Green, leafy vegetables can decrease your risk of glaucoma by 20%


Image: Green, leafy vegetables can decrease your risk of glaucoma by 20%

Research provides another reason for you to eat more leafy greens: They prevent the onset of a serious eye disease called glaucoma. In a study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers suggested that eating green leafy vegetables every day may cut one’s risk of glaucoma by 20 to 30 percent over many years.

Glaucoma is an eye problem that typically occurs when fluid in the front part of the eye increases and causes pressure, which in turn damages the optic nerve. This condition can result in loss of vision.

For the study, the research team followed about 64,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1984 to 2012. They also followed over 41,000 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 to 2014. The participants were all aged 40 and above and did not have glaucoma at the start of the study. They had eye exams every two years.

Throughout the follow-up period, nearly 1,500 participants developed glaucoma. To determine whether diet played a role in the onset of the eye disease, the research team evaluated the diet, particularly the consumption of green leafy vegetables, of the participants. Then, they grouped the participants into five according to how much green leafy vegetables they consumed. Those who consumed the most amount of green leafy vegetables averaged about 1.5 servings a day, or approximately one and a half cups each day; while those who ate the least amount averaged about one serving every three days.

Although there was an association between consuming more leafy greens and a lower risk of glaucoma, it did not prove cause and effect. However, study leader Jae Kang explained that green leafy vegetables contain nitrates, which are precursors to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a key role in regulating blood flow to the eye, and in glaucoma, there is an impairment of blood flow to the optic nerve. As an individual eats more leafy greens, the levels of nitric oxide in the body also increase.

The power of the elements: Discover Colloidal Silver Mouthwash with quality, natural ingredients like Sangre de Drago sap, black walnut hulls, menthol crystals and more. Zero artificial sweeteners, colors or alcohol. Learn more at the Health Ranger Store and help support this news site.

Kang is an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Preventing glaucoma with diet

Earlier research has suggested that eating the right foods may help cut the risk of glaucoma, prevent the disease, and help keep eyesight healthy for many years. The study, published in the Archives of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmology, assessed the diets of people in two American ophthalmological studies, and in a study from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

These large population studies found that consumption of foods rich in retinol, which is a form of vitamin A, helps lower the risk of glaucoma. However, there was no evidence that a diet rich in dietary fats promote the development of glaucoma, although too much fat intake is generally known to cause obesity and cardiovascular disease.

As the researchers dug deeper, they observed a link between lower rates of glaucoma and greater intake of leafy green vegetables, especially cabbage, carrots, fruits, and fruit juices, especially orange-colored fruits like peaches and apricots. In addition, the Spanish study suggested consuming flavonol-rich foods, such as green tea, dark chocolate, coffee (without sugar and little cream), and regular black tea. However, those who already have well-established cases of glaucoma should consume little or no caffeine because it can increase intraocular pressure and worsen the disease. (Related: Reduce glaucoma risk by drinking more green tea.)

In the study, the researchers provided a set of guidelines for lowering glaucoma risk:

  1. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  2. Patients with hypertensive glaucoma should not consume too much salt.
  3. Avoid high-calorie diets to prevent body fat increase.
  4. Try eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fatty fish and nut as they seem to reduce risk.
  5. Drink small amounts of liquid throughout the day. Don’t drink large amounts in one shot.
  6. Drink red wine and green tea and eat dark chocolate moderately.
  7. If you already have glaucoma, do not consume caffeinated drinks.

Read more news stories and studies on foods that keep the eyes healthy by going to SuperFoods.news.

Sources include:

Consumer.HealthDay.com

FoxNews.com

Diet May Influence the Spread of a Deadly Type of Breast Cancer, Study Finds


https://speciality.medicaldialogues.in/diet-may-influence-the-spread-of-a-deadly-type-of-breast-cancer-study-finds/

Diet may influence the spread of a deadly type of breast cancer, study finds


Diet may influence the spread of a deadly type of breast cancer, study finds
Three-dimensional cell culture of breast cancer cells.

A single protein building block commonly found in food may hold a key to preventing the spread of an often-deadly type of breast cancer, according to a new multicenter study published today in the medical journal Nature.

Investigators found that by limiting an amino acid called asparagine in laboratory mice with triple-negative breast cancer, they could dramatically reduce the ability of the cancer to travel to distant sites in the body. Among other techniques, the team used dietary restrictions to limit asparagine.

Foods rich in asparagine include dairy, whey, beef, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood, asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy and whole grains. Foods low in asparagine include most fruits and vegetables.

“Our study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests diet can influence the course of the disease,” said Simon Knott, PhD, associate director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics at Cedars-Sinai and one of two first authors of the study. The research was conducted at more than a dozen institutions.

If further research confirms the findings in human cells, limiting the amount of asparagine cancer patients ingest could be a potential strategy to augment existing therapies and to prevent the spread of breast cancer, Knott added.

The researchers studied triple-negative breast cancer cells, which grow and spread faster than most other types of cancer cells. It is called triple negative because it lacks receptors for the hormones estrogen and progesterone and makes little of a protein called HER2. As a result, it resists common treatments—which target these factors and has a higher-than-average mortality rate.

Research from past studies found that most tumor cells remain in the primary breast site, but a subset of cells leaves the breast and enters the bloodstream. Those cells colonize in the lungs, brain and liver, where they proliferate. The study team wanted to understand the particular traits of the tumor cells circulating in the blood and in the sites where the cancer has spread.

The researchers discovered that the appearance of asparagine synthetase—the enzyme cells used to make asparagine—in a primary tumor was strongly associated with later cancer spread.

The researchers also found that metastasis was greatly limited by reducing asparagine synthetase, treatment with the chemotherapy drug L-asparaginase, or dietary restriction. When the lab mice were given food rich in asparagine, the cancer cells spread more rapidly.

“The study results are extremely suggestive that changes in diet might impact both how an individual responds to primary therapy and their chances of lethal disease spreading later in life,” said the study’s senior author, Gregory J. Hannon, PhD, professor of Cancer Molecular Biology and director, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge in England.

Investigators now are considering conducting an early-phase clinical trial in which healthy participants would consume a low-asparagine diet. If the diet results in decreased levels of asparagine, the next scientific step would involve a clinical trial with cancer patients. That trial likely would employ dietary restrictions as well as chemotherapy and immunotherapy, Knott said.

Studying the effects of asparagine also could alter treatments for other types of cancer, investigators say.

“This study may have implications not only for breast cancer, but for many metastatic cancers,” said Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH, vice dean, Research and Graduate Research Education, at Cedars-Sinai.

How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut


How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut

What happens when we eat lower fiber, more highly processed food? Our gut microbiome (bacteria) changes. In this TED-Ed video “How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut,” Shilpa Ravella explains how gut bacteria is changed.

“The bacteria in our guts can break down food the body can’t digest, produce important nutrients, regulate the immune system, and protect against harmful germs. And while we can’t control all the factors that go into maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, we can manipulate the balance of our microbes by paying attention to what we eat. Shilpa Ravella shares the best foods for a healthy gut.”

Watch Now

The 5 Necessities of an Effective Weight Loss Diet for People With Diabetes


weight loss for people with diabetes

This is not just another general “eat salad and completely avoid carbs” article. I’m tired of seeing generalized diet information that, to be brutally honest, is pointless and inapplicable to most people’s lives. This article is aimed to help the diabetic community focus on and prioritize what works.

Weight loss is science, not magic or voodoo or luck. There is a specific set of requirements needed to lose weight efficiently as a person with diabetes (type 1 or type 2). Yes, you may have heard of your friend’s cousin’s mother doing a no carb detox cleansing bath scrub to lose belly fat who lost 10 pounds, but I highly encourage you to check in with that person who does every fad diet possible in a few weeks or months. Chances are they gained the weight back and then some.

That’s because while some diets cause people to lose weight initially, they don’t employ the basic principles of continued effective weight loss. Whether it’s water weight loss, weight loss from severe calorie deficit, or avoidance of food, a lot of diets promise and sometimes produce acute results — that is temporary or short term results.

From helping hundreds of diabetics lose weight on social media, I was nicknamed the “T1D Fat Loss Coach” and now help people with all kinds of diabetes and chronic illnesses get on effective diets.

I have a 3 “E” rule for an effective diet before you continue on in this article. A diet must be all three of the following for you for it to be effective:

  1. Easy to adhere to long term
  2. Enjoyable or at least not miserable and affecting quality of life (socially or mood related)
  3. Effective in producing results long term (any diet change can produce short term results)

So, in deciding on a diet, make sure you have these rules in mind. These next five components of a diet will determine your success.

Optimal Weight Loss Blood Sugar

Blood sugar management is more important than exercise and diet combined for weight loss. Why? Because chasing blood sugars involves ruining your diet and training effectiveness.

You can’t optimally lose fat, build lean muscle, or get a healthier physique while mismanaging your blood sugars.

When your sugars are low, you are likely to (or at least more at risk to):

  • Overeat to correct lows
  • Overcompensate the overeating with medication that could lead to another low
  • Experience another low in the next 24-48 hours (“lows beget lows”)
  • Reduce intensity of exercise
  • Experience increased hunger and cravings which can be hard to fight

When your blood sugars are high, you are likely to (or at least more at risk to):

  • Overtreat with insulin which could lead to another low
  • Reduce nutrient absorption necessary to increase or preserve lean muscle mass
  • Decrease effectiveness of a workout
  • Experience a false sense of scale weight loss when in reality, you could be losing lean tissue which means reducing your metabolic rate and storing more body fat

In order to improve your metabolic rate and your body’s fat burning capability/processes, blood sugar management has to be a priority. In order to reduce cravings and hypo and hyperglycemic events that negatively affect diet and training, blood sugar management must be a main priority that isn’t overlooked.

Talk to your endocrinologist and diabetes management team as you decide on what the best approach is in conjunction with your changing diet and exercise habits. Then, you can get into specifics on calories and the makeup of those calories for fat loss optimization.

Specifying Calorie Intake

In order for you to lose weight, you have to be in a calorie deficit — that means burning more calories than you take in. You can do this by eating less, burning more calories through activity, or, ideally, a combination of both.

But first, you have to determine what is the appropriate number of calories you should be intaking based on your personal stats and goals. But can’t I just eat “healthy” and lose weight? You can and leave it to chance but even if you eat healthy foods in the wrong quantities, you will gain weight.

There is no universal fix to an individual problem.

That means what works for me doesn’t optimally work for your mom or for you. Specificity is optimal. To figure out how many calories you need to consume, you can find any TDEE calculator online like this one. This determines your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or the calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight.

 IIFYM TDEE calculator

Now if you want to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit which means you need to eat less than what you expend daily. My personal, general rule of thumb is:

  • If you want to lose 5 lbs/2 kg or less, subtract 250 calories from your TDEE
  • If you want to lose 5-15 lbs/2-7 kg, subtract 500 calories from your TDEE
  • If you want to lose over 20 lbs/10 kg, subtract up to 750 calories from your TDEE

This is a general rule that has helped hundreds of my type 1 and type 2 online weight loss clients lose between 5-60 lbs/2-25 kg but always be sure to consult your doctor before starting a new diet and training program.

Once you have your daily caloric limits, you can be more specific and determine your macronutrient goals.

Identifying Your Ideal Macro Balance

Calories determine weight change, but macronutrient balance determines the kind of weight change. Macronutrients are your proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram
  • Carbs have 4 calories per gram
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram

Why is macronutrient balance important? Take two people eating a 1500 calorie diet based on the advice above. Person A is eating 90% fat, 5% carbs, and 5% protein while person B is eating a balanced macronutrient diet of 35% protein, 30% carbs, and 35% fat. Who will get better results?

Person A is eating far too little protein and far too much fat. Higher protein diets are effective in helping people lose body fat, reduce hunger and cravings, and manage blood sugars. That little protein intake would increase risk of lean muscle loss which is the exact opposite goal. High protein diets are also proven to not be dangerous or harmful to the kidneys as long as there is no pre existing kidney damage.

That high of fat intake might make person A more hungry too as fat is more calorie dense meaning less total food intake. More hunger = more of a chance to fall off the diet when faced with opportunity to cheat.

The goal is to preserve or even build lean muscle while losing body fat. Losing muscle decreases your metabolic rate and lowers your body’s ability to burn fat. Keeping your protein around 30-40% of your total caloric intake is key for long term fat loss.

What about carbs?

Given that protein is 30-40%, carbs I leave up to my clients’ personal preference. Some people choose a moderate carb intake, some choose a lower carb intake, and some even choose to follow a ketogenic approach.

I personally don’t care as long as you are managing your sugars, eating the right protein amount, and hitting around your decided macronutrient intakes.

In terms of pure weight loss science, hundreds of studies have compared low-carb, high-fat diets to high-carb, low-fat diets and found no significant difference in weight loss when calories and protein are equated.

There may be some instances where clients with insulin resistance or hormonal issues (Type 2, PCOS, Hashimotos, post menopause, etc.) might be encouraged to be on the lower side of carb intake but, for the most part, it is a personal choice.

Carbs and fats usually have an inverse relationship — if one is higher the other is lower. If your protein intake is at 30% and you decide you want to do a moderate carb approach at 30% carbs, then you know your fat intake will be 40% (the remainder).

Some of my preferred macro percentages with my clients are:

  • Low-carb: 40% protein/20% carbs/40% fat
  • Moderate carb: 35% protein/30% carbs/35% fat
  • Moderate carb, high activity level: 40% protein/30% carbs/30% fat

These are just a few of the many possibilities and strategies to elicit fat loss. Simply download a calorie counting app like My Fitness Pal to track these numbers discussed above.

Navigating My Way Through a Food Heavy Culture

Food Choices

It is not necessarily the choices of food that affect us as much as the quantities of food in terms of weight gain and weight loss, directly speaking. Indirectly, food choice can be a major indicator of adherence to a diet.

Eating processed foods is shown to decrease satiety (feeling of fullness), increase cravings, and increase guilt. These repercussions of not eating healthy can slow or even reverse progress. I like to take an 80/20 approach with my diabetic clientele and myself.

80% of the food eaten should be whole foods. 20% can be your personal indulgent. That means if you are alloted 1500 calories a day, 20%, or 300 calories, can come from your craving foods. I believe this helps people cheat within the diet so they stay on track for longer and get far better results than being extremely strict.

An interesting note, a Kansas state nutrition professor ate twinkies and protein shakes for 10 weeks and lost 27lbs/12kg and improved his metabolic profile in the process. He wanted to show that quantity of food is extremely important when it comes to weight loss. Obviously, I don’t recommend doing this and neither does he, so please don’t replicate his experiment.

Meal Timing & Frequency

One of the biggest myths in the dieting world is having to eat every two hours to “stoke the metabolic fire.” There is no metabolic fire or fire inside of your body — I promise. Daily macronutrient & caloric totals matter most not meal timing or frequency. When you add diabetes to the mix, that’s when these variables become more relevant.

Meal timing prior to cardio or exercise can determine if you are going to have a great workout or diabetic emergency. Both hypo- & hyperglycemia can ruin a workout so timing meals according to your activity level can greatly improve blood sugar management, which indirectly improves your ability to adhere to your diet and training.

Meal frequency is a personal preference but some people with diabetes find it easier to minimize glucose variability with smaller, more frequent meals. Ultimately, that is your decision. Whatever fits into your lifestyle best is what you should do.

Effective Weight Loss With Diabetes

Blood sugar management, proper caloric intake, and macronutrient balance will help you lose body fat long term, the right way. There are tons of advanced strategies I’ve used to help people with diabetes transform their bodies but all progress stems from these basic principles. Yes, it takes some work. Yes, you have to type some stuff and do some math. Yes, it takes conscious, daily effort just like diabetes management. But, in doing so, your body will thank you.

World’s First Clinical Trial Finds Diet Works for Depression.


Pioneering research from the Land Down Under shows you how to get out from under your depression!

Felice Jacka PhD is a trailblazing researcher at Deakin University in Australia who is calling the world’s attention to the powerful impact of food on mood. On January 30, 2017, the journal BMC Medicine published her new randomized controlled study called The SMILES Trial. This groundbreaking research demonstrates for the first time that people with moderate to severe depression can improve their mood by eating a healthier diet.

You may be surprised to hear that this kind of study has never been done before, probably because you have read headlines in the past proclaiming that healthier diets decrease risk for depression. We have Professor Jacka and her team to thank for many of those hopeful headlines. Over the past seven years, she published numerous epidemiological (survey-based) studies suggesting that people who report eating an unhealthy diet are more likely to be depressed. However, since these studies were based on questionnaires and weren’t actual diet experiments, they didn’t have the power to PROVE that unhealthy diets CAUSE depression, and couldn’t prove that healthy diets could TREAT depression. These were simply educated guesses that hadn’t been tested in the real world yet. Until now.

Professor Jacka boldly went where no one has gone before: she tested her theories on actual people with clinical depression…and emerged victorious.

The Study

Professor Jacka’s team recruited 67 men and women with moderate to severe depression who reported eating a relatively unhealthy diet. Most were taking antidepressants and/or were in regular psychotherapy.

They put half of these depressed people on a modified Mediterranean diet (aka the “ModiMed” diet—more details below) and required them to attend dietary support sessions with a nutritionist.

The other half continued eating their usual unhealthy diet, but were required to attend social support “befriending” sessions.

Before and after the 12-week study, everyone’s depression symptoms were graded using several different tests. The test this research group chose to focus on was the MADRS scale (Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale), which rates mood on a scale of 0 to 60, with 60 being the most severely depressed.

Adapted from Jacka FN et al 2017.
Source: Adapted from Jacka FN et al 2017.

After 12 weeks, people in the ModiMed diet group saw their MADRS scores improve on average by about 11 points. Thirty-two percent (10 out of 31 completers) had MADRS scores so low that they no longer met criteria for depression—remission!

People in the unhealthy diet group improved by only about 4 points on the MADRS test and only 8% (2 of 25 completers) achieved remission.

More happy details:

Calories were not restricted and body weight stayed about the same for everyone in the study, so people didn’t have to lose weight to feel better.

Surprisingly, the ModiMed diet cost about 19% less than the standard unhealthy diet.

The diet plan was apparently easier to stick to than the social support plan, since more people in the diet group (31 out of 33) made it all the way to the end of the study, compared to only 25 out of 34 people in the support group.

What is the ModiMed diet?

Suzi Smith, used with permission
Source: Suzi Smith, used with permission

Encouraged foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, low-fat/ unsweetened dairy, raw unsalted nuts, lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and olive oil

Discouraged foods: sweets, refined cereals, fried food, fast food, processed meat.

Beverages: maximum two sugar-sweetened beverages per week and maximum two alcoholic drinks per day, preferably red wine.

So, what is so special about the ModiMed diet?

Well, THAT is the $64,000 question, and the answer is? We don’t know.

It could be that this diet was higher in some potentially magical ingredient like olive oil or nuts.

It could be that this diet was lower in some potentially evil ingredient like processed meat or refined carbohydrates.

It could be both.

My opinion, based on everything I know about food and the brain, is that this diet is better than the average diet because:

  1. It is extremely low in refined carbohydrates (sugar, flour, refined cereals, etc). These non-foods put your blood sugar, insulin, hormones, and neurotransmitters on a dangerous invisible roller coaster. This destabilizes mood and increases risk for insulin resistance, which causes brain damage over time.
  2. It contains plenty of natural fat and cholesterol, which the brain needs to function properly [in my opinion the ModiMed diet unnecessarily limits saturated animal fats].
  3. It is low in processed oils from seeds such as cottonseed, safflower and corn. These industrially-refined oils are very high in omega-6 fatty acids, which tilt the brain towards inflammation and away from healing.
  4. It contains animal sources of protein, which are rich in key brain nutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B 12, and free of anti-nutrients, which interfere with protein and mineral absorption.
  5. It is based primarily on whole foods, which humans are well-adapted to eating.

Real Hope for the Real World

I LOVE this study, because it proves that the human brain cares deeply about what we eat. I wish ALL of all of my patients would try a healthy diet before trying a prescription medication. Don’t get me wrong—I prescribe medications every day and I have seen them work wonders. But clearly the most powerful way to fundamentally change your brain chemistry is through food, because that’s where the brain chemicals come from in the first place! I believe a healthy diet can in many cases reduce or eliminate the need for prescription medications.

With the exception of crisis situations and special barriers to dietary change, why not start by improving the quality of your diet? What do you have to lose? Healthy diets have no co-pays, no side effects, and are good for the whole body, not just the brain.

The bottom line is this: the ModiMed diet is clearly superior to a junky standard diet loaded with fast food, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates. It is also affordable and manageable in the real world!

Take a Bite Out of Your Depression!

For those of you who eat a low-fat, vegan, vegetarian, low-carb, or Paleo diet, this study cannot tell you whether or not the ModiMed diet is better for depression than your diet. Until we have studies that compare these diets to each other, the only way for you to know which diet works best for your mood is to compare them yourself.

For those of you who have tried a Mediterranean diet without success, there is still tremendous hope. There are other healthy changes worth trying—my two favorite recommendations being:

  1. Lowering overall carbohydrate intake, especially if you have insulin resistance.
  2. Removing grains and legumes, which interfere with the absorption of key nutrients the brain needs to work properly, such as iron and zinc.

For those of you who don’t care to try the ModiMed diet, there are MOUNDS of evidence incriminating the refined carbohydrates and industrially-produced foods that form the basis of our American diet. So, regardless of what is IN your favorite diet, make sure you get the junk OUT.

Your brain, your metabolism, and your whole body will be happier and healthier.

Why Your Diet Should Include More Fat


As the decades-long erroneous vilification of healthy fats fades away, more studies are showing the value of adding good fats to your diet. As reported by CNN Health, Harvard has released a study of 126,000 people showing you can cut your risk of dying by more than a fourth by simply replacing bad fats with good.

I’ve never supported the low-fat diet myth, but if you’ve been taken in by it, now is the time to shake it for good, as major health organizations agree that encouraging people to eat low-fat diets is having a disastrous impact on public health.

For example, key findings in the British National Obesity Forum’s report on obesity show that high-fat diets are superior for weight loss; calorie counting doesn’t work; exercise alone cannot combat obesity; saturated fat does not cause heart disease and meal frequency influences weight.

The saturated fat myth is one of the worst diet lies ever told, as we now know that replacing saturated fats with vegetable oils has actually increased mortality risk from all causes, including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease — for every 30 point drop in total cholesterol, there was a 22 percent increased chance of death.

If you want to lose weight and live healthy, eat good fats such as olives and olive oil, raw nuts such as macademia and pecans, grass-fed meats, raw coconut and coconut oil, avocados and organic, pastured eggs and dairy. You also need to limit net carbs. Utilizing an intermittent fasting program can help with this. And ditch trans fats and highly refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Secret of healthy ageing discovered in ground-breaking 35-year study


The volunteers from Caerphilly
The volunteers from Caerphilly gave regular reports of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet  

The writer Kingsley Amis once quipped that there was no pleasure worth giving up for the sake of two more years in a geriatric home in Weston-super-Mare.

But for pensioners who have been following a pioneering health regime for the last 35 years, an ascetic lifestyle appears to be the secret of a fit and happy old age.

In 1979, 2,500 men were asked to follow five simple rules – eat well, work out, drink less, keep their weight down and never smoke.

Nearly four decades on, just 25 pensioners have managed to stick to the plan. But they are all far fitter and healthier than the volunteers who gave up.

Those who stuck to the plan have dramatically cut their risk of cancer, diabetes, heart-attack, stroke and dementia.

Retired teacher Leighton Jones, 80, rides 35 miles a week around the hills and valleys near his home in Caerphilly, South Wales and walks up to two miles every other day.

“I have followed the healthy steps for many years now and feel pretty fit. Cycling keeps my body fit while scrabble keep the mind fit,” said Grandad Mr Jones.

“I do have a beer or wine most nights but I drink in moderation.”

Bachelor Ray Grace, 80, also kept up with the regime for 35 years. He travels all over Wales and the West Country refereeing college American football matches and walks and jogs two miles every day near his home in the village of Llanbradach.

He said: “I’ll go on as long as I am able to. I’ve been refereeing for nearly 30 years now and still get a thrill out of it.”

“As far as I’m concerned it’s been a great success. It has been invaluable for me and I’m pleased to have been part of it.

“I’ve stuck pretty well to the healthy lifestyle laid down and met with the researchers half a dozen times over the years.”

The volunteers, all from Caerphilly gave researchers regular reports of their physical activity, alcohol consumption, and diet. Their wives and families helped by completing regular food frequency questionnaires.

The recommended physical activity was to walk two or more miles to work each day, cycle 10 or more miles to work each day, or regular “vigorous” exercise.

Every five years the men were re-questioned and re-examined along with their medical records to identify new cases of diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

The researchers found non-smoking, an acceptable BMI, a high fruit and vegetable intake, regular physical activity, and moderate alcohol intake were associated with reductions in the incidence of certain chronic diseases.

Study leader Professor Peter Elwood, of Cardiff University, said: “As a nation, we must wake up to the preventive power of living a healthy life.

“Thirty years ago, only 25 men in our study followed all five of our recommended healthy steps.

“Following these steps did not give them complete protection against disease but the men who developed a disease, did so at a much older age than the men neglectful of their lifestyle.

“The development of heart disease was delayed by up to 12 years, and it was up to around an additional six years before dementia took its grip.

“It shows that following a healthy lifestyle staves off disease and premature death.”

The reduction in cases of dementia was welcomed by experts yesterday.

Alzheimer’s Society Research Communications Manager Clare Walton said: “We have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head.

“The landmark Caerphilly study, part funded by Alzheimer’s Society, showed that healthy living can reduce the chances of dementia by up to 60 per cent.”

Dementia expert Professor John Gallacher of Cardiff University said: “The Caerphilly Study has made a tremendous contribution to UK Science.

“These are exciting times as we gear-up to do research that will bring significant public benefit, helping older people everywhere to have longer and more satisfying lives.”

Why You Should Remove These 6 Things From Your Diet


Processed meats, fried foods and sugary sodas cause inflammation.
Processed meats, fried foods and sugary sodas cause inflammation. 

Inflammation is a natural part of the body’s response to protect itself, maintain immunity, fight infection and heal.

However, when inflammation persists over time or serves no purpose, it can damage your body and causes illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, fatty liver and Alzheimer’s.

When the body’s immune system responds to injury with inflammation there is redness, heat and swelling. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is often silent and occurs without many noticeable symptoms.

If you have high blood sugar or blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides), low energy, are overweight or have heart disease or digestive problems, you probably have some level of inflammation.

While lack of exercise, being overweight, exposure to pollution and stress all contribute to chronic inflammation, what you eat can also have a major effect.

Deep friend and coated with sugar, doughnuts are no-no.
Deep friend and coated with sugar, doughnuts are no-no. 

Foods That Cause Inflammation

Here are six foods that can raise your levels of inflammation:

1. Sugar: Sugar, fructose and high-fructose corn syrup (sugary drinks, desserts, candy) increase insulin resistance and uric acid levels, injures blood vessels and contain lots of calories, leading to weight gain.

2. Trans Fats: These fats — found in many processed and deep-fried foods — lower your “good” cholesterol (HDL), increase your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and damage blood vessels.

3. Vegetable and Seed Oils: Oils with high amounts of omega-6 fat, such as corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, canola and peanut, can be healthy in small amounts. But most people use too much, which throws off the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (fatty fish, flax), leading to inflammation.

4. Refined Carbs: White bread, rice, pasta, chips and snack foods raise blood glucose, contribute to weight gain and inflame your gut.

5. Processed Meats: Sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meats and beef jerky form harmful substances in protein and fat called AGEs (advanced glycation end-products).

These are formed by high-temperature cooking as the meat is processed and contribute to inflammation in every cell in the body, leading to detrimental health effects like heart disease and, in particular, colon cancer.

6. Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption causes bad bacteria to move out of the digestive tract into other parts of the body, leading to increased inflammation.

While one or two standard-size drinks (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor) per day have been shown to have some health benefits, too much alcohol is harmful.

Dark chocolate gets a thumbs-up.
Dark chocolate gets a thumbs-up.

Eat This, Not That

In addition to cutting down on inflammatory foods, you can reduce inflammation by eating whole, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods.

Eat plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Brightly colored vegetables like dark green, red, orange and yellow
  • Fruits, especially berries, tart cherries and grapes
  • Avocados, olives, olive oil and avocado oil
  • Whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates
  • Omega-3 fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and legumes
  • Dark chocolate (85 percent cacao is best)
  • Green and white tea (black also has some antioxidants)
  • Red wine (in moderation)
  • Spices like ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon

In addition to a healthy diet, be active, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and find ways to lower your stress levels. The good news is that the things you can do to reduce inflammation also improve your overall health, so it’s a win-win!

What Do YOU Think?

Do you notice a difference in your body when you eat inflammatory foods? What other foods cause inflammation for you? What foods do you include in your diet that are specifically anti-inflammatory?

Leave a comment below and let us know!

Eating Green Could Be in Your Genes


Could there be a vegetarian gene?

global frequency pattern of an allele adaptive to vegetarian diets

Cornell University researchers describe a genetic variation that has evolved in populations that have historically favored vegetarian diets, such as in India, Africa, and parts of East Asia.

A different version of this gene (called an allele) adapted to a marine diet was discovered among the Inuit in Greenland, who mainly consume seafood.

The vegetarian allele evolved in populations that have eaten a plant-based diet over hundreds of generations. The adaptation allows these people to efficiently process omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and convert them into compounds essential for early brain development and controlling inflammation. In populations that live on plant-based diets, this genetic variation provided an advantage and was positively selected in those groups.

In Inuit populations of Greenland, the researchers uncovered that a previously identified adaptation is opposite to the one found in long-standing vegetarian populations: While the vegetarian allele has an insertion of 22 bases (a base is a building block of DNA) within the gene, this insertion was found to be deleted in the seafood allele.

“The opposite allele is likely driving adaptation in Inuit,” said Kaixiong Ye, co-lead author of the paper appearing Mar. 29 in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. Ye is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Alon Keinan, associate professor of biological statistics and computational biology, and the paper’s co-senior author.

“Our study is the first to connect an insertion allele with vegetarian diets, and the deletion allele with a marine diet,” Ye said.

“It is the most interesting example of local adaptation that I have been fortunate to help study,” said Keinan. “Several studies have pointed to adaptation in this region of the genome. Our analyses combine to show that the adaptation is driven by an insertion of a small piece of DNA that we know its function. Moreover, when it reached the Greenlandic Inuit, with their marine-based diet rich in omega-3, it might have become detrimental.”

FADS1 and FADS2 are enzymes that are essential for converting omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into downstream products needed for brain development and controlling inflammation. Meat and seafood eaters have less need for increased FADS1 and FADS2 enzymes to get proper nutrition because their omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid conversion process is simpler and requires fewer steps.

This study is based on previous work by co-senior author Tom Brenna, professor of human nutrition and of chemistry, who showed the insertion can regulate the expression of FADS1 and FADS2 and hypothesized it could be an adaptation in vegetarian populations.

Ye, Keinan and colleagues analyzed frequencies of the vegetarian allele in 234 primarily vegetarian Indians and 311 U.S. individuals and found the vegetarian allele in 68 percent of the Indians and in just 18 percent of Americans. Analysis using data from the 1,000 Genomes Project similarly found the vegetarian allele in 70 percent of South Asians, 53 percent of Africans, 29 percent of East Asians and 17 percent of Europeans.

“Northern Europeans have a long history of drinking milk and they absorbed enough end products from milk for long-chain fatty acid metabolism so they don’t have to increase capacity to synthesize those fatty acids from precursors,” said Ye.

“One implication from our study is that we can use this genomic information to try to tailor our diet so it is matched to our genome, which is called personalized nutrition,” he added.

The researchers are not sure yet when the adaptation first occurred, as analyses of chimpanzee or orangutan genomes did not uncover the vegetarian allele. But there is evidence for the allele in early hominid Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes.

“It is possible that in the history of human evolution, when people migrated to different environments, sometimes they ate a plant-based diet and sometimes they ate a marine-based diet, and in different time periods these different alleles were adaptive,” meaning the alleles have a tendency to evolve under dietary pressures, Ye said.