Sunday February 18, 2018

Benefits of spicy food: Reduces risk of heart attack, BP & stroke, New Research Suggests.

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Spicy chinese food
Benefits of spicy food: Reduces risk of heart attack, BP & stroke, New Research Suggests.(Image:wikipedia)
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Beijing, October31’2017: If you enjoy eating spicy Chinese food, there are greater chances that you would crave less for salt and have lower blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke, new research suggests.

“Previously, a pilot study found that trace amounts of capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their pungent smell, enhanced the perception of food being salty,” said senior study author Zhiming Zhu, Professor at the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China.

“We wanted to test whether this effect would also reduce salt consumption,” Zhu added.

The study enrolled more than 600 Chinese adults and determined their preferences for salty and spicy flavours. Researchers then linked those preferences to blood pressure.

The findings, published in the journal Hypertension, showed that compared to those who least enjoyed spicy foods, participants with a high spicy preference had lower blood pressure and consumed less salt than participants who had a low spicy preference.

They also used imaging techniques to look at two regions of the participants’ brains — the insula and orbitofrontal cortex — known to be involved in salty taste.

The researchers found that the areas stimulated by salt and spice overlapped, and that spice further increased brain activity in areas activated by salt.

This increased activity likely makes people more sensitive to salt so that they can enjoy food with less of it, the researchers said.

“If you add some spices to your cooking, you can cook food that tastes good without using as much salt,” Zhu said.

“Yes, habit and preference matter when it comes to spicy food, but even a small, gradual increase in spices in your food may have a health benefit,” Zhu said.(IANS)

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Women can Boost their Working Memory with Hormone Therapy

Benefits of oestrogen therapy in women.

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oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress
oestrogen therapy can increase working memory under stress. wikimedia commons

New York, Nov 5: Undergoing a type of hormone replacement therapy — used for menopausal treatment — may help protect as well as improve working memory for some women as they age, according to a new study.

Hormone replacement therapy uses female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone – to treat common symptoms of menopause and ageing.

The findings showed that women taking oestrogen-only therapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and performed better on tests of “working memory” following exposure to stress compared to women taking a placebo.

“Our study suggests that oestrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress,” said lead author Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, a researcher at the University of Southern California – Davis.

To measure the effect of oestrogen therapy on working memory under stress, the team recruited 42 women with an average age of 66.

Half of the postmenopausal women had been on estradiol — a type of oestrogen therapy — for approximately five years, while the others had received a placebo.

The researchers, in the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, collected saliva to measure the women’s levels of cortisol, oestrogen, and progesterone.

They also ran a test of working memory called a “sentence span task”, in which the women were each given a series and then asked whether each sentence made sense. They also were asked to recall the last word of each one.

While women receiving oestrogen therapy had a smaller increase in cortisol and showed no decrease in working memory function, even after being exposed to stressful situation, those taking the placebo experienced a spike in cortisol levels as well as demonstrated a decrease in working memory function.

Previous studies have pointed to potential health risks — the Ahigher risk of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke and blood clots — of the treatment.

Thus, Herrera noted that “hormone replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able to have the conversation with their doctors”.(IANS)

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