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Probiotic bacteria can keep us slim
According to Jeremy Nicholson and his collegues of Imperial College London, "friendly" bacteria added to yogurts and other foods can allow you to absorb less fat from your diet.
They fed strains of "probiotic" Lactobacillus to mice whose gut microbes had been replaced by those that usually live in the human gut. These mice had different bile acids from the norm - favoring enzymes that reduce the amount of fat digested. "More fat is available for the microbes, and you then 'poo' the microbes out," says Nicholson.
The changes may only reduce fat absorption by a little, but this could have an impact on obesity if sustained over several years (Molecular Systems Biology, DOI: 10.1038/msb4100190).
Surviving colon cancer
According to the study led by Dr. Charles S. Fuchs, Associate Professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston that appeared in the Aug.15 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Colon cancer survivors with diets high in meat and refined grains triple their risk of recurrence or death compared with those who eat fruits, vegetables and fish.
Researchers studied 1,009 patients who had surgery for stage 3 colon cancer - their tumors had metastasized to regional lymph nodes. All the patients completed detailed food questionnaires.
In a follow-up of slightly more than five years, 324 patients had a recurrence of cancer, 223 died with a recurrence, and 28 died without documented recurrences.
The more closely patients followed the high-fat Western diet, the more likely they were to have a recurrence. Compared with the one-fifth whose dietary patterns least resembled the high-fat diet, the one-fifth whose patterns most resembled it were 3.25 times as likely to have a recurrence of cancer or die. Western dietary patterns, the scientists write, are associated with higher blood levels of insulin, and insulin is associated with enhanced tumor growth.
Azlin Mustapha, a Professor of Food Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and his colleagues wanted to know if red wine had any impact upon food-borne pathogens like E.coli, Listeria monocytogenes and H.pylori. The first two bacteria are frequent culprits in food poisonings and can be fatal. H.pylori, which can be transmitted by contaminated food and water, is the main culprit in stomach ulcers.
The researchers found that red wines - Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular - appear to have anti-microbial properties, actively inhibiting the growth of pathogens while not affecting probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut that aids digestion).
"It's not just the ethanol in the red wine that is inhibitory toward food-borne pathogens," Mustapha said. He said other factors, such as the wine's acidity and phytochemicals like reseveratrol seem to play a role.
Unfortunately for white wine lovers, Mustapha said non tested showed any significant effect against pathogens.
Quick Stress Busters
Dr. Melinda Ring of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago says that "stress affects the quality of your life now as well as your long-term physical health. It is related to a broad range of medical conditions, from heart disease to high blood pressure, and contributes to emotional problems." She suggests some easy ways to combat stress in five minutes:
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In Good Health.
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