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HealthBriefs Wondrous Watermelon


n a hot summer day, a cool, juicy slice of watermelon offers enticing refreshment. The treat offers surprising health benefits, too—it may help keep weight off and arteries clear, according to a recent study involving mice with high cholesterol by University of Kentucky researchers. One group sipped watermelon juice; the control group, water. After eight weeks, the mice that imbibed the juice had a lower body weight due to a decrease in fat mass; lean muscle mass was unaffected. These same mice also experienced reduced atherosclerotic lesions—associated with hardening of the arteries—and lower concentrations of cholesterol in their blood. “This pilot study has found … interesting health benefits in the mouse model of atherosclerosis,” says lead investigator Dr. Sibu Saha, a cardiothoracic surgeon. “Our ultimate goal is to identify bioactive compounds that would improve human health.”

To Stay Sharp, Keep Moving


erobic exercise not only gets the heart pumping, it is also good for brain health. According to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, aerobic workouts can reduce the risk of dementia and slow its progression if it starts, because they deliver oxygen to the brain and generate nutritional factors that improve brain functioning. Exercise also facilitates neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.

Eat Fiber for Health and Longevity


ow consumers have another convincing reason to add more fiber to their diet. According to a National Cancer Institute study at the National Institutes of Health, which followed patients over a nine-year period, scientists associated the intake of fiber (about 30 grams per day) with a reduced risk of death from any cause, including cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases. Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

Cancer Prevention in a Spice


his year, an estimated 52,610 people (38,380 men and 14,230 women) will develop cancer in the head and neck, leading to an estimated 11,500 deaths (or just under 22 percent), according to statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2012. New hope may lie in an ancient spice. A pilot study conducted at the University of California-Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has shown that eating curcumin, the main component in the spice turmeric, works to suppress a cell-signaling pathway that spurs the growth of malignancies in the head and neck. Further, curcumin reduces proinflammatory cytokines (naturally occurring regulatory proteins) within saliva. Turmeric is widely used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking (curry, for example), and has long been valued for its anti-inflammatory properties. In India, women have used it for centuries as an anti-aging agent rubbed into the skin, as a poultice to promote wound healing and as a treatment for menstrual cramps.


The Lowdown on Low Iron


ow levels of iron in the blood not only cause fatigue, but also may be linked to more serious health risks, including dangerous blood clots. Iron deficiency is widespread, and thought to affect at least 1 billion people worldwide, mostly women. Alleviating such deficiencies is a preventive measure. Source: Imperial College, London

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“Natural Awakenings” Magazine, July 2012 issue  
“Natural Awakenings” Magazine, July 2012 issue  

“Natural Awakenings” Magazine, July 2012 issue. The full-color monthly magazine about green, local, organic, wholistic, natural, fun, health...