In view of Valentine’s Day tomorrow and tons of chocolate being consumed in honor of it, I thought it might be useful to get a taste of chocolate’s impact on our health.
Medical News Today says, “Throughout the years, chocolate has been on the end of a lot of bad press because of its fat content, and its consumption has been associated with acne, obesity, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and diabetes.
“However, ‘the recent discovery of biologically active phenolic compounds in cocoa has changed this perception and stimulated research on its effects in aging, oxidative stress, blood pressure regulation, and atherosclerosis. Today, chocolate is lauded for its tremendous antioxidant potential.’
The potential benefits of eating chocolate may include:
▪ lowering cholesterol levels
▪ preventing cognitive decline
▪ reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. Continue reading
As a senior citizen whose family has Alzheimer’s and dementia on both sides I am keenly interested in anything on the subject. Herewith a study published in Nature Medicine.
Athletes know a vigorous workout can release a flood of endorphins: “feel-good” hormones that boost mood. Now there’s evidence that exercise produces another hormone that may improve memory and protect against Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study co-led by Ottavio Arancio, MD, PhD, a researcher at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain.
Physical activity is known to improve memory, and studies suggest it may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers don’t understand why. Continue reading
I have just run across another study that backs up the blog mantra of eat less; move more; live longer and its corollary use it or lose it.
Health experts have warned for years that men and women with excess abdominal fat run a greater risk of developing cardiovascular problems. However, individuals with abdominal or central obesity are not the only ones in danger, according to a new study, reported by Elton Alisson | Agência FAPESP
The study found that physically active men who were not overweight but whose waist-stature ratio (WSR) was close to the risk threshold were also more likely to develop heart disorders than individuals with lower WSRs. Continue reading
This post is about an experiment of mine. I consider it successful, but I wouldn’t mind hearing your opinion of it. I don’t know how many of you live in a high rise building, but I do and my experiment has everything to do with just that.
I live in a high rise building and own a dog. I have to walk my dog three times a day out doors. In my building dogs have to ride on the ‘service elevators’ rather than the regular ones. My building has more than 50 stories and there are two service elevators. Often one of them is ‘locked off’ for movers, or other maintenance needs. So, it is not surprising that I often find myself waiting several minutes for an elevator to take the dog for her walk. The area in which I wait for the service elevator is about 16 feet long and eight feet wide.
That’s the logistical part. Continue reading
I truly believe that old saw “an ounce of prevention ….” So, here are some super positive ideas about protecting yourself from flu this season. Good luck!
General Douglas MacArthur, Paul Newman, Angela Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Eddie Van Halen, Jules Feiffer and Ellen DeGeneres were all born on January 26.
Oh, yes, and one not so famous. It’s also my birthday. I am now 79 years old. I am happy to say that I feel great and am healthier than I was 20 years ago when I was toiling away in the working world.
This is my birthday picture from a while back. It’s the only one I have that’s decorated. Also, my pup is in it, too.
This is from my birthday blog post last year:
One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a 200 calorie serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly nine years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. Continue reading
I am fortunate to live in a big city and have lots of social outlets. For my senior readers, here are some suggestions from the National Institute on Aging for dealing with situations which are less hospitable.
This infographic says to get moving. I can’t stress enough how beneficial my daily bike riding is for me. I get out of the apartment and enjoy flying across the pavement. In the good weather I put my dog in the basket. But, I always bring my water bottle with the bluetooth speaker on top. I get to listen to my favorite songs from my iPhone the whole time, not to mention enjoying being out in nature. Don’t forget: the law of the body is – use it or lose it.
I am reblogging this as a public service to remind all of you that shoveling snow is dangerous business. This latest storm has dropped tons of snow on the nation. Please read this and think twice about charging out there and tackling your driveway/sidewalk.
One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100
It is the New Year and also for many of us the onset of snow shoveling season. Please be aware that in terms of your body shoveling snow is not a totally innocent activity.
While I strongly support calorie burning exercises to build up your cardiovascular system and other benefits, it is important to know your limits. If you are not currently working out or don’t consider yourself to be “in condition,” please think twice before you grab that snow shovel and race out to clear the walk.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that more than 195,000 people were treated in U.S. Emergency Rooms for snow-shovel-related incidents from 1990 to 2006. This is an average of 11,500 individuals per year. Keep in mind that this information only covers folks who actually went to the ER for treatment. Plenty more stayed home and nursed their wounds ….
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Eat less; move more; live longer just got further support from a recent study. I remain convinced that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the great unnoticed killers in our midst – particularly of senior citizens.
A new study of around 8,000 middle-aged and older adults found that swapping a half-hour of sitting around with physical activity of any intensity or duration cut the risk of early death by as much as 35 percent. The findings highlight the importance of movement—regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving—for better health.
The study was published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
“Our findings underscore an important public health message that physical activity of any intensity provides health benefits,” says Keith Diaz, PhD, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and lead author of the paper. Continue reading
Regular readers know that I am a big fan of walking. I call it the Cinderella of the exercise world because it is so unappreciated. If you want to learn a lot more about the benefits of walking – after you watch this less than five minute video – check out my Page – Why you should walk more.
Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. It is good to learn from Harvard, no less, that moving more also helps to keep our brain intact and functioning.
There are plenty of good reasons to be physically active. Big ones include reducing the odds of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Maybe you want to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, prevent depression, or just look better. Here’s another one, which especially applies to those of us (including me) experiencing the brain fog that comes with age: exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.
In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Resistance training, balance and muscle toning exercises did not have the same results.
The finding comes at a critical time. Researchers say one new case of dementia is detected every four seconds globally. They estimate that by the year 2050, more than 115 million people will have dementia worldwide. Continue reading
It’s that time of year, so here goes. I don’t have a lot of confidence in New Year’s resolutions, because I try to live that way year ’round. If, however, you feel that you have been slipping, here are some wonderful positive tips from the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter:
“According to surveys, the two most popular New Year’s resolutions involve losing weight and getting fit—and for good reason. Moving toward a healthier dietary pattern and being more physically active are crucial steps toward achieving well-being—with or without weight loss.”
Try these tips for making New Year’s resolutions last:
- Set SMART goals. Make New Year’s resolutions Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
- Take small steps. Choose incremental changes that seem do-able to you. For example: someone who habitually drinks soda twice a day may find that cutting back to one soda a day for a few weeks, then switch to flavored seltzer, is easier than quitting “cold turkey.”
- Introduce physical activity slowly. To avoid injury, start with short, less intense activity sessions and gradually increase intensity and duration.
- Plan. Put time to be physically active on your calendar; shop ahead to have ingredients for healthy meals and snacks on hand; try cooking ahead and freezing so healthy choices are available when time and energy are short; andavoid buying those foods and beverages you have resolved to cut down on.
- Track your progress. Use a notebook, fitness tracker, or smartphone app to monitor your dietary intake and/or physical activity progress.
- Team up. Find a friend or online community to help with accountability and commitment. Something as simple as sending each other daily “did you exercise today” texts can be effective.
- Make it fun. No one is going to stick with something they hate. Find an activity that gets you moving and brings you joy. Take a healthy-cooking class, cook with family or friends, or experiment with new foods to make eating enjoyable.
- Cheer yourself on. Celebrate each little achievement. Throwing your fist in the air, patting yourself on the back, or literally saying, “good job” out loud may create an association between the new behavior and positive feelings.
I am guessing that belly fat is the number one source of concern for people taking up exercise – or continuing it. So many fruitless hours have been spent on ‘ab-work’ like sit-ups and stomach crunches with little sign of success. It turns out that reduction of that ‘spare tire’ is far less complicated than many suppose. Simple, but not obvious.
Summary: According to researchers, interleukin 6 plays a critical role in how exercise helps to reduce body fat. Source: Cell Press.
Some of you may have made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym to tackle that annoying belly fat. But have you ever wondered how physical activity produces this desired effect? A signaling molecule called interleukin-6 plays a critical role in this process, researchers report December 27 in the journal Cell Metabolism.
This graphical abstract shows that in abdominally obese people, exercise-mediated loss of visceral adipose tissue mass requires IL-6 receptor signaling. NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Wedell-Neergaard, Lehrskov, and Christensen, et al. / Cell Metabolism.
As expected, a 12-week intervention consisting of bicycle exercise decreased visceral abdominal fat in obese adults. But remarkably, this effect was abolished in participants who were also treated with tocilizumab, a drug that blocks interleukin-6 signaling and is currently approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, tocilizumab treatment increased cholesterol levels regardless of physical activity.
“The take home for the general audience is ‘do exercise,’” says first author Anne-Sophie Wedell-Neergaard of the University of Copenhagen. “We all know that exercise promotes better health, and now we also know that regular exercise training reduces abdominal fat mass and thereby potentially also the risk of developing cardio-metabolic diseases.”
Getting the heart pumping with aerobic exercise, like walking or cycling for 35 minutes three times a week, may improve thinking skills in older adults with cognitive impairments, according to a study published in the December 19, 2018, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
After six months of exercise, study participants’ scores on thinking tests improved by the equivalent of reversing nearly nine years of aging. The study looked at people who had cognitive impairments without dementia, which is defined as having difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering, but not severe enough to be diagnosed with dementia.
The study found that exercise improved thinking skills called executive function. Executive function is a person’s ability to regulate their own behavior, pay attention, organize and achieve goals. Continue reading
These are great fun times coming up for us for the most part. We will see friends and loved ones who live out of town. There is great reason to celebrate. With the tips on this infographic, you may be able to sidestep the worst of holiday weight gain.
Image Credit: P.K. Newby, and author of Food and Nutrition: What Everyone Needs to Know®, Oxford University Press 2018
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat.. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Holiday party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?