Sunday, September 14, 2008

Basil could fight the effects of ageing

Only if the "free radical" theory is correct and some results have called that into serious question. The "antioxidant" pills that are supposed to "mop up" free radicals do after all cause early death. See here and here and here. So basil could in fact kill you! LOL

A type of basil could help combat the harmful effects of ageing, according to new research. Holy basil is a close relative of the herb commonly used in Western cooking and its sharp-tasting leaves are incorporated in Asian dishes. Native to India, its extract has long been used in the ancient system of Ayurvedic medicine practised in India and other parts of Asia as a rejuvenation drug

In the first formal study of the herb, pharmacy researchers found that holy basil extract was effective at protecting against free radicals - cancer-causing chemicals which can attack key organs such as the heart, liver and brain and damage genes and nerve cells. The researchers, led by Dr Vaibhav Shinde from Poona College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, studied the herb for anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties. They presented their findings at the British Pharmaceutical Conference in Manchester.

Dr Shinde said: "The study validates the traditional use of herb as a youth-promoting substance in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It also helps describe how the herb acts at a cellular level." He added: "We have had some very exciting results. I am now using holy basil in my own cooking and I hope it will be beneficial."

The herb, whose Latin name is Latin name Ocimum sanctum, is also known as tulsi and is traditionally grown in an earthenware pot in homes and gardens in India. In the past it has been used to treat a variety of disorders including fevers, colds, malaria and diabetes.


LOL: Thinking can make you fat

I guess I must have been thinking a lot in recent years! Eating as one way of responding to stress is often observed however so the finding below probably has some truth in it. If the stress concerned is frequent, however, adaptation might reduce or eliminate any effects

Researchers found the stress of onerous mental tasks caused subjects to overeat. The results may help suggest how modern lifestyles have contributed to an obesity epidemic. The research team, supervised by Dr Angelo Tremblay, measured the spontaneous food intake of 14 students after each of three tasks.

The first was relaxing in a sitting position, the second reading and summarizing a text, and finally completing a series of memory, attention, and vigilance tests on the computer. After 45 minutes at each activity, participants were invited to eat as much as they wanted from a buffet. The researchers had already calculated that each session of intellectual work requires only three calories more than the rest period. However, despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests.

This represents a 23.6 per cent and 29.4 per cent increase, respectively, compared with the rest period. Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods.

Jean-Philippe Chaput, the study's main author, said: "These fluctuations may be caused by the stress of intellectual work, or also reflect a biological adaptation during glucose combustion." The body could be reacting to these fluctuations by spurring food intake in order to restore its glucose balance, the only fuel used by the brain.

Mr Chaput added: "Caloric overcompensation following intellectual work, combined with the fact we are less physically active when doing intellectual tasks, could contribute to the obesity epidemic currently observed in industrialised countries. "This is a factor that should not be ignored, considering that more and more people hold jobs of an intellectual nature." The results of the study, carried out at Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada, are published in the most recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.


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