Dietary Timeline

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Tyranny of the health 'police'; What do baldness, snoring, not eating mackerel, garlic and varsity athletics all have in common? Isn't it time you thought about your cabbage consumption? Advice from Canada recommends you include more cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower in your diet. They 'may protect you against the risk of cancer'. The trouble is that another study, from the United States, has found that cabbage administered to rats initiates cancer. Another reports that cabbage, but not broccoli, is associated with an increased risk of cervical cancer; yet another that cabbage protects against colon cancer.© Daily Mail


A campaign to get clubby over broccoli WHAT can be done to improve the image of broccoli? President Bush spoke for many, we suspect, when he described this vivid green sprig as an unlikeable vegetable. The fact is, however, that broccoli is one of the most beneficial veggies in fighting cancer. According to Paul Talalay, a researcher at John Hopkins University, Washington, DC, broccoli contains sulforaphane, a chemical which raises the activity of enzymes that counter the effects of carcinogens. Certainly consumption of it has risen in the past decade, although in Britain and the US it still lags well behind the most popular greens: peas, spinach and runner beans. But one American consumer recently told the media that she was learning to overcome her hatred of broccoli in order to eat it once a week. Her reason for doing so, however, was somewhat eccentric: "I don't want to align myself with that creep, Bush," she said. Has anyone told her that the President has now added carrots to his list of enemies? ©The Herald (Glasgow)

Scares that fly in the face of fact Dr Paul Talalay, a research scientist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, has discovered that broccoli prevents cells from becoming malignant -and so presumably broccoli-eating enthusiasts should have a reduced risk of getting cancer. Regrettably, using the same experimental techniques he also found that red-leaf cabbage, beets and cauliflower have the opposite effect and appear to be carcinogenic. What is one to make of this nonsense? Are shoppers now expected to hover over the vegetable counter at the supermarket, stricken with anxiety trying to remember which greens cause cancer and which do not? Common sense dictates that single items of food cannot either cause or prevent a potentially life-threatening illness. So, whatever Dr Talalay's experiments did show, they must be irrelevant. However, as Voltaire famously observed, the trouble with common sense is that it is not very common – least of all, it seems, among research scientists. There is nothing new in the experts spreading unwarranted alarm and despondency. ©The Sunday Telegraph


Monday How orange juice can give you six extra years Men who drink five glasses of fresh orange juice or swallow a vitamin C tablet daily will live six years longer than those who don't, a new study has found. Consuming around 300-400 milligrams of vitamin C can reduce heart attacks by 42 per cent in men. But it has less effect on women, according to Californian epidemiologist James Enstrom of University College, Los Angeles. His exhaustive research involving 11,348 adults aged 25 to 74 was started in 1971 and followed through to 1984. ©Evening Standard (London)