Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jon's Health Tips - Latest Health Research


I really, really need to cut back on hot dogs:

Red meat linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes

A new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers finds a strong association between the consumption of red meat—particularly when the meat is processed—and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also shows that replacing red meat with healthier proteins, such as low-fat dairy, nuts, or whole grains, can significantly lower the risk.

The researchers found that, for an individual who eats one daily serving of red meat, substituting one serving of nuts per day was associated with a 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes; substituting low-fat dairy, a 17% lower risk; and substituting whole grains, a 23% lower risk.

Based on these results, the researchers advise that consumption of processed red meat—like hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meats, which generally have high levels of sodium and nitrites—should be minimized and unprocessed red meat should be reduced. If possible, they add, red meat should be replaced with healthier choices, such as nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, or beans.

Maybe adding cinnamon to my hot dogs would help?

Antioxidant spices reduce negative effects of high-fat meal

Eating a diet rich in spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, reduces the body's negative responses to eating high-fat meals, according to Penn State researchers.

Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood. If this happens too frequently, or if triglyceride levels are raised too much, your risk of heart disease is increased. Adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30 percent, compared to a similar meal with no spices added.

"In the spiced meal, we used rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika," said Ann Skulas-Ray, postdoctoral fellow. "We selected these spices because they had potent antioxidant activity previously under controlled conditions in the lab."

Personally, NOT owning a pet makes me happier, (and, I think, healthier):

Are Pet Owners Healthier and Happier? Maybe Not

According to Harold Herzog, Professor of Psychology at the Western Carolina University, there simply isn't strong evidence for the general claim that living with a pet makes for a happier, healthier or longer life.

I've decided to stop taking niacin:

Niacin slightly raised the risk of a stroke when combined with the cholesterol drug Zocor (simvastatin)

Niaspan is a cholesterol drug manufactured by Abbott Laboratories. Doctors have customarily prescribed Niacin to raise levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) in patients taking a statin pill that is successfully lowering their LDL (“bad” cholesterol). Yet this practice is now being questioned after a National Institutes of Health study released in late May, called AIM-HIGH, showed that Niaspan failed to prevent heart attacks and slightly raised the risk of a stroke when combined with the cholesterol drug Zocor (simvastatin).

According to the Los Angeles Times, doctors say that statins, including simvastatin, Lipitor and Crestor, are great at lowering bad cholesterol—so good that it’s not necessary to add another medication to a patient’s regimen. The new study, says the Times, is giving doctors more reason not to add Niaspan, which raises good cholesterol.

All the good thing I do may help me to reach 90, but are no use if I hope to reach 100:

Centenarians Just as Likely as the Rest of Population to Smoke, Drink and Pack on Pounds

People who live to 95 or older are no more virtuous than the rest of us in terms of their diet, exercise routine or smoking and drinking habits, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.

Their findings suggests that "nature" (in the form of protective longevity genes) may be more important than "nurture" (lifestyle behaviors) when it comes to living an exceptionally long life.

I really, really need to move around more while working, reading and watching TV (5,000 steps seems like an awful lot!):

Even with regular exercise, people with inactive lifestyles more at risk for chronic diseases

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 percent of Americans have inactive lifestyles (they take fewer than 5,000 steps a day) and 75 percent do not meet the weekly exercise recommendations (150 minutes of moderate activity each week and muscle-strengthening activity twice a week) to maintain good health. After reviewing recent literature, University of Missouri researchers contend that physical inactivity is the primary cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease and that even people who set aside time for exercise regularly but are otherwise sedentary, may not be active enough to combat these diseases. Inactivity, in addition to the availability of high-caloric food has led to an increased rate of metabolic dysfunction in Americans.

If people spend the majority of their time sitting, even with regular periods of exercise, they are still at greater risk for chronic diseases. If people can add some regular movement into their routines throughout the day, they will feel better and be less susceptible to health problems. In the long term, they may not see big changes in the mirror, but they will prevent further weight gain.

I eat plenty of legumes and cooked green vegetables but no rice of any color:

Cooked green vegetables, dried fruit, legumes, and brown rice associated with fewer colon polyps

Eating legumes (beans, peas, soybeans, chickpeas) at least three times a week and brown rice at least once a week was linked to a reduced risk of colon polyps by 33 percent and 40 percent respectively, according to Loma Linda University research recently published in Nutrition and Cancer. High consumption of cooked green vegetables and dried fruit was also associated with greater protection, the study shows.

I just ate a cup of blueberries:

Blueberries: a Cup a Day May Keep Cancer Away

Blueberries are among the nutrient-rich foods being studied by UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators exploring the link between disease and nutrition. Dieticians there say as little as a cup a day can help prevent cell damage linked to cancer. Why are blueberries considered healthful? They're full of antioxidants, flavonoids and other vitamins that help prevent cell damage.

I wish I could get more exercise but I'm too tired from the exercise I do get:

Small amount of exercise could protect against memory loss in elderly

A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows that a small amount of physical exercise could profoundly protect the elderly from long-term memory loss that can happen suddenly following infection, illnesses or injury in old age.

Exercise Has Numerous Beneficial Effects on Brain Health and Cognition

It’s no secret that exercise has numerous beneficial effects on the body. However, a bevy of recent research suggests that these positive effects also extend to the brain, influencing cognition.

Other articles:

Constant bitterness can make a person ill

Curry spice could offer treatment hope for tendinitis

Soy Tablets Not Associated With Reduction in Bone Loss or Menopausal Symptoms

Frankincense: A Wise Man's Treatment for Arthritis?

Colon cleansing has no benefit but many side effects including vomiting and death

Zinc lozenges may shorten common cold duration

St. John’s Wort No Benefit For Minor Depression

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