ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2012) — Researchers in the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University have discovered yet another reason why the “sulforaphane”compound in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is so good for you — it provides not just one, but two ways to prevent cancer through the complex mechanism of epigenetics.
Epigenetics, an increasing focus of research around the world, refers not just to our genetic code, but also to the way that diet, toxins and other forces can change which genes get activated, or “expressed.” This can play a powerful role in everything from cancer to heart disease and other health issues.
Sulforaphane was identified years ago as one of the most critical compounds that provide much of the health benefits in cruciferous vegetables, and scientists also knew that a mechanism involved was histone deacetylases, or HDACs. This family of enzymes can interfere with the normal function of genes that suppress tumors.
HDAC inhibitors, such as sulforaphane, can help restore proper balance and prevent the development of cancer. This is one of the most promising areas of much cancer research. But the new OSU studies have found a second epigenetic mechanism, DNA methylation, which plays a similar role.
“It appears that DNA methylation and HDAC inhibition, both of which can be influenced by sulforaphane, work in concert with each other to maintain proper cell function,” said Emily Ho, an associate professor in the Linus Pauling Institute and the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “They sort of work as partners and talk to each other.”
This one-two punch, Ho said, is important to cell function and the control of cell division — which, when disrupted, is a hallmark of cancer.
“Cancer is very complex and it’s usually not just one thing that has gone wrong,” Ho said. “It’s increasingly clear that sulforaphane is a real multi-tasker. The more we find out about it, the more benefits it appears to have.”
DNA methylation, Ho said, is a normal process of turning off genes, and it helps control what DNA material gets read as part of genetic communication within cells. In cancer that process gets mixed up. And of considerable interest to researchers is that these same disrupted processes appear to play a role in other neurodegenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease, immune function, neurodegenerative disease and even aging.
The influence of sulforaphane on DNA methylation was explored by examining methylation of the gene cyclinD2.
This research, which was published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, primarily studied the effect on prostate cancer cells. But the same processes are probably relevant to many other cancers as well, researchers said, including colon and breast cancer.
“With these processes, the key is balance,” Ho said. “DNA methylation is a natural process, and when properly controlled is helpful. But when the balance gets mixed up it can cause havoc, and that’s where some of these critical nutrients are involved. They help restore the balance.”
Sulforaphane is particularly abundant in broccoli, but also found in other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and kale. Both laboratory and clinical studies have shown that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables can aid in cancer prevention.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the OSU Environmental Health Sciences Center.
- Anna Hsu, Carmen P Wong, Zhen Yu, David E Williams, Roderick H Dashwood, Emily Ho. Promoter de-methylation of cyclin D2 by sulforaphane in prostate cancer cells. Clinical Epigenetics, 2011; 3 (1): 3 DOI:10.1186/1868-7083-3-3
Some things to keep in mind:
1. Staying motivated. If you’re taking on a new health/fitness goal or challenge it can be difficult to stay on track, especially if you’re going it alone. If you don’t have a fitness/training buddy, I suggest booking in a weekly personal training session to keep you committed and on the right track. Alternatively, find someone that you can talk to about your goals and who can hold you accountable. A close friend, a parent or partner - someone that knows you well and who can be there to provide you with the support you need if you start to stray from your goals.
2. Setting goals… the small steps to great success. If you have one big goal but no plan of attack, you’ll struggle to keep on track. You need to set your main goal with several smaller goals between where you are now and where you want to be. With each milestone you can see how far you have come and this will motivate you further along.
3. Keep track… As well as planning how you will reach your goals, it is helpful to keep an honest diary where you can identify any areas for improvement or adjustment.
4. Challenge yourself. If you have taken on a new fitness routine, it can become boring if you’re just going through the motions. Try something new and out of your comfort zone. Change it up to keep your interest and excitement going. Challenging yourself enables you to realise your potential.
5. Keep going. I have seen it before when someone decides to change their lifestyle but after just one ‘bad day’ or one indulgence, they decide to throw it all in. Just one little thing is not enough to stand in the way of your goals. Don’t let yourself slip into the idea that you can’t achieve great things because you slip up once. You’ve all heard it before.. it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about how many times you get back up. So always, get back up and go for it!
I’ll be dishing out the motivation whenever, wherever and however I can. I want you to ROCK IT all through January and achieve your goals. I look forward to seeing the results!
- Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all. Your daily food selection should include bread and other whole-grain products; fruits; vegetables; dairy products; and meat, poultry, fish…
5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working
1. Your workout routine is making you eat too much - Think your 45-minute morning run was enough to burn off that slice of chocolate cake on the dessert menu? Consider this: the average, 140-pound woman burns about 476 calories (at a 10-minute mile pace) running for 45 minutes. The average restaurant dessert clocks in around 1,200 calories (or more), so even if you only eat half of a slice, you’d still easily eat away your run—and then some—in less than 10 minutes.
2. Your workout completely wipes you out - That 5:00am killer boot camp class seemed like a great way to get in shape, so why aren’t the pounds dropping off? If your workout leaves you feeling completely drained, exhausted, sore, and just wanting to lie on the couch for the rest of the day, it could be doing more harm than good, says Alex Figueroa, a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the Sports Club/LA in Boston, MA. While your workouts should be challenging, pushing your body too hard can have the opposite affect on your body. Over training can cause everything from sugar cravings, a weakened immune system, and insomnia—all of which could contribute to weight gain.
3. Your workout burns fewer calories than you think - Feeling pretty righteous when the treadmill says you’ve torched 800 calories? Not so fast, cautions Olson. An unusually high calorie burn reading is rare, Olson says, and most machines overestimate readings by as much as 30 percent.
4. Your workout’s not balanced - Doing only cardio workouts or the same strength workout over and over means you are sacrificing the opportunity to build lean muscle mass and challenge your body in new ways (translation: burn more calories doing something new), and you may plateau because of it.
5. Your workout is totally stale - Doing the same workout routine over and over means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to perform it after a few weeks. “We ‘learn’ how to do any activity and movements,” Olson says. “The more ‘learned’ we are, the easier the activity is to our bodies, which means you will actually burn fewer calories than you did when the activity or your routine was new to you.”
Read the solutions at the source!
1. Try not to lose too much weight too quickly. The quicker the weight comes off, the less chance your skin has to adjust. This means that you have a higher chance of loose skin. Where possible, try and limit it to around 1-1.5 kilos per week at a maximum to help reduce…
10 Reasons to Eat Breakfast
Building a Balanced Breakfast
- Breakfast restores sugar levels after up to 12 hours of not eating.
- It is extremely difficult to get all of your necessary daily nutrients without breakfast.
- Adults who skip breakfast are less mentally and physically efficient for longer periods during the day.
- People who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight and sticking to a diet.
- Athletes who skip breakfast train less effectively.
- Eating breakfast can raise metabolism by as much as 10 percent.
- People who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to rate their health as “excellent” or “good.”
- Missing breakfast increases your chance of heavy machinery and factory accidents.
- Eating breakfast has been shown to increase concentration.
- Eating a bigger meal in the morning and a smaller meal at night optimizes your daily energy levels.
Breakfast should provide at least one quarter of the calories you need for the entire day. Most nutritionists agree that a good breakfast contains the following ingredients:
- At least one serving of fiber
- At least one fruit and/or vegetable
- Milk or another source of calcium
- Protein, i.e., from meat, cheese or eggs
If this sounds like a tall order, it’s not. A bowl of cereal with fruit, a cereal bar with a glass of milk or a pita pocket with ham and cheese all fill the bill, as do bigger, traditional breakfasts, like eggs, ham and juice or blueberry pancakes with bacon. And, yes, cold pizza (with a glass of milk) qualifies as a healthy breakfast alternative.
Never eat breakfast?
If your usual breakfast is a cup of coffee, start small by incorporating a glass of juice or milk into your morning routine for a week or so, and then gradually build up to a balanced meal. If you think you don’t have time in the morning, consider making breakfast the night before or buying ready-made alternatives, such as cereal bars and juice boxes.
- Limit your workouts to 30-40 minutes. Though the tendency of some people who really want to get a lot out of their workouts is to spend a lot of time at the gym, the truth is that after 30 or 40 minutes, the benefit isn’t as great. To go that long, you’d have to lower the intensity of the…
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