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, January 9, 2013

Vitamin D and other supplements may interact with medications.

It is a good idea to check with your pharmacist, doctor or nutritionist to see if your supplements interact with your medications. Or you can follow the link below to check with the Office of Dietary Supplements at National Institutes of health for a list of known interactions.
Many of you may want to know whether or not vitamin D interacts with any drugs. Yes it may. Care is needed in the following situations:
  • If you’re taking certain other medicines: digoxin and have irregular heartbeats (atrial fibrillation) or thiazide diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide or bendroflumethiazide (commonly used to treat high blood pressure). In this situation, don’t take high doses of vitamin D without consulting your doctor.  You should also have your digoxin level monitored more closely if you’re taking vitamin D.
  • If you have one of these medical conditions: primary hyperparathyroidism, Hodgkin’s or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a granulomatous disease, kidney stones, some types of kidney disease, liver disease or hormonal disease, you should get advice from your doctor or a specialist before taking high doses of vitamin D.
  • Don’t take vitamin D if you have high blood calcium levels, unless under the care of your physician.
  • You may need more than the usual dose of vitamin D if you’re taking certain medicines which interfere with vitamin D. These include: carbamazepine, phenytoin, primidone, barbiturates and some medicines used for the treatment of HIV infection.
For a list of contraindications for other vitamins and minerals, visit the Office of Dietary Supplement’s website:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Benefits of Grass Fed Beef.

There are many reasons to choose grass fed beef over grain fed cattle. Open pasture cattle farms are better for the environment. Methods of raising and slaughtering grass fed cattle are usually much more humane.  Unlike their feed lot counterparts, grass fed cows are typically not given harmful antibiotics and hormones.

Grain fed cattle raised at feedlots are also much more likely to consume chicken manure, garbage and other waste products in addition to the grain. Grass fed beef not only has more nutrients than grain fed beef, but is less likely to have been exposed to unhealthy microbes, drugs and contaminants.

Here are a few benefits of grass fed beef:
Source of healthy Omega 3s
 Grass fed beef is not only much leaner than the grain fed variety, it contains twice as many omega 3 fatty acids. These "healthy fats" are essential to human nutrition and are even beneficial to cardiovascular health.
Lower Cholesterol
 Grass fed beef has lower levels of cholesterol than grain fed beef. High cholesterol has damaging effects on the cardiovascular system and can increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
The amount of vitamin A, vitamin E and other antioxidants in grass fed beef dwarfs that in grain fed beef. These antioxidants play a critical role in fighting free radical cell damage and protecting the body from cancer and age-related sickness and disease.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
 Grass fed beef has twice as many conjugated linoleic acid isomers (CLAs), another healthy fat, as regular beef. CLAs have anti-cancer properties and are believed to lower the risk of developing diabetes. Higher intake of CLA is linked to weight loss.
E. Coli
 According to researchers at Cornell University, cows fed a diet of grain have about 300 times more E. coli bacteria in their stomachs than those fed a grass diet. E. coli obtained from grass fed beef also has a greater tolerance to human acidic defenses and is much more likely to make a person sick.
Antibiotic Resistance
 Grain fed cattle, especially those crammed into tiny feedlots, are extremely prone to sickness and disease. For this reason, they are often fed copious amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive and to stimulate their growth. Eating the beef of these cattle can lead to antibiotic resistance in humans. Grass fed cattle are far less likely to get sick or to be given any antibiotics at all.

Take your B vitamins to protect colon health.

Increased intakes of vitamin B6 and riboflavin (B2) are associated with a 20% reduction in the risk of colorectal cancer, says a new study.

Low vitamin D tied to lower birthweight babies.

Vitamin D status has been linked to birth weight.
Women deficient in vitamin D early in their pregnancies are more likely to deliver babies with lower birth weights, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health research reveals.
The research team discovered that mothers with levels of vitamin D in their blood of less than 0.015 parts per million (37.5 nmol/L or 14.8 ng/ml) in their first 26 weeks of pregnancy delivered babies who weighed an average of 46 grams less than their peers. Only full-term babies - those delivered between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy - were included in the study.
In addition, women who were vitamin D deficient in the first trimester of pregnancy - 14 weeks or less - were twice as likely to have babies who fell in the lower 10th percentile for weight when compared to other full-term babies born in the same week of pregnancy, a condition known as "small for gestational age."
Babies born small for gestational age are at five to 10 times greater risk for death in their first month and have a higher risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes, later in life.
Results from this study - one of the largest studies to examine a mother's vitamin D levels and their relationship with birth weights - show that clinical trials to determine if you can improve birth weights by giving women of reproductive age vitamin D supplements may be warranted.
Vitamin D is unique in that our bodies can make it from sunlight, though it also is in fortified foods, such as milk and orange juice, and can be taken as a supplement.
The study used a random sample of 2,146 pregnant women who participated in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, which was conducted in 12 U.S. medical centers from 1959 to 1965. The blood samples collected by the project were well-preserved and able to be tested for vitamin D levels half a century later.
"Although the blood samples were in remarkably good condition, it would be beneficial to repeat our study in a modern sample," the researcher said. "Today women smoke less, weigh more, have less sun-exposure and get more vitamin D in their foods - all things that could impact their vitamin D levels and babies' birth weights."
Maternal vitamin D deficiency could cause low birth weight by inhibiting the typical increase in calcium absorption by pregnant women, which could reduce fetal bone growth. It also could lead to a decrease in the hormones necessary to produce the glucose and fatty acids that provide for fetal energy needs.
Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, online December 2012

Women: Walk away your risk of stroke.

Women who walk at least three hours every week are less likely to suffer a stroke than women who walk less or not at all, according to new research from Spain.

Women who walked briskly for 210 minutes or more per week had a lower stroke risk than inactive women but also lower than those who cycled and did other higher-intensity workouts for a shorter amount of time.
The results for women who were regular walkers translated to a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk compared to the inactive group.

Each year in the U.S., about 795,000 people suffer a stroke, according to the American Heart Association. Put another way, one American has a stroke every 40 seconds and dies from one every four minutes.
Despite a recent dip in strokes attributed to better blood pressure control and anti-smoking campaigns, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that stroke cases will increase as the global population continues to grow older.
Guidelines set by the WHO and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes - or two-and-a-half hours - of moderate exercise such as brisk walking each week.

Source: Physical Activity and Risk of Cerebrovascular Disease in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition-Spain Study

Study: Soda and Sugar Drive Obesity

New research powerfully implicates soda and other sugary drinks as culprits in the obesity epidemic.

A huge, decades-long study involving more than 33,000 Americans has yielded the first clear proof that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, amplifying a person’s risk of obesity beyond what it would be from heredity alone.
This means that such drinks are especially harmful to people with genes that predispose them to weight gain. And most of us have at least some of these genes.
In addition, two other major experiments have found that giving children and teens calorie-free alternatives to the sugary drinks they usually consume leads to less weight gain.
Collectively, the results strongly suggest that sugary drinks cause people to pack on the pounds, independent of other unhealthy behavior such as overeating and getting too little exercise, scientists say.
That adds weight to the push for taxes, portion limits like the one just adopted in New York City, and other policies to curb consumption of soda, juice drinks and sports beverages sweetened with sugar.
Soda lovers do get some good news: Sugar-free drinks did not raise the risk of obesity in these studies.
“You may be able to fool the taste” and satisfy a sweet tooth without paying a price in weight, said an obesity researcher with no role in the studies, Rudy Leibel of Columbia University.
The studies were being presented Friday at an obesity conference in San Antonio and were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
The gene research in particular fills a major gap in what we know about obesity. It was a huge undertaking, involving three long-running studies that separately and collectively reached the same conclusions. It shows how behavior combines with heredity to affect how fat we become.
Having many of these genes does not guarantee people will become obese, but if they drink a lot of sugary beverages, “they fulfill that fate,” said an expert with no role in the research, Jules Hirsch of Rockefeller University in New York. “The sweet drinking and the fatness are going together, and it’s more evident in the genetic predisposition people.”
Sugary drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, and they are increasingly blamed for the fact that a third of U.S. children and teens and more than two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight.

Consumption of sugary drinks and obesity rates have risen in tandem —both have more than doubled since the 1970s in the U.S.

In one study, researchers randomly assigned 224 overweight or obese high schoolers in the Boston area to receive shipments every two weeks of either the sugary drinks they usually consumed or sugar-free alternatives, including bottled water. No efforts were made to change the youngsters’ exercise habits or give nutrition advice, and the kids knew what type of beverages they were getting.
After one year, the sugar-free group weighed more than 4 pounds less on average than those who kept drinking sugary beverages.
“I know of no other single food product whose elimination can produce this degree of weight change,” said the study’s leader, Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health.
The weight difference between the two groups narrowed to 2 pounds in the second year of the study, when drinks were no longer being provided. That showed at least some lasting beneficial effect on kids’ habits. The study was funded mostly by government grants.
A second study involved 641 normal-weight children ages 4 to 12 in the Netherlands who regularly drank sugar-sweetened beverages. They were randomly assigned to get either a sugary drink or a sugar-free one during morning break at their schools, and were not told what kind they were given.
The studies “provide strong impetus” for policies urged by the Institute of Medicine, the American Heart Association and others to limit sugary drink consumption.
The genetic research was part of a much larger set of health studies that have gone on for decades across the U.S., led by the Harvard School of Public Health.
Researchers checked for 32 gene variants that have previously been tied to weight. Because we inherit two copies of each gene, everyone has 64 opportunities for these risk genes. The study participants had 29 on average.
Every four years, these people answered detailed surveys about their eating and drinking habits as well as things like smoking and exercise. Researchers analyzed these over several decades.
A clear pattern emerged: The more sugary drinks someone consumed, the greater the impact of the genes on the person’s weight and risk of becoming obese.
For every 10 risk genes someone had, the risk of obesity rose in proportion to how many sweet drinks the person regularly consumed. Overall calorie intake and lifestyle factors such as exercise did not account for the differences researchers saw.
This means that people with genes that predispose them to be obese are more susceptible to the harmful effects of sugary drinks on their weight, said one of the study leaders, Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu. The opposite also was true — avoiding these drinks can minimize the effect of obesity genes.
“Two bad things can act together and their combined effects are even greater than either effect alone,” Hu said. “The flip side of this is everyone has some genetic risk of obesity, but the genetic effects can be offset by healthier beverage choices. It’s certainly not our destiny” to be fat, even if we carry genes that raise this risk.