The cognitive function tests showed that on average, those consuming either version of the Mediterranean diet scored significantly higher than the low-fat dieters. Because the participants were Spanish men and women, it’s possible that other lifestyle or cultural factors played a role in the results. But even after adjusting for factors such as age, family history of cognitive problems and dementia, education, and even depression, which can affect cognitive function, the beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet remained.
Many studies have linked the diet to health improvements, and researchers are starting to pin down some of the factors that could be driving these effects. In this study, the researchers noted that the Mediterranean diet groups may have exploited the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inﬂammatory agents in the foods.
“Oxidative stress has been associated with neurodegeneration. The main components of the [Mediterranean diet] intervention in the…trial, extra virgin olive oil and nuts, have antioxidant properties and, together with other polyphenol-rich foods in the [Mediterranean diet], are suggested to relate to improved cognitive function,” the authors wrote in the study. They also suggested that the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet come from improvements in underlying risk factors that otherwise could contribute to strokes or other related health problems.
India’s Supreme Court says drug maker Novartis can’t hold onto its patent for the pricey cancer drug Gleevec simply by tweaking its chemical formula. That means generic drug makers can keep making a form of the drug at a tenth of Novartis’s price. Consumer advocates call it a major advance for access to generic drugs. The drug industry says it will chill companies’ willingness to produce innovative products.
S. GUPTA: Former President Bill Clinton’s familiarity with pain killers goes back to when he lived in the White House.Have you ever been prescribed a medication like this? CLINTON: Well, I did take some painkillers when I tore my — 90 percent of my quadriceps, but I tried to be very careful and I was in a lot of pain. S. GUPTA: And years after leaving the Oval Office, he would once again need pain pills. He said he and his doctors were cautious. CLINTON: After my heart surgery, you know, when I was — I hurt pretty bad for three weeks so I got some medicine, but I really tried to get off of it as quick as I could and my doctors were really good about it, you know, telling me, you know, take this if it’s killing you, but be careful. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poison Center. This is Rosie. S. GUPTA: Be careful. It’s a warning that might prevent call after call pouring in here at the Washington Poison Center. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poison Center, this is Deborah. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn’t getting pain relief so I took too many oxycodone. I, took, um, five 10-milligram oxycodone. And I’m feeling really shaky, light headed. I’m just nervous. HURLEY: For the most part this hasn’t been recognized as a national phenomenon or a national problem at all. S. GUPTA: Not recognized among the general population and also not recognize among the medical community? HURLEY. Exactly. They had no idea that this combination of medications could lead to their death, and in many cases, their doctors don’t recognize the risk to those patients. S. GUPTA: So how did we quietly become a country inundated with pain pills? Some believe it all began when pain was designated the fifth vital sign. When you talk about vital signs, typically, someone gets their body temperature measured, their heart rate, their respiratory rate and their blood pressure, but the results of this push to say the fifth vital sign is pain. Never forget about asking someone about their pain. You think that fueled this or helped drive this? HURLEY: I do. I think physicians around year 2000 started to get pushed to better manage pain. And the physicians in our culture, that means give out more medication. S. GUPTA: So pain becomes a vital sign. Laws are passed liberalizing the use of opiods for more than just cancer or chronic pain patients. That creates new marketing opportunities for aggressive pharmaceutical companies. Doctors prescribe the drugs for legitimate reasons but also for conditions that could be treated with much milder medications or with therapy. The result, we prescribe enough pain pills to give every man, woman and child a dose every four hours for three weeks. Remember, 80 percent of the world’s opioids are used by Americans. Eighty percent. Does that surprise you? CLINTON: I didn’t know that. No, because — S. GUPTA: Is that a cultural U.S. problem? CLINTON: Yes. It is cultural and you know, people think I’ve got a headache, or about this, or my elbow is sore whatever. And look, I don’t want to minimize, there are a lot of people who live courageous lives in constant pain but there’s no question. This since we represent 5 percent of the world’s people we got no business popping as many pills as we do.
10 Superfoods to Incorporate Into Your Diet
By Nick LivermoreEco18.com On March 17, 2013 @ 7:51 am In Nutrition | No Comments
Superfoods. The name itself carries so much hype, and many nutritionists can’t stand it. The concept, however, has the best of intentions. Essentially, superfood is used to describe food with a particularly high nutrient profile and minimal negative ingredients.
We’re not saying to eat them constantly. What we are saying is buying them at the store and incorporating them into your diet will have benefits on your waistline and overall health and wellness.
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados also loaded with fiber and lutein, an antioxidant linked to eye and skin health.
Loaded with antioxidants, mainly anthocyanins, blueberries can help with brain function and your vision. They also make a great snack.
Packed with flavonols and antioxidants, one piece of dark (80%+ cacao is best) provides a healthy dose of disease-fighting compounds and may help to reduce cholesterol.
Rich in protein and minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron, oats also packed an excellent dose of soluble fiber! Great for breakfast.
One of, if not the most, protein-rich foods on earth, eggs are also loaded with amino acids and other nutrients. It’s also OK to eat the yolks.
Full of cholesterol-lowering fiber and monounsaturated fat, almonds make a great snack or can be easily incorporated into virtually any meal.
One glass of red wine a night has been shown to boost levels of healthy cholesterol and packs a healthy dose of antioxidants, resveratrol and saponins.
According to The American Heart Association, eating fish two meals per week, helps cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Fatty fish, such as salmon, may also help alleviate depression. Just make sure it’s wild-caught, never frozen and comes from a store that supports sustainable agriculture.
Heirloom and ancient grains carry a far superior nutritional makeup than modern wheat, which has been crossbred and may be genetically modified. Grains such as Kamut khorasan, spelt, and amaranth generally contain higher levels of protein, antioxidants and minerals and generally taste better, too!
Chia, quinoa, and flax seeds all carry a host of nutritional benefits ranging from antioxidants and minerals to protein and fiber.
Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods
Posted By Darya Pino On March 27, 2013 @ 6:00 am In Health | 38 Comments
It’s time to shine the spotlight on 10 of my favorite healthy foods that never get the attention they deserve.
Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods
Per calorie, oysters are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, and are particularly high in essential omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which is notoriously tough to get from food.
Also, because oysters lack a central nervous system and are 95% of the world’s supply are sustainably farmed, some vegetarian thought leaders have argued that oysters can be included in the diet as an ethical source of natural vitamin B12 (present in significant quantities only in animal foods).
2. Sauerkraut & kimchi
I’m the first to admit that fermented foods can be a little pungent, but that doesn’t preclude them from tasting delicious and being one of the healthiest things you can eat. In a recent conversation I had with Michael Pollan, he suggested that a lack of fermented foods is one of the most notable differences between the Western diet and all other successful diets throughout history. This is a point worth considering.
Traditionally, fermentation has been used to preserve foods, but it also serves to increase nutritional value and add friendly bacteria to the gut. These healthy microbes help with digestion and nutrient absorption, and without them our gut health deteriorates substantially, setting the stage for many chronic diseases.
3. Dark & organ meats
People often demonize meats, especially the darker varieties, for their fat content and overlook how nutritious they are. Of course they are relatively higher in calories as well, which is why you don’t need to eat very much in a sitting. But fear of saturated fat shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the occasional piece of fatty meat every now and then. Organ meats in particular, like liver and kidney, are rich sources of essential nutrients. And they can be delicious when prepared properly.
Okinawa is a small island in Southern Japan that is home to some of the longest lived people on earth. Sea vegetables are a staple of the traditional Okinawan diet, and are thought to be responsible for many aspects of health. Seaweed is also a good source of iodine for people who prefer to use high-end sea salts or kosher salt for cooking, which typically lack iodine. I make an effort to eat seaweed often and try as many different kinds as I can get my hands on.
5. Egg yolks
I realize I might be beating a dead horse with this one, but until I stop seeing friends and family throwing out perfectly good egg yolks I’m just going to keep drilling home this point. Egg consumption is not associated with heart disease, and for some people they improve blood lipids. Also, you’re throwing away so much goodness. And keep in mind that if you buy fresh, pastured eggs (hens frolicking in grass eating bugs—find them at your local farmers market) then nutrient values will be significantly higher than conventional eggs.
6. Beans & lentils
My favorite thing about last year’s biggest diet trend, The 4-Hour Body, is that Tim made beans and lentils cool to eat. I’ve been telling readers this for years, and finally people are listening, but there are still a lot of folks out there who don’t appreciate how wonderful they really are.
For myself and many others, weight loss is much easier when I include beans and lentils as opposed to eliminating carbohydrates completely. Plus they fill you with energywithout the bloating and other negative effects that can sometimes come from grains. They’re also a great source of iron, folate and other essential nutrients.
7. Root vegetables
Root vegetables are right up there with the green leafys in my book. In fact, many of them are from the same cruciferous family. I never come home from shopping without at least one bunch of radishes, salad turnips or carrots. I also have a lot of love for beets, sunchokes and even all the different kinds of potatoes. Vegetables don’t need to be green to be good for you.
Many people view their morning brew as a vice, but in reality coffee is a healthy beverage. Coffee is one of the best sources of polyphenols and antioxidants in many people’s diets, and has been proven to protect against liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other diseases. The biggest problem most people have with coffee is confusing the brew itself with the creamy, sugary drinks that are closer to milkshakes than the beverage studied by scientists in the studies I linked to above. And the only real risk of too much coffee is that it can upset your sleep.
9. Hard cheese
Hard cheeses that have been aged (think parmesan and asiago) are the most significant dietary source of vitamin K2, a nutrient that has been shown to protect againstheart disease and cancer. Like meat, cheese has a lot of calories so you still have to be careful with how much you eat. But it’s important to understand that cheese is not just empty calories, and in reasonable amounts it can actually be good for you.
American’s tend to view mushrooms as neutral foods, but they been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Though there really isn’t enough evidence to make conclusive statements about the health benefits of all mushrooms, many compounds have been identified in mushrooms that show potential for boosting immunity and possibly protecting against cancer. Mushrooms are also an unappreciated source of vitamins and minerals, and shouldn’t be ignored as low calorie sponges that only go on pizza.
What are your favorite unappreciated health foods?