xanthohumol hops beer diabetes obesity hypertension cancer

Attention Beer Drinkers: Compound found in Hops lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and weight gain

If you’re a health & fitness nerd like myself, you already know that metabolic syndrome (abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and/or low HDL cholesterol) is fast becoming the #1 health concern around the globe.

img_img_9781587798054_metabolic_syndrome_chartIf you’re a beer lover, you already know that one of the main ingredients in beer is hops.

hops20cones20for20beer20production_0

What you may not know is that, a recent study at Oregon State University has identified specific intake levels of xanthohumol, a natural flavonoid found in hops, significantly improved some of the underlying markers of metabolic syndrome in laboratory animals and also reduced weight gain.

Unfortunately for the beer drinkers out there, while xanthohumol is found in beer, it would take 3,500 pints per day for a 70 kg /  human to get enough xanthohumol as was used in the study.

And I’m pretty sure that the calories found in 3,500 pints of beer would counteract all of the health benefits of the xanthohumol.

big-belly-means-inflammation

What is Xanthohumol and how does it work?

  • Xanthohumol is a natural flavonoid found in hops and beer.
  • As it pertains to metabolic syndrome, xanthohumol has been shown to decrease levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol), lower insulin levels and reduce levels of IL-6, a biomarker of systemic inflammation.
  • And if that wasn’t enough, there is research hinting that xanthohumol may be a potent anti-cancer agent.

How cool is that…a substance, found naturally in beer, may turn out to be a potent (and inexpensive) way to prevent obesity, prevent type 2 diabetes, prevent hypertension, prevent cholesterol jammed arteries…and prevent obesity.

26481606576_c6e17ce2d5_b

What does this research mean to me…right NOW????

Not a whole heck of a lot.

  • On one hand, you can go online and buy xanthohumol supplements.
  • On the other hand, all of the research conducted on xanthohumol has been done on animals – no human studies. As a result, we have no idea of effective dosage and SAFETY.

My advice?  Stay tuned for more research.

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Researchers Find a Link Between Excess Dietary Sugar and Breast Cancer

 

Researchers at the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center have found an alarming link between high amounts of dietary sugar and an increased risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs.

And we’re not talking crazy-no-one-would-ever-eat-that-much-sugar levels of sugar consumption

In the study, the researchers found that lab mice who ate sucrose (table sugar) comparable to levels of the typical Western diet showed increased tumor growth and metastasis.

Previous research have shown this link between dietary sugar consumption and breast cancer development…with inflammation thought to be the cause.

In this new study, the researchers were able to identify sugar’s effect on enzymatic signaling pathway known as 12-LOX and a related fatty-acid called 12-HETE which is causing the cancer growth.

“The current study investigated the impact of dietary sugar on mammary gland tumor development in multiple mouse models, along with mechanisms that may be involved,” said co-author Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine. “We determined that it was specifically fructose, in table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, ubiquitous within our food system, which was responsible for facilitating lung metastasis and 12-HETE production in breast tumors.”

Cohen added that the data suggested that dietary sugar induces 12-LOX signaling to increase risks for breast cancer development and metastasis.

What does this mean to you?

  1. This science is brand new, so there is no need to freak out and ban all sugar from your home.
  2. Even though it’s early days for this research, we have seen other studies linking excess sugar consumption and cancer, so while you probably don’t need to purge all sugar from your diet, it may be a good idea to at least limit your sugar consumption.
  3. Maybe avoid the Breast Cancer Sugar Cookies.

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Cocoa Tea : Anti-Obesity, Anti-Oxidant, Anti-Cancer

You gotta love Mother Nature. Only she could come up with a plant – Cocoa Tea (Camellia Ptilophylla Chang) that…

  1. Prevents diet-induced obesity,
  2. Has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants,
  3. Shows promise as a treatment for liver cancer,
  4. Lowers levels of fat in your blood,
  5. Is a useful chemotherapeutic agent against prostate cancer,
  6. Is caffeine free, and
  7. Tastes of vanillin and jasmine

white_cocoa_tea

What is Cocoa Tea – aka Camellia Ptilophylla Chang?

Camellia Ptilophylla was discovered in 1981, growing wild in southern China. Since then, cocoa tea has been domesticated and rigorously studied by Prof. Chuang-xing Ye, of China’s Sun Yat-Sen University.

Chemically, Camellia ptilophylla is different than the tea you buy (Camellia sinensis) at your local supermarket, with three major differences.

  1. Camellia Ptilophylla aka Cocoa tea is naturally caffeine-free,
  2. Cocoa tea has high levels of the alkaloid theobromine,
  3. Cocoa tea is high in the catechin gallocatechin gallate (GCG) while regular tea is high in the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG),
  4. Cocoa tea has high levels of the alkaloid theobromine.

cocoa tea chemicals

It is these high levels of theobromine which have resulted in Camellia Ptilophylla being given the nickname of cocoa tea, as cocoa is the world’s most popular source of theobromine.

Different Types of Cocoa Tea

Like traditional tea (Camellia sinensis), cocoa tea is processed using different production methods resulting in white, green, black and oolong versions. The different methods of fermentation results in different flavors and different chemical compositions.

For example, as Camellia ptilophylla is fermented and moves from a green tea to an oolong tea and finally to a black tea…

  • Polyphenols are reduced – 38.58%, 30.41% and 23.6%,
  • Catechins are reduced – 23.51%, 17.68% and 4.02%,
  • Theaflavins are increased – 0.11%, 0.11% and 0.17%,
  • Thearubigins are increased – 4.29%, 5.00% and 9.71%,
  • Theabrownins are increased – 2.75%, 4.90% and 13.52% ),
  • along with increases in water-soluble carbohydrates, flavonoid glycoside and gallic acid.

Interestingly, levels of theobromine (3.52%, 3.43% and 3.71%) did not change with fermentation.

How should you prepare Cocoa Tea?

According to Prof. Chuang-xing Ye, to get the full benefits of cocoa tea, an infusion of Camellia ptilophylla tea leaves (g) with 50 times boiling water (ml) for 3 min is recommended. 

Why should you drink Cocoa Tea?

Even though the research looking into the health benefits of Cocoa Tea has just begun, it’s looking like a legitimate superfood. Here are four studies which highlight the potential awesomeness of cocoa tea as a health food.

Study #1

After testing a water extract of white cocoa tea (WCTE) against human prostate cancer (PCa) in vitro and in vivo, researchers found that oral administration of WCTE (0.1 and 0.2%, wt/vol) to athymic nude mice resulted in greater than 50% inhibition of tumor growth. Based upon these findings, the researchers concluded that WCTE can be a useful chemotherapeutic agent against human PCa….keeping in mind that the science around white cocoa tea is very new and it will be a long time before Big Pharma develops a WCTE pill to combat prostate cancer.

Study #2

A second study aimed to evaluate the anti-liver cancer activities of green cocoa tea infusion (GCTI) in vitro and in vivo using human hepatocarcinoma cell line HepG2 cells and nude mice xenograft model. Study results showed that GCTI significantly inhibited the proliferation of HepG2 cells in a dose-dependent manner  inducing HepG2 cells to undergo apoptosis or programmed cell death . Which is a good thing when we’re talking liver cancer cells. The study authors concluded that tumor growth was effectively inhibited by GCTI in a dose-dependent manner as indicated by the decrease in tumor volume and tumor weight after 4 weeks of treatment and that GCTI may be a potential and promising agent of natural resource to treat liver cancer

Study #3

Another cocoa tea study indicated that a single oral administration of cocoa tea extract suppressed the normal increases in plasma triacylgycerol (TG) levels when mice were fed olive (23% inhibition) or lard oil (32% inhibition).  Under the same condition, cocoa tea extract did not affect the level of plasma free fatty acid. Likewise, the extract reduced the lymphatic absorption of lipids. Also, cocoa tea extract and polyphenols isolated from cocoa tea inhibit pancreatic lipase. These findings suggest that cocoa tea has hypolipemic activity…which might be a good thing for a population with chronically elevated plasma triacylgycerol  levels due to it’s addiction to deep fried chicken nuggets and hot dog stuffed pizzas.

Study #4

To find out whether cocoa tea supplementation can improve high-fat diet-induced obesity, hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis, and whether such effects would be comparable to those of green tea extract, researchers studied six groups of mice that were fed with:

  • normal chow (N),
  • high-fat diet (21% butterfat + 0.15% cholesterol, wt/wt) (HF),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 2% green tea extract (HFLG),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 4% green tea extract (HFHG),
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 2% cocoa tea extract (HFLC) and,
  • a high-fat diet supplemented with 4% cocoa tea extract (HFHC).

The researchers found that 2% and 4% dietary cocoa tea supplementation caused a dose-dependent decrease in

  • body weight,
  • fat pad mass,
  • liver weight,
  • total liver lipid,
  • liver triglyceride and cholesterol and,
  • plasma lipids (triglyceride and cholesterol).

These findings show that cocoa tea has a beneficial effect on high-fat diet-induced obesity, hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis, and elevated plasma lipid levels in mice….comparable to green tea.

Conclusions

  1. As cocoa tea is a newly discovered substance, there is not a large body of research into it’s pros and cons,
  2. The research that has been completed looks very promising,
  3. There is a lot of upcoming research looking into the health benefits of cocoa tea,
  4. You can wait for the research, or you can try to get your hands on some cocoa tea and run your own small-scale private experiment,
  5. Unless you live in southern China, it’s pretty hard to get your hands on cocoa tea 😦

Stay tuned – I will update this post as new research is conducted.

Reference

Make No Little Plans – Ontario to be the Healthiest Place in the World

I have no idea who holds the title right now, but they had better watch their extremely fit backs…because Ontario is about to take the world by storm and become the world’s healthiest people.

Ontario’s public health community recently released Make No Little Plans, the first-ever comprehensive strategic plan for the public health sector. The plan outlines the sector’s five shared strategic goals and eight collective areas of focus for the next three to five years.

Make No Little Plans is a roadmap that will help Ontarians become the healthiest people in the world, calling for strong partnerships across all sectors to work towards:

  • Giving children the best start in life
  • Improving the prevention and control of infectious diseases through immunization
  • Getting more Ontarians to exercise more, eat better, not smoke and drink less alcohol
  • Influencing municipal planning and policy to reinforce the strong link between community planning and health outcomes
  • Strengthening the public health sector’s capacity, infrastructure and emergency preparedness

Sounds great…doesn’t it?

Especially when we consider that 60 % of all Ontario deaths in 2007 were attributable to five factors…

  • smoking,
  • unhealthy alcohol consumption,
  • poor diet,
  • physical inactivity
  • and high stress

…and that Ontarians with all five of these risk factors are losing on average…almost 20 years of life.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, all of this unhealthiness has created an economic problem – 25% of all publicly funded health care costs are due to preventable illnesses – diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc) – with that that number growing year after year after year.

And since no one wants to keep paying higher and higher taxes, the government is getting serious with their No Little Plan plan.

no-little-plans

Fingers crossed that the plan works…because I am sick and tired of seeing my countrymen looking more like the uber-pudgy BEFORE picture than the super-studly AFTER picture.

I am also sick of seeing my taxes go up and up and up…but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

So…what happens now?

To be honest, I have no idea. The No Little Plan calls for all sorts of sectors to be involved:

public-health-partnerships

Does anyone see a potential problem?

I do….Nowhere amongst all these very smart and dedicated people do I see any mention of the PUBLIC.

I see no mention of parents groups or community associations or social activists or any other the other grassroots organizations that can turn a bunch of strangers into a tight-knit and vibrant community.

For example, I know a LOT of fitness professionals in Toronto who would be willing to donate their time & expertise to help make their city a fitter, healthier place. I also know members of my neighborhood residents’ association who would gladly donate their time and expertise to help create healthier, fitter neighborhoods across the city.

But no one is speaking to them. And that’s a shame.

Because in a world where social media gives power to the individual, governments really need to start moving away from their top-down approach to policy and start incorporating input from (and ceding power to) the grassroots.

– End of rant –

Seriously, I am excited that my provincial government is taking steps to help improve the health of it’s citizenry. It’s a truly noble and truly big plan. Something we could all be proud of.

make-healthy-change-happen

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”

Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)

Reference

Dwelling On Stressful Events Can Make You Sick

University of Ohio researchers have found that when people “were asked to dwell on stressful events, their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of tissue inflammation, rose”. This is the first study to directly measure the physical effect that obsessing on negative events has on our bodies. “Much of the past work on this subject has looked at this in non-experimental designs. Researchers have asked people to report their tendency to ruminate, and then looked to see if it connected to physiological issues (ie cortisol levels). It’s been correlational for the most part,” said lead researcher, Dr. Peggy Zoccola.

why-rumination-dwelling-obs

In this new study, Dr. Zoccola et al recruited 34 healthy young women and “asked each to give a speech about her candidacy for a job to two interviewers in white laboratory coats, who listened with stone-faced expressions”.

Half of the group was asked to contemplate their performance in the public speaking task, while the other half was asked to think about neutral images and activities, such as sailing ships or grocery store trips. The researchers drew blood samples that showed that the levels of C-reactive protein were significantly higher in the subjects who were asked to dwell on the speech. For these participants, the levels of the inflammatory marker continued to rise for at least one hour after the speech. During the same time period, the marker returned to starting levels in the subjects who had been asked to focus on other thoughts.

What does this mean to you?

  • C-reactive protein is produced as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response. It rises in response to traumas, injuries or infections in the body. In these short-term situations, it’s a good thing.

However, in when elevated levels of C-reactive protein become a chronic, day-to-day kind of thing…it’s not so good. “More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various chronic disorders and conditions, such as….heart disease, cancer, dementia and autoimmune diseases.” Conclusions

  1. The result of a single study should always be judged with a critical eye. More research is necessary before mainstream science and medicine will get on board.
  2. You don’t have to wait for mainstream medical approval to make use of this research. We all have stressful situations in our lives…lots of opportunities to obsess and dwell on how we were screwed over by our bosses or that jerk on the highway.

The next time you find yourself dwelling over some crappy event in your life…pay CLOSE ATTENTION to how your body feels.

  • Pay attention to your breathing – are you holding your breath?
  • Pay attenting to your temperature – do you feel warm, cold, normal? Are your hands sweaty, clammy?
  • Pay attention to your heartbeat
  • Look at your face in the mirror…what do you see
  • Pay attention to your muscles – tight or relaxed?
  • Listen to your emotions – anger, sadness, calm, happy?

And after you have collected all that data, ask yourself a question…

  • Is dwelling on this particulary stressful event good or bad for YOU?

 

Reference

 

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Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer

I’ve got some bad news for everyone who started off their morning with a big bowl of sugary cereal…or a couple of donuts…or cinnamon-raisin bagels…or a giant coffee shop muffin…or a high-cal-caffeine-sugar bomb from Starbucks.

In a new study, Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jimenez has discovered that “high sugar levels increases the activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer progression”.

Dr Garcia Jimenez’s research investigates “how cells in the intestine respond to sugars and signal to the pancreas to release insulin, the key hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Sugars in the intestine trigger cells to release a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas.

His research showed “that the ability of the intestinal cells to secrete GIP is controlled by a protein called β-catenin, and that the activity of β-catenin is strictly dependent on sugar levels.

sugar-diabetes-cancer

What Does This Mean To YOU?… 

  • Increased activity of β-catenin is known to be a major factor in the development of many cancers and can make normal cells immortal, a key step in early stages of cancer progression.
  • Dr Garcia Jimenez’s study tells us that high (but not normal) sugar levels induce nuclear accumulation of β-catenin and leads to cell proliferation.
  • Ergo…high sugar = increased activity of β-catenin = normal cells become cancerous

Which means…if you are eating the Standard American Diet (high in processed carbs & sugar)…not only are you increasing your odds of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes…you ARE increasing your odds of dying from pancreatic cancer or colon cancer.

If this bothers you, and you want to make a change, might I suggest you download my FREE eBook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century.

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UNCLE SAM EXERCISE health-healthhabits-fitness

Exercise or Die

I know that this sounds like the crazed rant of a wheat-grass swilling fitness-nazi, but hear me out…

In a recent paper published in the Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, Dr. Joseph Knight crunched all of the available scientific data and came to the conclusion that “inactivity significantly increases the risk of numerous diseases/disorders, including several forms of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, coronary and cerebrovascular diseases, overweight/obesity, and all-cause mortality, among others. Unless there is a reversal of this sedentary lifestyle, the incidence of these diseases/disorders will increase, life expectancy will decrease, and medical costs will continue to rise”.

  • This means that you probably won’t get to retire the South Pacific to live out your golden years, bounce your grand-kids on your knee or grow old and grey with your spouse.
  • And before you die, you will spend years and years dealing with all of the fun stuff associated with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and morbid obesity.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

But maybe you think this is just speculation…maybe you’re a “show me the facts” kind of person.

Here are some Facts

  • In 2004, the CDC concluded that 300,000 to 400,000 Americans died from poor diet and physical inactivity – that 16% of all deaths.
  • In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that there are 2,000,000 deaths w0rldwide each year from physical inactivity.

If that isn’t scary enough, we can look at the studies which show that “long-lived species are more efficient in cellular maintenance than short lived species, suggesting that enhancement of the body’s maintenance systems may slow the aging process. Since aging results from the accumulation of cellular damage, interventions in poor lifestyles may prevent damage, promote repair, and thereby increase life expectancy. In fact, about two-thirds of the major causes of death are, to a significant degree, lifestyle related.” And as noted by Mokdad et al, the major “actual causes of death” in the year 2000 were physical inactivity and poor nutrition.

  • Tobacco (435 000 deaths; 18.1% of total US deaths)
  • Poor diet and physical inactivity (400 000 deaths; 16.6%)
  • Alcohol consumption (85 000 deaths; 3.5%).

Other actual causes of death were microbial agents (75 000), toxic agents (55 000), motor vehicle crashes (43 000), incidents involving firearms (29 000), sexual behaviors (20 000), and illicit use of drugs (17 000).

What does physical inactivity actually do to your body?

According to Dr. Walter Bortz, “our cultural sedentariness, recently acquired, lies at the base of much human ill-being. Physical inactivity predictably leads to deterioration of many body functions. A number of these effects coexist so frequently in our society that they merit inclusion in a specific syndrome, the disuse syndrome. The identifying characteristics of the syndrome are cardiovascular vulnerability, obesity, musculoskeletal fragility, depression and premature aging’.

And since this way-too-easily reproducible syndrome affects the young as well as the old, we can not blame “normal aging” for the onset of the diseases related to the Disuse Syndrome.

And as we know, health care doesn’t come cheap. What do all of these lifestyle diseases cost us?

In 1987, “the direct and indirect costs of sedentary lifestyle to chronic health conditions were reported to be in excess of $150 billion (cost in 2000 dollars for 1987 incidences) (Pratt, Macera & Wang, 2000). As health care costs are $1.3 trillion/year in the US, a rough approximation is that physical inactivity accounts for approximately 15% of the US health care budget.

But it doesn’t have to be this way

The NIH reported in 2009 that…

  1. Exercise improves quality of life
  2. Quality of life improvements are dose dependent on volume of exercise. Small amount of exercise = small improvement to Q of L. Large amount of exercise = large improvement to Q of L.
  3. Q of L improvements were independent to weight loss.

And if that wasn’t enough proof for you, we can look at another pile of research which shows that while quality of life, physical balance, flexibility, mental health, etc naturally decline over the years, being physically active significantly slows down these “natural” signs of aging.

In fact, it has been shown that seniors can significantly reverse the severity of these conditions after taking up an exercise routine.

Conclusion

Thanks to advances in technology, modern humans no longer have to live the physically punishing lives of our ancestors.

  • This is good – it allows us to develop our minds, live longer, live better, etc..
  • Unfortunately, it has also made us sick, fat and lazy.

Your takeaway from this research?

  • Exercise or die.

UNCLE SAM EXERCISE health-healthhabits-fitness

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A Really, Really, Really, Really Good Reason to Prevent Childhood Obesity

Early this morning…while waiting in line for my morning cup of joe, I watched an overweight mom buy her obese daughter a giant chocolate chip muffin.

About two hours later, I read this study which examines how obesity promotes the growth of cancerous tumors.

THE SCIENCE

In the first part of the research, the scientists found that tumors grew much faster in obese mice than they did in lean mice. They also observed that there were far more white adipose tissue cells (called adipose stromal cells) in obese mice than in lean mice and thus turned their focus on the role of these cells.

In the second part of the research, they found that these adipose stromal cells were being incorporated into tumor-associated blood vessels. And since tumor-associated blood vessels serve to increase tumor growth by feeding them oxygen and nutrients…this isn’t a good thing.

The researchers noted that “the ability of adipose stromal cells to contribute to the formation of tumor-associated blood vessels is likely one of the main reasons that the excess of these cells in tumors was associated with increased malignant cell proliferation and tumor growth”.

Or in other words….your body takes cells from your fat tissue and uses them to feed cancerous tumors.

Not good….and just another reason why it drives me nuts when otherwise caring parents let their kids become obese.

[box type=”important”]If you know any parents who need a wake-up call regarding the health of their little butterballs….please forward them this article[/box]

Reference

Cancer Sucks

Today wasn’t my best day.

My Mom’s oncologist told us that after going through chemo, radiation and genetic testing of her cancer…we’ve run out of options.

Something to think about the next time you treat your body as something less than the temple it truly is.

Sun Tanning DOES Lead to Skin Cancer

In a new study, researchers have been able to show that “UV-induced melanin formation (tanning), traditionally thought to protect against skin cancer, is shown to be directly involved in melanoma formation in mammals.”

Using a unique UV light system, the researchers were able to cleanly separate UVA  (320–400 nm) from UVB (280–320 nm) rays. When they exposed the “experimental melanoma animal model” (lab mice) with these separated wavebands, they found…

  • Melanoma induction (tanning) by ultraviolet A requires the presence of melanin pigment and is associated with oxidative DNA damage within melanocytes.
  • In contrast, ultraviolet B radiation initiates melanoma in a pigment-independent manner (without tanning) associated with direct ultraviolet B DNA damage.

[box type=”important”]The researchers also found that tanning, as a melanoma-causing agent, works when skin is exposed only to UVA and not UVB radiation. This is important to tanners since melanoma formation has been linked to sunbed use. One possible reason for this link is that tanning lamps are capable of emitting UVA radiation up to 12 times, or higher, the UVA intensity of sunlight at high noon. 😦 [/box]

Conclusion

There is no such thing as a safe suntan. And while this doesn’t mean that all sun-tanners are doomed to a diagnosis of cutaneous malignant melanoma……it sure does increase their odds.

Reference

22 Recommendations for a Healthier Ontario

Earlier today, Cancer Care Ontario and Public Health Ontario released a report detailing 22 recommendations to improve the health of Ontario.

And some Ontarians are losing their minds over some of the “recommendations”

What do you think?

http://2071264.polldaddy.com/s/22-recommendations-for-a-healthier-ontario?iframe=1

Yerba Mate Tea Kills Colon Cancer Cells

In a recent study, scientists showed that human colon cancer cells die when they are exposed to the approximate number of bioactive compounds present in one cup of yerba mate tea.

“The Dicaffeoylquinic acids found in mate tea not only induced death in human colon cancer cells, they also reduced important markers of inflammation,” said Elvira de Mejia, study author.

  • And as we know, chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, etc.
  • And as we also know, most of us have been touched by cancer at some time.  And it sucks.

Personally, someone I love has been recently diagnosed with cancer and we are investigating treatment methodologies – standard and alternative.

I only wish I had found out about this sooner.

Spread the word – drink some mate – don’t get cancer

Reference

 

ADIPOTIDE : Snake Oil or Miracle Weight Loss Pill?

The anti-obesity industry is all abuzz about a bright & shiny new weight loss drug called Adipotide.

In a recent study, obese rhesus monkeys….

  • lost 11% of their total body weight, and
  • 27% of their belly fat mass

….in just four weeks of Adipotide treatment.

And while that’s pretty impressive, what really gets me excited about Adipotide  is how it works.

Where other miracle “fat pills” have tried to reduce obesity by:

  1. controlling appetite
  2. increasing metabolism
  3. or preventing absorption of dietary fat

Adipotide works by:

  1. cutting off the blood supply to fat cells by means of a “homing agent that binds to a protein on the surface of fat-supporting blood vessels
  2. and a synthetic peptide that triggers cell death

The result of this is that when the supporting blood vessels have died and withered away, the offending fat cells are starved, reabsorbed and metabolized.

And the fat monkeys become fit monkeys

And it’s not just fat loss.

In this latest study, the obese monkeys saw a drastic improvement in insulin sensitivity and metabolic syndrome symptoms.

What about side effects?

Monkeys in the studies remained bright and alert throughout, interacting with caretakers and demonstrating no signs of nausea or food avoidance. This is potentially an important finding since unpleasant side-effects have limited the use of approved drugs that reduce fat absorption in the intestines.

The principal side effects were noted in the kidneys. “The renal effect was dose-dependent, predictable and reversible,” Barnhart noted.

What about human studies?

It turns out that Adipotide is not the first drug developed using this research.

The researcher’s original work focused on cutting off the blood supply of prostate cancer cells. During this cancer research they found that “blood vessels are more than a uniform and ubiquitous “pipeline” that serves the circulatory system, but differ depending on the organ or tissue that they support” .

This allowed them to design a method of screening peptides – small bits of proteins – and to identify those that bind to specific vascular cells among the many possible “ZIP codes” present in a human vascular map.

For blood vessels that support fat cells, the target protein is prohibitin, which they found in unusual abundance on the blood vessel cell surface.

Based on this discovery, the researchers are preparing for a clinical trial in which obese prostate cancer patients would receive daily injections of Adipotide for 28 consecutive days.

The goal of the study is to see if their prostate cancer becomes better as their body weight and associated health risks are improved.

Future studies focused solely on weight loss are in the planning stage.

So what does this mean to you?

For now…not a whole heck of a lot.

If Adipotide does turn out to be a miracle weight loss pill, it’s going to be a long time before you’ll be able to get a prescription.

But….it is the first sign of ingenuity I have seen coming from weight loss researchers in a long time.

Kinda funny that they’re actually cancer researchers.

Reference

America's Lifestyle Diseases Cost the Economy over $153 Billion per Year

Lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and depression are costing the American economy $153 billion per year in lost productivity.

Based on data collected via the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, researchers concluded that chronic health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, asthma, depression and recurring physical pain resulted in 449,847,652 days missed from work… and an estimated productivity loss of $153,398,049,221 per year.

And it gets worse.

  • This calculation doesn’t include productivity lost when employees show up at work but are less productive because of their poor health.
  • As well, the Gallup people didn’t speak with part-time workers.

Previous research which included these factors found that America’s chronic lifestyle diseases cost the nation up to $1.1 trillion per year.

And that’s a lot of money.

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Maybe enough money for the government to start throwing some cash into health promotion programs?

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Reference

 

Are Natural Trans Fats Good For You?

According to this study, America’s health experts may be completely wrong about natural trans fats.

A review of the scientific literature has shown that trans fats from ruminant animals such as dairy and beef cattle may have significant positive health effects.

That’s right…natural trans fats may actually be good for you.

the american heart association loves red meat

The Science

During a review of the current epidemiological and clinical studies into the health effects of trans fats, researchers from Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases Laboratory at the University of Alberta found that naturally occurring trans fats have a different fatty acid profile than industrial vegetable based trans fats.

They concluded that this difference in fatty acid profile contributes to its different (ie healthier) physiological effects.

They found that while industrially produced trans fats do indeed show a strong link to coronary heart disease, the same can’t be said for natural trans fat consumption.

However….before all my Paleo and low-carb cousins get too excited, this is just the beginning of the research process.

Clinical studies investigating the cause and effect relationship between industrial and natural trans fats and their effect on our health are essentially non-existent. And who knows when they’ll get around to looking at the difference between factory-farm beef and old-school grass-fed beef.

Either way, the research is promising and gave me a warm feeling in my tummy as I ate my steak & egg breakfast this morning.

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Reference

Just when you thought that the world couldn't get any fatter….

According to a paper published in The Lancet, there will be 65,000,000 more obese Americans by 2030.

And it’s not just the U.S. of A.

Great Britain is aiming to plop another 11,000,000 obese citizens and their accompanying health conditions onto their already overburdened National Health Service.

And those health conditions don’t come cheap.

fat world fat globe

 

In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that medical costs associated with the treatment of new obesity related disease will increase by $48-66 billion per year. And considering how much of that cost will be borne by the American taxpayer, perhaps American politicians should stop mocking Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program and start thinking up better ways to cut the fat.

And here’s why:

The researchers predicted the following impacts for the U.S. by 2030:

  • Obesity prevalence among men will rise from 32% in 2008 to approximately 50%
  • Obesity prevalence among women will rise from 35% to between 45% and 52%.
  • 7.8 million extra cases of diabetes
  • 6.8 million more cases of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • 539,000 additional cases of cancer
  • Annual spending on obesity-related diseases would rise by 13-16%, leading to 2.6% increase in national health spending.
  • Total medical costs associated with treatment of these preventable diseases are estimated to increase by $48-66 billion/year.

For the U.K., researchers predicted the following developments by 2030:

  • Prevalence of obesity among men would increase from 26% to between 41—48%.
  • Prevalence of obesity among women would increase from 26% to 35-43%.
  • 668 000 more cases of diabetes
  • 461,000 more cases of heart disease and stroke
  • 139,000 additional cases of cancer.
  • In the U.K., annual spending on obesity-related health would increase even more rapidly than in the U.S. due to its older population, rising 25%.

Conclusion

The next 20 years are going to be a great time to be a bariatric surgeon.

Reference

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Is it Possible to Transform White Fat into Brown Fat?

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health…the answer is YES.

By reducing the actions of a protein called TGF-beta, researchers were able to transform lazy good-for-nothing white fat cells into energy burning brown fat cells.

And thanks to those mitochondria packed brown fat cells, our group of happy lab mice are walking around sporting little mousey six-packs and beach biceps.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the antibodies the scientists used to block the TGF-beta protein are also currently being tested in human trials as a cancer treatment.

Unfortunately….”due to the potential “immune compromising”  effect of the antibody used in this experiment, it has not yet been approved for treatment of human obesity or type 2 diabetes.

Cancer YES – Obesity NO.

So, what’s the next step?

The researchers plan to design a more targeted approach to partially transform white fat of mice into the brown fat or muscle-like state without compromising the immune system.

“So many great discoveries are the result of hard work and an openness to being surprised by findings, and to follow where those surprises lead,” said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. “If continuing research supports current findings, this discovery has the potential to improve the treatment of obesity and the prevention of type 2 diabetes”.

Or destroy your immune system.

Either way, I think I’ll stick to my workout routine and my Paleo Diet.

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Reference

Can Stem Cells Cure Obesity?

In this study, researchers have used artificial proteins (peptides) to identify a specific marker on the surface of adipose stem cells.

“This marker, called delta-decorin, is specifically expressed on the surface of adipose stem cells, which are responsible for the production of white adipose tissue,” said Mikhail Kolonin, Ph.D., the study’s senior author. “This is the first prospective marker to be discovered for this particular type of adult stem cell.”

Alexes Daquinag, Ph.D., the study’s first author, said “In obesity, you have an overgrowth of white adipose tissue. It is made of adipocytes (fat cells) and one way to stop obesity is to target the progenitor cells — adipose stem cells.”

Adipose stem cells
Adipose Stem Cells

The researchers also noted that delta-decorin interacts with another protein called resistin on the surface of adipose stem cells.

“The decorin-resistin connection is particularly interesting because both decorin and resistin have been previously implicated in Type-2 diabetes and other inflammation-related disease,” Kolonin said.

So, not only are they looking at a treatment for obesity…they’re looking at treating all of the nasty inflammation related diseases plaguing our society

“The next step will involve preclinical tests to see if we can develop the identified peptide into compounds that target these adipose stem cells,” Kolonin said. “By depleting the adipose tissue progenitors, we may be able to provide long-term control of white fat.”

Conclusion

As a big health & fitness geek, this kind of research makes me giddy like a little school-girl.

However….we have to remember that this research is highly experimental and even if they do eventually find an effective stem cell treatment for obesity et al, that treatment is probably decades away.

Until then, you’ve got diet & exercise.

 

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Mainstream Medicine is Insane

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

If this definition is true, then I have to conclude that mainstream medicine is insane.

Insane because even though our modern lifestyle is the single biggest threat to our health and vitality…our medical experts keep dispensing the same tired lifestyle advice.

  • Low intensity cardio 2-3 x per week
  • Reduce your calories
  • Eat less fat

And yet, as a species, we keep getting fatter and weaker and sicker.

All the while, there are outlier theories producing amazing results….while being ignored and/or disparaged by the  “experts”.

  • New dietary theories
  • New psychological theories
  • New pharmacological theories
  • New exercise theories
  • New spiritual theories

And while most of these new theories will most likely turn out to be just as ineffective as our love affair with everything fat free, aren’t we doing ourselves a disservice by not investigating each of them with an open yet critical mind?

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The Science behind Spare Tires and Thunder Thighs

Attention Lazy Bastards

According to Dr. Leslie Alford, regular exercise is the second most important thing that you can possibly do to avoid dying from:

In a meta-analysis of the current research, Dr. Alford found that “how long people live and how healthy they are depends on a complex mix of factors, including their lifestyle, where they live and even luck.”

“Individuals have an element of control over some of these factors, including obesity, diet, smoking and physical activity.”

So, unless you enjoy looking like crap, feeling like crap, enduring chemotherapy treatments and most likely dying waaaayyyy to early, get off your couch and do some exercise.

And FYI, the number one most important lifestyle change is to quit smoking. Especially when you exercise.

 

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All Hail the Heart Attack Grill Diet

You’ve got to respect the folks at the Heart Attack Grill.

At least they can admit that their food comes complete with a side order of “sudden weight gain, repeated increase of wardrobe size, back pain, male breast growth, loss of sexual partners, lung cancer, tooth decay, liver sclerosis, stroke, and an inability to see your penis.”

And while Ronald McDonald prepares to defend the health benefits of his Happy Meals in a court of law, the geniuses behind the Double Bypass burger step up and corner the moral high ground in the junk food industry.

And if you’re lucky enough to weigh over 350 lbs, you Eat for FREE!!!

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too many hours sitting down has be proven to shorten your life span - get off your butt and move

Sitting on your butt is going to kill you

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but…a new study tells us that the time you spend sitting on your butt is shortening your life.

Yep. You heard right.

  • Watching tv
  • Surfing the net
  • Driving your car
  • Working at your desk
  • Even reading your favorite blog – Health Habits

All of these activities are killing you.

get-up-and-run-get-off-your-ass1

According to the researchers, being physically active doesn’t make up for all those hours spent sitting on your butt.

The Research

Researchers analyzed survey responses from 123,216 individuals (53,440 men and 69,776 women) who had no history of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or emphysema/other lung disease enrolled in the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention II study in 1992.

They examined the amount of time spent sitting and physical activity in relation to mortality between 1993 and 2006.

They found that more leisure time spent sitting was associated with higher risk of mortality, particularly in women.

  • Women who reported more than six hours per day of sitting were 37 % more likely to die during the time period studied than those who sat fewer than 3 hours a day.
  • Men who sat more than 6 hours a day were 18 % more likely to die than those who sat fewer than 3 hours per day.

Associations were stronger for cardiovascular disease mortality than for cancer mortality.

And while being physically active didn’t eliminate the effect of all those hours of sitting, when they compared the combination of excessive sitting with a lack of physical activity, the picture looked even worse.

  • Women and men who both sat more and were less physically were 94% and 48% more likely, respectively, to die compared with those who reported sitting the least and being most active.

So…Let’s Recap

Women

  • With exercise, women who sit were 37% more likely to kick the bucket
  • Without exercise, that number jumps to 94%

Men

  • With exercise, male couch potatoes were 18% more likely to croak
  • Without exercise – 48% more likely

And why do they think that sitting on our collective keisters is so bad for us?

“Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates,” said Dr. Patel. “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

Conclusion

Get off your butt and move around a little

Reference

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21st Century Disease

Back in the olden times, humans died of scarcity.

Scarcity of:

  • Food (starvation)
  • Medical Knowledge (infant mortality, germs, viruses, infections, etc)
  • Cleanliness (germs & cooties)
  • Technology (hunting dinner could quickly turn into being hunted for dinner)

Luckily for us, our ancestors were hard workers and developed strategies for solving most of these problems.

  • Food (agriculture)
  • Medical Knowledge (Gregory House M.D.)
  • Cleanliness (washing your hands with soap)
  • Technology (food production, medicine, transportation, etc)

Unfortunately for us, our hard working ancestors may have been just a little too smart for our own good.

In our desire to live longer & better, some of our “lifestyle improvements” have turned around and bit us squarely on the butt.

We have gotten so good at:

  • Food (calories) production
  • Labor saving devices (automobiles, microwaves, roombas)
  • Entertainment
  • Information delivery (computers, internet)
  • and so on…

That we are now dying due to excess:

sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Scientists call this condition by a host of different names – Metabolic Syndrome, syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, Reaven’s syndrome, and CHAOS (Australia).

I prefer the name 21st Century Disease.

Despite the different names, the scientists all agree that this “syndrome”  is caused directly by the very lifestyle that our ancestors worked so hard to create.

Ironic, ain’t it?.

Note – It’s obvious that there is a still lot of scarcity in the world. It just doesn’t happen to most of us. Without getting all preachy, there are lots of ways we can share some of our abundance with others who weren’t born into abundance. One of my favorites is Kiva.

Obesity = Inflammation = Cancer

Every January 1st, millions of people resolve to get in shape and lose weight.

Unfortunately, before February 1st rolls around, two thirds of those people have fallen off the bandwagon, abandoned their gym memberships and returned to the normal diet of pizza & ice cream.

So, in an attempt to recharge your collective weight-loss motivation, I thought I would let you in on a recent piece of obesity research that concluded that…

Obesity = Inflammation = Cancer

According to this latest research, obesity enhances the development of a form of liver cancer called HCC (hepatocellular carcinoma) by:

  1. Stimulating the production of tumor-promoting cytokines (interleukin-6 {Il-6} and tumor necrosis factor {tnf})
  2. Il-6 and tnf causes inflammation in your liver, and
  3. Activates a tumor-producing transcription factor called STAT3
  4. STAT3 activates the formation and growth of the HCC liver cancer

Or, in layman’s terms

Obesity = Inflammation = Cancer

But, it’s not just liver cancer. Obesity also increases the risk of developing pancreatic, GI and kidney cancers.

So, how about that slice of pizza? Feeling hungry?

Reference

Doctors Ignore Obesity

dr-julius-hibbert

So, how come “many overweight patients are not being advised to lose weight, diet, or exercise”.

In fact, when it comes to medical intervention in cases of obesity, the numbers are as follows:

  1. Having a doctor tell the patient about the health problems associated with being overweight (48.0%),
  2. Suggesting diet and exercise (46.5%),
  3. Referring the patient to a formal diet program (5.2%),
  4. Prescribing a weight loss medication (4.0%),
  5. Recommending a non-prescription weight loss product (1.8%),
  6. Recommending stomach bypass surgery (1.5%).

I don’t know about you, but considering that obesity is fast becoming the western world’s #1 health issue, I think that the global medical community should be taking obesity prevention/treatment much more seriously.

I don’t know if it’s a lack of knowledge or the threat of discrimination lawsuits or the frustration of being ignored by obese patients over and over and over, but if we want to reverse the tide of obesity related disease, real steps need to be taken.

The time for talk is over.

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Reference

Bleeding Edge Nutrition Research

mad_scientist

This post is strictly for the fitness/nutrition geeks.

All sorts of neat-o research studies.

Enjoy

  • The Nutrient-Rich Foods (NRF) Index is a new, objective, science-based way to measure the total nutritional quality of foods and beverages…link to the research, Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
  • Urban Farming? Will Allen – creator of Growing Power, FoodCycles – Toronto’s Urban Garden
  • Millions Of U.S. Children Low In Vitamin D – Increased risk of bone and heart disease – all due to sunscreens and a fear of the sun? – link to the research
  • More Evidence Of Fish Oil’s Heart Health Benefits – There is mounting evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements not only help prevent cardiovascular diseases in healthy individuals, but also reduce the incidence of cardiac events and mortality in patients with existing heart disease. link to the research
  • Caloric Restriction reduces the risk of Breast Cancer link to the research
  • If you have an overweight child who has overweight friends, you need to read this
  • Social Stress leads to visceral/belly fat which leads to heart disease link to the research
  • Gut hormone CCK has an insulin like effect on blood sugar link to the research
  • Traditional Gender Roles aren’t dead yet – Women Eat Less when they Eat with a Man – link to the research
  • High-fat, High-sugar Foods Alter Brain Receptors – Researchers report that either continuous eating or binge eating a high fat, high sugar diet alters opioid receptor levels in an area of the brain that controls food intake – link to the research

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Obesity = Cancer

image: allthingsbeautiful.com
image: allthingsbeautiful.com

Cancer cases are now rising at such a rate that the disease poses a threat to humanity comparable to climate change.

So what?… you don’t smoke, live under power lines or work at a nuclear power plant.

gut

That may be true, but you haven’t seen your toes in years, and according to a report co-published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, a third of cancers are caused by diet and lack of exercise.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, according to the new WCRF/AICR report:

  • About seven million people die from cancer worldwide each year.
  • That number is expected to rise to more than 10 million by 2020.
  • The estimated number of new cases annually is set to increase from 10 million now to 16 million by 2020.
  • Overall the toll is predicted to double in the next 40 years.

Because of these facts, the WCRF/AICR has identified global obesity as it’s primary target in their war against cancer.

According to British researcher Sir Michael Marmot,

“When we look at what’s happened to obesity levels in this country(England), it’s growing at an alarming rate. Anybody looking at the evidence would say there must be social and economic causes of that. It can’t be that 20 million people individually said, ‘I’ll think I’ll get fat.'”

Marmot acknowledged the extra challenge posed by the recession, which has led to booming sales for fast food chains. “It is going to be difficult, but in a way it’s even more urgent to ask what needs to be done, because if you do nothing and the recession forces people into cheaper, unhealthier options, that only highlights that the unhealthy options tend to be the cheaper ones.”

fat_kid

WCRF/AICR is calling on individuals to take responsibility for themselves and their children, while stressing the need for action from governments, multinational corporations, civil society, industry, workplaces, schools, the media and health professionals. Marmot cited the provision of cycle lanes, gyms and swimming pools as measures encouraging people to exercise. He welcomed the congestion charge in London as having prompted more people to cycle to work.

image from treehugger.com
image from treehugger.com

Marmot, who is also chair of the World Health Organisation’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, is braced for the charge that he is advocating a nanny state approach.

He cited two examples of communicable diseases, smallpox and water-borne diseases, which collective social action have largely eliminated. “We didn’t say at the time, ‘Oh, this is the nanny state providing clean water for people – people should decide for themselves whether they want to drink water with cholera in.’ Nobody would say that today. Diet is a bit more complicated but we want the availability of a nutritious supply of food.”

Obesity has social and economic causes, he added, and therefore social and economic solutions. “We’re worried in this country, but it’s also Egypt, Mexico, Brazil, middle-income countries. In Egypt two thirds of women are overweight or obese. Mexico has frightening levels of obesity in middle-class kids … they’ve gone from fajitas to fast food, with nothing in between.”

Hmmmm…fast food causing obesity.

What to do, what to do???

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The One Diet That May Actually Save Your Life

After looking at 12 studies that followed more than 1,500,000 people over a span of 18 years, researchers at the University of Florence have determined that people who followed the Mediterranean Diet were:

  • 9% less likely to die from heart disease or other cardiovascular ailments
  • 6% less likely to develop or die from cancer
  • 13% less likely to contract Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease

According to WHO and CDC statistics, adherence to a Mediterranean diet would result in:

So What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

While it varies slightly from region to region, the Mediterranean Diet is based primarily on:

Fresh, healthy food: The staples of the Mediterranean diet include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, yogurt, olive oil, and small amounts of wine. Food should be eaten in season and locally grown, and Mediterranean dieters avoid processed food.

Portion control: The Mediterranean diet focuses on small portions of high-quality food. “When food tastes delicious, a little is enough because your senses have been satisfied,” And healthy fats like olive oil and nuts, which are staples of the Mediterranean diet, keep you feeling fuller longer than diets that restrict fat or forbid it altogether.

Healthy fats: Unlike most diets, the Mediterranean diet doesn’t cut fat consumption across the board.  Rather than limiting total fat intake, the Mediterranean diet makes wise choices about the type of fats that are used. On the menu are the monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados; and polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout); and fat from plant sources, like flaxseed. Limiting processed and packaged foods keeps the diet extremely low in unhealthy trans fats, which have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Olive oil: The Mediterranean people use olive oil in almost everything they eat, including pastas, breads, vegetables, salads, fish, and even cakes and pastries. It’s the principal fat in the Mediterranean diet, replacing other fats and oils, including butter and margarine. What’s so healthy about olive oil? Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that oleocanthal, a compound in olive oil, may reduce inflammation, which could help prevent conditions like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases, as well as certain cancers.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in abundance in the Mediterranean diet, omega-3 fatty acids are bursting with health benefits. Fatty acids have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart attacks, blood clots, hypertension, and strokes; and may prevent certain forms of cancer and lower the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

More vegetables, less meat: “A diet higher in plant foods and lower in animal products has been linked to decreased incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers.”  The traditional Mediterranean diet is practically vegetarian, with lots of fish and very little meat. As for vegetables, Mediterranean people feast on tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, capers, spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, white beans, lentils, and chick peas.

Wine: Many Mediterranean people drink a glass or two of wine each night with dinner. But portions are small, generally about three ounces (a third of a small wine glass or two shot glasses). When taken in small amounts, wine has been linked to lower rates of heart disease, likely due to the presence of antioxidants like transresveratrol and oligomeric proanthocyanidin (OPC), which keep blood circulation healthy and prevent blood clots from forming.

Whole grains: Whole grain foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, polenta, rice, and couscous are a key part of the Mediterranean diet. In their natural state, grains are full of cancer and heart disease-fighting fiber, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. But stripping the grain’s outer layers to make white flour and white rice eliminates these benefits, reducing the healthy whole grain to little more than empty calories. Whole grains provide energy and calories with little fat, and because they’re slow to digest (thanks to their high-fiber content), they help you feel fuller longer.

Fruit for dessert: Forget pie a la mode and chocolate cake. For Mediterranean people, fresh fruit is the typical daily dessert. Taking advantage of fruit’s natural sweetness has double benefits. First, what you gain: the fiber and nutrients in fruits like apples, grapes, and oranges. What you lose: the added sugar, calories, chemicals, and unhealthy fats in sweet, processed desserts.

And we can only imagine what would happen to those health statistics if Mediterranean dieters were to increase their physical activity.

 

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