Walnut Consumption Linked To Lower Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes In Women

FOLSOM, Calif., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Recent research published online by the Journal of Nutrition, found an inverse relationship between walnut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in two large prospective cohorts of U.S. women: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS II. The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 58,063 women (52–77 years) in NHS (1998–2008) and 79,893 women (35–52 years) in NHS II (1999–2009) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. They found two or more servings (1 serving= 28 grams) of walnuts per week to be associated with a 21% and 15% lower risk of incident type 2 diabetes before and after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) respectively.

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Diabetes is estimated to affect 12.6 million women in the United States[1] and 366 million people worldwide[2], and the numbers are expected to rise to approximately 552 million globally by 2030[3].  Diet and lifestyle modifications are key components in fighting this epidemic, and recent evidence suggests that the type of fat rather than total fat intake plays an important role in the development of type 2 diabetes.  Specifically, a higher level of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), found significantly in walnuts, has been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

“The findings here- the kind often seen with powerful pharmaceuticals- are robust, and remarkable.”

Compared with other nuts, which typically contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats, walnuts are unique because they are rich in PUFAs which may favorably influence insulin resistance and risk of type 2 diabetes. Walnuts are different among nuts specifically in that they are uniquely comprised primarily of PUFAs and are the only nut with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams of ALA per 1 ounce/ 28 gram serving).

Diabetes and obesity expert David Katz, MD considers walnuts to be a nutritious ingredient that should be a staple in the American diet.  “Observational studies can’t prove cause and effect, but when associations are seen in large populations, and occur in a well established context- cause and effect may reliably be inferred,” states Dr. Katz.  He continues, “The findings here- the kind often seen with powerful pharmaceuticals- are robust, and remarkable. They strongly indicate the importance of consuming whole foods, such as walnuts, in the fight against diabetes.”

Registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Andrea Dunn believes this new research is good news especially considering walnuts are tasty and simple to include daily. “In this study two or more servings of walnuts per week seemed to make a difference and is so easy to incorporate,” says Dunn. She suggests adding walnuts to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, grabbing a handful as an afternoon snack or trying them as a coating for fish or as a topping to your vegetable stir-fry.

We’ll no doubt be seeing lots more recipes with walnuts after the latest news about the Mediterranean diet which features walnuts among other great foods.

For more industry information, health research and recipe ideas, visit www.walnuts.org

Media resources available:


About California Walnuts:
The California walnut industry is made up of more than 4,000 growers and more than 80 handlers. The growers and handlers are represented by two entities, the California Walnut Board (CWB) and the California Walnut Commission (CWC).

California Walnut Commission
The California Walnut Commission, established in 1987, is funded by mandatory assessments of the growers.  The Commission is an agency of the State of California that works in concurrence with the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The CWC is mainly involved in health research and export market development activities.
[1] http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/
[2] http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas/5e/diabetes
[3] http://www.idf.org/diabetesatlas/5e/diabetes

Are Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs A New Cancer Risk in Your Home?

From Alliance for Health. Have the government and General Electric lied to us? Action Alert!

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) mandates the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs, and favors energy-efficient compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs.

Sounds good—until you realize that CFL bulbs contain mercury, and mercury poses a significant cancer risk. A new study shows that CFL bulbs also emit high levels of ultraviolet radiation—specifically, UVC and UVA rays. In fact, the UV rays are so strong that they can actually burn skin and skin cells. Experts say the radiation could initiate cell death and cause skin cancer in its deadliest form—melanoma.

In every bulb the researchers tested, they found that the protective phosphor coating of the light bulb was cracked, allowing dangerous UV rays to escape. Healthy skin cells exposed to CFLs showed a decrease in their proliferation rate, an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species, and a decrease in ability to contract collagen.

On top of that, it’s a sad fact of life that light bulbs break. How do you clean up the mercury after a bulb breaks? The Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation measured the release of mercury vapor from broken bulbs. They recorded concentrations near the bulb of up to 800 mcg/m3, which is eight times the average eight-hour occupational exposure limit allowed by OSHA (100 mcg/m3).

Even more shocking, the recommended limit for children is a mere 0.2 mcg/m3. A child exposed to a broken CFL bulb will receive eight thousand times the recommended amount of mercury vapor!

A broken 13-watt CFL bulb will only have released 30% of its mercury a full four days after it is broken—the remainder is trapped in the bulb. So picking up shards with your bare hands or leaving them in poorly ventilated room while you ponder the best disposal method is a particularly bad idea.

Unfortunately, there is no good solution for cleaning up after a broken CFL bulb. Researchers at Brown are testing a cloth made with a nanomaterial (nanoselim) that can capture mercury emissions for proper disposal. But until this is commercially available, it is best to avoid CFLs altogether. And how will we dispose of the clean-up cloth?

General Electric claims that CFLs don’t produce a hazardous amount of UV radiation, and that UV is far less than the amount produced by natural daylight. The truth is that all compact fluorescent lights bulbs contain mercury vapor. Once that vapor is hit with an electric current, it emits a great number of UV rays. UV rays are theoretically absorbed by the layer of phosphor that coats the bulbs—but the signature twisted spiral shape makes these bulbs more prone to cracks in the phosphor, which dramatically increases UV/mercury exposure. Researchers found cracks in almost all bulbs purchased from retail stores, indicating that it is a standard design flaw of these bulbs.

CFL bulbs contains other cancer-causing chemicals as well. German scientists found that several different chemicals and toxins were released when CFLs are turned on, including naphthalene (which has been linked to cancer in animals) and styrene (which has been declared “a likely human carcinogen”). A sort of electrical smog develops around these lamps, which could be dangerous.

CFLs are supposedly better for the environment, but according to the Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers, 98% of CFLs end up in landfills—creating a mercury build-up that can escape into our soil and waterways.

We’re happy that the federal government is tackling environmental problems, but this “solution” is especially short-sighted—and not unlike the national smart meter push, is creating serious health risks in the long-term.

Worse, soon consumers won’t have the option to buy incandescent lights—they simply won’t be available. The government hasn’t placed an outright ban on incandescent light bulbs. Section 321 of EISA mandates higher efficiency standards for general service lamps. But these standards are high enough that most commonly used incandescent bulbs just won’t meet the new requirements. EISA will effectively eliminate 40-, 60-, 75-, and 100-watt incandescent bulbs. The new efficiency levels will be in full force by 2014.

Even the United Nations has acknowledged the problem of mercury in CFL bulbs, and has instated a ban on certain types of CFLs. We won’t know the full implications of that ban until the treaty is made publically available.

The good news is that CFLs are not the only energy-efficient bulbs out there. There are also light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are mercury-free—though LEDs emit blue light, which can be disruptive to sleep, as we noted in our 2012 article.

Action Alert! Please contact your legislators immediately and call for a repeal of the ban on incandescent lights. Tell them about the cancer risks and the lack of proper disposal methods. Please take action today!

World Pistachio Day – Go Nuts Globally

World Pistachio Day: A Global Chance to Celebrate the Wonderful Green Nut

I’ve got to admit to being a huge fan of the little green nut.  Not so crazy about shelling them, but I do it for love.  Check Pistachio Biscottiout our Pistachio Biscotti.

Did you know the word pistachio comes from a mix of Persian and Latin?   Originating in western Asia, pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees with evidence suggesting that humans were enjoying them as early as 7,000 B.C.

Pistachios were first planted in California in the 1930s and it took nearly 10 years of careful research and breeding before the California pistachio was finally perfected.  Today, California produces more than 550 million pounds of pistachios each year, making it a leading producer of pistachios worldwide.

Pistachios contain only 3-4 calories per nut – a reduced serving of 30 nuts adds up to about 100 caloriesThey also offer vital nutrients, including more than 30 different vitamins, minerals, and beneficial phytonutrients, making them a great guilt free snack.

Going Nuts for Pistachios Across the Globe
In China, the pistachio is known as the “happy nut” because it looks like its smiling.
Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune.  While China leads the world in total pistachio consumption at 200 million pounds per year, Israel has the world’s highest per capita consumption of pistachios as 85 percent of Israelis eat nuts and seeds at least once a month.

In India, pistachios are a major part of the population’s diet and are used in a popular saffron pistachio drink.  During Diwali, the Hindu New Year, and family occasions like weddings, pistachios are gifted as a symbol of love and good wishes.  At one time, pistachios were considered a “hot food” and typically enjoyed during the cold winter months, but now the nut is enjoyed all year round.  In Australia, during the hot summer months, many cafes near the beaches serve creamy Australian yogurt topped with shaved pistachios, as a refreshing post-swim snack.

Pistachios are a premium snack in Mexico, and enjoyed in social settings with friends or while watching soccer games.  To give the snack some spice, many throw the pistachios in a bowl and add hot sauce.   In France, where “snack” is not part of the vocabulary, pistachios are served with an “aperitif,” a beverage served to stimulate the appetite before a late-afternoon meal.

In Korea, “Daeboreum” or “Full Moon” day is celebrated on February 24 of each lunar year.  On this holiday, friends and families gather together to drive evil spirits away with the sounds made by cracking open pistachios.  In Brazil, sharing pistachios can be considered good luck and seen as a way of showing endearment.

Pistachios are enjoyed around the world and in many different languages:  die Pistazie in German, pistaches in French, 开心果in Mandarin Chinese, pista in Hindi, pistache in Spanish, 피스타치오 in Korean, םפיסטוקים in Hebrew, and pistache in Portuguese.

Celebrate the Nutritional Benefits of California Pistachios 
While many eat pistachios purely for their delicious taste and satisfying crunch, the pistachio is also stacked full of nutritional goodness.  Pistachios are a smart snack for healthy eaters, and make for a crave-able healthy habit.  The little nut is mighty in nutrition with fiber, protein, and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  Plus, pistachios offer 49 kernels per 30 grams – that’s more than most other nuts (for the same 30 grams, you only get 14 walnut halves or 18 cashews).  With so many reasons to enjoy pistachios, it’s no wonder the whole world gets together to celebrate them on this special day.

About PistachioHealth.com
PistachioHealth.com is the leading online source of information on the health and nutrition benefits of pistachios.  The site is offered in ten languages and includes research updates and educational materials for both consumers and health professionals.  “Like” PistachioHealth.com on Facebook and follow @PistachioHealth on Twitter.  For more information about the health benefits of pistachios, visit: www.PistachioHealth.com.

Avoiding The Doctor’s Office

If we’ve learned anything from watching House, everybody lies and they always lie to their doctor.

According to a new study from Pearl.com, 54% of survey respondents have lied to a doctor about a health issue, and 63% admit they are more likely to ask about sensitive topics such as sex and STDs online, rather than addressing them face-to-face in the doctor’s office.

There are thousands of licensed doctors available online, answering questions at any time of day, for people to have a two-way personal dialogue on any health or medical concern, says the report.

65% of respondents have avoided going to a doctor in favor of searching online for medical information on at least one occasion. Americans are bringing their medical questions online for a variety of reasons, with insurance-related concerns, embarrassment, and the fear of discovering a pre-existing condition high on the list.

Three of the five most common reasons for seeking medical information online instead of at the doctor’s office were related to insurance coverage:

  • 24% said Lack of health insurance coverage was the primary reason, followed by expensive co-pays and visits not covered by an insurance plan
  • 21% cited embarrassment as a reason to seek medical information online instead of in person with their doctor; embarrassment was the top reason for 18-24 year-olds
  • 41% of people were more likely to ask questions about sex online than offline; of that group, 50% were from the Midwest
  • Waiting around for an exam is the number one doctor’s office pet peeve for the 64% of Americans, followed by being exposed to germs and sick people (32%) and filling out confusing and time-consuming paper work (31%).

Americans are often uncomfortable having an in-person conversation with a medical professional about more intimate health questions.

The most common topics that 54% of respondents are fibbing about to their doctors include:

  • Poor diet (18%)
  • Lack of exercise (18%)
  • Sex-related issues (15%)
  • Alcohol use (15%)
  • Smoking (15%) – with men more likely than women to lie to their doctors about smoking, alcohol and drug use

Allison Leeds, head of user experience for Pearl.com, notes that “… providing health and medical access to … those who prefer… online access to an expensive doctor’s visit… need help after hours… are uncomfortable asking questions in-person… want to get some initial information from a doctor online before scheduling an in-person appointment… “ is extremely helpful.

For additional information, please visit the Business Wire here.

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