Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Red Wine, Green Tea and Dark Chocolate, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sugary Drinks Linked to High Death Tolls Worldwide

Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published today in the journal Circulation and previously presented as an abstract at the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013.
“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
In the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities from diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010. In this analysis, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar- sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. 100 percent fruit juice was excluded.
Estimates of consumption were made from 62 dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries and other information. This allowed capture of geographical, gender and age variation in consumption levels of sugar- sweetened beverages in different populations. Based on meta-analyses of other published evidence on health harms of sugar-sweetened beverages, the investigators calculated the direct impact on diabetes and the obesity-related effects on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
In 2010, the researchers estimate that sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:
133,000 deaths from diabetes
45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease
6,450 deaths from cancer
“Some population dietary changes, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, can be challenging due to agriculture, costs, storage, and other complexities. This is not complicated. There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year,” Mozaffarian said.
Overall, in younger adults, the percent of chronic disease attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages was higher than the percent in older adults.
The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant. It also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now.
Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadek S, Lim S, Ezzati M, and Mozaffarian, D. “Estimated global, regional, and national disease burdens related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in 2010.” Circulation. Published online ahead of print 06-29-15. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010636

Saturday, May 16, 2015

10 Health Benefits of Broccoli and a Bonus!

1. Helps prevent cancer. Broccoli is a source of powerful antioxidants and anticarcinogens sulphorophane, indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane ( DIM) that impede the growth of breast cervical and prostate cancer. 
 2. Curbs overeating. A cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn but only half the calories. Plus broccoli is a great source of fiber. 
3. Boosts your immune function. A cup of broccoli has a powerful supply of beta-carotene, zinc and selenium which strengthen your ability to fight infections. 
4. Fights birth defects. A cup of broccoli provides 94mcg of folate, a B vitamin important for proper fetal development. 
5. Fights Diabetes. The high fiber, low sugar and low calories keep insulin function tuned up and support stable blood sugar levels. 
6. Fights Heart Disease. The carotenoid lutein, vitamin B-6 and folate in broccoli may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. 
7. Promotes strong and healthy bones. Broccoli provides calcium and vitamin K which promote bone health and reduce risk of osteoporosis. 
8. Regulates blood pressure. The potassium, magnesium and calcium work together to support blood pressure in the normal range. 
9. Reduces incidence and severity of colds. Vitamin C and Vitamin A, antioxidants and anti-infectives help support resistance to respiratory infections. 
10. Makes for healthy women and manly men. Broccoli provides diindolylmethane which supports healthy estrogen balance and reduces accumulation of harmful estrogens in women all the while supporting healthy testosterone levels in men. 

The bonus is broccoli is easy to prepare and delicious. Lightly steam broccoli spears and florets and then sauté in olive oil with and abundant number of garlic cloves for a delicious side dish or serve over pasta for a nutritious and low calorie vegetarian main course.
Broccoli Rabe a Mediterranean favorite confers the same benefits!

5 Health Benefits of Blueberries - Via 5 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Via: 5 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sugary beverages start to wreck your health in just two weeks.

Still drinking soft drinks or sugar sweetened beverages? It is time to stop. A new study shows us what just two weeks of drinking soda can do to your heart. And the subjects were young healthy people.
Sugary drinks have been linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. What is worse, the more soda (or sweet tea, or lattes) people drink the more likely these outcomes. The sugar industry and soft drink companies argue that association isn’t proof that one actually causes the other. But you have to agree that when population studies show a link again and again, and the mechanism of harm is plausible, it is silly to deny such strong evidence.
This is exactly how how we proved smoking cigarettes caused disease. But when it comes to discovering the effects on a habit on our health there’s nothing like controlled experiments. And the best evidence to prove cause and effect comes from double blind placebo controlled studies.
And when you’re studying heart disease, all the study has to do is look at changes in markers of heart disease risk, such as LDL cholesterol, apoB, triglycerides and uric acid in the blood.
A new study did just that. The study has been published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers recruited a group of 85 people aged 18-40, and divided them into 4 groups. For 2 weeks participants drank beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) making up 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their daily caloric requirement. The participants were blinded to their drink content, and in order to do that the 0-percent drink for the control group was sweetened with aspartame.
Within 2 weeks, the people who were on the HFCS drinks had higher levels of LDL, triglycerides and uric acid, and the higher the HFCS they drank, the higher the level of heart risk factors.
Although the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommend that people limit added sugar to no more that 5 percent of daily calories, very few people do so, and levels of added sugar in the 10-20 percent are typical of the American diet. By this study’s assessment, the average American person’s sugar intake is certainly enough to increase cardiac risk.
Would replacing HFCS with regular sugar (sucrose) make a difference? Not likely. The fructose content in table sugar is 50 percent, compared to 55 percent in HFCS – just a slight difference – and since fructose is metabolized in our body in a way that promotes fat production, raises triglycerides and affects cholesterol levels, either one of these sweeteners would probably have the same negative effects; there's no reason to assume that sugar is any more safe than HFCS.

Friday, March 27, 2015

High dose fish oils protect heart from damage after a heart attack.

High doses of ethyl ester EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids may protect against further damage in myocardial infarction patients, a preliminary study suggests. The study was presented March 16 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), held from March 14 to 16 in San Diego.
The research included 374 myocardial infarction survivors who received standard treatment and took either a 4-gram prescription-only dose of omega-3 fatty acids each day or a placebo. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the patients' hearts were scanned two weeks, four weeks, and six months after their myocardial infarction.
The researchers found that, compared to those taking the placebo, patients taking the omega-3 capsules had lower levels of inflammation and were 39 percent less likely to show deterioration of heart function. There was also significantly less evidence of fibrosis. Patients with a 5 percent rise in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood seemed most likely to benefit from the supplements.
Giving a high dose of fish oil soon after a heart attack appears to improve cardiac structure and heart functioning above and beyond the standard of care. The dose used was 3360 mg combined EPA/DHA in the ethyl ester form.

You could achieve that dose in exactly the correct form, ethyl ester EPA/DHA with 5 capsules of Elite Omega-3 Gems from Carlson Laboratories.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D may control brain serotonin, affecting behavior and psychiatric disorders.

In a previous paper published last year, authors Patrick and Ames discussed the implications of their finding that vitamin D regulates the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, and how this may influence the development of autism, particularly in developing children with poor vitamin D status.

Here they discuss the relevance of these micronutrients for neuropsychiatric illness. Serotonin affects a wide-range of cognitive functions and behaviors including mood, decision-making, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and even plays a role in social decision-making by keeping in check aggressive social responses or impulsive behavior.

Many clinical disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression share as a unifying attribute low brain serotonin. "In this paper we explain how serotonin is a critical modulator of executive function, impulse control, sensory gating, and pro-social behavior," says Dr. Patrick. "We link serotonin production and function to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting one way these important micronutrients help the brain function and affect the way we behave."

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) increases serotonin release from presynaptic neurons by reducing inflammatory signaling molecules in the brain known as E2 series prostaglandins, which inhibit serotonin release and suggests how inflammation may negatively impact serotonin in the brain. EPA, however, is not the only omega-3 that plays a role in the serotonin pathway. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also influences the action of various serotonin receptors by making them more accessible to serotonin by increasing cell membrane fluidity in postsynaptic neurons.

Their paper illuminates the mechanistic links that explain why low vitamin D, which is mostly produced by the skin when exposed to sun, and marine omega-3 deficiencies interacts with genetic pathways, such as the serotonin pathway, that are important for brain development, social cognition, and decision-making, and how these gene-

micronutrient interactions may influence neuropsychiatric outcomes. "Vitamin D, which is converted to a steroid hormone that controls about 1,000 genes, many in the brain, is a major deficiency in the US and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies are very common because people don't eat enough fish," said Dr. Ames.

This publication suggests that optimizing intakes of vitamin D, EPA, and DHA would optimize brain serotonin concentrations and function, possibly preventing and ameliorating some of the symptoms associated with these disorders without side effects.
Rhonda P. Patrick And Bruce N. Ames. Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior. FASEB Journal, February 2015

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can be downright dangerous.

Having a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder increases the risk of death and reduces overall life-expectancy, a large study published in The Lancet shows. It finds that people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have a more than doubled risk of premature death - and that accidents are the most common cause.

The researchers, led by Søren Dalsgaard from Aarhus University in Denmark, found the relative risk of dying was much higher for women than for men with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Not receiving a diagnosis until adulthood was also associated with higher risk.
When asked what the causal link could be between ADHD and early death, researchers cited one pathway that follows ADHD's well-known risks for oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. That pathway links ADHD to risk of death as follows. There is an increased risk of:
Antisocial disorders - which increase the risk of violence and crime.
Substance use - leading to accidents and fighting
Inattention and impulsivity - increasing accidents and poor health habits.
Risky behaviors - leading to health risks and accidents.
ADHD alone increases risk of accidents viainattention and impulsivity - which affect driving since when treated with medication, there is better "performance in a driving simulator"
 and through risky behaviors associated with increased sensation seeking.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Foods that fight high cholesterol

It's easy to eat your way to an alarmingly high cholesterol level. The reverse is true too — changing what you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the character of fats circulating through your blood vessels. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and "good fats" are all part of a heart-healthy diet. But some foods are particularly good at helping bring down cholesterol.

How? Some cholesterol-lowering foods deliver a good dose of soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Others provide polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And those with plant sterols and stanols keep the body from absorbing cholesterol. Here are 5 of those foods:
  1. Oats. An easy way to start lowering cholesterol is to choose oatmeal or an oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. Just make sure you are eating the unsweetened Cheerios and not the sugar coated ones. Oatmeal gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. 
  2. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take time for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That's one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices — from navy, pinto and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond — and so many ways to prepare them, beans are an inexpensive and versatile food. 
  3. Nuts. A host of studies shows that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways. An ounce of walnuts before a meal can tame your appetite and help you lose weight over the course of a few months, even if you make no other changes.
  4. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body's ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They're also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%. 
  5. Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and they boost your levels of heart protective omega-3 fats. Plus the omega-3s from fish raise the beneficial HDL cholesterol too. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms. 
    But stay away from…
    As you consider eating more of the foods that can help dial down cholesterol, keep in mind that avoiding certain foods can also improve your results. To keep cholesterol levels and heart risk where you want them to be, limit intake of:
    Added sugars. Added sugars raise your blood sugar levels, which in turn raise the levels of triglycerides in your blood. Sugar also raises insulin which raises LDL cholesterol. High sugar levels and high insulin levels promote inflammation and oxidative stress, which are known to promote heart risk.
    Trans fats. Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, rev up inflammation, and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels. Although trans fats were once ubiquitous in prepared foods, many companies now use trans-fat-free alternatives. Some restaurants and fast-food chains have yet to make the switch. Read labels and avoid foods that list  hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils in ingredients lists.

Making Choices that Slow Aging Significantly

Have you heard about telomeres? At the end of your chromosomes or DNA strands, you have protective caps called telomeres (imagine the little caps at the end of your shoelaces).
The length of your telomeres can tell you either how quickly or how slowly you are aging. Telomeres also shed light on the strength of your immune system. Their length indicates your risk of death and disease, including heart disease and cancer. Having short telomeres even points to higher risk of dementia.

In people who are older than 60 researchers have shown that those with shorter telomeres are eight times more likely to die from infectious diseases and three times more likely to die from heart disease. Although all telomeres shorten with age, an unhealthy lifestyle is linked to significantly greater telomere shortening. Researchers studying telomeres believe that lifespan may be increased by as much as five to ten years by changing habits that impact telomere length. Here are the most important choices you can make to protect your telomeres.

Knock out inflammation, and eat an antioxidant rich diet.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress caused by free radicals sabotage health, longevity and telomere length. Eating foods that contain lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds helps prevent this double whammy of damage.
Be sure your diet includes abundant colorful fruits and vegetables like berries, cherries, pomegranates,  beets, oranges, and apples. And load up on dark green vegetables like collard greens and kale. Choose daily servings of orange veggies like carrots and sweet potato. And enjoy nuts, seeds, beans, fatty fish (salmon, rainbow trout, sardines), herbs, spices, 100% whole grains. Drink green or black tea and cook at low temperatures with extra virgin olive oil.
In terms of supplements, research suggests that vitamin D may improve telomere maintenance. Know your vitamin D levels by getting them checked at your annual check up. In the Sister Study, a daily multivitamin was also linked to longer telomeres in women. And of course if you don’t eat fatty fish at least twice a week, you should take a daily fish oil capsule. In the Heart And Soul study at the University of California, San Francisco involving over 600 outpatients with stable heart disease, individuals with the lowest intakes of marine source omega-3 fats experienced the most rapid rate of telomere shortening, whereas those with the highest intakes experienced the slowest rate of telomere shortening. Be sure you get at least 1000 mg daily of the EPA and DHA from cold water fish. And be sure the supplement you choose is tested and found to be free of harmful levels of compounds like mercury, lead, cadmium and PCBs. My fish oil brand is Carlson Laboratories.  Disclosure: I am their Senior Nutritionist and Educator. The folks at Carlson are seriously nice people, lucky me.

Eliminate added sugar, white bread, unhealthy fats and processed meat.
Some foods slow the aging process, others put aging on the fast track. Sugar, refined carbohydrates including white bread cakes cookies and crackers, unhealthy fats particularly trans fats and high omega-6 vegetable oils and processed meats are the most harmful. Based on data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving over 5300 adults, drinking one sugar- sweetened soft drink daily accelerated aging as much as smoking. In a study of children and teens in Spain, white bread was the worst habit. In a study in Finland, involving almost 2000 elderly men and women, a high intake of saturated fat was linked to shorter telomeres.

Do whatever you must to stay at a healthy weight for your height.
At St. Thomas Hospital in the UK, obese women had telomeres that were significantly shorter than in lean women of the same age. This was not surprising. Fat cells are biologically active, and not in a good way. Fat secretes hormones that increase inflammation in the body and cause oxidative stress. ( Oh those two again!) Thus telomeres shorten, aging hits the gas pedal, and lifespans are shortened. Eat whole foods, be more active and work to reduce stress to keep your weight within a healthy range.

At the risk of being redundant. Stay active and reduce sitting time.
Moving your body several times everyday provides phenomenal health benefits, not the least of which is slamming the brakes on aging considerably. Daily activity boosts your resistance to infections, guards against chronic inflammation and helps to combat stress. You’ll get slim and you’ll be protecting the length of those all important telomeres. In one study that followed 2,400 twins, being regularly active during leisure time meant significantly longer telomeres (about 10 years younger biologically) compared to persons who were inactive.
Get up out of that chair! How much time you spend sitting also matters. In a 6 month study in Sweden, involving sedentary, overweight men and women, reducing sitting time resulted in significantly longer telomeres. Always aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. Break up sitting time throughout the day and evening too. Sitting equals aging. Here’s an idea. Get up every 30 minutes and drink a small glass of water. (see what I did there?)

Watch your alcohol and never smoke cigarettes. If you smoke now is the time to quit.Have you ever looked at people who smoke regularly or who drink excessively? They do not paint a pretty picture. They always look older than they should for their age. Heavy drinking and smoking ages you at a cellular level. The American Association for Cancer Research reported that telomere length was dramatically shorter (about half as long) in those who consumed heavy amounts of alcohol compared to those who did not. In a study reported in the UK, telomere shortening caused by smoking one pack of cigarettes a day for 40 years was equivalent to the loss of almost 71⁄2 years of life. Bottom line: don’t smoke and if you drink, do so only in moderation (one drink daily for women and two for men).
Defend your quality of sleep vigorously. Getting enough sleep (7 hours or more) and getting good quality sleep are both linked to longer telomeres. The older you are, the more significant this relationship is. Proper sleep helps repair telomeres and protects against damage caused by inflammation. Lack of sleep increases inflammation in the body significantly.

Zen extends life. If you’re chronically stressed out, anxious, lonely or depressed, your telomeres are probably shorter. If you have recently suffered a great loss, you’re also at risk. Stress hormones, like cortisol, make you gain weight around the middle, think belly fat. The hormone also damages cells and hastens aging. In a study involving healthy premenopausal women, those with the highest levels of perceived stress had telomeres shorter on average by the equivalent of at least 10 years of additional aging compared to low stress women. 

In a demonstration of all of the points made here today, a UC study found that telomere shortening was less pronounced  in high stress women if they exercised, ate well and got enough sleep. Good self-care must be a priority
There is also good news for meditators. Meditation also benefits telomere health. Om.