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, April 4, 2014

Inflammation Resolution the Key to Preventing or Reversing Alzheimer's disease Suggests Compelling New Study

Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids could help to prevent and even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 
The connection is resolving inflammation. The beneficial fats may come to the affected person’s rescue by stimulating newly identified ‘resolution pathways’ in the brain, according to research outlining an ‘entirely new’ approach to the condition.
The new study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, demonstrates a new approach to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – suggesting that omega-3 fatty acid derivatives stimulate the uptake of amyloid-beta proteins. The proteins are the alleged culprits in the deteriorating health of brains affected by this dreadful disease. They apparently kill brain cells and form Alzheimer's disease hallmark plaques.
Led by Professor Marianne Schultzberg from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, the team behind the research revealed that normal inflammatory processes should ultimately lead to tissue repair in a process known as restoration. However, with Alzheimer's disease this normal process is interrupted – meaning that rather than repair and restore tissue, debris from dead cells and other microorganisms fails to be cleared away, and instead accumulates in the brain, wreaking havoc.
"Our hypothesis is that stimulation of resolution of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease may result in reduced neuronal death in the brain, and in turn have a beneficial effect in disease progression and cognition,” explained Schultzberg.
“This is an entirely new approach and provides the opportunity to develop new treatment principles for Alzheimer's disease," she said.
The Swedish team found protective compounds formed in the brain from omega-3 fatty acids help to induce the resolution process and stimulate the uptake or clearing away of amyloid-beta proteins that have been linked to the progression of Alzheimer's disease through the development of plaques.
The team will now try to prove the hypothesis by using animal models to see if omega-3 fatty acids can prevent memory loss and further loss of brain cells.
In the study, Dr Schultberg and her group examined cerebrospinal fluid from 15 patients with Alzheimer's disease, 20 patients with mild cognitive impairment and 21 control subjects. They also analyzed brain tissue from 10 Alzheimer's patients and 10 control subjects.
Schultzberg and her team looked for the presence, and comparative levels of several inflammatory molecules and receptors involved in the resolution pathway – including specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), receptors, biosynthetic enzyme, and downstream effectors - in postmortem hippocampal tissue from AD patients and non-AD subjects.
SPMs were also measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
The team found that SPMs and SPM receptors were detected in the human brain – indicating the resolution pathway does exist in the brain. They also found that levels of the SPM lipoxin A4 (LXA4) were reduced in AD patients, both in the CSF and hippocampus.
In addition, an enzyme involved in LXA4 synthesis and two SPM receptors were elevated in AD brains, said the team, while LXA4 and RvD1 levels in CSF correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores.
As a result, the team concluded that the resolution pathway exists in the brain, adding that the alterations identified in the study “strongly suggest” a dysfunction of this pathway in Alzheimer’s disease.
They added that treatment with SPMs, or alternatively, by stimulating the resolution pathway – such as might occur with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation – “is suggested as a new and promising therapy in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stand up for Food that is Responsibly Grown

Farmworkers sometimes endure terrible working conditions, and food is not always responsibly grown.

Soon, a new certification system will assure that American farms meet rigorous safety standards and treat their workers with the same great care they give to the fruits and vegetables they grow so you’ll know that the fields where your food comes from are a decent and safe place to work, and that your food is the best it can be for you and your family. More retailers will carry produce that is responsibly grown and farmworker assured, but you need to make your voice heard.

My heartfelt thanks to Food Inc and Take Part for bringing important issues to light.
Go here to voice your support.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Severe Heart Disease Found in Patients With Low Vitamin D

Have you had your vitamin D levels tested? I certainly hope you have because lower levels of vitamin D predict extent of coronary artery disease. Your goal should be a 25 OHD level of 30ng/mL or higher.
Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for heart disease with lower levels of vitamin D being associated with a higher presence and severity of coronary artery disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
A growing body of research shows that vitamin D may be beneficial in preventing heart disease. Several recent studies also support the idea that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Since most of us wear sunscreen and many of us are spending most of our time indoors, supplements may be your only means of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.
In the largest study of its kind to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D levels and coronary artery disease, vitamin D deficiency (<20ng/mL) was observed in 70.4 percent of patients undergoing coronary angiography – an imaging test used to see how blood flows through the arteries in the heart. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, with a 32 percent higher occurrence in patients with the lowest vitamin D levels and a near 20 percent higher frequency of severe disease affecting multiple vessels. A progressive increase in heart disease was found according to the severity of vitamin D deficiency. Patients with values lower than 10 mg/dl had a near two-fold increased rate of coronary atherosclerosis as compared with those showing normal levels.
Researchers evaluated vitamin D levels in 1,484 patients. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as levels lower than 20ng/mL, and severe vitamin D deficiency was defined as levels under 10ng/mL. Patients were considered to have coronary artery disease if they had a diameter reduction of greater than 50 percent in at least one coronary artery. The extent and severity of heart disease were measured by quantitative coronary angiography – a procedure that determines the degree of blockage in arteries.
"Present results suggest vitamin D deficiency to be the cause rather than the consequence of atherosclerosis," said Monica Verdoia, M.D., specializing cardiologist at the Department of Cardiology, Ospedale Maggiore della Carità, Eastern Piedmont University in Novara, Italy, and investigator on the study on behalf of the Novara Atherosclerosis study group by Prof. Giuseppe De Luca.
Researchers estimate that more than half of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient, with the highest rates among African Americans and Hispanics. Vitamin D is being studied for its possible connection to several diseases and health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions, bone disorders and some types of cancer.
Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive. Look for vitamin D3 as it is most effective at raising circulating vitamin D levels.
The research was presented at The American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific sessions.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be aware! Soy supplements with isoflavones may “reprogram” breast cancer cells.

A reason you might want to avoid soy protein isolates and soy supplements.
Women with estrogen-responsive breast cancer who consume soy protein supplements containing isoflavones to alleviate the side effects of menopause may be accelerating progression of their cancer, changing it from a treatable subtype to a more aggressive, less treatable form of the disease, new research suggests.
The study, published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, raises troubling questions about the safety and the potential health consequences associated with long-term use of dietary supplements containing soy isoflavones, such as the phytoestrogen genistein.
Scientists at the Univ. of Illinois, Virginia Polytechnic and State Univ. and the National Center for Toxicological Research collaborated on the research. Three preclinical animal studies using mice examined the response of estrogen-dependent breast cancer cells to estradiol and to several levels of genistein delivered in purified forms (500 and 700 ppm) and as soy protein isolate (180 ppm).
The genistein blood levels found in the mice were similar to the serum concentrations found in women whose diets are high in isoflavones.
The soy protein isolate had the natural level of isoflavones found in many commercial protein supplements sold in grocery stores and nutrition shops, said co-author Juan Andrade, who is a prof. of food science and human nutrition at Illinois.
Estradiol and all three genistein concentrations stimulated tumor growth in mice, but when the estradiol implants and higher-dose dietary genistein (750 ppm) were removed, the tumors regressed completely.
Tumors also regressed in the mice that consumed the lower dose (500 ppm) of genistein, but the regression terminated with the tumors at significantly larger sizes than those in the control group.
In the group that consumed soy protein isolate, tumor regression did not occur during the withdrawal phase—instead, the breast cancer cells continued to grow.
“The lower dose of genistein actually does something that is potentially problematic,” said co-author William Helferich, who is a prof. in the same department. “A very low dose of genistein effectively reprograms the tumor cells from estrogen-dependent to estrogen independent, converting them into a tumor that no longer needs estrogen to grow and will not respond to many of the current anti-estrogen therapies.”
After analyzing gene expression markers, the authors speculate that long-term consumption of the lower dose of genistein elicited changes in the breast cancer cells that reprogrammed them from luminal subtype A—the most common and treatable type of breast cancer—to luminal subtype B, a more aggressive and rapidly growing type of tumor that has a poorer prognosis.
The tumors in the mice on the low-dose (500 ppm) genistein diet and the soy protein isolate diet also showed increased expression of the oncoprotein epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).
HER2 expression, which occurs in 20 to 25% of breast cancer patients, correlates to a poor prognosis because it is associated with endocrine resistance and with higher-grade tumors that proliferate more quickly.
Early epidemiological studies associated whole-soy food consumption with myriad health benefits related to menopause, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis and with lower rates of breast cancer among Asian populations.
More recent findings from isoflavone supplement studies have been mixed, with some researchers suggesting that supplements containing genistein, including soy protein isolates, may have negative effects on estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer.
In a 2004 study published in Carcinogenesis, Helferich and his
co-authors found that soy flour contained biologically active compounds that appeared to greatly inhibit genistein’s impact on tumor growth.
“Lifelong consumption of mostly whole-soybean foods such as tofu, tempeh, etc. as is consumed in Asia is probably healthy and protective because Asian populations consume soy as a complex mixture of bioactive compounds and do so throughout their lifetimes,” Helferich said. “However, the way that we consume soy in the West—through highly enriched isoflavones-containing extracts or as dietary supplements, usually later in life—is probably not going to produce the same effects.”
The findings of the current study are particularly troubling because they suggest that dietary quantities of soy foods – rather than the highly enriched isoflavone-containing extracts and pure compounds often found in dietary estrogenic supplements for women—may have serious consequences for certain populations, especially breast cancer patients, Helferich said.
Source: News Bureau Illinois

Thursday, December 26, 2013

One Week of Junk Food May Be Enough to Damage Your Memory

Feed your brain the right foods.
A new study from the University of New South Wales in Australia published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity, shows that just one week of eating an unhealthy diet is enough to cause lasting memory impairment in rats.
For a week, the rats were given access to a bottle of sugar water in addition to a healthy diet, or were fed a cafeteria-like diet loaded with cakes, cookies, and fat. Although only the rats on the cafeteria diet gained weight, both groups of rats had memory impairments compared with control animals who ate only healthy foods, suggesting that weight gain alone wasn’t to blame for their memory lapses.

Poor Diet Damages the Hippocampus
The rats had little trouble with object recognition, a type of memory that involves a brain region called the perirhinal cortex. But they did far worse with place recognition, a type of memory that involves a brain region called the hippocampus, which is responsible for many types of memory formation, including retaining new facts.

In the rats on the high-sugar or cafeteria diet, the researchers found that the hippocampus had become inflamed, impairing its function. The inflammation and memory damage lasted for at least three weeks after the rats were returned to a healthy diet.
Although rats aren’t a perfect model for humans, their hippocampus functions in very similar ways to ours. In humans and rats, the hippocampus not only helps us learn but also helps us navigate places and record events as they happen. Keeping it healthy is invaluable for learning and recall.
“A healthy diet is critical for optimum function,” said study author Professor Margaret Morris in an interview with Healthline. “Our data suggests that even several days of bad diet may impair some aspects of memory.”
The hippocampus is also used to regulate the body’s stress system. If it’s not able to do its job properly, stress can get out of control, dumping hormones into your bloodstream that will circulate back to the hippocampus and damage your memory further.

To complete the vicious circle, when stress levels are high, the body’s hunger systems shift. This causes you to selectively crave fatty and sugary foods. 

Memory and Age 
Although a little junk food here and there won’t have too much impact on a young person, a lifetime of poor eating can add up. If your hippocampus doesn’t get a chance to recover from the sugary, fatty onslaught, the inflammation could become long-term damage.
“Some studies show a decline in cognition with aging, and it is possible that an unhealthy diet may be particularly unhelpful in this group,” said Morris. Older brains take longer to recover from insults such as hangovers, so they might also be more vulnerable to damage from a junk food diet.

As seniors living on their own lose mobility, some are more likely to eat pre-packaged foods, such as frozen dinners, which tend to be high in fat, sugar, and salt. So this finding might also help explain the role that diet plays in the development of memory impairment in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The not so sweet reality of our addiction to sugar.

It is no coincidence that as sugar consumption rises so do obesity and all the related deadly diseases. High fructose corn syrup is the worst of all sugars directly raising triglycerides, stored body fat, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In the videos below Dr Lustig, Pediatric Endrocrinologist from UCSF discusses his research showing 
how sugar and processed foods are driving the obesity epidemic.

Part One: Sugar-The Bitter Truth
Part Two: Fat Chance- Fructose 2.0