Antioxidants and Cancer: What Are the Antioxidant Benefits?

Antioxidants and cancer were supposed to be bitter enemies. We were told antioxidant benefits also included a reduction in heart disease, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration. Antioxidant vitamins (C, E, and beta-carotene) were supposed to help prevent all of them.

So far, the three antioxidants (plus zinc) have succeeded with only one: slowing the pace of macular degeneration in older people who already have the eye disease.

“The randomized trials for antioxidants have been very disappointing,” says Harvard’s JoAnn Manson, who led the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, the Women’s Folic Acid Study, and other major trials.

The Risks of Eating and Drinking Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, which comes from a succulent plant, is sold as a juice and is added to foods, supplements, and skin care products. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat.

Carefully conducted studies by the U.S. government concluded that there was “clear” evidence that aloe vera extracts caused intestinal cancers in male and female rats, but not mice, when consumed. (Applying aloe vera on the skin is not likely to cause harm.)

Why Sitting is Bad (And How to Get Off Your Duff)

Sitting for hours on end can hurt more than your back end, say two studies.

British researchers tracked 153 younger and 725 older adults who all had risk factors for diabetes. Each participant wore an accelerometer to measure how much time he or she spent sedentary or engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (like running or brisk walking) for at least a week. The results helped researchers hone in on why sitting is bad for people who are at risk for health problems such as diabetes.

Do Intermittent Fasting Benefits Include Living Longer?

“We’ve known for a long time that if you reduce the calorie intake of rats or mice, they live much longer,” says Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Baltimore. Do these intermittent fasting benefits carry over to humans?

What happens in species closer to humans is more complicated. Rhesus monkeys fed 30 percent fewer calories lived longer in a study at the University of Wisconsin, but not in a study at the NIA.

Is Caffeine a Cause of Urinary Incontinence?

According to the International Continence Society (ICS), incontinence is the “involuntary loss of urine that is a social or hygienic problem and is objectively demonstrable.” Urinary incontinence is most commonly a result of bladder dysfunction, sphincter dysfunction, or a combination of both. An estimated 30 to 40 percent of middle-aged women and 50 percent of older women experience urinary leakage.

The problem is less common in men, but does increase with age. Even so, older men experience severe urinary incontinence at only about half the rate of women. Despite the prevalence of this health problem, it is still a “don’t ask, don’t tell” issue.

“In our study of nurses, less than 50 percent of the women who had incontinence reported it to their doctors,” says Mary Townsend, an epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

It is a sensitive issue, for sure, but what is the cause of urinary incontinence? Leaks are more common in women who are older, heavier, or smokers, and in those who have had more children, diabetes, or a hysterectomy.

Magnesium-Rich Foods to Prevent a Stroke

More magnesium may mean a lower risk of stroke.

Researchers looked at seven studies that followed a total of roughly 240,000 people for eight to 15 years. The risk of an ischemic stroke was 9 percent lower for each 100 milligrams of magnesium the participants reported eating per day. This may seem like a low number, but simple changes or additions in diet may offer complementary benefits. Preparing foods to prevent a stroke will often coincide with eating foods that are good for your overall health.

Don't Take Diabetes Advice From Strangers

Maybe you have diabetes. Maybe your blood glucose isn’t that high yet, but it’s starting to rise.

You’ve read that losing weight is the best way to get your blood sugar down. And you’d like to shed those 15 or 25 extra pounds. Maybe you’ll start next week.

Then the online ad catches your eye. A “breakthrough”… “secrets the medical establishment doesn’t want you to see”…diabetes advice from researchers with a “moral duty” to get the word out about their “miracle cure.”

That’s worth 30 bucks, right?

A Healthy Mediterranean Diet

“Mediterranean diet fights heart disease,” announced ABC News. “Mediterranean diet cuts risk of stroke,” said USA Today. “Mediterranean diet over low fat? Well, at least it’s more fun,” quipped the Los Angeles Times. A study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine set off a media frenzy in February. Its findings were striking, but the press reports may have misled many. Here’s what the study actually found…and how it should (or shouldn’t) alter what you eat.