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, November 28, 2012

Vitamin D Linked to Lower Rates of Tooth Decay

A new review of existing studies points toward a potential role for vitamin D in helping to prevent dental caries, or tooth decay. These trials showed that vitamin D was associated with an approximately 50 percent reduction in the incidence of tooth decay.

According to Dr. Michael Holick, professor of medicine at the Boston University Medical Center, "the findings from the University of Washington reaffirm the importance of vitamin D for dental health." He said that "children who are vitamin D deficient have poor and delayed teeth eruption and are prone to dental caries."
The vitamin D question takes on greater importance in the light of current public health trends. Vitamin D levels in many populations are decreasing while dental caries incidence is increasing.
Parents may increase vitamin D levels in children through the use of supplemental cod-liver oil or other products containing the vitamin.

Folate and Vitamin B-12 Linked to Depression

A low intake of folate and vitamin B12 is linked to a greater risk of melancholic depressive symptoms. Typical depressive symptoms are associated with melancholic depression, such as a depressed mood. Folate helps produce chemicals that control brain functions, such as sleep, mood, and appetite, and can be found in foods like green vegetables. Vitamin B12 is also a water soluble vitamin and it plays a crucial role in the function of the brain, nervous system, and formation of red blood cells.

The results from the study showed the subjects with the highest folate intake had a 50% lower risk for melancholic depressive symptoms, compared to those with the lowest intake. And the people who had the highest vitamin B12 levels had a 3 times lower risk for melancholic depressive symptoms than those with the lowest levels.

Journal of Affective Disorders 2012

Foods high in rutin can help prevent blood clots.

Research by investigators at Harvard’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and published in online in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI) has led to a strategy for preventing thrombosis (blood clotting) — feeding rutin to patients.
“It’s not always fully appreciated that the majority of Americans will die as the result of a blood clot in either their heart or their brain,” says senior author Robert Flaumenhaft, MD, PhD, an investigator in the Division of Hemostasis and Thrombosis at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Approximately half of all morbidity and mortality in the United States can be attributed to heart attack or stroke.”
Foods high in rutin can help prevent blood clots
Among the more than 5,000 compounds that were screened by researchers,, quercetin-3-rutinoside (rutin) emerged as the most potent agent to prevent blood clots.
“Rutin proved to be the most potently anti-thrombotic compound that we ever tested in this model,” said Flaumenhaft. Rutin was shown to inhibit both platelet accumulation and fibrin generation during thrombus formation.
Foods that are high in rutin include buckwheat, apples and asparagus.

6000 Steps May Save Your Life

Habitual physical activity that adds up to moving 6,000 or more steps a day may protect women's health in midlife, because, whether through formal exercises or just the activities of daily life, this level of activity is linked to a lower risk for developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome in midlife women.

For most people, that is the equivalent of walking for about an hour a day.

Studies suggest that people who set themselves goals with a pedometer are more likely to increase their levels of physical activity, lose weight and lower their blood pressure. 

But setting yourself a goal of walking for an hour a day can be rather daunting if you are just starting out. It might be easier to achieve such a goal if you break it down and find ways to add in extra steps to what you already do: ten minutes here, and ten minutes there, for instance. 

People who have used pedometers successfully to increase their daily activity do things like:
  • Park further away from entrances, eg at the supermarket or workplace,
  • Use the stairs rather than the elevator,
  • Take a walk at break times, and
  • Enjoy a stroll in the evening, for instance after dinner, with family or friends.

Grapefruit Juice Mixed With Prescription Drugs Can Be Deadly

Many prescription drugs have severe side effects when they are mixed with grapefruit juice, and the number of these medications is rapidly growing, however, doctors are often unaware of the side effects, according to a new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

Serious side effects of mixing grapefruit juice with certain prescription drugs include:
  • respiratory failure
  • gastrointestinal bleeding
  • bone marrow suppression in patients with weak immune systems
  • renal toxicity
  • acute kidney failure
  • sudden death
  • According to the new findings, over 85 different medications may have interactions with grapefruit, and 43 can have harmful effects. Seville oranges, which is found in marmalade, as well as limes and pomelos have the active ingredients, or furanocoumarins - substances which naturally occur in grapefruit. They irreversibly inhibit the drug metabolizing CYP3A4 enzyme that inactivates the effects of approximately half of all medications.

    Medications that mix with these substances have three traits:
    • They are given as oral drugs.
    • They possess very low to middle bioavailability (the percentage of the oral dose of the medication which is soaked into the blood circulation unaltered).
    • They go through drug metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract by CYP3A4.
    For low bioavailability drugs, consuming just one grapefruit can multiply the dosage effect of that medication several times, and this interaction can take place regardless of whether the grapefruit was eaten hours before the drug was taken. Therefore, a moderate amount of grapefruit can impact interacting medications which are taken only once a day at any hour during when the dose is taken.

    Taking regular amounts of medications on a daily basis can increase side effects. For example, when Simvastin, a popular statin, is mixed with one 200-mL glass of grapefruit juice for 3 days, it results in a 330% systematic concentration of the medication in comparison with water.

    Adults over the age of 45 are the most common buyers of grapefruit and also tend to be prescribed the most medications. The population of adults over 45 is extremely large, therefore, many of these interactions are likely to occur. The report notes that older adults are more likely to have decreased capability to endure extreme systematic drug concentrations, making them more likely to experience these adverse effects. 

Newly Discovered Effects Of Vitamin D On Cancer

Vitamin D slows the progression of cells from premalignant to malignant states, keeping their proliferation in check. 

The sunshine vitamin acts by several mechanisms to inhibit both the production and function of the protein cMYC. cMYC drives cell division and is active at elevated levels in more than half of all cancers.

lthough vitamin D can be obtained from limited dietary sources and directly from exposure to the sun during the spring and summer months, the combination of poor dietary intake and sun avoidance has created vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency in large proportions of many populations worldwide. It is known that vitamin D has a wide range of physiological effects and that correlations exist between insufficient amounts of vitamin D and an increased incidence of a number of cancers. These correlations are particularly strong for cancers of the digestive tract, including colon cancer.

Source: McGill University

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Do not buy into IOM's new advice on vitamin D.

I can hardly find words to describe just how crazy the Institute of Medicines new guidelines on vitamin D make me.
Ignore them please. Or should I say follow them at your own peril.
They are saying that if we just reduce the definition of adequacy regarding our level of vitamin D from 30 ng/ml to 20 ng/ml that 80% of Americans will not need supplements.
In other words, 80% of Americans are at or above 20 ng/ml so lets just call that OK.
But it isn't ok. Being at 30 ng/ml ( compared to being deficient) is linked to dramatically reduced incidence of heart attack, stroke, major cardiovascular events, respiratory infections and rates of major cancers. 
DO NOT accept a reduced standard. It is the equivalent of austerity measures for your health. It is nutritional foolishness. old school thinking. All of the noted vitamin D experts challenge this mindset. And I agree with them.
Keep your target level of vitamin D ( measured as 25OH D) at or above 30 ng/ml. Normal range is 30-100 ng/ml. Anything less is a call to action.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

High Carb Diet Bad For Elderly Cognitive Function

Just say no!

Seniors who follow a high-carbohydrate diet are nearly four times as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, especially if their food intake is high in sugar, researchers from the Mayo Clinic report in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. They also found that seniors whose diets are high in protein and fat are less likely to develop cognitive impairment.

The researchers found that:
    The highest carbohydrate eaters had a 1.9 times higher risk of mild cognitive impairment than the participants who ate the fewest carbs.
   The highest sugar consumers had a 1.5 times higher risk of cognitive impairment compared to the lowest consumers.           
   The participants with the highest fat intake had a 42% lower risk of developing cognitive impairment compared to the lowest fat eaters.
   The highest protein consumers had a 21% lower chance of developing dementia compared to the lowest consumers of protein.
   When taking into account fat and protein intake, the highest carb eaters had a 3.6 times higher chance of developing mild cognitive impairment.

"Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia"
Rosebud O. Roberts et alJournal of Alzheimer's Disease, October 2012. 10.3233/JAD-2012-120862

Fruits and Vegetables: Seven-A-Day for Happiness and Mental Health

Yes that's right...in this study done in the UK, happiness and mental health were highest among people who ate seven portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Now heres the problem.  Only one in ten people actually ate that many servings of fruits and vegetables and 25% ate less than one serving daily. Clearly we can do better.

University of Warwick (2012, October 9). Fruits and vegetables: Seven-a-day for happiness and mental health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Taking statins? Also take Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin D

An experimental study involving statin-treated mice found that coenzyme Q10 could reverse atorvastatin-related mitochondrial dysfunction. atorvastatin-treated mice developed muscular mitochondrial dysfunction due to ubiquinone deficiency and a decrease in exercise endurance. The findings of this study in mice suggest that coenzyme Q10 supplementation may benefit those taking statin drugs by reversing some of the adverse effects induced by these medications. But coenzyme Q10 is not the only supplement that may be beneficial for those taking statins to control cholesterol. Vitamin D in a separate study was found to reverse the muscle pain and weakness associated with statin use, even when patients continued taking the statins.

Coenzyme Q10 reverses mitochondrial dysfunction in atorvastatin-treated mice and increases exercise endurance," Muraki A, Miyashita K, et al, J Appl Physiol, 2012

Ahmed W, Khan N, Glueck CJ, Pandey S, Wang P, Goldenberg N, et al. Low serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels (<32 ng/mL) are associated with reversible myositis-myalgia in statin-treated patients. Transl Res 2009;153:11-16

Monday, September 10, 2012

Asthma patients breathe easier when they eat more vegetables and fruit.

A comparison in asthma patients of the difference between high antioxidant intake vs low found better breathing and less episodes of symptoms requiring use of inhalers. Breathing improvements were measured by a higher predicted forced expiratory volume and percentage predicted forced vital capacity in the high-antioxidant group while the low-antioxidant diet group showed an increased level of inflammation, measured as plasma C-reactive protein elevation.
The high antioxidant group averaged 5 servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit daily while the low antioxidant group ate only two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruit.

"Manipulating antioxidant intake in asthma: a randomized controlled trial," Wood LG, Garg ML, et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 2012 Sep

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Higher vitamin D levels associated with lower tumor size and better overall survival in breast cancer patients.

Researchers collected serum from 1800 early breast cancer patients at diagnosis, measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) (vitamin D) levels and determined genetic variants in vitamin D-related genes. The results showed that lower vitamin D levels significantly correlated with larger tumor size at diagnosis but not with lymph node invasion, receptor status, or tumor grade. Genetic variants in 25-hydroxylase (CYP2R1) and vitamin D-binding (DBP) protein significantly determined serum vitamin D levels but did not affect the observed association between serum vitamin D and tumor size. High serum vitamin D (>30ng/mL) at diagnosis significantly correlated with improved overall survival and disease-specific survival and additionally had a modest effect on disease-free interval, which only became apparent after at least 3 years of follow-up. When considering menopausal status, serum vitamin D had a strong impact on breast cancer-specific outcome in postmenopausal patients, whereas no association could be demonstrated in premenopausal patients. The authors conclude "high vitamin D levels at early breast cancer diagnosis correlate with lower tumor size and better overall survival, and improve breast cancer-specific outcome, especially in postmenopausal patients".

Hatse S, Lambrechts D, Verstuyf A, Smeets A, Brouwers B, Vandorpe T, Brouckaert O, Peuteman G, Laenen A, Verlinden L, Kriebitzsch C, Dieudonné AS, Paridaens R, Neven P, Christiaens MR, Bouillon R, Wildiers H. Vitamin D status at breast cancer diagnosis: correlation with tumor characteristics, disease outcome, and genetic determinants of vitamin D insufficiency. Carcinogenesis. 2012 Jul;33(7):1319-26.

Reduce breast cancer risk with exercise.

This study investigated the relationship between recreational physical activity (RPA) and breast cancer risk in a population-based sample of 1504 cases (n = 233 in situ, n = 1271 invasive) and 1555 controls from the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, in Long Island, New York. The results showed 10-19 hours per week of RPA at any intensity level during the reproductive and postmenopausal years has the greatest benefit for reducing breast cancer risk. However, substantial postmenopausal weight gain may eliminate the benefits of regular activity. The authors conclude "Collectively, these results suggest that women can still reduce their breast cancer risk later in life by maintaining their weight and engaging in moderate amounts of activity".

Note: 10-19 hours a week had the greatest benefit...we need to get out and play more!

McCullough LE, Eng SM, Bradshaw PT, Cleveland RJ, Teitelbaum SL, Neugut AI, Gammon MD. Fat or fit: The joint effects of physical activity, weight gain, and body size on breast cancer risk. Cancer. 2012 Jun 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Folic acid supplementation may reduce progression of atherosclerosis.

Researchers have conducted a meta-analysis of relevant randomized trials to assess whether folic acid supplementation reduces the progression of atherosclerosis as measured by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). This analysis included 2,052 subjects from 10 folic acid randomized trials. The analysis showed that folic acid supplementation significantly reduces the progression of CIMT, particularly in subjects with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk but not in subjects who were generally healthy with only elevated homocysteine concentrations. Furthermore, meta-regression analysis of the data showed that the baseline CIMT levels and the percent reduction of homocysteine were positively related to the effect size. Consistently, a greater beneficial effect was seen in those trials with baseline CIMT levels ≥0.8 mm, and a reduction in the homocysteine concentration ≥30%. The authors conclude "Our findings underscore the importance of identifying target populations that can particularly benefit from folic acid therapy".

Qin X, Xu M, Zhang Y, Li J, Xu X, Wang X, Xu X, Huo Y. Effect of folic acid supplementation on the progression of carotid intima-media thickness: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Atherosclerosis. 2012 Jun;222(2):307-13.

Reduced stroke risk associated with B vitamin supplementation.

This study systematically reviewed the effects of B vitamin supplementation on plasma homocysteine (Hcy), cardiovascular and all-cause mortality in randomized controlled trials. Data from 19 studies including 47,921 participants was analyzed and the results showed a significant protective effect on stroke and a decrease in blood Hcy levels with B vitamin supplementation.

Note, be sure your daily multi-vitamin provides at least 400 iu folic acid and 25 to 50 mg of the B complex vitamins, including at least 1000 mcg B-12.

Huang T, Chen Y, Yang B, Yang J, Wahlqvist ML, Li D. Meta-analysis of B vitamin supplementation on plasma homocysteine, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):448-54.

Vitamin C and E supplementation is beneficial for oral contraceptive users.

Oral contraceptives may increase oxidative stress and increase cardiovascular risk in susceptible women. This study aimed to assess whether supplementation with vitamins E and C reduced this oral contraceptives effect. 120 healthy female individuals were divided into three groups: A, control; B, untreated oral contraceptives users; and C, treated oral contraceptives users with vitamin E (200 IU) and C (150 mg) supplementation for 4 weeks. In all cases, plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and glutathione reductase (GR) activities and malondialdehyde (MDA) level were determined. The results showed significant increases in the plasma MDA level, and activities of GPx and GR in plasma were decreased in Group B compared to the control group. Supplementation with vitamin C and E significantly increased the activity of GPx and GR activity, and reduced plasma MDA levels in Group C. The authors concludes "These data suggest that low-dose oral contraceptives, by enhancing the stress oxidative and lipid peroxidation, may represent a potential cardiovascular risk factor, and the use of vitamins E and C may be beneficial in ameliorating this side effect of oral contraceptives".

Note: while there are food sources of these important antioxidants, I suggest taking a daily multi-vitamin that provides at least 400 IU of vitamin E and 500 mg
vitamin C.

Zal F, Mostafavi-Pour Z, Amini F, Heidari A. Effect of vitamin E and C supplements on lipid peroxidation and GSH-dependent antioxidant enzyme status in the blood of women consuming oral contraceptives. Contraception. 2012 Jul;86(1):62-6.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mixed Berry~Fruit Tart

This recipe makes two tarts. Go ahead and make two, they will vanish in no time! Use whatever fresh berries you would like. Be artistic with the arrangement of the fruit.

Almond tart crust:
1 1/2  sticks butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 large egg

1/2-teaspoon vanilla

2 and 1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup almond meal
 (In a food processor grind 1/2 cup sliced almonds with 1-tablespoon powdered sugar)

Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until well blended. Mix in the flour and almond meal just until it is mixed. Do not over mix. Wrap in plastic and chill over night. Divide the dough in half and roll each out on a well-floured surface to desired size. Spray two tart pans with non-stick spray and place the dough in the pans. Prick the bottom. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

Cream Filling:
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (4 oz)

Blend cream cheese and granulated sugar in a food processor until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Add ginger and pulse until finely chopped and mixture is combined well.

To assemble:
1-pint raspberries

1-pint blueberries

1-pint blackberries

1-pint strawberries

Feel free to use any fruit and/or berry combo that you like

Kiwi slices are especially pretty!
1-cup red current jelly
Spread 1/2 of the cream filling into each pre-baked tart shell. Cover artfully with berries and or fruit. When ready to serve melt the jelly over medium heat. Using a pastry brush carefully brush over fruit. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Berries: The New Brain Food!

A study published this week in the Annals of Neurology suggests blueberries and strawberries slow the mental decline of aging. The study analyzed more than 16,000 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study. Women who ate berries more frequently over two decades showed slower decline in brain functions like memory and attention as they got older than those who had the fruits less often. Women who ate berries at least once a week slowed their cognitive decline by about 1.5 to 2.5 years. To see the effect, women had to consume about a half cup of blueberries or a cup of strawberries each week. The benefit is likely explained by a type of flavonoid called anthocyanidins, which are thought to help mitigate the effects of stress and inflammation that could play a role in cognitive decline.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another reason to walk.

The millions of people whose genes make them prone to obesity aren’t at the mercy of nature. How they choose to spend their free time can make a big difference in their waistline, according to new research from the American Heart Association (AHA) meeting in San Diego.
Watching TV for two hours each day increases the effect of certain obesity-related genes by as much as 25%, the researchers estimate. If, on the other hand, people with a strong genetic predisposition to obesity spend one hour each day walking briskly or engaging in comparable exercise, they can halve the genes’ effect.

The influence of the gene variants, however, appeared to be strongest in people who watched the most TV. The variants’ effect on BMI was about four times greater in people who spent 40 hours or more per week in front of the TV than it was in those who watched an hour per week or less.
Prolonged TV watching exacerbates the effect of the gene.
By the same token, weakening the genes’ effect was as simple as switching off the television and going for a brisk walk. The average difference in BMI between a person with the highest genetic obesity risk and a person of identical height with the lowest risk would be cut in half if the high-risk person were to walk for an hour each day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

More trans fat intake linked to aggression and irritability.

Yet another reason to avoid fast foods. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have shown – by each of a range of measures, in men and women of all ages, in Caucasians and minorities – that consumption of dietary trans fatty acids (dTFAs) is associated with irritability and aggression.
The study of nearly 1,000 men and women provides the first evidence linking dTFAs with adverse behaviors that impacted others, ranging from impatience to overt aggression.

Dietary trans fatty acids are primarily products of hydrogenation, which makes unsaturated oils solid at room temperature. They are present at high levels in margarines, shortenings and prepared foods. Adverse health effects of dTFAs have been identified in lipid levels, metabolic function, insulin resistance, oxidation, inflammation, and cardiac health.

Greater trans fatty acid intakes were significantly associated with greater aggression, and were more consistently predictive of aggression and irritability, across the measures tested, than the other known aggression predictors that were assessed. If the association between trans fats and aggressive behavior proves to be causal, this adds further rationale to recommendations to avoid eating trans fats, or including them in foods provided at institutions like schools and prisons, since the detrimental effects of trans fats may extend beyond the person who consumes them to affect others in that persons environment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Red Meat Linked to Increased Mortality Risk

Eating a single serving of red meat per day may raise the risk of early death, a new study found.
The study, which followed more than 120,000 American men and women, linked daily consumption of unprocessed red meat with a 13 percent increase in mortality risk.
A daily serving of processed meat carried an even bigger risk. Eating one hotdog or two strips of bacon per day was associated with a 20 percent increased risk of death, according to the study.
"It's not really surprising because red meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer," said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study published today in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. "What is surprising is the magnitude of risk associated with very moderate red meat consumption."
Nearly three-quarters of the study participants reported eating one or more daily servings of red meat.
"Habitual, daily consumption of these products is actually very common, both in our study and in the general population," said Hu.
People who ate red meat regularly tended to have other bad health habits, like smoking, drinking alcohol and being physically inactive, according to the study. They also tended to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, which are linked to decreased mortality. But even when Hu and colleagues controlled for those risk factors, the red meat-mortality link stood.

The study could not conclude that red meat consumption caused the increased risk of death, rather that there was an association between the two. But red meat contains compounds known to boost the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, such as saturated fat, sodium nitrites and other "chemicals produced during processing and cooking," Hu said.
Swapping red meat for healthy protein sources, such as poultry, fish, legumes and whole grains was linked to a decrease in mortality risk, ranging from 7 percent for fish to 19 percent for nuts.
Dr. Dean Ornish, clinical professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, urges people to scale back on red meat consumption for another reason: the environment. A quarter-pounder with cheese "takes 26 ounces of petroleum and leaves a 13-pound carbon footprint. This is equivalent to burning 7 pounds of coal," he wrote in an editorial accompanying the study. "What is personally sustainable is globally sustainable. What is good for you is good for our planet."

Sugary beverages linked to increased heart risk in men.

Throw out the sugar packets, skip the sweet tea, and just say no to sugar sweetened soft drinks...if you want to do everything you can to keep your heart healthy. So say the results of a new Harvard study.

Just one sugar-sweetened drink a day may be enough to raise a man’s risk for heart disease, a new study suggests.
Men who drank just one sugary drink a day had a 20% higher risk of heart disease than did non-drinkers, says researcher Frank Hu, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.
"This study provides strong evidence that higher consumption of sugary beverages is an important risk factor for heart disease," he says. "Even moderate consumption -- one soda per day -- is associated with a 20% increased risk."
Hu's team followed nearly 43,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Previously, they conducted a similar study with women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study. In that study, they also found a link between sugar-sweetened drinks and heart disease.
"In this one we tried to replicate the results in men," he tells WebMD. The results are very consistent, he says. "That is really enhancing the validity of the findings."
The team found a link, but that does not prove cause and effect. The study is published in the journal Circulation.
Naturally, the Sugar Association, an industry group, took exception with the findings, stressing that sugar is not the main culprit, but lifestyle. So did the American Beverage Association. 

Men who drank sugar-sweetened drinks daily had higher indicators for heart disease than the non-drinkers did.
Those who had a daily sugar-sweetened drink had higher levels of blood fats called triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease. They had lower levels of HDL or "good"cholesterol, another risk factor.

American Heart Association (2012, March 12). Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to increased risk of heart disease in men. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 13, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2012/03/120312162744.htm

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Lovely Book and a Lovely Person

Let me introduce Julie Le Clerc. Former cafe owner and chef turned cookbook author and magazine food editor, Julie Le Clerc's life is truly dedicated to the pursuit of good food and excellent espresso coffee. With her focus always firmly on flavour, Julie creates accessible, uncomplicated but stylish recipes that encourage home cooks to put together deliciously satisfying dishes from scratch.One of the best features of my travels and broadcasts is meeting kindred spirits. I had the great good fortune to be able to invite Julie on Health Line this week. She connected all the way from Auckland, New Zealand at what was 6AM for her, so thanks Julie for a great conversation!
Take a look at Julie's gorgeous book "Made by Hand, Natural Food to Nourish and Delight" ( available on Amazon) and then visit her website and blog for great ideas about how to eat for pleasure and for health.
I can't wait till my travel schedule eases up and I can get back to my kitchen and try some of these delicious fresh and natural dishes!

Balance of fats may influence colon health.

Women who eat about three servings of fish per week have a somewhat lower chance of having polyps found during a routine colonoscopy than women who eat just one serving every two weeks, according to a new study.
The research doesn't prove that seafood protects against polyps, but it "does increase our confidence that something real is going on," said Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, who was not involved in this study.
A polyp, also called an adenoma, is a mushroom-shaped tag of tissue that grows in the colon and can develop into colorectal cancer.
The idea researchers have been pursuing is that the omega-3 fats in fish might have an anti-inflammatory effect, similar to aspirin, that could prevent the development of polyps.
Giovannucci said that earlier experiments in animals have showed that omega-3 fats can reduce the risk of this cancer, but that studies of humans have had mixed results.
In the latest study, the researchers surveyed more than 5,300 people about their eating habits. All of the participants had come in to the researchers' practices for a colonoscopy.
The team then compared more than 1,400 women without polyps to 456 who had adenomas detected during the procedure.
Among women with adenomas, 23 percent were in the bottom fifth among fish eaters, while 15 percent were in the top fifth. That means people who eat lots of seafood are somehow protected against polyps, because otherwise the percentages should have been the same.
After accounting for differences like age, smoking and aspirin use, women who ate the most fish -- three servings a week -- were 33 percent less likely to have a polyp detected than those who ate the least -- less than a serving a week.
Adenomas are generally believed to be the precursor" to cancer.
A 33 percent lower risk is not enormous,it is important because colorectal cancer is a common cancer.
About 140,000 new cases of colon and rectal cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, and more than 50,000 people will die from the cancer. The lifetime risk of developing the disease is about 20 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
Men in the study who ate a lot of fish did not see the same reductions in polyp risk as women, however.
It is possible men are less sensitive to the omega-3s in fish and need to eat more to get any benefit. It could also be that men might eat more omega-6 fats, counteracting the effects of the omega-3s.
Omega-6 fatty acids are related to the production of a hormone called prostaglandin E2, which is associated with inflammation.
Eating omega-3 fatty acids tamps down the body's levels of omega-6 fatty acids. In turn, the body then has reduced levels of prostaglandin E2.
The women in the study who ate more fish -- and presumably, more omega-3s -- had lower levels of prostaglandin E2.
People who have higher levels of this (hormone) are more likely to develop colorectal cancer. So in essence, by eating more omega-3 fatty acids, it's almost like taking an anti-inflammatory medication.