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“Miraculous.” “Amazing.” “Life Saving.”
For some reason, people love coconut oil. Really love it.
And because people really love it, the coconut oil myths have spread like dandelion seeds on a windy day.
“Poisonous.” “Toxic.” “Avoid like the plague.”
Is canola oil healthy? For some reason, people love to hate it. Really hate it.
That’s partly because the canola plant is derived from rapeseed, which contains a toxic compound called erucic acid and bitter-tasting compounds called glucosinolates.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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“To improve a memory, consider chocolate,” ran the New York Times headline in October. “A few squares of dark chocolate a day can reduce the risk of death from heart…