HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

July/August 2015

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Healthy, Versatile Mushrooms

Name Culinary Uses Health Benefits
Crimini Basically brown button mushrooms with an earthier flavor; use in vegetable and game dishes Supplies a rich blend of vitamins and minerals; supports cardiovascular and immune health
Enoki
Its mild-flavored crunch is appealing in salads and sandwiches; trim base and separate strands first Supplies antioxidants; enoki consumption has been linked to reductions in cancer occurrence
Maitake
Rich, woodsy taste stands on its own sautéed in olive oil; can also be used in soups Helps the body adapt to stress; valued for its immune-stimulating and antiviral properties
Oyster
Known for its velvety texture; delicate flavor pairs well with onions; can be used in pasta dishes Contains a variety of minerals as well as vitamins B and C; possesses antimicrobial properties
Portabella Meaty texture makes it a great burger substitute; stands up to broiling, grilling and roasting Supplies copper, selenium and vitamin B6; may provide vitamin D if exposed to ultraviolet light
Shiitake Deeply flavored; works well in grain dishes as well as entrees, soups and stir-fries
Modulates immune response; provides antioxidants and helps lower cholesterol levels

 

Reducing Uterine Cancer

Risk with Mediterranean Diet

Women who eat Mediterranean style may see a significant dip in their risk of developing uterine cancer.

A research team from IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche in Milan analyzed the dietary choices of more than 5,000 Italian women to see how well they followed what has become known as the Mediterranean diet, which is heavy on produce, seafood, olive oil and whole grains, light on meat and dairy, and involves moderate alcohol intake.

The more a woman’s diet followed these guidelines, the lower her risk of uterine cancer, up to 57% lower.

According to results published in the British Journal of Cancer, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diet and cancer risk, even though it did find an association.

“This adds more weight to our understanding of how our everyday choices, like what we eat and how active we are, affect our risk of cancer,” said lead author Cristina Bosetti, PhD.

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Vitamin B3 May Cut Skin Cancer Risk

Spending time in the sun this summer? Don’t forget your sunscreen and floppy hat…and perhaps your B vitamins.

One specific member of the B-vitamin family, a form of B3 called nicotinamide, has been linked to a reduction in skin cancer risk by reseachers from Australia, which has the highest rates in the world.

In mice, nicotinamide has been found to promote DNA repair and reduce immune suppression in the skin after sun exposure. So the study team, led by the University of Sydney, gave either the vitamin or a placebo for a year to 396 people who had already been diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs).

Rates of new cancer development were “significantly lower” among people taking nicotinamide than among those taking the placebo, according to results presented to the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s annual meeting.

The team said that nicotinamide supplementation “presents a new chemopreventive opportunity against NMSCs that is readily translatable into clinical practice.”

The reseachers did call for further study before recommending that everyone, including people who haven’t shown themselves prone to skin cancer, take vitamin B3 as a preventative measure.

Australia’s skin cancer rate, which can be explained by a predominantly light-skinned population living in a tropical climate, has led that country to emphasize sun safety as a matter of public health.

In the United States, studies have found that one in five people will develop skin cancer at some point. The most common varieties, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are fairly easy to treat. However, it is estimated that nearly 74,000 Americans will develop melanoma, a form that spreads readily, with nearly 10,000 deaths.

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Gut Flora May Influence

Toddler Temperament

In our March story on the link between gut flora and emotional well-being (“A Gut Feeling”), we learned that the microbes living in our intestines affect much more than digestive health.

The latest research, much of it published within the past few years, has found that these organisms can actually affect the brain through a pathway called the gut-brain axis. It’s now thought that when in a state of disarray, gut microbes can contribute to anxiety, depression and other brain-based ills.

Now one of the latest studies on this topic addresses the issue of how gut flora affects children.

Ohio State scientists examined the intestinal microbes taken from 18 toddlers between the ages of 18 and 27 months. They also asked the mothers to fill out questionnaires about each child’s temperament.

According to results published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, the presence of certain types of bacteria in boys correlated with attributes such as curiosity, impulsivity and sociability.

Links between microbial makeup and temperament were less pronounced in girls, although girls with a less diverse mixture of organisms did seem to show greater focused attention and self-restraint. Girls with an abundance of a certain type of bacteria called Rikenellaceae also appeared to be more fearful.

“There is definitely communication between bacteria in the gut and the brain but we don’t know which one starts the conversation,” said study coauthor Michael Bailey, PhD.

 

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N U M B E R S

 

Yoga’s Increasing Popularity


7 Million

Number of people currently

practicing yoga in the US

 

10%+

Percentage of adult Americans who

have tried yoga, tai chi or qi gong,

mostly yoga, an increase of more

than 4% over 10 years

 

63.7%

Those who practice yoga for

health and wellness

 

Source: National Institutes of Health

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