Here we have a further foray into the funny realm of losing weight and staying healthy. I can’t believe I have already posted nine of these.
I hope you are doing your best to eat less; move more; and live longer.
The laugh’s on me.
Eat less; move more; live longer. I have written those words hundreds of times in this blog. Now I am happy to see that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a study that agrees with those sentiments.
A National Institutes of Health-supported study provides some of the first clues about the impact of sustained calorie restriction in adults. Eat a little less each day and you may have more days and better health to enjoy those days.
Researchers in a two-year clinical study found calorie restriction modified risk factors for age-related diseases and influenced indicators associated with longer life span, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance. The study was reported in the September, 2015 issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Continue reading
As if we didn’t need another reason to control our weight, the National Institute on Aging reports that being overweight may increase our risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
“Being obese or overweight in middle age has been linked to increased risk of dementia. To learn more, researchers at the National Institute on Aging, part of the NIH, further explored the relationship between weight at midlife and Alzheimer’s among volunteers participating in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), one of the longest running studies of human aging in North America. They found that being obese or overweight at midlife—as measured by body mass index (BMI) at age 50—may predict earlier age of onset of the devastating neurodegenerative disorder.”
The study led by Madhav Thambisetty, M.D., Ph.D., appeared online Sept. 1, 2015, in Molecular Psychiatry.
“Cognitively healthy at the start of the nearly 14-year study, each of the 1,394 BLSA participants received cognitive testing every one to two years; 142 volunteers eventually developed Alzheimer’s disease.
The investigators found:
▪Each unit increase in BMI at age 50 accelerated onset by nearly 7 months in those who developed Alzheimer’s disease.
▪Higher midlife BMI was associated with greater levels of neurofibrillary tangles—a hallmark of the disease—in the brains of 191 volunteers, including those who did not develop Alzheimer’s.
▪Among 75 cognitively healthy volunteers who had brain imaging to detect amyloid, a protein whose fragments make up the brain plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, those with higher midlife BMI had more amyloid deposits in the precuneus, a brain region that often shows the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s-related changes.”
Eat less; move more; live longer.
To read further about keeping your brain healthy, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits).
Let’s think about what happens when we eat. We take in vegetables, grains, and animal products and we transmute those materials into their fundamental components in a form that our cells can assimilate. From that we create tissues, organs, bones, and fluids. We eat a tomato and turn it into a heart. We are recreating ourselves everyday through a process to which we give little to no thought or attention.
Originally posted on STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA:
The process of eating and digesting is a wondrous thing. It is magic. It is alchemy. Ayurveda acknowledges this. In our Western culture the process of eating has become mindless or at best, a form of entertainment. Too often as we eat we watch TV, have meetings or socialize or, worse, we eat standing or on the run. The consequences of this disconnection to the process of eating and digestion are seen in the growing prevalence of problems such as malabsorption, irritable bowel, food sensitivities, bloating, gastritis, indigestion/heartburn, and excess gas. It also leads to lowered immunity. Before opting for a flu shot this winter, think about fine-tuning your eating habits.
There is an ancient Ayurvedic proverb: “Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.” When we think of proper diet we need to think not just of what we eat but…
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WebMD has a writeup on the Worst Restaurant Meals that is worth checking out.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Chicken is often a good alternative to red meats with their heavy fats, however, restaurants can mess it up big time. Here’s what WebMD say: “Chicken fajitas can be a healthy option. But they’re often served with heaps of sour cream, shredded cheese, refried beans, and fried rice. Pack it all in, and you’ve got plenty of calories to pad your waistline! Instead, load up on grilled peppers, onions, chicken, and fresh salsa. Stick with just one tortilla.
“The Count: 1,300 calories, 47 grams fat, 4,800 milligrams sodium”
Deep dish pizza with sausage is obviously going to be a caloric heavyweight. To lighten the load consider thin crust without the sausage.
Vegetarian Fried Rice is another caloric curve ball. WebMD notes that the veggie options aren’t always the healthiest. They put the count for Vegetarian Fried Rice at 1,090 calories, 19 grams fat, 2,210 milligrams sodium.
At this point it is probably a good idea to remember that the American Heart Association recommends we limit our sodium consumption to 1500 mg per day.
A really worthwhile tip is the one under the heading Eat Better: Find Hidden Calories: “You can skip the most fattening restaurant meals by reading the menu closely. Look for clues. Words like pan-fried, sautéed, battered, breaded, au gratin, cheesy, creamy, buttered, deep-fried, béarnaise, or crispy are usually signs of extra fat and calories. “Crisp” items are often deep-fried in oil.”
Here’s is one that I must fight the temptation over every time I eat out – the basket of bread. When I was gaining my weight some years ago, I would start a meal with a couple of slices of thick Italian bread dipped in olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese – delicious, yes, but diabolical for calories. I probably consumed 500 calories this way BEFORE the entree arrived. Beware the bread.
Regarding dessert, stick with fruits and forget the baked goodies.
There are lots of good suggestions here. As regular readers know, I am a big time fan of brain health, having both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family.
Besides these healthy eating tips, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) for more on brain health.
Originally posted on Our Better Health:
Brain Foods That Help You Concentrate
Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 11, 2013
Ginseng, Fish, Berries, or Caffeine?
Listen to the buzz about foods and dietary supplements, and you’ll believe they can do everything from sharpen focus to enhance memory, attention span, and brain function.
But do they really work? There’s no denying that as we age, our body ages right along with us. The good news is that you can improve your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you add “smart” foods and drinks to your diet.
Caffeine Can Make You More Alert
There’s no magic bullet to boost IQ or make you smarter — but certain substances, like caffeine, can energize you and help you concentrate. Found in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and some medications, caffeine gives you that unmistakable wake-up buzz, though the effects are short-term. And more is often less: Overdo it on…
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New York city is at it again. This time requiring sodium warnings on the saltiest restaurant items. I have very mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, I want to eat healthy and have other folks do the same, therefore I limit my sodium intake. However, I do not think it is the government’s place to barge into people’s eating habits – even when they are harmful. I think we should be free to choose what we want even if it is not the most nutritious choice.
For the record: the American Heart Association recommends we limit our sodium consumption to 1500 mg per day.
Following are examples from the
Calories Sodium (mg)
Jersey Mike’s Buffalo Chicken Cheese Steak 1,740 7,795
Applebee’s Chicken Fajitas Rollup 1,090 3,600
Applebee’s4 Cheese Mac & Cheese (with extras) 1,830 4,290
Burger King’s BK Ultimate Brkfst Platter 1,420 3,020
Chili’s Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad 1,040 3,470
Dairy Queen’s 4 Pce Chicken Strip Basket 1,000 2,530
Friendly’s Grilled Chkn Caesar Salad 880 2,770
Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy Entree 1,450 3,830
For more details and restaurants and to read the entire Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) press release click here.
One of the first and most important lessons I learned about weight control was Portion Size. Until I understood portion and serving size, I had no idea how to control my weight. I thought a serving of pasta was a heaping plate full. As you can see from the illustration, that is a far cry from accurate. Once you get a handle on how much food is a correct portion, you will be on your way to controlling your weight.
An example of portion size and serving size is the old bag of chips example. You pick up a bag of potato chips. Because you are paying attention to your weight, you check the calories on the back. It says something like 150 calories per serving. Not bad … but wait
weight. A serving is one ounce. The bag weighs three ounces. So, you need to limit yourself to a third of the chips. Use a food scale, or your eye, or count them out, but if you eat the whole bag, you will consume 450 calories, not the 150 serving size. That’s how you combine serving size and portion size.
It’s fascinating how ideas tend to flow in groups. All of a sudden I seem to be reading a lot about exercise having a positive affect on the brain (one of my favorite subjects). To explore further into it, check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain ( and Exercise Benefits).
The latest update in Tufts University’s Health and Nutrition letter said, “Physical activity helps preserve mobility and motor skills as you age – and not just by keeping your muscles in shape. A new study suggests that activity also maintains mobility by protecting your brain. Even in people with signs of brain aging called white matter hyperintensities (WMH) associated with movement issues, being more active seemed to allow the brain to compensate.
“Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, says of the findings, “Although the study cannot determine causality because of its cross-sectional design, their results are consistent with a number of other studies that have shown that increased physical activity protects mobility.”
“BRAIN SPOTS AND MOBILITY: The study, published in the journal Neurology, subjected 167 people without dementia, ages 60 to 96, to a battery of tests. They had MRI scans of their brains, wore activity monitors for up to 11 full days, and underwent 11 motor-performance tests, such as grip strength, finger tapping and lower-body function. Continue reading
This is another helpful piece of information on the workings of the brain and aging.
I am an avid student of the brain and all things related to its function. Please check out my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain ( and Exercise Benefits.)
Originally posted on Our Better Health:
Test identifies smaller brain volume and problems with thinking.
A simple saliva test could help identify thinking problems in older people, a new study finds.
The study found a connection between the stress hormone cortisol and thinking skills.
Higher cortisol levels in the evening were linked to worse thinking skills and smaller brain volumes.
Dr Lenore J. Launer, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Studies have shown that depression increases the risk for dementia, but we don’t know much about how this relationship occurs.
High levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been found in people with depression, and the theory is that cortisol has a toxic effect on the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory.”
The study included data from 4,244 people who did not have dementia.
Dr Launer said:
“Since this study just looked at a snapshot in time, we don’t know…
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I think it is crucial to remember that healthy living involves both eating well and exercising. Sometimes folks can get caught up in exercise and think “I can burn anything off.” Thoughts like this can lead to some very unpleasant circumstances and medical surprises. No matter how good your fitness regime is, you still need to eat intelligently, too.
This infographic from Miramont has some really good information on basic nutritious foods.
Eat less; move more; live longer.
I like this insight into paying attention to one’s heart rate.
My Apple Watch has a heart rate monitor and I have used several in the past, particularly when I do stair climbing.
Originally posted on D.I.G.:
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been tracking and making healthcare based decisions off of a persons heart rate for centuries (actually, even longer than that based on a lot of accounts!). This is because the rate, quality, and regularity of the heart beat is a direct marker of the state of your entire body…and since the heart rate is always present and easy to access, it’s a really handy thing to trend!
Nowadays, heart rate monitors are often used as a marker of activity and calorie consumption. And while they don’t give you information on the quality of your heart rate, I believe they can be used for much more than just losing some fat.
Additionally, compared to a lot of other health markers, heart rate monitors come in a variety of forms and most of them are relatively affordable. (Like anything having to do with preventable medicine, it’s important to…
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I am now in my sixth year of writing this blog. It started out as a weight loss guide, but over the years has morphed into a full service mental and physical health project. Weight loss isn’t off the table; it is just a byproduct of keeping oneself in tiptop health.
That little bit of history was because of a recent publication from Tufts University.
Regular readers know that I am a big advocate of both walking (Check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More) and protecting against the dangers of too much sitting. (Check out my Page – Do You Know the Dangers of Too Much Sitting?)
So I was most pleasantly surprised to run across the following from Tufts:
“Multiple studies have warned about the health risks of sitting too much. Hours spent sitting, whether at desks or in front of the television, have been linked to increased odds of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and kidney problems. But modern life can make it difficult to stay out of chairs, and alternatives such as “standing desks” don’t appeal to everyone.
“A new study may offer hope to sedentary sitters: Using data on more than 3,600 adults, researchers found that brief periods of simply walking around the room substantially reduced mortality risk among people who spent long periods sitting. As little as two minutes of gentle walking per hour was associated with a 33% lower risk compared to non-stop sitting.
“We know that exercise is good for us and yet, despite this, our society has become more sedentary than ever,” says 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. “We are built to move, and when our bodies move on a regular basis, they are healthy; when they don’t, when we’re largely sedentary, our bodies deteriorate.”
MEASURING MOVEMENT: In the study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, Srinivasan Beddhu, MD, of the University of Utah, and colleagues analyzed data from the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). In recent surveys, selected participants have supplemented their questionnaire answers by wearing activity monitors called accelerometers; this gives a more accurate record of a person’s movements than depending on individual recall. Most of the participants were generally healthy, although a subgroup of 383 people had chronic kidney disease.
Researchers divided participants into four groups based on minutes per hour of different levels of accelerometer activity: sedentary/sitting, low (such as standing up but not walking around much), light (such as strolling around a room or walking into another room), and moderate/vigorous (jogging or other exercise). The study then compared activity levels to records of deaths three or four years after the assessment.
ADDITIVE ACTIVITY: There was little difference in mortality between the sedentary and low-activity groups. But people who interrupted their sitting with light activity were at significantly lower mortality risk than those who were completely sedentary; this difference was even sharper among the kidney-disease subgroup (41%). As little as two minutes an hour of light activity was enough to be associated with lower risk.
“Boosting activity levels to moderate/vigorous further reduced risk, but the number of such active participants was too low to be statistically significant. Adding additional minutes of light activity, however, did make a significant difference. Getting up from your chair for two minutes or five minutes more light activity rather than sitting time, Dr. Beddhu said, could further reduce risk of premature death.
“ He cautioned that the study was observational, and so can’t prove cause and effect. And Tufts’ Nelson notes that a quick break from your chair is no substitute for regular physical activity. But if you’ve been worried about the health risks of sitting too much, apparently every little bit helps. For more advice on the benefits of stretching as well as dozens of easy-to-perform moves and stretches, order Stretching for 50+ from Tufts Health & Nutrition!
In my web meandering, I come across all kinds of items, some serious and some not so. I have put out several posts previously on diet, health and fitness funnies. I think humor is a wonderful elixir of good health. I am calling this Number Eight so new readers might wander back through the blog to find previous entries on the Lighter Side ….
If any of these give you the slightest stimulus to eat healthier or move more, so much the better. If not, the laugh’s on me.
The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) is pleased to announce the release of “Step It Up!” the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking and Walkable Communities next week.
On September 9th in Washington DC, US Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Md, MBA is expected to release the Call to Action and call on all Americans, organizations, and communities to take action to increase walking and walkability.
As regular readers know, I am a giant fan of walking in all its forms. Check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More for further details.
Kenneth E. Powell, MD, MPH writes, “In 1994, Professor Jeremy Morris, speaking at a symposium honoring Dr. Ralph Paffenbarger’s 70th birthday, proclaimed physical activity as the “Best Buy in Public Health.”1 Morris and Paffenbarger are the founding fathers of physical activity as a public health issue because of their seminal epidemiologic research in the 20th century. Today, more than 20 years later, bargain-hunting American consumers who usually buy anything “on sale,” aren’t buying….
“Professor Morris was not wrong. Physical activity was and remains a best buy. In fact, subsequent scientific research has shown physical activity to be an even better buy than we thought. If physical activity were a pill every doctor would be prescribing it, every insurance company would be happy to pay for it, and every American would be taking it on a daily basis. The breadth of physical and mental health benefits is breathtaking. Regular physical activity significantly reduces the risk of premature death, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, excessive weight gain, and injurious falls; it maintains functional ability in older adults, helps maintain weight loss, and reduces the risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis. Regular physical activity not only prevents disease, it helps treat it. People with heart disease, chronic obstructive lung disease, diabetes, cancer, and others all benefit from regular physical activity. Continue reading