Healthy fat is so important for the absorption of nutrients from food. Being overly conscious of eliminating fat can result in vitamin deficiencies and retention of weight because of improper digestion. A good supply of daily fat such as those found in nuts, avocados, fish and seeds as well as from organic meats can slow digestion and put off cravings for hours. Think of every snack as a little meal in which a small amount of the above is included.
Mushrooms are a rich source of plant protein. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols. Spanish researchers tested different cooking styles of white button, shiitake, oyster and king oyster mushrooms and found that grilling was the best way to preserve the nutrient content of all the mushrooms. It actually increased their nutritional value. Frying and boiling reduced protein and antioxidant content. Results were published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
According to a study done by Swedish researchers, having a dog as part of the family was linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In Sweden all dogs are tagged and registered. The study lasted 12 years and included 3.4 million Swedes ages 40 to 80. Owning a dog proved to have a 20 to 23% decrease in death by cardiovascular disease. The results proved to be higher with owners of larger, active breeds since these dogs encouraged the owner to get out more to exercise their pets. Lap dogs just kept the person warm.
Fat is important for protecting our organs and lubricating our joints. Critical for nerve function, brain and eye operation. It supports hormone production as well as absorption of nutrients. It is not the elimination of fat from the diet but ingesting the right fats that is now what health professionals consider more important. But what about how fat is stored by the body. Why does the body store some as visceral and some as subcutaneous. What exactly is “brown” as opposed to “white” fat. Are we able to control how the body stores these fats or is it in our genes? It is important to understand how all these fats serve a positive purpose in the body and how maintenance and not complete elimination of any one of them should be the goal. Visceral fat is important in so far as it lies deep within the body and lines and protects our organs. By wrapping itself around our organs it protects the body in case of impact. However, when there is an excess it can result in abdominal weight that can result in a host of health problems. Subcutaneous fat is that which lies directly under the skin. It is home to blood vessels that supply the skin and nerves with oxygen. It lies loosely under the skin protecting the skin from trauma. Subcutaneous is that fat which is most easily reduced by exercising because it contains the energy storeage of the body. Which brings us to brown and white fat. Brown fat usually accumulates around the back of the neck and upper back. Its purpose is to burn calories and generate heat. It is usually derived from muscle tissue and especially high in hibernating animals and new born babies. As we age it is harder to maintain a good supply of this fat unless we maintain a healthy weight and exercise (especially outdoors) to allow the body to generate heat. It is rich with blood vessels which helps to give it the brown color. White fat is more abundant in the body. It is the largest store of potential energy in the body. White fat contains the receptors for insulin, growth and stress hormones. Of course the amount of each fat differs with all body types but it is important to realize that they all have a purpose in a healthy body.
New studies show the relationship between healthy gut bacteria and how happy and anxious we feel. One study done by Canadian researchers gave cocktails of antibiotics to mice. The loss of the healthy bacteria brought on by the effects of the antibiotics made the animals more anxious. When gut bacteria was taken from healthy mice and transferred to these mice they appeared to become much calmer. More and more studies are being done on how gut bacteria can help with some brain disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD. Because bacteria is thought to influence the immune system, a strong connection is now being made to both anxiety and depression. Fiber rich foods, especially from dark green leafy vegetables, provide nourishment for good bacteria to grow. This along with avoiding taking any unnecessary antibiotics can strengthen our gut and create peace of mind.
Doing a flight of stairs may be the last thing you feel like doing after a meal but it may well be another minor act that can encourage weight loss. Climbing stairs can force the body to use more blood sugar instead of storing it. Lower blood sugar levels were found in people who were active immediately after a meal as opposed to those who started walking 45 minutes later. This according to results published in Diabetes Cure.
The FDA has classified condoms as a medical device. Although condoms have proved to be the best way of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, only one-third of American men will use one. Most complain of poor fit, discomfort and decreased pleasure. New standards set by the FDA have opened the door to companies like “myOne Perfect Fit”. The company offers condoms in 60 sizes. Sizes are indicated by letters so as not to intimidate anyone.
A new study from Tuft’s school of medicine reported that Tai Chi could have the beneficial effects similar to physical therapy especially for those suffering from osteoarthritis. Participants were over 60 years of age and many were considered obese. The positive effects of Tai Chi have to do with the slow, gentle, graceful movements combined with deep diaphragmatic breathing and relaxation. Two separate groups in a twelve week program were either to practice Tai Chi or receive physical therapy twice a week. The results were the same for both groups. Less pain was reported for up to one year. However, the Tai Chi group had significantly more improvement when it came to depression and the quality of life. This could be because Tai Chi integrates physical, psychosocial, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral elements making it a total mind-body experience. It is also less costly.
Discussing health histories at a family gathering may be a great tool to giving you insight into improving your health. Being aware of certain illnesses or diseases that relatives have suffered in the past can give a doctor the added advantage of a proper diagnosis if a problem arises. Take time to record data from several generations of relatives. There are digital tools available that can guide you through the process. The National Society of Genetic Counseling, The March of Dimes, and The Office of the Surgeon General all offer downloads by which you can organize and print out your family’s history. Knowing can lead to prevention by simply making lifestyle changes.
(Source- Consumer Reports on Health)
Why do some people become jittery after one cup of coffee whereas others are able to drink it continuously without the slightest negative effect? The answer it seems may lie in your genes. A certain enzyme CYPIA2 may be responsible for how quickly our bodies break down caffeine. One variant of this gene causes the liver to metabolize caffeine at a faster rate. If this particular gene is inherited from both parents it can in turn increase the metabolism of caffeine by as much as four times. A study was funded by The National Institute of Health in which there were 4,000 participants. Those that were fast metabolizes were able to clear caffeine from their systems rapidly allowing the antioxidants and polyphenols to kick in without any negative effects of caffeine. There may be multiple genes that are responsible but more research is now underway on how caffeine and the CYPIA2 gene can affect an athlete”s performance.