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, December 26, 2013

One Week of Junk Food May Be Enough to Damage Your Memory

Feed your brain the right foods.
A new study from the University of New South Wales in Australia published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity, shows that just one week of eating an unhealthy diet is enough to cause lasting memory impairment in rats.
For a week, the rats were given access to a bottle of sugar water in addition to a healthy diet, or were fed a cafeteria-like diet loaded with cakes, cookies, and fat. Although only the rats on the cafeteria diet gained weight, both groups of rats had memory impairments compared with control animals who ate only healthy foods, suggesting that weight gain alone wasn’t to blame for their memory lapses.

Poor Diet Damages the Hippocampus
The rats had little trouble with object recognition, a type of memory that involves a brain region called the perirhinal cortex. But they did far worse with place recognition, a type of memory that involves a brain region called the hippocampus, which is responsible for many types of memory formation, including retaining new facts.

In the rats on the high-sugar or cafeteria diet, the researchers found that the hippocampus had become inflamed, impairing its function. The inflammation and memory damage lasted for at least three weeks after the rats were returned to a healthy diet.
Although rats aren’t a perfect model for humans, their hippocampus functions in very similar ways to ours. In humans and rats, the hippocampus not only helps us learn but also helps us navigate places and record events as they happen. Keeping it healthy is invaluable for learning and recall.
“A healthy diet is critical for optimum function,” said study author Professor Margaret Morris in an interview with Healthline. “Our data suggests that even several days of bad diet may impair some aspects of memory.”
The hippocampus is also used to regulate the body’s stress system. If it’s not able to do its job properly, stress can get out of control, dumping hormones into your bloodstream that will circulate back to the hippocampus and damage your memory further.

To complete the vicious circle, when stress levels are high, the body’s hunger systems shift. This causes you to selectively crave fatty and sugary foods. 

Memory and Age 
Although a little junk food here and there won’t have too much impact on a young person, a lifetime of poor eating can add up. If your hippocampus doesn’t get a chance to recover from the sugary, fatty onslaught, the inflammation could become long-term damage.
“Some studies show a decline in cognition with aging, and it is possible that an unhealthy diet may be particularly unhelpful in this group,” said Morris. Older brains take longer to recover from insults such as hangovers, so they might also be more vulnerable to damage from a junk food diet.

As seniors living on their own lose mobility, some are more likely to eat pre-packaged foods, such as frozen dinners, which tend to be high in fat, sugar, and salt. So this finding might also help explain the role that diet plays in the development of memory impairment in diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The not so sweet reality of our addiction to sugar.

It is no coincidence that as sugar consumption rises so do obesity and all the related deadly diseases. High fructose corn syrup is the worst of all sugars directly raising triglycerides, stored body fat, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

In the videos below Dr Lustig, Pediatric Endrocrinologist from UCSF discusses his research showing 
how sugar and processed foods are driving the obesity epidemic.

Part One: Sugar-The Bitter Truth
Part Two: Fat Chance- Fructose 2.0

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Geeks to the rescue. Healthsherpa lets you shop for healthcare NOW.

I knew someone would do this. Bravo! Thanks to my heroes at www.theverlastinggopstoppers.com for this story. Kudos go to you entirely!

Quoting with some added comments:  What millions of dollars worth of IT folly could not do in Washington "was done by three geeks in their 20s - George Kalogeropoulos, Ning Liang,  and Michael Wasser –

The trio said they didn’t like witnessing the abysmal rollout of the Affordable Care Act website, Healthcare.gov, so they did what any self-respecting code writing web gurus would do: Saw it as a challenge, and made their own version. On a few nights and weekends.

Said Liang; “They’ve got it completely backwards in terms of what people want up front – they want prices… You come to our website, you put in your zip code… you hit ‘find plans,’ and you immediately see exchange plans that are available for that zip code.’

The result, which the trio built for free, is called Healthsherpa.com and it’s working right now.

CBS News reports that “…using information buried in the government’s own website built by high-priced government contractors, they found a simpler way to present it to users.”

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Alpha Lipoic Acid, Omega-3 EPA and DHA, and Vitamin E lower hemoglobin A1c in diabetics.

study reported in the July-September 2013 issue of the Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, found a that supplementation with either 300 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid, 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA, or 400 iu Vitamin E resulted in a reduction of hemoglobin A1c and fasting glucose levels in diabetics. These three supplement groups experienced encouraging decreases in blood glucose and HbA1c with no adverse effect. The study authors noted that vitamin E was the most cost effective though the maximum improvement in blood glucose and HbA1c was with the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.

Higher vitamin D levels correlated with improved breast cancer prognosis.

An article published online on October 9, 2013 in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found a link between higher levels of serum vitamin D and improved prognosis in women with early stage breast cancer.
When the lowest versus highest categories of serum vitamin D were compared in a pooled analysis, women whose levels were low had a risk of recurrence that was more than double that of subjects whose levels were high and a risk of death that was 76% higher. 
The authors point out that vitamin D, when activated, can alter the transcription and expression of specific genes, resulting in growth arrest, apoptosis, aromatase suppression, decreased inflammation, and inhibition of angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis, all of which help combat cancer. A measurement of vitamin D at your next checkup will help you determine your level, and if it is below 30 ng/ml a higher level of supplementation should be considered. Be sure your vitamin D is vitamin D3 cholecalciferol and not the less active vitamin D2 ergocalciferol.

Not your mom's cheesy cauliflower.

Now this is different. And delicious. The nutty flavor of roasted cauliflower contrasts so nicely with the perky lemon zest and capers. Toss 1 head cauliflower (cut into 1-inch florets) with 1 1/2 cups grapes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons capers, 1 teaspoon each grated lemon zest and kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Garnish with another teaspoon of lemon zest after roasting if desired.
Roast at 450 degrees F, 25 minutes. Midway through, stir the cauliflower to flip it so it browns on several surfaces.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Activation of flavonoids from foods increases their protective nature.

Methylation, a chemical process of adding structures called methyl groups to flavonoids, increases their ability to reduce inflammation and other harmful events in cells.

Methylation – the addition of a methyl group (CH4 – one carbon attached to three hydrogens) to another molecule – is an essential and vital biochemical process within the human body that is involved in a large number of biochemical pathways involving neurotransmitters, detoxification, cardiovascular health, eye health, muscle health, bone health, and redox ( antioxidant) balance. A number of specific nutrients are necessary for methylation to occur normally.

Methylation depends on you having methyl donors on board. Methylcobalamin is a form of vitamin B-12 that is a methyl donor. Methyl folate is a a form of folic acid that also supports methylation. Pyridoxyl 5 phosphate is an active form of vitamin B-6 that contributes to this precess as well. Other methyl donors include trimethylglycine and N Acetyl Cysteine.

Now scientists at the University of York have discovered that very small chemical changes to dietary flavonoids cause very large effects when the plant natural products are tested for their impact on the human immune system.

Plants are capable of making tens of thousands of different small molecules – an average leaf for example, produces around 20,000. Many of these are found in a typical diet and some are already known to have medicinal properties with effects on health, diseases and general well-being.

Now plant biologists and immunologists at York have joined forces to examine a very closely related family of these small molecules (flavonoids) to establish how tiny changes to their chemical structures affect their bioactivity.
The research, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, has important implications for dietary advice and may bring innovation to the development of new pharmaceuticals from plant nutraceuticals.
Researchers from the Centre for Novel Agricultural Products (CNAP) and the Centre for Immunology and Infection (CII) in the University’s Department of Biology designed experiments to test the bioactivity of plant-derived flavonoids.
Professor Dianna Bowles, a plant biochemist and founding Director of CNAP, led the research with Professor Paul Kaye, the Director of CII, who developed the robust assay system involving human cells to assess the impacts of the different structures.
Professor Bowles, who referred to the research in a panel discussion on ‘Nature’s Marvellous Medicines‘ at the recent Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, said: “We were measuring how flavonoids affected the production of inflammatory mediators by cells stimulated by microbial products. We found that the way in which a flavonoid scaffold was decorated had massive effects on how the cells responded.
If a methyl group was attached at one site, there would be no effect; methylate another site, and the cells would produce far greater amounts of these inflammatory mediators. Therefore, the site of attachment on the structural scaffold was all-important in determining the bioactivity of the small molecule.

“Plant products in our diet have immense
molecular diversity and consequently
also have a huge potential for
affecting our health and well being.
We are only at the beginning of
discovering the multitude of their effects.”

Professor Kaye added:  “The research demonstrates the level of control that the shape of a molecule can have on its recognition by our immune system cells. This is really important since we can use information such as this to design new drugs for clinical use, as novel immunomodulators, for example”.