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 Avocado Pear Helps The Eyes

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Avocados are power foods that should not be taken for granted. Though they are highly seasonal and expensive, yet contain eye friendly nutrients like lutein, a natural antioxidant in the carotenoid family, and beneficial fats that may aid its absorption.
Currently, we know of about 600 different carotenoids that exist in nature; lutein is one of only two (the other is zeaxanthin) comprehensively shown to help maintain eye health as we age.
It works by filtering out blue light which can damage the macula – the small area at the centre of the retina responsible for what we see straight in front of us, at the centre of our field of vision. The yellow colour of the macula comes from the lutein and zeaxanthin in our diets.
Macular damage, or age-related macular degeneration, is a leading cause of vision loss among people aged 50 and older and lutein supplements are often recommended to help maintain the thickness or density of the macular pigment.Researchers in the US have found that a daily use of avocado can help preserve the macula – the part of the retina responsible for our central vision.
According to them, avocados contain lutein – though at lower levels than are found in most supplements. Yet daily consumption doubled the density of the macular pigment compared to previous studies using supplements. It is believed that the fats in avocados aid bioavailability.
A supplemental finding was that the increase in macular pigment density was related to improvements in working memory and problem solving.
The small study, published in the journal Nutrients, involved 40 healthy adults aged 50 and older, who ate either one avocado each day or a control diet consisting of either one potato or a cup of chickpeas daily over a six month period.
Chickpeas and potatoes were selected as a control diet because they have a similar calorie content to avocados but contain a negligible amount of lutein and monounsaturated fats.
After six months, the scientists from the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University found that blood lutein levels in avocado group had significantly increased, by 25 percent compared to a 15 percent increase in the potato/chickpea-control group. However, only participants in the avocado group experienced significant increases in macular pigment density (MPD).
Lutein supplements typically contain 10-12 mg of lutein and 0.5 mg of zeaxanthin per day. Previous research by this same team found significant increases in MPD after four months of supplementation.
In contrast, avocados provided a lower daily lutein dose (0.5 mg) but, in this study, more than doubled the MPD compared to the supplement.
“This suggests that other components in avocado are particularly effective in the enrichment of neural lutein. The most likely components are monounsaturated fatty acids,” they wrote.
The study also had a bonus finding: the increase in macular pigment density was related to improvements in working memory and problem solving.
The researchers were not able to explain the finding but, earlier this year, data examining paediatric brain tissue suggested that 60 percent of the total carotenoids in the paediatric brain were lutein, even though lutein is only about 12 percent of the carotenoids in the average infant’s diet. This accumulation suggests that the brain has a preference for lutein.
Other studies have shown that consumption of lutein is linked to the preservation of what is termed the “crystallised intelligence” – essentially, the ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime.
Lead investigator, Jean Mayer, observed that a balanced diet including fresh avocados may be an effective strategy for health.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Immunization: Health Board Targets Rural Communities

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Towards ensuring that immunization campaign achieves its target of over 90 percent, the Rivers State Primary Health Care Management Board, says it has provided modalities for trained health care providers to reach the interiors of the state.
Making this known in an exclusive interview, the Health Education / Coordinator, Rivers State Social and Behavioural Change Communication Committee, Dr Daris Nria, said provisions have been made to take the free immunisation exercise to the rural areas of the state.
Because immunisation programe will be running concurrently in all the local government areas, and these areas will be empowered with boats or other means of transport, as well as logistics.
She used this opportunity to call on the public especially parents and women of child bearing age to avail themselves the opportunity of being immunized against tetanus and other diseases.
In another development, the Maternal and Neonatal Child Health (MNCH) Focal Person, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr Emen-Jaja stated that the MNCH week slated to commence from 20th – 24th September will provide health care services for children under the age of five years, pregnant women as well as their spouses.
Such services, according to her, include administration of vitamin A, deworming exercise, nutritional screening, general health checks, child spacing and birth registration.
“Both women of reproductive age and their spouses who visit the health care centres would also have free services within the week.

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CSO Wants Cancer Treatment Centres In Rivers

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The Rivers State Chapter of the Civil Society organsation (CSO) has called on the state government to establish cancer treatment centres in the state to address the current growing cancer cases in the state.
Making the call recently, chairman of the organisation, Mr Dennis Otobo, said going by the status among the community of states in the country, Rivers State needs such centres in strategic areas of the state.
He stated that “going by the position of Rivers State among other states in the country, we are over due to have enough cancer treatment centres, especially considering the State Government’s focus on the health of her people”.
According to him, “taking some of our cancer patients to other neighbouring states does not tell well of our health services, no matter how we look at it.
“Government should establish cancer treatment centres in the state, at least a one hub treatment centre in each LGA”, he said.
Otobo explained that for now, about 99 per cent of treatments for cancer and related services are provided by donor agencies and patients are taken outside the state for treatment, which requires a lot of fund that is mostly not available.
“If government can provide cancer treatment centres in the state, it will not only lessen the impact of the ailment in the state but will also alleviate the suffering of patients who cannot afford going for treatment outside the state”, he said.

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To Much Salt Consumption, Bad For Kidney – Expert

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A Nephrologist, specialist in Kidney disease, Dr Manda David-West, says excessive salt consumption is one key cause of kidney disease.
Stating this in a recent interview, she said in-take of too much salt is capable of damaging one’s kidney, in addition to raising blood pressure.
“Too much salt can raise up the Blood Pressure (BP), and once the BP is raised, if you are not on medication, It can damage the kidney over time, she said.
In order to prevent this, Dr David West, who is a Consultant Nephrologist at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) called for limitation in salt in-take.
She further stated that to prevent kidney disease, there was the need to cut down on carbohydrate and callory intake, alongside checking food in-take capable of increasing chances of developing diabetes mellitus.
Dr David West continued that enough intake of fruits and vegetables, alongside exercises with a view to keep fit also prevents kidney diseases.
Contrary to wide spread belief that food supplements are good for the body, Dr David West said too much intake of food supplements is not good for the body.
Accroding to her, besides taking fruits and vegetables, “they should engage in daily exercise, try and keep fit and be active as much.
“Even (food) supplement has not been proven to be good to the kidney, especially when it is taken for a long time.

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