Monday, May 28, 2012

2 Ways To Spice Up Your Green Tea

I like the taste of green tea. But I love the taste of green tea with herbal spice.

Green tea is the least processed version of tea. Because it is not processed very much, it provides the most amount of EGCG, which is the antioxidant responsible for most of the health benefits of green tea.

Even though I like the taste of green tea, I especially enjoy the taste of green tea blended with two of my most favorite herbal spices, mint and rosemary.

Mint Green Tea

Whether it be peppermint or spearmint, my favorite, mint gives tea a fresh and vibrant taste. It also adds some vitamins A and C along with manganese to your drink.

Fresh mint is easy to grow. Actually, it may be too easy to grow. It can overtake a garden bed. I prefer to grow my mint in a small container. Either way, your favorite type of mint will provide you with fresh leaves most of the year.

Ingredients for 1 Serving
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint
  • 1 cup of water
  • Sweeten to taste
  1. Put tea bag and mint in a cup
  2. Pour hot water into the cup
  3. Let it steep for 2 to 3 minutes
  4. Remove the tea bag. 
  5. You can either remove the mint sprig or leave it in the cup. You can also remove the steeped sprig, and replace it with a fresh sprig for an attractive presentation.
  6. Enjoy a great tasting tea.
Rosemary Green Tea

I just love the smell and taste of fresh rosemary.

So far, I have had good success in growing rosemary in Zone 6 of Southeastern Ohio. The plant in a sunny, garden location will provide you with plenty of sprigs during the warm months.

Some studies have shown that rosemary may be useful in improving your immune system, increasing your blood circulation and improving digestion.

Ingredients for 1 Serving
  • 1 green tea bag
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 cup of water
  • Sweeten to taste
  1. Steep rosemary sprig in hot water for 5 minutes or longer
  2. Place tea bag and sweetener in cup
  3. Pout rosemary steeped water into cup and steep for 2 to 3 minutes
  4. Remove tea bag
  5. You can place a fresh rosemary sprig in cup for presentation
  6. Enjoy this spring fresh tasting tea.
Charles A. Pennison


Whole Foods: " Green Tea "
Whole Foods: " Rosemary "
Whole Foods: " Peppermint "

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Changing The Time of Day When You Eat May Help Prevent Obesity And Diabetes

Changing the time of day when you eat, rather than what you eat, may help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent diabetes.

That is the result of a very interesting study by the researchers at the Salk's Regulatory Biology Laboratory.

This is a study that was conducted with mice, but may have relevance to humans. However, human tests will have to be conducted to make that claim.

This is what the researchers found. When mice were restricted to eating during an 8 hour period and forced to fast during the remaining 16 hours of the day, they weighed less and were healthier than mice that could eat whenever they wanted to eat.

Just think about that for a second. If you could restrict your eating to an 8 hour period of the day and fast for the remaining 16 hours, you might be able to reduce your weight and fat content, and be healthier. And you may be able to be healthier without changing what you eat. Just change when you eat, and lengthen the fasting period.

Most of us do not eat during our sleep cycle of about 8 hours. To be healthier and slimmer, just find a way to increase that period of fasting to 16 hours. You don't have to change anything else. However, if you also eat healthier foods and fast for 16 hours, you may become even more healthy.

On the other hand, if you eat around the clock and have very short fasting times, you may have difficulties in maintaining a healthy weight. Not only that, but you also increase your risks of developing diabetes, liver and heart disease.

In other words, the length of your fasting time each day is an important factor in whether or not you can maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes, according to this new research study.

The mice that ate around the clock, compared to the mice that had a 16 hour fasting period,
  1. Weighed 28% more
  2. Developed high cholesterol
  3. Had high blood sugar
  4. developed liver damage
  5. and had diminished motor control
The researchers found that when you eat frequently without fasting, your body keeps making and storing fat, which eventually can lead to liver damage. Your liver also continues to make additional glucose, which raises your blood sugar, which can eventually develop into diabetes.

However, if you fast for several hours, your body makes less fat, glucose and cholesterol. If you regularly fast for long periods each day, your body starts burning fat cells during the fasting period. In addition, instead of producing extra glucose, your body uses that nutrition to repair damaged cells and make new DNA. The net result is lower cholesterol, less fat cells and lower blood sugar levels.

 If you are looking for ways to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of diabetes without the use of drugs, consider increasing your fasting time every day. This means, of course, no late night snacking.

Charles A. Pennison


Salk Institute for Biological Studies: " Salk Study May Offer Drug-free Intervention To Prevent Obesity and Diabetes "

Thursday, May 17, 2012

FTC: Skechers Deceived Consumers With Shoe Ads

 It would be great to be able to increase weight loss, reduce your body fat and improve circulation and aerobic conditioning simply by wearing shoes. As usual, what appears too good to be true is too good to be true.

The FTC claims that Skechers incorrectly reported results of research studies that also included defects. They claimed people lost weight when they actually gained weight. The FTC also claims that the company failed to disclose that a researcher was paid to conduct and study on the shoes, and that the researcher was married to a Skechers marketing executive.

I always thought it strange that people would want to wear shoes that are designed to keep you off balance as you walk. But the lure of looking like a super model by wearing shoes is tempting.

If you truly want to strengthen muscle, reduce body fat and improve aerobic conditioning, you will have to
  1. eat properly and with healthy portions
  2. and stay physically active as much as possible throughout the day.
There is just no way around it. A healthy body is the result of a healthy lifestyle, and not the type of shoes that you wear.

For information on the Skechers Refund, visit .


FTC: Skechers Refunds
Los Angeles Times: " Skechers agrees to pay $50 million to settle toning-shoe cases "

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fructose And Insulin Resistance In Your Brain

A diet high in fructose can slow down your brain, and disrupt your ability to learn and remember information, according to a new UCLA study.

The results of this study are quite interesting.

They studied two groups of rats. Both groups were trained for five days to navigate a maze with one exit, and both groups were fed standard rat chow.

Following five days of training sessions, both groups were given a fructose solution as drinking water for six weeks. The second group, however, was also fed omega-3 fatty acids.

After six weeks, the group that did not eat any omega-3 fatty acids were much slower in navigating the maze that they were trained to navigate. The second group that ate omega-3 fatty acids in addition to the fructose water were much faster in navigating the maze.

It appears that fructose can block insulin's ability to regulate how brain cells use and store sugar for energy that is needed for processing thoughts, memory and learning. In other words, a high fructose diet can harm your brain's ability to function properly.

On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids appear to counteract the negative influences of fructose on the brain.

The conclusion on brain health is that fructose is bad, and omega-3 fatty acids are good.

For optimum health, it is best to stay away from highly processed foods that contain a lot of fructose. However, we all fall to the temptation of a sugary snack from time to time. If you keep your omega-3 fatty acid levels in your blood stream on the high side by eating a lot of cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseeds, your body should be able to counteract an occasional unhealthy snack.

  1. If you want to minimize your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  2. And you want to maintain a healthy body weight
  3. And you want to minimize your risk of developing fatty liver disease
  4. And you want your brain to function at its best,
Then stay away from foods that contain fructose, and eat a lot of cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseed.

Charles A. Pennison


UCLA News: " This is your brain on sugar: UCLA study shows high-fructose diet sabotages learning, memory "

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Meditation May Allow Your Brain To Process Information Faster

Meditation not only strengthens the connections between brain cells, but may also allow your brain to process information faster.

This is the conclusion of a study at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging.

The researchers found that people who have practiced meditation the longest in years have more folds in the outer layer of their brains. It is thought that these additional folds allow their brains to be better at processing information, making decisions and forming memories.

It is possible that genetics can be responsible for the physical differences in the brains of the people studied. However, the positive correlation between the number of years that meditation is practiced, and the additional amount of folding in the outer layers of the brain suggest that meditation is, at least, partly responsible.

I have had a difficult time staying with a meditation routine. I just find it difficult to relax and stay focused on just one thing for 15 to 30 minutes. However, that is the point of the exercise.

Those that stick with the meditation regimen become masters of introspection, awareness, emotional control and self-regulation. They have a superior ability to stay relaxed and focused. Like anything else, it takes years of practice, practice and more practice.

If you can continue to do meditation techniques everyday for years, you not only develop superior self-control, but also improve the function and health of your brain.

The government is now attempting to find medical ways to prevent brain diseases such as Alzheimer's. Recent research, however, suggest that the best way to improve and maintain brain health are
  1. A daily routine of physical exercise
  2. Adhering to a Mediterranean type of diet and a high omega-3 content diet
  3. And practice daily meditation techniques.
Charles A. Pennison


UCLA Newsroom: " Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain "

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Throw Away Good Vegetable and Fruit Broths

When you steam or boil fruits and vegetables, do you keep the liquid?

The broth that you are left with when you steam or boil vegetables or fruits is full of vitamins, minerals and healthy anti-oxidants. Don't throw this liquid away.

I like to use the vegetable broths for soups and beans. For fruit broths, I use them when I cook oatmeal or barley for breakfast. It is a great way to add additional nutrients to your meals, and it saves water.

So, get into the habit of saving and using those broths for future meals. After all, why use plain water when you can use flavored broths for your soups, beans and oatmeal.

Charles A. Pennison

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Should Exercise Be Part of Cardiac Rehab For The Elderly?

Many physicians and insurance companies believe that cardiac rehab does not help the elderly. Are they right?

No according to Dr. Stephan Gielen, Deputy Director of Cardiology at the University Hospital, Martin-Luther-University of Halle, Germany.

The results of a new study, published by the American Heart Association, concludes that exercise, regardless of the age of the heart patient,
  1. Counteracts muscle breakdown
  2. Increases strength and
  3. Reduces inflammation caused by aging and heart failure.
This study makes it clear that the benefits of exercise for heart failure patients of any age are less muscle-wasting, and an increased ability to do more exercise over time.

How Was The Study Conducted?

 The researchers used 60 heart-failure patients and 60 healthy volunteers. Half of the group was 55 years and younger, while the other half was 65 years and older. Half of the group underwent four weeks of supervised aerobic training, while the other half did not exercise.

The exercised group underwent 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day, for five days a week in addition to one 60 minute group exercise session. The results showed that the heart-failure patients 55 and under increased their peak oxygen uptake by 25%, while the older group increased their peak oxygen uptake by 27%.

The findings of this study indicate that exercise is therapeutic even for elderly heart failure patients when it comes to reducing muscle breakdown and wasting associated with heart failure.

Of course, it would be better to not experience heart failure or a heart attack in the first place.

How To Reduce Your Heart Attack Risk

There are certain controllable risk factors that can reduce your risk of a heart attack or heart failure.

You can
  1. Avoid smoking
  2. Keep your blood pressure at healthy levels
  3. Keep your cholesterol levels low
  4. Reduce your weight to healthy levels and
  5. Stay physically active
 Start today to keep your risk low of ever having to experience a heart attack or heart failure by keeping yourself healthy and fit. If you do experience heart problems, work with your health professionals to start the appropriate exercise fitness routine and cardiac rehab program to prevent muscle breakdown and wasting associated with heart failure.And this is true of everyone of any age.

Charles A. Pennison


American Heart Association: " Exercise Slows Muscle Wasting From Age And Heart Failure "
American Heart Association: " Heart Attack Risk Assessment "

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is Fructose Really Just Sugar?

Sugar is just Sugar, right?

Not really, according to the researchers at the Duke University Medical Center.

Increased fructose consumption may increase the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease for the obese and those with diabetes.

What is fructose?

Fructose is a type of sugar that is found in many plants. It is also the sweetest tasting of the most available type of sugars.

Sources with the highest concentrations of fructose are
  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Honey
  3. Molasses
  4. And Dried Figs
Fructose is also the most common form of sugar added to many processed foods, candies, sodas and fruit juices.

What is Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?

It is a condition that involves the accumulation of fat in the liver without alcohol abuse. Overtime, NAFLD can lead to more serious health conditions of hepatitis, liver failure and death.

Being overweight is a risk factor for NAFLD along with a family history of fatty liver. And now, the results of this new research suggest that a high consumption of fructose, especially for the obese, is also a risk factor for NAFLD.

Why is Fructose Different from the other sugars?

The researchers at Duke indicate that fructose, unlike other sugars, requires a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in order to be metabolized in your liver. ATP is a molecule in every cell in your body that chemically stores energy. When your cells need energy to do mechanical work, it gets that energy from ATP.

If you consume large amounts of fructose from processed foods, it can deplete the amount of ATP in your liver. This is especially true for the obese and those with diabetes, since they may already have an inability to produce adequate amounts of ATP. With the addition of fructose, their livers can easily be depleted of necessary energy to function properly.

This, in turn, can lead to the development of fatty liver disease and hepatitis.

This is just another reason to avoid processed foods with added fructose, especially if you are obese and have diabetes. Focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and staying away from sweetened juices and sodas to improve your overall health and fitness.

Charles A. Pennison


Duke Health: " Increased Fructose Consumption May Deplete Cellular Energy in Patients with Obesity and Diabetes "
Fatty Liver Diets: " Fatty Liver "
Wikipedia: " Adenosine Triphosphate "
Wikipedia: " Fructose "
" Is Fructose Stealing Energy From Your Liver? "

Monday, May 7, 2012

Can Diabetes Be Prevented or Cured?

Is there anything that an obese patient can do to prevent or possibly cure themselves of diabetes?

Yes according to a study presented at the International Congress of Endocrinology/European Congress of Endocrinology in Florence, Italy.

This study states that lowering your BMI by 5 units can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes. And severely obese patients can possibly rid themselves of diabetes by reducing their weight enough to reduce their BMI by 5 units.

What is BMI?

BMI is an acronym that stands for Body Mass Index.

It is a correlation based on your weight and height to identify potential weight related health problems. The BMI number is categorized as
  1. Severly Underweight if it is less than 16.4
  2. Underweight if it is from 16.5 to 18.4
  3. Normal if it is from 18.5 to 24.9
  4. Overweight if it is from 25 to 29.9
  5. Obese Class I if it is from 30 to 34.9
  6. Obese Class II if it is from 35 to 39.9 and
  7. Obese Class III if it is 40 and over.
Results of the Study

For patients who did not lose weight during the 2 and 10 year follow-up, the diabetes incidence rates were
  1. 6.5% for patients with a BMI less than 35
  2. 7.7% for patients with a BMI between 35 and 40
  3. and 9.3% for patients with a BMI greater than 40.
For patients who lost at least 5 BMI units, the diabetes incidence rates were
  1. 2.4% for patients with a BMI between 35 and 40
  2. 2% for patients with a BMI between 40 and 45 and 
  3. 3.4% for patients with a BMI greater than 45.
As you can see, lowering your weight enough to reduce your BMI by 5 units can significantly reduce the likelihood that you will develop diabetes.

How Much Weight Represents 5 BMI Units?

Losing 5 BMI units is not easy, but it can be accomplished. However, it does take dedication by the patient to change their lifestyle significantly for the rest of their lives. With the help of your doctor, dietician or support group, it can be done.

The average man in the US is 5' 10", and the average women in the US is 5' 5". For the average obese man to reduce his BMI by 5 units, he would have to lose 35 pounds. The average obese women would have to lose 31 pounds.

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.

It does take a lot of work and a dedication to completely change your lifestyle to reduce your weight by 5 BMI units, but research has shown that it is worth the effort to drastically improve your health and fitness and be free of diabetes for life.

Charles A. Pennison


ScienceDaily: " Losing Weight When Obese Can Prevent or Cure Diabetes "
Disabled World: " Height Chart of Men and Women in Different Countries "
Exercise-to-a-healthier-life: " BMI Calculator "
Health and Fitness Articles Blog: " 5 Important Habits of People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off For Over a Year "

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Is A Healthy Lifestyle Worth The Effort?

Does living a healthy lifestyle lead to a healthier life?

Apparently it does, according to a study reported in the American Journal of Cardiology.

This study, led by Dr. Owais Khawaja of the Harvard Medical School, focused on men who had at least one parent that suffered a heart attack before the age of 55. This is considered to be premature heart disease, and children of such parents are at a higher risk of premature heart failure themselves.

The data for this study is based on the Physicians' Health Study, which has followed over 20,000 US male doctors since the 1980s.

The results of the study indicates that men with a family history of premature heart attacks were less likely to suffer a premature heart attack themselves if they lived a healthy lifestyle.

How Did They Live A Healthy Lifestyle?

They adhered to at least 3 healthy, modifiable lifestyle habits. Modifiable lifestyle habits include
  1. Maintaining a healthy body weight
  2. Not smoking
  3. Regular physical exercise
  4. Moderate alcohol consumption
  5. Eating a healthy breakfast regularly
  6. And a high consumption of fruits and vegetables
Study Results

Of the genetically-at-risk men living a healthy lifestyle, the rate of heart failure is 7 cases for each 10,000 men each year. This is in comparison with genetically-at-risk men living an unhealthy lifestyle, which have a heart failure rate of 14 cases for each 10,000 men each year.

This indicates that even with a genetic predisposition to heart failure, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances of having a heart attack.

In conclusion, if you truly want a longer and healthier life, you must adhere to a healthy lifestyle.



Reuters: " Even at higher genetic heart risk, lifestyle helps "
The American Journal of Cardiology: " Usefulness of Desirable Lifestyle Factors "
JAMA: " Relation Between Modifiable Lifestyle Factors and Lifetime Risk of Heart Failures "

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Changing Your Diet May Lower Your Alzheimer's Disease Risk

Can a change in your diet lower your Alzheimer's Disease risk?

The answer may be yes, according to Yian Gu, an associate research scientist at Columbia University in New York City.

Past research has shown that you can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease by 65% by eating a Mediterranean type of diet and exercising regularly. Since the Mediterranean type of diet is low in red meats and high in fish, nuts and vegetables, this study focused on the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diets of dementia free seniors over the age of 65.

One of the characteristics of having a high risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease, is a high blood level of beta amyloid protein. This protein is a major component of amyloid deposits in the brain, which is a hallmark of the disease.

After studying 1,200 dementia free seniors over the age of 65, the results indicate that "regardless of age, gender, ethnicity and educational background, the more omega-3 fatty acids consumed, the lower the beta amyloid levels found in the blood." These healthy seniors got most of their omega-3 fatty acids from fish, poultry, margarine, nuts and salad dressing.

In other words, eating more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the amount of beta amyloid protein in your blood stream, which in turn reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's does occur in my family over the age of 70. This is one of the reasons that I have changed my diet to eating more cold water fish. I now seldom eat red meats, and consume 3 servings a week of Brisling Sardines. The fish that are highest in omega-3 fats and low in mercury are sardines, herring and wild salmon.

Other foods high in omega-3 fats are
  1. Ground Flax seed
  2. Chia Seeds
  3. Walnuts
  4. And cooked soybeans
Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good for your heart, but also good for your brain's health and fitness. Eat more foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and live long and prosper.



Doctor's Lounge: " Eating More Foods Rich in Omega-3s May Lower Alzheimer's Risk: Study "
The FASEB Journal: " Role of the beta-amyloid protein in Alzheimer's Disease "
WebMD: " Beta-Amyloid May Identify Alzheimer's Disease "