Three Cups a Day Help Prevent Stroke

Three Cups a Day Help Prevent Stroke

There are very few known ways to reduce the risk of stroke, but a recent UCLA study found that drinking at least three cups of green or black tea a day may offer significant protection. The researchers are not exactly sure which compound in tea reduces the risk but speculate that it might be either the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or the amino acid theanine, both of which are readily absorbed by the body. The amino acid theanine, in particular, is known to be able to cross the blood/brain barrier, helping in this way to prevent an ischemic stroke. These are exciting findings, as developing medications for stroke victims is quite challenging; drugs have to get to the stroke-damaged site quickly because damage occurs so fast. Tea might offer a way to prevent strokes in the first place, and it is tasty, natural, and has no side effects. (University of California – Los Angeles, March 2009)

The ordinary garden pea is not ordinary at all, boasting healthful amounts of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins, all wrapped in a neat low-fat and cholesterol-free package. Research is now focusing on peas as a natural food additive — a dietary supplement, so to speak — to fight high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease — potentially life-threatening conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. In an eight-week study, laboratory rats with a severe form of kidney disease were fed a small daily dose of the pea protein hydrolysate. At the end of the eight-week period, the rats showed a 20 percent drop in blood pressure. Pea protein, the study showed, could potentially delay or prevent the onset of kidney damage in people with high blood pressure and help normalize the condition in people who already have kidney damage, possibly extending their lives. If the pea studies continue to show promise, the protein extract could be available for consumers within the next two or three years, to be added to foods and beverages or in pill form. (American Chemical Society, March 2009)

A flavonoid derived from citrus fruit has shown tremendous promise in preventing weight gain and other signs of metabolic disorders that can lead to a host of health problems. In the study, a group of mice was fed a typical high-fat Western diet to induce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, while a second group was fed the same diet along with naringenin, a citrus-derived flavonoid. Naringenin was found to correct the elevations in triglycerides and cholesterol, prevent the development of insulin resistance, and completely normalize glucose metabolism. Moreover, the researchers found that the benefits of naringenin were independent of caloric intake. It appears that the citrus flavonoid works by genetically reprogramming the liver to burn excess fat, rather than store it. At this time, the pharmacological properties of naringenin are being examined, and clinical trials involving human subjects are likely to follow. (University of Western Ontario, July 2009)

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