A recent study revealed that eating at fast food outlets and having a diet particularly low in milk and vegetables are among factors that increase the risk of "wheezy illness" in children. Researchers from the Aberdeen University Medical School in Scotland and colleagues in Saudi Arabia surveyed and gave skin prick tests to 114 children with a history of asthma and wheeze in the previous 12 months, and 202 controls.
People who benefit from the cholesterol-lowering effects of bran but are turned off by the taste and gritty texture may have a sweet new option: a chocolate-flavoured cocoa-bran cereal. In a recent study conducted by Dr. David J. A. Jenkins from the University of Toronto in Canada, the cereal raised HDL (good) cholesterol and lowered the ratio of LDL (bad) cholesterol as much as wheat bran. And it also relieved constipation.
The cocoa bean is a legume that has a high-fibre bran or seed coat. While the bran remains when the bean is processed into cocoa powder, the bran is discarded when the bean is used to make chocolate.
To test the effects of a cocoa-bran cereal on cholesterol and laxation, investigators fed 25 healthy adults a cereal that provided 25 grams of fibre a day for two weeks (the average North American consumes only 11 to 14 grams of fibre each day). For a comparison group, the study subjects then switched to eating a chocolate-flavored, low-fibre breakfast cereal that provided about 6 grams of fiber a day for another two weeks.
Results show that HDL cholesterol rose by 7.6% and the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol fell by 6.7% after two weeks of eating the cocoa-bran cereal. The low-fibre diet was associated with lower HDL cholesterol levels and higher LDL to HDL cholesterol ratios.
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