antioxidant


5 + 4 about Good Cholesterol.

Cholesterol, the fat-like substance is the word that most people especially the middle-age group and above hate to hear.

It is a constant advice that we should all cut down or avoid red meats, seafood and products from animal fats because they are high in cholesterol or are high saturated fatty acids which will raise the triglycerides (a form of fat made in the body) and cholesterol levels in the body. However, for most people, without the wonderful delicious pork, beef, mutton, liver, skin of poultry, ham, bacon; drunken prawns, chilly/pepper “Sri Lanka” crabs, “hum/tua tao/lala” (clam), “sotong” (squid, cuttlefish), lobsters; butter, lard, egg yolk, etc., life will be meaningless.

That is just negative which we remembers. The flipped side is that our body needs cholesterol for functions such as making hormones. Besides being found in those products above, it is also produced in our body.

There are good and bad cholesterols. They can’t dissolve in the blood and have to be transported through the bloodstream in different carriers called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) deliver cholesterol to the body, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL or “good” cholesterol) take cholesterol out of the bloodstream to the liver which will then passes them out of the body.

We are told the higher your HDL cholesterol, the better it is. Now, I learned that biological reality is more complex as genes direct the body’s production of HDL and that many of us might not be lucky enough to inherit genes that result in a lot of HDL. Luckily, genes are only part of the story because lifestyle factors and, to a smaller extent, medications can strongly influence HDL levels.

The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) and the American Diabetes Association advise people to aim for HDL levels of at least 40 mg/dL. An even more protective goal, according to the NCEP, is 60 mg/dL or higher.

Why is having high HDL cholesterol is important?

At first, scientists believed that HDL was simply a garbage collector that picked up cholesterol from an artery’s walls and delivered it to the liver for disposal. That’s still considered the main role of HDL, but research is starting to suggest that HDL can help protect the heart in many ways:

  • Reverse cholesterol transport. HDL latches onto LDL embedded in an artery wall, lugs it back into the bloodstream, and carries it to the liver. The liver collects cholesterol from the HDL particles, packages it into bile salts and bile acids, and dumps it into the intestines for excretion.
  • Antioxidant activity. LDL cholesterol in the artery wall is bombarded by oxygen free radicals, which turns it into oxidized LDL cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is the stuff that’s actually responsible for arterial damage — and research shows that HDL can help protect LDL cholesterol from free radicals.
  • Anti-inflammatory action. HDL helps to quiet the inflammation of an atherosclerotic plaque. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) reflect the inflammation of such a plaque and HDL may neutralize CRP’s tendency to perpetuate the inflammatory cycle.
  • Antithrombotic activity. Plaque rupture triggers the formation of an artery-blocking blood clot. By halting the flow of oxygen-rich blood, the clot kills heart muscle cells (heart attack) or brain cells (stroke). HDL reduces clot formation and accelerates the healing process that dissolves clots.
  • Endothelial function. Blood vessels plagued with atherosclerosis sustain other damage. In particular, the endothelial cells lining the arteries fail to produce normal amounts of nitric oxide, the chemical that allows arteries to dilate (widen) when tissues need more oxygen. HDL helps preserve nitric oxide production and protect endothelial function.

How much does HDL help?

The Framingham Heart Study was responsible for many landmark discoveries about HDL cholesterol, and the Physicians’ Health Study helped confirm that HDL was protective, reporting that various HDL subtypes are all helpful. Data continue to show that the good cholesterol is very good indeed.

  • Heart disease. Low HDL levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, while high levels are protective. According to the Framingham Heart Study, cardiac risk rises sharply as HDL cholesterol levels fall below 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). In general, each 1 mg/dL rise in an HDL cholesterol level can be expected to cut cardiac risk by 2% to 3%.
  • Stroke. Strokes come in many forms, but the most common type, ischemic stroke, shares many risk factors with heart attack. High HDL cholesterol levels reduce the risk of stroke; in several studies, HDL cholesterol is a much better predictor of risk than LDL cholesterol, particularly in people older than 75.
  • Erectile dysfunction. Normal erections depend on many things, including healthy arteries that produce good amounts of nitric oxide. It’s no surprise, then, that the Massachusetts Male Aging Study found that 16% of men with low levels of HDL cholesterol had erectile dysfunction, but none of the men with the highest levels did.
  • Longevity. Several investigations suggest that high HDL levels are linked to longevity, particularly exceptional longevity. Other research links high levels of HDL cholesterol to preserved cognitive function in old age. More research is needed to learn if HDL deserves the credit or if other genetic factors are responsible.

Ways to raise your HDL

  • Exercise. Exercise is an important way to boost HDL levels. On average, sedentary people who start to exercise regularly can expect their HDL levels to rise by 3% to 20%. The benefit can occur with as little as one mile of walking or jogging a day, but the more you do, the better your result. Brisk walking for 40 minutes a day is a good target, but if you need more help, aim higher.
  • Watch your dietary fats. Saturated fat won’t affect your HDL cholesterol, but it will raise your LDL cholesterol. The latest American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines call for limiting saturated fat to less than 7% of your total daily calories. Reduce your intake of trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. Trans fat lowers HDL cholesterol and raises LDL cholesterol, a double whammy to health. But unsaturated fats like virgin olive oil may boost HDL levels, and the omega 3 fats in fish, nuts, and canola oil may promote cardiac health even if they don’t affect your HDL reading.
  • Watch your carbs! Or at least the types of carbs you’re eating. Diets that provide large amounts of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates are clearly linked to low levels of HDL cholesterol. Avoid highly refined carbohydrates in favor of coarsely ground, whole grain, unrefined carbs like whole grain bread, oatmeal, and beans.
  • Alcohol. Moderate drinking will raise HDL levels by about 4 mg/dL, which should cut cardiac risk by about 10%. This translates to one to two drinks a day for men, and one drink a day for women. For this “prescription,” count 5 ounces of wine, 1½ ounces of liquor, or 12 ounces of beer as one drink.
  • Weight control. Obesity is linked to low HDL levels, but weight loss can help. Exercise and diet are the dynamic duo for weight loss, but shedding excess pounds will boost HDL levels over and above the independent effects of regular exercise and a healthful diet.

Delicious sources of antioxidants for healthy summer eating

Forget the hype about single antioxidants, like vitamin E or beta carotene. They’ve never lived up to the promise that they can halt heart disease, cure cancer, eradicate eye disease, or prevent Alzheimer’s.

But that doesn’t mean antioxidants aren’t important to your health. The notion that antioxidants are good for you comes from studies showing that people who eat foods rich in a variety of antioxidants have better long-term health. Trials of single supplements, usually taken in pill form, have yielded disappointing results.

Antioxidants stabilize harmful by-products of the body’s energy-making machinery. These by-products, known as free radicals, can damage DNA, make LDL (“bad”) cholesterol even worse, and wreak havoc elsewhere in the body.

It’s possible that single antioxidants haven’t panned out because it takes a network of antioxidants — like those that exist in foods — to neutralize free radicals. If that’s the case, then it would be helpful to know the antioxidant content of various foods.

An international team of researchers did just that for more than a thousand foods that Americans commonly eat. Topping the list for antioxidant content were blackberries, walnuts, strawberries, artichokes, cranberries, coffee, raspberries, pecans, blueberries, and ground cloves (see “Antioxidant-rich foods”).

Antioxidant-rich foods

Here are the three dozen foods with the highest per-serving content of antioxidants.

Product

Antioxidants (mmol/serving)

Blackberries

5.746

Walnuts

3.721

Strawberries

3.584

Artichokes, prepared

3.559

Cranberries

3.125

Coffee

2.959

Raspberries

2.870

Pecans

2.741

Blueberries

2.680

Cloves, ground

2.637

Grape juice

2.557

Chocolate, baking, unsweetened

2.516

Cranberry juice

2.474

Cherries, sour

2.205

Wine, red

2.199

Power Bar, chocolate flavor

1.875

Pineapple juice

1.859

Guava nectar

1.858

Juice drinks, 10% juice, blueberry or strawberry flavor, vitamin C enriched

1.821

Cranapple juice

1.790

Prunes

1.715

Chocolate, dark, sugar-free

1.675

Cabbage, red, cooked

1.614

Orange juice

1.510

Apple juice, with added vitamin C

1.462

Mango nectar

1.281

Pineapples

1.276

Oranges

1.261

Bran Flakes breakfast cereal

1.244

Plums, black

1.205

Pinto beans, dried

1.137

Canned chili with meat and beans

1.049

Canned chili with meat, no beans

1.045

Spinach, frozen

1.040

Whole Grain Total breakfast cereal

1.024

Chocolate, sugar-free

1.001

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2006

Cooking appears to increase the antioxidant potential of most foods, with the exception of grains such as rice, pasta, and corn grits, which show lower levels after cooking.

The researchers were careful not to claim that eating foods at the top of the list will keep you healthy. Instead, they believe that rating the antioxidant potential of different foods could help test whether antioxidants really do prevent disease. In the meantime, the list toppers are healthy foods, so don’t hesitate to dig in.

For more information on antioxidant-rich foods, order our Special Health Report, The Benefits and Risks of Vitamins and Minerals, at www.health.harvard.edu/VM.

Red Wine Protects The Prostate – Harvard Men’s Health Watch

Researchers have found that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week are only 52% as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who do not drink red wine, reports the June 2007 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch. In addition, red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers.

Researchers in Seattle collected information about many factors that might influence the risk of prostate cancer in men between ages 40 and 64, including alcohol consumption. At first the results for alcohol consumption seemed similar to the findings of many earlier studies: There was no relationship between overall consumption and risk.

But the scientists went one step further by evaluating each type of alcoholic beverage independently. Here the news was surprising—wine drinking was linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. And when white wine was compared with red, red had the most benefit. Even low amounts seemed to help, and for every additional glass of red wine per week, the relative risk declined by 6%.

Why red wine? Doctors don’t know. But much of the speculation focuses on chemicals—including various flavonoids and resveratrol—missing from other alcoholic beverages. These components have antioxidant properties, and some appear to counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

Many doctors are reluctant to recommend drinking alcohol for health, fearing that their patients might assume that if a little alcohol is good, a lot might be better. The Harvard Men’s Health Watch notes that men who enjoy alcohol and can drink in moderation and responsibly may benefit from a lower risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and cardiac death.

How did the Goddess become the Tea ?

It is very interesting on how Chinese gave name to things like flowers and herbs. From the resemblance to the whiskers of a cat, Clerodendranthus Spicatus was named MaoXuCao 猫须草 or translated as Cat Whiskers Herb.

Similarly, depending on which Chinese accent, some said that Roselle (the herb that Good Image Roselle Tea was based on) sounded a bit like “luo shen” and because it is pretty due to its ruby red color, it was given the name “LuoShenHua” or “洛神花” in Chinese.

After reading the various Chinese texts on this fable, I have digested and translated the legend of LuoShen as follows :-

LuoShen 洛神 was the legendary Goddess of Luo who ranked very highly among the Chinese mythological deities. She was a ravishing beauty which many ancient scholars and writers including the great poet, QuYuan 屈原(Warring States period 475-221 BC) would not hesitate to embellish and extol with beautiful poems.

According to one of the popular legends, on both sides of the Luo River 洛河(in China Henan province), there was a well-known story of Lady Mi 宓妃 who later was conferred Goddess of Luo.

Lady Mi was the daughter of FuXi伏羲, the legendary Chinese emperor deemed to be the mythical creator of fishing, trapping, and writing. Because she was very fascinated with the beautiful scenery on both sides of the Luo River, Lady Mi descended onto the Luo River basin where the brave YouLou 有洛clan resided. There she mingled among the industrious folks and taught them how to create nets, fish as well as the skills of hunting, livestock-raising and herding which were learned from her father.

One day, while everyone was working, Lady Mi took out her seven-string qin (七弦琴is a Chinese musical instrument) and played a melodious tune. Unfortunately, this exquisite melody was heard by HeBo河伯 (pronounced Her Pu-or), the prodigal demigod of the Yellow River. He infiltrated into the Luo River to get a glimpse of this qin player and was instantly mesmerized by the beauty of Lady Mi. He subsequently transformed himself into a white dragon, caused a great havoc in the Luo River and engulfed Lady Mi.

While Lady Mi was imprisoned in the water palace of HeBo, in order to drown her daily sorrow and anxiety, she strummed her seven-string qin. Her melodious tune attracted the lonely HouYi 后羿to her side.

About HouYi: HouYi was the renowned legendary deity and great archer who with his magical bow and arrows shot down nine of the ten suns that caused constant great droughts and miseries to earth. His heroism created jealousies among some other deities who later caused him and his wife, ChangE (pronounced Chunch Er) to be demoted to earth as mortal human beings. To atone for his downfall, he successfully pleaded with a higher deity for two elixir pills for his wife and himself. However, ChangE swallowed both of them while HouYi was out hunting and she ascended into the sky and became the goddess of the moon. Thus, HouYi was left alone on earth.

Upon hearing Lady Mi’s bitter encounter, HouYi was very indignant and rescued her from the water palace and returned to the Luo River. Both of them fell in love. On hearing that Lady Mi had escaped and that both of them became lovers, HeBo was so embarrassed with shame and anger that he again transformed himself into a white dragon and attacked the Luo River, gobbling up the villages, farms and livestock.

The furious HouYi came to the rescue and shot an arrow into HeBo’s left eye which sent the panicky HeBo fleeing. Knowing that he was no match for HouYi, HeBo went to lodge a complaint with the King of Heaven. The King of Heaven who knew about the whole saga, sided Hou Yi by telling that HouYi shot a dragon and that HeBo should not have transformed himself. HeBo got no choice but to retreat to his water palace and left both Lady Mi and HouYi alone.

Since then, Lady Mi and HouYi led a happy live in the town of LuoYang洛阳. For their contributions, HouYi was later conferred the title of God of ZhongBu宗布神by the King of Heaven and Lady Mi was conferred Goddess of Luo. Subsequently, the folks on both sides of the Luo River erected the grandiose Temple of Luo Goddess at the east gate of the old city.

Thus, the legend of LuoShen was passed down from generation to generation.

Goddess of Luo

Alcohol shrinks my brain while tea improves my memory

Everyone knows that heavy drinking is bad for health but I guessed not many knows that Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time may decrease brain volume“. This is according to the latest research that was presented to the American Academy of Neurology”.

What is heavy amount of alcohol ? According to the study, it means more than 14 drinks per week.

Luckily, other research have suggested that tea especially green tea could boost the memory of everyday drinkers.

Reseachers have being conducting tests to see if it can helps the estimated 10 millions suffers of Alzheimer’s disease.  As we know, Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may also experience changes in personality and behavior, such as anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations.

Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, the research indicated that “green and black tea inhibited the activity of enzymes associated with the development of Alzheimer’s Disease, but coffee had no significant effect.

Both teas inhibited the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which breaks down the chemical messenger or neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Alzheimer’s is characterised by a drop in acetylcholine.Green tea and black tea also hinder the activity of the enzyme butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE), which has been discovered in protein deposits which are found on the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s.

Green tea went one step further in that it obstructed the activity of beta-secretase, which plays a role in the production of protein deposits in the brain which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists also found that it continued to have its inhibitive effect for a week, whereas black tea’s enzyme-inhibiting properties lasted for only one day. ”

Latest study also found “Green Tea Extract Protects Against Brain Damage In New Mouse Model Of HIV-related Dementia

Healthy Liver, Beautiful Skin

girl-thumbs-up.jpg

Unlike the computer that I have faced for more than 20 years, the human body is a different and complex machinery that I have to learn now. As part of understanding my product Good Image Tea (green tea), I have to gather feedback from customers and friends on what effects it has on them after taking our uniquely formulated detox/anti-constipation/excess fat removal beverage.

Weight reduction is not so obvious unless the weight was measured before and after drinking the Good Image Tea religiously for a period of about 45 days.

What I heard commonly is that their skin complexion becomes obviously better, especially for those who have not or were unsuccessful in taking care of their skin.

It was explained to me that when the body is free from toxin, the organs like the liver will be healthy. The liver has many functions. They include:

  • Storing energy in the form of sugar (glucose)
  • Storing vitamins, iron, and other minerals
  • Making proteins, including blood clotting factors, to keep the body healthy and help it grow
  • Killing germs that enter the body through the intestine
  • Processing worn out red blood cells
  • Making bile which is needed for food digestion
  • Metabolizing or breaking down many medications and alcohol

I read that the liver shoulders a heavy workload for the body, plays an important role in the metabolism and almost never complains as it can also regenerate itself. The liver breakdowns and filters the oily fats from the food we take and excrete the waste through the intestines. If the liver is overworked or ill and is unable to filter effectively, the skin is the alternative venue for such removal. Otherwise, those oily fats can reach the kidney and adversely affect the function of the kidney.

We have a saying, “要美的起来,就须要健康 which translates as “Be healthy so as to become beautiful” .

Thus, with a detoxed body which translates to healthy organs reinforced with the antioxidants found in the green tea and other supporting herbs, the skin should naturally become better and more radiant.

Tea ‘healthier’ drink than water
Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers.

The work in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition dispels the common belief that tea dehydrates.

Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers,UK nutritionists found.

Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health.

Healthy cuppa
These polyphenol antioxidants are found in many foods and plants, including tea leaves, and have been shown to help prevent cell damage.

Public health nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton, and colleagues at Kings College London, looked at published studies on the health effects of tea consumption.

They found clear evidence that drinking three to four cups of tea a day can cut the chances of having a heart attack.

Some studies suggested tea consumption protected against cancer, although this effect was less clear-cut.

Other health benefits seen included protection against tooth plaque and potentially tooth decay, plus bone strengthening.

Dr Ruxton said: “Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.”

Rehydrating
She said it was an urban myth that tea is dehydrating.

“Studies on caffeine have found very high doses dehydrate and everyone assumes that caffeine-containing beverages dehydrate.

But even if you had a really, really strong cup of tea or coffee, which is quite hard to make, you would still have a net gain of fluid.

“Also, a cup of tea contains fluoride, which is good for the teeth,” she added.

There was no evidence that tea consumption was harmful to health.

However, research suggests that tea can impair the body’s ability to absorb iron from food, meaning people at risk of anaemia should avoid drinking tea around mealtimes.

Dr Ruxton’s team found average tea consumption was just under three cups per day.

She said the increasing popularity of soft drinks meant many people were not drinking as much tea as before.

“Tea drinking is most common in older people, the 40 plus age range.

In older people, tea sometimes made up about 70% of fluid intake so it is a really important contributor,” she said.

Claire Williamson of the British Nutrition Foundation said: “Studies in the laboratory have shown potential health benefits.

“The evidence in humans is not as strong and more studies need to be done.

But there are definite potential health benefits from the polyphenols in terms of reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and cancers.

“In terms of fluid intake, we recommend 1.5-2 litres per day and that can include tea. Tea is not dehydrating. It is a healthy drink.”

The Tea Council provided funding for the work.

Dr Ruxton stressed that the work was independent.

BBC Health 24 August 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5281046.stm

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