Hot chili peppers chill your mortality – Study

Here’s a hot one. Like spicy food? If so, you might live longer, say researchers at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, who found that consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality – primarily in deaths due to heart disease or stroke – in a large prospective study. Seems a small price to pay.

spicy-chili-and-mixed-pepper-kitchen-image-prints.jpg

The study was published recently in PLoS ONE.

Going back for centuries, peppers and spices have been thought to be beneficial in the treatment of diseases, but only one other study – conducted in China and published in 2015 – has previously examined chili pepper consumption and its association with mortality. This new study corroborates the earlier study’s findings.

Using National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III data collected from more than 16,000 Americans who were followed for up to 23 years, medical student Mustafa Chopan ’17 and Professor of Medicine Benjamin Littenberg, M.D., examined the baseline characteristics of the participants according to hot red chili pepper consumption. They found that consumers of hot red chili peppers tended to be “younger, male, white, Mexican-American, married, and to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and consume more vegetables and meats . . . had lower HDL-cholesterol, lower income, and less education,” in comparison to participants who did not consume red chili peppers. They examined data from a median follow-up of 18.9 years and observed the number of deaths and then analyzed specific causes of death.

“Although the mechanism by which peppers could delay mortality is far from certain, Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels, which are primary receptors for pungent agents such as capsaicin (the principal component in chili peppers), may in part be responsible for the observed relationship,” say the study authors.

There are some possible explanations for red chili peppers’ health benefits, state Chopan and Littenberg in the study. Among them are the fact that capsaicin is believed to play a role in cellular and molecular mechanisms that prevent obesity and modulate coronary blood flow, and also possesses antimicrobial properties that “may indirectly affect the host by altering the gut microbiota.”

“Because our study adds to the generalizability of previous findings, chili pepper – or even spicy food – consumption may become a dietary recommendation and/or fuel further research in the form of clinical trials,” says Chopan.

Tony

3 Comments

Filed under hot red chili peppers, longevity

2016 Survey on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being

The aim of this blog is to eat right, exercise regularly and live past 100 with a fully functioning brain. I just ran across a fascinating survey done last year  by AARP. I thought it had some very useful information that coincides with things I have written for this blog.

AARP conducted a survey among adults age 18 and over to understand the link between healthy behaviors and mental well-being. This study also sought to determine what motivates engagement in brain-healthy behaviors and which behaviors they are likely to adopt.

78484731_t670x470

Key findings include:
•    Mental well-being scores increase with age.  Those age 54 and older have higher than average mental well-being scores (assessed on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale). Mental well-being is low during middle age but, after midlife, it markedly improves. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, general well-being

Find out how good just 20 minutes of exercise is …

Eat less; move more; live longer has been the mantra of this blog almost since its inception. regular readers know how important I consider exercise – for the brain as well as the body. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more. But that is not to say that the body doesn’t also reap great benefits.

One moderate exercise session has a cellular response that may help suppress inflammation in the body

happiness-04

It’s well known that regular physical activity has health benefits, including weight control, strengthening the heart, bones and muscles and reducing the risk of certain diseases. Recently, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found how just one session of moderate exercise can also act as an anti-inflammatory. The findings have encouraging implications for chronic diseases like arthritis, fibromyalgia and for more pervasive conditions, such as obesity. (my emphasis)

The study, recently published online in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, found one 20-minute session of moderate exercise can stimulate the immune system, producing an anti-inflammatory cellular response.

“Each time we exercise, we are truly doing something good for our body on many levels, including at the immune cell level,” said senior author Suzi Hong, PhD, in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “The anti-inflammatory benefits of exercise have been known to researchers, but finding out how that process happens is the key to safely maximizing those benefits.”

The brain and sympathetic nervous system — a pathway that serves to accelerate heart rate and raise blood pressure, among other things — are activated during exercise to enable the body to carry out work. Hormones, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, are released into the blood stream and trigger adrenergic receptors, which immune cells possess.

This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF — a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses.

“Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF,” said Hong. “Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions, including nearly 25 million Americans who suffer from autoimmune diseases.”

The 47 study participants walked on a treadmill at an intensity level that was adjusted based on their fitness level. Blood was collected before and immediately after the 20 minute exercise challenge.

“Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects. Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient,” said Hong. “Feeling like a workout needs to be at a peak exertion level for a long duration can intimidate those who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases and could greatly benefit from physical activity.”(my emphasis)

Inflammation is a vital part of the body’s immune response. It is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury; defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria; and repair damaged tissue. However, chronic inflammation can lead to serious health issues associated with diabetes, celiac disease, obesity and other conditions.

“Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases should always consult with their physician regarding the appropriate treatment plan, but knowing that exercise can act as an anti-inflammatory is an exciting step forward in possibilities,” said Hong.

Tony

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, exercise duration, exercise myths

More on mainstream media – Newspapers

It seems I am getting a de facto branching out into media coverage on my blog. I hope you can figure out a way that it gets you healthier … or possibly more saner A friend of mine sent this to me and I thought you would enjoy it.Thanks, Ron!

Experts have found the following analysis to be near 100% accurate.

6277208708_7e6607d601_b.jpg

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could find the time and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The Chicago Tribune is read by people who are in prison, who used to run the state, & would like to do so again, as would their constituents who are currently free on bail.
10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.
11. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for.  There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are gay, handicapped, minority, feminist, atheists, and those who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
12. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.w
13. The Seattle Times is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.

Tony

1 Comment

Filed under mainstream media, newspapers

How To Stop a Cold Before It Starts

This post is full of good positive ideas for keeping up our strength and health through the challenging winter months. Although it mentions colds, it covers a lot of other good ground.

Regarding sleep, please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

home-remedies-for-head-cold

The item on stress is a point well-taken. I have written about the damage and dangers of stress lots of times. You can search it in the box at the right. I recommend checking out Super tools for handling stress. I wrote it five years ago and it has tons of useful ideas.

 

Tony

Our Better Health

Natural preventatives and some common sense will keep you from getting sick — or staying that way for long.

It’s a double-whammy: getting sick during the winter combines feeling crummy with many people’s less-than-favorite time of year. And if you do have to go outside when you have a cold, you’re probably going to be even more uncomfortable.

Getting sick at least once during the winter is, arguably, inevitable. With more and more of us crowded onto planes, buses, trains and offices, the likelihood of contracting a virus is high. But the suggestions below can help you shorten the length of a cold, avoid a repeat or avoid a worsening (a cold-related cough that turns into bronchitis, for example).

Sleep: If you need a concrete reason to turn off the tube or close the computer and get to bed (beyond that it’s “good for you”) then consider this: Dr. Diwakar…

View original post 521 more words

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Musicians have faster reflexes – Study

I always loved that famous William Congreve quote – ” Music has charms that soothe the savage breast.” It’s often misquoted as the savage breast. I confess, I am a music lover. Sadly, the only instrument I play is my stereo. I never got around to actually learning how to play an actual instrument. More’s the pity.

single-music-notes-symbols-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-uBO51N-clipart.jpeg

Researchers at University of Montreal’s audiology school find that musicians have faster reaction times than non-musicians – and that could have implications for the elderly.

Could learning to play a musical instrument help the elderly react faster and stay alert?

Quite likely, according to a new study by Université de Montréal’s School of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, part of UdeM’s medical faculty.

Published in the U.S. journal Brain and Cognition, the study shows that musicians have faster reaction times to sensory stimuli than non-musicians have.

And that has implications for preventing some effects of aging, said lead researcher Simon Landry, whose study is part of his doctoral thesis in biomedical science.

“The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times,” Landry said.

“As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower. So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them.”

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under music, musicians, Uncategorized

The weather’s not to blame for your aches and pains – Study

Do you remember the old ads for Chiffon Margarine a while back that showed Mother Nature trying some and thinking it was real butter. When told it wasn’t she uttered the famous line, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” You can see it on You Tube below

Turns out it’s not nice to blame Mother Nature either.

New research from The George Institute for Global Health has revealed the weather plays no part in the symptoms associated with either back pain or osteoarthritis.

It’s long been thought episodes of both back pain and arthritis can be triggered by changes in the weather, including temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation.

Professor Chris Maher, of The George Institute for Global Health, said: “The belief that pain and inclement weather are linked dates back to Roman times. But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their preexisting views.

“Human beings are very susceptible so it’s easy to see why we might only take note of pain on the days when it’s cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny.” Continue reading

13 Comments

Filed under osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, weather

Bear up, don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard

Despite global warming, Chicago, where I live, has been suffering from some serious winter weather. I can pretty much ride my bike year ’round here, but I draw the line at single digits. I haven’t been able to find a mask that protects my face from frostbite and at the same time, doesn’t leak my breath up into my glasses – fogging them. Living in a high rise building, I can usually take to the stairs and still get in a workout, with the benefit of weight-bearing exercise, to boot. There is also a health club downstairs, but I really don’t enjoy them.

For those of you who may have similar wintertime woes, Harvard has some suggestions for keeping yourself healthy.

winter-643263_960_720.jpg

1. Make some soup

Instead of a snow day baking sweet treats, try making a big batch of soup. You can experiment with different ingredients all winter long, providing you with a healthy distraction from the cold and an endless source of nutritious, warm meals.

Want to increase the fun factor? Try a “Soup Swap” with friends, where everyone makes a different type and divides it into batches for easy sharing. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under cold weather exercising, Harvard

How to fight Triskaidekaphobia

Feeling blue on Friday the 13th? Perhaps you are triskaidecaphobic, which is to say, fearful of Friday the 13th.

Wikipedia says, “Triskaidekaphobia (from Greek tris meaning “3”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “10” and phobos meaning “fear” or “morbid fear”) is fear of the number 13 and avoidance to use it; it is a superstition and related to the specific fear of the 13th person at the Last Supper being Judas, who was said to have stabbed Jesus Christ in the back (metaphorically). It is also a reason for the fear of Friday the 13th.”

The publication Environmental Nutrition offers the following 5 foods that are super nutritious and might bring you good luck at least in terms of your general health.

Amazing avocados, is their first offering. “Ounce for ounce, they contain more blood-pressure lowering potassium than bananas. Avocados are rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fats, and cholesterole-lowering beta-sitosterol and cancer-protective glutathione, along with Vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and fiber.”

Brain-boosting blueberries come in second. “These little blue marvels are the antioxidant leaders, plump and nearly 4 grams of fiber per cup and a good dose of vitamin C. They also have cancer-protective ellagic acid, and may boost your brain health and vision.”

Anti-cancer Brazil nuts come in third. “This hearty tree nut is a ‘trigger food’ that may cause cancer cells to self-destruct. It’s a super source of selenium, a promising anti-cancer trace mineral that also promotes DNA repair and boosts immunity. Just two medium nuts contain enough selenium to perhaps reduce the incidence of prostate, colon and lung cancers.”

Good old Broccoli is number four. “Here’s an easy way to get two cancer-blockers that modify natural estrogens into less damaging forms and increase the activity of enzymes that fight carcinogens. Aim for three servings a week of broccoli or its cruciferous cousins.”

Number five is Butternut Squash. “This tasty fruit (yes, fruit) is an exceptional source of beta-carotene, the antiooxidant tyour body converts to vitamin A. But it’s also an overlooked source of bone-building calcium.”

So, look on the bright side and focus on the great nutritional benefits you can derive from these five super foods and forget about the fact that today is Friday the 13th. Just don’t walk under any ladders.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under Friday the 13th, Triskaidekaphobia

High cholesterol intake and eggs do not increase risk of memory disorders

I am now and  have been for years a big fan of eggs. A hundred years ago, it seems, I worked on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange trading floor where I covered the egg futures market along with pork bellies, live cattle and live hog futures. In that capacity, I learned a great deal about eggs from their production to our consumption. I have posted on them numerous times. Here are a few: Eating eggs is good for you. I wrote that in the first month of this blog’s existence. Feel free to type e-g-g-s in the search box at the right to read more posts on eggs.

eggs-04

A new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows that a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol, or eating one egg every day, is not associated with an elevated risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, no association was found in persons carrying the APOE4 gene variant that affects cholesterol metabolism and increases the risk of memory disorders. APOE4 is common in Finland. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under cholesterol, eggs, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk

Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight

If, like many folks, you overindulged during the recent holidays, perhaps this item I wrote back when the blog was still in diapers might be of help.

Besides, I think the brain is amazing and we can’t know too much about it.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Regular readers know that I am retired and have been taking courses from The Great Courses for some time. Lately, I have become fascinated with the brain and how it functions.

The latest class I am studying is “The Neuroscience of Everyday Life” taught by Sam Wang, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Neuroscience at Princeton University. Additionally, Professor Wang is the co-author of the best-selling book Welcome to Your Brain which has been translated into 20 languages.

Here is the best-selling book Professor Wang co-wrote

I have only just begun reading the book, but I ran across a passage on page 36 that I thought would interest and benefit readers of the blog. The following is from a two-page write-up titled Tricking Your Brain Into Helping You Lose Weight.

This is the conclusion of those two pages:
“Early food exposure influences dietary preferences in adulthood, and eating habits…

View original post 179 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under brain, brain function, Exercise, exercise and brain health, overweight, Snacking, Weight, weight control, weight loss

7 Tips for successful weight training – Harvard

Although I don’t consider it fun, I realize that weight training is a necessity for living a healthy life and keeping my body working.

Here are seven tips from Harvard Medical School that my brother passed along to me.

468769-weights.jpg

“Strength or resistance training challenges your muscles with a stronger-than-usual counterforce, such as pushing against a wall or lifting a dumbbell or pulling on a resistance band. Using progressively heavier weights or increasing resistance makes muscles stronger. This kind of exercise increases muscle mass, tones muscles, and strengthens bones. It also helps you maintain the strength you need for everyday activities — lifting groceries, climbing stairs, rising from a chair, or rushing for the bus.

“The current national guidelines for physical activity recommend strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least twice a week. One set — usually 8 to 12 repetitions of the same movement — per session is effective, though some evidence suggests that two to three sets may be better. Your muscles need at least 48 hours to recover between strength training sessions.

These seven tips can keep your strength training safe and effective.

1    Warm up and cool down for five to 10 minutes. Walking is a fine way to warm up; stretching is an excellent way to cool down. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Harvard, Harvard Medical School, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

Metabolism and weight loss – WebMD

As my blog title says, I am one regular guy writing about diet, exercise, etc. Professionally, I worked 20 years as a financial journalist. After writing this blog for nearly seven years, I consider myself to be a newbie health journalist, but still just a regular guy. I still find myself in deep waters when it comes to body chemistry among other medical subjects.

So when I ran across the extensive write up on metabolism by WebMD, I thought I would share some of it. You can read the whole thing by clicking the link.

Metabolism is the body’s engine. It’s the energy you burn just to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, and your other organs running. Unless you’re an elite athlete, resting metabolism accounts for 60% to 75% of all the calories you burn each day, and it varies a lot from person to person.

metabolism6.jpg

If you’re counting calories, knowing your resting metabolism can help you figure out how much you can eat without gaining weight.

People who have a naturally high metabolic rate can eat more, without gaining weight, than people who burn calories at a slower pace.

The bad news: It’s hard to boost your resting metabolism much beyond its natural set point, though it is possible to slow it down.

Are you familiar with the TV show The Biggest Loser? I know it has been around a while and has a certain popularity. I watched it a few times, but was never comfortable with it. It seemed so unnatural and I had a feeling it wasn’t truly healthy either. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, overweight, The Biggest Loser, Weight, weight control, weight loss

How to Use Your Brain for Weight Control

I took a course in The brain six years ago and was so inspired by what I learned that I posted on it. Thought you newer readers might get something out of it.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Exercise and intelligent eating are the keys to weight control and healthy living. Everyone knows that 30 minutes on the treadmill burns X amount of calories depending on your weight. The role of exercise in healthy living and weight control is straight forward and doesn’t need explaining. The exercise of the brain in weight control is another matter.

In order to understand it, you need to know a few basic facts about parts of your brain and how they function. If you are willing to wade through a couple of basic biology facts, I think you will emerge at the other end with a new tool in the universal ongoing battle of the bulge.

For this subject we need to focus on just two parts of the brain and how they work, together and separately.

The first is the amygdala. This is the part of the brain that is central…

View original post 508 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under brain, brain function, Exercise, Uncategorized, Weight, weight control

Tips on sharpening your brain – WebMD

I write about exercise almost daily and about the brain nearly as often, but I think they really need to be tied together for the best understanding. Also, because we all want to live past 100, we certainly want the old cabeza to fully functional.

WebMD has a nice 12 part slide show  called Tips to stay smart, sharp and focused. If you want to experience the entire show, just click the link above. I am have picked out a few examples for the folks too lazy busy to do the whole thing right now.

brain

Number one is superb: USE YOUR BRAIN  “It’s true: Use it or lose it. Stretching your brain keeps your mind sharp. People who are more active in mentally challenging activities are more likely to stay sharp. Try these:
•    Read a book.
•    Go to a lecture.
•    Listen to the radio.
•    Play a game.
•    Visit a museum.
•    Learn a second language.”
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging brain, brain, brain exercise, brain function, brain health

Walking program linked to reduced disability

Falls are a top cause of disability for older adults. But a study published Sept. 26, 2016, in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that adopting a regular routine of moderate physical activity, such as walking, helps older adults remain mobile longer and may also help them to recover faster from physical disabilities, according to Harvard Health Publications.

quote-the-sovereign-invigorator-of-the-body-jefferson

Researchers analyzed information from a previous randomized controlled trial that divided 1,600 sedentary adults ages 70 to 89 into two groups. One group received ongoing health education classes that included upper-body stretching exercises. The other group took part in a structured exercise program several days a week that included walking and some strength, flexibility, and balance training.

Researchers assessed both groups over a period of three-and-a-half years. The new study concludes that people in the exercise group reduced the amount of time spent suffering from major disability by 25%, compared with people in the health education group. People in the exercise group also appeared less likely to experience disability in the first place, and more likely to recover if they did.

While falls cause serious injuries to older adults, the exercise walking benefits all ages, please check out my Page – Why you should walk more to see how good it is for you.

Tony

 

3 Comments

Filed under outdoor exercise, successful aging, walking