Breathing dirty air takes a heavy toll on gut bacteria, boosting risk of obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders and other chronic illnesses, new University of Colorado Boulder (CU) research suggests.
The study, published online in the journal Environment International, is the first to link air pollution to changes in the structure and function of the human gut microbiome—the collection of trillions of microorganisms residing within us.
The gaseous pollutant ozone, which helps make up Denver’s infamous “brown cloud”—is particularly hazardous, the study found, with young adults exposed to higher levels of ozone showing less microbial diversity and more of certain species associated with obesity and disease.
“We know from previous research that air pollutants can have a whole host of adverse health effects,” said senior author Tanya Alderete, an assistant professor of integrative physiology, pointing to studies linking smog with Type 2 diabetes, weight gain and inflammatory bowel diseases. “The takeaway from this paper is that some of those effects might be due to changes in the gut.”
Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Following is a super discussion of the relationship between body weight and heart health from Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
Excess body weight increases risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), as well as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and many other illnesses. However, not everyone who is overweight or obese develops these illnesses; and simply having a “normal” body weight or body mass index (BMI)-a measure of body weight relative to height-is no guarantee of low risk. “The relationship between BMI and risk for CVD and death is complex,” says Edward Saltzman, MD, academic dean for education at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Elevated BMI does increase CVD risk, but risk is also impacted by things like body-fat percentage, waist circumference, age, duration of obesity, race, ethnicity, gender, and other genetic factors,” as well as lifestyle elements such as smoking and level of physical activity. Continue reading
Herewith another entry in our arsenal against that destroyer of lives – Alzheimer’s Disease, from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities collectively known as dementia. There is no known food or diet that can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s dementia, but diet may help delay onset and slow progression.
What sets Alzheimer’s apart from other forms of dementia is the excessive buildup of beta-amyloid protein fragments into plaques, as well as defective tau proteins that form tangles in the brain. These changes lead to the death of the nerve cells responsible for everything from memory to movement. There are currently no known dietary factors that can impact the formation of these plaques and tangles, but diet may act in other ways to influence Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Truth be told I never heard of Lion’s mane mushrooms before today. However, this article in Medical News Today piqued my curiosity. I would like to hear from any readers who may have had experience with the mushrooms in one form or another.
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) are white, globe-shaped fungi that have long, shaggy spines. People can eat them or take them in the form of supplements. Research suggests that they may offer a range of health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cognitive and heart health. Continue reading
New University of California Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.
Edible fats and oil consumed in the U.S. Source: USDA
Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.
It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil. Continue reading
The study involved a group of people from Tyneside who previously had Type 2 diabetes but had lost weight and successfully reversed the condition as part of the DiRECT trial, which was funded by Diabetes UK and led by Professors Roy Taylor and Mike Lean (Glasgow University).
The majority remained non-diabetic for the rest of the two year study, however, a small group went on to re-gain the weight and re-developed Type 2 diabetes.
Professor Roy Taylor, from the Newcastle University Institute of Translational and Clinical Research, explained what the advanced scanning techniques and blood monitoring revealed.
He said: “We saw that when a person accumulates too much fat, which should be stored under the skin, then it has to go elsewhere in the body. The amount that can be stored under the skin varies from person to person, indicating a ‘personal fat threshold’ above which fat can cause mischief.
I count myself as one of those confused about whether and to what extent eggs are a healthy addition to my diet. Love the protein, not so thrilled with the fats… Here is what the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter has to say about it.
Exercise appears to be a tree that bears rich fruit. Indeed, it even benefits unborn children according to this study.
Men who want to have children in the near future should consider hitting the gym.
In a new study led by Kristin Stanford, a physiology and cell biology researcher with The Ohio State University College of Medicine at the Wexner Medical Center, paternal exercise had a significant impact on the metabolic health of offspring well into their adulthood.
Laurie Goodyear of the Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School co-led the study, published in the journal Diabetes.
“This work is an important step in learning about metabolic disease and prevention at the cellular level,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of the Ohio State College of Medicine.
Recent studies have linked development of type 2 diabetes and impaired metabolic health to the parents’ poor diet, and there is increasing evidence that fathers play an important role in obesity and metabolic programming of their offspring. Continue reading
One of the most helpful facts I ever learned about sugars and reading ingredients notices is that there are four grams of sugar in a teaspoon. So, when you read 20 grams of sugar, you can visualize five teaspoons full.
As an old fan of McDonald’s fries I was disappointed to learn that potatoes aren’t very healthy veggies. Here is what Harvard’s T.H. Chan had to say about them.
If you’re looking for healthful vegetables, steer clear of potatoes, say nutrition experts.
In a November 29, 2018 New York Times article, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Eric Rimm advised limiting consumption of potatoes, which he called “starch bombs.” Potatoes have a high glycemic index, which has been linked with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to the article.
Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and director of Harvard Chan School’s Program in Cardiovascular Epidemiology, said that french fries—coated in oil and sometimes served with high-calorie toppings like cheese or chili—are a particularly unhealthful form of potatoes. Referring to fast-food meals that come with fries, he said, “I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six french fries.”
Read the New York Times article: You Don’t Want French Fries With That
Listen to an interview with Rimm on WBUR’s Radio Boston: Leave The Fries, Take The Salad: Harvard Professor Defends Fry Proposal
Public health strategies to cut sweetened drink consumption could be useful, say researchers.
The findings suggest that fruit and other foods containing fructose seem to have no harmful effect on blood glucose levels, while sweetened drinks and some other foods that add excess “nutrient poor” energy to diets may have harmful effects.
“These findings might help guide recommendations on important food sources of fructose in the prevention and management of diabetes,” said Dr. John Sievenpiper, the study’s lead author and a researcher in the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada. “But the level of evidence is low and more high quality studies are needed.”
The role of sugars in the development of diabetes and heart disease attracts widespread debate and increasing evidence suggests that fructose could be particularly harmful to health.
Fructose occurs naturally in a range of foods, including whole fruits and vegetables, natural fruit juices and honey. It is also added to foods, such as soft drinks, breakfast cereals, baked goods, sweets, and desserts as ‘free sugars’.
Current dietary guidelines recommend reducing free sugars, especially fructose from sweetened beverages, but it is unclear whether this holds for all food sources of these sugars. Continue reading
How many times have I written eat less; move more; live longer. Now comes the Cleveland Clinic with a study that virtually says those very words – only better.
Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic fitness.
Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.
The study found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness. Extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit, particularly in older patients (70 and older) and in those with hypertension.
“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” said Wael Jaber, M.D., Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and senior author of the study. “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.” Continue reading
As you can see, majority of the risk factors that can hurt your heart health can be prevented – the answer lies in your hands.
These are risk factors along with the preventive options:
- High blood cholesterol – Eat right by having a balanced and healthy diet. Your fasting blood glucose should preferably be less than 100 mg/dL.
- High blood pressure – Manage blood pressure through exercise and medications. Keep the numbers below 120/80 mm Hg.
- Physical inactivity – Get moving and stand more. Spend 150 minutes of moderate intensive activity per week, like brisk walking. And opt for 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Eat less; move more; live longer. A sedentary lifestyle is a killer. Check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?
- Obesity and overweight – Lose weight to find your healthy weight. Target a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25. Check out my Page – How dangerous is a big belly?
- Smoking – Stop smoking altogether, quit it. Your alcohol intake should be within limits too. Check out my Page – How many ways does smoking harm you?
- Diabetes – Reduce blood sugar by being conscious and careful of your food and beverages intake.
You will be surprised to know that lowering the risk of heart disease also reduces the chances of getting cancer!
One good thing that comes out of this infographic is that about 27% people live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
All this information would help only if you take some positive steps towards taking care of your heart.
Filed under American Heart Association, blood pressure, diabetes, heart, heart disease, heart health brain health, heart problems, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, Smoking dangers
Eat less; move more; live longer. The World Health Organization agrees. Following are the potential results of inadequate exercise for all age groups, according to the WHO.
– Insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide.
– Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
– Physical activity has significant health benefits and contributes to prevent NCDs.
– Globally, 1 in 4 adults is not active enough.
– More than 80% of the world’s adolescent population is insufficiently physically active.
– Policies to address insufficient physical activity are operational in 56% of WHO Member States.
WHO Member States have agreed to reduce insufficient physical activity by 10% by 2025.
What is physical activity?
WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.
The term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. Beyond exercise, any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, has a health benefit. Further, both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health.
How much of physical activity is recommended? Continue reading
I confess, I love it when new discoveries meet my bias. I created the Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting? nine months ago. What follows is the latest information on prolonged sitting from the American Cancer Society (ACS).
A new ACS study links prolonged sitting time with a higher risk of death from all causes, including 14 of 22 measured causes of death and 8 of the 10 most common causes of death. The link existed even after adjusting for levels of moderate-vigorous intensity physical activity. The study appears early online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Advancements in technology have led to a significant increase in the amount of time spent sitting. In addition, sedentary time increases with aging, a time when the risk of chronic disease also increases. In the United States, most leisure time is spent in sedentary behaviors such as television viewing. In one Australian study, it was estimated that 90% of total non-occupational time was spent sedentary, and that 53% of sedentary time was spent on screen time (computer or television). Continue reading
For middle-aged men, eating higher amounts of protein was associated with a slightly elevated risk for heart failure than those who ate less protein, according to new research in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.
Despite the popularity of high protein diets, there is little research about how diets high in protein might impact men’s heart failure risk.
“As many people seem to take the health benefits of high-protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks and benefits of these diets,” said Jyrki Virtanen, Ph.D., study author and an adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “Earlier studies had linked diets high in protein – especially from animal sources — with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death.” Continue reading