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!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Inflammation Resolution the Key to Preventing or Reversing Alzheimer's disease Suggests Compelling New Study

Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids could help to prevent and even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. 
The connection is resolving inflammation. The beneficial fats may come to the affected person’s rescue by stimulating newly identified ‘resolution pathways’ in the brain, according to research outlining an ‘entirely new’ approach to the condition.
The new study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, demonstrates a new approach to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – suggesting that omega-3 fatty acid derivatives stimulate the uptake of amyloid-beta proteins. The proteins are the alleged culprits in the deteriorating health of brains affected by this dreadful disease. They apparently kill brain cells and form Alzheimer's disease hallmark plaques.
Led by Professor Marianne Schultzberg from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, the team behind the research revealed that normal inflammatory processes should ultimately lead to tissue repair in a process known as restoration. However, with Alzheimer's disease this normal process is interrupted – meaning that rather than repair and restore tissue, debris from dead cells and other microorganisms fails to be cleared away, and instead accumulates in the brain, wreaking havoc.
"Our hypothesis is that stimulation of resolution of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease may result in reduced neuronal death in the brain, and in turn have a beneficial effect in disease progression and cognition,” explained Schultzberg.
“This is an entirely new approach and provides the opportunity to develop new treatment principles for Alzheimer's disease," she said.
The Swedish team found protective compounds formed in the brain from omega-3 fatty acids help to induce the resolution process and stimulate the uptake or clearing away of amyloid-beta proteins that have been linked to the progression of Alzheimer's disease through the development of plaques.
The team will now try to prove the hypothesis by using animal models to see if omega-3 fatty acids can prevent memory loss and further loss of brain cells.
In the study, Dr Schultberg and her group examined cerebrospinal fluid from 15 patients with Alzheimer's disease, 20 patients with mild cognitive impairment and 21 control subjects. They also analyzed brain tissue from 10 Alzheimer's patients and 10 control subjects.
Schultzberg and her team looked for the presence, and comparative levels of several inflammatory molecules and receptors involved in the resolution pathway – including specialised pro-resolving mediators (SPMs), receptors, biosynthetic enzyme, and downstream effectors - in postmortem hippocampal tissue from AD patients and non-AD subjects.
SPMs were also measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
The team found that SPMs and SPM receptors were detected in the human brain – indicating the resolution pathway does exist in the brain. They also found that levels of the SPM lipoxin A4 (LXA4) were reduced in AD patients, both in the CSF and hippocampus.
In addition, an enzyme involved in LXA4 synthesis and two SPM receptors were elevated in AD brains, said the team, while LXA4 and RvD1 levels in CSF correlated with Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores.
As a result, the team concluded that the resolution pathway exists in the brain, adding that the alterations identified in the study “strongly suggest” a dysfunction of this pathway in Alzheimer’s disease.
They added that treatment with SPMs, or alternatively, by stimulating the resolution pathway – such as might occur with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation – “is suggested as a new and promising therapy in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stand up for Food that is Responsibly Grown

Farmworkers sometimes endure terrible working conditions, and food is not always responsibly grown.

Soon, a new certification system will assure that American farms meet rigorous safety standards and treat their workers with the same great care they give to the fruits and vegetables they grow so you’ll know that the fields where your food comes from are a decent and safe place to work, and that your food is the best it can be for you and your family. More retailers will carry produce that is responsibly grown and farmworker assured, but you need to make your voice heard.

My heartfelt thanks to Food Inc and Take Part for bringing important issues to light.
Go here to voice your support.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Severe Heart Disease Found in Patients With Low Vitamin D

Have you had your vitamin D levels tested? I certainly hope you have because lower levels of vitamin D predict extent of coronary artery disease. Your goal should be a 25 OHD level of 30ng/mL or higher.
Vitamin D deficiency is an independent risk factor for heart disease with lower levels of vitamin D being associated with a higher presence and severity of coronary artery disease, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.
A growing body of research shows that vitamin D may be beneficial in preventing heart disease. Several recent studies also support the idea that low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Since most of us wear sunscreen and many of us are spending most of our time indoors, supplements may be your only means of maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.
In the largest study of its kind to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D levels and coronary artery disease, vitamin D deficiency (<20ng/mL) was observed in 70.4 percent of patients undergoing coronary angiography – an imaging test used to see how blood flows through the arteries in the heart. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher prevalence of coronary artery disease, with a 32 percent higher occurrence in patients with the lowest vitamin D levels and a near 20 percent higher frequency of severe disease affecting multiple vessels. A progressive increase in heart disease was found according to the severity of vitamin D deficiency. Patients with values lower than 10 mg/dl had a near two-fold increased rate of coronary atherosclerosis as compared with those showing normal levels.
Researchers evaluated vitamin D levels in 1,484 patients. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as levels lower than 20ng/mL, and severe vitamin D deficiency was defined as levels under 10ng/mL. Patients were considered to have coronary artery disease if they had a diameter reduction of greater than 50 percent in at least one coronary artery. The extent and severity of heart disease were measured by quantitative coronary angiography – a procedure that determines the degree of blockage in arteries.
"Present results suggest vitamin D deficiency to be the cause rather than the consequence of atherosclerosis," said Monica Verdoia, M.D., specializing cardiologist at the Department of Cardiology, Ospedale Maggiore della Carità, Eastern Piedmont University in Novara, Italy, and investigator on the study on behalf of the Novara Atherosclerosis study group by Prof. Giuseppe De Luca.
Researchers estimate that more than half of U.S. adults are vitamin D deficient, with the highest rates among African Americans and Hispanics. Vitamin D is being studied for its possible connection to several diseases and health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions, bone disorders and some types of cancer.
Vitamin D supplements are inexpensive. Look for vitamin D3 as it is most effective at raising circulating vitamin D levels.
The research was presented at The American College of Cardiology’s annual scientific sessions.