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.

Food for Thought, 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!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Get out of that chair! Sitting linked to dramatic increase in cancer.

We already knew that sitting for prolonged periods of time was linked to increased rates of diabetes and heart disease, now we can add cancer to the list. And worse...the risk exists even if you exercise although it is more pronounced if you don't and it is reduced if you take short exercise breaks during the day.

According to research presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), up to 173,000 new cases of cancer could be prevented annually in the US if people sat less.1 The two types of cancer that seem to be the most influenced by sitting too much include breast cancer, with 49,000 cases annually directly attributed to long periods of sitting, and colon cancer, with 43,000 cases. Scientists also found that less sitting might prevent 37,200 cases of lung cancer, 30,600 cases of prostate cancer, 12,000 cases of endometrial cancer and 1,800 cases of ovarian cancer. And this is a conservative estimate, says Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada, who conducted research on the link between cancer and sedentary lifestyles.

Before you despair, know that a few minutes each hour on your feet moving around helps. In fact it is a lifesaver for those of us who are stuck sitting during working hours.

Needless to say, being a couch potato at night and on the weekends doesn't help matters.

During the workday moving for a minute or two every hour or even better every half hour leads to smaller waistlines, less insulin resistance, and lower levels of inflammation -- all risk factors for cancer. Apparently, it only takes a few minutes of activity to break up prolonged periods of sitting to decrease levels of cancer-causing compounds in the body such as C-reactive protein, which is associated with inflammation leading to breast cancer, as well as glucose and fat molecules in the blood.

If you work at a desk, consider refurnishing your office with a standing desk. If you work at home, use a headset and stand up and walk around for phone calls.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Diet Soda and weight loss? It's a scam! Don't you fall for it!

There is a trend at the beginning of each new year to make little changes hoping to curb extra weight gain. Countless unsuspecting people drink diet soda and relentless advertising has delivered billions of customers to Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. These people are presumably hoping for something to drink that does not put on the pounds. Well that something is water. Or unsweetened tea. Diet soda? A terrible habit.

Diet soda not only doesn't stop weight gain, it increases it. Yes. You read that right!

Drinking diet soda actually causes weight gain and blood sugar spikes. According to new studies presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Diego, study subjects who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist-size increases that were six times greater than those of people who didn’t drink diet soda. Think about that before you pop open your next can.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cutting calories and carbs just two days a week reduces breast cancer risk.

Limiting carbohydrate intake just two days a week can mitigate some risk factors for breast cancer by burning body fat and improving insulin sensitivity.

Over three months, eating fewer carbohydrates alone or combining that reduction with severe caloric restriction two days per week was associated with significant changes in body fat and insulin resistance.

In an earlier study, the same research team demonstrated that two days per week of calorie restriction was comparable to daily calorie restriction in terms of weight loss, but it wasn't any easier for patients to follow because the choice of food was limited to fruit and vegetables on restricted days.

They randomized 115 overweight or obese patients who, based on their weight were at risk of breast cancer, to one of three diets over a three-month period:
1.             A calorie-restricted (600 kcal), low-carbohydrate (less than 40 g) diet for two days a week
2.             A low-carbohydrate diet for two days per week, plus an ad-lib Mediterranean (healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables) diet the other five days
3.             A daily calorie-restriction Mediterranean diet (1,500 kcal) all week

After three months, patients on either of the low-carbohydrate diets had significantly greater declines in insulin resistance.

Harvie M, et al "Intermittent dietary carbohydrate restriction enables weight loss and reduces breast cancer biomarkers" SABCS 2011; Abstract P3-09-02.

Blood level of vitamin D can predict tumor size in breast cancer.

Women who have higher levels of vitamin D when they're diagnosed with breast cancer appear to have smaller tumors according to research presented this week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Lower vitamin D levels were correlated with much bigger tumors and patients with lower vitamin D levels at diagnosis tended to have a higher risk of breast-cancer related death.

For patients who were clearly vitamin D deficient -- having a level below 30 ng/mL at diagnosis -- there was a significant increase in the risk of relapse after three years.

The anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D are the likely mediator of the relationship between higher levels and smaller tumor size, though more research is needed to clarify the exact mechanisms.

Hatse S, et al "Vitamin D status in newly diagnosed breast cancer patients inversely correlates with tumor size and moderately correlates with outcome" SABCS 2011; Abstract P5-05-01.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fish may protect the brain as we age, providing significant reduction in risk of Alzheimers

People who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week may be protecting their brains from Alzheimer’s disease and other brain problems, researchers reported Wednesday.
Cyrus Raji of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and colleagues conducted brain scans on 260 healthy adults and examined whether there was a relationship between the amount of gray matter, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy brain, and their risk of developing Alzheimer’s or a condition known as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) over the next five years.
After taking into consideration factors such as age, gender, education, race, physical activity and obesity, the researchers found that those who regularly consumed baked or broiled fish on a weekly basis were more likely, a decade later, to have more gray matter in several key parts of the brain, including the hippocampus, the posterior cingulate and the orbital frontal cortex, the researchers reported at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago. In addition, those who were regular fish eaters were almost five times less likely to develop MCI or Alzheimer’s, the researchers found. The fish eaters also scored higher on tests measuring thinking abilities, such as working memory, they said.
“Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s gray matter by making them larger and healthier,” Raji said in a news release. “This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”
Sorry Mrs Paul, no such protective effect was found for those who ate fried fish.

Choline-rich diet tied to sharper memory.

People who get plenty of choline in their diets may perform better on memory tests, and be less likely to show brain changes associated with dementia, a new study suggests.
The study can only point to a correlation between memory and dietary choline -- a nutrient found in foods like saltwater fish, eggs, liver, chicken, milk and certain legumes, including soy and kidney beans.

The findings suggest that people with lower choline intakes were more likely to be on a "pathway" toward mental decline than their counterparts with higher intakes.
The findings, researchers say, do not mean that choline is the answer to staving off Alzheimer's disease -- the memory-robbing disease that affects 26 million people globally. But there's also reason to believe that choline matters. The nutrient is a precursor to the brain chemical acetylcholine, which plays a key role in memory and other cognitive functions; low acetylcholine levels are associated with Alzheimer's.
The study adds to evidence that your lifetime diet may make a difference in how your brain ages.
A number of studies, though not all, have found links between diet and Alzheimer's risk. Some suggest that Mediterranean-style eating, for instance, might be protective; that typically means a diet high in fish, vegetables and fruit, whole grains and unsaturated fats like those in olive oil.
The message is that eating a healthy, balanced diet in mid-life is important.

The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr December 2011 vol. 94 no. 6 1584-159

Monday, November 28, 2011

Salt...you don't want too much..or too little!

Most people I know think salt is always something we should get less of..but that doesn't seem to be the case. Too much? Yes we know that is a problem..but so is not getting enough according to this new study. Follow the link and have a look. It might change the way you think about salt.

Consumption of too much, and too little, salt may be linked to a higher risk of heart-related hospitalisations and deaths, according to a new study.

What's for lunch?

Collard Greens and Butter Beans. Yes I am from the south! Spinach, collards, mustard greens and turnip greens figure prominently in traditional southern  cuisine, which is a good thing since they are loaded with calcium magnesium and beta carotene. And no wonder besides being low in calories (one cup of mustard greens has 21 calories; a cup of spinach has only 7!), greens can boost cardiovascular health: A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate one serving of leafy greens per day were 46 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who didn’t. Saute them with some flavorful smoked turkey or steamed them with water and lemon, greens are delicious!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Celebrate the Glorious Pumpkin!

Pumpkins. They make delicious pies. This time of year we love to use them to decorate porches and as spooky lanterns for Halloween they can't be beat!

But remember their starring role is in the kitchen. A rich array of nutrients, in the pumpkins'  pulp and seeds, deliver a number of health benefits, including protection against colds and flu.

The bright orange color is proof that pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene, an antioxidant that protects against some cancers, heart disease, premature aging, and infections. Pumpkins also serve up vitamins E and C. Together with the beta carotene, these nutrients also help to keep our skin and eyes in good shape.

We all should try eating more orange-colored foods — such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes — during winter months to power up our immune systems and beat the odds against colds, flu and pneumonia. 

Pumpkins like most other vegetables are full of potassium (which helps to keep blood pressure in check), other minerals, and fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain an oil that may be beneficial for the prostate, plus cholesterol-lowering phytosterols.

The seeds, which make a healthy snack or add crunchiness to salads, soups and other dishes, also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sleep better with tart cherry juice...

Tart Montmorency cherries have been reported to contain high levels of phytochemicals that produce a wide array of benefits. Now those benefits extend to boosting melatonin, a molecule critical in regulating the sleep-wake cycle in humans.
A group of people were given tart cherry juice in the morning and again before bedtime. There were significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time and sleep efficiency total with cherry juice supplementation.
The results suggest that consumption of a tart cherry juice concentrate provides an increase in exogenous melatonin that is beneficial in improving sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women and might be of benefit in managing disturbed sleep.
Other benefits have been seen for tart cherries including reduction in symptoms of gout, reduction in circulating inflammatory markers, pain relief after long distance running, reduced oxidative stress, improved recovery following exercise induced muscle damage, and improved sleep quality in late life insomnia. It appears that the phenolic compounds in the cherries act as free radical scavengers that reduce oxidative stress. The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherries appear to rival those of noon-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Cherries are high in protective phytonutrients called anthocyanins.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UCSF: Paleo Diet Brought Dramatic Health Benefits!

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Researchers from UCSF say that their research has shown people on a diet of high protein and plenty of vegetables show dramatic health improvements, including weight loss without exercising profusely and lower blood pressure. In short it's the diet of our caveman ancestors thousands of years ago who were what is termed "Hunter Gathers".

Contrast to our diet today?
We eat whatever and whenever we want, and generally speaking the food is heavily processed and high in sugar and salt.

The team selected people who were unhealthy in one way or another. They were given a specific diet of lean meat, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables. The diet includes only healthy fats, such as those in the fish and in nuts and seeds.

What happened? Everyone's blood pressure went down. In two weeks the entire group’s cholesterol and triglycerides got better.  The average drop was 30 points ... That's the kind of cholesterol result you get by taking Statins for six months.

People on the diet have experienced a regression of their diabetes as a result, to the point they are effectively cured.

Rupert Shepherd B.Sc. "Eat Like A Caveman To Lose Weight." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 13 Nov. 2011

Kiwis are heart smart!

Individuals from southern China can be proud of their native fruit once again, as new research shows the furry fruit lowering blood pressure.

Kiwis may be one of the smaller fruits, but they are stacked with nutritional contents in their juicy green flesh; including Lutein, a powerful antioxidant which is thought to be one of the active components in the fruit that reduces blood pressure. They have a good vitamin C content as well, which is known to promote elasticity of blood vessels.

Researchers who were led by Mette Svendsen of Oslo University Hospital in Norway point to lutein as having benefits, but cardiologists were quick to say that there is no magic bullet or compound that is going to take care of a person's heart health, it's more a question of a healthy lifestyle with a good diet and exercise. Kiwis though, can happily make up one of the recommended five a day servings of fruit and vegetables that have shown to improve health in the long run.

The study, funded by the Oslo University Hospital, included 50 men and 68 women with an average age of 55 who were randomly assigned to eat three kiwis or one apple a day for eight weeks. Participants had blood pressure levels in the mildly elevated range of 128/85 when the study began. A blood pressure reading that is less than 120/80 is considered ideal. They changed nothing in their diet other than adding the fruit. Researchers measured blood pressure via 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, which is thought to be more precise than measuring it during a single point in time.

The researchers concluded: "Three kiwi a day improved 24-hour blood pressure more than an apple a day."

Rupert Shepherd B.Sc. "Three Kiwis A Day To Keep The Cardiologist At Bay." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 15 Nov. 2011.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Move it or lose it. More evidence that sitting may be killing you.

More than 90,000 new cancer cases a year in the United States may be due to physical inactivity and prolonged periods of sitting, a new analysis shows.

The analysis, being presented this week at the annual conference of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) in Washington, D.C., cites about 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer.
"This gives us some idea of the cancers we could prevent by getting people to be more active," says epidemiologist Christine Friedenreich of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada. Calculations are based on U.S. physical activity data and cancer incidence statistics. "This is a conservative estimate," she says. "The more physical activity you do, the lower your risk of these cancers."

Experts have known for years that physical activity decreases the risk of chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. This study is one of the first to predict the number of cases that might be prevented if people were more physically active.

A brisk daily walk of at least 30 minutes could lower a person's risk over time for breast cancer and colon cancer. 

Friedenreich reviewed more than 200 cancer studies worldwide and found convincing evidence that regular physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer and endometrial cancer by 25% to 30%. There's some evidence that regular exercise also reduces the risk of lung, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Earlier studies  investigated the health dangers of sitting too long without moving around, which is called "sitting disease."
In a study of 123,000 people, nutritionists found that the more time people spent sitting, the higher their risk of dying early. Even among individuals who were regularly active, the risk of dying prematurely was higher among those who spent more time sitting.

Even if you are doing half an hour of aerobic activity a day, you need to make sure you don't sit for prolonged periods the remainder of the day. You must get up and take breaks from sitting. Stretch, jog in place for one to two minutes, do some yoga poses or Tai Chi.
The message is clear.  Prolonged sitting increases the risk of some types of cancer, such as colon, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
 Many people sit an average of seven to 9½ hours a day. Getting out of that chair at least once each hour may extend your life.
Friedenreich and her team are  looking into why exercise reduces cancer risk. In a study of 320 post-menopausal women, she has found that physical activity appears to decrease the risk of cancer by increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing body fat, inflammation, metabolic hormones and sex steroids hormones.

Diabetes: An Epidemic in the Making. And it is 90% preventable.

How sad. Half of all American adults are destined to develop diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020 if they don't make dramatic lifestyle changes, according to a dire new prediction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If current trends continue, the ranks of American adults with excessive blood sugar levels would swell from 93.8 million this year (about 28 million diabetics and 66 million more with pre-diabetes) to 135 million in 2020 – and cost society $3.35 billion by decade’s end. In addition, diabetes is becoming one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents. According to the American Diabetes Association, one in every four children is currently diagnosed with diabetes.

A former nutrition mentor of mine liked to say" we are digging our graves with forks and knives"

Exercise. Ending the flood of simple carbs, and making sure your plate is 1/2 to 3/4 vegetables, legumes and fruits are all sure ways to reduce your risk. Less meat, more fish. Read Michael Pollan. Read everything you can on the Mediterranean diet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hold the Mayo!

We are coming into a season of weight gain, festive parties and holidays.  It is not unusual to put on a few pounds this time of year. With that in mind I plan to share some simple ways to keep those creeping pounds from attaching themselves to you.

Hold the mayo! One simple little change like skipping the ketchup, mayo or other ‘special’ sauces could save you around 100
 calories per day.

That one small step alone could help you lose up to 10 pounds this year.

Don't drench your foods in sauces...instead season with a bit of sea salt and other spices and enjoy the fresh natural flavors of your favorite foods.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eat Fish to Protect Your Hearing!

Two recent studies in populations in the Netherlands and Australia examining the link between fish or seafood omega-3 fatty acid consumption and hearing loss in older adults observed significantly less hearing loss in older adults with high intakes of fish. In one study, those with hearing loss who ate fish once to twice a week experienced about half the rate of deterioration in their hearing over five years compared with those who ate fish less than once a week.
In the Dutch study, researchers measured the participants’ hearing at low and high frequencies and estimated their fish consumption from a dietary questionnaire. Three years later, they measured the hearing status of the participants to see whether any changes were related to their omega-3 intakes. They found that hearing losses were greatest in those with the lowest consumption of seafood omega-3s although the difference between those the highest and lowest omega-3 groups was small. Hearing loss occurred mainly in the low frequency range and was greater in older (age 60 to 70) than younger (age 50 to 60) participants.
In the Australian study, participants had their hearing evaluated at the beginning of the study and after five years. Their fish and seafood omega-3 intakes were assessed at enrollment in the study. In contrast to the Dutch study, participants with the highest baseline omega-3 consumption from all sources, including seafood and plants, were about 10 percent less likely to have hearing loss compared with those in the lowest intake category. This relationship was not seen for seafood omega-3s alone.
After five years neither omega-3 nor omega-6 was related to the likelihood of developing hearing loss. However, eating fish frequently was associated with a 42-percent lower chance of developing hearing loss over the study period.
The researchers also observed progressive hearing loss was about half as much in those who ate fish once to twice a week compared with those who ate fish less than once a week. Eating fish twice a week or more had no additional effect on the rate of progression.

Source: Fats of Life Newsletter

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Its my birthday...

and I'm at my desk...radio interview this morning...iPad mentoring call too...need to file expenses...but wish I was here -----> 

Happy birthday to me..... :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

I lost a dear friend this week. He will be sorely missed.

John R Carlson 1934-2011

LONG GROVE, Ill.—John R. Carlson, the co-founder and president of J.R. Carlson Laboratories, passed away Oct. 1; he was 77. Carlson retired last fall from his post at the company, and was serving as Director Emeritus. For 45 years, Carlson was dedicated to the natural products industry, serving as an active member of industry organizations including the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Natural Products Association (NPA), National Institute of Nutritional Education and Mid-American Health Organization; he was a founding member of Citizens for Health. In 2001, he received NPA’s Crusader Award for given for “notable individual contributions above and beyond commercial success" and to those whose contributions have had a lasting benefit to the industry.
John Gay, executive director and CEO of NPA, commented, “John Carlson was tremendous supporter and leader of the Natural Products Association and the natural products industry for many years. He will be missed by all, but leaves a substantial legacy of giving back to the industry for us to emulate.”
Carlson is survived by his wife, Susan, daughters Carilyn Anderson and Kirsten Cecchin, and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Natural Products Foundation.

Omega-3 supplements reduce both inflammation and anxiety.

A daily dose of 2.5 grams of marine source omega-3s ( EPA and DHA) may reduce symptoms of anxiety by about 20%, according to new data from the Ohio State University.

Twelve weeks of supplementation was also associated with a significant reduction in a range of inflammatory marker compounds: An important finding considering that inflammation is reported to be a major factor in many age associated sources of death and disability, note the Ohio State scientists.

The study adds to the ever growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of omega-3. The majority of the science has focused on the cardiovascular benefits of the oils, but an increasing number of studies are reporting the potential cognitive effects related to mood and behavior.
“The reduction in anxiety symptoms associated with [omega]-3 supplementation provides the first evidence that omega-3 may have potential [anti-anxiety] benefits for individuals without an anxiety disorder diagnosis,” wrote the authors in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity .

“Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: A randomized controlled trial”
Authors: J.K. Kiecolt-Glaser, M.A. Belury, R. Andridge, W.B. Malarkey, R. Glaser