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Mediterranean Diet Cuts the Risk of Depression by 30%

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Consuming plenty of olive oil, nuts, fruit and vegetables – like those living in warm countries by the Med – means you’re less likely to be hit by the blues, according to researchers.

A study of 10,000 people found that those who ate these foods most regularly were found to be have a much sunnier outlook on life.

The diet traditionally favoured by natives of countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy is high in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. It is also low in red meat and dairy products while alcohol, particularly red wine, is encouraged – but in moderation.
……..…...click & see

Sunshine food: Regularly consuming, nuts, fish, fruit and vegetables – like those living in warm countries by the Med – can cut the risk of depression by 30 percent

A Mediterranean diet is already thought to improve heart health and stave off cancer.
Dieticians believe it appears to improve the flexibility of cells lining the walls of blood vessels, particularly in the heart and circulatory system.
The latest study was inspired by the lower risk of suffering mental disorders in Mediterranean countries than in Northern Europe.
Dr Almudena Sanchez-Villegas and colleagues studied 10,094 healthy Spanish men and women between 1999 and 2005. For the project, they filled in food diaries and their adherence to a Mediterranean diet was checked on nine main points.
These included frequency of consumption of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, moderate intake of alcohol and dairy products, and low intake of meat. High intakes of fruit, nuts, cereals, vegetables and fish were also important.

The Mediterranean diet is high in unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants. Wine is encouraged, but in moderation
After more than four years of follow-ups, there were 480 new cases of depression, 156 in men and 324 in women.
Those who followed the Mediterranean diet most closely had a greater than 30 per cent reduction in the risk of depression compared with those who had lowest scores.

The figures did not change even when adjusted for other markers of a healthy lifestyle, such as being married, said a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Dr Sanchez-Villegas admitted: ‘The specific mechanisms by which a better adherence to the Mediterranean diet could help to prevent the occurrence of depression are not well-known.’

However, the diet is known to keep arteries healthy, fight inflammation and repair cell damage, she said.
‘The role of the overall dietary pattern may be more important than the effect of single components,’ added the academic, of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and University of Navarra.

There may be ‘a fair degree of protection’ from the combination of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish with other natural ingredients in olive oil, nuts, fruit and plant foods.

Last year, U.S. researchers found strict adherence to a Mediterranean diet could help stave off Alzheimer’s and premature death.
A team from the UK, Greece and Spain also found it helped prevent the development of asthma and respiratory allergies in children.
Other research shows taking fish oil every day in pregnancy can cut the risk of post-natal depression.

Source: Mail Online.6Th. Oct.2009

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Sweet Aroma

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Researchers in Israel have found a way to genetically enhance the smell of flowers:…….CLICK & SEE

Plant biotechnologist Alexander Vainstein
The beautiful camellias in the vase really brighten up your room. How many times have you wondered why the room doesn’t smell with a fragrance that matches the camellias’ beauty? If a team of Israeli scientists have their way, however, they may soon leave you with no room to rue.

These researchers claim to have discovered a way to genetically boost the smell of flowers and even introduce scents in those that don’t have any.

The scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been able to create transgenic petunias and carnations which smell like roses. They have also swapped smells between carnations and petunias, according to a research paper published in Plant Biotechnology Journal.

“We’ve found a way of enhancing the scent of a flower (Petunia hybrida) 10-fold and make it emit a scent during day and night — irrespective of the natural rhythm of scent production,” said Alexander Vainstein, the lead scientist at the University’s Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture. In addition, they also have devised a way to boost the colour of flowers. The novel ‘biotechnolgical strategy’ to ‘activate scent and colour production’ in flowers could eventually be used to create tastier fruits and vegetables that have turned bland because of repeated cross-breeding and excessive use of pesticides.

“Smell plays an important role in our lives — it influences the way we choose fruit and vegetables, perfumes, and even a partner,” said Vainstein in a statement. “Aromas define not just fragrance but the taste of food, too.”

According to Vainstein, in Nature “flower colour and fragrance are the two main means adopted by plants to attract pollinators (such as bees and beetles), thereby ensuring reproductive success.”

The intensity of a flower’s scent largely depends on factors like the time of day, the plant’s age, crossbreeding and so on. “Many flowers have lost their scent owing to repeated breeding over the years. Recent technological developments — including ours — will help create flowers with an increased scent as well as produce novel scent components in the flowers.”

Such an innovation could not only help create new genetic variability for breeding purposes, but also offer the plant an advantage in survival and to evolve. In other words, the technique will make flowers more fragrant and draw more pollinating insects towards the plant, aiding better reproduction and survival. “The knowledge gained from an understanding of mechanisms leading to floral scent production or emission should provide us with a better insight into Nature’s way of ensuring evolutionary success, as well as with advanced tools for the metabolic engineering of fragrance,” said Vainstein.

However, such genetic engineering may not work as expected, believes Tapas Ghose, a botanist at Bose Institute, Calcutta. “It is difficult to predict whether pollinators will love the novel scent. It can attract pests too,” said Ghose. According to him it is too early to smell success with the genetically modified flower unless there is a prolonged field test along with definitive ecological studies.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Herbal Beauty & Body Care

Antioxidant Cure For Wrinkles?

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Beauty care starts at home, by taking your vitamins regularly

CLICK & SEE

A new method to fight off wrinkles.
Women may soon no longer have to turn to plastic surgery to get rid of those pesky wrinkles, thanks to a researcher at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences who has developed a new method to fight wrinkles.

The method has been developed by Dr Orit Bossi under the supervision of Zecharia Madar, the Karl Bach Professor of Agricultural Biochemistry at the Hebrew University, and Prof Shlomo Grossman of Bar-Ilan University.

Antioxidants operate against free radicals which cause a breakdown of many tissues in the body, including the skin. When found in small quantities in the body, free radicals are not harmful and are even involved in various physical processes.

When there is an excess of free radicals, however, as occurs during normal aging or as a result of excessive exposure to ultra-violet radiation from the sun, the result, among other things, is a breakdown of the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin. When this happens, there is a loss of skin elasticity and the formation of wrinkles. “A problem with many of the commercial antioxidants found today in the market that are said to retard the aging process is that they oxidise quickly and therefore their efficiency declines with time,” said Dr Bossi.

“Vitamin C, for example, oxidises rapidly and is sensitive to high temperatures. This is also true of the antioxidant EGCG which is found in green tea, and vitamin E. As a part of her research, Dr Bossi conducted experiments on mice skin tissue, which resembles that of humans. She applied her antioxidant on two skin cell groups — those which had been exposed to the sun’s rays and received her antioxidant and those which also had been exposed to sun but did not receive the antioxidant. The untreated cells showed a rise in free radicals causing wrinkles, while those cells which had been treated showed no significant increase in the free radicals level.

Source:The Times Of India

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