This Week’s Headlines: Blue Corn May Prevent Metabolic Syndrome, Hot Peppers May Ward Off Premature Death, and Exercise Linked to Improved Joint Function

Blue corn is a-MAIZE-ing! New study suggests that blue corn may help prevent heart disease. Metabolic syndrome is the term for a group of risk factors that raise your chance of developing heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So it’s no wonder why doctors are trying to learn more about how to prevent the development of this condition. In a recent study, rats with high cholesterol and blood sugar (like we would see in metabolic syndrome), were given blue corn extract. After four weeks, the rats had lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and abdominal fat—all markers of cardiovascular disease. These unBLUElievable results hold promise for the future of metabolic syndrome treatment. Try substituting your corn for the blue stuff and add it to your favorite recipes like this one. (MEDNEWS)

Dear heart disease, catch me if you cayenne! Recent study links hot peppers and longer life. Many people can’t get enough spicy food, especially George from Seinfeld. And now new research is showing that it might help ward off premature death. In a study published this week in PLoS ONE, scientists evaluated information from 16,000 patients who participated in the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III. They found that people who enjoyed red hot chili peppers (the food, not the band) had a 13-percent decrease in mortality rates—meaning they lived longer than those who passed on peppers. There was even a slight decrease in death from heart disease, the leading killer in the U.S. Even though we don’t know the exact reason why these peppers are helpful, it’s never too late to start chowing down on some! Try some of Dr. Oz’s favorite spicy foods like this one. (SCIENCEDAILY)

When your joints hurt, you KNEEd to move! New study suggests that 45 minutes of exercise a week may be enough for patients with osteoarthritis. Arthritis is described as joint inflammation and the most common type is called osteoarthritis—the kind that comes from wear and tear of a joint over time. It’s a painful diagnosis that can even be debilitating if severe enough, and we’ve known for a long time that exercise can help improve joint function; the question is: How much? Researchers at Northwestern University sought out the answer. By evaluating activity data from 1,629 patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, the authors found that the minimum amount of exercise needed to get significant improvements in walking speed and joint function was as little as 45 minutes a week! As long as the participants committed to the 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, they saw improvements regardless of BMI, sex, age, and even their degree of knee damage! Check out Dr. Oz’s favorite tips for healthier joints today! (MEDNEWS)