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A recent study among Chinese women showed that those with the highest intakes of soy foods and soy isoflavones had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer.

Soy food consumption and breast cancer risk has been the focus of controversial recently.  A recent case-control study was conducted to assess the relationship between soy food intake and breast cancer risk according to the estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR) status of breast cancer.

Participants included 438 Chinese women with primary breast cancer that were matched by age and residence (rural/urban) with 438 women free of cancer. Dietary intake was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Researchers observed a statistically significant inverse association between soy isoflavone and soy protein intake with breast cancer risk. The women in the group with the highest soy isoflavone intake had a 46% decreased cancer risk compared to the group with the lowest intake. Women in the group with the highest soy protein had a 38% reduced cancer risk compared to the lowest intake group. A preventive effect of soy food was found for all subtypes of ER and/or PR status of breast cancer. The inverse association was more evident among premenopausal women.

This study suggests that consumption of soy foods and soy isoflavones may reduce the risk of breast cancer, and that the protective effects of soy do not seem to differ by ER and PR breast cancer status.

Source: Zhang C et al. Cancer Sci. 2010 Feb;101(2):501-7

As men age there are a number of physical changes including male pattern baldness, middle-age spread and decreased stamina.  Most people accept this as a natural part of growing older, but there may actually be some steps men can take to limit the appearance of these conditions.

It’s not just the obvious signs of ageing that men want to tackle as they age, but there are a number of health conditions that come with advancing years.  If there is a way to address them or slow down their progression, that can only be a good thing!

Saw Palmetto is a small palm, the fruit of which is used for food and for a variety of medicinal purposes, including urinary and genital problems.

Nowadays, Saw Palmetto is attracting a lot of attention from scientists, who are finding its fruits highly enriched with health-giving fatty-acids and phytosterols which are naturally occurring plant sterols with a wide variety of medicinal and cosmetic uses.  Research on Saw Palmetto has been the subject of a thorough meta-analysis published in the world’s most widely circulated medical journal, JAMA, which showed Saw Palmetto to be assist in the managing Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or in other words, enlargement of the prostate gland.

There are also positive trials published on the use of Saw Palmetto to address blandness.  Several studies also suggest that Saw Palmetto might be made more effective when combined with chemicals called isoflavones, typically found in foods such as legumes and soy isoflavones are phytoestrogens.

In addition to isoflavones, another sensible approach might be to combine Saw Palmetto with lycopene, a carotenoid chemical found in tomatoes and other vegetables.  Lycopene has a potent antioxidant effect on the body.

The fact is that it is vital for men to look after their health, particularly as they approach middle age.  It becomes imperative to take action and investigate high quality supplements that will assist with maintaining optimal health.

Some Quick Tips for Healthy Ageing in Men:

–  Get your weight under control

–  Exercise and move like your life depends on it

–  Work on reducing your stress level everyday

–  Give up smoking

–  Be proactive about improving sexual health

It takes dedication to stay in good health. Watch what you eat and drink, get plenty of rest and manage stress in your life. However, committing to even a few simple changes can significantly improve your physical, emotional and overall well-being.

Commit to a consistent healthy lifestyle and reap the benefits long-term.

References:

1. Bent S et al (2006). “Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia”. NEJM 354: 557–566.

2. Guide to Supplements-Saw Palmetto-Berkeley Wellness Letter

3. Moreu w RA, Norton, RA, Hicks KB. Phytosterols and phytostanols lower cholesterol. Inform 1 O(6): 572-576.1999

4. American Family Physician, March 2003, American Academy of Family Physicians.

5. Update on prostate cancer chemoprevention. Pharmacotherapy, {Pharmacotherapy}, Mar 2006, vol. 26, no. 3, p. 353-9, 48 refs, ISSN: 0277-0008. Lowe-Jennifer-Fisher, Frazee-Lawrence-A.

6. Antioxidant activities of New Zealand-grown tomatoes. Int-J-Food-Sci-Nutr 2005 Dec; 56(8):597-605, ISSN: 0963-7486. Toor-R-K, Lister-C-E, Savage-G-P.

7. Effects of soy phytoestrogens on the prostate. Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, {Prostate-Cancer-Prostatic-Dis }, 20 Feb 2007 (epub: 20 2 2007), ISSN: 1365-7852. Goetzl-M-A, Vanveldhuizen-P-J, Thrasher-J-B.

8. Flavonoid and botanical approaches to prostate health. J-Alternat-Complement-Med 2002 Dec; 8(6):813-21, ISSN: 1075-5535.

9. “Tips to Healthy Aging for Men”, www.clearleadinc.com

With an active lifestyle and family to take care of, women often find themselves fatigued, stressed and susceptible to illness.  This is even more reason for women to prioritise their health and modify their lifestyle to ensure they maintain optimal health from their 20s to their 80s and beyond.

Managing PMS…

Issues such as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) affect over 70% of women world-over, which has more than doubled over the past 50 years.  Nutritional supplements have been shown to be helpful in managing symptoms.

Managing Menopause…

Most women reach menopause between the ages of 48 to 55, when their body undergoes gradual changes over 2 to 6 years, when symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, aches and pains, itching sensations, headaches, tiredness, irritability, depression, sleeping difficulty, among many others occur.  20% experience no symptoms; 60% have mild symptoms; and 20% seek help for severe symptoms.

Good nutrition and a balanced diet will help ease the symptoms of menopause by supplying a changing body with nutrients necessary for optimal health throughout this transitional phase.

Multiple lifestyle factors, including the food we eat, are related to good health and protect against disease. Improving diet at any stage of life will result in health benefits. As well as their estrogenic action, phytoestrogen food sources also offer other nutritional benefits including protein, fibre, and vitamins and minerals.

There are also several herbs that can be of great benefit to women’s health.  Some of them are…

Black Cohosh is a herb with many uses.  It is a muscle and nerve relaxant, and it is also a phytoestrogen.  This herb can soothe irritated or congested uterine, cervical, or vaginal tissues and can also relieve hot flushes, headaches and swelling.

Dong Quai is a herb that contains vitamin E, and as some its many benefits, it purifies the blood, is an anti-coagulant, an anti-spasmodic, a blood tonic, an emmenagogue, a muscle relaxant and a nervine.  It helps regulate the menstrual cycle, build the blood, ease cramping and soothe the emotional feelings that may be felt over a period.

Licorice-root contains many anti-depressant compounds and is a valuable herb for treating a host of ailments. The phytoestrogens in licorice have a mild estrogenic effect, making the herb potentially useful in easing certain symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and Menopause.

Chasteberry – Studies suggest that chasteberry has a progesterone-like effect, which may account for its use in the support of women’s health. Because of this activity, chasteberry is seen to be useful to alleviate the symptoms of a variety of female complaints, such as PMS and Menopause.

Poor nutrition, eating habits and lifestyle have a direct impact on our health and can stop us from functioning at our best.  So give yourself a comprehensive all-natural formulation which addresses women’s health issues and keeps you functioning at your best.

Further Reading:
http://www.medicinenet.com/premenstrual_syndrome/article.htm
http://www.worldwidehealth.com/health-article-Premenstrual-Syndrome-PMS-and-Vitamin-B6.html

References:
1.    www.herbwisdom.com
2.    Amann W. Elimination of Obstipation with Agnolyt. Ther Gegenew. 1965;104(9):1263-65.
3.    Hillebrand H. The Treatment of Premenstrual Aphthous Ulcerative Stomatitis with Agnolyt. Z Allgemeinmed. 1964;40(36):1577.
4.    Kyle J. Norton Health article, Premenstrual Syndrome ( PMS )- What Exhibits Too Much Adrenaline To Causes PMS, www.worldwidehealth.com
5.    Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health, “Premenstrual syndrome”, December 2009, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
6.    “Managing Menopause“,December 2009, www.managingmenopause.org.au
7.    http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/herbs_for_womens_health

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