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!

Friday, April 15, 2011

An Apple a Day May Keep Heart Disease Away!

Amazing news was presented this week at the Experimental Biology Meeting in Washington D.C. Older women who consumed apples everyday were found to have an average of 23% reduced LDL cholesterol levels within six months and a 4% increase in HDL cholesterol.
The scientists came away with the impression that apples are a miracle fruit.  Its no miracle...pectin and polyphenols, two substances found in apples, enhance lipid metabolism and reduce the production of molecules that cause inflammation.
160 females aged 45-65 years were randomly selected to receive either 75 grams of dried apples daily or dried prunes daily for a whole year. Their blood was examined in a laboratory at months 3, 6 and 12.
Incredible changes occurred in the apple-eating women. Not only did their cholesterol levels improve, they also had reduced levels of lipid peroxidation, a marker of oxidative stress, and they had reduced levels of the inflammatory molecule C- Reactive protein.

It all adds up to less heart risk....

And the icing on the cake? Even though eating the apples added 240 extra calories to their day...the women did not gain weight..they lost an average of 3.3 pounds. Pectin, which makes you feel full..may be a factor in the weight loss.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Telomeres: Omega-3s and Slowing the Aging Process

Major Research: 65% Decrease in Biological Aging

Telomeres are the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres shrink. So shorter telomeres are a sign that your cells are getting old. They're also linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
Between 2000 and 2002, researchers measured the length of telomeres in the white blood cells of roughly 600 San Francisco Bay-area residents with heart disease. Five years later, those who started out with the highest blood levels of DHA and EPA had the least telomere shortening, while those who started out with the lowest levels had the most shortening. The results were not influenced by income, education, blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, smoking, statins, vitamins, exercise, or other factors.

If you or your family has a history heart disease, follow the American Heart Association's advice to take a daily fish oil supplement that provides 1,000 mg of DHA plus EPA, combined.

J. Am. Med. Assoc. 303: 250, 2010

Blueberries can help you burn fat!

The benefits of blueberry consumption have been noted in several nutrition studies, an example being the cardio-protective benefits derived from the high polyphenol content in blueberries. Studies looking at the protective nature of blueberries have shown potential to have a positive effect on everything from aging to metabolic syndrome, to loss of brain mass.

Plant polyphenols have been shown to fight adipogenesis, which is the development of fat cells, and induce lipolysis, which is the breakdown of lipids and or fat.

In mice, the highest dose of blueberry polyphenols yielded a 73% decrease in lipids; the lowest dose showed a 27% decrease.

Studies will now be done with humans..but I’m not waiting…since we already know they protect the brain from shrinking and give us better night vision…I’m having blueberries today!

Green Tea and Tai Chi Enhance Bone Health and Reduce Inflammation in Postmenopausal Women

Green tea, historically consumed in the Orient and now an international mainstay, is chock full of compounds called polyphenols known for their potent antioxidant activity. Dozens of epidemiological (observational) studies have shown that people who consume the highest levels of green tea polyphenols (GTP) tend to have lower risks of several chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
A new study found that consumption of Green Tea Polyphenols (at a level equivalent to about 4-6 cups of steeped green tea daily) and participation in tai chi independently enhanced markers of bone health by 3 and 6 months, respectively. A similar effect was found for muscle strength at the 6-month time point. Women taking tai chi classes also reported significant beneficial effects in quality of life in terms of improving their emotional and mental health. Perhaps most remarkable, however, was the substantial effect that both GTP and tai chi had on biological markers of oxidative stress. Because oxidative stress is a main precursor to inflammation, this finding suggests that green tea and tai chi may help reduce the underlying etiology of not only osteoporosis, but other inflammatory diseases as well.