Archive for June, 2011

More Research shows that Green Tea and Cocoa can lower Diabetes Risk and increase life expectancy:

Monday, June 27th, 2011

New research published in the June 2011 Issue of Journal of Nutrition provides evidence that potent epicatechin flavonoids from extracts of green tea and cocoa lower the destructive effects of high blood sugar. This can effectively prevent damage that ravages the major organs and especially the coronary arteries lining the heart muscle. Diabetes is a disease that is growing at an epidemic rate, and it decreases life expectancy by as much as eight years. Death occurs as a result of complications from multiple chronic conditions. Scientists found that epicatechin flavanoids inhibit the cellular damage caused by rising blood sugar levels and can prevent damage to the heart and liver. Regular supplementation can improve life expectancy by halting organ damage leading to chronic illness.

 

Epicatechin represents one of the antioxidants from the flavan-3-ol or flavonoids family. Epicatechin is found in several popular foods, and it is known to play a very important role in the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

 

Health Benefits of Epicatechin

Since cardiovascular diseases affect a great number of people from all over the world, finding foods that protect the heart and the circulatory system is among the main objectives of researchers. Epicatechin is found in several such foods, so its role in the prevention or the treatment of cardiovascular diseases cannot be denied.

Besides that, Epicatechin also seems to have a beneficial effect on hypertension and diabetes. For example, people who consume dark chocolate, a food rich in Epicatechin, have an improved glucose metabolism, as well as lowered blood pressure. The sensitivity and the resistance to insulin are improved, while the systolic blood pressure drops. However, these effects are not observed when consuming white chocolate, as this one does not contain cocoa, and therefore it includes no Epicatechin.

Hypertension and insulin sensitivity depend on the production of nitric-oxide, which is directly controlled by Epicatechin and other flavanols. Despite this obvious connection, it is unknown how Epicatechin influences the biological system in order to rise nitric-oxide bioavailability. There are three possible mechanisms, which involve:

▪                Insulin-mediated cell signaling

▪                Oxidant-mediated cell signaling

▪                Renin-angiotensin system

The first mechanism is based on the fact that insulin modifies signaling molecules that are implicated in the regulation of nitric-oxide. The second one refers to the way flavanols reduce oxidative stress, a process that leads to a greater availability of nitric-oxide. The latter mechanism implies the inhibition of an enzyme that converts angiotensin. Nitric-oxide production increases in this case because the induction of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Phosphate Hydrogen-oxidase activity is prevented.

A diet rich in Epicatechin leads to functional and structural modifications in the dentate gyrus. This section of the brain plays an important role in the development of memory and learning. This compound is also known to increase the blood flow in the brain, fact that may help in the prevention of cognitive disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Many prior studies have demonstrated that sustained high levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in the circulating blood are consistent with chronic disease and shortened lifespan. The present study demonstrated that epicatechin lead to decreases in low density lipoprotein cholesterol, IGF-1 and markers of inflammation; and increases in skeletal muscle function and liver antioxidant glutathione and superoxide dismutase (one of the body’s antioxidants) activity, all of which are associated with a healthier and longer life span.

 

Because of the effect exerted by epicatechin compounds extracted from green tea and cocoa products, the authors of the study published in the June 2011 issue of Journal of Nutrition determined that the data derived “further suggests that epicatechin may be a food-derived, anti-aging compound given the important role of IGF-1 in regulating the life span of organisms.”

 

The potent health-inducing nature of green tea has been in evidence for more than 5,000 years as countless Asian generations have cultivated the plant for medicinal purposes.

 

Green tea originates from China and has become associated with many cultures in Asia. Europe started importing tea from China in the 17th century. In China, since the Tang dynasty, the very respected Sage of tea Lu Yu said that tea was an elixir from the heavens. In Japan the art of drinking green tea is not only for good health, but is one of the most very important tradition and culture in Japan.

 

Green tea is tea made with the leaves of Camellia Sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation. Over the last few decades green tea has been subjected to many scientific and medical studies to determine the extent of its long-purported health benefits, with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers have lower chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer.

 

Green tea contains salubrious polyphenols, particularly catechins, the most abundant of which is epigallocatechin gallate. Green tea also contains carotenoids, tocopherols, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), minerals such as chromium, manganese, selenium and zinc, and certain phytochemical compounds. The anti-oxidants in green tea is 6 times more potent than black tea. The anti-oxidants of epigallocatechin gallate are 25 to 100 times more potent than that of Vitamin C.

 

Nushies Natural Green Tea Ice Creamery is made from steeped organic raw Green Tea leaves and wheat grass which is full of anti oxidants as well as natural epicatechin compounds. Nushies Natural Chocolate Ice Creamery contains raw unprocessed cocoa nibs full of epicatechin compounds.

 

References: Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032821_epicatechin_flavonoids_lifespan.html#ixzz1QSW8LHBC

http://www.elaine-moore.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=M0WYASgHyeI%3D&tabid=59&mid=1007

http://hotreviews.pathtoyourdream.com/antioxidants-in-green-tea-increase-life-expectancy/

http://www.lef.org/newsletter/2011/0527_Epicatechin-Extends-Life-Span-in-Fruit-Flies-and-Diabetic-Mice.htm

 

Attribute: Natural News and John Phillip

 

 

Before You Buy Organic Make Sure It Is Organic

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

We have reproduced the following article from http://www.promotinggoodhealth.com/ with their kind permission. It is a salient reminder to always check that what you are eating is what you think you are eating.

 

“I like walnut bread. Freshly made, straight out of the oven, with a hint of sweetness from the added honey and the crunchy texture of walnuts from my very own walnut tree, it really is hard to beat. (I have included my recipe for walnut bread at the end of this blog). As happens, I had run out of organic flour, so trundled down to the local health food shop to buy more. My local shop has recently begun stocking flour they called “organic”. And there it was – in a large plastic bin complete with a label proudly advising consumers that it was organic. I looked closely at the label showing the fat, protein, and carbohydrate contents. However, there was nothing on the label to say who had certified the flour was organic or where it had come from. When I asked the sales assistant to tell me who the organic certifier was, I was met with a blank expression signifying – I think – that she did not know what I was talking about. When I explained that, as a consumer, I was entitled to ask who the certifying body was, I was told I was being difficult, and was “giving her a hard time”. All because I asked for something that is standard practice for retailers of organic food!

My recent experience was not unusual. The very same day I went into a self-proclaimed “organic shop” to buy some organic vegetables (by the way, it is worth mentioning that just because a it calls itself an “organic shop” does not mean that everything it sells is organic). There were lots of “organic” fruits and vegetables to choose from, with prices that apparently reflected this (double or more the non-organic price). Once again there was an absence of certification details for much of the produce. In view of my earlier experience, I weighed up whether to risk confrontation with the shop owner and decided against asking them for the certification information and walked out of the shop. It further illustrated the consumer has to be quite assertive when shopping for organic food. But why should they have to be?

In Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Canada, USA and many other countries around the world, there are systems in place to provide assurance for consumers that flour and any other food labeled “organic” has indeed been grown to legally defined conditions and standards. This includes being grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. This assurance comes through certification by an independent third party – An organic certification body or authority. Organic certification means the grower of the wheat, or any other food for that matter, has entered into a legally binding contract to grow their food under conditions laid down by the independent organic certification body. There is a lot more to it than this because the organic standards also include how the food is processed, packaged, stored, transported and how any animals involved in the production of the food are treated. If the grower fulfils his or her obligations under this agreement, then the grower is certified as “organic” by the independent authority and the grower and retailer are entitled to claim that the food is indeed organic and label it as such. As part of the certification process labels on organic foods should provide consumers with the identity of the certifier and a registration number. This labeling requirement is not simply some bureaucratic nonsense but rather is for the protection of consumers who are often confronted with labels such as “organically grown”, “minimal spray” or “pesticide-free”. As these terms have no legal definition, they are effectively meaningless are rely solely on the honesty of the grower, packaging company or retailer. They certainly do not necessarily mean the food was grown under the conditions set down by an independent organic certification body. It is also for the protection of farmers who have put in the time and effort and pay the costs of becoming an organically certified grower. The time and costs involved to achieve organic certification are considerable. To become an organic farmer may take up to three years during which time changes have to be made to convert any existing conventional agricultural production methods into those consistent with the standards set for organic production as laid down by the certifier. It also involves regular inspections and a higher level of auditing and record keeping. Changing from conventional to organic farming is a decision not to be taken lightly.

There are good reasons why consumers may want to know if a food is genuinely organic. One very good reason is the premium they pay for organic food, often double or more the price of non-organic food. Human nature being what it is, there is an incentive for a retailer or grower to obtain the higher price that consumers are willing to pay if they think a food is organic. There are also consumers who do not want to eat food that has been grown with artificial pesticides and fertilizers because they believe the pesticide residues present in conventionally grown food have the potential to do harm. There is evidence to support this view. Others want to eat organic food for ethical reasons because they believe it has been grown using methods that are not harmful to the environment. And finally, there are those who believe organic food tastes better and has a greater nutritional value than non-organic food. Whatever their beliefs, people who want and are prepared to pay for organic food have the right to get what they are paying for.

In response to repeated requests, Promoting Good Health book has published a book on organic food titled “Organic Food: A Guide for Consumers” which is available from the online store on this website. In this book we discuss the methods used to grow food organically and the differences between organic and biodynamic production methods. We also examine the scientific evidence for the belief that organic food tastes better and has more nutrients than conventional food. We also help you find organic produce in your area and how to tell if it really is “organic”. If you want useful and practical information about organic food to help you choose whether you and your family should go “organic”, unbiased information based on fact rather than hype, we recommend you read this book. ”

Nushie’s Natural products save for its Truly Decadent Tiramisu Ice Creamery are all Australian Certified Organic. Our Tiramisu would be save that we have not been able to source a truly organic sherry, except an imported brand from Spain at a huge price which would put Nushie’s Tiramisu out of range for everyone -  including Nushies Natural! We will keep trying.

 

 

A recent study confirms that desserts with a low GI Index help reduce childhood obesity.

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

A recent study presented at the 93rd Annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston by the Athens University of Medicine has showed that overweight girls were more likely to lose weight and stay on a healthy diet if they eat low GI desserts several times a week rather than eat their choice of one dessert a week (which usually is high GI and has a high fat content).

 

“Dieters commonly splurge on dessert once a week, usually choosing fattening items,” said lead investigator Antonia Dastamani, MD, PhD, a pediatrician and research fellow at Athens University School of Medicine in Athens, Greece. “However, we found a positive effect of more frequent consumption of desserts that have a low glycemic index and low glycemic load.”

 

“Studies suggest that low GI/GL diets have a positive effect on weight control and improving insulin resistance,” Dastamani said.

Obesity can cause insulin resistance, in which the body does not properly use the hormone insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels and sets the stage for development of diabetes.

 

Childhood obesity is on the rise, and with that comes a risk of diabetes and heart disease at an incredibly young age. Children are more sedentary these days with the increase use of online entertainment. Food choices have changed with more processed packaged food available on the supermarket shelves and in the freezer. Portion sizes over the years have become larger, ultimately leading to weight gain. Diet programs for children are tricky, though, because you don’t want them to be part of the statistics of those who lose and gain over and over again. You also have to consider kids’ ages and their ability to deal with self-esteem issues regarding body image.

 

The recent study by the Athens University of Medicine confirms that a low-glycemic diet can be a good solution for parents looking to help their children with weight loss because

•                It promotes a healthy long-term relationship with food.

•                It doesn’t restrict calorie levels too much or limit their carbohydrate levels while they’re growing and active.

•                Low-glycemic foods can be used in moderation so children can feel like they’re living a normal life and not like they’re being put on a “diet.”

•                There’s no need for kids to eat “diet” foods that may make them feel uncomfortable around others their age.

•                It can lower children’s risk for diabetes and heart disease.

•                It can easily be incorporated into kids’ lifestyles without drastic changes.

The trick is however to get a child started on a low GI diet. And this is not hard. Here are some tips from Meri Raffetto, RD, LDN

Starting a child on a low-glycemic diet

•                Be moderate with your approach. Putting a child on a strict diet will make him miserable and can cause him to fixate on food in an unhealthy way. You get better results with moderation, and you set your child up to have a healthy relationship with food.

•                Make it a family plan. Incorporate the low-glycemic diet for everyone so your child doesn’t feel singled out. Making a child eat pearl barley while everyone else gets pasta is hard on him emotionally and can impact his self-esteem.

•                Encourage fun activities. Strict exercise regimens can make your child end up hating exercise later on in life. Instead of going the strict route, encourage fun activities such as bike riding, swimming, or just getting some old-fashioned play time outside.

•                Avoid dieting language. You can influence your child’s weight without putting too much attention on the scale. This approach helps kids naturally develop new habits instead of feeling bad about their bodies or that something’s wrong with them.

 

Nushie’s Natural Ice Creamery is a low GI dessert, all organic and gluten and lactose free. It is certainly a fabulous option for those seeking to move to a low GI diet or simply eat healthily.

 

Sources:

Science Daily

Eurekalert.

 

Raw Chocolate is a “Super Food”: Ongoing research shows that eating raw or dark chocolate exerts beneficial effects throughout the whole body.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Potent cacao flavanols from  raw dark chocolate have proven effective in lowering the risk from heart disease and sudden heart attack in recent studies. Writing in the journal Physiology and Behavior, researchers demonstrate that antioxidants released by consumption of cocoa products can improve multiple aspects of eyesight and cognitive performance. Scientists from the University of Reading found that improvements in visual function were evident for two and a half hours after ingesting foods high in cocoa flavanols(CF) and certain cognitive brain functions were enhanced. Small amounts of unsweetened dark chocolate can aid visual acuity and boost memory performance.

Prior research studies have shown that the consumption of CF have improved markers of blood hemodynamics, increasing both central and peripheral blood flow. Increased blood flow is an important factor in cerebral health and function and is also essential to the heart and enhanced eyesight.

Ongoing research shows that eating dark chocolate exerts beneficial effects throughout the whole body. High quality chocolate delivers disease-zapping antioxidants, lowers blood pressure and protects your heart and liver, all in one fell crunch.

Chemistry Central Journal brings even more good news for chocolate lovers, stating that dark chocolate contains more flavanols and polyphenols than fruit juice. “Cacao seeds are a ‘Super Fruit’ providing nutritive value beyond that of their macronutrient composition,” said Dr Debra Miller.  When researchers at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition™ compared the antioxidant activity in cocoa powder and fruit powders they found that, gram per gram, there was more antioxidant capacity, and a greater total flavanol content, in the cocoa powder.

Similarly when they compared the amount of antioxidants, per serving, of dark chocolate, cocoa, hot chocolate mix and fruit juices they found that both dark chocolate and cocoa had a greater antioxidant capacity and a greater total flavanol, and polyphenol, content than the fruit juices. However hot chocolate, due to processing (alkalization) of the chocolate, contained little of any.

Dr Debra Miller, the senior author of the paper, says that, “Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit” providing nutritive value beyond that of their macronutrient composition.” Which is great news for chocolate lovers.
Chocolate and Blood Pressure

Another  important health benefit is that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension. According to researchers from the University of Adelaide, flavanols promote vasodilation, which may consequently lower blood pressure.

“There have, however, been conflicting results as to the real-life effects of eating chocolate. We’ve found that consumption can significantly, albeit modestly, reduce blood pressure for people with high blood pressure but not for people with normal blood pressure.” added Dr Karin Ried, who is program manager and research fellow of the PHCRED (Primary Health Care Research Evaluation & Development) program at The University of Adelaide. The analysis concluded that the pressure reduction caused by chocolate consumption was comparable to the effects of 30 minutes of daily physical activity.

Chocolate and Cirrhosis

There are also potential benefits for liver disease patients. Spanish scientists found that eating dark chocolate lowers blood pressure in the liver and reduces damage to the blood vessels of patients with cirrhosis.

A study which was presented at the International Liver Congress 2010 divided 21 cirrhotic patients with end stage liver disease into two groups. The first group received liquid meal containing dark chocolate, while the participants in the second group were getting liquid meal with white chocolate devoid of anti-oxidant properties. As a result, the patients receiving dark chocolate experienced a noticeable reduction of post-prandial increase in blood pressure in the liver.

One Square Is Enough

However, it is not necessary to eat huge quantities of chocolate in order to experience all the health benefits. In fact, just one small square a day may be enough to experience the health benefits chocolate is offering. A study performed in Germany that compared 19 357 individuals found that those who ate the most amount of chocolate (an average of 7.5 grams a day) were at a 39% lower risk of developing a heart attack than people with the lowest (1.7 grams) chocolate intakes.

To put things into perspective, the six grams of difference are the equivalent of one small square of a typical 100g chocolate bar.

“Our hypothesis was that because chocolate appears to have a pronounced effect on blood pressure, therefore chocolate consumption would lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks,” explains Dr Brian Buijsse from the German Institute of Human Nutrition, who led the research. “Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food, such as snacks, in order to keep body weight stable.”

But be Careful to understand what you are eating

The latest research demonstrates that natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate have significantly greater total flavanol (therefore greater health) values than the other fruit powders and juices tested, respectively. Natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate can thus be regarded as “Super Foods”. But consumers should be careful as products made with alkalized cocoa … those that have been heated or have been processed with refined sugar or milk have relatively low antioxidant and total flavanol values. Therefore, consumers should be aware that brands of cocoa powders and dark chocolate and derivative products may differ substantially in their nutritive value.

Nushie’s Natural Chocolate Ice Creamery is a valuable source of organic raw cacoa. It contains 6% pure organic raw cacoa which has remained in its raw form and therefore a high source of antioxidants and total flavanol content.

References:

European Association for the Study of the Liver (2010, April 19). Potential benefit of dark chocolate for liver disease patients. ScienceDaily.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100415114323.htm

BioMed Central (2011, February 10). Chocolate is a ‘super fruit’: Rich source of antioxidants. ScienceDaily.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110207073748.htm

European Society of Cardiology (2010, April 4). Chocolate might reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease, research suggests.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100330092809.htm

BioMed Central Limited (2010, June 28). Dark chocolate lowers blood pressure, research finds. ScienceDaily.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100628075746.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324330

Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in an acute improvement in visual and cognitive functions
Authors: D. T. Field, C. M. Williams, L T. Butler
Physiology & Behavior

Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products.

Authors: SJ Crozier, AG Preston, JW Hurst, MJ Payne, J Mann, L Hainly and DL Miller.

Chemistry Central Journal 2011,

http://journal.chemistrycentral.com/content/5/1/5