Monday, June 29, 2009
We've known for some time that eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can help protect you against cancer, but now research suggests that if we're not eating the right sort, it could be a waste of time and money.
British researchers believe that most of the produce we eat is low in important cancer-fighting compounds called salvestrols. A typical five-a-day diet would give you only 10 per cent of the beneficial compounds you need to keep cancer at bay.
In research published in the British Naturopathic Journal, Gerry Potter, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, and Dan Burke, Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical Metabolism, explain how salvestrols work.
How salvestrols work
It seems that human cells affected by diseases such as cancer contain an enzyme protein called CYP1B1. Triggering this protein halts the progress of the disease ? and salve-strols provide the trigger.
"CYP1B1 is a kind of Trojan horse inside the cancer cells," says Prof Burke. "Provide it with salvestrols in the diet and it will unleash a stream of chemical agents that are deadly to the cancer cells."
Scientists generally believe that cancer cells are forming in the body continually, but most are destroyed before they develop into malignant tumours. The research team now believe that salvestrols play a key role in this process.
One of the first salvestrols to be identified was resveratrol, a chemical from grapes, present in red wine. Other, more powerful salvestrols have now been found in a variety of fruits including tangerines, strawberries and cranberries.
Woefully low levels
But the new research has also found that salvestrol levels vary in even the healthiest diet. Profs Burke and Potter have discovered woefully low levels in many of the fruit and vegetables we had thought were doing us good in the fight against disease. "We believe have rediscovered one of nature's defences against cancer and certain other diseases," says Prof Burke.
"In previous times salvestrols would have formed an important part of a traditional fruit and vegetable-containing diet, their levels now depleted in our food due modern farming and food processing practices." Fungicides may be partly to blame. "A ripening fruit or vegetable is prone to attack by fungal mould," says Prof Burke.
"Fruit and vegetable plants have evolved over the years to fight off the fungi by generating salvestrol compounds. When we eat the plants we also ingest the salve-strols and derive health benefits.
"But when crops are regularly treated with agrochemical fungicides the plants are rarely exposed to fungus, so they are never stimulated to make salve-strols and the fruit and vegetable harvest lacks these compounds."
The research also suggests that levels of salvestrols are up to 30 times higher in organic produce, but almost absent in some commercially grown varieties. Some varieties of fruit have 40 or 50 times higher levels than others.
Another reason our salvestrol intake is so low is our taste for sweeter flavours.
Modern varieties of fruit and vegetables are selected for sweetness, which has led to older and more robustly flavoured hybrids being overlooked. For instance, the scientists found that small, organically grown alpine strawberries have 100 times the level of salvestrols of commercially grown (non-organic) strawberries. The tart English Cox ranks significantly higher on the cancer-fighting front than a sweet apple such as the French Golden Delicious.
Salvestrols tend to lurk in the bitter flavours, and much food processing removes this bitterness to make 'unsweetened' products.
Salvestrols also tend to be found more in the skins, pulp and stones of fruit rather than in the pure juice, so when juices are clarified much of their salvestrol content is lost. Real cranberry juice, for instance, is darker and more bitter than the juice you buy in the supermarket, and more potent.
Stone ground, unfiltered olive oil (which is cloudy) will also do more good than the clear variety. And, traditional wine-making techniques, which allow the grapes to ferment in their skins, produce more salvestrols.
Boost your intake
To boost your salvestrol intake you could take a supplement (available from health food stores). Or, simply increase your intake of the following foods: Fruit: red fruits (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blackberries, cranberries), apples and pears.
Vegetables: all greens (especially broccoli and the cabbage family), artichokes, red and yellow peppers, avocados, watercress, asparagus and aubergines. (Salvestrols will be lost in boiling water so grill or microwave instead.)
Herbs: basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon verbena tea, redbush tea, skullcap, dandelion, plantain.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
His family have put together a blog about his recovery:
Labels: chris knox
Thursday, June 11, 2009
1. Sometimes it doesn't take much to be published. The letters section of the Green Guide (Thursday media supplement of The Age) is pretty easy. And how's this - Anthill asked their newsletter subscribers for "weird and witty" business ideas. 5 people responded, 4 were published in the Dec 08 / Jan 09 issue, including mine:
Banks and retail businesses could place a chart on their front door, showing the times when they are the busiest. That would allow some customers to choose the best time to shop, when they would receive the most attention and the quickest service. The smoothing out of traffic could help with staffing. Everybody wins!
2. It's a great idea! Our era is full of openness and disclosure for the common good, and we all hate queues. What will it take to take off? Just a shop or two reading the idea and implementing it. (wish I had a shop...)
Labels: busy chart
Monday, June 08, 2009
Daniel Bennett had been in the Philippines studying the rare butaan lizard, a close relative of the komodo dragon, as part of his PhD at Leeds University. Over half a decade he bagged and sent home 35kg of the reptile's faeces, which he thought was being held safely by his department.
However, he was horrified to learn that the precious collection of dung had been thrown out by the university during a routine lab clearout.
Mr Bennett, who was still able to complete his doctorate, wrote in The Times Higher Education: "To some people it might have been just a bag of lizard shit, but to me it represented seven years of painstaking work, searching the rainforest with a team of reformed poachers to find the faeces of one of the world's largest, rarest and most mysterious lizards....Leeds University said: "... The loss of these samples was an unfortunate mistake. They were thrown away in error because they were in an unmarked bag.
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Scientists are developing unique tattoo ink for diabetics that changes colour depending on glucose concentrations in the body and would allow continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels.Tattoos for Diabetics article.
Labels: tattoo diabetic
Monday, June 01, 2009
Jimmy Cowan - Southland
Wyatt Crockett * - Canterbury
Stephen Donald - Waikato
Andrew Hore - Taranaki
Cory Jane - Wellington
Richard Kahui - Waikato
Jerome Kaino - Auckland
Tanerau Latimer * - Bay of Plenty
Brendon Leonard - Waikato
Keven Mealamu - Auckland
Liam Messam - Waikato
Mils Muliaina - Waikato
Ma’a Nonu - Wellington
Kieran Read - Canterbury
Josevata Rokocoko - Auckland
Isaac Ross * - Canterbury
Conrad Smith - Wellington
Adam Thomson - Otago
Brad Thorn - Canterbury
Neemia Tialata - Wellington
Isaia Toeava - Auckland
Piri Weepu - Wellington
Ali Williams - Auckland
Tony Woodcock - North Harbour
Rudi Wulf - North Harbour
It's alright... no new backs is disappointing... I think any of the following would really give the team a big boost in the outer backs:
Maybe they'll get it right before the Tri-Nations?
Labels: all blacks