How eating fish can stop middle-age spread: Foods rich in omega-3 found to help burn off calories
- Omega-3 fats turned ‘bad’ white fat cells into beige ‘healthy’ ones
- Good fat cells found to decrease in middle-age so fish could be a boost
- Experts say it could explain why nations with fish-rich diets live longer
Eating fish could help prevent middle-age spread.
In what will be welcome news for those who are planning to ditch their diet over Christmas, it seems that fish oil can melt away unwanted fat.
Research found that oil rich in omega-3 fats turned ‘bad’ fat cells into healthy ones, which specialise in burning off calories.
The number of these ‘good’ fat cells starts to fall around middle-age – meaning the finding could be of particular value to those whose waistlines are becoming tighter as they grow older.
Oil rich in omega-3 fats, found in fish, turned ‘bad’ fat cells into healthy ones, which burn off calories
The Japanese research centred around two types of body fat.
The troublesome white variety that we are all too familiar with soaks up extra calories and stores them in big bellies, love handles and saddlebag thighs.
But adults also have ‘beige’ fat cells, which burn off calories and generate heat.
Experiments on mice showed that fish oil transforms white fat cells into beige ones.
Study author Teruo Kawada said: ‘We knew from previous research that fish oil has tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation.
‘We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related.’
The team tracked the weight of mice fed fatty food for four months.
They found that when the creatures’ food was supplemented with fish oil, they put on up to 10 per cent less weight and up to 25 per cent less fat.
The DHA and EHA, compounds found in omega-3 oils which come in supplements, pictured above, help to maintain a health waistline, new research has revealed
High doses of DHA and EHA, compounds found in omega-3 oils, were particularly beneficial, according to the journal Scientific Reports.
The discovery could help explain why people from nations like Japan, which have fish-rich diets, tend to be exceptionally long-lived.
The researchers said: ‘People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate.
‘Now we have better insight into why that may be.’
Omega-3 fats, which are particularly abundant in oily fish such as herring, mackerel, and salmon, are already credited with a host of health benefits from keeping high blood pressure at bay to helping ward of Alzheimer’s disease.
The NHS says we should all eat fish twice a week, including one portion of oily fish.
However, many of us would rather pop a pill, with health conscious but time-pressed Britons spending around £10million a year on omega-3 supplements.
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Cancer ISN’T all in your genes: Up to 90% of cases ‘could be wiped out by avoiding triggers caused by our unhealthy lifestyles’
- Study found factors like sunlight and diet play a bigger role than DNA
- Healthy habits dramatically reduce the chances of getting cancer
- Scientists are divided over how much cancer is caused by genes/ lifestyle
Most cases of cancer are down to unhealthy lives, rather than bad genes, doctors said last night.
They said that factors in the world around us, from diet, to sunlight, cigarettes and disease, play a far bigger role in fuelling cancer than dodgy DNA.
Up 90 per cent of cancer cases would be wiped up if all these triggers could be avoided.
Dr Emma Smith, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Healthy habits like not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and cutting back on alcohol are not a guarantee against cancer, they do dramatically reduce the risk of developing the disease.’
The new study claims that up to nine in ten cancers could be avoided if triggers linked to lifestyle were avoided
While the advice may not seem surprising, scientists are divided about how much cancer is caused by what we do and how much is unavoidable.
The controversy was stoked a year ago by research that claimed that most cases are caused by errors in DNA that are generated at random as the body ages and its cells divide.
The researchers said this meant that most cases of cancer were down to ‘bad luck’, rather than an unhealthy lifestyle.
It said that for or two out of three cancer victims, the cumulative effect of random mistakes in genes is to blame for the disease rather than poor choices about how they lived their lives or ‘chose’ their parents.
The latest study involved four analyses of the causes of cancer and used some of the same data as the first piece of research.
However, it came to the opposite conclusion, suggesting that cancer incidence is far too high to be explained by simple mutations in cell division alone.
They said that, if random mutations were to blame, there would be far fewer cases of cancer than there are.
Dr Yusuf Hannun, of Stony Brook University in the US, said that while luck plays a role, factors in the world around us are much more important.
These include diet, alcohol, cigarettes, sunburn, some viruses, pollution and likely other factors that have yet to be identified.
Getting rid of external risk factors, like smoking and some viruses, would reduce the incidence of all forms of the disease, including breast cancer, depicted
Previous studies have shown that people moving from low cancer incidence to countries with high cancer rates develop the same tumour incidences, which also suggests the risks are caused more by environment than genes.
Scientists also looked at patterns in the mutations associated with certain cancers and found that mutations during cell division rarely build up to the point of producing cancer, even in tissues with relatively high rates of cell division.
The team found that some exposure to environmental factors would be needed to set off the disease.
The Johns Hopkins University study earlier this year also failed to include common cancers such as prostate, breast, stomach, and cervix, which have been heavily linked to environmental causes.
In 2012, there were almost 339,000 of new cancer cases of cancer recorded and almost 162,000 deaths, according to figures from Cancer Research UK.
The chances of beating cancer in England is improving but still lags behind countries elsewhere in Europe, official figures revealed last month.
Previously experts have estimated that 30-40 per cent of cancer cases would be avoided given a better lifestyle, but there has been no similar calculation about whether the remainder can be prevented.
The new study claims that adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances of cancer
Writing in the journal Nature, he said that the genes we inherit from our parents only account for a very small number of cancer cases.
He concluded: ‘These results are important for strategizing cancer prevention, research and public health.’
Other experts said he had built a ‘compelling case’ for his argument.
Professor Kevin McConway, of the Open University, said: ‘The authors’ aim is to calculate what percentage of cancers would not arise, if we could wave a magic wand and get rid of all possible external risk factors.
‘There would still be cancers, because of the way that cells divide in the body. But there would be fewer of them.’
Dr Jian-Min Yuan, of the University of Pittsburgh in the US, said: ‘These results demonstrate that a large proportion of cancer is caused by environmental factors and are preventable if their underlying causes are identified.’
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If you chug a glass of orange juice every time you start sniffling, you may be onto something. Though studies show that consuming vitamin C can’t actually preventcolds, loading up on the nutrient may help slightly shorten the length of time you’re sick and reduce the severity of your symptoms. But despite their reputation for being loaded with vitamin C, the 69.7 mg that a medium orange provides is actually less than many other common fruits and veggies. To pack the ultimate vitamin C punch, fill up on these 12 superfoods.
SHARPEN YOUR EYESIGHT
Toss together a salad of spinach, romaine and red leaf lettuce: They all contain loads of the carotenoids vitamin A, lutein and zeaxanthin—key to seeing better. Vitamin A helps eyes adapt from bright light to darkness. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help filter out high-energy light that may cause eye damage from free radicals.
REV UP YOUR MUSCLES
Recent Swedish research found that inorganic nitrate—abundant in spinach—resulted in muscles using less oxygen. The study, which had healthy participants ride an exercise bike before and after taking a dose of nitrate, found it improved the performance of the mitochondria—which power our cells—in muscles.
FIGHT BREAST CANCER
A small study done at the University of Southampton, U.K., showed that phen-ethyl isothiocyanate in watercress disrupts the signals from tumours that cause normal tissues to grow new blood vessels to feed cancer cells. Participants, who had all been treated for breast cancer, ate a cereal-bowl-size portion of watercress. The study showed a key protein in the signalling process was affected. Although more research is needed, the study states: “Dietary intake of watercress may be sufficient to modulate this potential anti-cancer pathway.”
PROTECT YOUR HEART
Whip up a Caesar salad to benefit from romaine’s high levels of two heart-healthy nutrients: Two cups (500 mL) of shredded romaine contain 40 percent of your daily needs of folate and 10 percent of fibre. A study done at Tulane University in New Orleans showed that the higher the level of folate in a person’s diet, the lower the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Soluble fibre has been shown to reduce the level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol.
REDUCE RISK OF DIABETES
Chronic magnesium deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and the development of insulin resistance. Two cups (500 mL) of spinach contain 16 percent of your daily magnesium needs; arugula has six percent.