Sunday, February 28, 2010
Coffee: The New Health Food?
Plenty of health benefits are brewing in America's beloved beverage.
By Sid Kirchheimer
Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
Want a drug that could lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and colon cancer? That could lift your mood and treat headaches? That could lower your risk of cavities?
If it sounds too good to be true, think again.
Coffee, the much maligned but undoubtedly beloved beverage, just made headlines for possibly cutting the risk of the latest disease epidemic, type 2 diabetes. And the real news seems to be that the more you drink, the better.
Reducing Disease Risk
After analyzing data on 126,000 people for as long as 18 years, Harvard researchers calculate that compared with not partaking in America's favorite morning drink, downing one to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily can reduce diabetes risk by single digits. But having six cups or more each day slashed men's risk by 54% and women's by 30% over java avoiders.
Though the scientists give the customary "more research is needed" before they recommend you do overtime at Starbuck's to specifically prevent diabetes, their findings are very similar to those in a less-publicized Dutch study. And perhaps more importantly, it's the latest of hundreds of studies suggesting that coffee may be something of a health food -- especially in higher amounts.
In recent decades, some 19,000 studies have been done examining coffee's impact on health. And for the most part, their results are as pleasing as a gulp of freshly brewed Breakfast Blend for the 108 million Americans who routinely enjoy this traditionally morning -- and increasingly daylong -- ritual. In practical terms, regular coffee drinkers include the majority of U.S. adults and a growing number of children.
"Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful," says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University's Institute for Coffee Studies, which conducts its own medical research and tracks coffee studies from around the world. "For most people, very little bad comes from drinking it, but a lot of good."
Consider this: At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80% less likely to develop Parkinson's, with three showing the more they drink, the lower the risk. Other research shows that compared to not drinking coffee, at least two cups daily can translate to a 25% reduced risk of colon cancer, an 80% drop in liver cirrhosis risk, and nearly half the risk of gallstones.
Coffee even offsets some of the damage caused by other vices, some research indicates. "People who smoke and are heavy drinkers have less heart disease and liver damage when they regularly consume large amounts of coffee compared to those who don't," says DePaulis.
There's also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable, stop a headache, boost mood, and even prevent cavities.
Reducing Disease Risk continued...
Is it the caffeine? The oodles of antioxidants in coffee beans, some of which become especially potent during the roasting process? Even other mysterious properties that warrant this intensive study?
Some of coffee's reported benefits are a direct result of its higher caffeine content: An eight ounce cup of drip-brewed coffee contains about 85 mg -- about three and a half times more than the same serving of tea or cola or one ounce of chocolate.
"The evidence is very strong that regular coffee consumption reduces risk of Parkinson's disease and for that, it's directly related to caffeine," DePaulis tells WebMD. "In fact, Parkinson's drugs are now being developed that contain a derivative of caffeine based on this evidence."
Caffeine is also what helps in treating asthma and headaches. Though not widely publicized, a single dose of pain reliever such as Anacin or Excedrin contains up to 120 milligrams -- what's in a hefty mug o' Joe.
Boost to Athleticism
It's also caffeine -- and not coffee, per se -- that makes java a powerful aid in enhancing athletic endurance and performance, says physiologist and longtime coffee researcher Terry Graham, PhD, of the University of Guelph in Canada. So powerful, in fact, that until recently, caffeine in coffee or other forms was deemed a "controlled" substance by the Olympic Games Committee, meaning that it could be consumed only in small, designated amounts by competing athletes.
"What caffeine likely does is stimulate the brain and nervous system to do things differently," he tells WebMD. "That may include signaling you to ignore fatigue or recruit extra units of muscle for intense athletic performance. Caffeine may even have a direct effect on muscles themselves, causing them to produce a stronger contraction. But what's amazing about it is that unlike some performance-enhancing manipulation some athletes do that are specific for strength or sprinting or endurance, studies show that caffeine positively enhances all of these things."
How does this brew affect growing minds and bodies? Very nicely, it seems, says DePaulis. Coffee, as you probably know, makes you more alert, which can boost concentration. But claims that it improves a child's academic performance can be exaggerated. Coffee-drinking kids may do better on school tests because they're more awake, but most task-to-task lab studies suggest that coffee doesn't really improve mental performance, says DePaulis.
But it helps kids' minds in another way. "There recently was a study from Brazil finding that children who drink coffee with milk each day are less likely to have depression than other children," he tells WebMD. "In fact, no studies show that coffee in reasonable amounts is in any way harmful to children."
On the flip side, it's clear that coffee isn't for everyone. Its legendary jolt in excess doses -- that is, more than whatever your individual body can tolerate -- can increase nervousness, hand trembling, and cause rapid heartbeat. Coffee may also raise cholesterol levels in some people and may contribute to artery clogging. But most recent large studies show no significant adverse effects on most healthy people, although pregnant women, heart patients, and those at risk for osteoporosis may still be advised to limit or avoid coffee.
The bottom line: "People who already drink a lot of coffee don't have to feel 'guilty' as long as coffee does not affect their daily life," says Hu. "They may actually benefit from coffee habits in the long run."
In other words, consume enough caffeine -- whether it's from coffee or another source -- and you will likely run faster, last longer and be stronger. What's enough? As little as one cup can offer some benefit, but the real impact comes from at least two mugs, says Graham. By comparison, it'd take at least eight glasses of cola to get the same effect, which isn't exactly conducive for running a marathon.
But the harder you exercise, the more benefit you may get from coffee. "Unfortunately, where you see the enhancing effects from caffeine is in hard-working athletes, who are able to work longer and somewhat harder," says Graham, who has studied the effects of caffeine and coffee for nearly two decades. "If you a recreational athlete who is working out to reduce weight or just feel better, you're not pushing yourself hard enough to get an athletic benefit from coffee or other caffeinated products."
But you can get other benefits from coffee that have nothing to do with caffeine. "Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, including a group of compounds called quinines that when administered to lab rats, increases their insulin sensitivity" he tells WebMD. This increased sensitivity improves the body's response to insulin.
That may explain why in that new Harvard study, those drinking decaf coffee but not tea beverages also showed a reduced diabetes risk, though it was half as much as those drinking caffeinated coffee.
"We don't know exactly why coffee is beneficial for diabetes," lead researcher Frank Hu, MD, tells WebMD. "It is possible that both caffeine and other compounds play important roles. Coffee has large amounts of antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid and tocopherols, and minerals such as magnesium. All these components have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism."
Meanwhile, Italian researchers credit another compound called trigonelline, which gives coffee its aroma and bitter taste, for having both antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties to help prevent dental cavities from forming. There are other theories for other conditions.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Armadillos spend about 80% of their lives asleep.
The most poisonous snake in the world is Belcher's Sea Snake or the Faint-banded Sea Snake (Hydrophis belcheri).
Chameleons often have tongues longer than their bodies.
When the queen of a clownfish school dies, a male clownfish changes its gender to become female and takes her place.
The fungus Cordyceps is able to "mind-control" other insects like ants to climb plants and attach there to become its food.
Dolphins cannot stay long underwater because they breathe through their blowholes above water.
Some species of earthworm can have as many as 10 hearts.
The acceleration rate of a flea's jump is 20 times that of a space shuttle during launch.
The largest frog in the world is The Goliath Frog of Gabon in West Africa and can grow as big as 33cm long and up to 3kg heavy.
The Horseshoe crab has blue blood.
The lightest organ in the human body is the lung.
An ostrich egg is also the largest existing single cell.
The biggest egg in the world is the ostrich egg. It could take as many as 30 chicken eggs to equal its volume, and up to 2 hours to hard boil.
To avoid predators, a mother Slow Loris licks its offspring with poison before sending them off to search for food.
A kind of jellyfish (Turritopsis nutricula) upon reaching adulthood can transform itself back to childhood by converting its cells. It may repeat this to live forever.
The little Alaskan Wood Frog is capable of reviving itself back to normal life after staying completely frozen for months, during which its heart, brain and other organs stop functioning.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Kutton and Tarsier
This is my newest pet cat, Kutton. She was born last December 2009, same month when I saved her mother Tarsier, abandoned on one street of Dumaguete City. That was actually Christmas Day. I got her name from the word "cotton " because the fur around her mouth looks like cotton;) .. She's such a playful kitty! Takes my stress away!;)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
by: Nick Mokey
Fresh off the CES 2010 show floor, we look at the top 10 best gadgets that stole our attention more than any others this year.
best-of-cesCES lives on. Despite slashed budgets, lower attendee numbers, and the lack of one show-dominating product, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has been one to remember. After returning home, recouping about 34 hours of sleep debt, and reviewing our experiences, we’ve rounded up the top ten items from this show that stand out as the best manufacturers have to offer. From 3D TVs to next-generation e-readers, these were the products that we can’t wait to see on store shelves in 2010.
We never would have predicted that the perpetually budget-minded crew at Asus would team up with the no-expenses-spared audiophiles at Bang & Olufsen, but the lovechild of their oddball relationship is one to be admired. The 18-inch notebook features an extra-long form factor with side speakers that totally overlap the keyboard, a clean metallic design, and – for some reason – duals touch pads. Don’t laugh – they’re more fun and practical than you think, and Asus claims that eventually software will allow you to use them as turntables.
Toshiba Cell TVs
We knew from the first day of press conferences that this would be the TV to see at CES 2010. Besides using the same type of processor used in the PlayStation 3 and offering native 3D capability, Toshiba has packed it full of every feature we ever could have dreamed of (and some we probably wouldn’t have). A side-by-side video demonstration making last year’s stellar SV670 look weak pretty much sealed the deal for us on the series, although we’re still braced for prices that could suck the magic right out of our early infatuation.
Samsung LED 9000 Series
Just when we thought Toshiba’s “Touch of Color” design was getting a little stale, the company threw it away and produced this beauty, which has to be about the slickest HDTV we’ve ever seen. The set is as thin as a number two pencil, the bezel has been clad entirely in brushed metal, and the criss-crossed spider legs remind us of something from a museum. Oh yea, and like every high-end set this year, it will do 3D right out of the box.
Plastic Logic Que E-Reader
Ignoring the $649 price tag ($799 if you want lifetime data connectivity from AT&T), this will be the e-reader to own in 2010. The flat body reaches almost sci-fi-like thinness, and because the 11.6-inch screen has touch capability, the bezel is entirely free of buttons except for “home,” just like an iPhone or iPod Touch. Plastic Logic has also forged partnerships with over 300 newspapers and magazines to have their content specially formatted for the device to preserve the print-like formatting – an important aspect of those publications that is largely lost on other e-readers.
Panasonic 3D Camcorder
Panasonic’s 3D plasma sets get just as much credit as the other 3D TVs at the show, but we chose their 3D camcorder for our Best of CES round up simple because nobody else has shown one yet. While production-quality 3D cameras have been around for a while (see: Avatar), Panasonic will be one of the first to bring 3D video to the consumer level when this camcorder launches in fall 2010 for $21.000.
Spring Design Alex E-Reader
The Kindle-sized e-ink screen on the Alex may not scream of innovation, but the full-color touch screen below running Android certainly does, blurring the line between mini computer and e-reader. The Alex offers all the benefits of e-ink (smooth text, low power consumption), with most of the benefits of a smartphone (e-mail, Web browsing, calendar functions) as well. The size of the LCD screen also puts to the Barnes & Noble Nook to shame, and unlike our first Nook review unit, it actually worked!
The second Android-powered device on the list gets major props for its innovative design – the keyboard is actually on the rear, and flips over backwards for typing while facing the screen. Motorola also gives this potentially-flimsy design the build quality to feel rock solid, and some clever uses like table-top mode, which turns the phone into a makeshift alarm clock when you Motorola BackFlip
The second Android-powered device on the list gets major props for its innovative design – the keyboard is actually on the rear, and flips over backwards for typing while facing the screen. Motorola also gives this potentially-flimsy design the build quality to feel rock solid, and some clever uses like table-top mode, which turns the phone into a makeshift alarm clock when you position the screen 90 degrees to the base.
D-Link Boxee Box
The powerful HTPC software we cherished when it was in alpha is finally all grown up. We could take or leave the mirrored cube design of the Box, but the real innovation might be the remote: super-simple directional pad and media controls up top, full QWERTY keyboard on the bottom. How did no one think of this sooner?
Lenovo’s earliest netbooks seemed more or less like rebadged versions of equally flimsy competitors, but the X100e actually feels solid enough to wear the ThinkPad name. Lenovo also reached for AMD’s Neo processor over the anemic Intel Atom, a high-res 11.6-inch screen, and a full-size keyboard that feels every bit as ThinkPad as the old X61 we compared it to. In fact, we might not pin it as a netbook at all, except for that glorious $449 price tag.
It should be no secret that we’re fans of Kodak’s Zi8 – in fact, we shot every last minute of our CES 2010 video coverage on them. The PlaySport uses the same proven guts and optics, but wraps them in a more durable, drop-resistant, waterproof case for dragging to all corners of the Earth without worry. We also think they’ve improved the interface this time around, and while durability has shot skyward, price has somehow plummeted even further to a wallet-friendly $149.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Microsoft’s new Zune HD is slowly becoming a solid competitor to the widely popular iPod Touch and while already in it’s 2nd generation, the Zune HD is still playing catch-up.
The weight and dimension of the Zune HD is just right. Out of the box, the Zune HD is pretty slim and light (40% lighter than the iPod Touch) with a glass front panel coupled with a single slender button at the bottom.
At the back is an aluminum plate, in brushed-metal finish, tucked with exposed screws. The construction is pretty solid and the design is more skewed to edge corners rather than curvy ones.
The navigation is really neat and fluid but needs some time to get used to. Instead of icons, the menu is composed of enlarged texts and some visualization. Playback controls appear with a single tap but you can play forward and back with a (horizontal) flick of a finger. Instead of a timeline, fast-forward control is activated with a sustained tap. Likewise, the volume can be controlled by tapping or flicking the screen up or down.
It’s got something going on with a number of pretty nice features the iPod Touch doesn’t have:
OLED Screen + HD Video-Out: Being able to output 720p resolution to your HDTV is a neat advantage. And OLEDs have better color range and viewing angle. True enough, the display doesn’t bend to a bluish haze when viewed at an angle (near the 180-degree angle).
HD Radio: Despite the very few HD radio stations here in the Philippines, the Zune’s HD Radio can pick up a wide range of FM stations at SD. Apple says they don’t want to put an FM radio tuner on the iPod Touch because they’re positioning it as a gaming device.
Wireless Sync: USB cable missing? The Zune can transfer and sync media files from your laptop or PC over WiFi. (If only it can also charge the battery wirelessly.)
Did I say the capacitive screen is multi-touch too — so the pinch, flick and other multi-gesture functions are there. Very handy when navigating the built-in web browser. The touchscreen is very responsive and snappy that it’s indistinguishable with the iPod Touch.
For those curious how the Zune HD fares against the iPod Touch in terms of specs, see comparative chart below:
As for sound quality, the Zune HD has a nice volume range while the bass is more solid and sounded fuller. The earphones that came with it is decent and though it’s not impressive, I thought it was better than iPod earphones. When used with an in-ear earphones (SoundMagic PL11), the audio quality (especially the bass) is even more prominent. What I appreciated with the basic Zune earphones is the length of the cord (about 1.5 meters
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Eat as much fruit (and juices) as you wish of any fruits, except bananas.
Eat all of the vegetables (and vegetable soup) that you wish.
A combination of Monday & Tuesday (i.e. fruit – except bananas, juices, vegetables, vegetable soups).
Eat 5 bananas and drink 5 glasses of whole milk. Some versions say 8 bananas and 4 glass of milk.
Eat 4 steaks of meat (3 ounces each – beef/chicken/fish) with unlimited green vegetables.
Eat 4 steaks of meat (3 ounces each – beef/chicken/fish) with unlimited green vegetables.
Eat 4 steaks of meat (3 ounces each – beef/chicken/fish) with unlimited green vegetables.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
by The chicks at TotalBeauty.com, on Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:02am PST
203 CommentsPost a CommentRead More from This Author »Report Abuse
When you see a certain drugstore shampoo commercial where the woman (always, always) has amazingly shiny hair, do you find yourself yelling "fake!" at the TV? (Don't feel bad; I'm totally there, shouting at my TV with you.)
Turns out, it's time to stop the cynicism. You actually can have totally shiny and strong hair in real life (er, unless you live in one of these 13 worst-hair cities) -- you just need a little help. Check out the tips below or take this shampoo quiz, and don't be surprised when the shocked and awed looks start.
Celebrity hairstylist Marc Townsend (he does Natalie Portman and January Jones' hair, among other goddesses) has the perfect recipe for shiny hair: The night before you need extra shine, mix a silicone-based shine serum with deep conditioner, apply to your hair (fine-haired chicks will want to skip their roots) and leave it on for 15 minutes (or all night if you don't have a deep love for your pillow cases). Rinse it out thoroughly and have your sunglasses on hand to shield your eyes from your hair glare.
Skip the Heat
It's tough, I know, but whenever possible avoid the blow dryer and flat irons. You'll minimize the damage and split ends, so your hair will be stronger and lay smoother (smoother hair reflects more light and looks shinier). Can't avoid it? Then use one of these 14 top-rated drugstore conditioners.
Get All Martha Stewart-y
For a cheap and easy hair and scalp conditioner, massage olive oil into your scalp and down your hair. Put a towel over your pillow and sleep with it in (try not to dream about Italian food too much). Rinse it in the morning. If you'd rather have a sweet dream, try this recipe instead.
Friday, February 5, 2010
WASHINGTON – Spurned Pluto is changing its looks, donning more rouge in its complexion and altering its iceball surface here and there.
Color astronomers surprised.
Newly released Hubble Space Telescope photos show the distant one-time planet — demoted to "dwarf planet" status in 2006 — is changing color and its ice sheets are shifting.
The photos, released by NASA Thursday, paint a Pluto that is significantly redder than it had been for the past several decades. To the layman, it has a yellow-orange hue, but astronomers say it has about 20 percent more red than it used to have.
The pictures show icy frozen nitrogen on Pluto's surface growing and shrinking, brightening in the north and darkening in the south. Astronomers say Pluto's surface is changing more than the surfaces of other bodies in the solar system. That's unexpected because a season lasts 120 years in some regions of Pluto.
"It's a little bit of a surprise to see these changes happening so big and so fast," said astronomer Marc Buie of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. "This is unprecedented."
From 1954 to 2000, Pluto didn't change in color when it was photographed from Earth. But after that, it did. The red levels increased by 20 percent, maybe up to 30 percent, and stabilized from about 2000 to 2002, Buie said. It's not as red as Mars, however, Buie said.
Buie said he can explain the redness, but not why it changed so dramatically and so recently. The planet has a lot of methane, which contains carbon and hydrogen atoms. The hydrogen gets stripped off by solar winds and other factors, leaving carbon-rich areas on the surface, which tend to be red and dark.
The Hubble photos were taken in 2002 and the analysis took a few years. But why Pluto changed so quickly was such a mystery that Buie held off for years on announcing what he had found, worried that he might be wrong. However, since Pluto's moon Charon hadn't changed color in the same telescope images, he decided the Pluto findings weren't an instrument mistake.
His analysis also found that nitrogen ice was shifting in size and density in surprising ways. It's horribly cold on Pluto with, paradoxically, the bright spots being the coldest at about -382 degrees Fahrenheit. Astronomers are still arguing about the temperatures of the warm dark spots, which Buie believes may be 30 degrees warmer than the darker areas.
Part of the difficulty in figuring out what is going on with Pluto is that it takes the dwarf planet 248 years to circle the sun, so astronomers don't know what conditions are like when it's is farthest from the sun. The last time Pluto was at its farthest point was in 1870, which was decades before Pluto was discovered. Unlike Earth, Pluto's four seasons aren't equal lengths of time.
Buie's explanation makes sense, said retired NASA astronomer Stephen Maran, co-author of a book on Pluto. "Pluto is interesting and poorly understood, whether it qualifies as a planet or not," he said.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Hero Pet of the Yearby: Reader's Digest ( Joanna Powell)
Last October 2009, 13-pound ChiChi proved to be more than just a pretty face when he alerted his owners to two women in danger of drowning.
At 13 pounds, ChiChi might be most at home in a handbag. "He's so tiny, I can scoop him up with one hand," says Mary Lane of her energetic pet. "Most people see him and think he's useless."
But last October, the Chihuahua mix proved to be more than just a pretty face. Mary and her husband, Rick, were relaxing on the beach one afternoon while on vacation in North Carolina's Outer Banks. As usual, ChiChi was lying on his blanket in his own little beach chair.
"We had our noses buried in books," recalls Rick, "when suddenly the dog became extremely agitated. His bark was different from anything we had heard before. And he would not let us ignore him."
ChiChi ran back and forth in front of his chair, straining at his leash as if to run down the beach. The Lanes sat up to see two elderly women in the ocean, about 100 yards down the beach and 10 feet offshore. One was on her back, her head tipping under the waves. The other was frantically trying to keep her friend's head above the surface.
The Lanes rushed across the sand and into the surf. Rick waded to the woman in danger of drowning, while Mary held fast to the other one and pulled her up on the beach. "Then I went back to help Rick," Mary recounts. "The sand dropped off steeply, and a riptide was sucking the woman un-der. She was completely disoriented."
Still recuperating from recent knee surgery, the woman had been unable to turn over or push herself up. "Her friend had been in danger too," Mary says. "The waves were pushing her around. There's no way she could have held on much longer."
The women hadn't called out for help. "They were struggling so hard, there was no time for screaming," Mary recalls. But ChiChi had sensed danger nonetheless. "The dog knew. I've puzzled and puzzled over how."
Duty done, ChiChi was back in his chair, asleep, by the time the two women were on dry ground and the Lanes had returned to their blankets. The women were shaken but okay, and after the Lanes delivered them to their condo, they all said they'd see one another again during the week. The Lanes never did get their names.
As for ChiChi, he's a celebrity back home in Greensboro, North Carolina. His veterinarian has a local newspaper clipping hanging in his office about ChiChi, and the Lanes have ordered a special collar with the words "Hero Dog" embroidered on it. They hope it will bring a modicum of respect to Chihuahuas everywhere."