Breast Cancer

Flavonoids are compounds that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables. Scientists have known for 20 years that they can help prevent colorectal cancer but have not fully understood the underlying biology.

Flavonoids are compounds that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables. Scientists have known for 20 years that they can help prevent colorectal cancer but have not fully understood the underlying biology.

Now, a new study describes a molecular mechanism through which a product of flavonoid digestion can inhibit cancer cell growth under certain conditions.

The study is the work of a team at South Dakota State University in Brookings, who report their findings in a recent issue of the journal Cancers.

At first, the researchers were investigating how aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) can reduce colorectal cancer risk.

In that earlier work, they saw how a salicylic acid derivative called 2,4,6-trihydroxybenzoic acid (2,4,6-THBA) was able to slow cancer cell growth.

They decided to search for natural sources of 2,4,6-THBA and found that it was also a compound that results from the digestion of flavonoids.

Metabolite of flavonoid digestion

Flavonoids begin to break down once they enter the intestines. Gut bacteria reduce them further into metabolites when they enter the colon.

Having observed these processes, scientists have proposed that the anticancer effects of flavonoids are due to their metabolites. One of these metabolites is the molecule 2,4,6-THBA.

“We hypothesized,” says senior study author Jayarama Gunaje, Ph.D., “that flavonoids decrease colorectal cancer due to the action of the degraded, or broken down, products rather than the parent compounds.”

“These areas are underexplored,” adds Gunaje, who is an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy & Allied Health Professions at the university. The study paper gives his name as G. Jayarama Bhat.

Testing 2,4,6-THBA on colon cancer cells

The new study is the first to investigate how 2,4,6-THBA, as a product of flavonoid breakdown in the gut, can help to prevent cancer of the colon or rectum.

The colon and rectum form part of the large intestine. With help from a range of gut bacteria, the final stage of digestion takes place in the colon, which then passes the remaining waste to the rectum to await evacuation through the anus.

According to 2016 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancers are the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States and also the country’s fourth most common cause of cancer deaths.

During 2016, the latest year for which figures are available for the U.S., some 141,270 people found out that they had cancer of the colon or rectum, and 52,286 died from these types of cancer.

In the new study, the researchers found that 2,4,6-THBA can bind to three enzymes that typically help cells to divide. They wondered if this ability was sufficient to block cancer.

However, when they tested the effect of 2,4,6-THBA on colon cancer cells, they found that there was none.

The metabolite needs a transporter

A search of previous studies on 2,4,6-THBA revealed that the metabolite could not enter cells without the aid of a transporter protein called SLC5A8.

Gunaje points out, however, that cancer cells can disable the transporter protein with a genetic mutation. This has a protective effect that allows the cancer cells to proliferate.

Further tests, including some with cancer cells that express SLC5A8, demonstrated that 2,4,6-THBA was able to enter cells that expressed the transporter protein but could not gain access to cells that did not.

The researchers say that these results show that 2,4,6-THBA needs the transporter to inhibit cancer growth.

Gunaje explains that the flavonoid metabolite likely has two ways of helping to prevent cancer. The first way is that by slowing the rate of cell division, 2,4,6-THBA gives immune cells a chance to locate and destroy the cancer cells.

The second way that 2,4,6-THBA likely helps to prevent cancer is that by slowing cell division, it gives the cell more time to repair any damage to its DNA.

Damage to DNA is how mutations occur, which raises the risk of cells growing out of control and starting tumors.

The researchers are already investigating which gut bacteria produce metabolites from flavonoids. They foresee the possibility of developing probiotics that could help to prevent colorectal cancer.

“We have so many drugs to treat cancer, but almost none to prevent it. Therefore, demonstrating 2,4,6-THBA as a protective agent against colorectal cancer has immense potential health benefits.”

Jayarama Gunaje, Ph.D.

According to recent data, incidence rates for anal cancer have seen a steep growth in the United States, and mortality rates for this form of cancer have more than doubled.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is perhaps the most commonTrusted Sourcesexually transmitted infection.

Although it does not usually have a significant impact on long-term health, it can sometimes lead to more serious outcomes.

HPV is a top risk factor for cervical cancer, oral cancer, and anal cancer. However, one recent study found that more than 70% of adults in the United States remain unaware of these risks.

This fact is particularly worrying in light of even more recent revelations regarding the incidence and mortality rates of anal cancer in the U.S., as reported in a new study paper in the Journal of the National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source.

The study — from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston — analyzed trends in U.S. incidence rates for squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, usually caused by HPV, over a period of around 15 years.

“It is concerning that over 75% of U.S. adults do not know that HPV causes this preventable cancer. Educational campaigns are needed to increase awareness about the rising rates of anal cancer and importance of immunization,” says lead study author Ashish Deshmukh, Ph.D.

Recent findings ‘are very concerning’

The researchers accessed the U.S. Cancer Statistics dataset to analyze national trends in incidence and mortality rates of anal cancer in 2001–2015 and 2001–2016, respectively. Their findings were not encouraging.

During these periods, the team identified 68,809 cases of anal cancer and 12,111 deaths to it.

Their analysis of the data revealed that in 2001—2016, diagnoses of anal cancer and anal cancer mortality rates more than doubled for adults aged 60–69. In fact, mortality rates for this form of cancer increased by 3.1% per yer.

Incidence rates rose by nearly 3% per year. Together, these data suggest that anal cancer may be one of the most rapidly rising causes of cancer incidence and mortality.

When the investigators looked at the data split according to people’s race and ethnicity, as well as biological sex and age group, they noticed that the risk of anal cancer had increased fivefold among black males born from the mid-1980s onward, compared with those born around 1946. For white males and females born after 1960, the risk had doubled.

“Given the historical perception that anal cancer is rare, it is often neglected,” says Deshmukh.

“Our findings of the dramatic rise in incidence among black millennials and white [females], rising rates of distant stage disease, and increases in anal cancer mortality rates are very concerning.”

Ashish Deshmukh, Ph.D.

Following on from these findings, the researchers argue that doctors may want to start screening for anal cancer among patients they consider to be at risk.

“Screening for anal cancer is not currently performed, except in certain high risk groups, and the results of this study suggest that evaluation of broader screening efforts should be considered,” says senior study author Dr. Keith Sigel, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, NY.

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The National Breast Cancer Foundation defines breast cancer as a group of cancer cells (malignant tumour) that starts in the cells of the breast. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer, which is approximately 15 percent of all cancer deaths among women. While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally. Dr. M.Y.M Habeebu, Head of department of Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), in this interview with GERALDINE AKUTU, shed more light on breast cancer, management and prevention.

What causes breast cancer? 
There are several risk factors for breast cancer. These can be subdivided into Inherent and Acquired. Under Inherent factors and genetic predisposition, you have for example, women with such familial factors as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, early menarche and late menopause, while acquired risk includes excessive intake of alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and use of contraceptives, among others.

What are the warning signs? 
The list of warning signs for breast cancer are numerous, and it includes, breast lump, bloody discharge from the nipple, breast pain, discoloration of breast skin, lump in the armpit, swelling of the whole breast and dimpling of the breast skin, among others.

Who is likely to have breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect both adult male and female. However, it is 99 times more likely to affect an adult female than male. Women with first-degree relatives with breast cancer have higher risk. Other factors are early onset of menstruation (menarche), late onset of menopause, nulliparity, multiple abortion, history of breast lumps, which may be benign and not breast feeding. The list of factors that predispose to breast cancer is exhaustive. Certain genetic predisposition like BRCA1 and 2 have also been linked to breast cancer.

What are the types and stages of breast cancer?
Breast cancer can be classified into two major categories. These are the ductal carcinoma and the lobular carcinoma. The ductal carcinoma is about four times more common, while the lobular carcinoma tends to affect the other breast more commonly after diagnosis.

What are the treatment options?
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and characteristics. Available treatment options include: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. There are other minor treatment options like counseling.

Exactly what does radiation therapy do? How well does it work? 
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a form of therapy that involves the use of ionising radiation like X-rays and Gamma rays to burn off cancerous cells. Radiotherapy can be classified into teletherapy and brachytherapy. Radiotherapy is a very effective therapy, which is used either with curative intent, primarily to kill the microscopic malignant cells that cannot be removed by surgery, or reduce the size of inoperably large tumours, rendering the tumours smaller and operable.

Radiotherapy can also be with palliative intent, either to reduce pain, reduce symptoms of cancer or to stop bleeding. Radiotherapy is a very effective form of cancer treatment, and when properly used will spare the normal cells, while eliminating offending cancer cells.

How many radiation treatments are required for breast cancer?
A complete treatment for breast cancer will take about a month of daily treatment of Monday to Friday per week. The exact dose depends on the practice of the particular centre.

What can be done to reduce risks of breast cancer?
To reduce the risk of breast cancer, improved lifestyle to include regular exercises, abstaining from excessive alcohol intake, breastfeeding and genetic testing.

It is also very important to perform regular screening, which is in three categories. First is the Self-Breast Examination (BSE), Clinical breast examination and Breast Imaging (either Breast Ultrasound for women, who are less than 40 years old or Mammogram for women who are up to 40 years old and above).

Breast self-examination (BSE) is a very cheap but effective form of breast screening. With this screening done regularly, even the slightest change in the breast can be easily noted and reported to an expert. Early diagnosis gives the best chance for cure, if well managed.

Previous research showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life. They now have shown that treatment of aged mice with the natural product Fisetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, also has significant positive effects on health and lifespan.

Previous research published earlier this year in Nature Medicine involving University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia, showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life.

As people age, they accumulate damaged cells. When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence. The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells. A younger person’s immune system is healthy and is able to clear the damaged cells. But as people age, they aren’t cleared as effectively. Thus they begin to accumulate, cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade the tissue.

Robbins and fellow researchers found a natural product, called Fisetin, reduces the level of these damaged cells in the body. They found this by treating mice towards the end of life with this compound and see improvement in health and lifespan.

The paper, “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan,” was recently published in EBioMedicine.”These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life,” said Robbins. “But there are still many questions to address, including the right dosage, for example.”

One question they can now answer, however, is why haven’t they done this before? There were always key limitations when it came to figuring out how a drug will act on different tissues, different cells in an aging body. Researchers didn’t have a way to identify if a treatment was actually attacking the particular cells that are senescent, until now.

Under the guidance of Edgar Arriaga, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, the team used mass cytometry, or CyTOF, technology and applied it for the first time in aging research, which is unique to the University of Minnesota.”In addition to showing that the drug works, this is the first demonstration that shows the effects of the drug on specific subsets of these damaged cells within a given tissue.” Robbins said.

Meanwhile, new research suggests women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. Also, studies on red and processed meat consumption with breast cancer risk have generated inconsistent results. An International Journal of Cancer analysis has now examined all published studies on the topic.

Comparing the highest to the lowest category in the 15 studies included in the analysis, processed meat consumption was associated with a nine per cent higher breast cancer risk. Investigators did not observe a significant association between red (unprocessed) meat intake and risk of breast cancer.

Two studies evaluated the association between red meat and breast cancer stratified by patients’ genotypes regarding N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylator. (Differences in activity of this enzyme are thought to modify the carcinogenic effect of meat.) The researchers did not observe any association among patients with either fast or slow N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylators.

“Previous works linked increased risk of some types of cancer to higher processed meat intake, and this recent meta-analysis suggests that processed meat consumption may also increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer,” said lead author Dr. Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Meanwhile, a new study has warned crash-dieting leaves you with more belly fat and weaker muscles. A study performed on rats found limiting the number of calories per day not only increased the circumference of the rats’ waists but also thinned out their muscles. Even more troubling: a hormone known to increase blood pressure became hyperactive in the rats on the reduced-calorie diet.

The team, led by Georgetown University in Washington, DC, warn that the two combined – increased blood pressure and belly fat together – could pave they way to dangerous long-term health risks, such as diabetes and heart disease, for past crash dieters.For the study, the team split female rats into two groups – one where calories would be reduced and one where the diet would remain the same.

The reduced group had their calories slashed by 60 percent, the equivalent of reducing a diet in humans from 2,000 calories to 800 calories.After three days of being on the reduced-calorie diet, the rats’ weights were lowered, but the diet also caused cycling – similar to a human’s menstrual cycle – to stop.

In addition, a number of metabolic functions decreased including blood pressure, heart rate and kidney function. When the rats resumed a normal diet, cycling was restored and both heart rate and body weight increased.

But the researchers found that three months after the reduced-calorie diet, the rats had more belly fat than rats that ate a normal diet.“Even more troubling was the finding that angiotensin II, a hormone in the body, was more potent at increasing blood pressure in the rats that were on the reduced-calorie diet,” said Dr Aline de Souza of the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Angiotensin II binds to receptors and constricts blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. Additionally, it stimulates the production of other hormones in the body that cause the body to retain salt and water.Dr. de Souza said that this increased blood pressure, when coupled with increased belly fat, could pose long-term health risks for people who have crash-dieted in the past.

Several previous studies have found that crash dieting can wreak havoc on the body both immediately and in the long run. Because your body is unsure of when you will feed it again, it conserves as much energy as possible so you burn fewer calories throughout the day. Additionally, although your body burns through fat stores first, it will then turn to lean tissue in the form of your muscles. A 2014 study at Maastricht University in the Netherlands put one group of subjects on a 500-calories-per-day diet and the other on a 1,250-calories-per-day diet.

At the end of the study period, the 500-calorie group lost 3.5 pounds of muscle mass, but the 1,250-calorie group lost just 1.3 pounds of muscle. Following a crash diet, the body then works to first rebuild fast stores before muscles, meaning any fat lost while dieting will come back first. The findings of the new study were presented Tuesday at the American Physiological Society’s annual Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes, new research suggests. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. They have found a close link between the length of a person’s telomeres and the length of their life. Our DNA is encoded in 23 pairs of chromosomes and telomeres are the end caps of those chromosomes.

Telomeres are made of the same nucleic acid bases as the rest of human genetic information but their job is a protective one. They keep the precious genetic material in the rest of the chromosome from getting damaged, especially as cells replicate. Replication after replication over time starts to wear down telomemeres. When eventually they become too short to be functional, cells start malfunctioning, in part because their DNA is exposed, so to speak. Without telomeres, cells start to age and die, so these simple end-caps are vital to our health, and also good measures of our overall health and potential longevity.

It is not just time, but trauma that ages telomeres. Stress, health problems and poor habits all also wear on telomeres, and, in turn, on our life spans. American life expectancy fell for the second year in a row in 2018, and the gap between men and women’s life expectancies has grown to five years. Women now live to an average age of 81.1, while men only live to be 76.1 years old.

Their telomeres reflect this. And the new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that the estrogen might be the secret. The female hormone that gives women their feminine appearances, menstrual cycles, and fertility, may also help to give them longer lives. Estrogen fuels some cancers, but has long been known to have protective effects against other diseases. Higher levels of the hormone are thought to help keep the cardiovascular system in good working order and promote healthier bones.

The new research, presented Wednesday at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting in San Diego, adds to the list of good things estrogen does the possibility of protecting telomeres. Lead study author, Dr. Elissa Epel, said: “Some experimental studies suggest estrogen exposure increases the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that can protect and elongate telomeres.” If this is in fact the case, maintaining estrogen levels may become more important to women as they reach menopause and their hormone levels fall.

There are many reasons why drinking papaya juice has become more popular in recent years, although it has been a cultural staple in many areas of the world for centuries.

What is Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice is made from the fruit of the papaya tree, which is native to the tropical areas of the Americas, particularly Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. The fruit is actually a large berry and is roughly the same size as a large potato. The outside of the ripe fruit is an amber or orange color and you can tell when the fruit is ripe when the outer skin is slightly soft to the touch. The inside of the fruit has a cavity filled with dozens of black seeds in a clear pulp, but the orange flesh is the part of the fruit that is eaten, and also turned into juice.

Papaya juice benefits from a rich supply of vitamin and nutrients including vitamin C and folate in large quantities, followed by vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, various B-family vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and a number of phytochemicals, carotenoids and other antioxidant compounds. While many people choose to eat papaya fruit raw, you can get an even more concentrated boost of these nutrients if you choose to drink papaya juice. It is not the most widely available juice on the market, but it is also quite easy to make at home so you can enjoy its many health benefits.

Benefits of Papaya Juice

Some of the best benefits papaya juice offers are its ability to clear up skin inflammation, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, prevent chronic disease and cancer, improve nerve function, build strong bones, boost cardiovascular health, aid vision, and reduce inflammation.

Prevents Cancer

This exotic fruit has a wealth of beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and isothiocyanates, all of which seek out and neutralize free radicals in the body that can cause mutation and cancer. Some of these active ingredients also promote the production of tumor-suppressing proteins, making this juice both a preventative measure and a supplementary treatment.

Strengthens Nervous System

High levels of copper are required for our nervous system to effectively communicate with other parts of the body. Although copper is often overlooked, it is found in significant levels in papaya juice.

Promotes Strong Bones

Papaya juice contains nearly a dozen different minerals, and while some of them are in trace amounts, many of them contribute to the strength and durability of your bones. By increasing bone mineral density with a glass of this juice each morning, you can prevent or delay osteoporosis as you age.

Soothes Inflammation

Papain is a critical digestive enzyme found in this tropical fruit but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can affect the rest of the body. Combined with vitamin C and other antioxidants in this fruit, it can soothe symptoms of arthritis, headache, gout, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure, among others.

Reduces Blood Pressure

A more specific blood pressure-lowering compound in papaya juice is potassium. This legendary vasodilator will relieve stress and strain on your cardiovascular system by easing the tension in blood vessels and promoting better circulation.

Improves Heart Health

Not only is papaya juice rich in antioxidants, which can lower the oxidative stress in blood vessels and arteries, but it is also a rich source of folate, which can suppress homocysteine levels and keep your cholesterol levels down. In addition to vitamin C and other key minerals, this can protect the integrity of your arteries and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Boosts Immunity

A single papaya has more than 300% of the daily required vitamin C intake for an adult male, and while some of that vitamin C will be lost in the blending process, it still gives you an incredible immune system boost, particularly when supported by arange of antioxidants that prevent mutation and chronic disease. 

Improves Vision

Boasting high levels of beta-carotene, papaya is well known as a vision booster, capable of preventing the oxidative stress in the retina that causes macular degeneration, while also slowing down the development of cataracts.

How to Make Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice can be purchased at some grocery stores but papaya nectar is also a popular product, which offers more added sugar and less overall nutrients. So be careful about what variety you are purchasing. Making your own juice at home also guarantees that you know precisely what is being added to this healthy drink. Papaya has a very strong sweet flavor, so most recipes include other fruits or spices to make the drink more palatable.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 cup of water, filtered

Step 1 – Remove the skin from the papaya, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2 – Chop the papaya into chunks that can fit in your blender.

Step 3 – Add the papaya, pineapple, honey and water to the blender.

Step 4 – Blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes until the beverage has a smooth consistency.

Step 5 – You can add more water or pineapple juice if the mixture is still too thick.

Step 6 – Add more honey for sweetness, if desired and blend for another 5-10 seconds.

Step 7 – Serve chilled and enjoy!

Note: Unlike many other fruit juices, papaya is not high in fibrous material when blended, so there is no need to use a sieve or filter to remove the pulp.

How Long Can You Store Papaya Juice?

Preparing this juice should always be done with ripe fruit, and the juice should be consumed relatively soon after preparing. Most experts recommend drinking any prepared juice or smoothie within 24-36 hours. Once fruit becomes exposed to oxygen, many varieties will begin to oxidize, causing a change in the color and the quality of the nutrients. A great way to slow down the oxidation of the juice is to add a few drops of lemon juice.

Papaya juice has a number of powerful enzymes that will actually begin to break down the components of other juice, if you blend them, so it is best not to store this juice for very long. Refrigerating your papaya juice for 12-24 hours in an airtight container should help it retain most of its nutrients and flavor.

Side Effects of Papaya Juice

While many people praise the benefits of papaya juice, there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration, such as skin discoloration, stomach problems, an increased risk of kidney stones and possible allergic reactions. In most cases, these side effects can be avoided by consuming this juice in moderation but for those with sensitive stomachs or allergies, consume this juice with caution.

  • Stomach Upset – One of the active ingredients in papaya, called papain, is excellent for gastrointestinal issues when consumed in normal amounts. However, if too much of this enzyme enters the system, it can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  • Skin Discoloration – Papayas are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body in many different ways, but if you go overboard with drinking papaya juice, it can turn your skin into an orange hue. This is harmless, and will normally go away within a day or so.
  • Kidney Problems – This tropical fruit is overflowing with vitamin C, which is excellent news for your immune system, but having too much vitamin C in your system can cause a rise in oxalate levels in the body, which can contribute to the development of kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney issues, speak with a doctor before adding this juice to your daily diet.
  • Allergic Reactions – The digestive enzyme in papayas can also act as an allergen for certain people, causing shortness of breath, runny nose or itchy eyes but generally, the symptoms are mild. 1-2 glasses of papaya juice per day is more than enough to enjoy the benefits without suffering from the side effects.

Cancer
Cancer

Nigeria has the worst cancer mortality rate in Africa as four out of every five patients die from the ailment, according to recent statistics.

A foremost consultant oncologist and radiotherapist at the University of Nigeria College of Medicine (UNCM) and Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, who gave the statistics, blamed the high death rate on the low level of awareness, late presentation at hospitals as well as the high cost of screening and treatment.

Okoye, who is also a member of the team of medical experts that packaged the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022, said the global cancer community was rallying countries to produce plans that would address their cultural and country-specific challenges.

She said: “You need to address cultural challenges. For instance, we have to begin to investigate cases, prevent, where possible, ensure early detections, which is key, and provide optimal management, palliative care and screening to the entire country.

We can do a national screening for 180 million people.

“Then there is the need to vaccinate the people against cancers. There is Hepatitis B vaccine that protects against liver cancer. There is also the vaccine that has to do with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that prevents cervical cancer.”

To address the situation, the radiologist recommended awareness creation and incorporation of cancer screening and treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so that people do not have to pay out of pocket.

She also called for uniform protocol across the country for caring, management, treatment, drug therapy and radiotherapy.

Dr. Omotayo Fatokun, in a study titled, “Cancer control reform in Nigeria” published in The Lancet Oncology noted: “In October 2016, the Nigerian government announced plans to establish a national agency for cancer control responsible for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care, as well as the provision of leadership and technical direction for the control of the disease in Nigeria.

The new agency will replace the national cancer control programme of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“The proposed reform is seen as a step in the right direction as the existing cancer control programme is ill equipped and under-resourced to cope with the challenges surrounding the cancer burden in the country.”

According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria), 30 Nigerian women die every day of breast cancer (a cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian woman dies every hour of cervical cancer (a cancer that is virtually 100 per cent preventable); 14 Nigerian men die daily of prostate cancer (another cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian dies every hour of liver cancer (a cancer that is preventable through vaccination); and one Nigerian dies every two hours of colon cancer (another cancer that is virtually 100 per cent preventable).

The National Coordinator of CECP, Dr. Abia Nzelu, also declared that out of every five Nigerians with cancer, only one survives.

“ln the specific case of blood cancer, out of every 30 Nigerians (often young adults and children), only one survives, whereas at the Tata Cancer Centre in India, the survival rate for blood cancer is 99 per cent.

The future generation of Nigeria is wasting away from conditions that can be controlled medically. Alas, Nigeria is a nation where wealth accumulates and men decay.”

She stated that 10 Nigerians died of cancer every hour, yet, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one-third of cancers is preventable, another one-third is curable and the last third can have good quality of life with appropriate care.

On why the situation is different in Nigeria, and Nigerians who still seek treatment abroad end up dying from preventable cancers, Nzelu said: “The truth is that we do not have adequate infrastructure and system for early diagnosis, so cases end up being detected at a time when they are beyond help.

Many other countries have invested a lot of funds in cancer research, screening programmes and treatment. In such countries, every sector of the society is involved in the fight against cancer.”

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to reduce cancer death and burden, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has called on the private sectors, state governments and individuals to assist the Federal Government in mobilising over N93 billion to tackle the disease across the country.

The minister who made the appeal at the launch and dissemination of the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022 in Abuja, said the Federal Government alone could not raise the N93 billion.

Adewole said the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) was working assiduously to improve the capacity of health workers to manage cancer patients.

“The essence of this event today is to tell Nigerians that we are aware of the cancer burden in the country and we have planned ahead, but it remains the diligent implementation of the plan because it is quite elaborate.

“In 2017 budget, we have nine billion, we have six billion in 2018 budget which makes it N15 billion but we cannot do it alone. We are appealing to the private sectors, individual firms and state governments to partner us so that we can raise the money,” he said.

According to him, the government is working to provide 18 LINAC machines by 2019, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has promised to provide comprehensive cancer centres in Uyo, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Healthy food means to eat clean and organic while keeping you away from the chemical and sugar rich foods. However, without even realizing their presence, our diet includes a major portion of artificial food content and high calories that claims to be significantly low. Such foods forms acids in the body and they are required to be eliminated as soon as possible. The foods creating inflammation disturb the hormonal balance in the body, congest the liver, and higher the blood sugar levels, as result, it nullify the efforts of restoring the good health.

Foods You Should Avoid While Losing Weight:-

Low Fat Ice Creams

Even when your ice creams are low on calories and loaded with the fruits, there are still lots of sugar content and harmful trans fat hidden inside the cup that makes you gain weight. Moreover, the artificial colours and flavours are nothing to do with your than worsening the situations. Instead, make your own ice cream at home with the natural fruit flavours less of harsh chemicals.

Thin Crust Veggies Loaded Pizza

People used to think that not all pizzas are bad for your health, however, even the thin crust slices are loaded with cheese that contains saturated fats and processed so heavily to make you gain those extra pounds easily. Go for homemade whole wheat crust, healthy sauce, superfoods pizza along with the right cheeses.

Zero Calories Drinks

All that fizz drinks claiming zero calories in the cans are the way to distract you from eating healthy. It is extremely acidic, hence; it takes more than 30 cups of water to neutralize the acidity of a single can. Such residues are hard on the body and make an evil impact on your kidneys.

French Fries

The trans fat and acrylamide present in the food cause inflammation in your body. It is also a greater cause of many other serious problems in the body including heart diseases, weight gain, cancer, etc. Try out finding how to cook them to maximize the nutrients and eliminate the formation of acrylamide.

Potato Chips

When the white potatoes are deeply fried it produces the highest level of toxic acrylamide which is the main reason of accumulation of the fat. As they are loaded with the healthy herbs, it doesn’t mean it will save some calories for you. Instead, try indulging in the crispy sweet potato chips and you will not miss the original chips for sure.

To be healthy, one must eat a wide variety of vitamin-rich foods. But with the growing number of people consuming fast food today, most would probably prefer it over homemade food which is a much better healthier choice. This daily consumption of fast food and junk food is so bad that it is putting the health of many people at risk. In order to prevent serious health problems and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should consume foods that are rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

Eating a variety of antioxidant vitamins and mineral enriched foods can contribute to improving your quality of health for many years to come.

Now, here is a list of some superfoods that can help you achieve better health:

1. Berries
All kinds of berries are rich in fiber that can help promote weight loss. Raspberries contain ellagic acid which has a compound that prevents cancer.

2. Avocado
Avocados provide Vitamins A, B, C, E and K that are several important antioxidants along with glutathione.

3. Beans
It is a source of iron that transports oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in your body.

4. Bananas
It is a highly alkalining nutritious superfood that contains the best sources of potassium which help in maintaining heart function and normal blood pressure.

5. Salmon
Superfoods are not only categorized as fruits and vegetables. This kind of fish contains Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It is anti-inflammatory and can alleviate joint pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.

6. Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the healthiest leafy green vegetables which is rich in vitamins A, C and folic acid. It also has sulforaphane that is considered a cancer-fighting agent.

7. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in alpha and beta carotenoids which are converted into an active usable form of Vitamin A by your body. These compounds can help keep your eyes, bones, and immune system healthy.

8. Cacao (Should be more than 60% Dark Chocolate) 
Cacao is high in essential minerals that most people do not get in their diet. It has magnesium which is used in more than 275 biochemical reactions in the body. Cacao also contains manganese, zinc and iron.

Try to consume at least three to four servings daily of a variety of superfoods (even more is better) for optimal health.

Achieving better health is not only about the foods you consume. You must also include proper exercise that can help you become physically fit.

Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies show that it can also promote friendly bacteria and reduce inflammation in our guts.

First, some background: trillions of bacteria live in our guts. They contribute to our immune system, metabolism, and many other processes essential to human health.

When the delicate balance of microbes in our intestines is disturbed, it can have serious consequences.

Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, allergies, asthma, and cancer have all been linked to abnormal gut microbiomes.

A healthful diet supports bacterial diversity and health, but could chocolate be an integral part of this?

Benefits of cocoa

Cocoa is the dry, non-fatty component prepared from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the ingredient that gives chocolate its characteristic taste.

Many health benefits have been attributed to cocoa and its potent antioxidant functions. These include lowering cholesterol, slowing down cognitive decline, and keeping the heart healthy.

Cocoa metabolism is partly dependent on the bacteria that live in our intestines.

Our bodies are only able to absorb some of the nutrients in chocolate. As such, we need our tiny microbial passengers to break complex molecules into smaller components, which we would not be able to take into our bodies otherwise.

This allows us to make full use of the many health-promoting molecules in cocoa. It doesn’t stop there, however. The gut microbes also benefit from this relationship, which, in turn, has an even greater effect on our health.

Gut health and inflammation

Several studies show that the consumption of cocoa increases the levels of so-called friendly bacteria in the gut.

Researchers from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom measured higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the intestines of human volunteers who drank high-cocoa chocolate milk for 4 weeks.

The same team previously showed that components in cocoa can reduce the growth of Clostridium histolyticum bacteria, which are present in the guts of individuals with inflammatory bowel disease.

In pigs, higher levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species were also found in the colon in response to a high-cocoa diet. Interestingly, the expression of known inflammatory markers was reduced.

Friendly bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have, in fact, been implicated in actively promoting anti-inflammatory processes in our intestines, keeping our gut healthy.

Chocolate as part of a healthful diet

Despite the fact that these scientific studies support the claim that cocoa can be beneficial for our gut microbiomes, cocoa does not equal chocolate.

The cocoa extracts used in research do not contain the high levels of sugar and fat found in our everyday chocolate bars.

Unsweetened cocoa powder or high-cocoa content dark chocolate are the closest alternatives to the cocoa used in these studies. Consumed in moderation, chocolate may therefore promote friendly bacteria, and, by extension, a healthy gut, keeping inflammation at bay.

Pineapple, a delicious tropical fruit, has been celebrated for centuries not only for its unique taste but also for its miraculous health benefits. The health and medicinal benefits of pineapple include improving the immune system, respiratory health and digestion, strengthening bones, reducing inflammation, curing coughs and colds, and weight loss.

Aside from the interesting story and appearance of this fruit, it is also a storehouse of huge health benefits due to its wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene,  thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber, and bromelain.

A pineapple fruit is known to offer a lot of benefits, which include a stronger immune system, weight loss, improved respiratory health and strengthened bones, among others. Let us discuss each benefit in detail;

Treats arthritis

Boosts immunity

A single serving of pineapple has more than 130 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human beings, making it one of the richest and most delicious sources of ascorbic acid. Vitamin C helps in reducing illnesses and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells and acting as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous by products of cellular metabolism that can damage various organ systems and disrupt function, as well as cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous ones. The vitamin C content of pineapples defends against this.

Improves cellular health

One of the commonly overlooked benefits of vitamin C is its essential role in creating collagen. This is partly the reason why it is seen as a healing vitamin because collagen is the essential protein base of blood vessel walls, skin, organs, and bones. High vitamin C content in pineapple helps you heal wounds and injuries quickly, along with defending your body against infections and illnesses.

Prevents cancer

Pineapple has been directly related to preventing cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast, as it is rich in various other antioxidants, including vitamin A, beta carotene, bromelain, various flavonoid compounds, and high levels of manganese. Manganese is an important cofactor of superoxide dismutase, an extremely potent free radical scavenger that has been associated with a number of different cancers.

Treats cough and cold

The normal immune system boosting power of vitamin C is well known, but that special enzyme, bromelain, is also connected with the reduction of phlegm and mucus build up in the respiratory tracts and sinus cavities. Pineapples, rich in bromelain and vitamin C, therefore prevent and treat respiratory illnesses, and eliminate phlegm and mucus from your body if you’ve already contracted an illness or infection.

Improves vision

Vision is one of the most important senses for human beings and pineapples have been directly connected to improving eye health and preventing the age-related eye deficiencies that often occur. Macular degeneration affects many elderly people, and beta carotene can help delay this vision problem. Keeping proper amounts of beta-carotene in your diet from fruits and vegetables is essential in maintaining good eyesight as you age.