New Research Says that Chocolate DECREASES Cardiovascular Disease Risk and Diabetes


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New research suggests that moderate chocolate consumption can significantly decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.



NEW RESEARCH SAYS THAT CHOCOLATE DECREASES CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK AND DIABETES

Cocoa, from which chocolate is made, is known to be rich in flavonol antioxidants, as well as other compounds that appear to reduce the risk of developing the cholesterol plaques that cause coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Cocoa has also been shown to improve the function and health of critical blood vessels in the body, which can lower elevated blood pressure. Moreover, additional research has shown that cocoa may also decrease the risk of diabetes.

Milk chocolate contains considerably more fat and sugar than dark chocolate, and these milk chocolate additives are well known to increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, dark chocolate has been more often recommended than milk chocolate as a possibly healthy treat. However, several public health studies have suggested that even milk chocolate may still possess clinically significant cardiovascular health benefits, despite its high fat and high sugar content.

A newly published meta-analysis study, which appears in the British Medical Journal, adds weight to the possibility that even milk chocolate might have heart-healthy properties. In this meta-analysis study, seven previously published public health research studies, which included 114,009 research volunteers, were analyzed. This analysis revealed that 5 of these 7 previously published public health studies found that increased chocolate consumption was associated with a significant decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Specifically, research volunteers who reported the highest levels of chocolate consumption were observed to be 37 percent less likely to develop heart disease, 31 percent less likely to develop diabetes, and 29 percent less likely to have a stroke when compared to the volunteers who reported the least chocolate consumption.

Now, for the (possibly) bad news….  None of these seven public health research studies were randomized clinical research studies.  All were so-called “observational” studies, wherein groups of volunteers completed questionnaires regarding their diet and lifestyle habits, and were then observed over time for the development of new health problems.  The obvious weakness of observational studies, in general, is their reliance upon the often inaccurate self-reporting by research volunteers on questionnaires designed to assess their dietary and lifestyle habits.  The other weakness of these particular research studies is that they did not identify which types of chocolate were associated either with the least or the greatest health benefits (nor is it clear from these studies whether or not there is an optimal amount of chocolate intake necessary to produce the greatest possible health benefits).  All of these important disclaimers aside, multiple clinical research studies have previously shown very significant potential health benefits associated with regular chocolate consumption.  At the same time, in view of the clear association of increased fat and sugar intake with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease risk, among other health problems, my recommendation to my patients and readers is to take moderate amounts of dark chocolate, and other lower-fat and lower-sugar chocolates, as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle!

 

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.




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Soy (Isoflavones), Osteoporosis, and the Symptoms of Menopause


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A new placebo-controlled, double-blinded research study showed no benefit from soy supplements in reducing osteoporosis or the symptoms of menopause.



SOY (ISOFLAVONES), OSTEOPOROSIS, AND THE SYMPTOMS OF MENOPAUSE

As I discuss in detail in my recent book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, combination hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for the symptoms of menopause have been clearly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.  (This important topic is also the subject of my next book, which will be published in 2012.)  Since the preliminary findings of the landmark Women’s Health Initiative study were released in 2002, proving the link between HRT and breast cancer, many women and their physicians have been searching for safer alternatives to HRT in an effort to relieve the symptoms of menopause, and to reduce the risk of thinning of the bones (osteoporosis).

There have been several public health research studies that have suggested a role for soy foods in the prevention of both osteoporosis (“thin bones”) and menopausal symptoms. Indeed, the findings of these studies make scientific sense, as soy isoflavones, which are present in many soy food products (and especially in tofu), act as a weak form of estrogen. (It is the loss of estrogen production in the ovaries, after menopause, that leads to both osteoporosis and the unpleasant symptoms of menopause in postmenopausal women.) However, as with the vast majority of disease prevention research in general, the available research data linking soy isoflavones to improvements in bone density and menopausal symptoms has been in the form of survey-based studies, and other relatively unreliable types of research studies. Now, a newly published prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, doubled-blinded clinical research study takes a closer (and more accurate) look at the impact of soy isoflavone supplements on osteoporosis and menopausal symptoms. This clinical research study appears in the current issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In this study, 122 postmenopausal women were randomized to receive a daily soy isoflavone supplement pill (200 mg), while 126 postmenopausal women were randomized to receive a placebo (sugar) pill that was identical in appearance to the soy isoflavone pills. Neither the research study volunteers nor the research staff knew which patient volunteers received the soy isoflavone tablets and which volunteers received the placebo pills until the research study was completed. These patient volunteers were all followed for an average of 2 years. Bone density measurements were performed at the beginning of the study, and then again 2 years later. Common menopausal symptoms were also tracked throughout the duration of this study.

After 2 years of observation, there was no significant difference in bone density measurements between the two groups of women who participated in this clinical research study (in both groups of women, there was an average bone density loss of about 2 percent over the 2-year period of this study). Moreover, the women in the soy isoflavone group actually reported ahigher incidence of hot flashes and constipation than the women in the placebo group.

In this well-controlled prospective, randomized, doubled-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical research study, a daily supplement of 200 mg of soy isoflavones neither improved postmenopausal bone density loss nor improved the most troublesome symptoms of menopause.  (Whether or not higher doses of soy isoflavones, or natural soy foods instead of soy isoflavone supplements, might have shown some beneficial effect on bone density loss or menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women cannot be answered by this study.)  Therefore, this study convincingly shows that even relatively large daily doses of purified soy isoflavones have no beneficial effect on either bone density loss or menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.  Based upon the results of this study, if you are currently taking soy isoflavone supplements in an effort to reduce your risk of osteoporosis, or the symptoms of menopause, this high-level clinical research study indicates that you are probably wasting your time and money on such supplements.  (However, as I discuss in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, soy foods may actually reduce a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, particularly if consumed during early adolescence and early adulthood, and soy products may also decrease a man’s lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.)

 

For a comprehensive guide to living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million,Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books! On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link:

Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month. (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!) As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.





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Beer May Prevent Heart and Arterial Disease (Atherosclerosis)

 

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“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


BEER MAY PREVENT HEART AND

ARTERIAL DISEASE (ATHEROSCLEROSIS)

 

Dietary polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants, are thought to have a wide range of potential health benefits, including a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.  Polyphenols are found in many plant-based foods that we eat, including that age-old beverage, beer.

A newly published research study, which appears in the current issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, has drawn some very important conclusions about the potential health benefits of alcohol-free beer.

As we age, the inner lining of our arteries often becomes progressively more diseased.  As our arteries age, complex “plaques” can form on the inner surfaces of our arteries (a process known as atherosclerosis), which may then result in a critical narrowing of important arteries, including the arteries that nourish our heart, kidneys, brain, legs and feet, and other important sites in our bodies.  When these atherosclerotic plaques bleed or rupture, the blood supply to our vital organs can then become compromised, resulting in heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, and the potential loss of toes, feet, and legs.

In this interesting laboratory study, mice with a genetic predisposition towards atherosclerosis were fed either alcohol-free lager beer or alcohol-free dark beer for 20 weeks.  (Mice within a third group, the control group, did not receive any alcohol-free beer.)  The results of this study were striking.  The mice that received alcohol-free lager (“light”) beer experienced 44 percent less atherosclerosis within the main artery in their bodies (the aorta), while the mice that consumed the more polyphenol-rich alcohol-free dark beer were noted to have 51 percent less atherosclerosis in their aortas (versus the control group mice).

Additional results from this animal study indicated that the consumption of alcohol-free beer significantly also reduced the presence of substances that cause the lining of arteries (endothelium) to become “sticky,” such that inflammatory white blood cells, muscle cells, and fat cells begin to “stick” to the interior of these arteries, causing arterial atherosclerosis.

While I always caution that the findings of laboratory animal research studies are very often not validated in subsequent human studies, this particular animal study is exciting in that not only was a significant reduction in atherosclerosis observed among the mice that received alcohol-free beer supplements, but also the actual biochemical mechanisms linked to the development of atherosclerosis, in both mice and men (with apologies to Steinbeck…), were also shown to be inhibited by alcohol-free beer supplementation.

The findings of this study raise the possibility that beer polyphenols may be able to significantly reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, particularly in people with an increased predisposition towards premature atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.  (I must stress that the frequent consumption of beer, or other beverages that contain alcohol, is associated with a variety of potentially serious health problems, including liver disease, GI tract bleeding, pancreatitis, cancers of the breast and GI tract, and other life-threatening illnesses.  However, fortunately, based upon the results of this laboratory animal study, alcohol-free beer appears to retain the potential health benefits of traditional beer, but without the harmful health effects associated with beer that contains alcohol.)

 

For a complete discussion of the role of dietary polyphenols in cancer prevention, and other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race.  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!   

 

On Thanksgiving Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books!  On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!  

 



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity



Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author



For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 
Texas Blues Jam



I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.2 million health-conscious people visited Weekly Health Update in 2010!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.






 

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Hesperidin in Orange Juice Improves Hypertension and Arterial Function

 

Welcome to Weekly Health Update


“A critical weekly review of important new research findings for health-conscious readers”


HESPERIDIN IN ORANGE JUICE IMPROVES

HYPERTENSION AND ARTERIAL FUNCTION

 

Polyphenols are chemical compounds that are found in most of the plant-based foods that we commonly eat.  As I discuss in detail in my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, some polyphenolic compounds, such as green tea flavonoids, soy-based isoflavones, quercetin, curcumin, and resveratrol, among other polyphenols, may possess important cancer prevention properties.  There is also abundant research data suggesting that diets rich in certain natural dietary polyphenols may be associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, as well.

Hesperidin, which is a flavonoid polyphenol, is found in a variety of plant-based foods, including oranges, orange juice, and other citrus fruits.  A newly published prospective, randomized, blinded clinical research study, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, offers intriguing evidence that hesperidin may actually decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease in high-risk patients.

In this pilot study, 24 overweight (but otherwise healthy) men, ages 50 to 65 years, were subjected to 4-week intervals in each of three experimental groups.  The first group was assigned to drink 500 ml (17 ounces) of orange juice per day.  The second experimental group drank a “control drink” that appeared similar to orange juice, but which did not contain any actual orange juice.  However, this “sham orange juice” was fortified with hesperidin.  The third group was also assigned to drink the fake orange juice, and to which was added a supplement portrayed (to the study volunteers, and to the research nurses who administered the beverages to these research volunteers) as hesperidin, but which, in fact, was an inert placebo that contained no hesperidin or other polyphenols.

Physical examinations and blood tests were performed before and after the men rotated through each of these three experimental groups.

The findings of this small but high quality clinical research study were quite interesting.  When compared to the control group that consumed the fake orange juice and fake hesperidin supplement, the men in the other two experimental groups experienced a significant reduction in their blood pressure measurements.  Specifically, the diastolic blood pressure was significantly reduced, which suggests that these men experienced an improvement in the elasticity, or compliance, of their arteries, as a direct result of the hesperidin contained in both orange juice and in the non-juice beverage supplemented with hesperidin.  This observation was again confirmed through additional testing that revealed improved vascular compliance associated with hesperidin intake.  Moreover, this significant improvement in arterial compliance was observed only after the ingestion of hesperidin, and disappeared when these same men were retested after undergoing an overnight fast.  (Improved arterial compliance is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and stroke.)

To summarize the findings of this study, hesperidin, when taken in the form of either orange juice or as a supplement, appeared to significantly improve arterial elasticity, and lower diastolic blood pressure, in middle-aged overweight men.  While this brief study cannot prove that these observed and transient improvements in arterial compliance subsequently reduced the incidence of cardiovascular disease in these high-risk men, there is abundant data from other research studies linking improved arterial compliance with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease.  A much larger version of this small pilot study should now be repeated, and the volunteers in this larger study need to be followed for a much longer duration of time, before we can say, with certainty, that hesperidin significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.  That being said, the findings of this small but well-conducted, and elegant, randomized, controlled, prospective clinical research study are still quite compelling.

   

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO OUR MANY HEALTH-CONSCIOUS

WEEKLY HEALTH UPDATE” READERS AROUND THE WORLD!

 

PEACE, LOVE, AND GOOD HEALTH TO ALL OF YOU!

 

For a complete discussion of the role of dietary flavonoids and polyphenols in cancer prevention, and other important evidence-based approaches to cancer prevention, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, now!  For the price of a cheeseburger, fries, and a shake, you can purchase this landmark new book, in both paperback and e-book formats, and begin living an evidence-based cancer prevention lifestyle today!

 

GIVE  THE  GIFT  OF  HEALTH  THIS  HOLIDAY  SEASON!  For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my new book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Vroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores! 

On Thanksgiving Day, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com Top 100 Bestseller’s List for Kindle e-books!  On Christmas Day, 2010, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list!



Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a cancer researcher, an oncology consultant, and a widely published author


For a different perspective on Dr. Wascher, please click on the following YouTube link: 

Texas Blues Jam


I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people, from around the world, who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (As of 9/16/2010, more than 1,000,000 health-conscious people have logged onto Weekly Health Update so far this year!)  As always, I enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.



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