Natural Gas Provides Solar-Powered Electric Service in Florida

 General Interest  Comments Off on Natural Gas Provides Solar-Powered Electric Service in Florida
Aug 232014
 

Natural gas is helping make it possible for electric utilities to reliably incorporate more renewable sources of energy – such as solar – to meet the ever-growing demands of customers in a growing economy.

One of the nation’s largest utilities, Florida Power & Light (FPL), uses natural gas and solar to provide clean electricity day and night, rain or shine. Take a look at this video to see how FPL uses natural gas to ensure that customers receive clean, affordable, uninterrupted, power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

FPL’s Martin Next Generation Clean Energy Center is the first power plant in the country to generate electricity from both solar and natural gas. When the sun is shining, the plant makes good use of the Sunshine State’s greatest asset, but also uses natural gas to ensure its plant produces power at full capacity. At night and on cloudy days, natural gas ensures that FPL customers can still rely on the power they need to live their lives.

Thanks to the combination of natural gas and solar energy, each year, this high-tech power plant reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 62,000 metric tons.Using natural gas to deliver renewable energy? That’s something to think about.

For more information about the positive impact of natural gas, visit www.thinkaboutit.org

5 Benefits From This Super Fruit

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on 5 Benefits From This Super Fruit
Aug 102014
 

Here’s a Super Fruit That Outpaces All Others

By: Don Penven

On-going nutritional research tends to give greater weight to fruit over vegetables when considering health

blueberries

Fresh Blueberries

benefits. Maybe this is because many more high carbohydrate populate the lists of available veggies. So the “Old Wive’s Promise” of “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” has some credibility to it.

So let’s take a look at this Super Fruit—the Blueberry. The basic stats are as follows:

  • According to research from the University of Florida, about 61 percent of the blueberry consumers prefers flavor over health, while 39 percent believe the fruit prefer the health benefits.
  • Blueberries are among the highest known anti-oxidant value fruits. They are sweet—but not too sweet—and juicy. The color is a deep blue.

My introduction to the blueberry happened when I was about 12 years old. At that age I was eligible for a work permit and I learned that some of the other neighborhood kids were picking blueberries on a farm some distance away. The rickety old stake-body truck with a canvas cover picked us up around 6:00 a.m. for the 45 minute drive. Once on-site we were each given a large “tin” can that we hung around our neck with the attached string. Within a week I had developed a very strong dislike for blueberries. I only lasted a week.

Blueberries are touted as potent weapons against high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

This small powerhouse of a berry is fights numerous health conditions:

  1. Heart disease: The prestigious Harvard School of Public Health determined that anthocyanin-loaded blueberries actually reduced the risk of a heart attacked by 33%. Animal studies by the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center shows us that atherosclerosis plaque in animals was reduced by the addition of blueberries in their diet. Other studies indicate that eating just ½ cup of blueberries once a week lowers the risk of getting high blood pressure by 20%
  2. Weight control: Researchers at the Michigan Cardiovascular Center fed lab rates powdered blueberries developed much less abdominal fat, triglycerides and cholesterol. As far as humans are concerned, this seems like a much less troublesome method of loosing weight and fighting obesity.
  3. Type 2 Diabetes: The National Institutes of Health published the following numbers: 25.8 million Americans currently have diabetes. This represents 8.3 percent of the U.S. population. Of this number, 7 million do not know they have the disease. Scientists conducting diabetes research discovered that daily consumption of blueberries will drastically reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes. Myriad other studies prove an impressive anti-diabetic effect of a blueberry-rich diet.
  4. Mental decline:  We have seen significant evidence over the last 10 years indicating some amazing, beneficial effects resulting from adding blueberries to one’s diet. Most significantly is the effect on aging of the brain. We turn to Tufts University for what they consider to be a “magically potent” berry that reverses short-term memory loss and actually pumps up our motor skills.
  5. Metabolic Syndrome is characterized as a combination of health disorders that include high cholesterol, blood pressure, weakened glucose tolerance and ultimately… obesity. Metabolic syndrome is responsible for increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack and type 2 diabetes.

On the home front (my home), researchers from North Carolina State University discovered that phytochemicals found in blueberries improved hyperglycemia, a condition related to metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. And we have barely touched the surface regarding health benefits of blueberries., the list of blueberry’s magical health powers goes on.

  • The berries improve vision health and tired eyes
  • Blueberries contain powerful compounds that prevent urinary tract infections
  • Regular consumption of blueberries drastically improves intestinal tract health by promoting the growth of good bacteria;
  • A great amount of research showed that chemicals found in wild blueberries are able to inhibit and prevent the growth of cancer cells, even the particularly aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).
  • Due to an impressive amount of antioxidants, there is no better way to fight the disease and improve the immune system than a handful of blueberries every day.
 Posted by at 11:51 am

Taking Aspirin everyday for 10 years can reduce cancer cases

 Health Matters  Comments Off on Taking Aspirin everyday for 10 years can reduce cancer cases
Aug 082014
 

Kounteya Sinha, TNN LONDON: Popping an aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of developing — and dying from — the major cancers

aspirin

Aspirin

of the digestive tract – bowel, stomach and esophageal cancer. For the first time, scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) reviewed all the available evidence from many studies and clinical trials assessing both the benefits and harms of preventive use of aspirin.

Conclusions of the study, funded by Cancer Research UK among others published on Wednesday found taking aspirin for 10 years could cut bowel cancer cases by around 35% and deaths by 40%.

Rates of esophageal and stomach cancers were cut by 30% and deaths from these cancers by 35-50%. The study also confirmed that if everyone aged between 50-65 started taking aspirin daily for at least 10 years, there would be a 9% reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks overall in men and around 7% in women.

The total number of deaths from any cause would also be lower, by about 4% over a 20-year period. To reap the benefits of aspirin, the evidence shows people need to start taking a daily dose of 75-100 mg for at least five years and probably 10 years between the ages of 50 and 65. No benefit was seen whilst taking aspirin for the first three years, and death rates were only reduced after five years.

The researchers, led by Professor Jack Cuzick, head of QMUL’s Centre for Cancer Prevention also warns taking aspirin long-term increases the risk of bleeding from the digestive tract – stomach bleeding. Amongst 60-year-old individuals who take aspirin daily for 10 years, the risk of digestive tract bleeds increases from 2.2% to 3.6%, and this could be life-threatening in a very small proportion (less than 5%) of people. Overall, rates of serious or fatal gastrointestinal bleeding are very low under the age of 70, but increased sharply after that age. Another side effect of aspirin use is peptic ulcer, the risk of which is increased by 30-60%.

The study also uncovers uncertainty over the most appropriate dose of aspirin required to maximize the benefit/harm ratio, with doses varying between 75 mg to 325mg a day in different clinical trials and studies. Professor Cuzick said “It has long been known that aspirin — one of the cheapest and most common drugs on the market — can protect against certain types of cancer. But until our study, where we analyzed all the available evidence, it was unclear whether the pros of taking aspirin outweighed the cons.”

“Whilst there are some serious side effects that can’t be ignored, taking aspirin daily looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement. The benefits of aspirin use would be most visible in the reduction in deaths due to cancer.” “The risk of bleeding depends on a number of known factors which people need to be aware of before starting regular aspirin and it would be advisable to consult with a doctor before embarking on daily medication.”

 Posted by at 10:05 am

Seven Reasons You Should Eat Walnuts

 Senior Citizen's Super Foods  Comments Off on Seven Reasons You Should Eat Walnuts
Aug 022014
 

Guest Article By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Oftentimes, the simplest foods are best for your

Walnut

Walnut

health…

and this is certainly the case for nuts, in which Mother Nature has crafted a nearly perfect package of protein, healthy fats, fiber, plant sterols, antioxidants, and many vitamins and minerals.

Among nuts, the case may be made that walnuts are king, as research shows they may boost your health in a number of ways at very easy-to-achieve “doses.”

Eating just one ounce of walnuts a day (that’s about seven shelled walnuts) may be all it takes to take advantage of their beneficial properties.

7 Top Reasons to Eat Walnuts

Walnuts belong to the tree nut family, along with Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios. Each has its own unique nutritional profile.

One-quarter cup of walnuts, for instance, provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of plant-based omega-3 fats, along with high amounts of copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. Some of the most exciting research about walnuts includes:

1. Cancer-Fighting Properties

Walnuts may help reduce not only the risk of prostate cancer, but breast cancer as well. In one study, mice that ate the human equivalent of 2.4 ounces of whole walnuts for 18 weeks had significantly smaller and slower-growing prostate tumors compared to the control group that consumed the same amount of fat but from other sources.

Overall the whole walnut diet reduced prostate cancer growth by 30 to 40 percent. According to another study on mice, the human equivalent of just two handfuls of walnuts a day cut breast cancer risk in half, and slowed tumor growth by 50 percent as well.

2. Heart Health

Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors.

If you struggle with herpes, you may want to avoid or limit walnuts, as high levels of arginine can deplete the amino acid lysine, which can trigger herpes recurrences.

Walnuts also contain the plant-based omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is anti-inflammatory and may prevent the formation of pathological blood clots. Research shows that people who eat a diet high in ALA are less likely to have a fatal heart attack and have a nearly 50 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death.

Eating just four walnuts a day has been shown to significantly raise blood levels of heart-healthy ALA, and walnut consumption supports healthful cholesterol levels.

Separate research showed that eating just one ounce of walnuts a day may decrease cardiovascular risk, and among those at high cardiovascular risk, increased frequency of nut consumption significantly lowers the risk of death.

3. Rare and Powerful Antioxidants

Antioxidants are crucial to your health, as they are believed to help control how fast you age by combating free radicals, which are at the heart of age-related deterioration.

Walnuts contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. This includes the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin.

Walnuts contain antioxidants that are so powerful at free-radical scavenging that researchers called them “remarkable,” and research has shown that walnut polyphenols may help prevent chemically-induced liver damage.

In another study, researchers found that nuts, especially walnuts, have potent antioxidant powers. Walnut polyphenols had the best efficacy among the nuts tested and also the highest lipoprotein-bound antioxidant activity. The researchers concluded:

“Nuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants which by binding to lipoproteins would inhibit oxidative processes that lead to atherosclerosis in vivo. In human supplementation studies nuts have been shown to improve the lipid profile, increase endothelial function and reduce inflammation, all without causing weight gain.”

4. Weight Control

Adding healthful amounts of nuts such as walnuts to your diet can help you to maintain your ideal weight over time. In one review of 31 trials, those whose diets included extra nuts or nuts substituted for other foods lost about 1.4 extra pounds and half an inch from their waists. Eating walnuts is also associated with increased satiety after just three days.

5. Improved Reproductive Health in Men

One of the lesser-known benefits of walnuts is their impact on male fertility. Among men who consume a Western-style diet, adding 75 grams (a bit over one-half cup) of walnuts daily significantly improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology.

6. Brain Health

Walnuts contain a number of neuroprotective compounds, including vitamin E, folate, melatonin, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants. Research shows walnut consumption may support brain health, including increasing inferential reasoning in young adults.

One study also found that consuming high-antioxidant foods like walnuts “can decrease the enhanced vulnerability to oxidative stress that occurs in aging,” “increase health span,” and also “enhance cognitive and motor function in aging.”

7. Diabetes

The beneficial dietary fat in walnuts has been shown to improve metabolic parameters in people with type 2 diabetes. Overweight adults with type 2 diabetes who ate one-quarter cup of walnuts daily had significant reductions in fasting insulin levels compared to those who did not, and the benefit was achieved in the first three months.

Why You Should Eat the Walnut Skin

The outermost layer of a shelled walnut – the whitish, flaky (or sometimes waxy) part – has a bitter flavor, but resist the urge to remove it. It’s thought that up to 90 percent of the antioxidants in walnuts are found in the skin, making it one of the healthiest parts to consume. To increase the positive impacts on your health, look for nuts that are organic and raw, not irradiated or pasteurized.

Furthermore, be aware that walnuts are highly perishable and their healthful fats easily damaged. If you’re purchasing shelled walnuts in bulk, avoid those that appear shriveled or smell rancid, or that you cannot verify are fresh. Walnuts should be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator or freezer, whether they are shelled or unshelled. Walnuts are great as a quick snack, but if you’re not a fan of their flavor, you can still get their therapeutic benefits by blending them into smoothies. Or you can try one of the other healthful nuts available.

You can further improve the quality of walnuts by soaking them in water overnight, which will tend to lower some of the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid. After soaking, you can dehydrate them at low temperature of around 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit until they are crispy again, as they are far more palatable when they are crunchy.

Most Nuts Are a Wonderful Food

You can’t really go wrong when choosing nuts to eat, as long as you pay attention to quality. By this I mean look for nuts that are organic and raw, not irradiated, pasteurized, or coated in sugar. One exception is peanuts, which are technically in the legume family. My main objections to peanuts are that they tend to:

Distort your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, as they are relatively high in omega-6

Be frequently contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin

Be one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops

My favorite nuts are raw macadamia and pecans, as they provide the highest amount of healthy fat while being on the lower end in terms of carbs and protein. Most nuts’ nutritional makeup closely resemble what I consider to be an ideal ratio of the basic building blocks—fat making up the greatest amount of your daily calories, followed by a moderate amount of high-quality protein and a low amount of non-vegetable carbs. And this is precisely why they’re recommended as one of the best sources of healthy fats in my nutrition plan.

The main fatty acid in macadamia nuts is the monounsaturated fat oleic acid (about 60 percent). This is about the level found in olives, which are well known for their health benefits. I have been consuming macadamia nuts and pecans almost daily since I started lowering my overall protein intake about a year ago. The following list shows the nutrition facts in grams per one ounce for your most common tree nuts (one ounce of nuts equates to just over 28 grams, or about a small handful):

Tree Nut              Fat (grams per ounce)

Macadamias       22

Pecans                  20

Pine nuts             20

Brazil nuts           19

Walnuts               18

Hazelnuts            17

Cashews              13

Almonds              14

Pistachios            13

 Posted by at 10:48 am

Celery Super Food – More Facts About This Common Vegetable

 Senior Citizen's Super Foods  Comments Off on Celery Super Food – More Facts About This Common Vegetable
Aug 022014
 
celery

Celery Stalk

Many of us think about celery as just a crunchy, green, low calorie veggie…

and known as  basic part of our maintaining good health. We’ve known for some time that celery serves as an anti-inflammatory, but recent studies indicate that it provides protection to our digestive tract too. Without out a bunch of medical mumbo-jumbo–celery contains ample quantities of apluman, a necessary factor for anti-inflammatory properties. In other articles on this blog I have discussed the need for antioxidants in our diet. The antioxidant support we get from celery includes vitamin C, but other  antioxidant support is largely due to its phenolic nutrients that have been shown to help protect us against unwanted oxygen molecules, which cause serious damage to our cells, blood vessels, and internal organ. The greatest benefit from including celery in our diet comes from eating the raw stalks. But also consider steaming your veggies as part of your meal, you can include celery without having to worry about excessive loss of its phenol-based antioxidants. Here are some results from a recent study:

  • In a recent study, researchers compared the impact of steaming (10 minutes) versus boiling (10 minutes) versus blanching (3 minute submersion in boiling water) on the total phenolic antioxidant nutrients in celery. Both boiling and blanching resulted in substantial loss of these antioxidants, in the range of 38-41%. With steaming, however, 83-99% of these antioxidants were retained in the celery even after 10 minutes. While we encourage the practice of steaming as a cooking method of choice for many of our WHFoods vegetables.
  • Based on multiple recent studies involving nutrient changes in stored, refrigerated celery, we recommend a period of 5-7 days as a window of time for consuming fresh celery. While some nutrients appear to be stable in whole, refrigerated celery for longer periods of time, several studies show greater losses of phenolic antioxidants in celery after this week-long period. In addition, based on changes in flavonoid content, we also recommend that you wait to chop up your celery just before you are adding it to a salad or cooked dish (rather than chopping it up the night before and leaving it stored in the refrigerator overnight). This will help to preserve its maximum nutrient potential.

One cup of chopped celery equals about one calory. Nutrients include:  vitamin K 32.8%, molybdenum  11.2%,  folate 9%,  potassium 7.5% as well as lesser percentages of manganese, vitamin B2, copper, vitamin c, and calcium fiber 5.6% manganese 5% pantothenic 5% vitamin B24.6% copper 4.4% vitamin C4.1% vitamin B64.1% calcium 4% phosphorus% magnesium 2.7% vitamin  A 2.5% Below we detail what a serving of Celery provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Celery can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Celery, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

  • Health Benefits
  • Description
  • History
  • How to Select and Store
  • Tips for Preparing and Cooking
  • How to Enjoy
  • Individual Concerns
  • Nutritional Profile
  • References

Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Support Celery is an important food source of conventional antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. But its “claim to fame” in terms of antioxidant nutrients may very well be its phytonutrients. Many of these phytonutrients fall into the category of phenolic antioxidants and have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Below is a representative list of the phenolic antioxidants found in celery.

  • Phenolic acids
  • caffeic acid
  • caffeolyquinic acid
  • cinnamic acid
  • coumaric acid
  • ferulic acid
  • Flavones
  • apigenin
  • luteolin
  • Flavonols
  • quercetin
  • kaempferol
  • Dihydrostilbenoids
  • lunularin
  • Phytosterols
  • beta-sitosterol
  • Furanocoumarins
  • bergapten
  • psoralen

In animal studies, celery extracts containing the above-listed phytonutrients have been shown to decrease risk of oxidative damage to body fats and risk of oxidative damage to blood vessel walls. In addition, these celery extracts have been shown to prevent inflammatory reactions in the digestive tract and blood vessels. Interestingly, there is also some animal research showing the ability of celery extracts to help protect the digestive tract and liver following consumption of acrylamides. (Acrylamides are potentially toxic substances formed in food through a reaction of sugars and amino acids, usually through the process of frying.) While most of the research above involves animals versus humans, we have also seen studies showing the importance of celery in diets that are considered to be high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. For example, we’ve seen one recent study showing celery to provide 7% of all flavonol and flavone antioxidants in the diet of adults in China. In addition, mechanisms of anti-inflammatory support have also been shown in human studies. For example, we’ve seen research showing the ability of celery juice and celery extracts to lower the activity of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), as well as the activity of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB). Decreased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin 1B (IL-1B) and interleukin 8 (IL-8) have also been seen in these studies. All of these four messaging molecules play a key role in the body’s inflammatory responses, and keeping them in check is an important step in the prevention of unwanted inflammation. One interesting aspect of celery’s antioxidant phytonutrients involves its furanocoumarins. Prior to harvest – when celery is still growing in the ground – it responds to stress by producing furanocoumarins in greater amounts. These substances help protect it in its natural living conditions. Even after celery has been harvested, however, and you start to chop it up on your kitchen countertop, it will still increase its production of furanocoumarins, and you will get greater amounts of these phytonutrients for this reason. (However, it is incorrect to assume that the chopping of celery makes it nutritionally “better” than it was before you chopped it. That’s because other phytonutrients decrease simultaneously with the increase in furanocoumarins. The net result is basically a change in the composition of the celery phytonutrients, an interesting topic about which we hope to see more research on in the future.) Digestive Tract Support In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients that help protect the digestive tract as a whole, celery contains pectin-based polysaccharides that can provide the stomach with special benefits. We’ve become accustomed to thinking about polysaccharides as starchy molecules that are used by cells as a way to store up simple sugars. But there are other types of polysaccharides in plants, including the non-starch, pectin-based polysaccharides found in celery. (Pectin is a sugar-related molecule that is largely formed from a substance called glucuronic acid.) The pectin-based polysaccharides found in celery —including apiuman—appear to have special importance in producing anti-inflammatory benefits. In animal studies, celery extracts containing apiuman have been shown to improve the integrity of the stomach lining, decrease risk of stomach ulcer (gastric ulcer), and better control the levels of stomach secretions. We look forward to future research that may confirm these stomach support benefits in humans based on dietary intake of celery in its whole food form. Cardiovascular Support Given the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of celery described earlier in this section, it’s not surprising to see the interest of researchers in the cardiovascular benefits of celery. Oxidative stress and inflammation in the bloodstream are critical problems in the development of many cardiovascular diseases, especially atherosclerosis. Unfortunately, most of the studies we’ve seen in this area have involved animals. Still, we’ve seen promising connections between the pectin-based polysaccharides in celery and decreased risk of inflammation in the cardiovascular system. We’ve seen these same types of connections between celery flavonoids and decreased risk of cardiovascular inflammation. Phthalides are a further category of phytonutrients found in celery that seems important to mention as providing potential cardiovascular benefits. Phenolic substances found in celery, phthalides are a major contributor to the unique flavor of this vegetable. (Sedanenolide and butylphthalides are examples of phthalides found in celery.) Researchers have demonstrated that celery phthalides can act as smooth muscle relaxants, most likely through their impact on the flow of calcium and potassium inside cells and related nervous system activity involved with muscle relaxation. Of course, relaxation of smooth muscles surrounding our blood vessels allows them to expand and the result is a lowering of our blood pressure. (This overall process is called vasodilation.) Phthalides in celery may also act as diuretics, further helping to lower the pressure inside our blood vessels. Unfortunately, most of the research we’ve seen in this area involves celery seeds, celery oil, or celery extracts – not the whole food itself. So it’s not yet clear if these muscle-relaxant properties and blood pressure-lowering properties of celery phthalides will be provided to us if we include celery in our meal plans in everyday food amounts. But we will be surprised if future research on dietary intake of celery does not show some type of cardiovascular benefit directly related to celery phthalides. Other Health Benefits Because chronic oxidative stress and excessive inflammation are key risk factors for the development of many cancer types, it’s not surprising to see scientists interested in the potential benefits of celery intake for cancer prevention. While we’ve seen speculation about celery benefits for stomach cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer, we’ve been unable to find actual human research studies in any of these areas. Hopefully, future research studies will address the potential cancer-related benefits of celery much more closely. Home Page for Blind Hog Blogger

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 Posted by at 9:17 am