Monthly Archives: October 2017

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Extend Your Lifespan with Nuts and Seeds

 

Did you know that eating nuts may help extend your life, lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer, help in weight loss and are beneficial in diabetes management?
It’s amazing that such a tiny food possesses such remarkable properties.

Nuts and seeds are such wonderful sources of micronutrients and healthful fats.
You should try to include them in a variety of ways when you prepair a meal.
You can toss a few raw walnuts and flaxseeds in your breakfast cereal and you can add
nuts or seeds to the blender if you make a smoothie;or you can add lightly toasted nuts and seeds to your salads at lunch and dinner; and use nuts to make creamy salad dressings and dips.

Health Benefits Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are very healthful and versatile, but they are often mislabeled as fattening. They are calorie-dense, so they are not for snacking on. They replace the calories supplied by meats, oils and processed food in your diet and as such they offer well-documented cardiovascular and longevity benefits.

Nuts May Add Years to Your Life
In a study of Seventh Day Adventists, a group whose unique dietary habits have been demonstrated to lower their risk for certain diseases, nut consumption was among a number of lifestyle factors that were found to be associated with their longevity. On average, Adventists live 10 years longer than the average American. In the study, the Adventists who had a high level of physical activity, followed a vegetarian diet, and ate nuts frequently lived an average of eight years longer than those who did not share those habits.
An analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study, including more than 76,000 women, compared multiple lifestyle and dietary factors based on the size of their associations with mortality  risk.
Nut intake and fiber intake were the two dietary factors associated with a lower risk.
The PREDIMED study in Europe, investigating the health effects of a Mediterranean diet, assigned groups to a control low-fat diet, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil, or a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts.
Both Mediterranean groups saw improvements in blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol, and five years later had experienced fewer heart attacks and strokes than the low-fat group.  A very interesting finding in the PREDIMED study was the link between nut consumption and a longer life. The participants who were already eating three or more servings of nuts a week before the study began, and then were assigned to the Mediterranean diet plus nuts group had the lowest risk of death throughout the duration of the study.
Why the link between nuts and longevity? It appears because nuts and seeds have properties that are protective against heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.
Eating five or more servings of nuts per week is estimated to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 35 percent. This appears to be at least in part due to prevention of sudden cardiac death and in part due to cholesterol-lowering; other factors that may contribute include improved blood vessel function and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.
Nuts provoke a minimal glycemic response, which helps to limit blood glucose and insulin after a meal, in turn helping to prevent insulin resistance and diabetes. Almonds, for example, have been found to decrease glycemic and insulin response of a carbohydrate-rich meal while reducing oxidative stress on cells.
There is also substantial evidence that nuts protect against cancer, not just from their own salient features, but also because their fats enhance the absorption of anti-cancer phytochemicals from other foods.

Use Nuts and Seeds to Replace Oil in Salad Dressings
An easy way to include good-for-you raw seeds and nuts in your diet is to replace the processed (no-fiber) empty-calorie oils found in most salad dressings with a nut-based dressing. This allows you to achieve the maximum nutrient value from a salad. In addition to increasing the absorption of nutrients in vegetables, nuts and seeds supply their own spectrum of micronutrients including plant sterols, minerals, and antioxidants. They are also a source of plant protein and fiber. Plus several seeds and nuts (flax, hemp, chia, and walnuts) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain health. Some seeds—flax, chia and sesame in particular—are rich in lignans, that have been shown to protect against breast and prostate cancer. Replacing olive oil-based dressings with vinegar, fruit and nut-based dressings are definitely the way to go!

Boost Your Health with Asparagus

The name Asparagus comes from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, and its name in English evolved from “sperage” to “sparrow grass”, and then back to its original name. The slim green rods with its “braised” tips give you a great health boost.

Asparagus contain compounds that can help fight birth defects, heart disease, cancer, support a healthy skin and strengthen your immune system.

Charged with Folate
One of the most important medical discoveries of the 20th century was that the incidence of brain and spiral cord birth defects (called neural tube defects), could be cut in half if women who were of childbearing age, got 400 micro grams of folate a day.

Asparagus are charged up with folate, a B vitamin that is essential to regenerate cells.Five asparagus spears contain 110 micro grams of folate, about 28% of the essential daily value. (DV)  If you’re pregnant, you may want to enjoy a double serving of those green spears.

Pregnant women need 600 micro grams daily, and women who are breastfeeding need 500 micro grams, according to the national Institutes of Health.

Apart from the health benefits for pregnant women, folate also fight heart disease in anyone. Folate may act as a flood gate, controlling the amount of homocycteine, that’s in the bloodstream. Homocycteine is an amino acid that appears to damage the linings of the arteries.) When your folate levels drop, your homocysteine levels rise, which can cause damage to the arteries, supplying blood to your heart and brain.

Research is showing possible connections between folate intake, homocycteine, and the risk of cognitive problems, particularly signs Alzheimer’s disease.

One study on a large group of people found that their risk of Alzheimer’s was
doubled if they had elevated homocysteine levels.

The amount of folate in your diet is also associated with a lower risk of cancer. Studies have shown that people with the most amount of folate in their blood were the ones least likely to develop colon cancer. Asparagus offer powerful protection against cancer.
It contains a number of compounds that essentially double-team cancer-causing substances before they do harm.

Another protective compound in asparagus is glutathione, one of the antioxidants, which is most powerful. It helps to neutralize free radicals, responsible for the development of cancer.
In an analysis of 38 vegetables, freshly cooked asparagus ranked first for its glutathione content.

Ginger, a Sharp Healer

Millions of people worldwide swear by ginger as a healing food, and not without reason.
There is plenty of evidence that this piquant root can help relieve dozens of conditions,including high blood pressure, motion sickness, and other digestive complains, to migraines, nausea, headaches, arthritis, high cholesterol, and even dangerous blood clots.

Motion Sickness
In a Dutch study, researchers tested the effects of ginger on seasick naval cadets and found
that ginger pills reduced the cadets nausea and vomiting, providing relieve for as long as 4 hours. You can also use ginger to help relief a run-of-the-mill upset stomach.
To use ginger against motion sickness, try taking about ¼ teaspoon of fresh or powdered
ginger 20 minutes before getting into a car or on a boat. Repeat every few hours if needed.

Migraines Symptoms
If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from migraine headaches,
ginger may help prevent the pain and the resulting nausea.
In a small study, researchers at the Odense University in Denmark found that ginger may
short-circuit impending migraines without the unpleasant side effects of some migraine-
relieving drugs. It appears that ginger blocks the action of protaglandins, substances that
cause pain and inflammation in blood vessels in the brain.

Arthritis
In a Danish study, researchers studied 56 people who had rheumatoid arthritis or
osteoarthritis, and who treated themselves with fresh or powdered ginger.
They found that ginger produced relief in 55% of people with osteoarthritis and 74%
of those with rheumatoid arthritis.

To soothe arthritis pain, brew a mild tea by putting three or four slices of ginger in
a cup of boiling water. You can also try ½ teaspoon of powdered ginger or about 6
teaspoons of fresh ginger once a day.

Blood clotting
Blood clotting can be a good thing. For example, when you cut your finger, platelets –
components in blood that help it clot – help “stick” the wound together to stop the bleeding and start the healing process.
But theses sticky platelets can also cling to artery walls as well as to each other.
When that happens, clots stop being beneficial and start becoming something to worry about.
Many people take aspirin to help keep their blood clear of clots that could lead to stroke
or heart attacks.
The gingerol in ginger has a chemical structure somewhat similar to aspirin.
Research suggests that getting ginger in the diet may inhibit the production of a chemical
called thromboxane, which plays a key role in the clotting process.

Use ginger fresh and enjoy it often. Make a ginger marinade for meats.
Mix fresh ginger, minced garlic, olive oil, and light soy sauce for a marinade for chicken,beef or fish.

Healthy for Life with a Healthy Heart

Only about 50 years ago, doctors didn’t know what was good for our hearts.
Little attention was paid to diet and even smoking was acceptable by some.

But after almost 50 years, scientists came up with some simple and straight forward answers. Regular exercise is important, of course, and so is staying away from cigarettes.

But by far the most important factor is to have a healthy diet. Eating the right foods is
the most effective way to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, two of the biggest enemies against a healthy heart.

The Bad Fats
Often we take the wrong foods, in particular fats. There are good fats and bad fats.
The bad fats are saturated fats, found in red meat, and butter, It’s incredible dangerous
for the heart. Study after study has shown that the more saturated fat people eat,
the higher their risks for heart disease.
Foods high in saturated fat raise levels of artery-clogging low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat are often high in cholesterol as well.

The American Heart Foundation recommends that we limit our intake of saturated fat
to less than 7% of our calories each day. For example, if you get 2,000 calories a day,
your upper daily limit for saturated fat is 14 grams.
That means: in addition to eating fruits, vegetables, and other low-fat foods, you could have 3 ounces of extra-lean ground beef which contains 5 grams of saturated fat), a serving
of macaroni and cheese (6 grams), and a half-cup of low-fat frozen yogurt (3 grams).

Another problem fat, called trans fatty acids, has been shown to dramatically increase
the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Trans fatty acids are made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oils to turn the liquid oils into solid fats like margarine and shortening. Ironically, they meant to be a healthy alternative to the saturated fat in butter.
But it appears that trans fatty acids may be even more harmful than saturated fats.
Trans fats raise the bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower the good (HDL) cholesterol,
increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

It’s not only margarine and fried foods that may be a problem. Many cookies, cakes, and
other snack foods contain “partially hydrogenated oil,” which is also high in trans fatty acids.
Because of the health risk, the American Heart Association recommends you limit your
daily intake to less than 1% of your total calories.

Some Better Fats
Some fats are relatively healthful. You can easily recognize them by looking at the “un”
as in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. While theses type of fats are still high in
calories, in small amounts, they play several beneficial roles.
Polyunsaturated fats (found in soy, corn, safflower, sesame, and sunflower oils, as well as
nuts and seeds ) help your body to get rid of newly formed cholesterol, therefore, they
keep cholesterol levels down and reduce cholesterol deposits on artery walls.

Monounsaturated fats also appear to help lower cholesterol levels as long as the rest of
the diet is very low in saturated fats. Although they are a good substitute for saturated fats,
both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats should be used in moderation, because
their high calorie counts can lead to weight gain. No more than 30% of your calories
should come from fat.

Nuts are particularly good sources of these healthful fats. In a study of Seventh-Day
Adventists, researchers found that those who consumed nuts at least four times a week
had almost half the risk of fatal heart attacks of those who rately ate them.

Although the American Heart Association recommends less than 30% of calories from fat,
many health-care professionals, recommend even less.
They tell people to aim for getting about 20 to 25% of total calories from fat, most of which
should be in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

There is yet another kind of healthy fat, perhaps the king of healthy fats, called omega-3
fatty acids. This is found in most fish (but in particularly in oily, cold-water fish) and also
in flaxseed and certain dark greens. Omega-3 can help to prevent clots from forming in the
arteries. In addition, they help lower triglycerides, a type of blood fat that, in large amounts, may raise the risk for heart disease.

Studies show that eating fish twice a week, in particularly salmon, because it contains
high levels of omega-3, can help to keep your arteries clear and your heart working well.
In a stuy done at the Harvard School of Public Health, scientists found that the death rate
from heart disease was 36% lower among people who ate fish twice a week compared
with people who ate little or no seafood. The study, which was published in the American
Medical Association, also showed that overall mortality was 17% lower omong the regular
seafood eaters.

Eat the Right Nutrients when Aging

When we age, we have to eat well and adjust our eating habits. As we get older, our needs for certain nutrients will change significantly. We produce less saliva, and our swallowing reflexes slow down.
As a result, food may not be as easy to digest and to swallow. Many of us experience changes in taste and appetite as we get older, so we may eat less.
We also have less stomach acid, that means, we don’t digest foods or absorb some nutrients as well as we used to.

An Israeli study that looked at 414 elderly patients in hospitals found that less than 20%
were well nourished. The study also found that those with poor dietary habits had less successful outcomes from their visit to the hospital. But even with this information and other studies available, doctors don’t always think to check for nutritional deficiencies in older adults.
This is unfortunately, because a simple lack of nutrients can easy be mistaken for a more serious illness. Nutritional deficiencies in older people can even be misdiagnosed as dementia.

Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy blood and nerve function. It’s also one of
the nutrients that requires adequate amounts of stomach secretions in order to be absorbed.
when acid levels decline, getting enough vitamin B12 can be a problem.
This is of particular concern for people who use antacids. You can get plenty of vitamin B12 from meats and other animal foods. Clams are the best source of vitamin B12.
One small steamed clam provides an astonishing 9 micrograms of vitamin B12, more than
100% of the DV.

Apart from vitamin B12 deficiency, many people in their late fifties and older may be deficient in vitamin B6. Chickpies and potatoes are good sources of vitamin B6.
One cup of chickpeas contains 1.1 milligrams, slightly more than halve of the DV.
A baked potato provides 0.6 milligram, or about 1/3 of the DV.

Another B vitamin that’s important for protecting the cardiovascular and nervous systems
is folate, which is found in green vegetables, beans and whole grains. A cup of canned pinto beans, for example, provides 144 milligrams of folate, or more than 33% of the DV.
Asparagus is also a good source of folate. One cup of cooked asparagus contain
263 milligram of folate.

As your bones get older, it’s essential to get extra calcium and vitamin D to prevent them
from becoming brittle. Many older people think that they can’t eat dairy foods because they are ‘lactose tolerant’, but in fact, most people can eat moderate amounts of dairy without trouble.
Low-fat and fat-free (skim) milk, cheese, and yogurt are your best sources of calcium.
One cup of fat-free yogurt contains 415 milligrams of calcium, or 41% of the DV.
One glass of fat-free milk provides 302 milligrams or 30% of the DV.

Iron is one of several minerals that can be hard to get in the correct amount. Some people
don’t get enough, while others get too much. Women’s need for iron declines in their later years after they stop menstruating.

To ensure that you’re getting the right amount of nutrients for your particular needs, i
t’s best to talk to your doctor to find out whether or not you need to take supplements of certain nutrients, such as iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Even though we may need to eat more of certain foods in order to live longer, researchers
are finding that the opposite can also be true: people who eat less may live more years.

A Louisiana State University study followed 48 people for 6 months as they either followed
a normal diet or different types of calorie restricted diets. It found that prolonged
calorie restriction can lower people’s fasting insulin levels and their body temperature,
which are both markers of longevity.

Experts think that calorie restriction “resets” your metabolism so it works more efficiently,
and your body shifts its focus from growth and reproduction to long term survival.
and when you take less calories, your body produces less free radicals as it turns food
into energy.

However, it’s hard for humans to reap the benefits from calorie reduction that lab animals
have shown. For those among us who like to eat, it’s probably not a viable strategy.
In addition, drastically reducing your calories without medical supervision can leave you
malnourished.

For now, a good way to get some benefit from calorie reduction is to make sure that you
eat a “prudent” diet that provide the nutrients you need without excessive calories.
If you do decide to restrict your calories, talk to your doctor to make sure your diet
meets your nutritional needs. See also my article about Flavonoids