Saturday, September 06, 2008

Chronic Correlates

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!

Diabetes and Cholesterol and Blood Pressure, oh my!

There are data showing a relationship between chronic diseases, their symptoms, and cognitive abilities. However, it is important to remember that high glucose (for diabetics), high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are exactly that ... symptoms of other problems.

They are effects, not causes.

Thus, in research trials, esearchers lower the symptoms of a disease and don't see an effect in the disease itself. This most recently happened when researchers lowered homocystein (a marker for heart disease) with medication, but saw zero change (zero, null, 0, nothing) in the rate of heart disease. They scratch their heads.

But the reason the symptom is high (for homocystein, for example), is because the patients are not eating healthfully. But handling the symptoms without handling the problem is a little like continually sponging up the overflow without just turning off the tap.

Yes, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high homocysteine are associated with cognitive decline and demintia. But these are symptoms whose source runs back to food selection, eating behaviors, and a life out of balance.

Handle the symptoms. Find the tap and turn it off.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Red Red Wine

People who drink to forget might actually succeed if they just stopped at a couple.

In fact, red wine helps to reinforce the neural circuits that control negative emotional memory (Now See Here). Of course, having more than just a couple is a physiological disaster across the board, but drinking in moderation may be good for the brain.

In a recent article in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society researchers determined that wine was unlike other alcohol beverages (liquor, beer) in that it was associated with a lower risk of dementia (Now See Here).

Why? Maybe because the red wine resveratrol has brain-protecting effects. And this may counter any damage induced by the alcohol itself. It is hard to know just yet, but the benefits of red wine have officially moved from a quirky "French Paradox" to an acknowledged healthful addition to the meal.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Some foods are great at fighting fires in your body (Now See Here). These are the "cruciferous" and "green leafy" veggies, and including cauliflower, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprout and collards.
One of the many benefits of these particular vegetables is their Vitamin E content, which is substantial.
An added bonus of these foods is their potent anti-cancer activities. So, by eating these veggies, you'll live longer, and remember it too!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blueberry Brains

If, by now, you don't have blueberries on the brain, you should.

This food has been dubbed a "Superfood", and for good reason. Not only is it delicious, not only is it righteous in a pie, and stellar in yogurt, but it can also slow and even reverse the age related brain drain that creeps up on you over time (Now See Here).

One thought is that their anthocyanins and flavanols can cross the blood brain barrier after you eat them. Once in your central nervous system, they exert their effects on learning and memory by boosting neuronal connections, cellular communications, and brain cell re-growth.

Sometimes, I eat blueberries, on their own, for dessert. They freeze very well, too. Just put them in a freezer-safe container or bag, and pull them out whenever you need a few!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Fish on the Brain

A while back, health authorities told us not to eat salmon ... too many oils, you know. Rather than "risk it", you should take Omega3 fatty acid pills. Remember when we weren't supposed to eat fatty nuts, like walnuts?

Although terrific in someone's little theory about how the body should work in principle, researchers are now finding results that pull conclusions back in line with common sense.

For example, eating fish decreases demintia (Now See Here) and eating foods with healthy oils in them (like walnuts) decreases your chances of getting Alzheimers Disease (Now See Here).

Foods with omega-3 fatty acids in them are absolutely essential for brain health, by providing the physical building blocks needed brain cells. One of the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), makes up a large portion of your brain's gray matter and is critical for brain cells to function.

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include coldwater fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Break the Fast

What about breakfast? There are cultures in the world who don't insist that their people eat a 3 egg omelet every morning. These are people who are thin and healthy, as well.

So why is that if, quote, Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Much of the research showing the impact of breakfast looks its role in school performance in children. For these groups, there is a clear effect on improved academic performance as well as attention (Now See Here).

Perhaps this is the difference -- between adults and children. Kids tend to have a higher metabolism and could become hypoglycemic through the morning. This is why they often need a fruit snack or nuts or cheese, for example, mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

By contrast, adults who eat food -- not faux foods -- are less likely to have hypoglycemia issues at 10:30am and 3:00pm and are, therefore, less likely to need a big breakfast. Keep in mind that there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and one must judge your own body's tendencies based on your own body's needs.

Don't eat because someone told you to. Trust yourself.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Funny Memories

Laughter is a drug.

And the nice thing about this particular addiction is that it is so hard to over dose on it.

The healing power of humor is getting a new look from research science (now see here). You know those funny TV shows you watch, or that silly person you hang out with who makes you laugh even when you don't want to?

It turns out that, by doing those things, you are giving your brain releif from the stress hormones while stimulates the parts of your brain that use the "feel good" chemical messenger dopamine.

An added benefit of laughing is the improvement of memory (now see here). So remember to watch sitcoms. Remember to hang around people that pull your spirits up. Remember to find the funny aspects of your day in every situation.

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