Kale Is a Surprise on 2019’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ List

Clean_15_2019

Our Better Health

While it may still be considered a super food, kale took third place on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue. Once again, strawberries and spinach took first and second, as they did on last year’s list.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization focused on human health and the environment, has produced the report annually since 2004.

This year, more than 92% of kale samples tested had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could have up to 18 different residues, EWG found. The most frequently detected pesticide, found on about 60% of the kale samples, was Dacthal, also called DCPA. It has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a possible human carcinogen, based on animal studies.

The EWG researchers analyzed test data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the report, and kale had…

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Medical guidelines may be overaggressive, biased

For the most part I opt for natural remedies over drugs for my own personal health. But, there are times when a doctor’s recommendations may differ from my wishes. So I was fascinated to learn that sometimes medical practitioners may not be totally objective in their appraisals of our health.

Dr. Sunita Sah practiced general medicine for several years in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. When she came to the United States, she noticed something strange.

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The U.K. guidelines for tests such as mammograms and colon cancer screenings drastically differed from those in the U.S. – even though they were based on the same medical evidence.

“Having colonoscopy at the age of 50 – that struck me as rather odd when I moved to the U.S., because you don’t really hear about people having colonoscopies as a screening procedure in the U.K.,” said Sah. “It’s much less invasive to test for blood in the stool. It’s also less costly and doesn’t have the risks of undertaking a colonoscopy.”

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Filed under cancer, colonoscopy, doctor visit, doctors, medical guidelines, medicine, personalized medicine

Weekend funnies …

Good Friday morning. Time for a visit to the internet animal kingdom, etc.

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Have a great weekend!

Tony

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Home-Based Tools May Help Assess Dementia Risk and Progression – Study

As my family has had several cases of dementia, some in the form of Alzheimer’s, I am always captivated by tools for assessing risk as I am a senior citizen. This University of California San Diego School of Medicine study caught my eye.

Clinical trials to develop new therapeutic and preventive treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are costly, complicated and often preclude persons most at risk of developing the degenerative neurological condition: Older individuals with less mobility and significant medical issues, both making it more difficult for them to participate in traditional, clinic-based assessments with trained personnel.

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In a new paper, published this month in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, a multi-institution team led by researchers at Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study (ADCS) at University of California San Diego School of Medicine published results of a novel four-year, randomized clinical trial evaluating different home-based methods to assess cognitive function and decline in participants over the age of 75.

Almost 600 persons participated in the home-based assessment (HBA) study; all had been previously diagnosed as either possessing normal cognitive abilities or suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment, a condition that often precedes AD. Continue reading

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Osteoarthritis and exercise – Tufts

As a long time sufferer of osteoarthritis in my hands, I try to get as much exercise with them as possible. Nice to learn that Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter agrees.

Wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) breaks down the cushion of cartilage that allows joints to flex without grinding bone-on-bone. As the cartilage breaks down, it brings pain, stiffness and swelling. People with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee may experience pain when walking, but actually walking and other forms of low-impact exercise can help to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms.

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“Non-impact loading exercises like walking are generally very good for arthritis,” says Jeffrey S. Zarin, MD, chief of the division of arthroplasty at Tufts Medical Center. “It keeps the joints moving, it keeps the joints strong and, generally speaking, it helps your ability to keep functioning. It also helps diminish inflammation.” Continue reading

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Higher consumption of sugary beverages linked with increased risk of mortality – Harvard

The more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) people consumed, the greater their risk of premature death—particularly death from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer, according to a large long-term study of U.S. men and women. The risk of early death linked with drinking SSBs was more pronounced among women.

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The study, led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also found that drinking one artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) per day instead of a sugary one lowered the risk of premature death. But drinking four or more ASBs per day was associated with increased risk of mortality in women.

The study was published in the journal Circulation.

“Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition and lead author of the study. Continue reading

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Gabi’s first bike ride of the season

Spring in Chicago is a wicked time of  year. While we don’t get crippling blizzards like the worst of winter, we suffer from a Chinese water torture of erratic weather that is below freezing one day, low 50’s the next, then back down to the 30’s, and, oh yes, there is the wind. As a result many Chicago bike riders don’t consider riding till late April or May when the weather fluctuates more moderately. For that reason I am celebrating my dog Gabi’s first bike ride of the season. Regular readers know that Gabi rides with me on the Lakefront most days of the year – over 45F – with no wind or rain. She averages around 3000 miles a year in her 13 years of living with me.

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I got her the hat initially to protect her from the sun, but I thought it looked so cute, that I just put it on her every time we ride.

I have many shots of her on the bike, but, clearly, it is not easy to get ones of us together. The only ones I have are from the annual Bike the Drive ride that takes place on Memorial Day each year, when Chicago closes the famed Lake Shore Drive for several hours and lets bike riders take it over. About 20,000 of us take advantage of that each year. The ride is sponsored by the American Transportation Alliance (ATA). This year’s listing follows:

With Chicago consistently being ranked by Bicycling magazine as one of the best cities in the nation for biking, there is no better way to celebrate the start of summer than with a ride on the city’s crown jewel roadway – Lake Shore Drive. So grab your bike and enjoy almost 5 hours of car-free riding on Sunday, May 26.  Proceeds benefit Active Transportation Alliance’s work to improve biking, walking, and transit throughout Chicagoland.

In past years ATA had photographers along the way capturing riders who wanted a photographic memento of the ride. I stumbled upon some pics from the 2008 ride.

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My daughter, Kate, then 14, rode with Gabi and me. Gabi is wearing my windbreaker as it was a chilly morning.

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This is a current shot, not on the bike, but wearing her track suit that I got from Amazon. A dog wearing a track suit blows my mind.

Tony

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Eating Red and Processed Meats, Even in Small Amounts, May Increase Death Risk

In my 30’s I was a vegetarian who still ate fish and chicken. In those days I was doing tons of yoga and had no trouble keeping my weight down. I also felt great, of course, I was in my 30’s so why wouldn’t I? I thought this study from Loma Linda University was very enlightening.

A new study out of Loma Linda University Health suggests that eating red and processed meats — even in small amounts — may increase the risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease.

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Saeed Mastour Alshahrani, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said the research fills an important gap left by previous studies that looked at relatively higher levels of red meat intake and compared them with low intakes. Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

Here’s hoping you are able to get plenty of rest and have plenty of fun this weekend.

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Hump Day gone terribly wrong.

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Tony

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Tufts on the benefits of walking

I have written repeatedly about the health benefits of walking. For a good rundown, check out my Page – Why you should walk more. Herewith further elucidation on the benefits of what I call ‘the Cinderella of the exercise world-‘ walking from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter.

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Did you get your 10,000 steps today? Many people have adopted this daily walking goal to obtain the recommended amount of physical activity. The 10,000-steps-a-day number comes from the Japanese brand name of a pedometer manufactured in the 1960s, the “10,000 steps meter.” In the Fitbit era, counting daily steps remains appealing to many people as a source of motivation.

In the U.S., adults are urged to get the equivalent of 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise. Walking is a popular way to meet those recommendations, particularly in older adults or people who are relatively physically inactive.

Although 10,000 steps is a worthy challenge, aiming for more exercise than you normally get—unless you are one of the few who regularly trains for marathons or triathlons—comes with benefits. Any amount or type of physical activity adds to your daily goal. Regularly taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from your destination, can make a measurable improvement in your health.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the benefits of walking on longevity were equivalent whether people got their steps in one long walk, a few shorter ones, or even brief walk breaks of a few minutes—as long as the physical activity was regular.

Preserving Mobility: Among the most important benefits of walking for older adults is preserving physical mobility—the ability to walk without assistance. In 2014, a study involving Tufts researchers called Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders (LIFE) trial provided evidence for the benefits of physical activity in older adults at risk of immobility and disability and other associated health problems.

“This study, for the first time, showed conclusively that a regular program of physical activity can preserve independence among older men and women,” says Roger A. Fielding, PhD, director of the HNRCA Nutrition, Exercise, Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory, who led the Tufts portion of the study.

The LIFE trial was designed to test the ability of physical activity to prevent major mobility disability, defined as the inability to walk for about a quarter-mile (400 meters) within 15 minutes, without sitting and without the help of another person or walker. Use of a cane was allowed. The study involved 1,635 men and women, ages 70 to 89, at 8 universities and research centers across the country, including Tufts.

On a practical level, the walking test gauges a person’s general fitness to perform ordinary activities like shopping, household chores and travel. Not being able to pass the test is a harbinger of future immobility.

Participants were relatively sedentary at the start of the study, having reported less than 20 minutes per week of physical activity in the previous month. The volunteers were randomly assigned to either weekly health education classes with 10 minutes of gentle stretching, or to a program consisting of exercises for strength, flexibility and balance, as well as walking. Participants were told to set as their goal 30 minutes a day of walking at moderate intensity.

Over the average 2.6-year study period, participants in the exercise program were 28% less likely to develop major mobility disability, compared with the control group that just received health education. Increased regular exercise was particularly potent in participants who started the study with the lowest level of physical functioning.

“We think that one of the reasons older people lose their independence is because of some problem they have with their muscle function,” Fielding explains. “Therefore, if you can design an intervention that can help slow the rate of muscle loss or restore some of the muscle function, it may help to prevent individuals from ultimately becoming disabled. We’ve shown that pretty well with exercise.”

How Many Steps to Health? More recently, Fielding used the data from the LIFE study to pin down the amount of physical activity it takes to prevent disability in the at-risk individuals who participated in the LIFE trial. Is 30 minutes a day of walking and other exercise the required buy-in to prevent immobility?

Fielding and his colleagues reanalyzed the LIFE data to see what impact incremental “doses” of physical activity over the first two years of the trial had on physical function (based on tests of balance and leg strength) and walking speed. They found that an increase in physical activity of just over 45 minutes per week reduced the chance of mobility disability by about 70%. That’s equivalent to a single session of exercise training used in the LIFE trial.

It all adds up to this: Even people who are relatively sedentary and start late in the game can benefit from increasing physical activity. Walking is a great entry-level physical activity—simple, free and safe unless you have a balance problem or other risk factor for falling. A brisk walk, combined with a light aerobic workout and strength training, can increase the odds of staying active and independent with aging.

“Understanding the minimal dose of physical activity required to improve physical function and reduce the risk of disability may inform future public health recommendations about physical activity for older adults,” Fielding says. “A reduced risk of disability can be seen with substantially less physical activity than is currently recommended for most inactive older adults.”

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Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, successful aging, Tufts, Tufts University, walking

Some hump day puns …

Just when you thought it was safe to do hump day, along comes another passel of puns.

Enjoy! I did.

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Tony

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Exercise tips from Tufts

The following were actually a sidebar in a missive from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter. I thought they constitute a super summary for us folks who want to eat less; move more and live longer. I am very happy to add that I have incorporated a number of these into my lifestyle.

At the risk of sounding like Debbie Downer, I would like to point out that failing to exercise on a regular basis is one of the main causes of seniors falling down. This is because inadequate physical activities often lead to reduced bone mass and flexibility. It also contributes to the loss of your balance and reduced muscle tone. These problems often lead to difficulties in making proper movements, thereby resulting in the fall.

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All forms of physical activity count—not just structured workouts. Here are some ways to add more physical activity to your day:

Walk rather than drive to destinations you can reach on foot within 10 minutes (which will ensure walking a mile there and back).-Park wherever you first see a space at your destination, instead of driving around to find the closest one.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Get up to turn the television on and off or change channels manually rather than using the remote.

Do stretches and exercises, or pedal a stationary bike, while watching television or listening to the radio.

Join a walking group in the neighborhood or at the local shopping mall. Recruit a partner for support and encouragement.

-At work, replace a coffee break with a brisk 10-minute walk.

Cut the grass with a push mower instead of a gas or electric mower.

-When traveling, stroll around the airport, train or bus station instead of sitting.

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Vita-Mix – How to Make Green Smoothies

Herewith an oldie, but goodie. Think of it as a belated St. Patrick’s Day post. I heard some folks talking about green smoothies and remembered this wonderful work by Lea Ann Savage back in the early days of the blog.

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

Lea Ann Savage, a Vita-Mix demonstrator, is a reader who has conquered chronic fatigue through lifestyle changes associated with her diet. She contributed the popular item on Watermelon Sorbet and we invited her to share her story and some of her expertise on green smoothies. What she shared with us below is in my estimation the last word on Green Smoothies and just in time for summer, too. You can read more about Lea Ann at her website.

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I made three lifestyle changes that helped me to overcome my 7-year battle with Chronic Fatigue: 1) I got off all forms of processed Sugar, 2) I got off of all products that contain Wheat, and 3) I began drinking Green Smoothies daily.

Lea Ann Savage AKA The Vita-Mix Lady

I learned about Green Smoothies from the book, “Green For Life” by Victoria Boutenko. Everyone needs more raw…

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Physics explains why time flies as we age

Time flies when you’re having fun. As an old timer, I have responded countless times that “Time flies even when you’re not having fun.” So I was most gratified to find this research on exactly that.

A Duke University researcher has a new explanation for why those endless days of childhood seemed to last so much longer than they do now–physics.

According to Adrian Bejan, the J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke, this apparent temporal discrepancy can be blamed on the ever-slowing speed at which images are obtained and processed by the human brain as the body ages.

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The end result is that, because older people are viewing fewer new images in the same amount of actual time, it seems to them as though time is passing more quickly. 

The theory was published online on March 18 in the journal European Review. Continue reading

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Weekend funnies …

Good Friday morning to you! I hope you have a lovely weekend planned, or unplanned. Herewith some items that tickled my fancy in the past week. 

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Perhaps the perfect cat toy?

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Tony

 

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The 5 best foods to fight aging

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. But, of course, what we eat remains totally relevant. What are the best foods to help us achieve that goal? In this Medical News Today item, we give you an overview of some of the most healthful and nutritious foods.

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Official figures indicate that, currently, the top three countries in the world with the highest life expectancy are the Principality of Monaco, Japan, and Singapore. These are places where the inhabitants experience a high quality of life, and an important element of that is eating healthful meals.

Often, we find praise for “superfoods” in the media – foods so high in nutritional value that they are seen as dietary superheroes.

Nutritionists reject the term “superfoods” as a buzzword that can influence people to place too high an expectation on a limited range of foods when, in reality, a balanced diet and healthful lifestyle require more effort than eating your five-a-day.

Still, there are certain foods that are more nutritious than others, and many that, as research has shown, have a protective effect against a range of diseases. Here, we give you an overview of some of the best foods that you may want to consider including in your diet in your quest for a happy, healthy life.

Edamame (soybeans)

Edamame, or fresh soybeans, have been a staple of Asian cuisine for generations, but they have also been gaining popularity on the Western front of late. Soybeans are often sold in snack packs, but they are also added to a varied range of dishes, from soups to rice-based meals, though they are served as cooked and seasoned on their own, too.

The beans are rich in isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen – that is. plant-derived, estrogen-like substances. Isoflavones are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and antimicrobial properties.

Thus, they can help to regulate the inflammatory response of the body, slow down cellular aging, fight microbes, as well as, reportedly, protect against certain types of cancer. Continue reading

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