Small behavioral changes, big health results?

To achieve anything, you have to take baby steps to get to the finish line. We all get discouraged at some point but really the hardest part is the first step. You need to be assertive, have that will, determination and say I need to do this right now. Before you know it, you would’ve acquired the skills and managed the time to fit in that new habit. It’ll take around 21 days for any new habit to become a part of your long-term lifestyle.

In this post I’ll discuss 3 new studies’ findings on soda, diet soda and short bouts of exercise.

Soda, soda everywhere!

A study published in

Continue reading

Latest research on protection against cancer, heart disease and the lethal pathogen E. Coli O157:H7

I don’t usually summarize latest research like this, but these 3 findings were must posts on my blog!

The compound in the Mediterranean Diet that makes cancer cells “mortal”

The Mediterranean diet has been taking the hype in recent years with its plentiful health benefits. Latest research from Ohio State University has observed that a Mediterranean diet has a component (apigenin) that puts a “death sentence” on cancer cells. While pharmaceutical drugs target a single molecule, apigenin positively influences many different aspects of the body’s functions (i.e. decreases inflammation) other than stopping cancer cells from remaining “alive”.

Apigenin is found in fruits and vegetables and is richest in parsley,  celery and chamomile tea.

http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/apigenin.htm

Air and Noise Pollution Increase Cardiovascular Risk

This is particularly an area that hits home for me. I get extremely irritated with all the noise population that occurs in the city. This is magnified since we live across from a school and near a university. So yes the morning and afternoon rush hour is a real nightmare (no sleep!). We patiently wait for summer to get some peace and quiet.

I have always wondered, what would someone with high blood pressure or recovering from a surgery do in this case? The rest they need would not be provided. The  IUF Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Germany looked at both the effect of noise and air pollution on 4238 participants. They were specifically looking at whether this pollution will increase their risk of atherosclerosis (the first stage of heart disease).

After controlling for many variables that are associated with atherosclerosis, the researchers found that air pollution was associated with a 19% higher risk of cardiovascular risk. While nighttime traffic noise pollution increased the risk by 8%.

So try to avoid pollution as much as possible! Perhaps white noise in the background might help when sleeping.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-finds-air-pollution-and-noise-pollution-increase-cardiovascular-risk

The last study I’ll discuss in this post is Intestinal Bacteria Protects against E. Coli O157:H7

We all have natural bacteria in our intestines which serve many beneficial tasks. An animal study presented in the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology found that the natural bacteria in our intestines can eliminate a toxin that is released by the E. Coli O157:H7 and prevent this toxin’s effects which may include acute renal disease (a form of kidney failure) which can result in death.

Tip of the day: don’t forget to have some probiotic rich yogurt, plenty of fiber (fruits, veggies and whole grains) and drink lots of water.

If your intestine is happy so will you be!

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-05/asfm-ibp051613.php

Have as much artificial sweeteners as you want…or can you?

Many people who are watching their weight resort to non-nutritive/artificial sweeteners in their daily diets. These sweeteners were first marketed to people with diabetes as a means of providing a sweet taste without the risk of increasing their blood sugar. The idea was that people with diabetes would not have to count it as a sugar (since it is zero-calories) and respectively not adjust their insulin doses.

Little did the makers of these products know that this was the fix all sweet-tooth dieters were waiting for. However, are these products too good to be true?

Continue reading

The Secret to Japan’s 25 year Record for Longevity

It is a never ending human greed. Movies, books, characters all created/play with the idea of the human form that never dies (vampires, Superman..)

The highest life expectancy was documented from Japan for the last 25 years (for females). However, Hong Kong now has a higher one at 86.70 years vs the Japanese at 85.90. Some are attributing this longer life expectancy to a healthier traditional diet.

The scientific claims,

  • It has been found that the area with the highest life expectancy is Okinawa, Japan. In comparison with the other Japanese areas, their diet had (in 1988)
    • around 90 grams of meat and pulses daily which is about 20% and 30% higher than the national average.
    • a daily intake of green and yellow vegetables which was about 50% higher than the national average.

Around 90 grams of chicken breast, can be replaced with legumes (chickpeas, lentils and other beans)

  • The Okinawan diet has been analyzed and found to be low in calories but nutrient dense 😀
  • Thus another theory that is still  under study is Dietary Restriction.
    • It goes like this, when we UNDER-EAT (when still meeting our body’s daily needs), that sends a signal throughout our body telling the body to favor longevity (++++ing years to our life when this is adopted as a lifestyle).
    • Dietary restriction without under-eating delays most age-related physiological changes, and extends maximum and average lifespan
    • Animal studies have also demonstrated that MILD dietary restriction (not severe!) can prevent or lessen the severity of cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease, autoimmune disease, allergy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The Okinawan diet is heavy in vegetables and fruits (therefore phytonutrient and antioxidant rich) but low in meat, refined grains, saturated fat, sugar, salt, and full-fat dairy products.

A comparative study in 2009 found it to be very similar to the traditional

Mediterranean diet or the modern DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet

which are both known to contribute to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart diseases), some cancers, and other chronic diseases through multiple mechanisms, including reduced oxidative stress.

    • In comparison with the Mediterranean diet and DASH diet, the traditional Okinawan diet is
      • lowest in fat intake, particularly saturated fat
      • highest in carbohydrate intake, high intake of antioxidant-rich yet calorie-poor orange-yellow root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, and green leafy vegetables.

Make this..Into THIS!

 

As the Japanese diet is becoming more Westernized (yes the deep fried @#!, soft drinks, processed carbohydrates…) Japanese hospitals are seeing more cases of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (aka heart diseases) and the metabolic syndrome which is a group of syndromes that place a person at a higher risk of heart disease and death.

The higher life expectancy in Japan is not found to be related to social gradient of life, it is however found to be related to healthy lifestyles especially diet and the social support of family and friends.



So the take home message is this,

1. When eating a meal LOOK at your plate, observe what is on your plate and in what quantities

2. What are you having next to your meal; drinks, appetizers, side dishes

3. Stop your meal before the feeling of “Oh dear I overate”.

4. Say ‘No‘ to that second piece of dessert, to the second serving of dinner and make sure your first serving is not too large to start with.

5. A good tip; when eating a sandwich or our deadly mankoushe, exercise portion control. Ask for it to be cut in half, if you ate the first half and are still famished then have the second…..if you are somewhat satisfied try to go without having the second half!

6. Eat slowly and enjoy your fooooooood! Nom Nom!

Stop overeating not only to control your weight and have a healthier body, but also to live to see your grand grand children!

________________________________________________________________________________________

Please note: This post is not encouraging low calorie diets. It is promoting mindful eating, portion control and maximizing the reader’s potential.

There have been no experimental trials on humans to support some of these claims, but studies on mice and rats are suggesting this. References are available upon request.

Your own “Food that will Make You Fat” list

We have all heard of them, the personalized don’t eat any item of this list it’ll make you fat.

SCAMMED!

Some people who hold degrees in medicine or nutrition will do a blood test or body scan that they derive a personalized list of food that MAKES YOU FAT. There is no such list! There is no machine that tells you what your body cannot process and will thus go to fat. Continue reading