All Posts tagged japan

Brown Rice and Cardiovascular Protection

Brown Rice and Angiotensin II

The subaleurone layer of Japanese rice, which is located between the white center of the grain and the brown fibrous outer layer, is rich in oligosaccharides and dietary fibers, making it particularly nutritious. However, when brown rice is polished to make white rice, the subaleurone layer is stripped away and the rice loses some of its nutrients. The subaleurone layer can be preserved in half-milled (Haigamai) rice or incompletely-milled (Kinmemai) rice. These types of rice are popular in Japan because many people there believe they are healthier than white rice.

The Temple team and their colleagues at the Wakayama Medical University Department of Pathology and the Nagaoka National College of Technology Department of Materials Engineering in Japan sought to delve into the mysteries of the subaleurone layer and perhaps make a case for leaving it intact when rice is processed. Because angiotensin II is a perpetrator in such lethal cardiovascular diseases, the team chose to focus on learning whether the subaleurone layer could somehow inhibit the wayward protein before it wreaks havoc.

First, the team removed the subaleurone tissue from Kinmemai rice. Then they separated the tissue's components by exposing the tissue to extractions of various chemicals such as ethanol, methanol and ethyl acetate. The team then observed how the tissue affected cultures of vascular smooth muscle cells. Vascular smooth muscle cells are an integral part of blood vessel walls and are direct victims of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

During their analysis, the team found that subaleurone components that were selected by an ethyl acetate extraction inhibited angiotensin II activity in the cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. This suggests that the subaleurone layer of rice offers protection against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. It could also help explain why fewer people die of cardiovascular disease in Japan, where most people eat at least one rice-based dish per day, than in the U.S., where rice is not a primary component of daily nutrition.

“Our research suggests that there is a potential ingredient in rice that may be a good starting point for looking into preventive medicine for cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Eguchi. “We hope to present an additional health benefit of consuming half-milled or brown rice [as opposed to white rice] as part of a regular diet.”

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World’s Oldest Person Dies at 114

World’s Oldest Person Dies at 114

Guinness World Records has reported the death of the world's oldest person aged 114 years and 357 days, a week shy of her 115th birthday.

Kama Chinen, a resident of a sub-tropical island in Okinawa, Japan, died on May 2, 2010. She lived to see three different centuries, the Gerontology Research Group (GRG) commented.
“Though confined to a wheelchair in her later years, Chinen enjoyed the wonders of nature and being outside,” the organization said.
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Okinawa has a reputation for its long-lived residents, put down to the local diet of green tea, miso soup, vegetables, rice and fresh fish.
The title of oldest human now passes to 114-year-old Frenchwoman Eugenie Blanchard, who was born in February 1896. She lives on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, GRG said.
Chiyono Hasegawa, 113, in southern Japan's Saga prefecture is now the country's oldest person.
Japan has the world's highest life expectancy, and Okinawa has been home to many centenarians, a fact variously attributed to the healthy diet and environment of the island.
According to the study, old Okinawans also have lower rates of cancer, in part due to a generally low caloric, low-fat and high-fiber diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits, as well as to their physical activity.
Average life expectancy in Japan climbed sharply after World War II. In 2008, life expectancy at birth was 86.05 years for women and 79.29 years for men, according to official statistics.

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