Protein-free diet good for you?
Limiting certain essential nutrients for several days before surgery—either protein or amino acids—may reduce the risk of serious surgical complications such as heart attack or stroke, according to a new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study.
The results are significant because they pinpoint protein as an important substance to eliminate from the diet before surgery to avoid complications. Stroke risk related to cardiovascular surgery ranges from 0.8% to 9.7%, depending on the procedure. Heart attack risk is 3% to 4%.
In numerous animal studies over the past few decades, scientists have found that long-term dietary restriction can improve health and lengthen life. Benefits include increased stress resistance, reduced inflammation, improved blood sugar regulation, and better cardiovascular health—and many of these benefits extend to humans.
I really, really don't know what to do about Vitamin D
Vitamin D could help combat the effects of aging in eyes
Vitamin D statement- European Menopause and Andropause Society
Osteoporosis is a common condition in postmenopausal women leading to bone fractures. However, there is now evidence that vitamin D deficiency is also associated with other medical conditions important in older women. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, infections and neurodegenerative disease. Regular sunlight exposure (without sunscreens) for 15 minutes, 3-4 times a week, in the middle of the day in summer can generate healthy levels. Supplements of vitamin D are recommended for those women who cannot obtain the required quantity through sun exposure and diet. The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU/day increasing to 800IU/day for those aged 71 years and older.
Low vitamin D levels linked to depression,
When It Comes to Heart Health, How Much Is Too Much Vitamin D?
New research by Johns Hopkins scientists suggests that vitamin D, long known to be important for bone health and in recent years also for heart protection, may stop conferring cardiovascular benefits and could actually cause harm as levels in the blood rise above the low end of what is considered normal.
Study leader Muhammad Amer, M.D., an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says his findings show that increasing levels of vitamin D in the blood are linked with lower levels of a popular marker for cardiovascular inflammation — c-reactive protein (also known as CRP).
Amer and his colleague Rehan Qayyum, M.D., M.H.S., examined data from more than 15,000 adult participants in the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample, from 2001 and 2006. They found an inverse relationship between vitamin D and CRP in adults without cardiovascular symptoms but with relatively low vitamin D levels. Healthier, lower levels of inflammation were found in people with normal or close to normal vitamin D levels. But beyond blood levels of 21 nanograms per milliliter of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D — considered the low end of the normal range for vitamin D — any additional increase in vitamin D was associated with an increase in CRP, a factor linked to stiffening of the blood vessels and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.
“The inflammation that was curtailed by vitamin D does not appear to be curtailed at higher levels of vitamin D,” says Amer, whose newest finding appears in the Jan. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology. “Clearly vitamin D is important for your heart health, especially if you have low blood levels of vitamin D. It reduces cardiovascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, and may reduce mortality, but it appears that at some point it can be too much of a good thing.”
Amer says consumers should exercise caution before taking supplements and physicians should know the potential risks. Each 100 international unit of vitamin D ingested daily produces about a one nanogram per milliliter increase 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels in the blood. “People taking vitamin D supplements need to be sure the supplements are necessary,” Amer says. “Those pills could have unforeseen consequences to health even if they are not technically toxic.”
Amer and Qayyum, also an assistant professor in the division of general internal medicine at Hopkins, say the biological and molecular mechanisms that account for the loss of cardiovascular benefits are unclear.
Vitamin D is often called the “sunshine vitamin” because its primary source is the sun. It is found in very few foods, though commercially sold milk is usually fortified with it. As people spend more and more time indoors and slather their bodies with sunscreen, concern is rising that many are vitamin D-deficient, Amer notes.
As a result, Amer says, many doctors prescribe vitamin D supplements, and many consumers, after reading news stories about the vitamin’s benefits, dose themselves. Older women often take large doses to fight and prevent osteoporosis.
Well this is good news: (McDonalds fish sandwich is fried in a combination of sunflower and canola oil. Read more:) Wendy's fired items, on the other hand are cooked in soy, corn, cottonseed, and hydrogenated soy oil. Read more
No cardiac risk with food fried in olive, sunflower oil
In a Mediterranean country where olive and sunflower oils are the most commonly used fats for frying, and where large amounts of fried foods are consumed both at and away from home, no association was observed between fried food consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease or death.
I've been good about eating a bit of dark chocolate every day (2 squares):
Cocoa could prevent intestinal pathologies such as colon cancer
The growing interest amongst the scientific community to identify those foods capable of preventing diseases has now categorized cocoa as a 'superfood'. It has been recognised as an excellent source of phytochemical compounds, which offer potential health benefits.
Headed by scientists from the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN) and recently published in the Molecular Nutrition & Food Research journal, the new study supports this idea and upholds that cacao consumption helps to prevent intestinal complaints linked to oxidative stress, such as the onset of chemically induced colon carcinogenesis.
Although more research is required to determine what bioactive compounds in cocoa are responsible for such effects, the authors conclude that a cocoa-rich diet seems capable of reducing induced oxidative stress. It could also have protection properties in the initial stages of colon cancer as it reduces premalignant neoplastic lesion formation.
I've been pretty good on fruits and vegetables, including olive oil and a limited amount of orange juice every day:
Plant Flavonoid Luteolin Blocks Cell Signaling Pathways in Colon Cancer Cells
Luteolin is a flavonoid commonly found in fruit and vegetables. Dietary sources include celery, green pepper, thyme, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, navel oranges, and oregano. This compound has been shown in laboratory conditions to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties but results from epidemiological studies have been less certain. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Gastroenterology shows that luteolin is able to inhibit the activity of cell signaling pathways (IGF and PI3K) important for the growth of cancer in colon cancer cells. Colon cancer is the second most frequent cause of cancer-related death in the Western World.
I do get a lot of fiber in my diet - that's good, right?
Increase Dietary Fiber, Decrease Disease
We should all be eating more dietary fiber to improve our health -- that's the message from a health review by scientists in India. The team has looked at research conducted into dietary fiber during the last few decades across the globe and now suggests that to avoid initial problems, such as intestinal gas and loose stool, it is best to increase intake gradually and to spread high-fiber foods out throughout the day, at meals and snacks. Writing in the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, the team offers fruit, vegetables, whole-grain foods, such as muesli and porridge, beans and pulses, as readily available foods rich in dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, is the general term of the non-digestible parts of the fruit and vegetable products we eat. There are two forms soluble and insoluble. Soluble (prebiotic, viscous) fiber that is readily broken down or fermented in the colon into physiologically active byproducts and gases. The second form is insoluble fiber, which is metabolically inert, but absorbs water as it passes through the digestive system, providing bulk for the intestinal muscles to work against and easing defecation.
Given that dietary fiber has physiological actions such as reducing cholesterol and attenuating blood glucose, maintaining gastrointestinal health, and positively affecting calcium bioavailability and immune function, it is important for the current generation and future generations that this component of our diets be reasserted through education and information.
"Consuming adequate quantities of DF can lead to improvements in gastrointestinal health, and reduction in susceptibility to diseases such as diverticular disease, heart disease, colon cancer, and diabetes. Increased consumption has also been associated with increased satiety and weight loss," the team concludes. Given the ready availability particularly in the West and in the relatively richer parts of the developing world of vegetables, fruit and other foods high in dietary fiber it is a matter of recommending that people eat more dietary fiber rather than consistently taking the unhealthy low-fiber option throughout their lives.
Diets high in fiber MAY CAUSE, not protect against, diverticulosis
For more than 40 years, scientists and physicians have thought eating a high-fiber diet lowered a person's risk of diverticulosis, a disease of the large intestine in which pouches develop in the colon wall. A new study of more than 2,000 people reveals the opposite may be true.
"We were surprised to find that a low-fiber diet was not associated with a higher prevalence of asymptomatic diverticulosis," said Peery. In fact, the study found those with the lowest fiber intake were 30 percent less likely to develop diverticula than those with the highest fiber intake.
Diverticulosis affects about one-third of adults over age 60 in the United States. Although most cases are asymptomatic, when complications develop they can be severe, resulting in infections, bleeding, intestinal perforations and even death. Health care associated with such complications costs an estimated $2.5 billion per year.
Since the late 1960s, doctors have recommended a high-fiber diet to regulate bowel movements and reduce the risk of diverticulosis. This recommendation is based on the idea that a low fiber diet will cause constipation and in turn generate diverticula as a result of increased pressure in the colon. However, few studies have been conducted to back up that assumption. "Our findings dispute commonly-held beliefs because asymptomatic diverticulosis has never been rigorously studied," said Peery.
The study also found constipation was not a risk factor and that having more frequent bowel movements actually increased a person's risk. Compared to those with fewer than seven bowel movements per week, individuals with more than 15 bowel movements per week were 70 percent more likely to develop diverticulosis.
The study found no association between diverticulosis and physical inactivity, intake of fat, or intake of red meat. The disease's causes remain unknown, but the researchers believe gut flora may play a role.
I don't think I'm ready for virtual reality exercise yet, but if I did it I'd be more likely to be open to it:
Virtual reality-enhanced exercise = +cognitive benefit for older adults
Enhancing cognition in older adults also changes personality
A program designed to boost cognition in older adults also increased their openness to new experiences, researchers report, demonstrating for the first time that a non-drug intervention in older adults can change a personality trait once thought to be fixed throughout the lifespan.
Other things I do, or eat that are good:
Grapes may help prevent age-related blindness
Alcohol & polyphenols in red wine both fight cardiovascular disease
Moderate red wine drinking may help cut women's breast cancer risk
Benefits of statin therapy may extend beyond lowering lipids
Chlorophyll in green vegetables can prevent cancer
Omega-3 fatty acids could prevent and treat nerve damage
I still eat too much of these:
Red & processed meat consumption = increased pancreatic cancer risk.
This is interesting:
Dispelling the low-fat-is-healthy myth
Dozens of studies, many from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers, have shown that low-fat diets are no better for health than moderate- or high-fat diets—and for many people, may be worse. A regular blueberry muffin from a national coffee shop chain has 450 calories on average and most of those calories come from carbohydrates, primarily white flour and sugar. However, now that national chains have eliminated trans fats, a regular muffin does have heart-healthy fat, usually from soybean or canola oil. A low-fat muffin has about the same amount of calories, but contains more carbohydrates and sugar—and about 60% more sodium (700 milligrams)—than a regular muffin.