“Eggs, Cholesterol, and Confusion”Jun 13, 2021
The health risks of eggs and cholesterol continue to be debated in research and nutrition circles. Here’s what current research says. Over the past decade, nutritional advice has flip-flopped on eggs, reflecting the current research studies of the time. On one hand, eggs have been maligned and linked to heart disease, yet they’ve also been publicized as an integral part of a balanced diet—with some research suggesting that they may actually be beneficial for heart health. Some say eggs on their own are not as bad as you think, as long as you skip the fatty bacon on the side. Others point to eggs as a fairly healthy form of protein that can help build muscle and even improve immune function. However, researchers have found that both the consumption of whole eggs and cholesterol intake were positively associated with all-cause mortality, as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality. They concluded that for every additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol consumed per day, the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality increased by 19%, 16%, and 24%, respectively. Given that a whole egg contains roughly 186 mg of cholesterol, this means eating two eggs each day could be increasing your likelihood of mortality from these causes. Researchers concluded that cholesterol from whole egg consumption contributed to more than 60% of both all-cause and cardiovascular disease deaths in the study. On the other hand, findings indicate that those who consumed egg whites or egg substitutes had lower all-cause mortality, as well as mortality from stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
“Something Is Fishy About Fish Oils”Jun 06, 2021
Television, radio and printed advertising is saturated with convincing complimentary ads for fish oil supplementation, but scientific studies are showing either no beneficial effects or they show a downside. Advertisers have claimed for years that fish oil (omega-3) improves heart health because they allegedly increase “good” HDL cholesterol. When scientifically tested, fish oil supplements (omega-3, PUFA) does not live up to the exalted claims of advertisers. Currently, fish oil supplements are indicated for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk. According to a new study, omega-3 supplements are associated with an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high blood lipids. Some clinical trials have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with an increased risk for atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. People with the disorder have a five times greater likelihood of having a stroke. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended use as “reasonable” for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in patients with recent events and “might also be considered” in people with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. To the contrary, the European Society of Cardiology has called a protective effect of omega-3s “debatable at best.” There is agreement that people should get their omega-3 fatty acids and fish oil from food rather than through supplements.
“The Eight Glasses of Water a Day Myth”May 30, 2021
With the warmer weather and longer days, we are reminded to “stay hydrated” and drink eight glasses of water – or about two liters – a day. But is this based on science or is it a myth? Healthy people can actually die from drinking too much water. However, since water and sodium balance are essential to life, it is extremely rare for people to die from drinking too much – or too little – fluid. In most cases, your body’s finely tuned molecular processes are unconsciously taking care of you. Sports and friendly competition try to ensure that we drink compulsory amounts of water throughout the day. “Gallon Challenges” support the widely held belief that water consumption beyond physiological need or thirst is healthy. But this is not so. Individual body water needs – intake – are primarily based upon how much water people lose. How much water each person needs to drink mainly depends on three factors: 1) Body Weight. The bigger you are the more water you need. 2) Environmental Temperature. The hotter it is the more you sweat and lose water. And 3) Physical Activity Levels. Exercise increases water loss. Consequently, a “one size fits all” fluid replacement strategy, such as drinking eight glasses of eight ounces of water per day, is inappropriate for everyone. It is not known where the eight glasses a day myth came from.
“Mushrooms May Lower Cancer Risk”May 23, 2021
According to a new Penn State study, published in March 2021 in Advances in Nutrition, higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer. According to the findings, individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not eat mushrooms. In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million new cases cancer were diagnosed globally, and 9.6 million died from the disease. One in 5 men and 1 in 6 women worldwide will develop cancer during their lifetime, and 1 in 8 men and 1 in 11 women will die from cancer. Cancer incidence and mortality are rapidly growing worldwide. Worldwide, the total number of people who are alive within 5 years of a cancer diagnosis (the 5-year prevalence) is estimated to be 43.8 million. Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. The team’s findings show that these super foods may also help guard against cancer. Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than white button, cremini and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer. When specific cancers were examined, the researchers noted the strongest associations for breast cancer as individuals who regularly ate mushrooms had a significantly lower risk of breast cancer. Future studies are needed to better pinpoint the mechanisms involved and specific cancers that may be impacted. Reishi mushroom has antioxidant properties and may enhance immune response. Reishi mushroom contains complex sugars known as beta-glucans.
“Foods for Better Sleep”May 16, 2021
Navigating which foods will actually help—or hinder—your sleep is a trickier path than it may first appear to be. Whether it’s due to their high caffeine content or difficulties with digestion, some foods will not only interfere with your ability to drift off but may even disrupt your sleep throughout the night. About 10% of men and 20% of women have chronic insomnia, meaning it occurs at least 3 times per week for at least 3 months. Meanwhile, 30% of US adults struggle with occasional or short-term bouts of insomnia. It’s a very prevalent problem. Certain foods and beverages can actually help you sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation. They include the following: Cottage Cheese. Because it’s high in lean protein, cottage cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid known to increase serotonin levels. And it’s even better if you plop some raspberries on top, because they’re rich in melatonin. Fruits. In addition to raspberries, many fruits also contain melatonin, including tart cherries, bananas, pineapples, and oranges. Whole Grains. Surprisingly, popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with some sort of nut butter are much better choices before bed than complex carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, or sugary, baked items, that only act to reduce your serotonin levels. Nuts. For a quick, pre-bedtime snack, nuts are a good option because they contain melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. Download the PDF to see the rest !
“Comparing the Best Cooking Oils”May 09, 2021
When it comes to cooking with oils, paying attention to their smoke point (the temperature at which they begin to break down) is key. Olive Oil. Extra-virgin olive oil has a relatively low smoke point of 325°F to 375°F, so it’s best for sautéing over medium heat or used for dressing salads. It is not ideal for deep-frying. Olive oil is widely known as a heart-healthy cooking oil choice, but other oils can be fairly healthy too. Olive oil is regularly touted as a top health food and superior dietary fat. This is largely due to its high monounsaturated fatty acid content compared to saturated fats. Consuming monounsaturated fats can help lower your low-density lipoprotein (“bad” LDL) cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Extra-virgin olive oil also contains more than 30 phenolic compounds, which boast anti-inflammatory and blood vessel-expanding characteristics. Olive oil is known as a “healthy fat.” Olive oil consumption has links to weight loss and increases in overall longevity. Canola Oil. Having a diet that features canola oil as a primary cooking fat can result in lower total cholesterol levels. Canola is relatively versatile with its higher smoke point of 400°F.
“The Dangers of Atrial Fibrillation”May 02, 2021
More than 40 million individuals worldwide have atrial fibrillation (AFib), which is the most common heart arrhythmia disorder. An arrhythmia is when the heart beats too slowly, too fast, or in an irregular way. Risk of developing the disorder rises with age and the number of other conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, obesity, and obstructive sleep apnea. AFib is a serious diagnosis. While this condition isn’t fatal in itself, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications. Two of the most common complications of AFib are stroke and heart failure. Medications and lifestyle habits can both help prevent these in people with AFib. Patients with atrial fibrillation have an average of five co-existing conditions and these comorbidities have a negative impact on survival. In addition, three-quarters of atrial fibrillation patients take at least five drugs. But if it’s left untreated, atrial fibrillation can be serious and even deadly. A stroke happens as a result of a blood clot in the brain. Patients often require medications to control the heart rate and to prevent blood clots. In the first study looking at cessation of alcohol consumption and atrial fibrillation (AF) risk, UC San Francisco researchers have shown that the longer people abstain from drinking alcohol, the lower their risk of AF. In addition to causing high blood pressure, high sodium levels have been linked with a long-term risk of developing AFib. Avoid or reduce salty foods such as pizza, cold cuts, salad dressings, and soups to reduce your risk. Sleep deprivation, physical illness, and recent surgery are also common triggers for AFib.
“Five Brain Booster Foods”Apr 25, 2021
Studies show that what you eat can affect your brain power and cognitive prowess. Cognitive health refers to one’s ability to think clearly, learn, and remember. Over five million Americans have limited brain function with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One in three seniors dies with (not necessarily from) Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. People are keen to adopt ways of decreasing their chances of dementia and to finding ways to improve function of their brain. False claims have been rampant with articles pushing the notion that this can be achieved with coffee, cocoa, water, antioxidants, etc. Some studies have linked the Mediterranean diet (high in fish oils, nuts, and grains and including maybe a little red wine) with advantageous effects on neurologic and mental health. Studies show that small changes to your diet can improve cognitive health and performance. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes. It may also help keep your brain healthy. The NIA defines a healthy diet as one that consists of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, and poultry, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and whole grains. Also limit solid fats, sugar, and salt. Be sure to control portion sizes and drink enough water and other fluids. Here are five foods that can boost cognitive function.
“Medical Facts About Meats”Mar 21, 2021
Controversy surrounds the health impact of various meats. The consumption of saturated fats in red meats and dairy products has been considered causative of heart disease for decades. Red meat is the name used for the meat from mammals—like beef, lamb, and pork. White meats include poultry, like chicken and turkey. Processed meat includes sausage, bacon, beef jerky, corned beef, salami, and more. New research supports the notion that red meat can be incorporated into a healthier diet. Currently, 77% of Americans exceed recommended levels of saturated fat, and meat is a major contributor to this. Red meat is a nutrient-rich food, not only as a source for protein but also bioavailable iron. Experts found that consuming more than half a serving per day of red meat, which is equivalent to a 3-ounce serving three times per week, did not worsen blood pressure and blood total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride concentrations. According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, a healthy dietary pattern can include lean meats and poultry, but should involve “relatively lower consumption of red and processed meats.” Beef is a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B12, which assists in red blood-cell production. It is also a good source of zinc, which helps the body produce testosterone, and selenium. However, increased consumption of red meat is associated with higher risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and all-cause mortality.
“Alzheimer’s, Focused Ultrasound and Hyperbaric Oxygen”Mar 14, 2021
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the nation’s most common form of dementia, and it’s on the rise. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older had Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020. By 2050, that number could rise to 13.8 million. AD is one of the top 10 leading causes of death for which there is currently no cure or treatments to prevent or decelerate it. One in 3 seniors die with (not necessarily from) Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gradually destroys brain tissue and people’s ability to remember, think, communicate, and lead independent lives. It is the most common form of dementia. West Virginia University scientists used MRI scans to show what happens when ultrasound waves target a specific area of Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. They concluded that this treatment may induce an immunological healing response, a potential breakthrough for a disease that accounts for up to 80% of all dementia cases. The ultrasound targeted the hippocampus in particular because it plays a large role in learning and memory. The focused ultrasound procedure modifies brain amyloid levels and might be used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders.