Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Cardiovascular benefits of popular foods – some are quite good!

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From  A Clinician’s Guide for Trending Cardiovascular Nutrition Controversies: Part II

July 21, 2018 Posted by | Nutrition, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Can Buttered Coffee Give You a Better Body?

483509445-coffee-butter-190x155From the March 2015 blog item by   at Clevelandclinic.org

Heart-healthy fats are good, but not in coffee

There’s a lot of hype lately about the most recent coffee trend. Take your morning cup-of-joe, add two tablespoons of butter and some oil, and call it Bulletproof Coffee. No doubt it’s an interesting flavor, but it’s the claims of increased energy and weight loss that seem to be giving this morning jolt traction.

It’s not just any butter and coffee. Those supporting this idea say it has to be unsalted, grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglyceride oil (MCT) added to low-toxicity coffee beans. But can a mixture like that really live up to what proponents are saying?

What happens to butter in your body

There’s no real research into whether butter-spiked coffee is good for you, but we do know some things about how butter affects your digestion.

According to existing research, fat in butter contains glycosphingolipids, fatty acids that ward off gastrointestinal tract infections, especially in very young children and older adults.

Its omega-3 and omega-6 fats also slow down your body’s metabolism of caffeine, so you hold on to energy longer and avoid the crash that comes when the stimulant wears off.

More about MCT

MCT, most commonly found in coconut oil, is also good for our bodies and brains. When it comes to our bodies, we don’t store MCT in our adipose tissue, the fat around and inside our muscles, like the other dietary fats we eat.

Most of those fats are long-chain triglycerides, but MCTs are shorter. They travel directly to the liver where they’re processed into powerful energy particles called ketone bodies.

In addition, if your brain loses the ability to break down its primary fuel source, glucose, due to cognitive impairment or some other disorder, it can use ketone bodies as an excellent, alternative source. Researchshows that people with cognitive impairment who ingest MCT experience an almost immediate improvement in mental function.

My verdict

So, do the health benefits of butter and MCT mean you should add them to your morning coffee? To begin with, if you don’t already drink coffee, I don’t recommend you start. If you do, though, I still don’t endorse your adding butter and oil to it, and I have no plans to do it either.

Healthy fats and oils do have a place in our daily diets, but I’m not convinced that enhancing our coffee with them is the best way to incorporate them.

March 27, 2015 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] Controlling obesity with potato extract

Controlling obesity with potato extract.

From the 9 December 2014 McGill University press release

Extract of Irish potatoes, rich in polyphenols, reduces weight gain to a surprising extent
Published: 9Dec2014

Take a look in your pantry: the miracle ingredient for fighting obesity may already be there. A simple potato extract may limit weight gain from a diet that is high in fat and refined carbohydrates, according to scientists at McGill University.

The results of their recent study were so surprising that the investigators repeated the experiment just to be sure.

Investigators fed mice an obesity-inducing diet for 10 weeks. The results soon appeared on the scale: mice that started out weighing on average 25 grams put on about 16 grams. But mice that consumed the same diet but with a potato extract gained much less weight: only 7 more grams. The benefits of the extract are due to its high concentration of polyphenols, a beneficial chemical component from the fruits and vegetables we eat.

“We were astonished by the results,” said Prof. Luis Agellon, one of the study’s authors. “We thought this can’t be right – in fact, we ran the experiment again using a different batch of extract prepared from potatoes grown in another season, just to be certain.”

The rate of obesity due to over-eating continues to rise in Canada, affecting 1 in every 4 adults. Obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. According to this study, potato extracts could be a solution for preventing both obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Extract derived from 30 potatoes

“The daily dose of extract comes from 30 potatoes, but of course we don’t advise anyone to eat 30 potatoes a day,” says Stan Kubow, principal author of the study, “as that would be an enormous number of calories.” What the investigators envisage instead is making the extract available as a dietary supplement or simply as a cooking ingredient to be added in the kitchen.

Popularly known for its carbohydrate content, the potato is also a source of polyphenols. “In the famous French diet, considered to be very healthy, potatoes – not red wine – are the primary source of polyphenols,” says Kubow. “In North America, potatoes come third as a source of polyphenols – before the popular blueberries.”

A low-cost solution

“Potatoes have the advantage of being cheap to produce, and they’re already part of the basic diet in many countries,” Kubow explains. “We chose a cultivated variety that is consumed in Canada and especially rich in polyphenols.”

December 12, 2014 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using the nutrition facts label – A FDA guide for older adults

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published a nutrition facts label guide in PDF format.

It includes information on how to read the labels and also provides guidance in other nutrition areas as calories, daily values of nutrients, and importance of select nutrients as fat, fiber, cholesterol, and calcium.

The FDA Website has a Web page devoted to food safety, regulations, and other FDA related topics. It includes links to recall information, information on dietary supplements, food ingredients, and more.

Related Web Sites of Note

Nutrition (MedlinePlus) provides links to overviews, health check tools, videos, patient handouts, and related issues

Diet and Nutrition (Netwellness) gives links to general nutrition information, symptoms & tests, how to stay healthy tips, and treatment (as the DASH diet)

One may Ask-An-Expert, and receive a reply within a few days. There is a link to previously answered questions.

Food and Nutrition (FamilyDoctor.org) has links to general nutrition Web pages, nutrition for weight loss, kids & nutrition, and special diets (as the Mediterranean diet)

 

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Nutrition | , , , , , | Leave a comment

You are what your father ate

You are what your father ate
UMMS research suggests paternal diet affects lipid metabolizing genes in offspring

From the December 23, 2010 Eureka news alert

WORCESTER, Mass. — Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Texas at Austin have uncovered evidence that environmental influences experienced by a father can be passed down to the next generation, “reprogramming” how genes function in offspring. A new study published this week in Cell shows that environmental cues—in this case, diet—influence genes in mammals from one generation to the next, evidence that until now has been sparse. These insights, coupled with previous human epidemiological studies, suggest that paternal environmental effects may play a more important role in complex diseases such as diabetes and heart disease than previously believed.

“Knowing what your parents were doing before you were conceived is turning out to be important in determining what disease risk factors you may be carrying,” said Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology at UMMS and principal investigator for the study, which details how paternal diet can increase production of cholesterol synthesis genes in first-generation offspring….

…These observations are consistent with epidemiological data from two well-known human studies suggesting that parental diet has an effect on the health of offspring. One of these studies, called the Överkalix Cohort Study, conducted among residents of an isolated community in the far northeast of Sweden, found that poor diet during the paternal grandfather’s adolescence increased the risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease in second-generation offspring. However, because these studies are retrospective and involve dynamic populations, they are unable to completely account for all social and economic variables. “Our study begins to rule out the possibility that social and economic factors, or differences in the DNA sequence, may be contributing to what we’re seeing,” said Rando. “It strongly implicates epigenetic inheritance as a contributing factor to changes in gene function.”

The results also have implications for our understanding of evolutionary processes, says Hans A. Hofmann, PhD, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin and a co-author of the study. “It has increasingly become clear in recent years that mothers can endow their offspring with information about the environment, for instance via early experience and maternal factors, and thus make them possibly better adapted to environmental change. Our results show that offspring can inherit such acquired characters even from a parent they have never directly interacted with, which provides a novel mechanism through which natural selection could act in the course of evolution.” Such a process was first proposed by the early evolutionist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, but then dismissed by 20th century biologists when genetic evidence seemed to provide a sufficient explanation.

Taken together, these studies suggest that a better understanding of the environment experienced by our parents, such as diet, may be a useful clinical tool for assessing disease risk for illnesses, such as diabetes or heart disease. “We often look at a patient’s behavior and their genes to assess risk,” said Rando. “If the patient smokes, they are going to be at an increased risk for cancer. If the family has a long history of heart disease, they might carry a gene that makes them more susceptible to heart disease. But we’re more than just our genes and our behavior. Knowing what environmental factors your parents experienced is also important.”

The next step for Rando and colleagues is to explore how and why this genetic reprogramming is being transmitted from generation to generation. “We don’t know why these genes are being reprogrammed or how, precisely, that information is being passed down to the next generation,” said Rando. “It’s consistent with the idea that when parents go hungry, it’s best for offspring to hoard calories, however, it’s not clear if these changes are advantageous in the context of a low-protein diet.”

 

 

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables and Fruits

From the American Heart Association Web page

In a new study, children who ate the most vegetables and fruits had significantly healthier arteries as adults than children who ate the fewest.  Here are 10 tips to encourage your children to eat more vegetables and fruits.

1.   Make fruit and vegetable shopping fun: Visit your local green market and/or grocery store with your kids, and show them how to select ripe fruits and fresh vegetables. This is also a good opportunity to explain which fruits and vegetables are available by season and how some come from countries with different climates.

2.   Involve kids in meal prep: Find a healthy dish your kids enjoy and invite them to help you prepare it. Younger kids can help with measuring, crumbling, holding and handing some of the ingredients to you. Older kids can help by setting the table. Make sure you praise them for their help, so they feel proud of what they’ve done.

3.   Be a role model: If you’re eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables — and enjoying them — your child may want to taste. If you aren’t eating junk food or keeping it in your home, your kids won’t be eating junk food at home either.

4.   Create fun snacks: Schedule snack times — most kids like routines. Healthy between-meal snacks are a great opportunity to offer fruits and vegetables. Kids like to pick up foods, so give them finger foods they can handle. Cut up a fruit and arrange it on an attractive plate. Make a smoothie or freeze a smoothie in ice cube trays. Create a smiley face from cut-up vegetables and serve with a small portion of low-fat salad dressing, hummus or plain low-fat yogurt. A positive experience with food is important. Never force your child to eat something, or use food as a punishment or reward.

5.   Give kids choices — within limits: Too many choices can overwhelm a small child. It’s too open ended to ask, “What would you like for lunch?” It may start a mealtime meltdown. Instead, offer them limited healthy choices, such as choosing between a banana or strawberries with their cereal, or carrots or broccoli with dinner.

6.   Eat together as a family: If your schedules permit, family dining is a great time to help your kids develop healthy attitudes about food and the social aspects of eating with others.  Make sure you are eating vegetables in front of your children. Even if they aren’t eating certain vegetables yet, they will model your behavior.

7.   Expect pushback: As your kids are exposed to other families’ eating habits, they may start to reject some of your healthy offerings. Without making a disparaging remark about their friends’ diet, let your children know that fruits and vegetables come first in your family.

8.   Grow it: Start from the ground up — create a kitchen garden with your child and let them plant tomatoes and herbs, such as basil and oregano in window boxes. If you have space for a garden, help them cultivate their own plot and choose plants that grow quickly, such as beans, cherry tomatoes, snow peas and radishes. Provide child-size gardening tools appropriate to their age.

9.   Covert operations: You may have tried everything in this list and more, yet your child’s lips remain zipped when offered a fruit or vegetable. Try sneaking grated or pureed carrots or zucchini into pasta or pizza sauces. Casseroles are also a good place to hide pureed vegetables. You can also add fruits and vegetables to foods they already enjoy, such as pancakes with blueberries, carrot muffins or fruit slices added to cereal. On occasions when you serve dessert, include diced fruit as an option.

10. Be patient: Changes in your child’s food preferences will happen slowly. They may prefer sweet fruits, such as strawberries, apples and bananas, before they attempt vegetables. Eventually, your child may start trying the new vegetable. Many kids need to see and taste a new food a dozen times before they know whether they truly like it. Try putting a small amount of the new food — one or two broccoli florets — on their plate every day for two weeks; but don’t draw attention to it.

December 4, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poor Diet May Make COPD Worse, Study Finds

From a November 2, 2010 Health Day news item By Robert Preidt

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) — Certain vitamin deficiencies may lead to decreased lung function in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, says a new study……

…..”Further studies are needed to clarify the role gender has on the loss of lung function in COPD and the impact of antioxidant nutrient intake,” Khan said.

Khan added that antioxidants might also benefit people with severe asthma.

“We would guess that the role of antioxidant nutrients in a well-controlled asthma patient would be less than that seen in patients with COPD,” Khan said. “However, in patients with severe asthma with poorly controlled symptoms and frequent, recurring exacerbations, antioxidant nutrient intake may indeed play an important role in the preservation of lung function.”…

……”Our study, along with other research, suggests that strategies for dietary modification and supplementation should be considered in patients with COPD,” Dr. M. Salman Khan of Akron City Hospital, Ohio, said in an ACCP news release.

….The study was to be presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) in Vancouver, Canada….

…..COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in America, with 119,000 deaths annually, according to the ACCP.

SOURCE: American College of Chest Physicians, news release, Nov. 2, 2010

A good place to start for nutrition information….

Nutrition.gov “Providing easy, online access to government information on food and human nutrition
for consumers. A service of the (US)National Agricultural Library, USDA.”

 

November 5, 2010 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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