Pacific Islanders need to change their diet to include more vegetables
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA --- University of Adelaide research is helping indigenous Pacific Island and Torres Strait Islander people eat more "greens" to improve their diet and help combat disease.
Led by Dr Graham Lyons, Research Fellow in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, the project aimed to identify leafy vegetables with high nutrition value that were easily available and would grow well in Samoa, Solomon Islands and the Torres Strait.
The next step was to raise awareness of the health benefits of leafy vegetables and encourage increased production and consumption.
“People in these regions have too high consumption of high-energy, low-nutrient foods such as a polished rice, white flour and sugar,” says Dr Lyons. “This has led to high rates of metabolic diseases – obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. We wanted to help them make easy nutritional changes to their diet that would have a significant impact in the short-term.”
Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Dr Lyons and colleagues collected around 300 samples of commonly grown leafy vegetables and wild edible plants from the region and brought them – under permit, and following irradiation – to the Waite campus for analysis of mineral, carotenoids (vitamin a) and protein content.
The samples came from different regions and soil types so that the analysis produced results independent of soil type, so the effect of different soils on plant mineral levels was accounted for.
“The key factors were finding plants that were high in nutritional value, easily grown in the region and, perhaps most importantly, taste good," says Dr Lyons. "Many of these leafy greens have just been overlooked as potential food plants. But adding them to the rice and other usual dishes can make a big difference in the quality of the diet.”
To promote the plants and their health benefits, Dr Lyons and the ACIAR team produced a series of laminated fact sheets for the top 12 leafy vegetables, outlining how to grow the plant including how to deal with pests, nutritional facts and how to use them in cooking.
“These fact sheets have been very popular in the villages,” Dr Lyons says. “The anecdotal feedback is that people knew of the plants but didn't appreciate how valuable they are.”
The number one “all-rounder” leafy veg is the Sweetleaf for nutritional benefit. Another one that promises to be highly beneficial is the Drumstick tree, highly nutritious with additional medicinal benefits and very hardy – suitable for growing throughout the tropics, even under drier conditions and poor soils. It will even grow on harsh coral atoll soils.
A new project starting next year is similarly looking for healthy and soil-improving plants for the tiny nations of Kiribati and Tuvalu.
Papaya leaf effective in combating Dengue
Eat to live...dont live to eat.
By Eveni Tafiti
Here are some simple graphics that display how eating right prevents cancer and what we should eat to gain maximum health results from vitamins and anti-oxidents that we need to flush from our system. Enjoy life dont let life become a burden to you or others. Eat right.
New Scientific study finds Kava Root Could Be Promising Against Bladder Cancer
The Huffington Post | by Carla Herreria
Scientists are finding promise of a bladder cancer treatment -- one of the most common cancers in the U.S. -- in a South Pacific root called kava.
Dr. Xiaolin Zi, an associate professor of urology at the University of California, Irvine, noticed that while cigarette smoking is a leading cause of bladder cancer, the western Pacific Islands see a relatively low incidence of bladder cancer despite high smoking rates. He thinks kava might have something to do with it.
Traditionally ground and turned into a drink for its relaxing qualities, kava contains compounds called flavokawains, which Zi has shown to stop bladder tumor growth in cell cultures and animal studies. Flavokawains, Zi believes, might also help slow or prevent bladder cancer in humans.
Kava has been used for thousands of years throughout the Pacific Islands as a social and ceremonial beverage; in the Hawaiian culture specifically, it is called `awa. The roots of the plant are fashioned into a drink and are believed to relieve anxiety, relax muscles, and improve sleep. Native cultures, like those in Fiji, sip and share kava drinks during important meetings -- reportedly to calm nerves and reduce possible conflict.
Currently, Zi is focusing on the kava compound flavokawain A. His team has used mouse models of bladder cancer to demonstrate how the compound protects against the carcinogenic effects of tobacco. They found that flavokawain A encourages cell death in precancerous cells by overcoming the effects of the mutated p53 protein -- a protein that plays a critical role in keeping cells from becoming cancerous.
Zi's study set out to show that mice fed high doses of the kava compound experience slower tumor growth. So far, all three bladder cancer mouse models have responded to the treatment.
Kava gained fame in western cultures when it was marketed as an herbal treatment because of its calming effects. However, the root has been linked to some cases of liver damage, though the jury is still out on whether it's the actual kava that caused the liver damage, or if it was the taking of the root with other drugs/herbs. The FDA has issued a warning that the root carries a rare but potential liver failure risk.
A 2011 review of kava in the journal "Chemical Research in Toxicology" sought to explain why Pacific Island people could consume kava safely for centuries while people in the U.S., Europe and other western nations sometimes experienced toxic effects. The review found no consensus on kava toxicity, although several theories have emerged, including deviations in the traditional methods of preparing kava and the particular species of plants being used.
So far in his research, Zi has not seen any evidence of toxicity from the kava compound, and he is hopeful for its potential use as a treatment for human bladder cancer patients.
"The majority of bladder cancer occurs after age 65," Zi, who is also a member of UC Irvine's Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said in a statement. "Any agents that can delay the onset of cancer are highly beneficial. ... For older people, being cancer-free for years longer dramatically improves quality of life."
Because many bladder cancer treatments come with uncomfortable side effects, Zi hopes that treatments derived from natural sources could carry fewer side effects.
"Although there are not yet a lot of studies showing the cancer-fighting effectiveness of natural treatments, many cancer patients are using them," Zi said in the statement. "More studies are needed to find out if these natural supplements work and in what circumstances people should use them. There's a lot of exciting potential in this area of research."
Zi is hoping to conduct clinical trials on human patients with the kava compound in the near future. Meanwhile, other studies are being conducted hoping produce similar results on the compound's effects on lung cancer.
Humanitarian, research effort in Utah combats rheumatic heart disease in Samoa
Humanitarian, research effort in Utah combats rheumatic heart disease in Samoa
NORTHERN UTAH — When it comes to preventable heart diseases, rheumatic heart disease is the number one killer of children worldwide—and the number of cases is particularly high in the Pacific islands. 80 out of every 1,000 residents will get the disease and researchers at Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University are working to change that.
Rheumatic heart disease rates are higher in Samoa than any other part of the world–most likely due to the unique genetic architecture of the Samoan people. No one is certain of the exact reason, but a research effort is hoping to provide a lot of answers.
“We don’t know where we could’ve gotten this help to save our children, basically,” said Dr. Farrah Fatupaito, head of pediatrics for National Health Services in Samoa.
That help came from a group called “Rheumatic Rescue.” A friend of cardiologist Marvin Allen and his wife had served a mission in Samoa for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that friend mentioned there was a problem with the disease there.
Doctor Allen’s wife, Lori, was looking for a doctoral thesis.
“So she came up with the idea that, ‘Let’s go to Samoa, I’ll teach the children and the parents about this traumatic disease, you can bring your ultrasound machine and screen the kids,’” Doctor Marvin Allen of Rheumatic Rescue said.
Every year since 2009, The Allens and nursing students from UVU have been going to Samoa. They educate the people about rheumatic heart disease and screen children for it, then treat the ones who have it.
The group has also gathered DNA from saliva samples, and what they learn from the samples is one of the most important aspects of their work.
“This program is unique in that it is not just a humanitarian effort, it’s also a major research effort that will address, and is addressing, rheumatic heart disease, which is the number one killer of children worldwide, from a preventable heart disease,” said Adonica Kauwe, who is the Chief Financial Officer for Rheumatic Rescue.
Kauwe was a UVU nursing student and one of the first to go to Samoa with Rheumatic Rescue. Now she’s the CFO and has been back every year.
She knows what a killer rheumatic heart disease can be.
“It shouldn’t be,” she said. “We know what causes this disease. We know how to treat it. We know how to prevent it.”
Nurses and community health students from UVU and BYU prepare for a full semester prior to going to Samoa and learn about politics, culture and the Samoan language.
“But 5 year olds, we’d do a puppet show, we sing songs with them–all in their native language, so they understand,” Kauwe said.
The Utah teams are teaching their techniques to Samoans.
“Ultimately our goal is to train them how to do what we’re doing, so that, ideally, we would be obsolete in five years,” Allen said.
Doctor Allen hopes to take what is being learned in Samoa and use it to help in other parts of the world. The Allens and a group of 40 are heading to Samoa for another Rheumatic Rescue mission on May 7.
For more information about Rheumatic Rescue, visit their website.
Samoans flock to investigate natural therapy as an alternative to medicine.
By Iliā. L Likou, Samoa Observer
Hundreds of Samoans have been flocking to the Lotopa Harvest Centre Hall for the past six days looking for a cure for multiple different ailments.
Many of them only heard about Sydney Australia-based Naturopath, Will Shannon, and his team and they wanted to see what he had to offer that is different from conventional medicine.
Mr. Shannon is one of the world’s leading authorities on natural medicine, the science of Iridology, Herbalism and how to overcome incurable illness.
His expertise has been called on from individuals from around the globe; having personally consulted tens of thousands of people from over 140 countries.
Last week, he visited Samoa with two members of his team.
“I have always wanted to come to Samoa,” he told the Sunday Samoan. “Back in Sydney, I’ve seen thousands and thousands of islanders from Fiji, Tonga, especially Samoans.”
To say Mr. Shannon believes in natural healing is an understatement.
“This trip to Samoa was to talk to people about natural medicine,” he said.
“Not only have that but to educate the people about the food to eat like more vegetables and less in some other things.”
The President of the Australian Complementary Medicine Association, Mr. Shannon’s long- term vision is to set up a clinic in Samoa.
“I had the privilege to see the Prime Minister on Thursday,” he said. “The Prime Minister said that he would support anything that will advance the health of the people of Samoa.”
“So I proposed to the Prime Minister to put a hospital in Samoa for natural medicines.”
For now though, Mr. Shannon was pleased to have been able to help hundreds of Samoans.
“Hundreds and hundreds of Samoan people came up with similar problems,” he said.
“They had things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lots of problems with their eyes, joints and so much more.”
The patients consulted with Mr. Shannon and afterwards issued natural medicines.
Among the people who saw Mr. Shannon was 67-year-old, Matafeo Tuila, of Tufuiopa.
“I always prefer our traditional medicines with the help from God so when I heard of Dr. Shannon, I just wanted to come and see him,” he said.
“My daughter and her children told me about the doctor and his natural medicines, and then I told her to drop me off at Lotopa.”
“Our people, especially the older people, really need this kind of service. The medicine are natural cures and it’s very important for us.”
According to his profile, Mr. Shannon has served as an advisor to leaders from all walks of life including global celebrities, actors, media and entertainment figures.
In the sporting arena, he has advised national and international athletes. In the area of politics his clients have included government departments and individuals including current and former heads of state. He has also served as a consultant for the legal community.
Mr. Shannon is a 2nd generation practitioner of natural medicine whose father Eli Shannon started the Pinnacle brand of health clinics, and products. He is the founder of BioMediK Companies which offer health care, medical service and education to individuals globally, including those who might not otherwise have access to medical care.
He is a recognised catalyst in personal and social change and has been lauded for his training in understanding and protecting the access of medical care to minority groups.
He is committed to change in social systems and is trained in the Eriksonian approaches, direct and indirect negotiation, brief and family therapy, conflict resolution, life cycle theory, the third side and human needs intervention. Having trained both Western and Natural Physicians worldwide, his innovative work in Iridiology, and teaching materials have been utilised by a variety of educational institutions around the world.
He has designed medicine, and food products to the standards of the Australian and Chinese government.
His work through the World Health Care Council has assisted people in the 2nd and 3rd world obtain access to life saving care. The WHCC offers frame work, guidelines and training programs for government and private sector for development and implementation of health care systems.
The WHCC has holds special interest in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Polynesia with further plans to expand into Uganda, South Africa and Alaska (USA).
“I am hoping to come back again to Samoa,” Mr. Shannon said.
Coconut oil is better than any toothpaste
By Jade Small
Did you know that coconut is very powerful plant which can kill bacteria responsible for teeth damaging?
Irish scientists have tested coconut oil samples on steptococcus mutans. This is bacteria that glues to our teeth and causes dental erosion. Coconut oil became the best tool for killing bacteria.
Scientists consider that coconut oil should be the main ingredient in tooth pastes and mouth rinsing liquids. This way, our teeth will be more protected than before.
Dental caries (tooth decay) does not get the attention it should get. It occurs in 60 to 90 percent in children and it can occur in grownups as well. A guide research claim that if coconut oil, modified with chemical additives, is put into dental hygiene products it can be the most powerful tool against bacteria and other harmful substances that attack our teeth.
Coconut oil also kills the fungus Candida albicans which causes vaginal discharge, pain, stinging and burning sensation when urinating.
Samoan Athletes are susceptible to mental health problems due to physical style of play
By Albert Ainuu
Samoan Athletes have long been idolized and admired for their seemingly invincibility, impervious to pain and their ability to inflict vicious and devastating hits. The sports with the most violence seem to attract our young Samoan players and athletes. As the 2014 NFL season gets ready to begin we are reminded of the tremendous sacrifice these individuals endure for the entertainment of fans world wide.
The sports of American football, Rugby, Rugby League, Boxing, Professional Wrestling, and UFC are the most violent sports on the planet and this is where Samoans have been exhibiting their ability to play at such a high skill level and with or without injuries, for over 60 years. The names of such athletes as Junior Seau, David Tua, Troy Polamalu, Jerome Kaino, Brian Lima, the Tuilagi Brothers, Seiuli Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson, and others are synonymous with the brutality of the sports they engaged in. Junior Seau ended his own life after a 20 year career with the NFL. Most NFL careers end after 3.5 years, Junior was playing well into his 40s. But the accumulative effect of the pounding and brutality of the sport may have been too much for his body and it affected his mind more than we were aware.
The effects of professional sports is in many cases not acknowledged by the fans. In the case of Terry Tautolo (video above) he was rescued by a Coach who found out about his homeless situation. That was a great example of humanity and concern from an exceptional coach and human being. But we as Samoans have to understand as we encourage the youth to play football that there are risks associated and these health concerns are real. These injuries affect our athletes causing serious concerns for their ability to cope which in Terry's case, although he was not using it as a crutch to explain his decline into homelessness, but obviously were contributing factors.
We can surmise from medical examinations that his physical playing style most certainly contributed to the eventual decline he had which peaked at the pinnacle of playing in the Super Bowl to living as a homeless person in a tunnel. This is what we as a community must be aware of and keep our athletes safe from themselves.
There are some disturbing examples of athletes deteriorating in terms of human interaction which may have been associated with the way they played their game. Brian Lima was recently convicted of spousal abuse for years of beating his ex-wife. This was to many an example of how popularity was allowed to prevail over common sense. Brian Lima was famous (or infamous depending on which side you rooted for) for his hard hits against opponents on the Rugby field. He was known for inflicting pain on other players, but at the end he became abusive to his wife. The sad thing we may have missed in this man's decline is the effect that his style of play may have had on his personality and family life.
Another sad example of this result of athletes who have lost their way and fallen into lifestyles that are homeless or close to such a life is James "Thunder" Peau who excited boxing fans with his brand of boxing that was exciting for his ability to knock out opponents. In fact that was his claim to fame, as the owner of the fastest knockout ever. But he also was victimized by his lack of defense and was knocked out himself. He went from being a star in the top ranks of the World Heavyweight Title to being homeless on the streets of Las Vegas. He has been there since his boxing career ended. Apparently he still is in Las Vegas and seeking the kind of help he needs.
As the new NFL season begins we hope that these athletes we adore as they entertain with the amazing feats of strength and athleticism will be remembered after they fall from the spotlight. I hope that families will stay close to their athletes and know when to use the power they possess and when not to use it. This is a situation that may affect how you live after the professional athletic career or in other cases College careers are over. The need for athletes to play smart and to be aware of using the head as a weapon. This is where our Samoan athletes need to be careful and be smart about how they play may affect them mentally after the playing is done. Concussions are not something to joke about. Even soccer has caused injuries from heading the ball too much. This was discussed in a panel recently held in Los Angeles at Alhambra High School.
The panel discussion at the high school was to educate young athletes and their parents on the dangers of concussions, how to recognize them and what can be done to avoid them.
The experts began by dispelling some common beliefs that can prevent a concussion from being recognized. For starters, football players are not the only athletes at risk; lacrosse and soccer players are also high on the list, but any sport can be risky.
Also, concussions do not usually cause sufferers to lose consciousness, and they are not always caused by a blow to the head. Dr. Jose Yasul, director of musculoskeletal and sports medicine education at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, said whiplash injuries or even blows to the body whose force travels to the head can also cause significant concussions.
The symptoms usually set on rapidly, and can include headache, confusion, dizziness, nausea or irritability. The best way to recover from a concussion is to rest the brain and the body -- typically lying in a dark, quiet room -- and most resolve within 10 days.
But the long-term effects may not be seen for years or decades, said Elizabeth Edgerly, chief regional program officer with the Alzheimer's Association. She said research has confirmed that repeated brain injury can cause dementia, including the type called chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- the degenerative illness that athletes including the late National Football League star Junior Seau have been stricken by.
We pray for the safety of our athletes where ever they may play and whatever sport they may play. We as a community should recognize these effects as they have the potential to drastically affect the lives of these individuals and their families. After the cheers die down we must recognize that these are not supermen, but they are our brothers, uncles or even fathers who suffer. We need to be more compassionate and supportive. Thank God for Coach Vermiel who helped Terry Tautolo. Who will help James Peau?