Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Cardiovascular benefits of popular foods – some are quite good!

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From  A Clinician’s Guide for Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies: Part II

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[News release] How used coffee grounds could make some food more healthful

How used coffee grounds could make some food more healthful 

From the 13 May 2015 American Chemical Society news release

 

Assessment of Total (Free and Bound) Phenolic Compounds in Spent Coffee Extracts
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Coffee has gone from dietary foe to friend in recent years, partly due to the revelation that it’s rich in antioxidants. Now even spent coffee-grounds are gaining attention for being chock-full of these compounds, which have potential health benefits. In ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers explain how to extract antioxidants from the grounds. They then determined just how concentrated the antioxidants are.

María-Paz de Peña and colleagues note that coffee — one of the most popular drinks in the world — is a rich source of a group of antioxidants called dietary phenolic compounds. Spent grounds, however, often end up in the trash. But recently, scientists have discovered that antioxidants aren’t just in the brewed coffee; they’re also in the used grounds. De Peña wanted to figure out the total phenolic content in extracts from these leftovers.

The researchers used three different methods to release antioxidants from spent grounds and found high levels of phenols in the extracts — sometimes at higher levels than in brewed coffee. Thus, they have the potential to serve as additives to enhance the potential health effects of other food products, the scientists conclude.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Can Buttered Coffee Give You a Better Body?

483509445-coffee-butter-190x155From the March 2015 blog item by   at Clevelandclinic.org

Heart-healthy fats are good, but not in coffee

There’s a lot of hype lately about the most recent coffee trend. Take your morning cup-of-joe, add two tablespoons of butter and some oil, and call it Bulletproof Coffee. No doubt it’s an interesting flavor, but it’s the claims of increased energy and weight loss that seem to be giving this morning jolt traction.

It’s not just any butter and coffee. Those supporting this idea say it has to be unsalted, grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT) added to low-toxicity coffee beans. But can a mixture like that really live up to what proponents are saying?

What happens to butter in your body

There’s no real research into whether butter-spiked coffee is good for you, but we do know some things about how butter affects your digestion.

According to existing research, fat in butter contains glycosphingolipids, fatty acids that ward off gastrointestinal tract infections, especially in very young children and older adults.

Its omega-3 and omega-6 fats also slow down your body’s metabolism of caffeine, so you hold on to energy longer and avoid the crash that comes when the stimulant wears off.

More about MCT

MCT, most commonly found in coconut oil, is also good for our bodies and brains. When it comes to our bodies, we don’t store MCT in our adipose tissue, the fat around and inside our muscles, like the other dietary fats we eat.

Most of those fats are long-chain triglycerides, but MCTs are shorter. They travel directly to the liver where they’re processed into powerful energy particles called ketone bodies.

In addition, if your brain loses the ability to break down its primary fuel source, glucose, due to cognitive impairment or some other disorder, it can use ketone bodies as an excellent, alternative source. Researchshows that people with cognitive impairment who ingest MCT experience an almost immediate improvement in mental function.

My verdict

So, do the health benefits of butter and MCT mean you should add them to your morning coffee? To begin with, if you don’t already drink coffee, I don’t recommend you start. If you do, though, I still don’t endorse your adding butter and oil to it, and I have no plans to do it either.

Healthy fats and oils do have a place in our daily diets, but I’m not convinced that enhancing our coffee with them is the best way to incorporate them.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2 ways to help your patients get better sleep

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

By JULIA SCHLAM EDELMAN, MD , 5 January 2013 post at KevinMD.com

 

1. Avoid looking at back-lit screens for 60 minutes before bedtime. That means no television, iPad use, laptop use, checking the smartphone, or reading a back-lit e-reader before bed.  Reading a book made from trees is ideal, as is listening to music or having a relaxing conversation, if you remember that vanishing social custom.

2. Taper the amount of caffeine you consume. Even if you finish your coffee in the morning, you will benefit.  It takes six hours to clear half the amount of caffeine you consume.  With super-sized coffee cups, a large cup may contain more than 200 milligrams of caffeine.  Here is the math.  If you drink three large cups of coffee by 11am, you have consumed 600 milligrams of caffeine.  Six hours later, at 5pm, 300mg of caffeine remain in your body.  Six hours after that, at 11pm, 150mg remain.  At 5am the next morning, 75mg of caffeine remain from the previous morning.  This compromises your ability to fall asleep readily, and makes your mind race.  It also prevents deep, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.  If your patient offers to stop “cold turkey,” don’t let her.  A slow taper prevents caffeine-withdrawal headaches.

 

Read the entire article here

 

 

 

 

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee- some cons

While I am a coffee lover, presently the indulgence is only 2 cups a day.

Came across 2 items recently that have reinforced why I limit my intake.
In my humble opinion, it really is scientifically challenging to say if coffee is good or bad  because there are so many chemicals in coffee, each with associated side effects…

The items…

10 Reasons to Quit Your Coffee! (by Mark Hyman, MD at HuffPost Healthy Living, 7/1/12)
 
(via Amy Croan, MPH who I follow on Twitter. She authors the blog To Your Health..).

Excerpts

While there are many controversies about coffee’s role in the prevention of Parkinson’s disease to breast cancer, I’m mostly interested in the conversation relating to its effect on blood sugar metabolism. If you have read my latest book, The Blood Sugar Solution, then you already know how insulin resistance and inflammation are at the core of modern-day chronic diseases….

Here are 10 reasons why:

    1. The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation, and this makes you feel lousy.
    2. Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
    3. Unfiltered coffee has the highest amount of beneficial antioxidants yet also leaks the most diterpenes into your system. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels.
    4. The helpful chlorogenic acids that may delay glucose absorption in the intestine have also been shown to increase homocysteine levels — an indicator for increased risk of cardiovascular disease, which tends to be elevated in diabesity.
    5. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heart burn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).
    6. Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy. Ask any coffee drinker about how it feels to withdraw from coffee, and you will mistake their story for that of a drug addict’s…
    7. Associative addictions trend with coffee — who doesn’t immediately think of warm, frothy sweet cream and sugar when they picture coffee? Surely the business of coffee has inspired a culture addicted to the sugary, fatty tastes of what has become more of a meal than a drink! That morning latte is the epitome of food lacking nutrition density yet packing energy!
    8. 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers, which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle, as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. We all know someone who tends to be tired, wired and over-caffeinated!
    9. Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.
    10.  Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.

As long as news keeps cranking coffee benefit stories, we’ll keep commenting on them (HealthNewsReview.org*** 7/2/2012)

Excerpts

CAFFEINE LINKED TO LOWER SKIN CANCER RISK – ABC NEWS

CAFFEINE IN COFFEE MAY HELP LOWER RISK OF SKIN CANCER – Fox News

Addendum on July 4: 

Good news, java junkies: Researchers have found the more coffee you drink, the more you may be protecting yourself against skin cancer. – CNN.com

None of these stories mentioned anything about:

  • this was an observational study
  • it showed a statistical association – not cause-and-effect

And the Fox and CNN stories didn’t have any independent perspective – only the researcher/author touting the study’s importance.

But the sun shines on HealthDay today because it included this simple and effective reminder:

“While the study uncovered an association between greater caffeine consumption and reduced risk of basal cell cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.”

As always, we remind journalists and news consumers of our primer: Does The Language Fit The Evidence? – Association Versus Causation

Here are just some of our past blog posts about news coverage of supposed health benefits of coffee:

**HealthNewsReview.org provides independent reviews of health stories which are based on high journalism standards of accuracy, completeness and balance. (See their toolkit for tips on how to understand studies, evaluate claims, analyze news coverage, and more)

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto: Taso de kafo. Français : Photo d’une tasse de caffé Español: Taza de café (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

July 10, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee, energy drinkers beware: Many mega-sized drinks loaded with sugar, MU nutrition expert says

From the February 3, 2011 Eureka news alert

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Starbucks recently announced a new-sized 31-ounce drink, the “Trenta,” which will be in stores this spring. The mega-sized coffee joins the ranks of other energy drinks that can pack plenty of caffeine and calories. Ellen Schuster, a University of Missouri nutrition expert, says that Americans should be wary of extra calories and sugar in the quest for bigger, bolder drinks.

“The sheer size of new coffee and energy drinks increases consumers’ potential for unhealthy calorie and sugar consumption,” said Schuster, state specialist for MU Extension and the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “A ‘Trenta’-sized Starbuck’s lemonade could include 21 teaspoons of sugar – much more than should be consumed at one time, or in one day.”

Excess sugar is common in many prepared beverages. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people who consume drinks with added sugars consume more total calories, and studies have found that drinking sweetened beverages is related to weight gain.

Health experts at the Mayo Clinic note that moderate consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages is unlikely to cause harm, but large quantities in excess of 500 mg, or more than four cups of coffee, can cause difficulty sleeping, irritability, restlessness, stomach problems and irregular heartbeat. Especially of concern is caffeine consumption among children and adolescents.

“Energy and coffee beverages are subject to the same nutrition rules as other foods and drinks; it’s all about moderation,” Schuster said. “Ideally, it’s best to avoid drinking calories, because drinks leave you less full than solid foods. By eating calories in the form of high-calorie, high-sugar drinks, people crowd out other nutritious foods. However, like any indulgence, it’s fine to order a ‘Trenta’ drink as an occasional treat.”

###

These tips are based on findings from MU research conducted throughout the year. For more information, visit: missourifamilies.org and nutritionmythbusters.blogspot.com. The research is conducted through MU Extension and the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology – a joint department in the College of Human Environmental Sciences, the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU.

 

A few other recent nutrition related press releases


During the cold winter months, Minnesotans know how to stay warm. They also know how to stay healthy! Try one (or all) of these recipes from the Minnesota state government this month.


February 4, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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