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!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sticking with a healthy lifestyle pays off in a huge way!

Women who live a healthy lifestyle had as much as a 90% reduction in the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) when compared with women with a high-risk profile, data from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) showed.

Compared with women with none of the low-risk attributes, the risk of SCD declined linearly as the number of these attributes increased, ranging from a 46% reduction for a woman who had one to 92% for those who had all four.

About 80% of attributable risk for SCD was linked to four lifestyle factors included in the analysis: smoking, overweight, inactivity, and poor diet, according to an article in the July 6 issue of JAMA.

Because SCD accounts for more than 50% of CHD mortality, widespread adoption of a healthy lifestyle in the population could make a substantial impact on reaching the American Heart Association's 2020 Impact Goal of further lowering cardiovascular disease mortality.

Investigators defined a low-risk lifestyle as no smoking, BMI <25, at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, and top 40% of the alternate Mediterranean diet score. The diet emphasizes consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fish, and moderate alcohol consumption. See how to score yourself below.

Each of the four low-risk lifestyle factors had an independent, statistically significant association with a lower risk of SCD (P<0.001). Multivariable analysis showed that the magnitude of the risk reduction increased with the number of low-risk factors, as compared with women who had none of the traits:
                46% for one low-risk factor
                59% for two
                67% for three
92% for all four

How the alternate Mediterranean Diet score works:
One point each is given for intake at or above the sex-specific median intake for components considered to be healthy — vegetables (excluding potatoes), fruits, nuts, legumes, grains, fish, and monounsaturated-fat/saturated-fat ratio — and one point is given for intake less than the median for those components considered unhealthy (red and processed meat). In addition, one point is given for alcohol intake within a specified range (5-25 g/day).

Get out of that chair!

Another caution against spending too much time sitting...Women who sat for more than 40 hours per week had double the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism than those who were sedentary for less time, according to the Nurses' Health Study.

Bad news for restaurant lovers...

We need to cook at home...the more you eat out, the more likely you are to be fat, say obesity experts who have studied the link between eating at restaurants and obesity — which are both on the rise.

A third of the calories Americans eat come from restaurants, including fast-food franchises, which is almost double what it was 30 years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"For the average consumer, eating one meal away from home each week translates to roughly two extra pounds a year," said Lisa Mancino, a food economist for the USDA.

More than half of adults eat out three or more times a week, and 12 percent eat out more than seven times a week. As a result, the pounds are adding up.

Wouldn't you LOVE to be able to use your Flex Spending Account to buy your Supplements?

Tell Congress! Support the Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011

NPA Endorses Hatch-Paulsen Bill Expanding HSA and FSA Coverage to Dietary Supplements
NPA Members and the Industry Asked to Contact Capitol Hill to Express Their Support 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statement from Natural Products Association (NPA) Executive Director and CEO John Gay about the “Family and Retirement Health Investment Act of 2011” recently introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Orrin Hatch and in the U.S. House by Representative Erik Paulsen:
“The Natural Products Association supports legislation introduced in Congress by Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Erik Paulsen that would allow Americans to use their Health Spending Account and Flex Spending Arrangement dollars on dietary supplements and meal replacement products. We believe this would be an important step in promoting preventative health and wellness, and reducing overall health care costs.
Current law allows these dollars to be spent on prescription drugs but not supplements. NPA supports increased access to supplements as part of our health care system so that it is truly a health care system and not simply a disease treatment system. Letting HSA and FSA funds apply to supplements would bring us closer to that goal.
In the long run, wider use of supplements can lead to substantial health care savings. For example, studies have shown that an increase in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce coronary heart disease among people age 65 or older, saving an estimated $3.1 billion. By establishing tax deductibility for specific products through HSAs and FSAs, the legislation encourages preventative care and promotes public health. That’s not just the smart thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.
NPA thanks Senator Hatch and Representative Paulsen for their leadership on this timely and important issue. We encourage NPA members and the industry to ask their senators and representative to join them in supporting this legislation as it works its way through Congress.”
To learn more about this issue or to contact a member of Congress, visit www.npainfo.org.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tell Me Where it Hurts...

Nearly one in three among us contends with long-lasting pain — the kind that lingers for weeks to months — and more often than not are not helped by the US healthcare system poorly prepared to treat them, the Institute of Medicine said Wednesday.
As great as the suffering is, the cost from a financial standpoint is enormous: the tab for chronic pain is costing the nation at least $558 billion a year in medical bills, sick days, and lost productivity. That's more than the cost of heart disease, the No. 1 killer. And all that money isn't bringing relief to the majority of those who are suffering.
All kinds of ailments can trigger lingering pain, from arthritis to cancer, spine problems to digestive disorders, injuries to surgery. Sometimes, chronic pain can be a disease all its own, the report stressed.
Whatever the cause, effective pain management is "a moral imperative," says IOM, urging the government, medical groups, and insurers to take a series of steps to transform the field.
Jolie adds: Some chronic pain conditions are relieved in part or sometimes fully by taking marine omega 3's, but the dose is far greater than a single capsule...for real relief a person usually needs to take between 2400 mg EPA and DHA combined and may need to boost the dose in some very difficult cases by a factor of three.

Other pain sufferers find that getting their vitamin D levels assessed and then raising them to a level between 40-60ng/ml will help relieve pain of rheumatoid and musculoskeletal conditions and also neuropathies.