Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Essential Ingredients In Preventing Kidney Stones

Water and one surprising ingredient are essential in preventing Kidney Stones.

You probably guessed that consuming too little water can lead to the formation of kidney stones. But did you know that too little calcium in your diet can also lead to the formation of kidney stones?

And the important thing about calcium in preventing kidney stones is that it needs to come from a food source, and not from supplements. Apparently, calcium from supplements did not prevent the formation of kidney stones.

This is the conclusion of researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Research Conclusions 

Their research is based on following 78,293 US women for an average of eight years. Their research conclusions include:
  1. The women with the highest calcium consumption in their diets were 28% less likely to develop kidney stones compared to the women with the lowest consumption of calcium.
  2. Women with the highest consumption of fluids per day had a 20% lower risk of developing stones than the women with the lowest fluid intake.
  3. Women who had the highest levels of sodium in their diet had a whopping 61% higher risks of developing kidney stones than the women with the lowest levels of sodium in their diet. 
Best Ways of Preventing Kidney Stones

Based on their research conclusions, the best ways to prevent the formation of kidney stones are to
  1. Eat foods high in calcium content
  2. Stay away from calcium supplements
  3. Drink sufficient fluids every day
  4. Reduce your sodium intake
Foods Highest in Calcium Content

These foods have the highest calcium content according to Whole Foods
  1. Yogurt - 44.8% RDV
  2. Tofu - 39.6% RDV
  3. Sesame Seeds - 35.1% RDV
  4. Sardines - 34.6% RDV
  5. Milk - 29.2% RDV
  6. Collard Greens - 26.6% RDV
  7. Cheese - 22.1% RDV
  8. Turnip Greens - 19.7% RDV
How Much Fluids Per Day?

Every one is a little different. The best way to determine how much fluids you should consume each day is to look at your urine. If it is pale in color, your fluid intake is adequate. If it is dark in color, you should consume more fluids.

How To Reduce Your Sodium Intake

Besides using less salt, you should also reduce your intake of fast foods, processed meats and canned foods. You can also use Lite Salt.

So, eat more foods high in calcium content, take in adequate amounts of fluids and reduce your sodium consumption to improve your kidney's health and fitness by preventing the formation of kidney stones.



Reuters: " Too Little Calcium, Water Linked to Kidney Stones "
Whole Foods: Calcium

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How To Improve Your Brain Health

These 4 factors can help you improve your brain health, and may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Research is showing that making better lifestyle choices can improve your brain health. These simple lifestyle changes can also protect your brain from the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

The 4 lifestyle choices that greatly benefit your brain are
  1. Staying physically active
  2. A healthy diet
  3. Exercises for your brain
  4. And staying socially active.
Physical Activity and a Healthy Diet

Research by Dr. Scarmeas and his colleagues at the New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center have shown that physical activity and a healthy diet can greatly reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Evidence of the research is suggesting that lifestyle changes that promote heart and vascular health also promotes brain health.

Suggestions for physical activity that promotes heart and brain health are
  1. Maintaining a regular physical fitness routine
  2. Perform moderate-intensity aerobic exercises for 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week
  3. Perform weight resistance training for muscle strength at least 3 days a week, every other day.
What is a Healthy Diet?

The diet that best promotes brain and heart health is the Mediterranean type of diet. The Mediterranean type of diet is low in carbohydrates and saturated fats. It is high in
  1. Dark colored fruits and vegetables like blueberries, raspberries, spinach, red cabbage and broccoli.
  2. Cold water fish like salmon and sardines
  3. Nuts like walnuts and pecans
  4. Healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil
  5. Seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds
Exercises For Your Brain

Constantly learning new things are the best exercises for your brain. This can include
  1. Learning a new language
  2. Learning to play a new musical instrument
  3. Frequently reading a new book
  4. Crossword puzzles
  5. Playing chess or checkers with different people
  6. Learning new games
Just keep challenging your knowledge and brain.

Staying Socially Active

One of the things that people with healthy brains do is remaining socially active with family and friends. Keep in touch with people that you know, and find ways to make new friends. Volunteering is also a good way to stay socially active.

Join a book club or some other type of club that includes activities that you enjoy.

Make these changes in your lifestyle and drastically improve your brain's health and fitness.



Rush University Medical Center: "Boost Your Brain Health"
New York-Presbyterian: "Exercise, Diet Lower Alzheimer's Risk"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Healthy Brain Foods

Learn which foods are best for your brain health.

To learn which foods are best for your brain health, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a UCLA professor of neurosurgery and physiological science, analyzed over 160 research studies concerning brain foods.

His conclusion focused on 3 ingredients of food that have the greatest impact on improving your brain health. They are
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids
  2. Folic Acid
  3. And curcumin
Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Research makes one thing crystal clear concerning brain health. "Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for normal brain function."

Diets deficient in omega-3 fatty acids are associated with an increase risk of developing
  1. Attention deficit disorder
  2. dyslexia
  3. dementia
  4. depression
  5. bipolar disorder
  6. and schizophrenia
Children are especially affected with diets deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies in England and Australia showed that children with sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in their diet had higher test scores on
  1. Verbal intelligence
  2. Learning abilities
  3. and Memory ability
The type of omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for brain health and function is DHA or docosahexaenoic acid. This type of fat most come from our food, and is found mostly in cold water fish, such as salmon and sardines.

An interesting fact is that people who live on the Japanese island of Okinawa have the world's longest lifespans. They also have a very low mental disorder rate in their population. It probably is no coincidence that they also eat a lot of fish and stay physically active all their life.

Foods that are highest in omega-3 fatty acids are
  1. Flaxseed
  2. Wild Salmon
  3. Chia Seeds
  4. Sardines
  5. And Walnuts
Folic Acid

It has also been found that folate supplements are effective in preventing cognitive decline and dementia.

Foods highest in folate are
  1. Calf liver
  2. Lentils
  3. Pinto Beans
  4. Garbanzo beans
  5. Spinach
  6. Black Beans
  7. Navy beans
  8. Kidney beans
  9. Collard greens
  10. And Turnip greens
Curcumin - Turmeric Spice

Curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, is associated with reducing memory deficits in animal models of Alzheimer's Disease. Turmeric, by the way, is the spice that makes yellow mustard yellow.

In India, where there is a high curcumin consumption in their diet, there is a very low incidence of Alzheimer's Disease.

One way to increase your consumption of curcumin is Turmeric Tea.

The evidence is clear. For improved brain health and fitness, make sure that your diet has adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA), folic acid and curcumin. To give your brain an added boost in healthy habits,
  1. Stay away from foods high in saturated fats
  2. Get adequate amounts of sleep
  3. And stay physically and socially active


UCLA Newsroom: "Scientists learn how what you eat affects your brain - and those of your kids"
Linus Pauling Institute: Curcumin
Whole Foods: Folate
Self Nutrition Data: Foods Highest in Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Skip The Red Meat For A Healthy Diet

If you are looking for a heart and cancer healthy diet, then it is best that you skip the red meat.

The Harvard School of Public Health issued a press release that states "...that red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality."

This conclusion is based on the Harvard researchers observing 37,698 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study for 22 years, and 83,644 women from the Nurses' Health Study for 28 years. At the start of the study, both groups were free of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The participants completed questionnaires every four years to allow the researchers to assess their diets.

Study Results

The results indicated that
  1. Regular consumption of red, especially processed red meat, was associated with an increased mortality risk.
  2. One daily serving of unprocessed red meat was associated with a 13% increase in mortality risk.
  3. One daily serving of processed red meat was associated with a 20% increase in mortality risk.
What is in Red Meat That Makes It Unhealthy?

Some of the ingredients in red meat and processed red meat that are linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and cancer are
  1. Heme iron
  2. Saturated fat
  3. Sodium
  4. Nitrites
  5. And carcinogens formed during cooking.
What are healthy alternatives to Red Meat?

Replacing the red meat with a healthier protein source was associated with lowering the mortality risks by
  1. 7% with fish
  2. 10% with legumes
  3. 10% with low fat dairy products
  4. 14% with poultry
  5. 14% with whole grains
  6. And 19% with nuts.
What is Red Meat?

Red meat is dark in color when it is raw. Some examples include
  1. Beef
  2. Lamb
  3. And Pork
What are Processed Red Meats?

Processed red meats have been treated by smoking, salting, curing and having preservatives added to them. Some examples are
  1. Hot dogs
  2. Bacon
  3. Ham
  4. And Deli Meats
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, consuming more than 18 ounces of red meat each week increases your risk of developing colorectal cancer. If you still want to keep red meat in your diet, try to reduce your consumption to less than 18 ounces each week of cooked red meat, which is equivalent to 24 ounces of raw red meat.

Mediterranean Style Diet - The Healthy Diet Choice

For improved health and fitness, it is best to use the Mediterranean type of diet, which is considered one of the healthiest diets to follow. The Mediterranean type of diet includes
  1. Lots of fruits and vegetables
  2. Nuts
  3. Legumes
  4. Whole grains
  5. Fish
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. And small amounts of red wine.


Harvard School of Public Health Press Release: Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Total, Cardiovascular, and Cancer Mortality

American Institute for Cancer Research: Red and Processed Meats: The Cancer Connection

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Healthy Benefits of Chia Seeds

If you are looking for a food with the equivalent health benefits of flax seeds but doesn't require grinding, Chia Seeds are your salvation.

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds come from a desert plant that grows in Southern Mexico called Salvia hispanica.

Both the Aztecs and Mayans regularly consumed these seeds due to their ability to sustain energy and stamina over long periods of time. This is one of the reasons why these seeds were a big hit with the warriors of these tribes.

Chia Seeds Nutrition - Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These seeds have 3 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as omega-6 fatty acids. Compared to the same amount of flax seed, chia seeds have 77% the amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

However, you have to grind flax seeds to absorb its omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds do not have to be ground. You can eat them as is to absorb their full nutritional value.

Chia Seeds Nutrition - Fiber

The American Heart Association recommends that we get 25 to 30 grams per day of fiber from foods. Just one serving a day, three tablespoons, of these seeds delivers 37 to 44% of the recommended amount of fiber.

Chia Seeds Nutrition - Calcium

One servings of these seeds, or three tablespoons, gives you 177 mg of calcium, which is 14 to 18% of the daily recommended requirements, depending on your age.

Chia Seeds Nutrition - Protein

One serving or three tablespoons delivers 4.4 grams of protein, which is 9% of your daily requirements.

How To Eat Chia Seeds

  1. These tasty seeds can be sprinkled on salads or cereals.
  2. You can make a fruity pudding by adding 3 tablespoons of these seeds to one cup of any fruit juice of your choice. Let the mixture set for 15 to 30 minutes to form a pudding texture.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons to your favorite yogurt.
  4. You can grind them and add the ground seeds to your favorite muffin, cake, pancake, or any baked goods recipe.
  5. Make a "Chia Fresca" by adding 3 tablespoons lemon juice to a cup of chilled water and sweeten to your preferred taste. Then add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds to the water-lemon mixture. Let the seeds soak up the water for 10 minutes, and then serve.
Eating these delicious chia seeds will add healthy omega-3 fats, calcium, protein and fiber to your diet. What a great way to enhance your health and fitness.



American Heart Association - Fiber
Nutrition Data - Chia Seeds
Nutrition Data - Flax Seeds
Convert To - Chia Seeds
The Dr. Oz Show - Chia: Ancient Super-Seed Secret
Dr. Weil - What is Chia? - Chia Fresca

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

An Aspirin A Day May Keep Cancer Away

Are you looking for a simple and relatively safe way to help reduce your chances of developing and spreading cancer cells throughout your body? Taking an aspirin a day may be your cancer solution.

Researchers at Oxford University have reported that "Daily Aspirin Could Help Prevent and Treat Cancer."

It has been reported before that long-term use of aspirin helps prevent cancers, such as colorectal cancer, but this new study is also suggesting that aspirin can help prevent the chances of tumors from spreading to other parts of your body.

Results of the Oxford Studies

  1. Aspirin reduced the risks of death from cancer by 15%.
  2. Taking an aspirin a day for 5 years or longer reduced the risks of death from cancer by 37%.
  3. Taking a low dose of aspirin daily for 3 years and longer reduced the occurrence of cancer by 23 to 25%.
  4. Aspirin reduced risks of cancer spreading throughout the body by 36%.
Cancers Most Affected By A Daily Dose Of Aspirin

The cancers that are most affected by aspirin in preventing their spread throughout the body are
  1. Colorectal Cancer
  2. Cancers of the lung
  3. most breast cancers
  4. and most prostate cancers
In preventing new cancers from forming, the cancers that are most affected by a daily dose of aspirin are
  1. Colorectal Cancer
  2. And esophageal cancer
Consult your primary health care provider to determine if a daily dose of aspirin is beneficial to your overall health and fitness.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

How To Increase Your Exercise Motivation By Cooling Your Hands

If you refuse to exercise because you quickly get hot, sweaty and tired, there may be an easy solution to increasing your exercise motivation by cooling your hands.

Researchers at the Stanford University in California have found through a small study that keeping the palms of your hands cool may increase your motivation to exercise longer.

The researchers tested 24 obese women who typically have a difficult time exercising because they quickly get hot and tired. Half of the women used a device that kept their hands at 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and the other half had their hands kept at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

The group with the warm hands dropped out of the study quickly. The group with the cooled hands stayed in the study for 3 months and had the following results:
  1. They reduced their 1.5 mile walking time by 5 minutes.
  2. Reduced their waist size by almost 3 inches.
  3. And lowered their resting blood pressure and raised their exercise heart rate.
In general, the group with the cooled hands
  • felt cooler while exercising
  • was able to exercise longer
  • was more willing to continue on an exercise program.
Apparently, keeping the palms of your hands cool, allows the blood vessels in your hands to remove enough heat from your body to help you feel more comfortable while exercising. This in turn helps you to improve your exercise motivation enough to continue with an exercise routine to help you improve your overall health and fitness.

A few inexpensive ways to keep your palms cool while you exercise are
  1. hold two refrigerated bottles of water in your hands while you exercise. The extra weight will also exercise your hand and arm muscles.
  2. hold two refrigerated ice packs, like the Blue Ice Pack, in your hands while you exercise. You may find that the ice packs are easier to hold.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How To Make Cauliflower Rice To Reduce Your Carbs

Do you need to reduce your carb intake, while at the same time have a nutritional and filling meal? This Cauliflower Rice Recipe may be for you.

We do need some carbs for energy, but too much carbs can make you gain unwanted weight, and increase your LDL number. I'm currently finding ways to reduce my carbohydrate intake to help reduce my serum LDL.

One of the things that I found in my search for ways to reduce my carbs is Cauliflower Rice as a rice substitute.

Having been raised in New Orleans, one of my favorite meals is Beans 'n Rice. However, even nutritional brown rice has a relatively high glycemic load of 22. In contrast, raw cauliflower has a glycemic load of just 2.

However, I didn't want to completely give up eating brown rice, so I replace just half the rice with cauliflower rice to reduce my carbohydrate consumption with the expectation of lowering my LDL number.

Cauliflower Rice Recipe

First, this is how you make Cauliflower Rice:


1 cauliflower head
1/4 tsp salt or lite salt - or salt to taste

Cut the cauliflower small enough to fit into your food processor feeding tube. Using the grating disc of your food processor, cut the cauliflower into pieces the size of rice grains. You can cut the cauliflower by hand if you do not have a food processor, but the food processor is easier.

Put the grated cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl with a glass lid. I use a microwave safe casserole dish with a glass lid. Toss the cauliflower with salt to taste. DO NOT ADD WATER!

Cover the dish and place it in the microwave. Microwave the cauliflower on high for 6 minutes. Be careful when you remove the lid off the hot cauliflower, since hot steam will come out. After fluffing with a fork, it is ready to eat.

I mix about 2 cups of the cooked cauliflower rice with 1/4 cups of raw brown rice. This is how I prepare the brown rice for the mixture:

Brown Rice Recipe


1/4 cup raw brown rice
6 chopped crimini mushrooms
1 chopped bell pepper
1 tsp chili powder
Dash ground red pepper (Cayenne)
1/4 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp salt or lite salt - or salt to taste
1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients in a covered pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. If there is still a lot of water in the pot after 30 minutes, uncover and boil down some of the water.

I then mix 2 cups of cauliflower rice with the cooked brown rice. I then cover the rice mixture with cooked black beans, or you can use any bean of your choice. The extra cauliflower rice can be frozen for future use.

This is how I still enjoy my favorite dish of beans with cauliflower and brown rice. I still have an enjoyable and nutritional dish with a lower glycemic load to help improve my overall health and fitness.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

5 Important Habits Of People Who Have Lost Weight And Kept It Off For Over A Year

Are you having trouble losing weight and, more importantly, keeping your weight off? If this is you, then keep reading and learn the 5 important habits of people who have lost weight, and kept it off for over a year.

The National Weight Control Registry

The National Weight Control Registry was created by Rena Wing of the Brown Medical School and James O. Hill from the University of Colorado back in 1994. The NWCR has compiled beneficial information on the characteristics of people who have succeeded at long-term weight loss.

5 Habits of People Who Have Succeeded at Long-Term Weight Loss

  1. They have modified their food intake in some way to lose weight. Basically, they eat fewer calories. On average, they eat about 1400 calories each day.
  2. They increased their physical activity with walking being their favorite activity. On average, they exercise 1 hour a day.
  3. They eat breakfast everyday. Research has shown that a protein rich breakfast will help you snack less often.
  4. They weigh themselves at least once a week. Actually, research at the University of Minnesota determined that people who weighted themselves every day lost twice as much weight as people who weighted themselves less often.
  5. They watch less than 10 hours of TV each week. This helps them to stay more physically and socially active.
In addition, these successful weight losers limited their fast food intake, cut back on sugars and sweets, and ate more fruits and vegetables.

Additional Habits of Skinny People From Men's Health

Here are some additional habits of skinny from the Men's Health article "20 Habits Skinny People Live By":
  1. Eat an early dinner. Don't eat anything 3 hours before you go to bed.
  2. Eat low-sugar, high-protein snacks
  3. Drink a glass or two of water before each meal
  4. Choose whole grains for a filling meal of fiber
  5. Eat spicy foods to boost metabolism
  6. Get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep. A lack of sleep has been shown to increase appetite and cravings for high-calorie foods.
  7. Take stairs and walk further in the parking lot to help increase your physical activity.
  8. Chew more and eat slowly helps you ingest fewer calories.
  9. Walk after meals to lower blood sugar and prevent your body from storing fat.
  10. Eating protein helps you feel full, increase muscle mass and increases your metabolism. Eat more cold water fish and legumes.
These people have proven that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off to improve their overall health and fitness levels. It does take, however, healthy lifestyles changes and self-motivation to stick with those healthy lifestyle changes.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Statins

If you are tired of all the side-effects of statins, or just concerned of the potential dangers of taking statins and their high cost, the following story is for you.

I found a great article titled "Escape from Statins," by Michael Perry, while doing the research for this post. The article is about Michael's journey in reducing his serum cholesterol without the use of statins.

With a diet change and an exercise routine, he was able to lower his LDL from 178 mg/dl to 120, and increase his HDL from 39 to 45. The diet change that reduced his LDL is called the "dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods."

Dietary Portfolio

The dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods was created by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto. As described in the Harvard Health Publications article "Portfolio Beats Low-Fat Diet For Lowering Cholesterol," this diet did a better job at lowering cholesterol than the low-fat diet recommended by the American Heart Association. It basically consists of
  • Margarine enriched with plant sterols
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Psyllium
  • Okra
  • Eggplant
  • Soy protein
  • And whole almonds
More specifically

"All participants in the study followed a heart-healthy diet that was low in saturated fat (minimal butter and other dairy fats, beef fat) and rich in fruits and vegetables, beans and whole grains. Those in the portfolio group added cholesterol-lowering foods. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, these included:

  • A handful of nuts each day.
  • Two teaspoons of sterol-enriched margarine, such as Benecol or Take Control.
  • Two servings a day of soy-based foods, such as a glass of soy milk or a soy burger.
  • Two servings a day of foods rich in soluble (viscous) fiber, such as oatmeal, psyllium-enriched cereals, barley, and vegetables such as okra and eggplant."
11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol

In another Harvard Health Publication titled "11 Foods That Lower Cholesterol," it states that foods rich in soluble fiber, which is also known as viscous fiber, is best for lowering cholesterol. This type of fiber binds with cholesterol and removes it from your digestive system before the cholesterol can be absorbed into your bloodstream.

The 11 foods are
  • Oats - good source of soluble fiber
  • Barley - an excellent source of soluble fiber
  • Beans - good source of soluble fiber
  • Eggplant and okra - excellent sources of soluble fiber
  • Nuts, especially almonds, walnuts and peanuts, reduce LDL
  • Vegetable oils in place of butter - especially extra virgin olive oil and canola oil
  • Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits are good sources of a soluble fiber called pectin, which lowers LDL
  • Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Some spreads that are fortified with Plant Sterols are Benecol, Taking Control and Phytrol.
  • Soy protein found in soy beans, tofu and soy milk can lower LDL
  • Cold Water fish like herring and sardines are rich in omega-3 fats, and reduces LDL levels by replacing red meats which tend to boost LDL levels. These fish also reduce triglyceride levels.
  • Fiber Supplements containing psyllium provide soluble fiber.
Changing your diet to one that is rich in these 11 foods in combination of an exercise routine will increase your health and fitness, and reduce your risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and strokes.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How To Improve Your Working Memory

I found a great article at that highlights 6 Highly Entertaining Activities That Aid In Memory Retention.

Memory loss as we age is a concern of many of us older folk. However, not everyone experiences reduced cognitive abilities as they get older. So, why do many people suffer some form of memory loss or even dementia as they get older, while others perform mental activities almost as well as 20 year olds?

In the article " A Sharper Mind, Middle Age and Beyond ", it is pointed out that older people who perform mentally as well as younger adults have 4 characteristics in addition to a higher education. They:
  • exercise frequently
  • are socially active
  • frequently visit family and friends
  • frequently volunteer or attend meetings
  • remain calm in stressful situations
  • and feel more in control of their lives.
It is believed that all of these factors work together to improve mental capability and health.

In a UCLA study, it is found that simple life changes can improve brain function and efficiency. After just 14 days, the study participants significantly improved their cognitive function and brain efficiency by
  • doing memory exercises like crossword puzzles and brainteasers every day
  • taking daily walks
  • improving their diet by eating 5 small meals each day loaded with omega-3 fats, antioxidants and low glycemic carbohydrates
  • and performing daily relaxation exercises.
Another study demonstrated that meditation changes the structure of our brains in ways that may boost concentration, memory capability and positive emotions. The brain changes by meditation also helps our ability to
  • regulate our emotions
  • control our stress levels
  • and feel empathy for others.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have also determined that we can protect against memory loss as we age by engaging in cognitive exercises. They found people were less likely to suffer memory loss if they
  • read books often
  • play games frequently
  • participate in computer activities
  • do crafting activities
  • watch less TV
  • participate in social activities
  • and read magazines.
It is becoming more obvious that to maintain our cognitive and memory health as we age, we must remain mentally, physically and socially active. You may also want to check out the brain and memory exercises at " Working Out Your Working Memory."


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mark Bittman On What's Wrong With What We Eat - TED

Why Low Glycemic Foods Are An Important Dietary Choice

If you are interested in reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, then please read this post.

I for one will be changing the way I eat, and what I eat from now on.

There are two ways to measure the glycemic response to carbohydrates. The first and oldest way to measure the glycemic response is the Glycemic Index (GI). The second method is considered by many to be an improvement to the glycemic index, and is called the Glycemic Load (GL).

Glycemic Index vs. the Glycemic Load

The earliest known work on the glycemic index was done by Dr. David Jenkins at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. The index has been greatly expanded by Jennie Brand-Miller at the University of Sydney.

The glycemic index rates carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response. It is a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 being foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar. Pure glucose is assigned the value of 100. Stevia with 0 calories has a 0 glycemic index.

The Glycemic Load was popularized by Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health in 1997. It is calculated dividing 100 into the GI and multiplying that number by the Net Carbs. Net Carbs are Total Carbohydrates minus Dietary Fiber. Hence, GL takes into account both the type and quantity of carbohydrates consumed.

GL was developed because scientists noticed that some high Glycemic Index foods resulted in a relatively small glycemic response and vice versa. The Glycemic Load or GL is now considered by many to be the better way to measure glycemic response of foods.

However, GL is still not the final solution on how to properly select low glycemic foods. As Dr. Brad Weeks points out in his article " The Carbohydrate Conundrum ",

"Of course, the glycemic load is not the only consideration in a healthful diet. White sugar has a low GL, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for anything. And don’t let the GL lull you into overeating: You still need to be mindful of calories and portion control. In addition to healthy carbs, the Whitaker Wellness dietary program also includes modest amounts of healthy fats and moderate portions of protein with each meal. This aids in blood sugar control for our diabetic patients and also helps with weight loss. A recent study conducted at the University of Illinois confirmed that a protein-rich diet, in conjunction with exercise, is more effective at reducing body fat than a diet low in calories alone."
As far as the type of foods that is selected at his clinic, Dr. Weeks states

"we strive to lighten our patient’s glycemic load. Our chef, who prepares three meals a day for patients attending our Back to Health Program, serves only low GL carbohydrates. That includes lots of salads, green vegetables, beans, and legumes. We go easy on breads, and for sweet treats we opt for fruit and occasional desserts made with low GL natural sweeteners, such as stevia and xylitol."
An excellent list of food GI and GL values is the Revised International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values by David Mendosa. In general, low GI foods have a value of 55 or less, and low GL foods have a value of 10 or less. GI values of 70 and higher are high, and GL values of 20 or higher are considered high.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the original International Table of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values in 2002.

Personally, I will be limiting my two favorite foods, which are rice and pasta. I will be trying a cauliflower rice recipe and eating more vegetables like red cabbage for substitutes.

Why Are Low Glycemic Loads Important?

Research has shown that high dietary glycemic loads are associated with
  • Increased triglyceride levels and decrease HDL levels, which increased the risks level of developing cardiovascular disease.
  • Increased levels of C-reactive protein, which is a predictor of cardiovascular disease.
  • And an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus.
So, start eating more low glycemic foods like green vegetables, legumes and peanuts to maintain good health and fitness.



The Carbohydrate Conundrum
Glycemic Index - Self Nutrition Data
Glycemic Index - Linus Pauling Institute

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is There A Link Between Heart Disease And Prostate Cancer?

The better question is - Is there an association or common cause between coronary artery disease and prostate cancer?

This is the question that is being studied by a Duke University research team.

The Duke team studied data from 6,390 men participating in a study to determine if a drug called dutasteride reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Of these men, 547 reported a history of coronary artery disease.

This group of men with a history of coronary artery disease -

"...tended to be older, heavier and less healthy, with higher baseline PSA levels, plus more diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. The men were also much more likely to develop prostate cancer..."
Interestingly, the review of study's data showed that

"Having coronary artery disease increased the men's risk of prostate cancer by 35 percent, with the risk rising over time. The group was 24 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer within the first two years of the study than men who reported no heart disease, and by four years into the study, this group's prostate cancer risk was 74 percent higher."

The results suggest that the common link between these two disease may be lifestyle choices. If this is true, changing our lifestyle not only improves our heart health, but it may also improve our prostate health. I wouldn't be surprised if other cancers, such as breast cancer, may also be influenced by our lifestyle choices.

Some of the ways that we can reduce our risks of coronary artery disease and prostate cancer are:
  • Eat a Mediterranean type of diet, which means eating more vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains.
  • Stay physically active and follow a moderate-intensity exercise program 30-minutes each day at least 5 days a week.
  • Loose excess weight.
  • Manage your stress levels.
  • Stay away from saturated and trans fats, and eat more essential fats that can be found in cold water fish, flax seeds, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Drink no more than one serving of alcohol per day for women, and 2 servings of alcohol per day for most men. Click here for the definition of a serving of alcohol.
For more information on how to properly maintain your health and fitness, see "Getting Healthy" by the American Heart Association.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Is beta Sitosterol Revolutionary or New?

I'm sure that many of you have seen the TV commercial with the aging football player stating that a pill with a revolutionary and new ingredient has relieved him of his benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH symptoms. And what is this revolutionary new ingredient - beta Sitosterol. Well -

What is beta Sitosterol?

Beta Sitosterol is a phytosterol, which simply is the plant version of cholesterol. The one important difference is that phytosterols for most people will not cause plaque buildup in your veins and arteries like the animal version of cholesterol can do.

Is beta Sitosterol Revolutionary and New?

I don't know about being revolutionary, but its not new. It has been around for decades in health stores, and Europeans have been using it for BPH for quite some time now.

What Is It Used For And How Does It Work?

According to WebMD, Beta Sitosterol blocks the absorption of cholesterol, and thus is used for heart disease and high cholesterol. It is also used to help prevent cancers and gallstones, as well as BPH and symptoms of menopause.

Since it is similar to cholesterol. it enters the blood stream the same way that cholesterol does, and that is through the lymphatic system. If you take a beta Sitosterol pill before eating, it will be absorbed first and prevent cholesterol from being absorbed. It also binds to the prostate to help reduce swelling and inflammation.

Does It Really Work With BPH?

It has helped me a lot. As a matter of fact, it is about the only thing that I have tried that does work.

And you don't have to use the more expensive versions. Beta Sitosterol is easy to find, and you can save money by using a brand that doesn't spend a lot of money advertising on TV. Just go to your favorite supplement website and type in "beta sitosterol" in the search box, and you will get a lot of brand selections.

My favorite brand is Source Naturals Mega Strength Beta Sitosterol. However, from this link - Beta Sitosterol Search Results, you can see that there are many brands that you can choose from.

To help maintain my prostate health, I also take 300 mcg of melatonin before I go to bed at night, and 25 mg of zinc.

Melatonin For Prostate Health

In a previous post - titled " Melatonin And Proper Prostate Function ", recent research has shown that low doses of melatonin can help reduce the risks of prostate cancer and also helps to reduce prostate swelling. You only need a small amount of melatonin (300 mcg) each day. You should take it only 30 minutes before you go to bed, since melatonin will make you drowsy.

Zinc For Prostate Health

Zinc is also known to reduce prostate inflammation. In low doses - less than 100 mg per day, it may reduce the risks of cancer and help with BPH symptoms. However, as reported at WebMD, doses higher than 100 mg may increase the risks of prostate cancer. As with most supplements, a little can be good, while a lot can be very bad to your health.

Beta Sitosterol, melatonin and zinc can improve your prostate health. However, it is not necessarily revolutionary or new.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Component of Turmeric Spice May Help Slow Prostate Tumor Growth

Drink turmeric tea and spice up your dinner with turmeric and help protect your prostate from cancerous tumors.

The research team from Kimmel Cancer Center is reporting that a component of the spice turmeric, which is called curcumin, may help slow prostate tumor growth. In particular, the team is reporting that

"Curcumin, an active component of the Indian curry spice turmeric, may help slow down tumor growth in castration-resistant prostate cancer patients on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)."

Turmeric is the spice that turns yellow mustard yellow, and is used in most curry blends.

This is further evidence that turmeric spice may be beneficial in preventing and treating some cancers such as prostate, breast, skin and colon cancer.

The Home Cooking website has some great turmeric recipes and suggestions.

Here is a great Turmeric Tea Recipe:

Here is how to make 1 serving of Turmeric Tea:

  • Bring 1 cup of water to boil
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger to boiling water
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Strain the tea (optional). I personally don't strain my tea.
  • Add honey and/or lemon to taste (optional). To reduce calories, use Stevia to sweeten the tea rather than honey.
  • To smooth the taste, you can add just a drop of vanilla extract to the tea.

Enjoy the unique taste of Turmeric Tea. Drink it frequently, and improve your health and fitness. Live long and prosper!

Turmeic - University of Maryland