Kicking the salt habit may not be enough – AHA

Most people are aware that they need to cut down on their salt (sodium) intake. That’s a good start. However, some ‘facts of life’ prove extremely helpful in the lower sodium quest, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Spoiler alert: your table salt shaker isn’t the main culprit.

Salt

Highlights

  • Restaurant foods and commercially processed foods sold in stores accounted for about 70 percent of dietary sodium intake in a study in three U.S. regions.
  • Salt added at home during food preparation or at the table accounted for a small fraction of dietary sodium.
  • These findings confirm earlier recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to lower dietary sodium by decreasing the amount in commercially processed foods.

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What about that hot waitress?

I have eaten my share of meals out in restaurants, big and small, high and low. Part of the enjoyment of dining out is, of course, being served by someone else and not having to worry about preparing the food or cleaning up afterwards. I also must confess that I have often paid more attention than necessary to the waitress. For the longest time, I kind of considered this my own dirty little secret. However, in the course of riding my bike over the past few months and listening to music on the bluetooth speaker on my water bottle, I have come to realize that I am not alone when it comes to lusting after a waitress. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Herewith three tunes from over the years about a hot waitress.

The most recent, in my experience, but by no means actually recent, the intoxicating beat of “I wanna get next to you” by Rose Royce from the movie Car Wash. The narrator bemoans “Girl, you make me feel so insecure; you’re so beautiful and pure.”

Next is by the redoubtable Louis Prima who eats ‘…antipasto twice because she is so nice …” She being Angelina. Prima was the consummate entertainer who was won of the premier headliners in Las Vegas in its early years. Sadly, I couldn’t find a version showing him belting this tune out.

This offering was by one of my countrymen, the second Hazel’s Hips by Oscar Brown, Jr., who grew up on Chicago’s south side. Oscar describes the ‘concert of contours and curves as she slips to and fro round the tables she serves …”

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. By all means feel free to offer any songs I may have overlooked on the subject.

Tony

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Filed under music, music listening, musicians

Knee cracking, popping could be early sign of osteoarthritis

As a long time arthritis sufferer, I have it in both hands, I am acutely aware of arthritis pain while trying to grip. I also know that arthritis can strike other joints with equal severity. Knowing the early signs may be helpful in clearing up bad health habits.

While snap, crackle and pop might be good sounds for your cereal, they may not be good noises in your knees. A new study by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine published today in Arthritis Care & Research says these might be early predictors of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.

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“Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee joint,” said Dr. Grace Lo, assistant professor of medicine in the section of immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor. “We wanted to see if complaints about popping or snapping in the knee joint, also known as crepitus, were predictive of symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, which is a combination of a frequent history of pain as well as radiographic evidence of knee osteoarthritis.” Continue reading

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Filed under arthritis, hand arthritis, knees and hips, osteoarthritis pain

Good every day habits to keep your memory in good shape – Harvard

As a senior citizen, I am aware of the aging process going on in both my body and my brain. I exercise to help preserve both. Here are some super suggestions from Harvard HEALTHbeat on bolstering the memory aspect of your brain.

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Your daily habits and lifestyle — what you eat and drink, whether you exercise, how stressed you are, and more — affect your mental health every bit as much as your physical health. A growing body of research indicates that regular exercise and a healthful diet can help protect your memory from aging-related decline. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, memory

Some health and fitness funnies

Here are some more fun items I found in my web wanderings. I love the art masterpiece ones. Is your sense of humor as bent as mine? Enjoy!

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Tony

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Filed under fitness funnies, Uncategorized

Your muscles can ‘taste’ sugar – Study

As a guy with a highly developed sweet tooth, I have to say I was not surprised at the findings in this study.

It’s obvious that the taste buds on the tongue can detect sugar. And after a meal, beta cells in the pancreas sense rising blood glucose and release the hormone insulin—which helps the sugar enter cells, where it can be used by the body for energy.

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Now researchers at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute have uncovered an unexpected mechanism of glucose sensing in skeletal muscles that contributes to the body’s overall regulation of blood sugar levels. Continue reading

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Filed under blood sugar, Exercise, muscles, sugar

For my friends from south of the border

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Could not resist this one!

Tony

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Active Gaming Good For Brain Health and Memory – Study

Video games which involve physical activity significantly boost our brain health as we get older, according to new research led by University of Manchester experts.

Study authors Dr Emma Stanmore and Joseph Firth say systems that use physical activity for gaming such as Wii, and Xbox Kinect can boost brain functioning in people with neurological impairment, as well as keeping our minds healthy and active as we age.

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In the first ever analysis of all published evidence, the researchers aggregated data from 17 clinical trials examining the effects of active gaming on cognitive functioning across 926 people. Continue reading

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain exercise, brain function, video games

Good heart health in middle age improves/extends golden years – AHA

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Now, according to the American Heart Association, the sooner you start, the better.

People with no major heart disease risk factors in middle age live longer and stay healthy far longer than others, according to a 40-year study reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

“Good cardiovascular health in middle age delays the onset of many types of disease so that people live longer and spend a much smaller proportion of their lives with chronic illness,” said Norrina Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

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In the first study to analyze the impact of cardiovascular health in middle age on the duration of illness later in life, researchers examined data from the Chicago Health Association study, which did initial health assessments in the late 1960s/early 1970s and has followed participants on an ongoing basis using Medicare health records. Researchers determined how many participants had favorable factors: non-smokers, free of diabetes and normal weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels; versus those with elevated risk factors or high risk factors. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, American Heart Association, heart, heart problems, successful aging

Skin Cancer Awareness Month – May

Consider this a ‘don’t let this happen to you’ post. As a skin cancer sufferer, I wanted to share this information with you.

I have had three basal cell carcinomas surgically removed in the past few years. You can read the details on my Page Skin Cancer Facts and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular. My dermatologist told me, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

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Tony

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Skip the coffee, take the stairs to feel more energized

I am a great believer in the benefits of stair climbing. Check out my post 5 Reasons stair climbing is good for you to read much more about it. Here are some neat further benefits of this simple, but not necessarily easy, exercise that you can do in lots of places.

A midday jolt of caffeine isn’t as powerful as walking up and down some stairs, according to new research from the University of Georgia.

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In a new study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, researchers in the UGA College of Education found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine-about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda.

“We found, in both the caffeine and the placebo conditions, that there was not much change in how they felt,” said Patrick J. O’Connor, a professor in the department of kinesiology who co-authored the study with former graduate student Derek Randolph. “But with exercise they did feel more energetic and vigorous. It was a temporary feeling, felt immediately after the exercise, but with the 50 milligrams of caffeine, we didn’t get as big an effect.” Continue reading

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The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding – May is National Bicycle Month

There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride around 7000 miles a year, an average of over 20 miles per day. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first as well as others who asked, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.

This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading

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Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, regular bike riding, safe biking, summer biking

DARPA Funds Brain-Stimulation Research to Speed Learning

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency  (DARPA) is working with seven U.S. universities and elements of the Air Force and Army on research that seeks to stimulate the brain in a non-invasive way to speed up learning.

DARPA announced the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training, or TNT, program last March, and work now has begun on the effort to discover the safest and most effective ways to activate a natural process called “synaptic plasticity.”

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Plasticity is the brain’s ability to strengthen or weaken its neural connections to adapt to changes in the environment. For TNT Program Manager Dr. Doug Weber, such plasticity is about learning.

“We’re talking about neural plasticity, or how the neurons, which are the working units in the brain, how their function changes over time as we train on new skills,” he said during a recent interview with Department of Defense News.

Targeted Neuroplasticity Training

TNT research focuses on a specific kind of learning called cognitive skills training. People use cognitive skills to do things like pay attention, process information, do several things at once, detect and understand patterns, remember instructions, organize information and much more. Continue reading

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

Waist size, not weight, better indicator of early death – Study

I have posted several times on the danger of a big waistline. Check out my Page – How dangerous is a big belly? for more details.  Now comes a fresh new study from down under on it.

People with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) who carry their weight around the middle are at the highest risk of death from any cause and cardiovascular causes compared to those who are obese according to BMI but carry their weight elsewhere, a new study co-led by University of Sydney researchers shows.

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Published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study shows that normal weight people who carry fat around the middle of their body are 22 per cent more likely to die from any cause and a 25 per cent higher risk for death from cardiovascular causes compared to those who are classified as normal weight without carrying fat centrally.

The University of Sydney’s Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health co-led the research and says the study shows that diagnosis of obesity cannot solely rely on a person’s BMI.

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Removing Trans Fats from Restaurant Menus Cuts Heart Attacks and Strokes

Generally I oppose the government sticking its nose into my business. However, in the case of banning trans fats, it seems to have accomplished something positive in terms of public health.

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Does a public health measure such as restricting trans fats from restaurant menus really make a difference? A study published April 12th in JAMA Cardiology nods yes. Between 2007 and 2011, 11 New York State urban counties restricted the use of trans fats in public eateries including restaurants, bakeries, cafeterias, park concessions, and senior meal programs. After 3 or more years following the implementation of this restriction, the study authors found 6.2% fewer hospital admissions for cardiovascular events (stroke, heart attack) in counties with the ban when compared with 25 New York urban counties without the ban. When looking at only heart attacks, there were 7.8% fewer hospital admissions. The results were similar for men and women. Continue reading

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Is there an ‘exercise pill’ in our future?

Suppressing production of the protein myostatin enhances muscle mass and leads to significant improvements in markers of heart and kidney health, according to a study conducted in mice. Joshua T. Butcher, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Vascular Biology Center at Augusta University, will present the work at the American Physiological Society’s annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, held April 22–26 in Chicago.

The researchers zeroed in on myostatin because it is known as a powerful inhibitor of skeletal muscle growth, meaning that people with more myostatin have less muscle mass and people with less myostatin have more muscle mass. Studies suggest obese people produce more myostatin, which makes it harder to exercise and harder to build muscle mass.

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“Given that exercise is one of the most effective interventions for obesity, this creates a cycle by which a person becomes trapped in obesity,” Butcher said. Continue reading

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Filed under brain exercise, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, myostatin