I am a chocolate lover. I have some every day of my life. Granted, what I consume are small quantities which I devour slowly and let simply melt in my mouth. I also know that dark chocolate has more benefits than the sweet milk chocolate of my childhood. Herewith, Medical News Today‘s take on the dark delight.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice; the sweet treat is not only delicious, but studies show that it can also promote friendly bacteria and reduce inflammation in our guts. But first, some background: trillions of bacteria live in our guts. They contribute to our immune system, metabolism, and many other processes essential to human health.
When the delicate balance of microbes in our intestines is disturbed, it can have serious consequences.
Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, allergies, asthma, and cancer have all been linked to abnormal gut microbiomes.
A healthful diet supports bacterial diversity and health, but could chocolate be an integral part of this?
Benefits of cocoa
Cocoa is the dry, non-fatty component prepared from the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree and the ingredient that gives chocolate its characteristic taste. Continue reading
Running may also slow the process that leads to osteoarthritis
As regular readers know, I ride my bike nearly daily, here in Chicago. A hundred years ago, it seems, I ran daily. I stopped running because I enjoy bike riding more.
We all know that running causes a bit of inflammation and soreness, and that’s just the price you pay for cardiovascular health. You know; no pain, no gain.
Well, maybe not. New research from BYU exercise science professors finds that pro-inflammatory molecules actually go down in the knee joint after running.
In other words, it appears running can reduce joint inflammation.“It flies in the face of intuition,” said study coauthor Matt Seeley, associate professor of exercise science at BYU. “This idea that long-distance running is bad for your knees might be a myth.” Continue reading
I am a coffee drinker in moderation, so I only worry about the effects of caffeine on me. I have heard horror stories of ‘caffeine headaches’ that die hard coffee drinkers get. So I pretty much limit myself to decaf. I was happy to learn the latest from Harvard on coffee drinking.
People who drink about three to five cups of coffee a day may be less likely to die prematurely from some illnesses than those who don’t drink or drink less coffee, according to a new study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers and colleagues. Drinkers of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee saw benefits, including a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide.
“Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,” said first author Ming Ding, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutrition. “That could explain some of our findings. However, more studies are needed to investigate the biological mechanisms producing these effects.”
What seems like a hundred years ago, I was a young reporter on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange covering, among other markets, the Shell Egg Futures market. As a result I daily came in contact with folks in the egg industry. I started eating eggs regularly and my health did not suffer in any way. If you want to read further about the benefits of eating eggs, check out this post: Is it Healthy to Eat Eggs Regularly?
Foods are a wonderful place to start when you are looking to reduce inflammation in your body. What you eat on a daily basis will have a profound effect on your body’s ability to fight inflammation and prevent inflammation from happening. Through eating you literally change the chemistry of your body.
Our Better Health
Jan 30, 2014
Inflammation can be caused many different factors. Scientifically speaking inflammation is a cascade of chemical reactions that happen within the body when there is damage done to cells, when there is an irritant present or when the body senses a foreign invader.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acute Inflammation?
The inflammation reaction is necessary and protective for the body in the short-term. Acute inflammation can leave you with the following cluster of symptoms: pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. This is due to the fact that large amounts of both red and white blood cells, lipoproteins, fluid and other body tissues are rushing to the site of injury in an attempt to repair damage and clear away foreign particles.
So What Is The Problem With Inflammation?
The problem with inflammation comes when it is prolonged or becomes chronic. It is meant to be a “first…
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While inflammation is a protector of our health when it’s an acute response, chronic inflammation is a different story. A diverse group of medical illness are believed to be caused in part by chronic activation of the same chemical and cellular processes described above. These include asthma, acne, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and even atherosclerosis of heart arteries. In fact, in 1856 Rudolf Virchow proposed that arterial disease was an inflammation of blood vessels and now, over 150 years later, people who fear heart disease are routinely checked for this process.
Please check out A Beginner’s Guide to Earthing (Grounding) – Part One. I have been practicing Earthing since July and it definitely reduces inflammation in the body. It is like taking an antioxidant shower.
Our Better Health
BY DR. JOEL KAHN JULY 8, 2013
Regular readers of MindBodyGreen are aware that a process in our bodies called inflammation is involved in many aspects of human health and disease. For example, you may have read that a breakfast of Egg McMuffins, sleep apnea, obesity and ultra-exercise are inflammatory, while turmeric, meditation and the Mediterranean diet are anti-inflammatory, and so on. Lost in the search for vitality and longevity is an understanding of what inflammation is and what can be done to tame it. In many ways, inflammation is a Goldilocks process – you don’t want too much or too little, but just the right amount.
When I explain inflammation to patients, I point out that the middle of the word is “flame,” and that it comes from the Latin “I ignite.” Inflammation is a complex process of cells and chemicals in our bodies standing ready to fight…
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Regular readers know that watermelon is one of my favorite foods in the world. Although I live in a four season city – Chicago, I am able to eat watermelon year ’round because I have access to some good grocers who get it from Mexico in the winter. I eat watermelon every time I ride my bike because it replenishes my energy – besides tasting wonderful! It’s a party in my mouth.
Here is a cool YouTube technique on serving a watermelon.
Here are some posts for further reading: How Healthy is Watermelon? Watermelon – It’s the Berries! Dr. Oz on Eating Watermelon, Vita Mix – Drinking a Watermelon, Vita Mix – Watermelon Sorbet Recipe, Pay Attention to Portion Sizes, You CAN Have Too Much of a Good Thing.
“Our data suggest vitamin D may be involved in maintaining the health of the immune system as well as the skeletal system,” said one of the study’s authors, Mary Ward, PhD, of the University of Ulster in Coleraine, U.K. “This study is the first to find a connection between vitamin D levels and inflammation in a large sample of older individuals.”
Cooking with Kathy Man
Vitamin-deficient seniors more likely to have biomarkers for heart disease, inflammation
Older individuals who are vitamin D deficient also tend to have compromised immune function, according to new research accepted for publication in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).
Vitamin D plays an important role in helping the body absorb calcium needed for healthy bones. The skin naturally produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. People also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide are estimated to have deficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sunshine exposure.
“Our data suggest vitamin D may be involved in maintaining the health of the immune system as well as the skeletal system,” said one of the study’s authors, Mary Ward, PhD, of the University of Ulster in Coleraine, U.K. “This study is…
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This is not an easy question to answer. The National Sleep Foundation offers ranges for various ages, but with the range for adults being two whole hours, from seven to nine hours, it is certainly not definitive.
Time Magazine quoted Daniel Kripke, co-director of research at the Scripps Clinic Sleep Center in La Jolla, Calif., who compared death rates among more than one million American adults who reported their average nightly amount of sleep. While his results were surprising, they have since been corroborated by similar studies in Europe and East Asia.
“Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hr. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr.” Kripke said.
“Morbidity [or sickness] is also “U-shaped” in the sense that both very short sleep and very long sleep are associated with many illnesses—with depression, with obesity—and therefore with heart disease—and so forth. But the [ideal amount of sleep] for different health measures isn’t all in the same place. Most of the low points are at 7 or 8 hr., but there are some at 6 hr. and even at 9 hr. I think diabetes is lowest in 7-hr. sleepers [for example]. But these measures aren’t as clear as the mortality data.”
The best explanation I have heard was from Associate Professor Ramadevi Gourineni in Neurology and Director of the Insomnia Program speaking before the Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Transitions Program®. In answer to the question how much sleep do I need, she offered, “The amount that permits us to be wide awake, alert and energetic throughout the day. This amount varies from person to person and may be genetically determined.” She also noted that not only do we need the proper quantity of sleep, but also the proper quality of sleep. Continue reading
Regular readers know that I have been doing home study from The Great Courses since I retired over 12 years ago. So far, I have studied, nutrition, neuroscience, the brain and increasing longevity to name a few. Also, I have shared what I learned on the blog. So, I am pleased to announce that I have just commenced with The Science of Natural Healing.
At this point I have listened to several of the lectures and am very impressed with Dr. Guarneri’s expertise. She came from regular medicine where she was surgically implanting over 700 stents a year in patient’s arteries. Through natural healing Dr. Guarneri has found what she considers to be a better way to prevent heart disease as well as myriad other diseases.
In lecture six, she talks about inflammation, nature’s way of protecting our bodies and how it is the root of many of our health problems. Inflammation is our body’s normal response to injury, infection, stress, foreign substances and irritations. Inflammation in our body presents itself in swelling, warmth, redness, pain. That is the body’s defense mechanism going to work so that healing can take place. However, in a situation where our body is under chronic attack, inflammation becomes damaging. Continue reading
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