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Can too much sugar cause NIGHTMARES? Bizarre myths believed by children reveals

While 95 per cent of youngsters know exercise and healthy eating is important, they are unsure how their bodies work and some health messages are misunderstood, a new survey has found.

For example, 51 per cent of six to nine-year-olds know protein repairs muscles, but 14 per cent also think it helps people see in the dark.

They also believed protein can make you smarter (42 per cent) and even make you smell nice (four per cent).

The survey of 1,000 primary school pupils found 16 per cent thinking that eating sugar before bed leads to nightmares.

And four per cent believe telling lies can make you put on weight while six per cnet believe there are calories in the air.

Findings also revealed that 70 per cent of youngsters think you should not eat carbohydrates more than twice a day, even though over 80 per cent don’t know what a carbohydrates is. 

Additionally, children also struggled to understand the important role of good fats in a healthy diet, with 38 per cent saying you should avoid eating fat as much as possible.

Celebrity Master Chef winner and mother of two, Angelica Bell, an ambassador for a healthy eating campaign launched by the nut retailer Whitworths, said: “Growing up, I didn’t have an understanding of healthy eating, and I suffered with body confidence issues as a result.

“As a parent, I spend a lot of time teaching my own kids about food, health and how their bodies work to make sure they’re more switched on than I was at their age.

“Children have the most inquisitive minds and as parents, by helping them to learn at an early age about their bodies we can ensure they make informed decisions as they get older.”

When questioned further, 99 per cent of children understood that eating healthy does something for them but 70 per cent did not think eating healthily now would impact on their health as an adult.

Instead they said their motivation for eating healthy came from wanting to be big and strong (78 per cent), to make them better at sports (43 per cent) and to make them smarter (42 per cent).

Phil Gowland, of nut retailer Whitworths which commissioned the poll, said: “Understanding your body is the key to living a healthy lifestyle, which is why we’re trying to help make learning fun by showing how interesting the body can be and how it’s influenced by the food that we eat.”



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NHS operations news: Patients who smoke or are obese will be BANNED from surgery

The NHS in one area of the UK has revealed they will refuse to operate on patients who are obese or who smoke.

Plans are being drawn up in Hertfordshire where the health service hopes it will encourage people to lose weight or quit smoking.

The controversial move provoked fury when it was announced yesterday.

It was immediately attacked by the Royal College of Surgeons, who’s senior vice president, Ian Eardley, branded the decision “discriminatory”.

The new restrictions for Hertfordshire come after several areas of the UK have in recent years delayed operations for patients who are obese or who smoke.

Patients have been told their operations will be put back to give them time to lose weight or quit smoking.

In the new rules, drawn up by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Hertfordshire, obese patients “will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight”.

Only in exceptional circumstances will it be permitted.

The CCGs already delay surgery for up to nine months for patients with a high BMI, and they are asked to lose ten per cent of their bodyweight.

Under the new move, smokers will only be referred for an operation if they have stopped smoking for a minimum of eight weeks.

They will be breathalysed to check this.

East and North Hertfordshire CCG and  Herts Valleys said they wanted to encourage people “to take more responsibility for their own health and wellbeing, wherever possible, freeing up limited NHS resources for priority treatment”.

Eardley said the policy goes against the principles of the NHS.

“This goes against clinical guidance and leaves patients waiting long periods of time in pain and discomfort,” he said.

“It can even lead to worse outcomes following surgery in some cases.

“There is simply no justification for these policies, and we urge all clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to urgently reverse these discriminatory measures."



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Best supplements: The three CHEAP vitamins to take every day REVEALED

Supplement sales have soared in the past few years, with just under half of Britons daily vitamin and mineral users.

Additionally, the total vitamins and supplement market reached £414 million last year, suggesting that we’re investing significant amounts on boosting our eating regimes in this way.

While it is still important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, vitamins and minerals can help plug the gaps.

However, the wide array now available can make it confusing to know which you need.

While the vitamins adults require can vary greatly, here are a trio of affordable vitamins it may be wise to stock up on.

Vitamin D

Thanks to the lack of winter sunshine in the UK, many people in this country are deficient in vitamin D.

In fact, it is the most common nutritional deficiency in the Western world.

Signs you are low include bone pain, muscle weakness and unexplained fatigue.

While dietary sources include fatty fish, beef liver and cheese, it can sometimes be a struggle to absorb enough in this way.

Last year the government recommended everyone take 10 micrograms a day as a supplement.

Choose vitamin D3 as researchers have found it to be twice as effective at raising levels.

Vitamin C

Unlike some other nutrients, we can’t store vitamin C in our bodies, so we need to consume it every day.

It is important for helping protect cells, maintaining healthy skin and helping with wound healing, according to the NHS.

Being deficient can lead to a condition called scurvy, which can cause symptoms such as bleeding gums, feeling tired and have skin that bruises easily.

Dietary sources include oranges, broccoli, blackcurrants, brussels sprouts and potatoes.

However, taking a supplement can be beneficial for helping boost the immune system.

Research found that taking 1,000mg per day shortens the duration and reduces the severity of colds.

Vitamin B12

It is necessary for healthy nerve tissue, brain function and red blood cell production.

Being low in the vitamin can cause extreme tiredness, breathlessness, pale skin and headaches.

Since the nutrient mainly comes from animal sources, people who are vegetarian, vegan or who don’t eat much meat or dairy products may become deficient.



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Blood transfusions from THIS group of women could be DEADLY for men

Cancer sufferers may need a blood transfusion because of blood loss during surgery, or because of a side-effect of chemotherapy, while kidney disease sufferers may need one if they become anaemic.

For this reason they will often be given a blood transfusion, which involves taking blood from one person and giving it to someone else.

Blood in a transfusion will have been donated by an individual to a blood bank where it would have been carefully screened for infectious diseases and anaemia.

However, a new study has found higher mortality rates in men who have been given blood transfusions from women who had previously been pregnant.

This was compared to men who had been given blood transfusions from other men or women who had never been pregnant.

The research, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered that for men under 50, the death rates was 1.5 times higher in the three years following the transfusion with blood from previously pregnant woman.

Scientists believe that the most likely cause of death is an adverse immune response called transfusion-related acute lung injury.

Previous research has associated this increased risk with female donors.

Unfortunately it is still unclear to the researchers why men who have a blood transfusion from a previously pregnant woman have a higher mortality rate.

In the Dutch study, they looked at 31,118 patients, who had between them received 59,320 transfusions of red blood cells between 2005 and 2015.

“Among patients who received red blood cell transfusions, receipt of a transfusion from an ever-pregnant female donor, compared with a male donor, was associated with increased all-cause mortality among male recipients but not among female recipients,” the researchers wrote in the study.

"Transfusions from never-pregnant female donors were not associated with increased mortality among male or female recipients."

The mortality rate for blood transfusions from women who had ever been pregnant was 101 deaths per 1,000 person-years.

This is compared to 80 deaths from male donors and 78 deaths from never-pregnant donors.

Further research is needed to understand the underlying mechanism for why this happens.

Other reasons for a blood transfusion include having a kidney disease, severe infection or liver disease.



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Bowel cancer BREAKTHROUGH: New treatment is first non-toxic therapy

Most bowel cancers are caused by a gene turning faulty, which usually defends against tumours.

Once the gene, known as APC, stops working, there’s nothing to stop cancers from developing.

Also, mutated APC has been linked to a rise in proteins that are crucial for other organs, but is cancerous in the bowel.

Previous attempts to stop these proteins - called Wnt - from appearing in the bowel haven’t been perfect, as the drugs used to stop it are toxic to other organs in the body.

This meant developing effective and safe bowel cancer treatments has been challenging, said researchers from the Francis Crick Institute.

But, the researchers managed to target Wnt in tumour cells, without any toxic effect on healthy cells.

The therapy holds “great promise” for bowel cancer patients, the scientists said.

“Current treatment for bowel cancer is mostly generic,” said senior author of the research, Vivian Li.

“Targeted therapy will help future development of personalised medicine.

“The protein that we've identified holds great promise as a therapeutic target for bowel cancer treatment,” she said.

The scientists used a tool to edit specific genes and create the drug.

Trials in mice proved positive, as rises in tumour size weren’t as drastic after treatment.

The scientists are now assessing whether completely removing the gene altogether from the body will stop them from developing the cancer.

About 40,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer in the UK every year, according to Cancer Research UK.

Those most at risk of developing the condition are those between 85 and 89 years old.



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MMR vaccine side effects do NOT include autism – where the myth came from explained

Scientists recommend giving children the MMR vaccine, after the myth linking the vaccine to autism was quashed.

There have been numerous scientific studies that found no link between the vaccine and the developmental disability.

Almost 1.3 million children were studied in 2014, to see if the vaccination led to autism.

They found the vaccine didn’t have any association with autism development, scientists revealed.

“In conclusion, this meta-analysis provides no evidence of a relationship between vaccination and autism or autism spectrum disorders,” said the researchers, from the University of Sydney,

“As such, [we] advocate the continuation of immunisation programmes according to national guidelines.”

As with all vaccinations, parents must weigh up the benefits and risks of the treatment, the researchers said.

But, in this case, the “data consistently shows the lack of evidence for an association between autism and vaccination”, they added.

The myth started in 1998, when Andrew Wakefield published a scientific report, claiming the vaccine could trigger autism.

The study was reported in 2004, and the claims became more popular.

But, the report was retracted in 2010, over ethics and misrepresentation concerns.

Wakefield’s medical license was also rescinded.

MMR is a “safe and effective” vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses in one single injection, according to the NHS.

Measles, mumps and rubella are all high contagious conditions that are potentially fatal. The conditions can also lead to meningitis, brain swelling, and deafness.

The vaccine is completely free with the NHS, and is given to babies as part of their routine vaccination schedule.

It’s usually given to them just before their first birthday.



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Sleeping for THIS amount of time will keep your sperm healthy

Between seven and seven and a half hours sleep is the perfect amount for healthy sperm, scientists have revealed.

Sleeping for more than nine hours per day meant sperm was 41 per cent less healthy.

Similarly, only managing six and a half hours or less kip meant sperm was 30 per cent less healthy.

Healthy sperm was characterised by the amount of normal DNA and protein in semen samples, the researchers said.

Co-author of the study, Dr Jia Cao, said: “This is new information, after our previous finding that sleep duration has an inversed association with semen volume and total sperm count.

“In the previous study, we found that these two semen parameters were highest when sleep is seven to seven and a half hours per day.

“Either longer or shorter sleep was associated with the decrease of the two semen parameters.”

The researchers wanted to find whether the amount of sleep every night had any impact on the structural integrity of sperm DNA.

They analysed 2,020 semen samples from 796 men, between 2013 and 2015.

They found the ‘optimum’ amount of sleep need to produce the healthiest sperm, which could help couples trying to conceive.

More studies were needed to investigate exactly why sleep impacts sperm health, the researchers said.

Scientists also revealed this month that a male fertility supplement could generate ‘super sperm’.

Sperm mobility, and its capacity to fertilise eggs, increased after taking the Superdrug supplement.

It contained vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and L-cartinene - a nutrient known to improve sperm movement.

The drug is available for £29.99 for one month’s supply.



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Dementia prevention: Ward off memory loss symptoms by doing THIS free activity

Dementia patients - or those at risk of brain decline - are commonly told to add oily fish to their diet and learn another language.

But there is another activity scientists believe could help ward off symptoms such as memory loss - volunteering.

According to a new study by the University of Missouri, lending your time and energy to help others could improve cognitive function in older adults.

While previous research had showed a connection between volunteering and physical health, this is the first time it has been linked to mental functioning.

It is thought that volunteering, which often involves following directions, solving problems and being active, stimulates the brain.

The benefits discovered in the research, that was published in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences, were particularly prominent in women.

“Cognitive functions, such as memory, working memory, and processing are essential for living an independent life,” said Christine Proulx, from the University of Missouri.

“They’re the tools and methods the brain uses to process information.

“It’s the brain’s working memory and processing capacity that benefit the most from volunteering.”

Working memory - the brain’s ability to temporarily store and manage information - can be impacted as people get older.

Many dementia sufferers find their working memory suffers first, while their long-term memory - such as experiences in childhood or as young adults - tends to stay intact for slightly longer.

Processing capacity, which the study also found to benefit, is how fast the mind is able to take in and store information. 

Dementia sufferers can find it increasingly difficult to process new information, and their responses may become delayed.

The researchers looked at the impact of volunteering on the brains of 11,000 adults aged 51 and over.

They found it benefited participants, regardless of the amount of time spent doing it.

“Prior research has shown that older adults with lower levels of education are at greater risk of cognitive decline,” said Proulx.

“Engaging in volunteering might compensate for some of that risk.”



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Vascular dementia symptoms: Could a pair of GLASSES be the key to diagnosis? 

The glasses can track eye movement to diagnose every neurological disease and other conditions, including thyroid eye disease, ptosis and myasthenia gravis.

A device is fitted to glasses, to monitor the movement of eyelids. 

It measures blinking speed in patients, and how often they blinked.

The device can be added to standard refraction glasses - used by opticians in a normal eye test.

“Eyelid motion provides us with meaningful information about the health of a patient,” said Adi Hanuka, researcher working on the device.

“This motion can indicate not only eye diseases, but also neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s, and autoimmune diseases such as Grave’s.”

The device is already being developed, and has won several internationally-recognised medical awards for innovation.

The researchers looked forward to the NHS rolling out the new technology, they said.

The idea was first designed by Hanuka during her undergraduate degree, she said.

Researchers used the design to test whether it could spot signs of a condition known as blepharospasm dystonia.

Blepharospasm dystonia is a disease which causes the eyes to blink involuntarily.

Their study was successful, and the researchers could accurately diagnose the condition, they said.

Hanuka said: “Along with designing the product for purposes of commercialisation, we are working in several directions.

“Developing the device as a platform for multidisciplinary research on various topics such as the effect of emotions on blinking patterns; eyelid communication amongst the paralysed; and automatic diagnosis through machine learning.”

The research, and early stage studies for other medical technologies, could save lives, before being commercialised, the researchers added.



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Cancer: TOXIC arsenic treatment could triple life expectancy of brain tumour patients

The chemical could be used with current treatments for the most common type of deadly brain tumours, scientists have revealed.

Treating patients with the chemical could increase their life expectancy by three or four times after diagnosis, they claimed.

Arsenic is currently used to fight a rare blood cancer, known as acute promyelocytic leukaemia.

But, it could also be used as a powerful therapy for glioblastoma multiforme - the most aggressive type of brain cancer, it was revealed.

“Our findings show that, for some patients, arsenic trioxide could be a powerful therapy that could extend the lives of certain glioblastoma patients by as much as three to four times the median expectation,” said study author Dr Harshil Dhruv.

“Rather than treat all patients, we want to design a prospective clinical trial that we can enrich for those patients whose genomic signatures indicate they would be the best candidates for success,” he added.

The idea was to find a way of treating each patient individually, which different amounts of arsenic to suit them.

Researchers analysed arsenic’s therapeutic properties over two clinical studies.

They found that some cancerous cells in glioblastoma multiforme were more responsive to arsenic treatment.

Dhruv said: “We were then able to identify these particular patients as having the same genomic signatures as those we had tentatively identified in our computer and laboratory screenings of potential therapies.”

The scientists will now analyse arsenic’s specific reaction to the rare brain cancer, and to design a test that could find patients best suited for the treatment.

The treatment would be one of the most effective brain cancer treatments available.

Currently most anti-cancer drugs are too large to work through the smallest blood vessels.

The treatment would also be much cheaper than current treatments, as arsenic is widely, and naturally, available.

About 17 per cent of all brain cancers are glioblastoma multiforme, according to the National Cancer Institute.



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Blood-sucking parasitic WORMS could cure asthma within 10 years

Asthma is less common in countries where people are more likely to have parasitic worms that live in the intestines, and feed off blood and mucus.

In Southeast Asia, one in 20 people have asthma, whereas one in 11 have the condition in the UK.

The worms, known as roundworms, release a protein that prevents humans from having allergic reactions.

Seeing as asthma can be triggered by allergies - including pollen and dust mites - researchers found the worms could be used to help treat the respiratory condition.

“We have known for some years that infections with parasitic worms appear to protect people against asthma,” said leader of the research, Dr Henry McSorley.

“We have always believed that identifying exactly how parasites prevent asthma could inspire new treatments.

“By identifying this new protein, we have found a new way of suppressing the allergic responses which cause asthma.

“In the future, we hope to develop this further.”

The researchers confirmed worms could be used to treat asthma in mine trials.

A treatment for the condition, that uses the protein secreted by roundworms, could be developed within five to 10 years, Asthma UK said.

The medication would reduce, and possibly even completely prevent, any allergic responses in humans.

The research was an exciting development for the draining condition, said Asthma UK’s Director of Research and Policy, Dr Samantha Walker.

“[Asthma] leaves people gasping for breath and in some cases, can be fatal, so this research is an important step towards finding a cure for this type of asthma,” said Walker.

“It is becoming clear that there are many different types of asthma and that not all of them respond to current treatment, which is why research like this is so important.”

Asthma sufferer Val Hudson described an asthma attack as feeling like someone was holding a pillow over her face.

Hudson added: “It’s incredible to think worms could cure asthma, and research like this will offer hope to the many people who like me who have asthma.”



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Flu jab 2017: Boost effectiveness of vaccine by taking THIS trendy supplement

Flu jabs are set to be particularly important this year with the Aussie flu on its way and the NHS warning the health service will be inundated with ill patients.

However, the effectiveness of the vaccine has been widely questioned.

The NHS said last week they feared it would not effectively protect the elderly - a vulnerable group.

But taking a trendy supplement could help boost the jab’s effectiveness.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts good for the digestive system and the immune system - but their benefits may now extend further. 

A recent study by the University of Melbourne, published in August, revealed that taking them could encourage a positive response to the flu vaccine. 

In the study they state: “Probiotics offer a relatively cheap intervention to improve vaccine efficacy and duration of protection”.

Dr Ashton Harper, medical advisor at Bio-Kult (bio-kult.com), said that the gut and immune system are linked.

“By changing the gut bacterial profile, probiotics alter the concentration of certain signalling molecules which has a direct stimulatory effect on the host immune system,” he explained.

“It has also been suggested that direct contact between the probiotic bacteria and cells of the host's immune system may lead to the improved response to the vaccination.

“There are numerous cell types that make up the human immune system and their complex functions likely involve interaction with a diverse range of bacterial species from a multi-strain probiotic.

“Additionally, probiotics have been shown to maintain a healthy intestinal barrier, which may prevent against a leaky gut and reduce inflammation, a situation which would certainly compound an acute flu episode.” 

Dr Harper said this was particularly important since the general response rate to the flu jab is currently only about 40 to 60 per cent effective.

In the over-65 population he said this may be as low as 30 per cent.

“To enhance the response to the flu vaccine probiotics should be taken from the time of the flu vaccine for a minimum of two weeks - this is because the process of 'memorising' the virus and producing antibodies is thought to take this amount of time,” he added.

“To strengthen our internal barriers against infections, such as the flu - high risk in the northern hemisphere during the winter months, it would be advisable to consume probiotics from October to March. Probiotics should be consumed with a meal ideally to maximise survival through the stomach.”



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Anti-ageing diet: The THREE vegetables to combat dementia, wrinkles and arthritis REVEALED

While many aspects of ageing might seem inevitable, eating well could help you live longer, look younger and feel better in older age.

Vegetables are a crucial part of any diet because they are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Eating a wide range has been found to reduce risk of many diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

It is recommended by the NHS that people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

However, earlier this year it was suggested by an Imperial College London study that ten portions could be even more beneficial.

Add these three anti-ageing vegetables to your diet.

Aubergine

The vegetable’s deep purple skin comes from a nutrient called nasunin. 

As well as being said to help fight spread of cancer, the nutrient has been found to combat dementia - an increasingly common age-related condition.

Indeed, research found nasunin could slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease by stopping free radicals from damaging neurons.

Red peppers

This red vegetable contains 60 per cent more vitamin C than its green-coloured sibling.

Vitamin C triggers production of white blood cells that help the body to fight off germs and bacteria.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with diets high in vitamin C were less prone to developing wrinkles.

Brussels sprouts

The festive favourite should probably be eaten all year round.

It contains sulfur compounds which help our body’s tumour-suppressing genes.

The vegetable does this by blocking enzymes that promote tumour growth.

A study published in 2012 shoed that these sulfur compounds could reduce inflammation and active cartilage-protecting proteins to treat rheumatoid arthritis.



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High blood pressure: Condition causes BLOOD to move the WRONG way through heart

The heart valve disorder, known as mitral regurgitation, was believed to be a natural condition linked to ageing.

But, researchers found it was linked to high blood pressure in earlier life.

The findings could open the door to future treatments for the condition.

Mitral regurgitation is a condition where blood flows the wrong way in the heart, as one of the valves doesn’t close properly.

Researchers are now looking at ways to tackle mitral regurgitation.

Understanding the condition’s cause makes it easier to find a treatment, they said.

Lead author of the research, Professor Kazem Rahimi, said: “With worldwide ageing and population growth, we are likely to see an increasing number of cases of this condition.

“We need to find effective and affordable measures to tackle it, and our study suggests one possible avenue for prevention, by reducing high blood pressure.”

The findings were likely to have significant implications for medical policy around the world, said Rahimi.

Mitral regurgitation wasn’t an inevitable consequence of ageing, and may be preventable, Rahimi added.

Before this study, scientists believed mitral regurgitation was a degenerative condition, caused by simple wear and tear of the heart valve over time.

This meant medical practitioners had been focusing on treatments to repair the valve, rather than preventing the valve from degrading in the first place.

Peter Williams, 59, had surgery in 2016 to repair his mitral valve.

“I've always been an active person, but it slowed me down a lot,” he said.

“I was tired and short of breath, and struggling to walk distances that wouldn't normally have bothered me.

“My breathing was so noisy at night that it actually woke me up.”



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Diabetes diet: THIS ‘superfood’ fruit could manage blood sugar levels

Diabetes sufferers have to ensure they properly manage their blood sugar.

If they don’t, it could lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and even amputation.

However, eating a particular ‘superfood’ powder could help prevent this.

Research by Oxford Brookes University showed that the baobab - an African fruit - could help manage blood sugar levels.

In the study researchers found that baobab powder, which could be added to smoothies or smoothie bowls, helps prevent blood sugar spikes.

The benefits are thought to be due to the fruit’s high fibre and polyphenol content.

The study findings were revealed in Channel 4’s ‘Superfoods: The Real Story', which was broadcast last week.

Since then sales of one type, Aduna Baobab Powder, have soared by 1,300 per cent.

Dr Shelly Coe, from Oxford Brookes University, said: “We have carried out a number of studies on baobab fruit at our Centre and the results have consistently demonstrated that baobab can have a stabilising effect on blood glucose. 

“Baobab is rich in fibre which can slow down the rise in blood glucose, helping prevent sugar spikes. 

“It is also high in polyphenols which have been shown to effect the release of sugars from carbohydrates into the blood stream, reducing their conversion into glucose. 

“Our studies have shown that along with a good diet and exercise, consuming baobab could help regulate your blood sugar – which is particularly good news for those with Type 2 Diabetes.”

Diabetes symptoms affect 40.5 million people in the UK, and one person every two minutes is diagnosed with type 2.

The condition costs the NHS an estimated £14 billion a year.

Baobab fruit has been consumed in Africa for centuries.

“It is unusual in that it dries on the branch, producing a natural and organic fruit powder that has six times the vitamin C of an orange, is 50 per cent fibre, is high in polyphenols and has more antioxidants than any whole fruit,” said Andrew Hunt, Aduna MD and co-founder.



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Could doing too much exercise KILL you? This many hours puts you at risk of heart disease

White men who work out at least seven-and-a-half hours a week are nearly twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than those who do a moderate amount, a new study shows.

Researchers in Chicago compared 25 year exercise patterns and made the surprising discovery that very active white men are 86 per cent more likely to experience a buildup of plaque in the heart arteries by middle age.

But this didn't apply to black men, they discovered.

It was suggested high levels of exercise over time caused stress on the arteries leading to higher coronary artery calcification - CAC.

However scientists warned people should not stop exercising.

The team from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Kaiser Permanente looked at the physical activity trajectories of 3,175 black and white participants in the longterm CARDIA study and assessed the presence of CAC.

The presence and amount of CAC, is a significant warning sign to doctors that a patient may be at risk for developing heart disease and a signal to consider early preventive care.

Assistant Professor of physical therapy in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences Deepika Laddu said: "We expected to see that higher levels of physical activity over time would be associated with lower levels of CAC."

However they found that at the top level of exercise, there was no extra risk for black men, but an 86 per cent increased risk for white men.

Unique to the new study is the evaluation of long-term exercise patterns, from young adulthood into middle age.

The study group had eight follow-up examinations over 25 years, from 1985 through 2011, starting at age 18 to 30 and finishing at 43 to 55.

Researchers split participants into three distinct groups, based on physical activity patterns.

Group one was defined as exercising below the national guidelines of less than 150 minutes a week, group two as meeting the national guidelines of 150 minutes a week and group three was exercising three-times above the national guidelines over 450 minutes a week.

Overall, those in group three were 27 per cent more likely than those in group one to develop CAC by middle age. 

When these findings were divided by race and gender, they found that white men were at the highest risk as they were 86 per cent more likely to have CAC. 

There was no higher odds of CAC for black participants who exercised at this level, and while there was a similar trend for white women it was not statistically significant.

Prof Laddu added: "Because the study results show a significantly different level of risk between black and white participants based on long-term exercise trajectories, the data provides rationale for further investigation, especially by race, into the other biological mechanisms for CAC risk in people with very high levels of physical activity," 

Study co-author Dr Jamal Rana, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland said: "High levels of exercise over time may cause stress on the arteries leading to higher CAC.

"However this plaque buildup may well be of the more stable kind, and thus less likely to rupture and causes heart attack, which was not evaluated in this study." 

However he added: "It does not suggest that anyone should stop exercising." 

The findings are published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 



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This is why being STRESSED is just as unhealthy as eating JUNK FOOD

Stress could be just as unhealthy as eating a really bad diet, according to researchers from the Brigham Young University, Utah.

Tests in female mice revealed digestive micro-organisms in the gut can change when they’re stressed, so it appeared the mice had eaten a high-fat diet.

The findings suggest stress is more than simply psychological, and could have a physical impact on individuals, the researchers said.

It could also be the reason why females have higher rates of depression and anxiety, they added.

“Stress can be harmful in a lot of ways, but this research is novel in that it ties stress to female-specific changes in the gut microbial,” said author of the research, Laura Bridgewater.

“We sometimes think of stress as a purely psychological phenomenon, but it causes distinct physical changes.”

The researchers analysed a large group of eight-week old mice to find the link between stress and metabolic health.

Half of the male mice, and half of the female mice, were given a high-fat diet.

After a 16-week period, all of the mice were exposed to mild stress for 18 consecutive days.

Male mice on the high-fat diet were more anxious than females on the high-fat diet, the researchers found.

The high-fat male mice were also less active than females when stressed.

But, it was only in female mice that stress caused the gut bacteria to change composition, mirroring a high-fat diet.

The findings could have big implications for humans and society, Bridgewater said.

“In society, women tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are linked to stress,” she said.

“This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males and females.”

Meanwhile, stressed people pay less attention to their surroundings, scientists revealed earlier this month.

Psychologists quashed the idea that stress could boost a person’s ability to detect danger.



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Drinking several cups of tea a day could PROTECT you against CANCER

Cancer is the second biggest killer in the UK, with 350,000 people diagnosed each year.

However, it is suggested that four in ten cases are preventable with lifestyle changes.

This could include adapting your diet - and research has revealed that drink tea could help. 

Four major new studies have found that drinking tea could help prevent four types of cancer.

Oesophageal, biliary tract, bowel and ovarian cancers were all found to be helped by drinking tea.

The research found that tea contains special plant compounds which have powerful anti-cancer properties.

In the first study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that risk of oesophageal disorder - which could lead to cancer - could be reduced by 30 per cent if you drink more than one cup of tea a day.

Another study, published in the journal Oncotarget, showed that regularly drinking tea reduced biliary tract cancer by 34 per cent compared to people who never drink tea.

Dr Catherine Hood, from the Tea Advisory Panel, said: “Cancer risk reduced by 4% for every cup of tea drunk, especially in women.”

A further study, also published in Oncotarget, showed that the highest tea drinkers had a seven per cent reduced risk of bowel cancer.

“The effects were strongest in women and those who drank green tea,” said Dr Hood of the findings.

Finally, in the fourth study published in the same journal, there was a 15 per cent fall in ovarian cancer when tea was drunk frequently.

Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Tea Advisory Panel said: “It is great news that more and more people are beating cancer.

“However, there is still a lot more we can all do to reduce our risks of developing the condition, including drinking at least one cup of tea a day.

“Other ways we can adopt a positive anti-cancer lifestyle include keeping to a healthy weight, eating 5-8 portions of vegetables and fruit daily, boosting fibre (roughage) intakes and taking regular exercise. “

“The simple step of drinking tea every day is not only refreshing but puts us on the right track for helping us to try and beat serious health problems.”



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Arthritis symptoms: Wearing slippers could be enhancing your JOINT PAIN

Wearing slippers could be adding to arthritic discomfort.

Those wearing slippers often could develop a “shuffle” instead of walking, according to footwear brand Gentle Grip.

The shuffling stops joints being used properly, leading to stiffness.

The effects could be worse when it’s cold outside, the brand added.

Elderly people must make foot care a priority in the winter months, Gentle Grip said.

Keeping feet warm, dry and comfortable will help to reduce the risk of developing complications, including joint stiffness.

“Many older people with achy or swollen feet will choose slippers, but this kind of footwear does not offer the right level of support,” said Gentle Grip.

“Frequent wearing of slippers encourages a “shuffling” movement, which prevents the proper use of the joints, leading to further stiffness, which can be worse when it’s cold.”

Wearing appropriate shoes and socks - even while indoors - will help joint movement, and reduce the risk of a fall.

Despite the temptation, it’s important not to stay huddled in bed or on the sofa over winter, Gentle Grip said.

Staying in the same place for long periods of time could cause fluid to build up.

Also, watch out for red constriction rings around the ankles, seen when socks are removed, as they could be a sign of blocked circulation.

Keeping feet warm and toasty can help to achieve a good night’s sleep.

Charity Age UK recommends wearing socks both indoors and outdoors.

Meanwhile, experts have reminded diabetes patients that warm and wet weather leaves them at greater risk of developing foot ulcers.

People with diabetes have a much greater chance of developing feet problems, as the change in blood sugar leaves them vulnerable to poor circulation.



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Heart disease risk ‘INCREASED by doing MORE exercise’

Despite scientists expecting to find heart disease risk was higher in those that exercise less, they found white men were more likely to suffer the condition if they exercised more.

They also found that the odds of heart disease didn’t increase in black men that exercised more; only in white men.

White men were 86 per cent more likely to have a buildup of plaque in heart arteries if they exercised, compared to those that only exercised at low levels.

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the UK.

“We expected to see that higher levels of physical activity over time would be associated with lower levels of coronary artery calcification,” said researcher working on the study, Deepika Laddu.

Coronary artery calcification is a major risk of heart disease. 

It’s caused by fat being deposited on the inside walls of the arteries.

The arteries narrow, making blood supply - and oxygen - restricted around the body.

The researchers carried out a 25 year study to 2011, to find the ‘surprising’ results.

Participants, which included white and black men and women, were all aged between 18 and 30 when the study began.

They were categorised into three exercise groups; those that exercised below the US national guideline (less than 150 minutes per week), those that met the guideline (150 minutes per week), and those that exercised well above the guideline (more than 450 minutes per week).

They found that those exercising the most were 27 per cent more likely to develop coronary artery calcification, than those exercising the least.

White men that exercised the most had the highest risk of developing the condition.

White women showed a “similar trend”, the researchers said, but the results weren’t statistically significant, unlike in men.

Laddu said: “Because the study results show a significantly different level of risk between black and white participants based on long-term exercise trajectories, the data provides rationale for further investigation, especially by race.

“High levels of exercise over time may cause stress on the arteries leading to higher coronary artery calcification.

The researchers warned, however, that individuals shouldn’t stop exercising.



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