Thursday, 23 May 2013


Eat, drink, and live longer!

Some things about life—and how long we get to enjoy it—are out of our control. But emerging nutrition science research, as well as data collected from people in their 90s and beyond, shows what, when, and how we eat has a profound influence on how long we live. Want to eat for a long and healthy life? Well here are some foods that contributes to long and healthy living.


We'll start with the scientific consensus: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, high in nutrients and low in calories, is your best bet for a long life. Need specifics? Eat more broccoli, grapes, and salad: Researchers have found that compounds in these three foods pack extra life-extending benefits. These bite-sized fruit favorites are check full of antioxidants, known to boost immunity and stave off life-threatening disease. They'll help you age gracefully as well. A 2012 study from Harvard University found that at least one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries each week may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.


Studies have found that phytochemicals in garlic can halt the formation of carcinogenic chemicals in the body, and that women who eat more garlic have lower risk of certain colon cancers.


As delicious as it is healthy, this monounsaturated "good fat" is well known for its heart-health and longevity benefits. 
 Studies also show that olive oil may also be linked to brain health and cancer prevention. Aim for two tablespoons a day.


 Studies have suggested that cruciferous vegetables like this one contain nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, and folate, that can help you cheat death. And that's likely the case even if you've already had a close call: A study from Vanderbilt University found that breast cancer survivors in Shanghai who ate more cruciferae—specifically of the turnip, cabbage, and bok-choy variety popular in China—had lower risks of death or cancer recurrence during the study period.


How to prevent heart disease, the largest killer in the United States, according to the latest report from the National Center of Health Statistics? Eat more foods that help keep your heart healthy, like avocados and others already on this list, and improve your odds of a long life. Avocados can lower your LDL "bad" cholesterol while raising your HDL "good" levels, and they help your body absorb heart-healthy vitamins like beta-carotene and lycopene. 



Lycopene is also an important nutrient in the fight against cancer—the second leading cause of death in the United States. And there's no better source than rosy red tomatoes. Eating them cooked, in pasta sauce, tomato soup, or chutney, actually increases the amount of carcinogen-fighting carotenoids your body is able to absorb.


Beans, beans, are good for your…life? In a 2004 study conducted on elderly people in Australia, Japan, Sweden, and Greece, researchers found that participants had a 7% to 8% reduction in death for every 20 grams of legumes they consumed daily. A diet rich in beans and legumes increases levels of the fatty acid butyrate, which can protect against cancer growth, according to a study from Michigan State University.

Getting more fiber—specifically by switching from refined bread and pasta to whole grains—can reduce your risk of death from any cause by 22%, according to a 2011 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Experts say that fiber can protect against diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and obesity, and can reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.


Several studies have suggested that small amounts of alcohol—no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women—can have heart-health benefits, and that moderate drinkers tend to live longer than heavier imbibers or teetotalers. A 2012 Harvard Medical School study also found that moderate drinking may also reduce men's risk of death in the two decades following a heart attack.


If you want first-hand advice on longevity, listen to Tomoji Tanabe. The world's oldest man from 2007 until his death at 113 in 2009 often told interviewers that his lifelong abstinence from alcohol was the key to his longevity. Tanabe's favorite foods were miso soup with clams and fried shrimp. Surprise: he also drank milk every day.



A strong immune system is an important part of living to a ripe old age, and for that you need lots of disease-fighting antioxidants. Health nutrition expert Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, swears by pureh tea —an earthy, rich variety that contains a lot more antioxidants than its better-known green counterpart. Steep a pureh tea bag for three to five minutes and serve with lemon and honey.


In April, 106-year-old Ethel Engstrom told the Pasadena Star News that she stays healthy by eating well and drinking about 12 cups of black coffee a day. You may not need that many to cheat death, however: A 2008 study from researchers at Harvard University found that, compared with non-coffee drinkers, women had an 18% lower risk of dying if they drank two to three cups a day, and 26% lower if they drank four to five cups a day. Those who drank six or more a day decreased their risk by 17%. A 2012 study by the National Institutes of Health and AARP supports this theory. When researchers controlled for factors like smoking, drinking, and eating red meat, they found that coffee drinkers—both men and women—tended to live longer.


Eat chocolate, add a year to your life. Men who ate modest amounts of chocolate up to three times a month lived almost a year longer than those who didn't in a 1999 Harvard study of more than 8,000 people. And in a 2009 study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, patients who had survived a heart attack were 44% less likely to die over the next eight years if they ate chocolate up to once a week, versus none at all. Other types of candy did not seem to have any effect on longevity. Preliminary studies have identified the most beneficial part of chocolate: flavonols, the antioxidant found in cocoa beans. To get the most flavonols stick with dark chocolate.

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Thursday, 3 January 2013


The last eight weeks were pretty great, Ah? From Thanksgiving to Christmas to Hanukkah to New Year's Eve, it seemed like the feasting would never end, right? Well, now it has. The holiday parties and cold-weather baking frenzies are over (mostly), and this morning, we bet, you discovered you couldn't fit into your skinny jeans. (Or maybe that already happened back in December!) Face it, you're bloated.

Photo by Kimberley Hasselbrink

Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup

There are, however, ways to stave off the bloat by turning to natural diuretics and anti-inflammatories, according to nutritionist Carolyn Brown of Food Trainers NYC. Many of these can even be woven into what are the heavier wintertime meals you're still probably eating, or can form the basics of a healthful post-holiday diet, keeping you muffin-top-free through January and beyond.

1. Ginger
If after a feast you're feeling a little queasy, ginger can be a fast-acting antacid. It's also an anti-inflammatory, so keep adding it to your stir-fries and marinades. For a refreshing healthy drink, add ginger syrup to to freshly squeezed juices. And no, ginger beer doesn't count. Sorry.

2. Dandelion Greens
These greens, along with nutrient-rich kale, are also a diuretic. Bitter and crisp, they make a perfect addition to any salad and go well with sweet, anti-oxidant rich pomegranate seeds.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar
This fermented juice made from crushed apples is a known bloat fighter and potassium stabilizer. You can either mix it with water, or add it to apples, fennel, and celery for a zippy (and much healthier) slaw. Tip: Use unrefined if you can--refined apple cider vinegar loses a lot of its nutritional value during processing.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric doesn't have much flavor, but it imbues every dish it touches with a warm yellow-orange hue--plus it's high in potassium. Instead of turning to curries, which are often high in fat and sodium, try adding turmeric to whole wheat couscous, rice, or soup.

5. Seaweed
In addition to its diuretic properties, which help to reduce water retention, seaweed makes for a delicious B12-packed snack.They're great crumbled up on salads, soups, and veggies.

6. Basil
Basil is packed with flavo-noids, an antioxidant, and the essential oil extracted from the fragrant herb is an anti-inflammatory. While it's a pesto regular, basil also brightens up salads and vegetable dishes.

7. Mint
While it's most effective when boiled in tea (it helps to flush liquids from your system quicker), mint can also make a great pesto addition. Just don't use it as an excuse to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream cake.

8. Cucumber
Cucumber help to stimulate your kidneys in removing uric acid from your body. Usually taking a back seat to other vegetables in salads, cucumbers are a hit in game-day salsa and as a refreshing topper for raw seafood.

Photo by Maria del Mar Sacasa / Ennis, Inc.

Kale and Pink Grapefruit Salad

9. Red Grapefruit
Along with the antioxidant lycopene and a load of vitamin C to keep away pesky winter colds, grapefruits helps to flush extra water from your system. They also add zip to salads and smoothies (without ice cream).

10. Asparagus
This tender green veg improves kidney function and helps to flush toxins from your body. And when they're pureed, they add a delightful, creamy texture to vegetable soups.

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Sunday, 9 December 2012


The holiday season can be one of the most challenging times of the year to stick to a healthy diet. With endless holiday parties and family get-togethers, it’s a question of will power, for sure, but it’s also about making small, yet effective changes to cut calories when you can. Joy Bauer's general rule of thumb is “rule of one” meaning enjoy one of each delicious appetizer, one plate of food, one alcoholic beverage, and one dessert. Harder said than done? If so, adhere to the advice below for more simple ways to curb calories at your next holiday soiree.


 Dessert, especially for ladies, is a real treat, and it’s very hard to pass it up no matter how full we may be (right ladies?). It often feels like there’s a separate compartment for dessert, but to get our sweet fill, doesn’t mean we have to down a giant piece of cake. Follow Joy Bauer simple dessert tips: 

  • Cut off the end of the pie crust and save 100 calories
  • Leave the top layer of frosting and save 150+ calories
  • Opt for a hot cappuccino instead – lasts longer than a slice of cake, and fewer calories
  • Skip the fudge – it’s one of the worst options! A tiny 1.5-inch square has 220 calories!
  •  A frosted holiday sugar cookie is a better choice at around 150 calories
  • Be selective with your splurges. Save them for delicious homemade treats or traditional favorites – and skip the stuff that isn’t extra special


Ladies love their festive, sugary cocktails but those can be packed with sugar. Treat them as a dessert instead of just a cocktail. Joy recommends alternating every other alcoholic drink with a club soda with lime. Not only will it help pace you, it also looks like a cocktail so you feel like you’re being social. Joy suggests any of the following options for 120 calories or less:
  • Glass of wine/champagne, light beer, shot of liquor with club soda and splash of fruit juice (i.e. vodka with club soda and cranberry juice, or, gin with club soda and grapefruit juice & lime)
  • A 5oz glass of wine actually has less than 4 grams of carbs and only about 1-gram sugar, which surprises most people.
  • A light beer only has 6 grams carbs (the lower calorie count in light beers comes from slashing carbs, not alcohol) 


Joy emphasizes to look for options with produce or lean protein. For instance, if you see a veggie platter, gravitate right towards it, but watch out for the dips. Spinach and artichoke dip is one of the worst – it may sound healthy because of the vegetables, but it can have up to 200 calories in a measly ¼-cup scoop. The best dips are spicy mustard and salsa and a close second is hummus, guacamole, and bean dip.
Other appetizers to grab include chicken skewers, shrimp with cocktail sauce, sushi, or cold salmon (enjoy with produce like on a cucumber round or wrapped around bell pepper stick instead of on high-cal crackers/toast).
Some appetizers that pack a calorie punch, but that may surprise you, are a single cheese and cracker which has 150-200 calories. The same goes for mixed nuts, which are healthy but easy to overeat; a 1/2 cup of nuts, which is about two handfuls, is 340 calories!

 For more great nutrition and diet tips from Joy, keep up with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at

Sunday, 28 October 2012


Most people can lose a quick five or ten pounds before a big event. But how do you keep the weight off today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life? Not even everyone with "lucky genes" can stay slim for a lifetime without the help of a few basic strategies.
These five secrets to lifelong weight loss can keep you leaner and more important, healthier now and forever.

Lifelong weight-loss secret #1: Acknowledge that your body and your life change as you get older, and fine-tune your habits accordingly.

Aging begins well before you turn 40 or 50. "Lifelong weight loss comes down to paying attention at every life stage. "You need to acknowledge that you're always changing, and you can't do the same things you've always done to maintain the same weight."
To put this in practice:

  • Leave food on your plate. The older you get, the more your metabolism slows -- one to two percent a year after age 30. "It doesn't take much food to add up to weight gain. Extra bites can add 100 calories a day, or ten pounds at the end of the year."

  • Move away from three square meals a day. Digestion slows as we age, especially digestion of fiber. So lightening the load by eating smaller, lighter meals and healthful snacks keeps your energy levels more stable and makes you less prone to hungry gorging.

  • Count the liquid calories. A five-ounce pour of wine with dinner contains about 150 calories. That can add up to 15 extra pounds in a year. Two glasses? Double that.

  • Pay attention to how food is prepared. Midlife and older adults often cook less and eat out more. But when you're not controlling the food prep, extra calories sneak in. It's not that you shouldn't socialize but that you need to be hyperaware of what's going in your mouth.

Lifelong weight-loss secret #2: Keep moving (not necessarily in the gym).

A gradually slowing metabolism from young adulthood onward means you need to eat less than you could in your 20s to keep weight comparable. But you can also compensate for the slowdown by fighting midlife inertia and a sedentary lifestyle. Thinner people move more, numerous studies have shown. Lean older adults don't necessarily follow vigorous workouts; rather, they keep moving all throughout their day -- gardening, doing chores, walking, climbing stairs, and staying engaged and active.
To put this in practice:

  • Get up -- every hour. One famous study found that obese people sat for 9.5 hours a day, compared with lean people, who sat fewer than 7 hours a day. University of South Carolina researchers found in 2011 that people who sit more have larger waist sizes (along with a host of undesirable blood-work results). But it's not enough to sit for long periods and then go physically wild; better to stand up and exert calories throughout the day, which stimulates muscles and body functions better.

  • Rely less on "labor-saving devices." One Mayo Clinic study compared those who performed daily chores like dish washing and doing local errands manually or on foot with people who did the same things with electric or mechanical devices like dishwashers and cars. The comparative calorie savings were small (26 extra calories for hand-washing the dishes), but they added up, day after day, to the tune of as many as 11 more pounds per year for those who relied on devices. Obviously you can't walk everywhere, but the takeaway is that the more you can do on your own, the better for your body.

  • Wear a pedometer. This can help you track how much you're moving. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.

  • Start fidgeting. Research shows that some people are natural-born fidgeters, genetically programmed to move around more than others. But that doesn't mean you can't train yourself to emulate them.

Lifelong weight-loss secret #3: Eat plants -- all day, every day.

Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, has famously distilled healthful eating to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."  "Eating lighter, eating better, always comes back to a more plant-based diet.
To put this in practice:

  • Include a plant at every meal, every snack. Don't worry about how many fruits and vegetables you're supposed to eat in a day. Just include one at every single meal and snack.

  • Make sure veggies and grains dominate your plate. Break free of the "meat-potato-veggie" definition of a decent meal. Don't limit yourself to just one vegetable per meal, and explore the wide world of whole grains. Consider meat a condiment.

  • Choose fruits, vegetables, and grains that are fresh and whole. By definition, you'll be eating fewer processed foods. That, in turn, helps you minimize sodium, which is bad for blood vessels that grow less flexible and more prone to high blood pressure over time. Eating fewer processed foods also helps you avoid inflammatory fats. Chronic inflammation is a biochemical process that can fuel unwanted weight gain.

Lifelong weight-loss secret #4: Stay super hydrated.

Sure, water fills up your stomach -- but that's not the only reason drinking a lot will help keep your weight low. It's important to keep well hydrated, especially as you get older, because thirst receptors lose their ability to recognize thirstiness over time, says Duke University's Beth Reardon. Since we're water-based beings, our organs rely on staying well hydrated in order to perform optimally. Older adults often take multiple medications that need to be metabolized by the liver, for example, and drinking water helps flush them through the system.
You might not directly connect this process to your scale, but stabilizing weight is easier when the body's organs are performing optimally.
To put this in practice:

  • Don't confuse hunger with thirst. "Make sure that before you grab something to eat, you check whether you're really thirsty.

  • Carry a water bottle everywhere. Bring it in the car, to doctor's appointments, when you're going for a walk -- "just like you carry your wallet everywhere.

  • Make water tasty. To help develop the habit, try flavoring your water. Drop in a lemon or orange wedge, or even a slice of watermelon or some berries. Or add an herbal tea bag or flavored green tea bag to cool or room-temperature water to enhance its taste.

Lifelong weight-loss secret #5: Don't be a night owl.

 A large body of research now shows that poor sleep directly influences how tightly those pants fit when you get dressed in the morning. On average, those who sleep less, weigh more.
Why? People with disrupted sleep cycles or who fail to get enough restorative sleep experience many hormonal shifts that influence appetite. Levels of leptin, which regulates satiety, sink; ghrelin, which triggers appetite, rises. Many people with poor sleep have poorer control of their cravings. And cortisol (a.k.a. the stress hormone) rises too, which can contribute to insulin resistance and prediabetes. Six to eight hours of sleep is an often-cited goal for those trying to break this problematic cycle.
To put this in practice:

  • Consider sleep as important to weight control as diet and exercise. Most people simply discount sleep. But lifelong weight loss is more than simply a calories-in-calories-out formula.

  • Learn how to manage problems that interfere with sleep, such as sleep apnea or overactive bladder triggers. Physical problems are often at the root of disrupted sleep.

  • Avoid eating close to bedtime. Your body will spend energy digesting the food rather than shifting into restorative sleep. Leave at least three hours between dinner and bed. If you must have something, make it a glass of milk, which may increase seratonin levels.

  • Try enhancing sleep with supplements. Magnesium and melatonin have relaxing, sedative qualities. Periodic use of over-the-counter sleep aids can also help reset a pattern of disrupted sleep.

  • If you're a caregiver and someone else's sleep is affecting yours, get help. Ask a doctor about medications that can help regulate sleep in an older adult with dementia who has sundown syndrome, for example. Your sanity, your health, and, yes, your weight management may all depend on it.


Sunday, 7 October 2012


Research shows that people who don't eat enough calcium have a higher percentage of body fat. A calcium-rich diet can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Here are some new ways to get the recommend 100 mg experts suggest you need each day.

1. Sesame Seeds

Calcium level: 277 mg, 28% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce, about 160 calories

2. Bok Choy

Calcium level: 158 mg, 16% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, about 20 calories

3. Tahini

Calcium level: 112 mg, 12% Daily Value
Serving: 2 tablespoons, about 160 calories

4. Cream Cheese

Calcium level: 98 mg, 10% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce of fat free cream cheese, about 29 calories

5. Kale

Calcium level: 93 mg, 9% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, about 36 calories

6. Almonds

Calcium level: 75 mg, 8% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce (22 almonds), about 170 calories

7. Broccoli

Calcium level: 62 mg, 6% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, about 55 calories

8. Spinach

Calcium level: 60 mg, 6% Daily Value
Serving: 2 cups, about 14 calories

9. Watercress

Calcium level: 40 mg, 4% Daily Value
Serving: 1 cup, about 4 calories

10. Romano Cheese

Calcium level: 298 mg, 30% Daily Value
Serving: 1 ounce, about 108 calories


Monday, 1 October 2012


Have you ever wondered why you never seem to lose weight even though you diet and exercise? Have you ever considered checking your thyroid gland? It has been researched and proven that hypothyroidism plays a significant role in weight gain. This review explains the function of the thyroid gland, the effects and treatment of hypothyroidism.

The thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland that controls the body’s metabolism. It is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland produces the hormones tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

Together these hormones regulate how your cells use energy. The pathways by which cells use energy is called metabolism. Your body’s general metabolism determines blood pressure, heart rate, and weight.

Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Low levels of thyroid hormone interfere with the body’s ability to perform normal metabolic functions such as efficient use of energy from food products, regulation of many chemical reactions in the body, and maintenance of healthy cells, bones and muscles, to name a few..

There are no symptoms that are unique to hypothyroidism. There may be no symptoms early in the disease process. Long standing, untreated hypothyroidism can cause obesity, joint pain, heart disease, and infertility. Other symptoms can include:
  • increased sensitivity to cold
  • constipation
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • heavier menstrual flow
  • brittle hair and nails
If left untreated, the following symptoms can occur:
  • hoarseness
  • puffiness of the face, hands, and feet
  • slowed speech
  • decreased taste and smell
  • thin eyebrows
  • thickened skin
  • coma (called “myxedema coma”)

Your doctor first conducts a physical exam and reviews of your medical history. This can reveal any procedures like thyroid surgery or radiation treatments connected to hypothyroidism. Family history might reveal a close relative with autoimmune disease. Medication history might be positive for drugs, such as lithium and amiodarone that can cause the condition.
Because hypothyroidism is most often found in women over age 50, some doctors advocate thyroid function screening for this group. Doctors also may suggest screening women of childbearing age.
Blood tests also are common. These include:
  • thyroid function tests: T4, T3RU and TSH
  • tests for pituitary function: TSH
  • cholesterol (can be elevated)
  • CBC (may show anemia)
  • liver enzymes (can be elevated)
  • prolactin (can be elevated)
  • electrolytes (sodium can be low)
In hypothyroidism, T4 is low and TSH is high. This means the pituitary is sending more TSH to stimulate the thyroid, but the thyroid does not respond. A low TSH indicates the pituitary may be the cause of hypothyroidism.

A common treatment is to replace thyroxine with a specific synthetic thyroid hormone (levothyroxine). This hormone is safe and affordable, but determining the right dosage often takes time. Your metabolic rate has to be returned to normal. Raising it too quickly can cause palpitations and make some medical problems like coronary artery disease and atrial fibrillation worse. Symptoms of thyroid hormone excess are:
  • shakiness or tremors
  • palpitations
  • insomnia
  • increased appetite
Diets rich in soy and high fiber can interfere with levothyroxine absorption. Medications and supplements also can reduce absorption. These include: