May 2011

Tips for Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet.  Your local markets carry an amazing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are both nutritious and delicious.  Previous blogs on this site have discussed ways to reduce your risks due to agricultural toxins in pesticides.  As you enjoy fresh produce, it is also  important to handle these products safely in order to reduce the risks of foodborne illness.

An Estimated 90% of People Diagnosed with Lupus are Women

Classic Butterfly Rash

Yet many people do not know what lupus is and how serious it can be.  Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys, and brain.  Normally the body’s immune system makes proteins called antibodies that protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. These foreign invaders are called antigens.

Markers to Detect Early Ovarian Cancer Are Needed

A long awaited assessment of potential biomarkers for detecting early ovarian cancer shows that elevated levels of the CA-125 protein still remains the best predictor of disease progression.  The CA-125 test has been around for several decades and can help determine the effectiveness of cancer treatments in patient with ovarian cancer, but it is not very useful as a screening tool.  A report released in March in Cancer Prevention Research indicated none of the 28 potential serum markers tested in the study outperformed the CA-125.

Newer Contraceptive Methods Needed Among Developing Countries

Seven out of 10 women in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Central Asia and Southeast Asia who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraceptives report reasons for nonuse that indicate currently available methods do not satisfy their needs, according to new Guttmacher research. The findings suggest that substantially bringing down unintended pregnancy rates in these developing regions will require increased investment in the development of new methods that better address women’s concerns and life circumstances.

Night Owls at Risk for Weight Gain

Staying up late every night and sleeping in is a habit that could put you at risk for gaining weight. People who go to bed late and sleep late eat more calories in the evening, more fast food, fewer fruits and vegetables and weigh more than people who go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Battling the Weight-loss Plateau

Have you been losing weight and despite staying on your diet and exercising, your weight suddenly stays the same?   Don’t get discouraged, it’s normal for weight loss to slow down and even stop.   This phenomenon is called the “weight-loss plateau” and it’s more common than you think.  Even the best planned weight loss program can become stalled.

Green Tea and Tai Chi–a Healthy Partnership

Green tea has become an international mainstay beyond the Orient.   Many observational studies have shown that green tea is full of potent polyphenols (an antioxidant) that lower the risk of several chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis.  A recent study from Dr. Chwan-Li (Leslie)  Shen, an associate professor and a researcher at the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center looked at the mechanism behind this correlation and believes it may have to do with lowering chronic levels of inflammation.

An Apple a Day May Keep Bad Cholesterol Away!

A new study discovered that apples promoted good cholesterol levels in the participating women.   Researchers from Florida State University were surprised at the results of their study that included 160 females aged 45-85 randomly selected to received either 75 grams of dried apples or dried prunes for a whole year.  The apple consumption group significantly reduced the blood levels of total cholesterol and low density cholesterol (LDL- bad cholesterol) by 14% and 23%, respectively.