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Eating mushrooms may slow or even reverse mental decline: Study

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Eating more mushrooms could help keep mental decline at bay, a new study of over 600 Singaporeans aged 60 and above showed.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) found that participants who ate more than two servings of mushrooms a week — equivalent to 300g or about half a plate — were 57 percent less likely to have mild cognitive impairment compared to those who ate less than one portion a week, straitstimes.com wrote.

The study was conducted between 2011 and 2017.

 

Announcing the findings Dr. Irwin Cheah, a senior research fellow at the NUS department of biochemistry, said this could be because mushrooms contain high levels of a compound known as ergothioneine.

The compound acts as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agent, and can protect brain cells from damage, Cheah said.

In a separate 2016 study also involving Cheah , the researcher found that having a deficiency of the compound could be a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

“Humans cannot synthesize this compound, but it can be obtained from dietary sources,” he explained.

Cheah said the researchers measured a range of foods and found that many, including beans and liver, contain low levels of the compound.

Mushrooms, which are able to synthesize ergothioneine, were found to have very high levels of it.

The study was part of the wider Diet and Healthy Ageingresearch done in Singapore.

Those who were diagnosed with dementia or other serious mental conditions were excluded from the mushroom study.

The participants were asked to report their regular diets, including the intake of six types of mushrooms commonly eaten in Singapore: Golden mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, dried mushrooms and canned mushrooms.

The researchers also controlled the intake of other foods known to be correlated with cognitive function, like vegetables, fruits and nuts.

The participants then took tests designed to measure cognitive abilities like memory and how quickly they can process information.

The scores were controlled for age and education levels.

Those who scored less than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean score of participants with similar ages and education levels were determined to have mild cognitive impairment.

About 90 out of the 663 participants fell into this category.

Mild cognitive impairment is the intermediate stage between normal cognitive decline, associated with ageing, and dementia, which is more serious and has no cure.

The study’s principal investigator, Assistant Professor Feng Lei, said, “With the increasing number of seniors, we can expect to see a potential dementia tsunami in the future. The good news is that cognitive decline can be managed.”

Professor Feng, who is from the NUS department of psychological medicine, said people with mild cognitive impairment can still perform most normal functions, and that the rate of decline can be slowed through dietary and other lifestyle interventions.

Tests showed that this group had lower levels of ergothioneine in their bloodstreams, which also correlated with their lower intake of mushrooms.

Feng added that the researchers plan to conduct a clinical trial on the potential benefits of pure ergothioneinealone or in combination with other nutrients derived from plants in delaying cognitive decline.

If it is successful, the research could lead to the development of a supplement in future.


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Health

Weight Loss Tips Recommended by Personal Trainers

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Weight loss is something that we all struggle with. Sometimes we are successful in reducing our weight but more often than not, the number in the weighing scale slowly creeps back up. Most of us have already tried the latest diet trend in the hopes that it will lead us to a better looking us, but then, life happens and we forget that we are on a diet or that we feel frustrated with the lack of results. Still, we keep on finding ways to get rid of the excess pounds that we are carrying. With that being said, it might be a good idea for us to stop for a while and take stock of what personal trainers have got to say about losing weight. Who knows? We might pick up a thing or two about their weight loss tips that we can apply in our day to day lives. Here are some suggestions that you might want to consider.

Stay away from booze and sugar

If you really want to lose weight then ditch the sugar and booze. These two are known to be calorie-laden which is why they contribute to weight gain. If you can’t stay away from drinking alcoholic beverages, you can limit to a glass for girls and two glasses for men. As for the refined sugars, there are natural sweeteners available such as honey and stevia.

 

Don’t go more than 3 hours without eating

Although the exact science for this is still being studied, it appears that eating snacks in between meals can help keep your blood sugar levels steady. This means that your energy level will remain stable throughout the day and less sugar or carb binges which can cause weight gain on your part.

Mix your exercises up

Another tip that personal trainers have given with regards to losing weight is to mix your fitness routine as much as possible. Sticking to the same program for months will cause you to hit a plateau in your progress which can make you feel frustrated with the lack of improvement. A better option would be to mix your exercises so that your muscles will remain guessing as to which muscle group will be tested. The best part is that you are constantly strengthening and conditioning your muscles for a more even looking physique.

Drink plenty of water

Who would have thought that even the simplest act can do your weight loss goal a whole lot of good? Drinking water constantly can help flush the toxins from your body while ensuring that your skin remains properly hydrated. Water can also help improve digestion so that your body will be able to absorb nutrients from the food that you eat better.

These are just a few tips that you might want to consider the next time you are planning on shedding weight. What’s great about these fitness tips is that they are simple enough to follow but will get you amazing results in no time.

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Health

Study: Dietary supplements won’t help you live longer

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Doctors at Tufts University in Massachusetts, the US, say it’s pretty clear that supplement use has no benefit for the general population and is not a substitute for a healthy balanced diet.

Their research found that vitamins A and K, magnesium, zinc and copper were linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke — but only when they came from foods, abc7news.com wrote.

Coauthor Fang Fang Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, said getting nutrients in the right quantities from food was associated with a longer life.

 

In fact, Zhang said some supplements even appear to have health risks. People who took high doses of calcium supplements had a 53 percent higher risk of dying from cancer than people who were not taking supplements,

However, if you have been diagnosed as deficient in a certain nutrient, don’t stop taking it without talking to your doctor first.

The research team used data from 30,000 US adults who participated in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010.

The research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Health

Whitening products may damage teeth:Study

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Teeth whitening products – that promise to make your smile brighter – may also be causing tooth damage, a study has found.

Scientists at Stockton University in the US found that hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in over-the-counter whitening strips, can damage the protein-rich dentin tissue found beneath the tooth’s protective enamel.

The tooth is made of three layers: the outer tooth enamel, an underlying dentin layer and connective tissue that binds the roots to the gum.

 

Most studies of whitening strips have focused on tooth enamel, which contains very little protein.

The team focused on dentin, which makes up most of the tooth and has high levels of protein, most of which is collagen.

It is well established that hydrogen peroxide can penetrate the enamel and dentin. Previous work by the researchers showed that collagen in the dentin layer decreased when teeth were treated with whitening strips.

“We sought to further characterise what the hydrogen peroxide was doing to collagen. We used entire teeth for the studies and focused on the impact hydrogen peroxide has on the proteins,” said Kelly Keenan, associate professor at Stockton University.

The researchers demonstrated that the major protein in the dentin is converted to smaller fragments when treated with hydrogen peroxide.

In additional experiments, they treated pure collagen with hydrogen peroxide and then analysed the protein using a gel electrophoresis laboratory technique that allows the protein to be visualised.

“Our results showed that treatment with hydrogen peroxide concentrations similar to those found in whitening strips is enough to make the original collagen protein disappear, which is presumably due to the formation of many smaller fragments,” Keenan said in the statement.

The researchers point out that their experiments did not address whether collagen and other proteins in the teeth can be regenerated, so it is unknown if the tooth damage is permanent.

Next, they plan to further characterise the protein fragments released when collagen is treated with hydrogen peroxide and determine if hydrogen peroxide has the same impact on other proteins in the teeth.

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