What About Creamy Vs. Crunchy Peanut Butter? – Infographic

As regular readers know, I love peanut butter. I start every morning with a fork full of crunchy peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. I love the taste of this and know that it provides me with energy for my morning bike ride. If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of coconut oil, check out my Page – Why You Should Include Coconut Oil in your Diet.

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Tony

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Sleep or Die – Infographic

Sleep is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most one of the most overlooked aspects of our life in conversations about good health. I have written a Page on it – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Herewith an infographic on the subject:

9cf75fcfda61fa55d918af0a96dce503I hope you get the message.

Tony

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How About Some Polar Opposites – Watermelon and Twinkies? – Infographics

I ran across two interesting infographics today that I thought you might enjoy reading. One is fresh and will help you to live longer, the other lasts forever, but will not help you to do the same.

The first is watermelon whose season is near its end in these waning days of summer. For the record, watermelon is one of my favorite foods. I eat some virtually every day of the year. I am fortunate that I have food markets here in Chicago that get watermelon sent up from Mexico in the winter months. I love its natural sweetness.

c97576a7a69613fb482634514791d7f4The second is about a non-health food: Twinkies which is never out of season because its shelf-life is infinite.

I wrote a while back – A Love Letter to Hostess Ho-Ho’s and Twinkies – NOT. I don’t love its unnatural sweetness.

34db9c2a0c73fa49972a680d4f11fde8Tony

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It’s not just WHAT you eat, but HOW you eat as well.

Tony:

Excellent ideas here. Let’s take the hurry out of eating.

Tony

Originally posted on Kim the Dietitian's Weblog:

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How you eat matters.  A recent study supports what seems obvious to me:  a pleasant, relaxing eating experience leads to healthier food choices and better health.

So many people race out the door, grabbing something as they go, or they graze all day long without ever sitting down to enjoy their food.  The study looked at the eating habits of over 1000 college and university students and found that those who prepared food at home and had a set eating schedule ate healthier than those who ate “on the fly,” grabbed food at school or were distracted by video games or TV.

What a shame to miss the experience of eating!  It should be pleasurable; in my opinion, eating is one of the great pleasures of life.  Being more mindful of the experience is not only healthier, but it’s also much more enjoyable.

I know we are all in a hurry, but we can all…

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10 Ways to Love Your Brain – Alzheimer’s Association

As regular readers know, I am very sensitive to cognitive impairment, having lost two close family members to Alzheimer’s and dementia. So I was very happy to come across this list of recommendations for building up our mental muscles and reducing our chances of contracting Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Research on cognitive decline is still evolving,” said Theresa Hocker, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association – North Central Texas Chapter. “But there are actions people can take. Certain healthy behaviors known to combat cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes also may reduce the risk of cognitive decline. These include staying mentally active, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating a heart-healthy diet that benefits your body and your brain.”

1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.

3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.

4. Follow your heart. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.

5. Heads up! Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.

6. Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.

7. Catch some Zzz’s. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.

8. Take care of your mental health. Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.

9. Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.

10. Stump yourself. Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.

“While the adoption of all of these habits is important in influencing brain health, if it seems overwhelming, start with one or two changes and build on them,” Hocker said. “Some changes may be challenging, while others can be fun. Try to choose activities and foods you enjoy.”

I was particularly gratified to see that their first recommendation had to do with getting regular cardiovascular exercise. If you want to read further on this, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).

Tony

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U.S. Calorie Consumption Down Dramatically Since 2003

We finally have some good news on the body weight front. The University of North Carolina Food Research Center analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control has come up with some very positive conclusions about how many calories we are consuming.

Having written about calories specifically yesterday, I thought this general post on U.S. calorie consumption would follow nicely.

The Daily Mail offered the following bullet points:

• Calories consumed by American adult undergoing their first sustained decline since government started monitoring them more than 40 years ago
• Reached peak in 2003 after having risen inexorably since the late 1970s
• Average calorie consumption by children is down by at least nine per cent
• Obesity rates have stopped rising among adults and school-age children
• Average American now drinks 25 per cent less soda than in the late 1990s
• Experts think people more aware of damage to health by eating so much

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I have to confess that I am very pleasantly surprised that Americans seem to be making a lot more intelligent choices when it comes to their meals and snacks.

“There have been suggestions that recessionary pressures have forced Americans to stop spending so much on food.

“However, experts say the most important reason is that people are simply more aware they are damaging their health by eating so much.

“The improvement has been most marked in households with children” The Daily Mail reported.

Tony

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Calories – Infographic

Probably the most talked about subject in the health and fitness world is – CALORIES. So I thought this infographic might help to fill in some blanks you might have about calories.

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Beyond Statins and CoQ10: How about Vitamins D and K2?

Tony:

Some nice insights here on Statin drugs and vitamin depletion.

Originally posted on Dr. Colin on Colons:

Many of us are familiar with statin drugs, such as Crestor and Lipitor, as the first-line prescription for poorly managed cholesterol levels. Moreover, it has been known for quite some time now that statin drugs deplete our bodies of a key antioxidant called Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10, for short). CoQ10 is extremely important for heart health by providing energy to the muscle cells of the heart, while also playing a role in cognitive function, energy production, mitochondrial health and many other physiological functions.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, therStatinse is new evidence to suggest that other important heart health nutrients may be depleted or negatively impacted by statins, too. Let’s first start with Vitamin D.

For those that are biochemically saavy, you will recall that vitamin D is actually made in the body from cholesterol. Can you already see where this is going? Statins deplete cholesterol and vitamin D…

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How Much Exercise is Enough? – Tufts University

This is a good question in my estimation. It means the person wants to exercise. So, there is at least the beginning of a plan to lose weight, get healthy, build yourself up or something along those lines. This is totally in my wheelhouse of eat less; move more; live longer.

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Tufts University offers some excellent guidelines.

“Nobody questions the health benefits of even just a little exercise, but you may wonder about what might be called the “Goldilocks” question: How much physical activity is “just right”? And is it possible to get too much or to overdo the intensity? Two large new studies, both published in JAMA Internal Medicine, attempt to answer such questions and identify the “sweet spot” of the ideal amount of exercise,” according to the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Update.

“Miriam E. Nelson, PhD, associate dean of the Tisch College and a professor in Tufts’ Friedman School, author of the “Strong Women” series of books, served as vice-chair of the committee for the US government’s first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. Those guidelines call for at least:

– 150 minutes per week of moderate activity OR

– 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity OR

– Some equivalent combination. Continue reading

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The Lighter Side of Weight Loss – Number Seven

As I said the first time out, in my web wanderings, I come across all kinds of items, some serious and some not so. I have put out a couple of posts previously on diet, health and fitness funnies. I think humor is a wonderful elixir of good health. I am calling this Number Seven so new readers might wander back through the blog to find previous ones.  

If you decide that maybe you can step up your efforts to shed a few pounds, or even better, clean up your diet and exercise act, so much the better. If not, well, the laugh’s on me.

I couldn't resist this one combining biking with a lovely pun.

I couldn’t resist this one combining biking with a lovely pun.

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How the Average Person Gains Weight

Regular readers have read here more times than I can mention that 60 percent of us are overweight and of those half are outright obese. We really are a nation of bad eaters and under-exercisers.

Here’s how that comes about, generally speaking:
The average American will add about a pound of weight each year starting from age 25. So, from 25 to 65 years old, the average person adds 35 pounds. However, there is more to the story than just that. UNLESS the average person is physically active, he is losing about a further half pound of bone and muscle mass each year, too. So, our body fat increases 1.5  pounds each year from 25 to 60 years old.

1989u0qkgkkgsjpg Continue reading

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Active Leisure Improves Heart Health – Tufts

As the saying (here in America) goes, things happen in threes. I assume that is good things as well as bad. I think of this post as the third in a series of subtle reminders on the benefits of movement, active leisure, good posture, etc. which I have posted about in the past few days. On Sunday, I posted about The Physiologic Link Between Heart Disease and a Sedentary Lifestyle, and on Saturday, the Importance of Good Posture.

Today, Active Leisure.

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It is important to remember how much our bodies need activity.

Now comes Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter discussing how active leisure improves heart health and longevity.

“How you spend your free time may affect how much life time you have to spend. While nothing beats regular exercise, a new Swedish study reports that older adults who are more active in their leisure time were less prone to cardiovascular problems and lived longer than their sedentary peers. The benefits were seen regardless of whether the seniors also engaged in vigorous exercise. Continue reading

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Toxic Chemicals You Didn’t Know You Were Exposed To – Infographic

On first blush these chemicals may seem to be only of interest to women readers. However, men, take heart. We men use shampoo, deodorant, body lotion, all of which also contain some toxic ingredients.

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One picture is still worth a thousand words. Enjoy!

Tony

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A Physiologic Link Between Heart Disease and A Sedentary Lifestyle

Tony:

There are some wonderful thoughts here on achieving good health. I hope you will read it and reap.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

I think it might be worth checking out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?

Tony

Originally posted on D.I.G.:

And A Discussion About Exercises

The concept that being inactive and heart disease are related is a pretty well-accepted idea in our society today. There are many explanations for why this occurs and they all mainly have to do with metabolism, food intake, and energy expenditure.  (This is why you’re supposed to run 10 miles if you eat a strip of bacon, right?)

While these ideas are certainly not wrong, I think there’s an important concept that many of us are missing when we try to lower our heart and vessel disease risk.

What I’m talking about here is the concept of a rising “vascular age” due to inactivity and stiffness of our bodies.

But first, let’s talk about blood flow in the body.

How Blood Normally Flows In The Body

For the sake of discussion, let’s start thinking about blood flow at the level of the heart. The heart is a…

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Harvard on the Importance of Good Posture

We don’t think much about our posture. I remember as a kid, my mother was always telling me to Stand up straight. It turns out that, once again, mother knew best.

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In a Special Health Report on posture, Harvard Medical School says, “Most of us get back pain at some point in our lives. It may be due to a sports-related injury, an accident, or a congenital condition such as scoliosis. But most of the time, upper or lower back pain develops during the course of day-to-day life. Repetitive activities at work or home, such as sitting at a computer or lifting and carrying, may produce tension and muscle tightness that result in a backache.

“Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do to prevent this sort of problem. General physical fitness and a healthy weight are important. But one surprisingly simple strategy can go a long way: Paying attention to your posture.

The basics of posture

“Posture is the way you hold your body while standing, sitting, or performing tasks like lifting, bending, pulling, or reaching. If your posture is good, the bones of the spine — the vertebrae — are correctly aligned.

“You can improve your posture — and head off back pain — by practicing some imagery and a few easy exercises.
“• Imagery. Think of a straight line passing through your body from ceiling to floor (your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles should be even and line up vertically). Now imagine that a strong cord attached to your breastbone is pulling your chest and rib cage upward, making you taller. Try to hold your pelvis level — don’t allow the lower back to sway. Think of stretching your head toward the ceiling, increasing the space between your rib cage and pelvis. Picture yourself as a ballerina or ice skater rather than a soldier at attention.
“• Shoulder blade squeeze. Sit up straight in a chair with your hands resting on your thighs. Keep your shoulders down and your chin level. Slowly draw your shoulders back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of five; relax. Repeat three or four times.
“• Upper-body stretch. Stand facing a corner with your arms raised, hands flat against the walls, elbows at shoulder height. Place one foot ahead of the other. Bending your forward knee, exhale as you lean your body toward the corner. Keep your back straight and your chest and head up. You should feel a nice stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds. Relax.
“• Arm-across-chest stretch. Raise your right arm to shoulder level in front of you and bend the arm at the elbow, keeping the forearm parallel to the floor. Grasp the right elbow with your left hand and gently pull it across your chest so that you feel a stretch in the upper arm and shoulder on the right side. Hold for 20 seconds; relax both arms. Repeat to the other side. Repeat three times on each side.

“Practice these imagery and posture exercises throughout the day. You might try to find a good trigger to help you remember, such as doing one or more of them when you get up from your desk, or right before scheduled breaks and lunch. Soon it will become a habit.”

For more on healing your aching back, order Back Pain, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.

Tony

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Trans Fats, Not Saturated Fats, Linked to Greater Risk of Death and Heart Disease

Tony:

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

Regular readers know that I have been beating the drum for the saturated fat – coconut oil for some time. Check out my Page – Coconut Oil – Why you Should Include it in Your Diet to read more about it.

Tony

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

A study led by researchers at McMaster University has found that that trans fats are associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease, but saturated fats are not associated with an increased risk of death, heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published today by the British Medical Journal (BMJ). The lead author is Russell de Souza, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“For years everyone has been advised to cut out fats. Trans fats have no health benefits and pose a significant risk for heart disease, but the case for saturated fat is less clear,” said de Souza.

“That said, we aren’t advocating an increase of the allowance for saturated fats in dietary guidelines, as we don’t see evidence that higher limits would be specifically beneficial to health.”

Guidelines currently recommend…

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