Artichokes are somewhat of a super food. They are known to help with liver and gallbladder conditions, as well as holding properties that clean the bladder and blood. Artichokes contain very high sources of calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and fiber. The vegetable also helps the body wash out excess water while moving toxins out of the body, lowering blood sugar levels, and has proved to have a positive effect on poor liver functions. Artichokes are an ideal food for maintaining a healthy diet. More here
Foods such as broccoli and blueberries contain high levels of polyphenols, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the high concentration of polyphenols, these fruits and vegetables are often referred to as super foods and recommended as a part of a healthy diet. But, according to a new report,the health benefits of these foods may be overstated. Dr. Lucy Jones, deputy dean of Kingston University’s faculty of science, engineering, and computing, said polyphenols may work well when cells are directly exposed to them in a laboratory but their effectiveness when consumed as part of a food needs to be established. The study tested these compounds to see if they were able to pass through the stomach’s membrane or if the polyphenols have an effect in the stomach itself but don’t pass on to the rest of the body. More here.
Seniors who exercise regularly are more likely to say they are in excellent or very good health. In a recent Gallup poll, 51 percent of older adults who exercised frequently said they were in excellent health while only 34 percent of seniors who do not exercise said the same. But while healthy eating habits increase with age, exercise habits fall off as we get older. Nearly 60 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 report exercising at least 30 minutes three or more days during the week. That number falls to 45 percent among those over the age of 90. By comparison, 91 percent of respondents over the age of 90 said they ate a healthy diet all day yesterday, while just 54 percent of Americans between the age of 18 and 24 said the same. In short, seniors who maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and visit the dentist are more likely to report good health than those that don’t. More here.
A study of 713 women in their 70s found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables and got the most exercise were eight times less likely to die over the next five years than participants who ate fewer fruits and vegetables and exercised less. Among participants, those who exercised the most were 74 percent less likely to die over the next five years and those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 46 percent less likely to die. Combining a diet high in fruits and vegetables with exercise resulted in the greatest likelihood of increasing longevity. And though the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doesn’t prove that eating more produce and exercising after the age of 70 will lengthen your lifespan, it does add to numerous studies showing that combining a healthy diet with regular exercise leads to better health at any age. More here.
Diet and nutrition play a large role in the development or prevention of diseases. Keeping a healthy diet is key to lowering your risk of developing everything from heart disease to cancer. For example, two recent studies looked at the relationship between diabetes and common foods such as apples and white rice. In a study from Harvard, researchers found a link between a higher rate of diabetes and consumption of white rice. The study looked at 352,384 participants in four countries and found those who consumed the largest amount of white rice had a 27 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate the least. Another study, which looked at the relationship between dietary flavonoids and diabetes found foods such as blueberries and apples could have a preventive effect. People who ate five or more apples a week had a 23 percent lower risk of diabetes than those who didn’t eat any. More here and here.
Though a healthy diet, regular exercise, and remaining socially active can help preserve cognitive function as we age, some of how our brain ages is determined by genetics. According to a new study published in Nature, about 24 percent of the mental changes that occur as we age are determined by our genes. Ian J. Deary, PhD, researcher and professor of psychology at the University of Edinburgh, said the findings will encourage researchers looking for the genetic and environmental contributions to why some people’s cognitive functions age better than others. The study analyzed genetic material from nearly 2,000 people whose general intelligence was tested at age 11 and again when they were 65, 70, and 79. More here.
Trans fat has been shown to have a negative effect on cardiovascular health and, according to a new study from Oregon Health and Science University, it can also affect cognition in older individuals. The research tested 104 people with an average age of 87 using a newly developed blood test. The results found people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D, and E scored highest on cognitive tests, while trans fat was shown to negatively impact cognitive ability. The study’s author, Gene Bowman, said trans fats are known to be bad for the heart, so it’s not a stretch to think they’re also bad for the brain. According to Bowman, research shows that a brain-healthy diet includes nuts, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while processed foods, dairy products, and fatty meats have a negative effect on the brain. More here.
Recent research found married men and women have better survival rates following coronary bypass surgery than unmarried people. The study, which followed 225 patients preparing to have bypass surgery between 1987 and 1990, showed that 15 years after their surgery, married men were two and a half times more likely to be living and women were twice as likely. Survival rates were better for happily married men and women than they were for the unhappily married. Researchers said it’s reasonable to assume that a supportive spouse helps heart patients maintain good habits, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet. More here.
Body weight is the risk factor most directly associated with diabetes, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The researchers found, among 200,000 men and women participating in a long-term study from the National Cancer Institute, those least likely to receive a diabetes diagnosis had five behavioral attributes in common. They were nonsmoking, light drinkers of normal body weight who ate a healthy diet and exercised regularly. People who met all five standards were 80 percent less likely to develop diabetes, with each individual attribute accounting for between 30 and 40 percent lower odds. More here.
According to a CDC survey of 17,000 people published in the American Journal of Public Health, people who don’t smoke, exercise regularly, have a healthy diet, and drink moderately were 63 percent less likely to die at an early age. Individuals who practiced all four of the behaviors together were nearly two-thirds less likely to die of cancer or heart disease and 57 percent less likely to die of other causes than people who didn’t practice any of the healthy habits. Among participants, nearly half said they practiced at least one of the four behaviors the survey studied. The researchers said the estimates of mortality that can be postponed underscore the need for improving the overall level of healthy living in the United States. More here.