|Diet and Exercise
Blue Berries, Yoga and Nap
One of the most natural ways of preventing dementia is blueberries according
to results from a new study. This Most recent study confirms what was discovered
in a study conducted in 2008, that eating Blueberries improves memory and
word list recall. The study entitled “Blueberry Supplementation Improves
Memory in Older Adults” was published in the Journal of Agricultural and
New research is showing that just very small amounts of meditation are able
to considerably improve the level of clarity and other cognitive abilities.
The research psychologists conducting the study found that the study participants
who were trained for just 20 minutes a day over four days gained significant
progress in their critical cognitive skills as well as in comparison to the
control group. Participants were instructed to relax, with their eyes
closed, and to simply focus on the flow of their breath occurring at the
tip of their nose. If a random thought arose, they were told to passively
notice and acknowledge the thought and to simply let 'it' go, by bringing
the attention back to the sensations of the breath. As the training
progressed it built on from this foundation to focus on specific cognitive
abilities. The paper entitled "Mindfulness Meditation Improves Cognition:
Evidence of Brief Mental Training" was published in the Consciousness and
A study conducted in the U.S. has shown that a mid-day nap can improve brain
power. The researchers believe that the rest enables people to process
short term memories into long term ones which in turn ‘frees up’ some brain
memory space for new information. This was based on the observation using
electrical brain activity sensors that showed that during the sleep the participants
were in between dreaming and deep sleep during which time the short term
memories held in the hippocampus moved to the pre-frontal cortex.
The results of a recent study indicate that men may be able to reduce high
cholesterol without using drugs. The study conducted by the Nutrition and
Wellness Research Center (NWRC) at Iowa State University looked at the effect
of Flax seed on cholesterol levels. Over a period of 3 months the volunteers
were given tablets every day that contained either zero, 150, or 300 milligrams
of flaxseed lignans. Over the three months cholesterol levels reduced by
10% in the men taking 150 milligrams of flaxseed, but not the women.
The researchers were surprised at the difference in results from the men
versus the women.
In addition, flax contains omega-3 fatty acids that are very important for
health for both men and women.
Despite the powerful influence of genetics, studies show that exercise can
enable children to reduce obesity. According to a person’s physical makeup
and metabolism, some will find it easy to remain slim whereas other people
find it a constant battle to keep off the pounds.
A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reveals
that the correct diet, good will power but most of all regular exercise can
enable those people genetically predisposed towards obesity can lose weight
and keep it off. The study especially focused on teenagers.
Hot Chili Peppers
Peppers contain a substance called capsaicin that not only adds spice to
our foods but can actually cause our body to heat up. It is hypothesized
that plants evolved to contain capsaicin because it protected them from being
eaten by insects and other pesky predators. However, certain traditional
cuisines such as Indian and Mexican rely on capsaicin-packing peppers to
add pungency and zing to many traditional foods, and “pepperheads” often
choose their meal to purposefully turn up the heat. There is growing
evidence that the body-heat-generating power of peppers might lend a hand
in losing the extra inches accumulating around the waistline.
A non-burning version of capsaicin called dihydrocapsiate (DCT) that may
have the benefits of peppers without the pungency is also available.
Breastfeeding could save the lives of about 900 babies a year in the United
States, researchers said. This could occur if 90% of U.S women breastfed
for the first 6 months of life, the researchers said. The estimate was based
on other research that shows breastfeeding reduces the risk of other illnesses.
These include stomach and ear infections, asthma, type 1 diabetes and Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome. About 43% of U.S. mothers do at least some breastfeeding
for 6 months. But only 12% feed their babies only breast milk for 6 months.
That's what expert guidelines recommend. The study appeared in the journal
Pediatrics. Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight
infections; it also can affect insulin levels in the blood, which may make
breast-fed babies less likely to develop diabetes and obesity. About
$13 billion in estimated losses due to the low breast-feeding rate includes
an economists' calculation partly based on lost potential lifetime wages
— $10.56 million per death. The methods were similar to a widely cited
2001 government report that said $3.6 billion could be saved each year if
50 percent of mothers breast-fed their babies for six months. Medical costs
have climbed since then and breast-feeding rates have increased only slightly.
A ban on butter is being called for by a British heart surgeon. The call
made by Dr. Shyam Kolvekar is because he is worried about the young age of
some patients requiring heart bypass surgery. He said excessive consumption
of saturated fats is a cause for the rising numbers of heart bypass operations
in the UK sometimes on people only 30 years old.
The doctor is recommending that people reduce their daily saturated fat intake
by 8 grams as this will help a lot in “preventing some of the serious diseases
that he believes are caused by saturated fat.”
The Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) of saturated fat in the U.K. is 20 grams
for women and 30 grams for men. By reducing or skipping butter intake and
by drinking reduced fat milk can enable people to stay under these recommended
maximums. Trans-fats are already known to be a major cause of serious
health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. For
this reason they are already banned in many countries including Switzerland
It is easy to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
What many people don’t know is that whole grains contain protein. Other non-animal
food that contain protein in addition to brown rice and whole grains are
tofu, seitan, veggie burgers, soy, lentils, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables,
nuts and seeds. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you’re probably
consuming more than enough protein without even thinking about it.
The little known truth about protein is that most of us get too much, not
too little of it. Women need about 45 grams per day and men need around 55
High Sugar and Salt
A lot of sugar in our diet leads to unhealthy cholesterol levels, a study
in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes.
Added sugars do not include natural sugars, such as those in fruit. People
who took in more added sugar had lower levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins
– good for health) and had higher triglycerides (bad for health). Added sugars
amounted to about 16% of total calories. That's up from an average of 11%
in the late '70s.
Independent experts called for the U.S. government to set limits on salt
in prepared foods. The request came from the Institute of Medicine. This
expert group was chartered by Congress to advise the government. The institute
said most Americans eat twice as much salt as they need. It said rules are
needed because food makers have not done enough to cut back. Changes should
be gradual to get people used to less salty food, the group said. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration said it would consider the request.
Fruits and Vegetables
A study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
on the effect of eating fruits and vegetables on cancer revealed that a modest
benefit in cancer prevention was derived by the thousand of people involved
in the study. There was a noticeable reduction in the risk of cardiovascular
disease however. In this population, a higher intake of fruits and vegetables
was also associated with other lifestyle variables, such as lower intake
of alcohol, never-smoking, short duration of tobacco smoking, and higher
level of physical activity, which may have contributed to a lower cancer
Research in Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who eat at least a
bar every week are more glum than those who only eat chocolate now and again.
Many believe chocolate has the power to lift mood, although scientific proof
for this is lacking. But scientists say that they cannot rule out that
chocolate may be a cause rather than the cure for being depressed.
It may simply be that people who are depressed crave chocolate as a "self-treatment"
to lift mood, or depression may drive the craving without any beneficial
effect. Alternatively, analogous with alcohol, there could be short-term
benefits of chocolate to mood with longer-term untoward effects. Chocolate
could even be a direct cause of depression, the researchers added.
Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
Brisk walking may lower women's risk of stroke, a study published this week
finds. Women who walked briskly had a 37% lower stroke risk than non-walkers.
Women who walked at any pace for at least 2 hours a week had a 30% lower stroke
risk. Researchers did not find a lower stroke risk with more vigorous exercise,
such as running and cycling. But they said they may not have had enough people
in these groups to show a difference. It was published online by the journal
Being Nice Boosts Willpower
Harvard University researchers have completed a study that show that moral
actions may increase willpower. They found that the participants in the study
who did good actions or who visualized themselves doing good to others had
more stamina to complete a physical endurance task straight afterwards.
The Institute for Humane Studies and Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities
Research Council supported the study which was published in the Social Psychological
and Personality Science journal.
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of illness and death worldwide. But it
is a complex behavior, and how much people smoke, how hard they find it to
quit, and the impact of long-term smoking on health varies greatly among individuals.
A substantial portion of this variability is genetic. Two years ago, deCODE
discovered the first common, single-letter variation (SNP) in the sequence
of the human genome, on chromosome 15q25, associated with nicotine addiction
and risk of lung cancer. Today, deCODE scientists and academic colleagues
from 23 institutions in a dozen countries build on this work with the discovery
of common SNPs on chromosomes 8p11 and 19q13 that among smokers increase
the number of cigarettes smoked per day (CPD), a measure of nicotine addiction,
and increase risk of lung cancer.
More and more people are finding that their average day is spent a great
deal sitting. In fact if you add up commuting by car, sitting in the office
and then returning home, whilst sitting, only to sit in front of the TV, that
all adds up to a very large amount of time sitting. There are several
potential health risks associated with an excessively sedentary lifestyle
the most notable being cardiovascular disease. Get up from that chair
Ingredients: 4 cups water or vegetable broth; 1 cup cornmeal; 1/2 tsp garlic
powder; 3 tbsp nutritional yeast; 1/4 cup soymilk; 1-2 tbsp vegan margarine;
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: Bring water or vegetable broth to a slow simmer. Stir in cornmeal.
Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently for and scraping the
bottom to avoid burning. Cornmeal is done cooking when is smooth and thick.
Stir in soy milk and remaining ingredients before removing from heat.
Serve as is for a creamy polenta dish, or, omit the soy milk, press into
a lightly greased loaf pan and chill until firm for a thick polenta loaf.
Tofu Pasta Main Dish
Ingredients: 1 box (14.5-ounces) family size macaroni and cheese; 1/2 (14-
or 16-ounce) package firm water-packed tofu; 1 to 2 tablespoons soy oil;
1 can (15-ounces) black beans; 1 can (15-ounces) corn; 1 1/2 cups prepared
Preparation: Heat water in large saucepan or pot to cook macaroni as package
directs. Meanwhile, drain the tofu and cut the block in half. Put one
half in plastic bag or refrigerator container, cover with water and refrigerate
for another use within a few days. Cut the remaining half of the tofu into
small cubes and place on paper towels. Pat dry with additional paper
towels. In skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add tofu cubes
and brown, stirring occasionally, to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and let tofu heat while preparing macaroni and cheese
according to package directions. In colander, drain and then rinse
black beans and corn. In same large saucepan or pot used to cook macaroni,
combine tofu, black beans, corn and salsa into macaroni and cheese.
Heat over medium-low heat until all ingredients are heated through, about
Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 onion, diced; 1 package tempeh, sliced into
1/2 inch cubes; 1 tbsp soy sauce; 1 tsp cumin; 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro;
other taco fillings such as lettuce, tomatoes, or sour cream (optional);
flour tortillas or taco shells
Preparation: Sautee the onion in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onion
is soft. Add tempeh, soy sauce and cumin. Allow to cook for about five
more minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
Fill your taco shells or tortillas with the tempeh mixture and top with lettuce,
tomatoes, cheese, salsa or sour cream if desired.
Notice: This material
contains only general descriptions and is
not a solicitation to sell any insurance product or
security, nor is it intended as any financial, tax,
medical or health care advice. For information about
specific needs or situations, contact your financial, tax
agent or physician.
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Times of India, AP, Reuters, AFP,