Tag Archives: lower

How to live longer: Raspberries have anti-cancer properties and help lower blood sugars

Life expectancy can largely be attributed to a healthy balanced diet. Experts say you should eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day, base meals on higher fibre starchy foods, have some dairy or dairy alternative, and eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein. Choosing unsaturated oils and spread and eating them in small amounts is also important, alongside drinking plenty of fluids. When it comes to fruit, one in particular has numerous health benefits – so much so that it should be a staple in your fridge for those wanting to boost their longevity.

Raspberries are rich in quercetin and gallic acid, which are flavonoids linked to healthy heart function, and they provide protection against obesity.

Raspberries have also been shown to promote healthy cell life and regulate normal cell death.

Raspberries are high in several powerful antioxidant compounds, including vitamin C, quercetin and ellagic acid.

Compared to other berries, raspberries have a similar antioxidant content as strawberries, but only half as much as blackberries and a quarter as much as blueberries.

A review of animal studies suggests raspberries and raspberry extracts have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects that may reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

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Raspberries are also unlikely to raise blood sugar levels and are low in glycaemic index (GI).

The GI is a measure of how quickly a given food increases your blood sugar.

Though the GI for raspberries has not been determined, most berries fall into the low-glycaemic category.

Additionally, studies show raspberries may lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance.

In animal studies, mice fed freeze-dried red raspberries alongside a high-fat diet had lower blood sugar levels and less insulin resistance than the control group.

The raspberry-fed mice also demonstrated less evidence of fatty liver disease.

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In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effects of raspberries on killing stomach and colon cancer cells were further analysed.

The study noted: “Although the antioxidant capacity of raspberry extracts is important for inhibiting the proliferation of tumour cells, other characteristics of the berry extracts are responsible for a major part of their antiproliferative activity, and that the relative importance of the antioxidant effect can depend on the cell type being studied.

“The aim of this study was to assess the relative roles of low pH and high antioxidant levels in the killing of three cell types by an aqueous extract from red raspberries.

“Stomach, colon, and breast cancer cells were treated with berry extract

“A dilution of 7.5 percent ascorbic acid solution, of the same pH and slightly higher antioxidant concentration than the berry extract, killed less than 10 percent of the stomach and colon cancer cells.

“In contrast, the berry extract at this same dilution killed more than 90 percent of these cells.”

One study in 27 adults with metabolic syndrome showed that consuming a drink made of freeze-dried strawberries for eight weeks decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol by 11 percent.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that can lead to heart disease.

In addition, an 18-year study conducted by led by Dr Eric Rimm, associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, found women who ate the most strawberries and blueberries were 34 percent less likely to have suffered a heart attack than women who ate the least of these fruits.

Berries also have anti-cancer properties and are excellent food for the brain; there is evidence that berry consumption could help prevent cognitive decline with ageing.

High blood pressure: Water is key in helping to lower risk and your reading

High blood pressure, medically known as hypertension, is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. This has the net result of increasing the workload of the heart and blood vessels — making them work harder and less efficiently. The arteries that supply blood to the heart lose their stretchiness and narrow. Being dehydrated may make this condition worse.

According to Dr Stephen Sinatra, drinking water is a natural way to lower a surging blood pressure.

Dr Sinatra explained: “Water intake affects blood pressure in two ways.

“First, when you don’t drink enough water your body attempts to secure its fluid supply by retaining sodium. Sodium is your body’s ‘water-insurance mechanism’.

“At the same time, dehydration forces your body to gradually and systematically close down some of its capillary beds.

“When some capillary beds shut down, it puts more pressure in the ‘pipes’— your capillaries and arteries — elevating your blood pressure.

“So, one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure naturally is by staying well-hydrated.”

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Dehydration has been linked to high blood pressure.

Although more research is needed, there has been reports linking dehydration to an increase in blood pressure due to the action of a hormone called vasopressin.

Vasopressin is secreted when there’s a high number of solutes (or sodium level) in your blood, or when your blood volume is low.

“Water is such a simple drink, yet it is complex enough to treat a great list of ailments,” said Vive Health.

“While it might not instantly lower blood pressure, it does help to decrease blood pressure.

“Chronic dehydration reduces the body’s ability to transport blood efficiently, forcing blood vessels to constrict in an effort to conserve water usually lost through everyday functions like sweating and urination.

“The constricted blood vessels taxes your body’s ability to pump blood effectively, which results in elevated blood pressure.

“Aim for eight to 10 8oz cups of water a day. Remember to increase intake when you exercise.”

High cholesterol: Eating more oatmeal, almonds and avocados will help lower levels

Cholesterol is not intrinsically harmful, in fact, your body needs it to build healthy cells. High levels of cholesterol are harmful, however, because it causes fatty deposits to develop in your blood vessels. This increases your risk of heart disease, a major cause of death in the UK and worldwide. By making the right food choices, however, you can naturally lower your levels.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains soluble fibre, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, said the Mayo Clinic.

It added: “Soluble fibre is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.

“Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

“Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fibre a day decreases your LDL cholesterol. One serving of a breakfast cereal with oatmeal or oat bran provides three to four grams of fibre.

“If you add fruit, such as a banana or berries, you’ll get even more fibre.”

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Almonds

Almonds and other tree nuts can improve blood cholesterol.

Recent studies concluded that a diet supplemented with walnuts can lower the risk of heart complications in people with history of a heart attack.

All nuts are high in calories, so a handful added to a salad or eaten as a snack will do.

Studies on almonds and lipid levels show that eating almonds can lower LDL and triglyceride levels, while not affecting the beneficial HDL cholesterol levels.

There are numerous studies that say that almonds are helpful in improving blood cholesterol levels significantly.

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Avocados

Avocados are a potent source of nutrients as well as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), said the Mayo Clinic.

“Research suggests that adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese.

“People tend to be most familiar with avocados in guacamole, which usually is eaten with high-fat corn chips.

Dietician Helen Bond said: “Cholesterol can change quite quickly, which is why exercise and eating healthy should be embedded into your everyday routine.

“But we’re talking a few weeks, rather than days – the odd meal or day where you eat a bit more than usual (including too much saturated fat) won’t make a difference to your cholesterol levels in the long run, but if your healthy eating and exercise habits have totally gone out the window during the lockdown, this could have a big impact on your cholesterol levels and your weight.

“Therefore, if your habits have changed over lockdown, now’s the time to reinstate healthy eating habits and get daily exercise (within UK Government guidelines to stay active and stay safe) before those new overindulgences become a habit that’s hard to break.” 

How to live longer: Meditation linked to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar

In a randomised controlled trial, 60 older adults with subjective cognitive decline were asked to meditate for 12 minutes each day for 12 weeks.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, showed that meditation had a significant improvement in subjective memory function.

Participants in the study showed improvements in sleep, mood, stress, well-being and quality of life.

The substantial gains observed in memory and cognition were then maintained for a further three months post trial.