaving an unpaired electron, the atom becomes reactive. It will seek to stabilize itself by 'stealing' an electron from another atom.

Here's a visual representation of a free radical 'stealing' an electron from a nearby stable atom. The depiction of the atoms is not accurate as many theories have come up of the way electrons move around the nucleus of an atom.

The atom on the left is a stable atom while the atom on the right is a free radical which has a missing pair of electron.

When it comes in contact with a stable atom, it 'steals' an electron from that atom in order to stabilize itself.

The atom on the right now becomes stable while the atom on the left becomes a free radical which is highly reactive and will seek to stabilize itself by 'stealing' an electron from a nearby stable atom. This creates a chain reaction and it occurs very fast.

Antioxidants Terminates this Chain Reaction

When a free radical 'steals' an electron from an antioxidant, the antioxidant does not become reactive. It's their nature to be stable even when an electron is lost from their structure.

As you can see, the free radical chain reaction would go on indefinitely if their are no antioxidants present. Our body is equipped with the necessary antioxidants if the conditions are normal. But because of several factors, our body cannot cope up with the antioxidant requirements. Some factors include pollution, poor eating habits and irregular heavy exercises.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Antioxidants and Secondhand Smoke

Smoking cigars or cigarettes is not only bad for the health of the smoker but also for the non-smoker who is exposed to secondhand smoke.

Sources of secondhand smoke:
-Smoke from the burning end of a cigarette.
-Smoke exhaled by the smoker.

Chemicals identified in secondhand smoke:
-More than 4,000 but could reach 10,000.
-More than 50 of these are carcinogens.
-Metals that catalyze the direct oxidation of cellular proteins.

Risk of respiratory tract diseases ranks high when we are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Concentrations of NNK, a cancer causing toxin and a biomarker for exposure to secondhandsmoke, are found in non smoking employees of bar and restaurants which allow smoking. Read this article.

Exposure to secondhand smoke also depletes the vitamins in your body. Antioxidant vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A are not spared from the harmful effect of secondhand smoke.

If you are a smoker or a non-smoker but is frequently 'surrounded' by smokers, the best you can do to maintain your health is to replenish the depleted vitamins in your body especially Vitamin C which aside from being an antioxidant is also an immune booster.

Sources for vitamins and antioxidants:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Green Tea
- Antioxidant Vitamin Supplements

Reference: National Cancer Institute

You may also want to read:

Antioxidants and Exposure to Radiation
Aging - Antioxidants and Cognitive Brain Function
Antioxidant Lycopene Can Treat Many Diseases
Meditation Can Give You a Lift

Antioxidant Lycopene Can Treat Many Diseases

Lycopene, a nutrient and antioxidant found in tomatoes may help treat osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer.

The lycopene content of an ordinary tomato however contain only a fraction of a milligram which is way below from the recommended daily intake of 5 mg.

Thankfully, a new breed of tomatoes developed by Tomaisins International has several times lycopene content than ordinary tomatoes. One tomato cherry may contain 1 mg of lycopene.

The cherries are dried and processed into capsules which can be taken orally or may be used to fortify foods like cereals, snack foods and pastas.

Aside from its antioxidant capabilities, carotenoids like lycopene also stimulates our body's internal antioxidant response mechanism that fights carcinogens and toxins.

Antioxidant awareness has sparked interest on manufacturers of supplements and obviously would benefit the public for a more healthy life.

Related Posts:

Alcohol Can Boost Antioxidants in Fruit
Watermelon has more Lycopene than Tomatoes
Australia May Join the Market for Superfruits
Antioxidants in Juices
Black currant is no. 1 superfruit