Monday, May 12, 2008

Eat like a caveman for a healthy heart -- but too bad about your bones

A "caveman diet" of berries, nuts, lean meat and fish could help reduce the risk of developing heart disease -- and increase the risk of osteoporosis

Scientists found that volunteers who ate the stone age fare for just three weeks had lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of clots. They also lost an average of five pounds in weight.

Our early ancestors lived on a diet lacking in cereals, dairy products and refined sugar for centuries before farming developed and some scientists believe that the human body is still best suited to this kind of food.

Volunteers in the trial, run by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, were allowed to eat only foods from a prescribed list, which included fresh or frozen fruit, berries or vegetables, lean meat, unsalted fish, canned tomatoes, lemon or lime juice, spices and coffee or tea without milk or sugar, for three weeks. All dairy products were banned as well as beans, salt, peanuts, pasta or rice, sausages, alcohol, sugar and fruit juice. However, participants were allowed up to two potatoes a day. They were also given some dried fruit, cured meats and a portion of fatty meat as a weekly treat.

After three weeks, the 14 volunteers who completed the study had lost an average of five pounds, the findings, published in the current issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, show.

Systolic blood pressure, the higher of the two readings taken, had fallen by an average of just under 5 per cent, while levels of a clotting agent in the blood, which can cause heart attacks and strokes, dropped by 72 per cent.

Dr Per Wandell, who led the study, said that the research proved that even short term use of the diet had "favourable effects" on the major risk factors for heart disease. However, he warned that the lack of certain foodstuffs could have other impacts on overall health. "One negative effect was the decreased intake of calcium (from dairy goods)," he said, "which could be a risk factor for osteoporosis later in life."


Study Finds Having More Children Linked to Longer Life

Among the Amish, anyway

As studies continue to confirm the decreased lifespan of individuals engaging in homosexual relationships, a recent University of Maryland study indicated a link between larger families and longer lifespan. A 2006 study of Amish in Lancaster, PA found that men born between 1749 and 1912, who lived 50 or more years, averaged 0.23 more years of life per additional child. Women from the same period average 0.32 extra years of life per additional child, up to the 14th child.

"We conclude that high parity among men and later menopause among women may be markers for increased life span. Understanding the biological and/or social factors mediating these relationships may provide insights into mechanisms underlying successful aging," the researchers stated.

While the UM study shows the health benefits of the traditional large family, other recent studies have revealed the health dangers of non-traditional social relations. A recent study found that individuals taking part in legal same-sex "marriages" in Norway and Denmark lived 24 fewer years than individuals in traditional marriages, Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron reported at the 2007 annual Eastern Psychological Association convention.

"Given the greatly reduced lifespan for homosexuals, school children should be strongly and consistently warned about the dangers of homosexuality even more so than smoking. Those school districts which are introducing pro-gay curricula need to rethink their priorities," argued Dr. Paul Cameron.

A study that appeared in the 1997 International Journal of Epidemiology found that homosexual lifestyle reduced life expectancy 8 to 20 years. Despite the findings of their own work, the research group distanced themselves from "homophobic" claims that the homosexual lifestyle is unhealthy or destructive.


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