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!

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.

The Omega 3 DHA Reduces Risk of Irregular Heartbeat

Older adults who had the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, most commonly found in fish, were 30 percent less likely to later develop an irregular heartbeat than peers with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s, according to a U.S. study.
Up to nine percent of U.S. residents will develop atrial fibrillation by the time they reach their 80s, according to some estimates. The heart rhythm abnormality can lead to stroke and heart failure.
There are few treatments for the condition and they largely center on preventing strokes with blood-thinning drugs.
"A 30 percent lower risk of the most common chronic arrhythmia in the United States population is a pretty big effect," said Dariush Mozaffarian, senior author of the study and a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Some previous studies have suggested that people who eat a lot of fish have a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation to begin with, but others haven't found the same link.
The omega-3 fatty acids measured in the new study, which was published in the journal Circulation, were eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are found in oily fish and some enriched foods, such as eggs, as well as in fish oil supplements.
The earlier studies relied on questionnaires about how much fish people ate, which can only estimate the amount of omega-3s they ingested, Mozaffarian noted.
Any given fish species can vary in its omega-3s by ten-fold.
To get a more accurate measurement of how much fish oil people in the study actually ingested, the researchers sampled blood from more than 3,300 adults over age 65.
Over the next 14 years, they tracked the participants' health and found that 789 developed atrial fibrillation.
Those with the top 25 percent omega-3 levels in their bloodstreams at the beginning of the study were about 30 percent less likely to end up with the arrhythmia compared to those with the bottom 25 percent blood levels.
"These are meaningful reductions in risk," said Alvaro Alonso, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study.
A 30 percent reduction in risk would mean that instead of 25 out of every 100 people developing a condition, only about 17 of every 100 would.
Of the three omega-3 fatty acids, high DHA levels were linked to a 23 percent lower risk for atrial fibrillation, while EPA and DPA were not tied to any reduced risk.
Researchers suggest that the DHA found in fatty fish might work by stabilizing the excitability of heart muscle cells.