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 22, 2011

Poor Glucose Control Raises Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer's

Getting your blood sugar under control appears to have far reaching effects according to a new study coming out of Japan. The study links glucose regulation with dementia and prediabetes and diabetes with dementia, vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In the population group studied poor glucose control accounted for one in six cases of dementia and one in five cases of Alzheimer’s.

Diabetes patients were 74% more likely to develop dementia of any type over 15 years of follow-up after adjustment for other confounding factors.

And Alzheimer's disease developed 2.05-fold more often in those with diabetes than in those with normal glucose tolerance.
Most interesting, though, was the strong risk prediction of postload glucose levels during the oral glucose tolerance test, mimicking how meals are metabolized.

Higher two-hour postload glucose levels correlated with greater risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia.
After adjustment for age, sex, hypertension, electrocardiogram abnormalities, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, total cholesterol, prior stroke, education, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity in the multivariate analysis:
Two-hour postload glucose levels of 7.8 to 11.0 mmol/L predicted 50% elevated risk of all-cause dementia and 87% elevated likelihood of Alzheimer's disease.

Two-hour postload glucose levels above 11.0 mmol/L predicted 2.47-fold higher risk of all-cause dementia and 3.42-fold elevated Alzheimer's risk and 2.66-fold elevated vascular dementia risk (P=0.01).

Those findings suggested "that postprandial glucose regulation is critical to prevent future dementia.

Hyperglycemia itself may have an impact on the brain through atherosclerosis, oxidative stress and accumulation of advanced protein glycation, and changes in insulin metabolism yielding distorted amyloid metabolism.

One important tool to reduce high after meal blood sugar levels is the glycemic index. Foods that are low are better than foods that are high.
Have a look at how the foods you eat frequently score on the index here.

Ohara T, et al "Glucose tolerance status and risk of dementia in the community: The Hisayama Study" Neurology 2011; 77: 1126–1134.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anger hurts your heart but laughter protects it.

If you are a hothead, your heart may be at risk. Several recent studies point to the link between anger and heart disease and dangerous heart events like heart attack. So think about this the next time you feel like raging at another driver or that slow person in front of you at the supermarket. Individuals who are prone to getting angry may have a higher risk for heart failure, researchers found. And in those who were hospitalized for heart failure, high anger levels were associated with a greater risk of getting readmitted.
The findings are consistent with previous studies that have evaluated the link between anger or hostility and the risks of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Last month a study found that among patients with cardiovascular disease, an angry personality profile was associated with a higher risk of MI.
That study found that anger drives heart attacks but laughter may protect you. When you are riled your blood vessels squeeze and blood flow is reduced, but a good belly laugh relaxes the arteries and enhances circulation.
And a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that previously healthy people who were prone to anger and hostility had a greater risk for coronary heart disease events. In those who already had heart disease, anger was associated with a worse prognosis.
 Source reference:
Kucharska-Newton A, et al " Anger proneness increases risk of heart failure" HFSA 2011; Abstract 217.

Depression Boosts Stroke Risk

Being depressed may increase an individual's risk of stroke and stroke death, a meta-analysis found.
Depression was associated with a 45% increased risk of total stroke and a 55% higher risk of fatal stroke. The association was reported in the Sept. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The analysis included 28 studies involving 317,540 patients. Eight of the studies focused on fatal stroke, three on nonfatal stroke, six on ischemic stroke, and two on hemorrhagic stroke.

While this sounds alarming, the actual numbers of people who have stroke were very small. The absolute risk differences associated with depression were 106 cases for total stroke, 53 cases for ischemic stroke, and 22 cases for fatal stroke per 100,000 patients per year.

Depression may contribute to stroke via a variety of mechanisms, including known neuroendocrine and immunological/inflammatory effects, its association with poor health behaviors that could increase cardiovascular risk, and its correlation with other major comorbidities that raise the risk of stroke, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Fortunately, there are a number of lifestyle factors and nutrient factors that help us to avoid both depression and stroke. Healthy blood vessels depend on a good level of vitamin C for elasticity. Flavonoids like pycnogenol, grape seed extract, resveratrol and Curcumin support healthy blood vessels. Fish oils and vitamin D support the health of the blood vessels, reduce risk of stroke when taken daily, and also support brighter mood.
Source reference:

Grocery store CEOs: Refuse Monsanto's GMO sweet corn!

I thank CredoAction http://www.credoaction.com/ for the good work they are doing to raise awareness about this issue. From their petition: Right now, Monsanto, the corporation responsible for producing roughly 90% of genetically modified seeds around the globe, is working to bring their new, GMO sweet corn to a grocery store aisle or farmer's market near you.1
Unlike Monsanto's other GMO crops -- which are primarily fed to animals -- this sweet corn is intended for direct human consumption.
This is the first time Monsanto has engineered a vegetable that could be served straight to your dinner table. And if this unlabeled, and potentially toxic crop succeeds, Monsanto is sure to bring us even more.
As an activist and consumer, you are in a powerful position to pressure leading U.S. grocery stores to reject Monsanto's new GMO corn.
Tell U.S. food companies: Americans don't want Monsanto's GMO sweet corn in our grocery stores!
Monsanto's GMO sweet corn is engineered to tolerate the herbicide Roundup, and to produce the insect-killing pesticide Bt.
If that sounds dangerous to eat, there's good reason.
A past study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences found that Monsanto's GMO corn led to organ failure in mammals.2 This GMO corn has also recently been linked to a sharp spike in livestock infertility, as high as 20% -- a health problem that could potentially pose a risk to humans.3
But shockingly, just as other GMO foods are not required to have special labeling, consumers will have no way of knowing if they're purchasing Monsanto's new genetically modified sweet corn.
Tell U.S. grocery stores: Americans don't want Monsanto's GMO sweet corn!
Some of Monsanto's GMO corn is already in human food -- used to make additives in processed food products -- and even in small quantities it's having scary effects.
This past spring a Canadian study found that the GMO toxin inserted in Bt corn was found in the bloodstreams of 93 percent of pregnant women4 -- just from its presence in processed grains and highly processed food products.
Now, grocery stores could be on the verge of delivering up this toxic corn, and its toxic effects, in much higher doses and without processing, and we wouldn't even know what we were eating.
 We must raise our voice as consumers and urge grocery stores to reject Monsanto's potentially dangerous new product, and stop this dangerous trend of Monsanto-made, straight to table products.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Postnatal DHA Supplementation Brings Cognitive and Cardiovascular Benefits to Infants

If you have a new baby and are not breastfeeding a new study suggests that your baby's brain and heart will thank you for buying formula that is enriched with two critically important long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, DHA and ARA. 

In the University of Kansas Study infants who were fed fortified formula were more cognitively advanced and had heart Benefits. Study lead author John Colombo, a neuroscientist who specializes in the measurement of early neurocognitive development, said that the findings add to the mounting evidence that these nutritional compounds positively affect brain and behavioral development.

DHA or docosahexaenoic acid is an essential long-chain fatty-acid that affects brain and eye development, and babies derive it from their mothers before birth and if they are breastfeeding, up to age two. But the American diet is markedly deficient in DHA sources such as fish. ARA or arachidonic acid is another long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid that is present in breast milk and commercial formula.

Colombo and Carlson’s earlier work and collaborations influenced infant formula manufacturers to begin adding DHA in 2001.
John Colombo, Susan E. Carlson, Carol L. Cheatham, Kathleen M. Fitzgerald-Gustafson, Amy Kepler, Tasha Doty. Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation in Infancy Reduces Heart Rate and Positively Affects Distribution of AttentionPediatric Research, 2011

Suffer From Brain fatigue? Get Off of That Couch!

Scientists have long understood that regular exercise increases the number of organelles called mitochondria in muscle cells. Mitochondria produce energy, Thus one of the positive physical effects of exercise is increased strength or endurance. Exercise also works in the brain to reduce depression and boost memory. Now we may know why.
Exercise doesn’t just boost cellular powerhouses, (mitochondria) in muscles—it increases their population in brain cells too. Thus exercise increases the number of mitochondria in the brain just as it increases mitochondria in muscles. The benefits? Better exercise endurance by energizing the brain and having it be more resistant to fatigue. A boost in brain mitochondria play a supporting role for reducing the impact of mental disorders. Exercise may prove to be a potential treatment for psychiatric disorders, genetic disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Jennifer L. Steiner, E. Angela Murphy, Jamie L. Mcclellan, Martin D. Carmichael, J. Mark Davis. Exercise Training Increases Mitochondrial Biogenesis in the Brain.American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology, 2011