March 22, 2014

Health Benefits of Bananas

Feb 28, 2014 0

Banana is one of the most widely eaten fruits in the world, which is readily recognised because of its distinctive shape and bright colours. It abounds in hundreds of edible varieties that fall under two distinct species: the sweet banana (Musa sapienta, Musa nana) and plantain (Musa paradisiacal). So often, many people overlook banana when it comes to providing nutritional and medicinal value. Bananas like apples have proven health benefits. Ironically, bananas have more nutrients and vitamins than apples. Its consumption can help people live healthier and more active lives through taking advantage of the energy and health benefits it can provide. Like most fruits, the banana is a healthful food that can be eaten without any problem but it contains some sugar; diabetics should consult with a physician or dietician to determine if bananas should be included in a diet that aims to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates. However, plantain has very little sugar and therefore good for diabetics. Anyone with an allergy to bananas should also avoid the fruits to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction. Deatils of the benefits are discussed below.

1. Keep blood pressure under check/Reduce risk of stroke Bananas are very rich in potassium yet almost completely devoid of sodium, and as such very well suitable to preventing high levels of blood pressure from overcoming the body. Blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors and indicator for heart disease. An average banana contains up to 500 milligrammes of potassium and around 1 milligramme of sodium. Since potassium has a lowering effect on blood pressure while sodium has a strengthening effect, this is a wonderful ratio to consume on a daily basis. A recent study suggests that eating three bananas a day cuts risk for stroke by 21 per cent. What is in a banana? The miracle ingredient is potassium, which reduces blood pressure, thus combating a leading cause of stroke.

2. Help to keep your bones strong and healthy. Potassium may counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets, thus preventing bones from thinning out at a fast rate. This, according to University of Maryland Medical Centre and University of Kansas Medical Centre, reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

3. Reduce risk of anaemia Experiencing anaemia, try banana rather than blood forming. High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so help in cases of anaemia.

4.Reduce constipation One way to constipation is eating a banana a day. Bananas are rich in fibre that can help to restore normal bowel action, and overcome constipation without resorting to laxatives. A single serving (one medium-sized banana) contains 16 per cent of the daily recommended dietary fibre intake for a normal adult.

5.Soothe heart burn If suffering from heart burn, try eating a banana for its soothing relief. Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body.

6.Ease peptic ulcer pain Banana is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in people with stomach ulcer because of its soft texture and smoothness. Eating a raw banana also neutralises acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach. Aside this, other substances in bananas known as protease inhibitors get rid of bacteria in the stomach that produces stomach ulcers.

7.Lower cholesterol Pectin, a soluble fibre in banana facilitates reduction of cholesterol levels. Expert based on findings from various studies say its water-soluble fibres such as pectin, psyllium, guar gum and beta-glucan effectively lower LDL Cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) without causing any kind of disturbance to HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.

8.Reduce risk of cancer Rich in antioxidants and dietary fibre, consumption of bananas reduce risk of various types of cancer especially cancer of the intestines.

9. Increase sexual drive This shapely and nutritious fruit is a complete meal, loaded with potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. It also contains chelating minerals and the bromelain enzyme, said to enhance the male libido — maybe that’s why Central Americans drink the sap of the red banana as an aphrodisiac, while Hindus regard it as a symbol of fertility. With high levels of potassium and vitamin B to increase sex hormone production in our bodies, bananas are very popular for an aphrodisiac; said to contribute to strong penile erection.

Read More

11 New Genes behind High BP Identified

Feb 27, 2014 0

Researchers have discovered 11 new DNA sequence variants in genes that are capable of influencing high blood pressure and heart disease.

Identifying the new genes contributes to our growing understanding of the biology of blood pressure and, researchers believe, will eventually influence the development of new treatments. More immediately the study highlights opportunities to investigate the use of existing drugs for cardiovascular diseases.

The study examined the DNA of 87,736 individuals to discover genetic variants associated with blood pressure traits. Validation of these sequence variants was performed in a further 68,368 individuals. This analysis led to the identification of 11 new genes.

Patricia Munroe, Professor of Molecular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London, said that discovering these new genetic variants provides vital insight into how the body regulates blood pressure.

She said that with further research, they are hopeful it could lead to the development of new treatments for treating blood pressure and heart disease – a leading cause of death worldwide.

Read More

Sitting with Your Legs Crossed for Long Period Can Affect Your Heart

Feb 27, 2014 0

A new study has found that sitting with legs crossed at the knee can bump up blood pressure.

Leg crossing increased systolic blood pressure nearly 7 percent and diastolic by 2 percent, ABC News reported.

Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, a Connecticut-based cardiologist and author of The Great Cholesterol Myth said that frequent crossing of the legs also puts stress on the hip joints and can cause pooling of blood in the legs when the veins are compressed.

This could predispose you to inflammation of the veins of the lower legs and possibly a blood clot, he said.

Dr. Sinatra advises to avoid crossing your legs for longer than 10 to 15 minutes, and to get up and walk around every half hour or so.


Read More

Consuming Multi-Vitamin Pills Cuts Cataract Risk

Feb 27, 2014 0

New York: Here is some good news for your eyes as researchers have suggested that daily consumption of multi-vitamin supplements can help lower cataract risk in men.

Cataract is an eye disease in which the normally clear lens of the eyes becomes cloudy, leading to a decrease in one’s vision. It occurs mainly related to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The research conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School involved 14,641 US male doctors age 50 and older.

This sample of 14,641 male doctors was then divided into two groups. Half of them were given a common daily multivitamin, as well as vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene supplements and the other half took a placebo.

The findings suggested that those in the multivitamin group had lower risk of developing cataract.

However, the researchers feel that this finding needs to be examined further in other trials of multivitamin pills in both men and women.

Read More

Loneliness Ups Older Adult’s Chances of Premature Death By 14%

Feb 27, 2014 0

A new study has revealed that feeling extreme loneliness can increase an older person’s chances of premature death by 14 percent.

The study by John Cacioppo, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, and his colleagues shows that the impact of loneliness on premature death is nearly as strong as the impact of disadvantaged socioeconomic status, which they found increases the chances of dying early by 19 percent.

A 2010 meta-analysis showed that loneliness has twice the impact on early death as does obesity, he said.

The researchers looked at dramatic differences in the rate of decline in physical and mental health as people age.

Cacioppo and colleagues have examined the role of satisfying relationships on older people to develop their resilience, the ability to bounce back after adversity and grow from stresses in life.

The consequences to health are dramatic, as feeling isolated from others can disrupt sleep, elevate blood pressure, increase morning rises in the stress hormone cortisol, alter gene expression in immune cells, and increase depression and lower overall subjective well-being.

Cacioppo, one of the nation’s leading experts on loneliness, said older people can avoid the consequences of loneliness by staying in touch with former co-workers, taking part in family traditions, and sharing good times with family and friends – all of which gives older adults a chance to connect others about whom they care and who care about them.

The study was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual meeting in Chicago.

Read More

Ex-Minister advocates castration for rapists

Feb 27, 2014 0

Former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih, has suggested the castration of rapists to serve as a deterrent to people with such tendencies.

Anenih told the press in Abuja on Thursday that rapists should not only be given life sentence but be castrated, considering the gravity of the offence.

“The sanction for rape is too mild for the gravity of the offence. We are working on that to see whether we can amend the law on sanction for the crime.

“I will suggest something even more than life imprisonment. I will suggest castration.

“It is not difficult to prove rape as most people believe; the problem with tackling rape cases is that people are not diligent enough,’’ she said.

She called on women to break the culture of silence, report and follow up such cases to a logical conclusion

Read More

184 Million Africans at Risk For Malaria

Feb 27, 2014 0

New research shows that after 10 years of intensified campaigns against malaria 184-million people in Africa still live in moderate to high-risk areas. While the number is high, it’s down from nearly 220-million in 2000 when anti-malaria efforts began to increase.

The findings are based on thousands of community-based surveys in 44 African countries and territories. These are places where malaria has been endemic.

Dr. Abdisalan Noor, co-leader of the team that conducted the research, said, “What we are looking at, first of all, is to try and estimate the level of infection with malaria in African communities. This doesn’t necessarily mean the number of people who die of malaria, but the proportion of people who are likely to carry the most virulent type of the malaria parasite. That’s Plasmodium falciparum.”

Noor and co-leader Professor Robert Snow are with the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Program. The team also included researchers from Oxford University and the World Health Organization.

The study reflects the effects of the Roll Back Malaria campaign and other programs. The campaign brought together many multi-lateral, private and non-governmental organizations. The goal was to cut in half the number of deaths from malaria by 2010. It had a shaky start and was criticized in its early years for a lack of progress.

“The positive news is there has been reduction in 40 of the 44 African countries for which we were able to estimate change. There has been some reduction in the proportion of people who are likely to be affected with the falciparum parasite. About 218-million people in 2010 lived in areas where transmission – malaria transmission – had dropped by at least one level of endemicity.

Read More

BATN Applauds Lagos State Anti-Smoking Law

Feb 27, 2014 0

The recent signing into law of the Lagos State public place smoking bill by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has drawn commendation from the British American Tobacco Nigeria.

The BATN is known to have opposed strict regulation of tobacco business and smoking culture in Nigeria for decades.

However, the tobacco multinational through its Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs in West Africa, Mr. Freddy Messanvi, said that the Lagos State government has shown a good example of how to create a balanced and effective law.

According to Messanvi, the process leading to the signing of the bill into law was a transparent one that gave consideration to all relevant views.

He reiterated earlier position of the company on the new law saying “the bill itself was neither excessive nor discriminatory.”

Messanvi said he hoped that there will be adequate sensitisation of all Lagosians especially those who trade in tobacco or who will enforce the laws. “For laws to be effective, it must be enforced in a just manner as this is the only way it can achieve its intent,” he explained.

The law prohibits residents of the state from smoking in public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospital, day-care centres, public transportation and restaurants among others.

Section 12 of the 16-section law also instructs owners of public places to place signs with the inscription; ‘No Smoking’ or symbols as part of enlightenment for smokers and would-be violators of the law.


Read More

New HIV Infections Halve From Almost 2 000 to Fewer Than 1 000 a Day

Feb 27, 2014 0

Approximately 1000 people get infected with HIV daily in South Africa. High as this may seem, the figure has decreased by more than 50% since 1999. This is according to the latest South Africa Survey, published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR) in Johannesburg last week.

In 1999 there were 646,806 new infections, the equivalent of 1 772 a day. By 2013, new infections had decreased to 321,300, the equivalent of 880 a day.

The data was sourced from the ASSA2008 AIDS and Demographic Model published by the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA).

Ms Lerato Moloi, head of research at the IRR, attributed the decrease in new HIV infections to a number of interventions including awareness programmes, condom distribution, and male circumcision. ‘The Department of Health (DoH) distributed almost 400 million condoms, both male and female, in 2011/12. It is quite important that the condoms are not only distributed but also used. It is therefore quite encouraging that the National HIV Communication Survey, published by the DoH, shows that condom use at first sex went up from 18% to 66% between 1996 and 2012.

This is an important indicator because those who use condoms at first sex are more likely to use them throughout their lives’, Ms Moloi said.

In addition, the DoH has embarked on a campaign to circumcise as many men as possible through the public health system as research has shown that this can reduce men’s risk of contracting HIV by up to 76%.

Circumcision is expected to prevent one million new infections in South Africa by 2025.

Read More

Reasons You Must Eat Avocado Pear Regularly.

Feb 27, 2014 0

1. Avocado Pear is Rich in Nutrients. The green skin pear shaped tropical berry fruit has several health benefits due to its constituents-protein, low sugar compared to other fruits, vitamins and minerals (potassium, vitamins K, B, C. and E) and fibre; a medium size avocado pear is said to 11 grams of fibre – about 50 percent of daily requirement. It also contains foliate (precursor of folic acid), omega-3 and oleic acid.

2. Avocado Pear May Lower Blood Cholesterol. Studies reveal that avocado lowers cholesterol level, the fruit contains monounsaturated fat which is said to lower Low Density Lipid (LDL) Cholesterol in the blood, and this is the bad cholesterol while it raises the level of High Density Lipid (HDL) cholesterol which is the good cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is associated with narrowing of blood vessels which can cause stroke and heart disease.

3. Avocado Promotes Health Body Weight. Avocado contains protein, monounsaturated fat, yet low in sugar compared to other fruits. Consequently, people who eat a lot of avocado are able to maintain appropriate body weight and a filled stomach.

4. Avocado May Ward-off Cancer, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. Avocado pear is said by scientists to contain phytochemicals which may offer some advantages in cancer prevention particularly prostate and breast cancers. The high potassium content of avocado together with oleic acid and omega-3 is said to help reduce blood pressure The monounsaturated fat in avocado pear is said to prevent or reverse insulin resistance- one of the possible causes of mature diabetes (type 2 diabetes).

5. Avocado Helps to Prevent Anaemia in Pregnancy. Avocado contains foliate, the precursor of folic acid which is usually given to women in pregnancy to prevent anaemia. Together with iron tablets in most cases, both are given to pregnant women throughout pregnancy. Folic acid is also required by the baby in the womb for proper development of the brain and other organs.

Read More