Category Archives: Cancer Prevention

Yogurt: The New Heart-Healthy Food?

Yogurt: The New Heart-Healthy Food? : Newswire - Logo
By Maureen Williams, ND
Yogurt: The New Heart-Healthy Food? : Main Image
Eating 100 grams or more per day may play a role in stroke and atherosclerosis prevention
Yogurt that is cultured with gut-friendly bacteria may help you stay well during a course of antibiotics, but what can it do for your heart? A new study found that older women who regularly ate yogurt had less thickening of the carotid arteries’ walls. Thickening of these arterial walls is a sign of atherosclerosis and has been linked to higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

Looking at diet and carotid artery health

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 1,080 women over 70. They answered questions about their intake of dairy and other foods and about their health. Three years later, they underwent medical tests including ultrasound measurements of carotid artery wall thickness.

The researchers made the following observations about dairy intake and carotid wall thickness:

  • Women who ate at least 100 grams (almost 4 ounces) of yogurt daily had less carotid artery thickening than women who ate less yogurt.
  • Previous research suggests that the 0.024 ml difference in carotid wall thickness between yogurt eaters and noneaters seen in this study might be associated with a large difference in risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • Other dairy products, such as cheese and milk were not related to carotid wall thickness.

Yogurt eaters have healthier blood vessels

Although this type of study cannot prove that eating yogurt improves arterial or cardiovascular health, it does show a relationship. The study’s authors felt the relationship they observed was strong enough to suggest that eating “100 grams or more per day may play a role in stroke and atherosclerosis prevention.”

Remember, the proven ways to keep artery walls healthy are to eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, stay physically fit, maintain a proper weight, manage stress, and don’t smoke.

Live well with live food

Here are some other good reasons to include yogurt in your regular diet:

  • Keep the digestive tract moving smoothly. Studies show that yogurt with living cultures can help people with diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. It may also be helpful in treating heartburn and peptic ulcer disease.
  • Cancer prevention. Yogurt and other fermented dairy products have been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
  • Cavity prevention. Yogurt-eating has been found to reduce the levels of cavity- and gum disease-causing bacteria in the mouth.
  • Diabetes prevention. Eating low-fat dairy foods like low-fat yogurt is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Boost the immune system. Some studies have found that the bacteria in probiotic yogurt with live active cultures can stimulate immune cells and prevent infections, including the common cold.

(Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:234–9)

Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice on Cortes Island in British Columbia, Canada, and has done extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.


Soy: One Option for Menopause

CDC edamame

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By Jane Hart, MD

Despite a lack of conclusive research, many women try soy because they have heard that its plant-based estrogen-like compounds (isoflavones) may ease menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and irritability. Now a study published in Maturitas affirms the benefits of soy and reveals that postmenopausal women who add soy to their diet may experience similar relief from symptoms as women who took hormone replacement therapy. Soy soothes symptoms caused by “the change” In the past, some women have relied on hormone replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms, but since the news about the increased risk of breast cancer associated with long-term hormone therapy use, women and clinicians have searched for alternative options for relief.

In this study, 60 healthy women (40 to 60 years old) were randomly assigned to receive dietary soy supplementation (90 mg of isoflavones), hormone therapy (1 mg estradiol and 0.5 mg norethestirone acetate), or placebo daily for 16 weeks. Participants were surveyed about their symptoms before and after treatment. Results showed that women in all the treatment groups experienced relief from hot flashes, muscle pain, and psychological symptoms such as irritability and fatigue. But compared with the placebo group, relief from hot flashes, muscle pain and urogenital symptoms was greater in the hormone therapy and dietary soy group. “Many women consider the risk associated with hormone therapy to be unacceptable and request nonhormonal alternatives for the management of their…symptoms,” said Lucio O. Carmignani and his colleagues from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of Campinas, Brazil. The authors state that soy may be one helpful option that women and clinicians consider, and they recommend that treatment be based on each person’s specific symptoms and level of distress.

Should you use soy?

• It’s nutrient-rich. Soy is an excellent source of protein, which is important for people who are vegetarians or vegans as they rely on plant rather than animal sources of protein. Soy foods are also full of other key nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.

• It has a wide range of healthful effects. Regularly eating soy may support bone health, heart health, and cancer prevention, among other healthy effects. Recent research suggests that men who regularly eat soy may reduce their risk of prostate cancer. Further research is needed about the full range of health benefits from soy and the optimal amount to eat.

• It’s not for everybody. Soy may not be appropriate for certain people, so check with your doctor before taking soy supplements.


(Maturitas 2010;67:262–9.) Jane Hart, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, serves in a variety of professional roles including consultant, journalist, and educator. Dr. Hart, a Clinical Instructor at Case Medical School in Cleveland, Ohio, writes extensively about health and wellness and a variety of other topics for nationally recognized organizations, websites, and print publications. Sought out for her expertise in the areas of integrative and preventive medicine, she is frequently quoted by national and local media. Dr. Hart is a professional lecturer for healthcare professionals, consumers, and youth and is a regular corporate speaker. Copyright © 2011 Aisle7. All rights reserved.