Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Handful of pistachios could destroy cholesterol

This is all based on the walking corpse known as free radical theory so the health effects are likely to be the opposite of what is predicted

A handful of pistachio nuts a day can help destroy bad cholesterol, ward off heart disease and prevent cancer, say scientists. The nuts are full of antioxidants that protect cells from damage by harmful chemicals, called 'free radicals'.

The findings published in the Journal of Nutrition follows previous research by the same team that discovered pistachios help destroy bad cholesterol that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

Professor Penny Kris-Etherton, of Pennsylvania State University, said: "Our previous study showed the benefits of pistachios in lowering lipids and lipoproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease.

"This new study shows an additional effect of pistachios so now there are multiple health benefits of eating pistachios."

She and colleagues found pistachios are much richer in the main dietary antioxidants lutein, beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol than other nuts.

Beta-carotene turns into vitamin A which prevents cancer and gamma-tocopherol is a common form of vitamin E that wards off heart disease. Lutein is found in dark green leafy vegetables and is important in vision and healthy skin.

It is believed antioxidants also prevent cholesterol from moving into the blood vessel walls and causing inflammation.

When the researchers tested the effects of pistachios on antioxidant levels they found participants had much more antioxidants in their blood and lower cholesterol concentrations when they ate the nuts.

In the experiment, they ate three different diets for a month - a normal cholesterol lowering diet with no nuts and two other similar food regimes with 1.5 ounces and 3 ounces of pistachios respectively.

Prof Kris-Etherton added: "Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet including pistachios contributes to a decrease in serum oxidized-LDL levels, in part through cholesterol lowering, and also due to an added benefit of the antioxidants in the pistachios."


A stroll in the country could sharpen your mind -- if you are a mouse

Some heroic extrapolations below

Going for long walks in the country isn’t just good for your body – it could also sharpen up your mind. Scientists have discovered that a common ‘friendly’ bacteria found in soil boosts intelligence and speeds up learning time. The same microbe – which is blown around by the wind and inhaled – also appears to act as a natural antidepressant, researchers believe.

The discovery was made during experiments on animals. However, the researchers believe it could give the same boost to mental powers in humans who spend a lot of time outdoors.

The study looked at Mycobacterium vaccae, a natural bacterium found in soil. Scientists believe it may work as an antidepressant because it stimulates the brain’s ‘feel good’ chemical serotonin.

The research team at the Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, fed live bacteria to mice and then placed them in a maze. Their performance was compared with a control group of mice fed on an ordinary diet.

Dr Dorothy Matthews, who led the study, said: ‘We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviours as control mice.’

In a second experiment, the microbes were removed from the diet of mice. The mice ran the maze more slowly than when they were on the microbe-enhanced diet – but were still, on average, faster than the mice on a normal diet.

For the final stage of the study, the mice were tested three weeks after their last meal of microbes. They continued to navigate faster than the mice fed on the ordinary-diet.


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