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!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

US Newborn Death Rate is 41st in the World

Do you think we lead the world in health status or health care? Think again.
Babies in the United States have a higher risk of dying during their first month of life than do babies born in 40 other countries, according to a new World Health Organization report. Shockingly enough, we are tied with Qatar for newborn infant mortality!
Some of the countries that outrank the United States in terms of newborn death risk are South Korea, Cuba, Malaysia, Lithuania, Poland and Israel, according to the study.
Premature infants are a leading reason for the US infant death rate. Go here for the whole story.
I would like to thank a fellow Twitter person Mark Crispin Miller for tweeting this story and bringing it to my attention. Mark has a fabulous website called "News From Underground" that I will be reading everyday from now on. The site is a daily e-news service run by Mr. Miller who is a Professor of Culture and Communication at NYU. It is based on his belief that academics, like reporters, have a civic obligation to help keep the people well-informed, so that American democracy might finally work.
You can follow Mark on Twitter. He is @mcrispinmiller
By the way, the omega 3 DHA is associated with longer gestation periods and improved neonate and maternal outcome. Duration of gestation increased significantly when docosahexaenoic acid intake was increased during the last trimester of pregnancy. Read the study below.

A Randomized Trial of Docosahexaenoic Acid Supplementation During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vitamin C appears to be critical for health and function of the eye.

GABA type receptors in retinal cells require significant amounts of vitamin C to function properly, according to collaborative research from Oregon Health & Science University and University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
According to the scientists, GABA-type receptors in the brain support communications between brain cells. The study found the GABA-type receptors in retinal cells stopped functioning properly when vitamin C was not plentiful.
The study authors found that the cells in the retina need to be 'bathed' in relatively high doses of vitamin C, inside and out, to function properly. Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, this suggests there's likely an important role for vitamin C throughout our brains.

Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties may preserve receptors and other cells from premature breakdown. Retinal cells are a type of very accessible brain cells, suggesting other parts of the brain containing GABA-type receptors might be similarly dependent on vitamin C.
The role of vitamin C in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) is not fully understood, according to researchers, who noted even when the rest of the body is deprived of the vitamin, it persists in the brain long after. This research finding may provide clues into the mechanisms of scurvy, which is caused by vitamin C deficiency. The findings may also yield insights into other diseases such as glaucoma and epilepsy, both which are caused by dysfunctional nerve cells in the retina and brain possibly marked by GABA receptor malfunctioning.
For example, maybe a vitamin C-rich diet could be neuroprotective for the retina, for people who are especially prone to glaucoma.

Foods that are particularly high in vitamin C are Red and Green Peppers, Guava, fresh herbs such as Thyme and Parsley, Dark leafy greens such as Kale and Chard, Collards and Mustard Greens, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts. Kiwi fruit, papaya, Oranges and Tangerines and strawberries are also great sources of vitamin C. And of course you can always take a supplement!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Improving child survival through vitamin A supplementation.

Vitamin A deficiency in children increases vulnerability to infections. Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that 190 million children under the age of 5 may be vitamin A deficient. Despite widespread efforts, vitamin A programs do not reach all children who could benefit. Children in low and middle income countries should be given vitamin A supplements to prevent death and illness, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal August 29, 2011.

In the analysis of over 43 trials using vitamin A the study authors found vitamin A supplements reduced child mortality by 24% in low and middle income countries. It may also reduce mortality and disability by preventing measles, diarrhea and vision problems, including night blindness.

If the risk of death for 190 million vitamin A deficient children were reduced by the calculated 24%, over 600,000 lives would be saved each year and 20 million disability-adjusted life years (a measure of quantity and quality of life) would be gained.

DHA May Reduce Stroke Injury

Consuming the omega 3 DHA docosahexaenoic acid may reduce the extent of damage of a stroke by as much as 25% This is a study demonstrating the inflammation blocking effects of DHA in the brain. How much DHA would it take to approximate the effect found in the study? 2.5 to 3 grams of DHA and EPA daily with the emphasis on DHA.

Docosahexaenoic Acid
The article “Accumulation of Dietary Docosahexaenoic Acid in the Brain Attenuates Acute Immune Response and Development of Postischemic Neuronal Damage” was published in the August 18 edition of the journal “Stroke

Your hearts desire..if you're a chocoholic...

A study at Cambridge University has found a delicious answer to reducing heart disease: Chocolate. Polyphenol rich chocolate consumption can slash your risk of heart disease by about a third. One likely mechanism is an increase in nitric oxide which might lead to healthier blood vessels, reductions in stickiness of platelets and beneficial affects on blood pressure, insulin resistance and lipid levels. The findings were presented today at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris.

Taking a Multi-Vitamin May Boost Memory As We Age

Hope you're taking a multi every day!

In 1994, French researchers recruited 4,500 French men and women aged 45 to 60 to take part in the experiment.  Half of them took a daily supplement with vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc and beta-carotene for eight years, the other half took a placebo. The participants were not told whether they were taking the vitamin or the placebo.
After the eight years, researchers stopped giving participants the pills and gave them the choice of whether or not to take vitamin supplements. Six years later, the researchers brought them back for a round of memory tests, including word and number problems.
While the supplement and placebo groups performed similarly on most tests, the nutrient-boosted participants beat their peers on one test of long-term memory in which participants had to recall words in different categories.
The findings support a beneficial effect of a well-balanced intake of antioxidant nutrients at nutritional doses for maintaining cognitive performance, especially verbal memory.

Take a look at the study here.