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, October 29, 2015

Vitamin C delivers stunning benefits for obese individuals with hypertension and/or diabetes.

Vitamin C is certainly not something people get very excited about. We think of it as a means to avoid sniffles. And we envision a tall glass of orange juice. That's about it.

But there has been an amazing new finding involving the use of a daily supplement of 500mg of vitamin C in people at high risk for heart disease and diabetes related health complications.

In a group of obese people who had high blood pressure and/or diabetes taking a simple dose of 500mg of vitamin C for only eight weeks led to reductions, significant reductions in the inflammatory markers C Reactive Protein (51%), Interleukin 6 (36%) and in blood sugar levels (33%) and triglyceride levels (31%).

Slashing inflammation, reducing blood sugar levels and dropping triglyceride levels to this degree would be highly protective in these at risk individuals. It would be protective for anyone.

Never underestimate the power of simple things like vitamin C. My favorite is Carlson Non GMO Vitamin C Crystals. I stir a quarter of a scoop into water as I drink it throughout my day. (No sniffles here!)

Effect of vitamin C on inflammation and metabolic markers in hypertensive and/or diabetic obese adults: a randomized controlled trial. Drug Design, Development and Therapy, 2015;9:3405-3412

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A diet high in refined carbs increased depression in post-menopausal women by 22%.

Watch out for those refined carb food binges. A new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has revealed a diet high in refined carbohydrates may lead to an increased risk of depression in postmenopausal women. One might also assume the foods are trouble for men, but women have higher rates of depression in general.

Carbs are found in a wide variety of foods and have often been the focus of new weight-loss diets. However, the emphasis should not be on how many carbohydrates we eat, but the type.
Refined carbohydrates are contained in refined grains, such as white flour, white bread and white rice. They differ from whole-grain foods because they have been milled - a process that increases the texture and shelf life, but that also removes much of the nutritional value which includes important fiber and vitamins.
Once carbohydrates are eaten, some of the sugar is broken down into glucose that then proceeds to enter the bloodstream. The glycemic index (GI) is a metric tool used to measure and rank the extent to which our body's sugar levels are raised after eating.
Low glycemic index foods take longer to digest and break down and, therefore, enter the blood stream slowly. Thus the blood's glucose level raises more slowly over an extended period of time.
High glycemic index foods cause a more rapid rise of the blood's glucose level. Refined grains fall into this category, and it is this reason why a high glycemic index ( refined carbs) diet can lead to a host of health problems, such as insulin resistance, obesity and type two diabetes.
Foods that have some of the highest GI scores include white bread, breakfast cereals like puffed wheat and rice and corn flakes, also instant oatmeal. Pasta, crackers, cookies, pretzels and popcorn.
Doctors at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), NY, set out to investigate the relationship between a diet high in refined carbohydrates and depression.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 90,000 postmenopausal women who participated in the National Institutes of Health's Women's Health Initiative Observational Study that was conducted between 1994-1998. The observational study enlisted postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-79 and tracked their health over an average of 8 years.
They examined the levels of depression reported, the types of carbohydrates consumed, the GI rank and the glycemic load.
It was found that refined carb diets increased the risk of depression in postmenopausal women by 22%. Also, a higher consumption of lactose, fiber, non-juice fruits and vegetables was significantly associated with a lower chance of developing depression.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Sugary Drinks Linked to High Death Tolls Worldwide

Consumption of sugary drinks may lead to an estimated 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published today in the journal Circulation and previously presented as an abstract at the American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention in 2013.
“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages. It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior author of the study and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
In the first detailed global report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages, researchers estimated deaths and disabilities from diabetes, heart disease, and cancers in 2010. In this analysis, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar- sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports/energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. 100 percent fruit juice was excluded.
Estimates of consumption were made from 62 dietary surveys including 611,971 individuals conducted between 1980 and 2010 across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries and other information. This allowed capture of geographical, gender and age variation in consumption levels of sugar- sweetened beverages in different populations. Based on meta-analyses of other published evidence on health harms of sugar-sweetened beverages, the investigators calculated the direct impact on diabetes and the obesity-related effects on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
In 2010, the researchers estimate that sugar-sweetened beverages consumption may have been responsible for approximately:
133,000 deaths from diabetes
45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease
6,450 deaths from cancer
“Some population dietary changes, such as increasing fruits and vegetables, can be challenging due to agriculture, costs, storage, and other complexities. This is not complicated. There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year,” Mozaffarian said.
Overall, in younger adults, the percent of chronic disease attributed to sugar-sweetened beverages was higher than the percent in older adults.
The health impact of sugar-sweetened beverage intake on the young is important because younger adults form a large sector of the workforce in many countries, so the economic impact of sugar-sweetened beverage-related deaths and disability in this age group can be significant. It also raises concerns about the future. If these young people continue to consume high levels as they age, the effects of high consumption will be compounded by the effects of aging, leading to even higher death and disability rates from heart disease and diabetes than we are seeing now.
Singh GM, Micha R, Khatibzadek S, Lim S, Ezzati M, and Mozaffarian, D. “Estimated global, regional, and national disease burdens related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in 2010.” Circulation. Published online ahead of print 06-29-15. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010636

Saturday, May 16, 2015

10 Health Benefits of Broccoli and a Bonus!

1. Helps prevent cancer. Broccoli is a source of powerful antioxidants and anticarcinogens sulphorophane, indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane ( DIM) that impede the growth of breast cervical and prostate cancer. 
 2. Curbs overeating. A cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn but only half the calories. Plus broccoli is a great source of fiber. 
3. Boosts your immune function. A cup of broccoli has a powerful supply of beta-carotene, zinc and selenium which strengthen your ability to fight infections. 
4. Fights birth defects. A cup of broccoli provides 94mcg of folate, a B vitamin important for proper fetal development. 
5. Fights Diabetes. The high fiber, low sugar and low calories keep insulin function tuned up and support stable blood sugar levels. 
6. Fights Heart Disease. The carotenoid lutein, vitamin B-6 and folate in broccoli may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke. 
7. Promotes strong and healthy bones. Broccoli provides calcium and vitamin K which promote bone health and reduce risk of osteoporosis. 
8. Regulates blood pressure. The potassium, magnesium and calcium work together to support blood pressure in the normal range. 
9. Reduces incidence and severity of colds. Vitamin C and Vitamin A, antioxidants and anti-infectives help support resistance to respiratory infections. 
10. Makes for healthy women and manly men. Broccoli provides diindolylmethane which supports healthy estrogen balance and reduces accumulation of harmful estrogens in women all the while supporting healthy testosterone levels in men. 

The bonus is broccoli is easy to prepare and delicious. Lightly steam broccoli spears and florets and then sauté in olive oil with and abundant number of garlic cloves for a delicious side dish or serve over pasta for a nutritious and low calorie vegetarian main course.
Broccoli Rabe a Mediterranean favorite confers the same benefits!

5 Health Benefits of Blueberries - Via 5 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Via: 5 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sugary beverages start to wreck your health in just two weeks.

Still drinking soft drinks or sugar sweetened beverages? It is time to stop. A new study shows us what just two weeks of drinking soda can do to your heart. And the subjects were young healthy people.
Sugary drinks have been linked to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. What is worse, the more soda (or sweet tea, or lattes) people drink the more likely these outcomes. The sugar industry and soft drink companies argue that association isn’t proof that one actually causes the other. But you have to agree that when population studies show a link again and again, and the mechanism of harm is plausible, it is silly to deny such strong evidence.
This is exactly how how we proved smoking cigarettes caused disease. But when it comes to discovering the effects on a habit on our health there’s nothing like controlled experiments. And the best evidence to prove cause and effect comes from double blind placebo controlled studies.
And when you’re studying heart disease, all the study has to do is look at changes in markers of heart disease risk, such as LDL cholesterol, apoB, triglycerides and uric acid in the blood.
A new study did just that. The study has been published online ahead of print in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers recruited a group of 85 people aged 18-40, and divided them into 4 groups. For 2 weeks participants drank beverages sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) making up 0 percent, 10 percent, 17.5 percent or 25 percent of their daily caloric requirement. The participants were blinded to their drink content, and in order to do that the 0-percent drink for the control group was sweetened with aspartame.
Within 2 weeks, the people who were on the HFCS drinks had higher levels of LDL, triglycerides and uric acid, and the higher the HFCS they drank, the higher the level of heart risk factors.
Although the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommend that people limit added sugar to no more that 5 percent of daily calories, very few people do so, and levels of added sugar in the 10-20 percent are typical of the American diet. By this study’s assessment, the average American person’s sugar intake is certainly enough to increase cardiac risk.
Would replacing HFCS with regular sugar (sucrose) make a difference? Not likely. The fructose content in table sugar is 50 percent, compared to 55 percent in HFCS – just a slight difference – and since fructose is metabolized in our body in a way that promotes fat production, raises triglycerides and affects cholesterol levels, either one of these sweeteners would probably have the same negative effects; there's no reason to assume that sugar is any more safe than HFCS.

Friday, March 27, 2015

High dose fish oils protect heart from damage after a heart attack.

High doses of ethyl ester EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty acids may protect against further damage in myocardial infarction patients, a preliminary study suggests. The study was presented March 16 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), held from March 14 to 16 in San Diego.
The research included 374 myocardial infarction survivors who received standard treatment and took either a 4-gram prescription-only dose of omega-3 fatty acids each day or a placebo. Using magnetic resonance imaging, the patients' hearts were scanned two weeks, four weeks, and six months after their myocardial infarction.
The researchers found that, compared to those taking the placebo, patients taking the omega-3 capsules had lower levels of inflammation and were 39 percent less likely to show deterioration of heart function. There was also significantly less evidence of fibrosis. Patients with a 5 percent rise in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood seemed most likely to benefit from the supplements.
Giving a high dose of fish oil soon after a heart attack appears to improve cardiac structure and heart functioning above and beyond the standard of care. The dose used was 3360 mg combined EPA/DHA in the ethyl ester form.

You could achieve that dose in exactly the correct form, ethyl ester EPA/DHA with 5 capsules of Elite Omega-3 Gems from Carlson Laboratories.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D may control brain serotonin, affecting behavior and psychiatric disorders.

In a previous paper published last year, authors Patrick and Ames discussed the implications of their finding that vitamin D regulates the conversion of the essential amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, and how this may influence the development of autism, particularly in developing children with poor vitamin D status.

Here they discuss the relevance of these micronutrients for neuropsychiatric illness. Serotonin affects a wide-range of cognitive functions and behaviors including mood, decision-making, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and even plays a role in social decision-making by keeping in check aggressive social responses or impulsive behavior.

Many clinical disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression share as a unifying attribute low brain serotonin. "In this paper we explain how serotonin is a critical modulator of executive function, impulse control, sensory gating, and pro-social behavior," says Dr. Patrick. "We link serotonin production and function to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, suggesting one way these important micronutrients help the brain function and affect the way we behave."

Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) increases serotonin release from presynaptic neurons by reducing inflammatory signaling molecules in the brain known as E2 series prostaglandins, which inhibit serotonin release and suggests how inflammation may negatively impact serotonin in the brain. EPA, however, is not the only omega-3 that plays a role in the serotonin pathway. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also influences the action of various serotonin receptors by making them more accessible to serotonin by increasing cell membrane fluidity in postsynaptic neurons.

Their paper illuminates the mechanistic links that explain why low vitamin D, which is mostly produced by the skin when exposed to sun, and marine omega-3 deficiencies interacts with genetic pathways, such as the serotonin pathway, that are important for brain development, social cognition, and decision-making, and how these gene-

micronutrient interactions may influence neuropsychiatric outcomes. "Vitamin D, which is converted to a steroid hormone that controls about 1,000 genes, many in the brain, is a major deficiency in the US and omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies are very common because people don't eat enough fish," said Dr. Ames.

This publication suggests that optimizing intakes of vitamin D, EPA, and DHA would optimize brain serotonin concentrations and function, possibly preventing and ameliorating some of the symptoms associated with these disorders without side effects.
Rhonda P. Patrick And Bruce N. Ames. Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior. FASEB Journal, February 2015

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can be downright dangerous.

Having a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder increases the risk of death and reduces overall life-expectancy, a large study published in The Lancet shows. It finds that people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder have a more than doubled risk of premature death - and that accidents are the most common cause.

The researchers, led by Søren Dalsgaard from Aarhus University in Denmark, found the relative risk of dying was much higher for women than for men with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Not receiving a diagnosis until adulthood was also associated with higher risk.
When asked what the causal link could be between ADHD and early death, researchers cited one pathway that follows ADHD's well-known risks for oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. That pathway links ADHD to risk of death as follows. There is an increased risk of:
Antisocial disorders - which increase the risk of violence and crime.
Substance use - leading to accidents and fighting
Inattention and impulsivity - increasing accidents and poor health habits.
Risky behaviors - leading to health risks and accidents.
ADHD alone increases risk of accidents viainattention and impulsivity - which affect driving since when treated with medication, there is better "performance in a driving simulator"
 and through risky behaviors associated with increased sensation seeking.