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Savvy Switch
February 2011

Why Tap Water is a Better Choice

savvy_switchDid you know that Americans now drink more bottled water than milk or juice? We buy 30 billion bottles a year, 80 percent of which ends up in landfills for hundreds of years. That’s why Earth-friendly folks use refillable bottles these days.

In addition to being eco-savvy, consumers have plenty of reasons to avoid bottled water. According to a four-year study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we cannot assume that the bottled water we purchase is necessarily any better regulated, purer or safer than most tap water.

 
Grapefruit’s Bitter-Sweet Secret
February 2011

This Fruit Helps Diabetes Patientsgrapefruit

Grapefruit’s piquant combination of sweet and slightly bitter tastes comes with a newly discovered benefit. Researchers have discovered that naringenin, an antioxidant derived from the bitter flavor of grapefruit and other citrus, may be of help to people with diabetes.

Naringenin, the researchers explain, causes the liver to break down fats instead of storing them, while increasing insulin sensitivity, two processes that naturally occur during long periods of fasting. The natural compound, the scientists suggest, seems to mimic some lipid-lowering and anti-diabetics drugs; it holds promise for aiding weight control, as well as regulation of blood-sugar levels, both vital components in treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

“It is a process that is similar to the Atkins diet, without many of the side effects,” notes Martin L. Yarmush, Ph.D., a physician who is the director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Engineering in Medicine and a study author. Earlier evidence has shown that naringenin also has cholesterol-lowering properties and may ameliorate some of the symptoms associated with diabetes.


Source: Public Library of Science

 
Acupuncture Helps Heart Patients
February 2011

A Solution for Those Suffering from Cardiac Issues

accupunctureResearch news from Germany reports that acupuncture can improve exercise tolerance in patients suffering from chronic heart failure. The researchers gave such patients—who were on conventional medication and stable—10 sessions of acupuncture, focusing on the healing method’s pressure points that boost general strength, and according to traditional Chinese medicine, influence the nervous system and inflammation. The control group was treated with placebo needles that did not break the skin.

The needles did not increase the heart’s pumping function, but they seemed to have an influence on skeletal muscle strength, and increased the distance that the heart patients were able to walk in a given time. The acupuncture patients also recovered more quickly from the exercise and tended to feel less general exhaustion.

This finding could provide a useful option in the future if relatively low-cost acupuncture treatment can work to improve the prognosis for cardiac patients over the long term.

 
Stress-Busting Walnuts
February 2011

Go Nuts for This Healthy Food

walnutsA diet rich in walnuts and walnut oil may prepare the body to deal better with stress, according to a team of Penn State researchers. They specifically considered how these foods, which contain polyunsaturated fats, influence our blood pressure. Their studies showed that walnuts and walnut oil have the ability to lower blood pressure, both when we are at rest and in response to stress.


 
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