Friday, November 11, 2011

Pomegranate industry finds that pomegranates are a wonder drug

How surprising! The main finding seems to be that pomegranates have antioxidant properties. But antioxidants shorten your lifespan so that is faint praise. Note that the study was of blood chemistry only. All the other claimed wonderful effects are just theories

It can help to prevent heart disease, relieve stress and has even been shown to improve your sex life. And if that was not enough to convince you to try pomegranate, the fruit is now being hailed as the elixir of youth.

A £2million study has found a daily dose could slow the ageing process of DNA.

An extract of the whole fruit – including pith, peel and seeds – was given to 60 volunteers every day for a month in the form of a capsule. Researchers monitored the activity of chemicals in their bodies compared with those who took a placebo.

They found a significant decrease in a marker associated with cell damage, which can cause impaired brain, muscle, liver and kidney function as well as ageing effects on the skin.

This decrease – a hitherto unknown benefit of consuming pomegranate – is thought to slow down the oxidation, or ‘rusting’, of the DNA in cells which naturally occurs over time, according to researchers at the private ProbelteBio laboratory in Murcia, Spain.

They are found in small quantities in the juice but mainly in the inedible rind, husk and white pith which has been harnessed into a pill and a drink.

Dr Sergio Streitenberger, who led the study, funded by Pomegreat PurePlus, said: ‘We are very excited about this study which we believe demonstrates that regular consumption of this pomegranate extract can slow down the process of DNA oxidation

'One way to look at ageing is to think of it as rusting, or oxidising, a damaging process. Being able to guard against this process would be a significant breakthrough.’

Dr Streitenberger’s team – whose study will be published later this month – found a decrease in levels of a chemical marker called 8-Oxo-DG in the participants’ urine tests.

It is associated with damage to DNA caused by a host of chemicals we eat, drink and breathe in.

Pomegranate has been renowned as a superfood for centuries, and has been found to contain vitamins A, C and E as well as iron and antioxidants – chemicals which help neutralise harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals.

Last year, researchers at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, whose work was also funded by the Pomegreat juice company found their product could combat middle-aged spread and even reduce stress at work.


Could cutting back on salt do more harm than good? Experts find it raises cholesterol

Amusing how this study gets a level of criticism much stronger than most studies of its kind. Must not upset the "consensus"! It is true that the effects noted are weak but so are the effects in most studies of this type. The important datum is the effect on lifespan and salt reduction is at the least not clearly beneficial there

Cutting back on salt could do you more harm than good, boosting chemicals that are bad for the heart, scientists warn. The NHS states that a diet rich in sodium can cause raised blood pressure and the government have issued a long-term campaign to highlight the health risks.

But researchers from the University of Copenhagen now claim that cutting down on salt can increase the likelihood of death in some patients with existing heart problems.

An assessment of 67 previous studies involving over 40,000 people revealed that a reduced salt intake triggered a 2.5 per cent rise in cholesterol and a 7 per cent rise in a type of fat that can cause blood clots. The dietary change was also shown to cause the kidneys to release more of a protein called renin and its hormone aldosterone which is linked with high blood pressure.

Lead researcher Dr Niels Graudal, said: 'An increase in [cholesterol] would increase the risk of cardiovascular death.' He said that instead of people reducing their salt intake they should concentrating on quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and losing weight.

Their study follows findings from Exeter University published in July that concluded there was 'no strong evidence' lowering levels of salt in the diet reduced the risk of heart disease or premature death.

But many are skeptical of the recent findings, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, and say it is not enough to devalue the major benefits of cutting back on sodium. Prof Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said detailed examination of the latest paper showed there was no significant increase in cholesterol that lasted more than a month.

And small increases in renin and aldosterone at four weeks are similar to that which occurs when diuretics are given to reduce blood pressure.

He said: 'This study, contrary to the authors' claims, supports the wealth of evidence that reducing our salt intake will be immensely beneficial in preventing strokes, heart attacks and heart failure, the commonest causes of death and disability in the world.'

Meanwhile Keith C. Ferdinand, M.D., chief scientific officer of the Association of Black Cardiologists, told CNN: 'This study does nothing to defer the recommendation that across the general population, sodium restriction would have a huge benefit in terms of decreasing cardiovascular disease, and perhaps lives saved.'

According to the NHS adults should eat no more than 6g of salt a day - around one teaspoon full - and salt intake can be reduced by being wary of foods such as bacon, cheese, salami, salted and dry roasted nuts.


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