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article imagePotatoes fight cancer and heart disease and other health news

By Mike White     Aug 17, 2013 in Health
Scientists have bred potatoes that fight cancer and heart disease. Others have found that coffee can kill you. Those were just two of latest reports about health news from the Internet.
Scientists from the United States Department of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have bred yellow potatoes with two to three times the normal amount of carotenoids, the powerful form of antioxidants which can fight cancer and heart disease. Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States. The news was reported on the official website of the government agency and is one of the latest developments in food and health news reported on a variety of Internet sites. Other articles were posted about the dangers of coffee and the possibility that celery and artichokes may kill cancer cells.
The potatoes which were bred have a higher amount of carotenoids than in Yukon Gold potatoes. The yellow-fleshed potatoes are popular in the United States. ARS plant geneticist Kathy Haynes has found that wild potatoes, with a yellow flesh, have 23 more times the antioxidants of white-flesh potatoes.
Haynes and ARS nutritionist Beverly Clevidence performed the research at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Clevidence is employed in the Food Components and Health Laboratory at the agency’s center, and Haynes works in the Genetic Improvement for Fruits and Vegetables laboratory. The results of their findings were published in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science.
The potatoes were created by crossing the wild potatoes with a yellow flesh with cultivated potatoes. This is not the first such work for the scientists. The duo created the Peter Wilcox, a new potato in 2007. It had a yellow flesh and a purple skin. The carotenoid levels in the potato are 15 percent higher than in Yukon Gold, Haynes said.
The carotenoids involved include lutein, neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, antheraxanthin and violaxanthin. Zeaxanthin and lutein appear to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Scientists also believe they may prevent cataract formation.
The article did not mention whether the new potatoes will one day be for sale to the general public. The Peter Wilcox is popular at many niche roadside stands, however. A priority of the USDA is to promote international food security.
In other news, American scientists have found that drinking four cups of coffee per day could lead to death or various health issues. That might be of particular concern to people from the United States, who are big coffee drinkers. Results from the study were reported in medicalnewstoday.com and were originally published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The study was published August 15, 2013.
About 45,000 men and women from 20 to 87 participated in the study from 1979 to 1998. Participants were monitored from their first evaluation until they died, or December 31, 2003, if they were still alive.
The scientists from the United States analyzed the possibility of a link between drinking coffee and various causes of death. Data was used from The National Death Index, the Aerobic Center Longitudinal Study and by evaluating death certificates.
Those involved in the study had to complete a medical questionnaire. They had to give information about their coffee consumption, lifestyle habits and personal and family medical history.
During this time of the study, 2,512 participants died. A total of 32 percent of the deaths were from cardiovascular disease.
Researchers from the group claim it is possible four cups of coffee a day leads to a 50% higher mortality risk for people younger than 55. Other news was even worse. Findings showed participants who drank more that 28 cups of coffee a week had a 21 percent higher chance of dying from all causes, compared to participants who drank less than that. In addition, researchers determined those who drank more coffee often smoked. They showed a lower level of cardiovascular fitness.
Men seemed to be affected more. Younger men who drank 28 cups of coffee weekly had a 56 percent greater chance of dying from a variety of causes.
Younger women were affected too. Those who consumed more than 28 cups of coffee a week had twice as much a change of dying as those who drank less.
Other research has shown different results. The Harvard School of Public Health recently reported findings that the consumption of between two and four cups of coffee daily can reduce the risk of suicide for adults by half. The American Cancer Society has reported shown that at least four cups of coffee a day can lessen the chance of death from throat and mouth cancer.
"There continues to be considerable debate about the health effects of caffeine,” according to Carl Lavie of the department of cardiovascular disease at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, as reported in the article in the Medical News Today.
The sciencedaily.com reported findings that celery, herbs and artichokes have flavonoids, and as a result, may kill pancreatic cancer cells. The article was posted August 15, 2013.
According to the article, the herbs, artichokes and celery contain luteolin and apigenin, flavonoids that have been shown in laboratories to kill the cells. This is because they inhibit an important enzyme. News about the vegetables and herbs killing cancer cells has been reported in two studies reported by the University of Illinois.
The study showed that apigenin by itself killed two pancreatic cancerous cell lines. When the apigenin was used for 24 hours and then combined with the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine for 36 hours, even better results were reported.
One finding of the test was that those who eat fruits and vegetables throughout their lives have less of a chance of getting cancer.
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