Empty calories: What you need to know – MNT

I think calorie-counting is a very valuable tool when you are first getting started on weight control and living a healthy life. But, there are calories and there are calories. You need to know the food value of the calories you are consuming. You don’t want to eat a lot of empty calories.

Put simply, empty calories are calories that come from foods or drinks that have little or no nutritional value.

77e01181ed5cf00a073b4402e5236de0

There are many common sources of empty calories. People may choose to limit or eliminate these foods and drinks from their diets to stay healthy and within their ideal weight range.

Helping children limit empty calories can set them up for a healthy life in the future. It can also help stabilize their energy and decrease mood swings.

Avoiding or limiting empty calories is a simple step toward a healthier diet and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Calories are units of energy. Scientifically, a gram calorie (cal) is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram (g) of water by 1° C.

From a scientific perspective, what is typically called a “calorie” is actually a kilogram calorie (kCal). This is a unit of energy made up of thousands of “small calories” equal to the large calorie often used to measure the energy in food.

Calories are an essential part of the diet. The body needs to burn calories to do the simplest tasks, such as breathing or blinking. When physical exercise is thrown into the mix, even more calories are required to stay healthy and alert.

The amount of calories a person needs every day can vary widely. Most recommendations are based on a diet of 2,000 calories per day. However, this number may be higher or lower depending on the individual and their habits.

A registered dietitian can help determine a person’s ideal caloric intake based on activity level, age, sex, metabolism, and height.

What are empty calories?

Continue reading

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under calorie counting, calorie restriction, calories, Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, junk food calories, overweight, stealth calories, Weight, weight control

Why chocolate is good for your gut – MNT

I am a chocolate lover. I have some every day of my life. Granted, what I consume are small quantities which I devour slowly and let simply melt in my mouth. I also know that dark chocolate has more benefits than the sweet milk chocolate of my childhood. Herewith, Medical News Today‘s take on the dark delight.

chocolate-day-imapes-3.jpg

Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies show that it can also promote friendly bacteria and reduce inflammation in our guts. But first, some background: trillions of bacteria live in our guts. They contribute to our immune system, metabolism, and many other processes essential to human health.

When the delicate balance of microbes in our intestines is disturbed, it can have serious consequences.

Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, allergies, asthma, and cancer have all been linked to abnormal gut microbiomes.

A healthful diet supports bacterial diversity and health, but could chocolate be an integral part of this?

Benefits of cocoa

Cocoa is the dry, non-fatty component prepared from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the ingredient that gives chocolate its characteristic taste. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under chocolate, chocolate cravings, cocoa, dark chocolate, inflammation

The day before you came … Abba

I guess it is appropriate to write a music post immediately following yesterday’s post on music having a powerful effect on the brain. I have been a music lover all of my life. I spent the year 1977 in London on assignment with Reuters News Service. It so happens that Abba was among the hottest groups going at that time and I listened to tons of their music. Also became a very big fan. I still play it on my iPhone while riding my bike.

But, the Day before you came is something special. It was one of their later tunes and not typical of their cheery upbeat melodies. I am sure it is my favorite of their entire catalog. Speaking for myself, I have definitely experienced the feeling of this song, how my life went on in its mundane fashion UNTIL I encountered this very special person. Then everything changed, like someone turned the lights on in a dark room.

Anyway, click the link and enjoy the beautiful Agnetha’s performance. I confess to having  had a crush on her for years.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Abba, music, music listening, musicians

Music Has Powerful (and Visible) Effects on the Brain

Regular readers know by now that I am a music lover. I have listened to it all my life. I remember the little radio we had back in the 1940’s when I was growing up. Cut to today when I have a bluetooth speaker on my bike that plays music from the iPhone in my pocket. So, I was thrilled to learn how music has positive impacts on my brain.

music-notes-clip-art-png-139835101453

It doesn’t matter if it’s Bach, the Beatles, Brad Paisley or Bruno Mars. Your favorite music likely triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people’s favorites do in theirs.

That’s one of the things Jonathan Burdette, M.D., has found in researching music’s effects on the brain.

“Music is primal. It affects all of us, but in very personal, unique ways,” said Burdette, a neuroradiologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Your interaction with music is different than mine, but it’s still powerful.

“Your brain has a reaction when you like or don’t like something, including music. We’ve been able to take some baby steps into seeing that, and ‘dislike’ looks different than ‘like’ and much different than ‘favorite.’”

To study how music preferences might affect functional brain connectivity – the interactions among separate areas of the brain – Burdette and his fellow investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which depicts brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Scans were made of 21 people while they listened to music they said they most liked and disliked from among five genres (classical, country, rap, rock and Chinese opera) and to a song or piece of music they had previously named as their personal favorite. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under brain, brain function, brain health, Healthy brain, music, music listening, music therapy

Poor sleep habits related to dementia

I have written about the value of sleep for some years here. It along with walking are two of the most unappreciated aspects of living a healthy life. You can check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

I wanted to share the following video with you as it highlights another aspect of the value of a good night’s sleep.

Dr. Breus is a clinical psychologist, and is known for his expertise on sleep and health. He’s a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine,.

Poor sleep literally causes dementia. It’s one of the causes, and fixing it is one of the ways you can reverse dementia.

Dr. Breus explains exactly how lack of sleep affects your body and brain, and how disturbances in your sleep cycles can “turn on” the progression of dementia, and cause many other serious health problems too.

The good news is that you can avoid mental and physical disorders that poor sleep causes by following easy, at-home recommendations Dr. Breus will give you to cure sleep disorders and sleep peacefully all through the night.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, dementia, good night's sleep, sleep, sleep aids, sleep monitors

Fitness and food funnies

I found some more fun pics that I thought you might enjoy. My own dog has a somewhat similar reaction to my doing yoga as the one below. She doesn’t understand that I am on the floor like she is, but not to play with her.

5c17b756aca82c17890cbe5307c5107c.jpg

2481c43dd94c5ced7c988a2b44fa33cb.gif

31963ae70b008ea8623ceae672ed8dbf.jpg

066031d4613be9e9dbef2acc97bcd9fc.gif

c841d0eddc66157b276424699345032b.jpg

65e4378f3e036365dc73ad0b515cdeff.jpg

a3761cf4606754243d81b23c058dad80.jpg

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under fitness funnies

Organ meats – Benefits and risks – MNT

Organ meats are sometimes referred to as “offal.” The word offal derives from the term “off fall,” referring to any part of an animal that falls away when it is butchered, such as the tail, feet, and testicles.

In the United States, organ meats include all things that are distinguished as offal. On the other hand, most meats Americans are used to eating are muscle meats, while organ meats are not considered a staple of the Western diet.

organ-meat-660x240.jpg

Organ meats carry some risks, however, as well as benefits, when they are consumed, despite their nutritional value.

Fast facts on organ meats:

  • Organ meats are very high in some vitamins and nutrients.
  • There are issues with harmful bacteria in intestines if not cleaned properly. Also, brain meat has been known to transmit rare diseases, such as Mad Cow Disease.
  • Despite the vitamin content, culturally in the U.S., organ meats are not considered as important a part of a dietary plan, as traditional muscle meats.

What is organ meat?

Chicken liver is a type of organ meat or offal.

There are several different types of organ meats, some of which are better known than others including:

Leave a comment

Filed under minerals, offal, organ meats, vitamins

10 Metabolism secrets to help shed pounds – Infographic

The aim of this blog is not to simply lose weight. It is to live a healthy, happy and long life and to have all our mental faculties functional till the end. I am including this infographic because it has a lot of good information on those very things – as well as losing weight.

Eat less; move move; live longer.

894a7034210d69c983b8cda084413746.jpg

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, ideal weight, overweight, stress, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Cholesterol levels linked Alzheimer’s – MNT

I have mentioned previously about losing three family members to Alzheimer’s Disease and/or dementia. Hence, my own serious concern about these mental conditions. I remember my aunt whom Alzheimer’s took had very high cholesterol late in life and had been warned by her doctor that she needed to get her numbers down. So, this study from  Medical News Today published several years ago had real meaning for me.

aHR0cDovL3d3dy5saXZlc2NpZW5jZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzA4NS81NTcvb3JpZ2luYWwvYnJhaW4tbmV1cm9ucy5qcGc=.jpeg

Project leader Bruce Reed, a professor of neurology at the University of California (UC) Davis, and associate director of its Alzheimer’s Disease Center, says:

“Our study shows that both higher levels of HDL – good – and lower levels of LDL – bad – cholesterol in the bloodstream are associated with lower levels of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.”

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under aging brain, Alzheimer's disease, brain, brain function, brain health, cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol

7 steps for brain health from childhood to old age – AHA

The American Heart Association (AHA) has a superb rundown on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, literally from cradle to grave. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to see these concepts broadcast by the mainstream health outlets like the AHA. The following is directly from them. At the end I have listed some of my posts which flesh out these steps. Remember, eat less; move more; live longer.

A healthy lifestyle benefits your brain as much as the rest of your body — and may lessen the risk of cognitive decline (a loss of the ability to think well) as you age, according to a new advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

 

c80992a1012118373be3f673cecdf16bf4f6c32b_original

Both the heart and brain need adequate blood flow, but in many people, blood vessels slowly become narrowed or blocked over the course of their life, a disease process known as atherosclerosis, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes. Many risk factors for atherosclerosis can be modified by following a healthy diet, getting enough physical activity, avoiding tobacco products and other strategies.

“Research summarized in the advisory convincingly demonstrates that the same risk factors that cause atherosclerosis, are also major contributors to late-life cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. By following seven simple steps — Life’s Simple 7 — not only can we prevent heart attack and stroke, we may also be able to prevent cognitive impairment,” said vascular neurologist Philip Gorelick, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the advisory’s writing group and executive medical director of Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, smoking, Smoking dangers

How avocados and nuts could boost intelligence – MNT

Here is some heartening news for folks worried about fats consumption.

You may want to think about adding avocados, olive oil, and nuts to your grocery list, since a new study has suggested that the monounsaturated fatty acids in these foods could boost intelligence.

incorporating-nuts-seeds-oil-in-mediterranean-diet.jpg

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that higher levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in the blood correlated with greater general intelligence in older adults.

Study leader Aron K. Barbey, a professor of psychology at the university, and colleagues recently reported their results in the journal Neuroimage.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging brain, avocados, brain, brain function, brain health, guide to health benefits of edible seeds, nuts

Music, meditation may improve early cognitive decline – MNT

Meditation and music listening programs have shown promise in improving measures of cognitive and memory in adults with subjective cognitive decline, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Emerging evidence indicates that subjective cognitive decline (SCD) could represent a pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, or unhealthy brain aging. Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the United States.

10880579-Vector-musical-notes-staff-background-for-design-use-Stock-Vector

Dr. Kim Innes, associate professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues aimed to assess the effects of two mind-body practices – Kirtan Kriya meditation and music listening – on cognitive outcomes in people with SCD.

Kirtan Kriya is a form of yoga meditation that combines focused breathing practices, singing or chanting, finger movements, and visualization. Practitioners of yoga claim that this type of meditation stimulates all of a person’s senses and the associated brain areas.

Meditation and music listening programs have shown promise in improving measures of cognitive and memory in adults with subjective cognitive decline, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Listening to music or taking part in meditation could improve memory and cognitive function among people with SCD.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, cognitive decline, meditation, music, music therapy, successful aging

Almost Famous – Tiny Dancer

*This is slightly off the beaten health path, but I enjoyed this movie so much that I wanted to share it with you. Briefly, I am a member of Amazon Prime and buy a lot of things from them thus saving me the time and trouble of going out to stores ( also saving shipping costs ).* I have heard that about half the households in the U.S. are Prime members, so it is about even money that you too can enjoy this video for no cost as I did.

I got an email from Amazon the other day mentioning that I had access to dozens, maybe hundreds, of movies and TV shows at no cost on my Prime membership. I clicked on their link and started selecting movies for my Watchlist. There was Almost Famous, Cameron Crowe’s wonderful film from the year 2000 about a high school-aged journalist writing a piece for Rolling Stone after traveling with a rock group. I had seen it when it came out, but, that was nearly 20 years ago, so I selected it to watch.

Here is a look at what Wikipedia had to say about the movie.

Almost Famous is a 2000 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe, and starring Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson and Patrick Fugit. It tells the fictional story of a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone magazine in the early 1970s while covering the fictitious rock band Stillwater, and his efforts to get his first cover story published. The film is semi-autobiographical, as Crowe himself was a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under movies, music, music listening

Tips for better aging – NIA

Below is a neat little infographic from the National Institute on Aging.

I thought it was nice to see how our life span has increased since the turn of the century.  On the other hand, check out the fact that nearly two out of three of us over 65 have multiple chronic conditions. There are some very simple – and easy – suggestions that can help seniors to live longer. But, you don’t have to wait till you are in your 60’s or even late 50’s to work on your health. As I have said dozens of times here, eat less; move more; live longer.

Start today no matter how young you are. Tomorrow is closer than you think.

infographic-tips-better-aging_crop.jpg

Tony

2 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, National Institutes of Health, successful aging

How music changes our perception of touch – MNT

Music is an integral part of my life. When I am not otherwise engaged, I am likely listening to music. That is definitely the case in my car. I opted to not get the sunroof because when it was open, I could not hear my music as clearly. Likewise, I have a water bottle with a bluetooth speaker on it so that I can listen to music while riding my bike. In terms of safety, I consider this vastly safer than wearing headphones which shut out ambient sound.

Music touches. Until recently, this was only meant in a figurative way—now it can also be taken literally. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences have found that touch is perceived differently, depending on the music being played. The sexier we perceive the music we are listening to, the more sensual we experience the contact if we think we are touched by another person.

Be it Lima, Liverpool or Leipzig, is widespread in every culture on Earth. It can evoke a positive group feeling and may be substantial to help humans live in bigger groups than other primates. How this happens is still not completely known.

Scientists at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig seem to have discovered an important part of the explanation: Music influences our perception of touch. “We have observed that the sexier we perceive music, the sexier we also perceive touch that is administered simultaneously,” study leader Tom Fritz explains.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under music, music listening

Fitness fun …

I am expanding the scope of these ‘funnies’ somewhat today as I found some awesome GIFs that I thought you would enjoy. Also, I confess, I love the animal ones. What is it with cats and dogs and yoga?

db4807bd8b4e87c1eed41edec33fa28a.gif

Some amazing boarding …

765c249950128c15081dafd32f28f685.jpg

8f7e93e6ef8bcdc120af03584de6c470.gif

06ec4a7850f6f2922f091d09bd38ba05.gif

cdb81c86008c9bca258e00588d12f636.gif

614556eed4795698cb7855fe87913b82.jpg

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, fitness, fitness funnies, yoga