The clinical use of aspirin to prevent cancer is getting closer. That’s according to a 2012 study published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. An analysis of 6 trials of taking daily aspirin – 75mg-160mg – to prevent vascular problems showed a 20% reduction in 3-5 year cancer incidence and a 30% reduction after 5 years. The mechanics of how aspirin works in cancer prevention isn’t known, nor is the exact magnitude of cancer benefit. Also aspirin can increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Nevertheless, the day may come when your doctor says take 2 aspirin and DON’T call me in the morning.
Research presented to the conference on Experimental Biology further showed chocolate is good for your heart. However, when 31 people were given chocolate for 15 days, only those given dark chocolate containing cocoa had lower blood sugar levels and better cholesterol ratios. Cocoa contains high levels of flavonoids, which are plant compounds and strong anti-oxidants. They eliminate oxygen radicals responsible for damage and ageing. Anti-microbial and anti-cancer benefits have also been attributed to them. However, many fruits and berries also have high flavonoid levels; and when it comes to calories and fats, they are practically “sweet nothings”.
Jogging lengthens your life. A study presented to the EuroPRevent 2012 conference reviewed data on about 20,000 people. The 1,878 joggers were compared to the non-joggers. There were 10,158 deaths among the non-joggers and 122 deaths among the joggers. In fact, joggers were 44% less likely to die from any cause. Jogging improves oxygen intake; raises HDL cholesterol; lowers triglycerides and blood pressure; improves heart function, immune function and bone density; prevents obesity; and makes people feel better psychologically. Male joggers can add 6.2 years to their life and women can add 5.6 years. We should let this information “jog our memory”.
Finally, optimism protects your heart. In a study published in Psychological Bulletin, researchers reviewed more than 200 studies on cardiovascular health. They found people with a positive outlook on life exercised more, ate healthier and slept better. They were also less likely to have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or be obese. After ruling out heart disease risk factors like age, weight, socioeconomic status and smoking, the most optimistic people were 50% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than the least optimistic people. We should remember we don’t need sunglasses to look on the bright side of life.