Thursday, January 18, 2007

Health Notes

Are vitamin supplements safe? Harmful? It’s a lot to think about. I think we would all do well to get our nutrition from food.

In a related story, can vitamin A cause esophageal cancer (not to mention the harm it might do to fetuses)? And talking about vitamin A, what about Golden Rice? Aren’t they trying to genetically engineer vitamin A into the rice people eat? Is that a good idea?

I guess you have to be careful what kind of supplements you take. In Canada Kang Da (for erectile dysfunction) and Qing Zhi (for weight loss) are two supplements that might have some potentially serious side effects.

However some Chinese herbs may be useful in treating AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, etc. (We’ve spoken before about the Chinese herb Huperzine A. It may help with Alzheimer’s. Here is another article.)

Apparently scientists have talked for some time about using mushrooms to fight cancer. Here is a recent article on the subject. Other articles are accessible through Google and through Google News.

The above article had some information that I found interesting about other healthy foods, including carrots, onions, avocadoes, broccoli, watermelon, and green tea:

• Carrots contain a natural pesticide, falcarinol. The substance protects carrots from fungal diseases, such as liquorice rot, which causes black spots on the roots during storage. It is toxic in very large amounts, but scientists believe it may help humans fight the disease in liberal doses.
• Onions contain flavonoids and sulphurs. Researchers have found that moderate consumption appears to reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers.
• Avocados contain nature's largest source of the antioxidant lutein. Lab tests show it can inhibit rates of prostate cancer growth by up to 60%. They are also rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid, which have been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer.
• Broccoli contains a compound called I3C, which can boost DNA repair in cells and may ultimately stop them becoming cancerous.
• Watermelons contain higher levels of lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. The substance is thought to help in the fight against prostate, oesophageal and breast cancers and has been linked to a reduced risk of cervical cancer.
• Green tea is rich in polyphenols, which can inhibit an enzyme required for cancer cell growth. Scientists believe they kill cancer cells with no ill effects on healthy cells.

Does obesity impair heart function? Apparently the heart muscle thickens as body weight increases, making it more difficult to function normally? It’s something to think about.

This article says that maintaining a health weight is the “key to avoiding chronic disease.” More reason to lose weight? Of course.

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Note: links that look good today often are no longer good in the future. I make every effort to create good links. When I discuss a topic, I also attempt to provide enough pertinent information so that readers won’t have to rely solely on the link at hand for their understanding, or for their further research.


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