Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Your migraines may be preventable….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-29-2009

If you get 12 migraines a month now – and 3 of them are so bad you can’t work or enjoy your life, wouldn’t it be great if you could get one or two weak ones – or none at all – most months.

Some recent information I’ve gotten suggests you may well be able to do exactly that!

And no drugs are needed either!

1. Last Thursday, Health Day online news listed many things that trigger migraines.

So, since migraines likely won’t occur at all if they are never triggered or turned on, if you consistently manage to avoid many of the things on that list, you’ll have a lot less migraines. Even better, many of those things that seem to trigger YOUR migraines are avoidable. Better yet, you even get extra health benefits from avoiding some of them!

Do the best you can with that & then turn off most of the rest of your migraines with the next methods we include today.:

2. Today, Al Sears MD’s “Doctor’s House Calls” email listed 3 supplements that EACH been found to cut the amount of migraines people get in half.

3. Separate research found that people who get regular exercise get half as many migraines. So, if by avoiding some things and taking one or more of these supplements cuts down on your migraines enough to do regular exercise, you may get very few.

4. Lastly, separate research has found that people who get migraines are at somewhat higher risk of heart disease.

The good news in that is that both migraines and heart disease apparently have some common causes and that suggests that doing things that keep the inside of your blood vessels, or endothelium, healthy, will prevent BOTH. In fact, many of the things in the previous 3 sections likely work because they have precisely this kind of protection for your blood vessels.

So that means that also doing what you can to protect your heart in other ways will tend to prevent migraines as well as heart attacks!

That gives you four separate and powerful ways to prevent migraines.

Here’s the info.

1. Here are some ways to avoid the triggers of migraines.

a) I’ve found out separately from the Health Day article that being around cigarette smoke can trigger migraines. It can be hard to quit and may be hard to avoid cigarette smoke for some people. But doing it pays off big time! Smoking also both causes heart disease AND triggers heart attacks. It also causes close to one third of ALL cancers.

So, if you smoke, quit -- get the prescriptions from your doctor that have been shown to work and help from a support group if you need it. And every time you CAN do so, avoid other people’s smoke.

You’ll not only have fewer migraines, you’ll have fewer medical bills, be in better health otherwise, and live longer!

b) Too much or too little sleep can trigger migraines. Find out how much sleep you do best on and how much you can get consistently. Then, to the maximum extent you can, go to bed and get up at the exact same time at least 5 days a week -- & all 7 if you can manage it.

Do what you can to have where you sleep, dark, cool, and quiet. Some people use earplugs. Those cut back on racket but you can still hear the alarm clock and other things you need to hear. (Also getting regular exercise will help you sleep better.)

c) Aspartame has been shown to trigger migraines and may have other even more harmful health effects. So, don’t drink any soft drinks or use artificial sweeteners. They all make you fat, tend to help cause heart disease and type 2 diabetes -- in addition to some triggering migraines. You can use some real sugar and perhaps some natural sweeteners with no or fewer calories. But you’ll have fewer migraines and be healthier if you have no artificial sweeteners. (We just did a post a few days ago on what you can drink instead of soft drinks. Many of those have no calories at all.)

d) Monosodium glutamate aka MSG is one of the food additives that trigger migraines. Since it also tends to make you fat. And some research suggests it may help cause Alzheimer’s as well, again, if you avoid MSG every way you can, you’ll not only get fewer migraines, you’ll be less fat and likely be healthier. (We did a recent post on how they found out MSG fattens you.) So, don’t buy or eat things that contain MSG and say so on their labels. And, only eat in Chinese restaurants that say they do not use it and don’t use it.

e) Missing meals can be hard to avoid.

But small meals can often be MUCH better than none. Use your creativity to use small meals you can eat on the go. Pecans and raisins in a small bag you keep in your pocket or purse can work. A single banana and a piece of cheese can work. The commercial meal replacement product Ensure isn’t too bad, just check to be sure it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners. (I don’t remember that it did when I had to have some before a medical procedure.)

If you use this method to miss no meals totally or only one a week, you’ll clearly have way less migraines than missing five or more meals totally.

Loud noise can trigger migraines. If you can’t avoid it, use ear plugs. But when you can avoid it do so! This will not only save you getting some migraines, it may save you having to buy a hearing aid later.

f) Changes in the weather, hormonal changes, & stress are hard to avoid. But as we point out separately, people who get regular exercise handle them better and can overcome more. If you have time and can learn to do it, Tai Chi also works to relieve stress.

That’s also why the 3 supplements that seem to turn off migraines separately in the next section can be so important.

g) Drinking red wine sometimes triggers regular headaches for some people as well as triggering migraines. But it can depend on the variety and even the country of origin or batch of that particular wine. And, since there are certain chemicals that seem to cause the problem, it’s my hope that the wine industry will do more to identify those and make some or many red wines with very little or none of these nasty chemicals &/or list how much on their labels. So you can get a red wine with little or none.

So, if you drink a kind of red wine that triggers a migraine, don’t drink it again.

Also, you can drink white wine and/or do things like drink concord grape juice, take grape seed extract, &/or take resveratrol supplements to get many of the health benefits of red wine without either the red wine or the alcohol.

2. The 3 supplements that EACH turn off about half of migraines.:

(For more info from Al Sears, MD, on other topics, go to www.alsearsmd.com .)

a) Magnesium tends to protect the health of your blood vessels. Researchers found some kinds of migraines are caused by problems with blood flow and pressure in the vessels. So if you take magnesium supplements, you can help avoid those migraines. In fact, studies have shown that taking 600 mg of magnesium a day “reduces migraines by up to 41 percent.”

Taking that much magnesium (but not much more as that can cause problems) also tends to prevent high blood pressure and prevent constipation as well. You can get magnesium citrate and magnesium asporotate supplements that are most bioavailable and often come in 200 mg capsules. So taking 3 a day is easy.

b) CoQ10 – Researchers at the Head and Pain Unit at the University Hospital Zurich did a clinical trial that found that taking 300 mg of CoQ10 daily cuts migraine frequency by half.

Dr Sears points out that you need to take the CoQ10 the gel caps that contain their own oils or take CoQ10 with some kind of oil or fat -- because CoQ10 is fat-soluble. (Jarrow makes a 100 mg supplement of this kind called QAbsorb.) Taking CoQ10 with any health OK oil also works, such as extra virgin olive oil, or fatty fish, or avocados, or nuts.

CoQ10 also tends to lower high blood pressure, strengthen your heart, and keep up your energy level particularly if you are over 40. CoQ10 improves the function of your mitochondria which are your cell’s energy sources which enables it to do the other things – including prevent many migraines.

c) Riboflavin (vitamin B2) also helps keep your mitochondria able to give your cells energy. Not surprisingly a study found that taking 400 mg of riboflavin a day cut the frequency of migraines in half.

You not only can find riboflavin (vitamin B2) supplements at your local health food store, they are quite inexpensive.

So, if you find CoQ10 a bit pricey, you can take magnesium and riboflavin and prevent up to 80% of all your migraines. And you can prevent some more and get other health benefits if you can also afford to take CoQ10.

3. Separate research found that people who get regular exercise get half as many migraines. So, if by avoiding some things and taking one or more of these supplements cuts down on your migraines enough to do regular exercise, you may get very few.

Even moderate exercise flexes your blood vessels and helps to keep them healthy plus people who get regular exercise handle stress better too. They also sleep much better. So it’s no surprise regular exercise prevents migraines. It does so in all three of these ways at once.

In fact, with exercise, getting some, if only for 5 minutes each day, helps. People who have high blood pressure who exercise have lower blood pressure on the days they exercise but not always on the days they don’t exercise.

4. Since keeping your blood vessels healthy helps prevent BOTH heart disease and migraines, the other things you can do that protect your heart also will help prevent migraines.

In addition to the things listed above, you can stop eating refined grains and food made from them, eat less sugar, and eat more nonstarchy vegetables plus you can eat wild caught salmon or sardines &/or take purified fish oil supplements. That set of things lowers your dangerous triglyceride levels and your CRP inflammation.

You can eat foods such as beans, lentils, apples, unsweetened applesauce, and “Old Fashioned” oatmeal instead of “Quick” or instant; you can take niacin 300 mg to 900 mg a day, and you can take sterol supplements. Plus you can rarely eat fatty meat from grain fed animals and eat very lean meat or poultry or beef fed only grass and wild caught salmon and/or sardines instead. That set of things lowers LDL cholesterol. And doing each of those things plus getting regular exercise lowers LDL about as well as statin drugs.

Taking niacin, using extra virgin olive oil almost exclusively, drinking wine, and regular exercise, particularly strength training and interval cardio, increase your protective HDL level.

Completely avoiding trans fat and all foods that contain hydrogenated oils both will lower your triglycerides and increase your HDL.

So every one of those things will also help keep your blood vessels healthy and prevent migraines – in addition to protecting you from heart attacks and strokes.

(Avoiding cigarette smoke that also triggers migraines directly is also critically important to protect your heart and to prevent triggering heart attacks.)

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Monday, June 29, 2009

What extra health risks go with your ethnic group?….

Today's Post: Monday, 6-29-2009

Yesterday’s Parade magazine had a section of its article, “Who Gets Sick In America – And Why,” that lists various ethnic and genetic groups along with their extra health risks.

They also had some ideas on how to reduce those risks.

I’ll add two groups here and make slightly stronger emphasis on proactive prevention.

1. South Asian (mostly people from India & Pakistan)

This group has a surprisingly high risk of heart disease, particularly on the American Diet.

The curry and other spices and nonstarchy vegetables and lentils in their traditional diet are still heart-healthy choices.

Unfortunately, sweets, artificial sweeteners, & soft drinks that contain them; fatty meats; trans fats (hydrogenated oils) and foods that contain them; and refined grains and the foods that contain them in the common American Diet are NOT heart healthy for anyone and are apparently even worse if you are in this group.

And, the rice, traditional sweets, refined grain breads, and heavy use of butter in some cuisines from India are not much better. Instead of twice daily, once or twice a week or less is better.

In addition, this is a group that should have their HDL, LDL, triglycerides, C Reactive Protein inflammation, and HBA1C checked every 6 months or at least once a year. And in this group, every nondrug method should be used to put ALL these measures in the desirable range. The eating points above are important for everyone but begin to be quite important for this group. (We’ve done many posts on how these nondrug methods are effective and safer than statin drugs for this purpose.) Getting regular exercise is very important. And, usually using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter and taking omega 3 oils is also very important.

2. Asian American (Pacific Rim Asians of Japanese and Chinese and Korean ancestry, etc)

This group has a high rate of liver disease and liver cancer.

The Parade article suggests being sure to get regular check ups. You can also get yourself and your children the hepatitis B vaccine. In addition, you can take the herb milk thistle as it is protective to your liver. If and when there is a safe hepatitis C vaccine, this group should get it.

And, you can follow the many preventive ways to avoid ALL cancers. Avoid cigarette smoke totally. Take curcumin supplements &/or eat foods with curry spice often. Take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D, and eat a lot of raw cruciferous vegetables every week. (The good news is that in this group, a high consumption of cabbage and related foods is already high in the traditional diet.

Also, in this group, it’s a good idea to be very sure to avoid heavy drinking and to use nondrug methods to improve heart health instead of statin drugs when at all possible.

3. Hispanics and Latinos.

This group tends to get type 2 diabetes, obesity, not get important vaccinations for their kids, and sometimes gets more tuberculosis than other groups.

Avoiding tuberculosis can be tough. But anyone in this group who has been exposed to it or may have it should get checked for it. And the treatment must be done exactly as prescribed and as long as it is prescribed for if you do get it.

The good news is that many in this group eat more vegetables in their traditional diets than most Americans.

Also, sweets, artificial sweeteners, & soft drinks that contain them; and refined grains and the foods that contain them in the common American Diet are NOT healthy for anyone and are apparently even worse if you are in this group. Along with no regular exercise, heavy use of fast food, and watching too much TV, these all tend to produce type 2 diabetes and make people fat.

Regular exercise is important for everyone in this group. But it is extremely important for the women in it. Boys in this group are often MUCH more active than girls. So the girls and women who want to avoid obesity and type 2 diabetes should get regular exercise in some way each week.

Women in this group often feed kids sweet treats. Giving them hugs, talking with them, and serving them their favorite healthy foods, or possibly going on walks with them can show them love without harming their health.

This group has a lot of traditional foods that use refined grains, Tortillas, Tostadas, Enchiladas, etc all have refined grains. These need to be far less frequent, or made with whole grains only, or the food or fillings they contain served without the refined grain part. The beans, vegetables, onions, tomatoes, and hot spices in the traditional cuisines are all winners.

The other thing this group needs to do is to get their HBA1C tested every 6 months. If you can buy online, you can now do this for about $30 a year with no doctor visit needed. (See our post on Thursday, 6-11-2009 for details.) Some health care systems will even do the tests free as a preventive measure. And, if the results are 6.0 or higher that means you need to redouble or triple the efforts just described; and also see a doctor ASAP if the results are about 6.3 or higher. You want your HBA1C to be at 5.8 or less every time.

Type 2 diabetes with HBA1C levels of over 7.0 damage every part of your blood vessels. Untreated, type 2 diabetes causes blindness, ruined kidneys, foot amputations, nerve damage and related pain, and heart attacks. And if you wait until you’ve have it a long time to discover you have it, the damage is often not reversible.

4. Native Americans have all the risks of Hispanics and Latinos PLUS they often have a genetic background that means they do not process alcohol well or are more likely to drink too much of it or both. So, they shouldn’t drink at all or only do it very modestly and under very strict control. And, they should follow all the preventive steps in the section above for Latinos and Hispanics.

5. African-Americans are often salt sensitive and prone to high blood pressure.

So they need to avoid packaged and processed food and fast food that is loaded with salt. They need to eat more fruits and vegetables. And they need to check their blood pressure every 3 to 6 months. If it gets to be 160 over 100 or more, they need to take drugs and take them every day as prescribed. It also helps if they get more nonstarchy vegetables and fresh fruit.

(Subway will allow you to get a lot of vegetables to put with your sandwich so if you pass on the bread and eat your sandwiches Atkins style and pass on the soft drinks and dessert and drink water instead, Subway is a great place to go to get fast food that won’t mess up your blood pressure. The salted fries in other fast food places are a disaster by comparison.)

African-Americans get more cancer and prostate cancer than everyone else as well. So routine cancer screenings if you can afford it make sense as the Parade article says. BUT, the best policy is to PREVENT cancer as more of a priority than most people do.

You can follow the many preventive ways to avoid ALL cancers. Avoid cigarette smoke totally. Take curcumin supplements &/or eat foods with curry spice often. Take at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D, and eat a lot of raw cruciferous vegetables every week. (Raw broccoli and cauliflower eaten once a week or more cut the rate of the dangerous kind of prostate cancer in HALF, for example.)

If you smoke, you need to quit. And you need to hang out with people who do not if you possibly can. Also, menthol cigarettes are popular in the Black community. If you smoke them, you are MUCH more likely to get lung cancer and other cancers – AND you’ll find it harder to quit. So if you smoke menthol cigarettes, if you can’t quit right away or aren’t quite ready, it will pay you to immediately throw out any menthol cigarettes and switch to cigarettes with none. In addition, because of the hotter flame, if you still smoke, NEVER use a lighter again. Use matches only or don’t smoke until you can get one. That single step will prevent a lot of lung cancer.

6. White Americans can get all the things these other groups get. So doing all of the preventive steps listed above is important. Preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity are critically important in this group.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the mid-West and South Eastern United States smoking; eating the worst kinds of snacks and fast foods; and drinking soft drinks are all very high.

So, in those parts of the country avoiding cigarette smoke, not smoking, and never using a lighter are all critically important as are doing the other steps to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Worse, these same states tend to be the fattest in the county. So ALL the steps listed for the Hispanics, Latinos, and South Asians for avoiding obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease are important for the people who live there.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

What to drink instead of soft drinks….

Today's Post: Friday, 6-26-2009

A. Soft drinks ARE really bad for you.:

1. We’ve posted about how regular soft drinks add calories but do virtually nothing to turn down your hunger. Small wonder people who drink them daily, or drink lots of them, daily tend to be much fatter than they easily could be. In fact, many people today get over 10 % of their daily calories from soft drinks. So if they drank water instead and are 15 to 25 pounds overfat, most of it would leave. And, studies show that much fatloss produces massive improvements in health and increases in disease prevention.

Secondly, virtually all regular soft drinks use high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. There is a much more dangerous version of high fructose corn syrup used in some baked goods while the kind of high fructose corn syrup used in soft drinks may not be that much worse than sugar as its makers say. Unfortunately, about 30% of high fructose corn syrup was recently found to contain mercury, a serious nerve poison. So no children who are building their brains or any adults who want to avoid senility should ever drink soft drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup until that is corrected.

2. People who drink diet soft drinks tend to be as fat and sick as people who drink regular soft drinks. It seems that when your body tastes sugar and gets none, it makes you MUCH hungrier for things that DO have sugar. So, since 95% of the time, people who drink diet soft drinks eat that much extra sugar in some fashion, people who switch from diet soft drinks to water, also can get substantial fat loss!

And the artificial sweeteners are not safe for many. Some trigger migraines in some people. There is evidence one of them may cause MS, multiple sclerosis, the progressive paralysis disease in some people. Artificial sweeteners apparently don’t cause a lot of cancer or allergies. But, given the money involved, I’m not convinced they cause none at all.

B. But people drink soft drinks for a reason.

Cola drinks and some others have caffeine. Caffeine does wake people up and makes them mentally sharper and sometimes makes people feel better.

The combination of cold water, sweetness, other likable flavors, and carbonation does make soft drinks enjoyable to drink.

C. So, if you have been drinking soft drinks and now know better, what can you drink instead?

1. Coffee, tea, and green tea all have caffeine. Do does unsweetened cocoa. And except for adding sweeteners or nondairy creamers or too much cream to coffee – or similar things to cocoa, they all have health benefits, particularly green tea which benefits your heart and may help prevent or slow some cancers. (Unsweetened cocoa, tea, and green tea all deliver the most health benefits when drunk with no milk added.)

So, black coffee, coffee with 1% lowfat milk and tea or green tea with no milk all get can get you caffeine without the health harm of soft drinks. So can mixing up hot cocoa using only unsweetened cocoa and no milk.

2. Club soda, carbonated water only, can provide the bubbly if you want that.

And, you can mix chilled carbonated water with chilled juices.

You’ll get more fat loss and protection from fat gain by using vegetable juice – as we posted about recently.

But real juices such as concord grape juice, orange juice, cherry juice, and blueberry juice are all available and have significant health benefits. Just drink them a few times a week instead of once a day or more every week.

And, whether you drink vegetable or fruit juice, people who drink a glass of juice each day get less Alzheimer’s disease than people who don’t.

So you can have carbonated water, coffee, tea, green tea, unsweetened cocoa, vegetable juice, fruit juice, club soda, or club soda with your favorite juice.

3. Water works too! You can get safer, good tasting water by installing a reverse osmosis system for turning your tap water into drinking water. Or you can use Brita filters on bottled water or tap water.

Tap water or bottled water filtered in these ways is MUCH cheaper per ounce than soft drinks. And if you use one of the filtered tap water options, you don’t need to make a trip to the store and carry it home!

4. And for one or two drinks a day alcoholic drinks work. Above level of consumption they cause health and other problems. But at that level or a bit less they have some health benefits and can be as enjoyable as soft drinks and much more relaxing. Red wine and dark beer have extra health benefits.

If you want carbonation, dark beer or light beer works. So do wine spritzers -- half wine and half club soda.

So, you have many ways to go if you want good taste, to quench your thirst, get caffeine, relax, or enjoy carbonation. You CAN get all these things without soft drinks!

5. Now suppose you could have yet another drink that tastes good and is as good for fat loss or avoiding fat gain as vegetable juice.

Wouldn’t that be great?

I turns out, I found out today in my Total Health Breakthroughs email, there IS one!

Here’s that article:

“"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.totalhealthbreakthroughs.com ."

"Weight Loss: Coconut Water -- A Great Way to Diet and Hydrate

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS

If you've ever vacationed in the tropics, you've probably seen people drinking from what looks like peeled coconuts with straws inserted. Now I’m finding more and more skinned coconuts in the fruit and vegetable section of grocery stores. Chop off the top, insert a straw and drink up. Coconut water is becoming so popular that there is now a whole bunch of canned coconut water drinks on the market.

So what's the deal with coconut water?

Well, I can't speak to the dozens of pre-packaged products that are showing up (usually sold in cans), but I can tell you what's found inside the actual coconut. And it's a nutritional bonanza that could easily be a boon to people trying to control their weight.

One cup of real coconut water contains a measly 46 calories. (Remember, I'm talking about the liquid that occurs naturally inside the coconut, not some "coconut milk" sweetened product that's a whole different animal.) It also contains a surprisingly high 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2 grams of protein. Best of all, it's a fabulous source of potassium -- way better than a banana.

Two companies that are marketing excellent commercial products are O.N.E. and Zico, both of which make convenient one-serving containers that are perfect for travel and for the gym. While neither has any fiber, they both contain a whopping 670 mg of potassium as well as four other essential electrolytes.

Both taste great, they’re surprisingly filling and refreshing, and best of all, each contains only 60 calories per serving, way less than the typical sports drink.

Lots of nutrients for a very small number of calories. That profile definitely makes it a great drink for a weight management program.

[Ed. note: Dr. Bowden is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition and health. He's a board certified nutrition specialist with a Master's degree in psychology and the author of five books including The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. His latest book is The Most Effective Cures on Earth.....]"

X* X* X* X* X* X* X*

Good taste, few calories, potassium to help you keep your blood sugar low – even protein & fiber to help you be less hungry despite the few calories in the version right from the coconut!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Prevention that saves money....

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-25-2009

Today, a health article on the AP online news had this headline.:

“Disease prevention often costs more than it saves”

This post gives a very different view of disease prevention!

That article gives a small handful of examples they say save money.

The authors say that vaccinations save money -- both for children and for adults. They say that even if it takes doctor visits and medicines such as Zyban and prescription nicotine that gradually is reduced to a zero dose, smoking cessation saves far more than it costs.

The evidence supports that. Vaccines are relatively cheap and many of them are close to 100 % effective. And smoking creates so many medical costs, even an inefficient preventive will save money on health care costs.

1. They leave out seat belts and laws mandating their use and the funds to enforce those laws.

That set of things cuts deaths and the medical costs of the injuries in accidents and all the money that costs from what it would have been from those events to only one THIRD of that amount. (Quite often, people who wore seat belts walk away unharmed from accidents that would have injured, maimed, or killed them otherwise.)

2. And, they leave out laws against smoking in public, in hospitals, or around children – and community wide smoking cessation programs.

And, they leave out having high taxes on cigarettes and tobacco and increases in those taxes!

Such taxes RAISE money and reduce health care costs both directly from lower amounts of use and by reducing the number of smokers since fewer kids will start and more smokers will quit.

THAT is prevention that not only SAVES money at no cost, it actually PAYS to do it right up front.

The state of California is now considering a $1.50 per pack tax on cigarettes. Any politician who opposes this is either quite uninformed, not quite bright, or taking money in my opinion.

We now know that because smoking directly causes heart disease, harms both nonsmokers subject to second hand smoke and smokers -- & also tends to TRIGGER heart attacks on top of all that, that the measures we’ve just described when effective cut heart disease and heart attacks enough in one year or less to save MORE money in medical costs than the program to do these things in a year or less. And then they continue to save money year after year.

3. They also leave out that EFFECTIVE prevention efforts do save more than they cost. Their example used a program that involved “weight” loss that was clearly meant to help people eat a more health supporting diet, exercise, and lose excess fat.

They also forget to note that some companies, notably the Safeway company that has the supermarket grocery stores in many communities has that kind of program in place. At a time when other businesses of similar size have had dramatic increase in the costs of health care, Safeway has had almost none and has clearly saved millions of dollars a year and continues to do so.

They give an example of someone using a health coach but suggest that at a success rate of only 1 of 9, as a group prevention measure this does not save money on a system basis because all 9 pay & only one gets prevention.

To be sure fatloss IS difficult because virtually all of us are descendants of the people who SURVIVED famines often more than once before having children.

a) But most people in the United States eat so poorly and exercise so little, simply making doable changes that completely avoid triggering the famine response to eat right and get even some regular exercise would help most Americans lose 5 to 20% of their current bodyweight.

The wonderful news is that those changes in health habits and that much fat loss convey dramatic amounts of prevention.

Studies show fat people who do exercise regularly cut their chances of getting related disease almost in half.

And, people who eat enough better without, or better WITH exercise, to lose just 5 to 10 % of their bodyweight show these dramatic amounts of prevention. Their protective HDL cholesterol goes up. Their dangerous LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and C Reactive protein inflammation goes down. If their blood pressure or blood sugars were too high, they go down too.

c) AND, heavy taxes on sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, refined grains, and separate and additional heavy taxes on all soft drinks other than carbonated water would not only raise money for the government, they would tend to make these behavioral changes happen even for people unable or unwilling to make them on their own. Just like cigarette taxes, these taxes would not only slash health care costs, they would have no costs themselves. In fact they would raise money!!

d) Low to low moderate increases in taxes on alcohol would tend to save money and improve health.

Alcoholic beverages give people enjoyment, relieve stress, and can -- when used wisely -- help people socialize. We even now know that one or two drinks a day and half that amount for women actually improve health compared to people who drink none. And we know that red wine and dark beer actually have additional and positive health effects. This level of drinking increases HDL cholesterol for example.

But drinking beyond those levels and/or drinking more than 3 drinks at a time both makes people fat virtually every time and quite often causes injuries, disrupts families, causes deaths and huge amounts of medical care and property damage that would not have happened otherwise.

So, since moderate increases in taxes on alcohol have been shown to prevent that kind of high consumption to some degree, such taxes WOULD be very cost effective prevention.

4. We are beginning to know a large number of ways that people can improve and protect their health that ARE effective. If more people do them, avoidable disease and health care costs will go down.

5. Lastly, arguments against prevention completely lose sight of an extremely important benefit of effective prevention. People who actively work to practice good health habits, exercise regularly, and prevent avoidable disease are from somewhat to dramatically more productive economically than people who do not.

People who die before retirement age are no longer productive! People who are at the doctors office or home sick or involuntarily retired or disabled or in the hospital are not doing productive work.

People who, because of avoidable illness, don’t think well, feel bad enough they don’t concentrate well, who have no energy, or who have leaky memories, or who have very low stress tolerance or resilience are much less productive than people who are healthy and who exercise regularly.

To put it simply, PREVENTION PAYS.

And informed, smart, and effective prevention pays off BIG!!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New info on superfoods….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-23-2009

Today, both the health article in Early to Rise and the feature article in Total Health Breakthroughs were on superfoods.

Recently, we’ve posted about the very strong cancer fighting ability of broccoli sprouts. And, I already knew that they taste much less bitter than broccoli itself. But it seems they also can help prevent or cure ulcers! (That feature article in Total Health Breakthroughs I decided to include directly.)

The Early to Rise article was on whey -- which I’ll summarize.

Then I’ll list a few other superfoods and some ideas for eating them in combination.

1. Here’s the article on broccoli sprouts.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,
visit: http://www.totalhealthbreakthroughs.com ."

Another Reason to Eat Your Broccoli -- Or Sprouts

By Joseph McCaffrey, MD, FACS

You may or may not have heard about a bacterium called Heliobacter pylori – H. pylori for short. It’s a unique bug that can survive in the acid of the stomach. We need to know about it because infection with H. pylori is associated with irritation of the stomach wall, ulcers and even stomach cancer.

The H. pylori story is one of my favorites. I like to remind my colleagues of it when they seem to be a little resistant to a new way of looking at health and wellness.

You see, 20 years or so ago, no one had heard of H. pylori. Ulcers were common and the medical world had a whole theory on what caused them (back in the day, it was all about stomach acid and the resistance of the lining of the stomach to that acid). Experiments seemed to support that theory.

Not only that, we had treatments, both medical and surgical, based on that theory that worked.

There was no mention of H. pylori infection as part of the cause of stomach and duodenal ulcers. In fact, when I was in medical school they taught us that bacteria couldn’t survive in stomach acid.

So when a "crazy" Australian researcher claimed that this weird bacterium he found was really the cause of ulcers, the medical establishment responded with ridicule.

Now, of course, medical professionals know the danger of H. pylori. I think this story also makes a point about the importance of keeping an open mind and not being too sure of what we think we know.

Back to H. pylori...

Treatment of H. pylori reduces the risk of recurrent ulcers as well as the risk of stomach cancers.

However, eradicating H. pylori with traditional medications often proves to be difficult. Physicians typically treat the infection with at least three drugs for 2 or sometimes 4 weeks. Even with that, the success rate is only around 80%.

Now there’s good evidence that a simple green sprout added to your diet can reduce or eliminate H. pylori.

The sprout is question is broccoli. You’ve probably heard that vegetables of the cruciferous class (broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, Brussels sprouts and so forth) are especially good for you. There is any number of beneficial nutrients in these vegetables, but one compound that has been studied extensively is sulforaphane.

Sulforaphane is a phytochemical that triggers the production of beneficial enzymes in the stomach. These enzymes protect against inflammation, free radicals and DNA damage — and have a number of health benefits.

Previous studies have shown regular inclusion of vegetables containing sulforaphane protect against several types of cancer (including bladder cancer), heart disease and may even help arthritis.

Sulforaphane levels are 50 times higher in broccoli sprouts than they are in mature broccoli, and now there’s evidence that broccoli sprouts are effective against H. pylori.

In a study in mice infected with H. pylori, over 70% percent of the infections were cleared in the treated group while none were cleared in the placebo group.1

Other laboratory studies have shown that sulforaphane kills over 90% of tested strains of H. pylori, even those resistant to antibiotics, by 2 mechanisms – induced enzymes and direct effect.2

A more important study in humans infected with H. pylori showed significant suppression of H. pylori infection, if not complete eradication, in people who ate about 2 ounces of broccoli sprouts a day.3

You can make your own sprouts, but they’re widely available under the brand name BroccoSprouts. If I can find them in my little town in upstate New York, you can probably find them where you are.

Even if you don’t have any concerns about H. pylori, including broccoli sprouts in your diet regularly is still a great idea. It’s another example of why we all should emphasize a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in our diets.


1. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 December; 47(12): 3982–3984.
2. PNAS. May 28, 2002 vol. 99; no. 11; 7610-7615.
3. Cancer Prevention Research. 2, 353, April 1, 2009.

[Ed. Note: Joseph F. McCaffrey, MD, FACS is a board-certified surgeon with extensive experience in alternative medicine, including certification as a HeartMath Trainer. His areas of expertise include mind-body interaction and cognitive restructuring. Dr. McCaffrey strives to help people attain their optimum level of vitality through attention to all aspects of wellness…..]”

X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X* X*

It certainly sounds like people who eat broccoli sprouts often are not likely to get ulcers. And it also sounds like eating them daily in addition to the multiple antibiotic treatment for ulcers might very well bring the cure rate from 80% without the sprouts to something like 94% -- to 100 %!

Note that it’s very likely that broccoli sprouts are most effective when eaten raw, just like broccoli itself. I think the reason is that cooking heats the sulforaphane enough to destroy it or make it ineffective.

I also want to mention that I found BroccoSprouts at my local Whole Foods Market in the produce section. And there may well be a Whole Foods Market near you.

2. Whey info.:

The Early to Rise article on whey was written by Yarixa Ferrao.

She points out that other health OK protein sources such as grass-fed beef and wild salmon are NOT cheap. (Clearly one solution is to buy and eat less expensive health OK protein foods most of the time and to eat some grass-fed beef and fresh, wild caught salmon but not super often. Beans and lentils work, so does “old fashioned” -- NOT one minute -- oatmeal, so does nonfat and very lowfat dairy. And, so does canned wild caught salmon. Eggs work to some extent.

In her article she notes that one less expensive alternative is whey protein; & that whey also has many other benefits.

The containers tend to be a bit pricey -- $25 to $40. But a single scoop has 14 to 16 grams of high quality protein. And the containers hold LOTS of scoops full. So per gram of protein, she is correct that whey is inexpensive. (To compare, two eggs has 12 grams of protein total.)

Whey protein is derived from milk. She says whey protein is one of the most bioavailable protein sources. It is high quality protein as well.

And, she has heard as I have, that whey protein works particularly well to help your muscles recover and rebuild, particularly if you eat it soon after you work out.

She likes the whey from www.Americanwhey.com . (I’ve never tried it; but it may be quite good.)

Whey protein is also available in health food stores. (I find stevia to have a taste I both dislike and which tends to overpower other flavors. And, it may be unwise to eat even safe and natural noncaloric sweeteners like stevia as your body then makes you hungrier for real sugar. The good news is that Jarrow makes a whey supplement with no sugar OR stevia.)

She also points out that whatever the source of your protein -- something else, or whey, it's important to drink lots of water to help you digest it, to benefit from it, and to stay hydrated.

That advice also goes well with getting the exercise she also notes is also very important to do to lose weight and get fit.

Protein does turn off hunger well and is a foundation block of eating in a way that helps you to lose excess fat or keep it off – just as she refers to. And, since whey is high in bioavailable and high quality protein plus it has very few carbs and hardly any fat, whey is extremely high in the amount of usable protein you get per calorie.

3. Some ideas for having broccoli sprouts and whey for breakfast.

a) I once tried a blender drink made with:

6.7 ounces (two thirds of a 10 ounce package) of thawed, frozen blueberries that were wild and organic that I got at Whole Foods;

16 ounces of 1% lowfat milk;

2 scoops of whey;

& the broccoli sprouts in the small package of BroccoSprouts I got at Whole Foods.

When I make it next, I’ll try adding a bit of vanilla flavoring to see how that works.

But I liked this health shake just as it was. The blueberries gave it enough flavor & sweetness to make it taste good. The blueberries and the broccoli sprouts provided a good bit of fiber; but were not too gritty; and between the fiber and the 45 grams or so of protein, with just that shake and the supplements I normally take, I wasn’t hungry again until lunch.

Plus blueberries are a superfood that is very high in antioxidants and which not only helps you to stay mentally sharp, they have helped people who had lost a bit mentally to recover their previous mental abilities.

b) You can also use broccoli sprouts in salads.

c) Or for breakfast you could scramble two eggs with several ounces of shell free shrimp and then make a salsa by adding some extra cilantro and a package of broccoli sprouts to some commercial salsa, and the scrambled eggs and shrimp. (The tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic, onion, & or hot spices in the salsa all also have health benefits.)

d) Or you could just put the broccoli sprouts on the scrambled eggs and shrimp

e) You might also like broccoli sprouts and scrambled eggs and shrimp with a good bit of a powdered curry you like.

f) Another way to go would be to top the broccoli sprouts and scrambled eggs and shrimp with guacamole. Avocados are also a superfood. And they have health OK oils.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Be sexier & stronger with less sugar….

Today's Post: Monday, 6-22-2009

Today, the NewsMax email I get had a story that reported that a recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that consuming sugar caused blood glucose levels to rise, stimulating insulin production. The researchers also found that insulin cut testosterone blood levels by as much as 25 percent.

Since normal testosterone levels help people be sexy, be energetic, focus better, feel better, and stay or get strong due to its growth hormone effects AND men tend to have 1.5 % less testosterone per year after age 30, if you are over 30 you’d likely be better off and prefer to not have it drop MORE than that.

Interestingly, it isn’t just sugar, but the rate it enters your blood stream and how quickly your body uses any insulin it produces to lower high blood sugar and for the insulin itself to then drop in its level that determines how much insulin you have in your system.

If you eat a lot of sugar by itself or refined grains or some starchy foods like potato with no skins, your blood sugar surges, your insulin then surges also, and if you don’t get enough exercise overall and enough vigorous exercise such as running, interval cardio, playing a competitive sport, or strength training, your insulin begins to become less effective and then stays high.

We already know this process makes you fatter and tends to produce or produces type 2 diabetes.

But we now know from this research it cuts your testosterone levels too.

What’s the solution?

1. Eat better – or much better.

2. Take supplements that help your body process sugars normally.

3. Exercise every week. And include at least two or three sessions of vigorous exercise such as running, interval cardio, playing a competitive sport, or strength training as part of your exercise each week.

We already knew that doing these 3 things will make you much less fat; slash your risk of type 2 diabetes; and sharply lower your risk of heart disease.

Thanks to this new research, we now know it will make you sexier as well!

1. Here’s some tips on eating better.

Studies show that people who drink diet soft drinks almost always eat more sugary things as a result.

We said this in a recent post.:

“So, to do the job, eliminate all soft drinks—both regular & diet; eat or drink nothing with high fructose corn syrup in it since it’s not only a kind of sugar and often in the worst foods for you, about a third of it is contaminated with mercury. Then simply eat smaller servings of foods with natural sugars or table sugars and eat them far less frequently. Instead of two or three times a day or more eat them two or three times a month.’

In addition, stop eating or virtually never eat foods made from refined grains. Eat some exclusively whole grain foods; and eat some nonstarchy vegetables, health OK protein foods, or health OK fats and oils instead of refined grain foods. Or, you can buffer very small servings of refined grain foods by eating them with nuts, or extra virgin olive oil, or nonstarchy vegetables. Health OK oils and fiber tend to slow the sugar boosting or glycemic effects of refined grains.

Unfortunately, in most people white rice, white potatoes with no skin, and even brown rice tend to produce the same effects as refined grains.

And, all these foods boost your blood sugar MORE than sugar!

Lastly, eat a lot more nonstarchy vegetables, health OK oils, and health OK proteins instead of these high glycemic foods. THOSE foods give you enough blood sugar but they do it slowly and do NOT cause the sharp increases in insulin or frequent high levels of insulin in the blood that cause these negative effects.

Our recent post on Thursday, 6-18, had some ideas on which vegetables work for this AND help prevent cancer.

Health OK proteins include: wild caught fish and seafood from unpolluted areas; some whole grains; beans and lentils, nonfat and very lowfat dairy products; beef fed only grass; very lean grain fed poultry and meat in small amounts; eggs; and nuts that are raw or dry roasted but have nothing else added to them -- & if you are not allergic to them.

Health OK oils include nuts as we just described; wild caught fish and seafood from unpolluted areas; beef fed only grass; extra virgin olive oil; avocados; and purified fish oil supplements.

2. 400 mg a day of magnesium; 200 or a bit more mcg of chromium polynicotinate; and 200 to 600 mg a day of alpha lipoic acid help your body process sugars quickly with less of an insulin surge and can help also.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

3 easy ways to lose more fat….

Today's Post: Friday, 6-19-2009

Yesterday we posted about how many vegetables are not only great for fat loss and why, with many of them, you also get cancer protection, particularly if you buy and eat organic vegetables.

And, in case you missed it, we included one of the 3 easy ways to lose more fat.:

1. Yesterday, Thurs, 6-18-2009, “…Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa’s health email had a reminder that recent research found that drinking only one glass of low-sodium vegetable juice a day helps you lose weight.

In one study, adults who drank at least 8 ounces of low sodium vegetable juice a day lost 4 pounds more than people who ate the same way but didn't drink the juice.

He also had a reminder that Research has found that people whose diets are highest in phytonutrients from plants have the lowest incidence of cancer.

His specialty is treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease; and he also noted that people who drink juice more than 3 times a week are 76% less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

He suggests you go with organic vegetables you juice yourself.

Organic vegetables will prevent cancer better. And by doing it yourself you can juice broccoli, broccoli sprouts, carrots, or kale to get a really healthful drink with no salt added.

(Vitamix makes the best juicer; but any good juicer works.)

But if you eat a very low salt diet otherwise, V8 or regular tomato juice works too for fat loss. They aren’t organic and do have added salt. But you may not have time every day to use and clean a juicer. Those juices will give you the fat loss benefit. And, they can be really easy to add to your diet. (I like the SNAPeTom juice that has the added hot spices.)

You can even get a Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary drink at a bar that has tomato juice. (That would work best for fat loss if you stuck with only one Bloody Mary or ordered a Virgin Mary.)”

So, no matter what else you do, if you simply add one glass of vegetable juice a day, you’ll be about 4 pounds lighter & less fat.

And, yesterday, Thurs, 6-18-2009, the NewsMax email had 5 stories 2 of which were the next two ways to lose more fat that are relatively easy to do.

2. Their second story was about research that found that when people went on a fatloss program, the people who tested at the beginning as having blood levels of vitamin D that were in the high normal and desirable range, they lost several pounds more than people who were quite deficient. In fact, the relationship was almost one to one. Every point of less vitamin D in the blood predicted less fat lost. (Vitamin D is measured in the blood using the measure, ng/mL.)

This means one of two things. Either there is something about the actions of vitamin D in the body that enhances fat loss. Or people who spend more time outside (where they get vitamin D from the sun) tend to lose more fat, possibly because they tend to get more exercise.

I suspect both things are true. And, one of the reasons the level of vitamin D may work directly is because when the level is low, when our ancestors lived outside, that meant less sun and colder weather for which our body fat acted as an internal coat. So holding on to it meant you would be a bit less likely to freeze or get hypothermia.

Walking regularly, whether it’s done inside on a treadmill or outside, does help lose fat. But some people may have very little time for it or no safe place to walk. And there are other exercises people can do inside or in less time that work to remove fat, such as skipping a rope.

But I believe that this finding also means that simply taking the vitamin D3 you should be taking, that we now know for optimum health, for strong bones, and for cancer protection of a total of 2,000 to 4,000 iu a day – or 10,000 a day for a couple of weeks first if your blood levels test low at first, WILL enable you to lose several pounds more fat than you otherwise would have lost. It’s not only easy to do, it’s quite inexpensive. Compared to most supplements, vitamin D3 is cheap. And, given the many health benefits of getting enough vitamin D3, you very likely will save much more on future medical bills than it costs.

3. Their fifth story had information showing that taking in some vinegar (or the acetic acid in it) every day tends to lower high blood sugar and can result in up to either 10 % of your whole bodyweight in less fat gained or 10 % of your whole bodyweight in more fat lost.

The research was done in mice. But the metabolic changes the researchers found strongly suggests it works in people too. And their story starts with the information that vinegar has long been a folk remedy associated with good health.

I think the way vinegar works in people comes from two reasons.

First, it tends to be used in salad dressings or in pickling both of which are done with vegetables and give them a more interesting taste. As we posted about yesterday, the more vegetables you eat the less fat you are. So a way to spice them up that itself has no calories is a good way to go. You can also get flavored vinegars such as Balsamic vinegar. Some Balsamic vinegars have really obnoxious flavors; but some are delicious. And some vinegars from apples, grapes or wine are red in color while Balsamic vinegars are brown. So you can add color to salads with them.

Second, and perhaps the factor in the research with mice, vinegar or acetic acid in some way slows stomach emptying. That benefits fat loss in two ways. Since that means you get the calories more slowly, the resulting glycemic index of what you ate and the amount of insulin your body needs to use to process it goes down. That results in less fat being deposited. And, it means it takes a bit longer before you get hungry again so you eat less as a result of that.

So, if you use vinegar with salads once or twice a day, you eat more vegetables; you deposit less fat from what you eat; and you eat less.

So, my guess is that vinegar works with people to help them lose more fat or not gain it in the first place, just like it did with the mice.

This clearly works less well with a salad dressing that has poor quality oils or mayonnaise and which contains sugar, extra salt, MSG, and/or high fructose corn syrup than it would using the vinegar by itself or with some extra virgin olive oil -- perhaps extra virgin olive oil and vinegar flavored with tomato paste, spices like oregano, and/or crushed or minced fresh garlic.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Way to lose fat & prevent cancer too….

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-18-2009

To lose fat & keep it off, one of the most powerful methods is to eat frequent servings of nonstarchy vegetables every day. And, eating some of the crunchy ones raw each day may even work better.

They have so much fiber and so little sugar, they have very few calories and the fiber takes enough calories to digest, nonstarchy vegetables wind up with close to zero effective calories. Weight Watchers literally lists them as having zero points.

Yet, nonstarchy vegetables both turn off hunger by filling you up AND give you astoundingly good and health supporting nutrition. (This enables you to eat less of foods with more calories with virtually no effort as well. That’s a great benefit!)

Not only that, many nonstarchy vegetables have powerful cancer preventing components. This works much better with organically grown vegetables repeated research has found.

Raw broccoli, raw cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, and most of the other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, water cress, and radishes help prevent cancer.

Raw broccoli florets, raw cauliflower chopped up or eaten as florets, and radishes are all crunchy. That makes them even more hunger cancelling!

Cooked tomatoes and other carotene containing vegetables such as carrots work best if you eat them with extra virgin olive oil by contrast. That makes their carotenoids more bioavailable and you wind up with more in your bloodstream to protect you.

Other than French fries, which are NOT starch free and are so processed, it’s a stretch to call them vegetables, many people eat no vegetables at all.

So they are a good bit fatter and more likely to get many kinds of cancer.

(Warning, if you go in one day from eating hardly any nonstarchy vegetables to 5 or 6 servings a day, your body will rebel. But if you start with one a day for a week and add one more a day at the end of each week, after you wind up eating 5 or 6 servings a day after several weeks, your body will handle it just fine.)

Now, just today, I saw two health items with great, related news.

1. “Whole-cooked carrots "better for fighting cancer" Reuters Weds, 6-17-2009” was an online story that reported research finding that the anti-cancer properties of carrots were 25% greater if they were cooked whole instead of cooked after being diced up. And 80 % of the people tested found the carrots cooked whole tasted better. This was true even if the whole carrots were diced up after cooking.

Apparently less of the cancer preventing nutrient and flavor was washed away or heated away since the whole carrot was less exposed to water and likely cooked at a slightly lower internal temperature.

But wait a minute! How long have they known that something in CARROTS prevented cancer?

The news article had that info too. Dr Kirsten Brandt & professional colleagues at the University of Denmark, discovered the anti-cancer substance falcarinol in carrots 4 years ago.

I checked on Wikipedia and falcarinol is in carrots and real panax ginseng and is a plant based antifungal compound. (Organic produce is likely to have far higher levels of it.)

Here’s a quote from Wikipedia: “Falcarinol is thought to reduce the risk of developing cancer, as a research team from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and Danish Universities found in February 2005.”

So, you could have a snack with carrot sticks, broccoli florets, and radishes and get plenty of crunch plus a decent amount of cancer prevention at the same time.

2. Today Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa’s health email had a reminder that recent research found that drinking only one glass of low-sodium vegetable juice a day helps you lose weight.

In one study, adults who drank at least 8 ounces of low sodium vegetable juice a day lost 4 pounds more than people who ate the same way but didn't drink the juice.

He also had a reminder that Research has found that people whose diets are highest in phytonutrients from plants have the lowest incidence of cancer.

His specialty is treating and preventing Alzheimer's disease; and he also noted that people who drink juice more than 3 times a week are 76% less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

He suggests you go with organic vegetables you juice yourself.

Organic vegetables will prevent cancer better. And by doing it yourself you can juice broccoli, broccoli sprouts, carrots, or kale to get a really healthful drink with no salt added.

(Vitamix makes the best juicer; but any good juicer works.)

But if you eat a very low salt diet otherwise, V8 or regular tomato juice works too for fat loss. They aren’t organic and do have added salt. But you may not have time every day to use and clean a juicer. Those juices will give you the fat loss benefit. And, they can be really easy to add to your diet. (I like the SNAPeTom juice that has the added hot spices.)

You can even get a Bloody Mary or Virgin Mary drink at a bar that has tomato juice. (That would work best for fat loss if you stuck with only one Bloody Mary or ordered a Virgin Mary.)

And, the same day, you can eat raw organic broccoli florets and organic carrots both cooked and raw to add to the fat loss benefit and add the cancer prevention.

You can also get freshly made vegetable juice drinks at many Whole Foods Markets.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Have a purpose in life to live longer….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-16-2009

Today’s HealthDay News that I found online under Yahoo health news reports a study that found that if you have a purpose in life –
whether it’s an ambitious mission in life, doing volunteer work that you feel makes a small positive difference, gradually getting your yard in shape, or reading all the 23 books your favorite author ever wrote, you'll live longer.

If you are working towards a goal that you care about reaching, it literally can be ambitious or quite modest.

But if you do you’ll live longer.

How powerful is this?

Even in people who were disabled or who had pre-existing medical problems, having this kind of purpose cut the death rate of the people who had one in half -- compared with people who had none!

When I saw this, I remembered seeing separate research showing that people who had a strong purpose in life had better heath & were dramatically more resilient in dealing with stress than people who didn’t.

But the neat thing that this study found is that even much more modest goals improved your health about as much.

The article noted that it might be that people who have goals had some kind of separate advantage that caused them to both have goals and to have better health.

I think that’s both true and false.

If you had parents or a mentor or teacher as a role model who was good at achieving goals or they taught you how to achieve goals successfully, you are more likely to have goals.

If you are proactive and have found you can achieve goals that you set on your own, you are more likely to usually have a goal or two in your life.

Or if you have read something that inspired you, you may have a goal as a result.

But the nature of working towards a goal and the way it engages your efforts and give a focus to some of your life are such that it turns on your brain to use more of its abilities. I believe that improves your health directly.

In addition to that, when you make choices that might harm you or improve your health, if you are working towards a goal, you are much more likely to make choices that avoid likely harm and that protect your health. THAT makes a very definite positive difference to your health.

Lastly, the process of achieving goals is such that doing so tends to teach you to be prudently optimistic. You look for solutions or causes and try again if something goes wrong. And, when you make progress successfully it tends to make you feel as if you can do the things you care about even if it looks hard to others.

Separate studies have found that people who think that way have better health in almost every category.

So, even if you didn’t have earlier experiences with achieving goals and you don’t have one now, I’m firmly convinced if you find one you care about and begin working towards it, you’ll get this effect.

And, health related goals can be twice as effective.

Say you don’t get any exercise now and cannot walk more than a few minutes without getting too tired. One way to have a goal is to decide to do a daily walk until you can not only walk for 20 minutes each day, you can walk briskly for sections of it without feeling it was too hard. Let’s say that walking for more than four minutes makes you feel really blasted. Start with daily two minute walks at an easy pace.
Then after a week do a 3 minute walk each day. By the week after that, you’ll find that you can easily do a 4 minute walk each day without feeling tired. Then just keep going; do a five minute walk the week after that; then go to six and so on until you walk for 20 minutes a day. Then once you are used to that, walk briskly for one or two short parts of it and keep adding more parts until you walk briskly for most of your walk.

Or you once you can walk for 5 minutes a day easily, do two walks each day. Walk for 5 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes and walk for five more. Then do two 6 minute walks but just rest for 8 minutes in between until you do two 9 minute walks with just 2 minutes in between. Then try just doing a 20 minute walk. Then once you are used to that, walk briskly for one or two short parts of it and keep adding more parts until you walk briskly for most of your walk.

That will help you live longer two ways. Not only you had a goal while you were doing it, you also beginning to do the exercise that also has been shown to slow aging and increase longevity.

Another way to live longer two ways is by volunteering. You can set goals for your volunteer efforts which helps you live longer. But in addition to that, every time you volunteer, no matter what for, you wind up meeting and talking to new people more or meeting and talking to people you already know more often. Then you have goals AND you have more social interaction too. And they both increase longevity.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

How Sugar fattens you….

Today's Post: Monday, 6-15-2009

Last Friday we posted that it is now definite that using and eating MSG will tend to make and keep you fat.

But MSG is a lightweight compared with sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Here are just a few of the related facts I’ve seen just in the last couple of days.

One expert said that the average American eats 160 pounds of sugar a year. He then goes on to say the maximum amount our bodies can handle and stay healthy is closer to 10 to 15 pounds a year.

Another said that by the time you add all the kinds of sugar, from truly natural kinds like honey; and table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, the average American eats 25 % of their calories from sugar.

If these things are correct, which I suspect they are, it’s no surprise most Americans today are fat enough to be overweight or obese.

But the good news is that if you cut back to the amount your body can actually handle, that’s about 90% of the sugar you may well be getting now and 22.5 % of your calories. Even if you only lost 15 % of your bodyweight as fat by doing this, that’s a massive positive difference in every one of your significant health measures.

Would you like to be 15% lighter and have all the pounds you lost be fat?

Not only is it quite possible to do just that for many of us, NOT eating sugar tends to leave our hunger alone or actually have it go down!

(Unfortunately, in addition to the risk of side effects from the chemicals our bodies were not designed to ingest, using any but the tiniest amount of artificial sugars makes our bodies crave the real thing enough that people who do this wind up fat and sick anyway research has found.)

Not only that, too much sugar tends to lower your protective HDL cholesterol, increase your LDL, and sharply increase your triglycerides, and tends to boost your blood sugar too high for good health. That makes it dangerous for your heart and circulation in addition to making you fat.

So, to do the job, eliminate all soft drinks—both regular & diet; eat or drink nothing with high fructose corn syrup in it since it’s not only a kind of sugar and often in the worst foods for you, about a third of it is contaminated with mercury. Then simply eat smaller servings of foods with natural sugars or table sugars and eat them far less frequently. Instead of two or three times a day or more eat them two or three times a month.

In addition, the TotalHealthBreakthroughs email last week had some facts that help explain HOW sugar makes you so fat.

Here’s that article.:

"This article appears courtesy of Early to Rise's Total Health Breakthroughs, offering alternative solutions for mind, body and soul. For a complimentary subscription,
visit http://www.totalhealthbreakthroughs.com"

Sweet Seduction

By Stan Gardner, MD

It pervades our lives, infiltrates our food supply, changes our behavior, interferes with our brain and body function, and can ultimately lead to aches, pains, and disease -- with early death as a side effect. Yet this subtle deceiver is featured at every party and every holiday, given as gifts to loved ones, and paraded before our eyes in an enticing panorama of tempting tastes.

You guessed it -- I'm talking about sugar.

If you want to jumpstart your energy, enhance your overall health, and strengthen your immune system, you'll want to pay careful attention to how you can get off of sugar simply and painlessly.

Researchers recently reported at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology,1 that sugar induced a reaction in the brain of rats similar to the reaction of morphine and other drugs. This may be the first scientific evidence of what we have suspected for years -- sugar is addictive. When I reported this finding on my website, I was flooded with hundreds of pleas for help to get off sugar addiction.

Even knowing the harmful effects that sugar has on our bodies does not stop the cravings and the addictive behavior. One reader wrote, "Please hurry, I need to get off the sugar roller coaster... and get healthy again."

Another writer said, "I have always wanted to be free of my sugar addiction... It just feels like I (and my family) would have to be in a bubble to avoid all that sugar. I was in the store yesterday and passed by a big display of Easter candy. I just got through Valentine's. Help!"

We find sugar or its manufactured counterpart, high fructose corn syrup, in almost all processed food. That is, all food placed in a can or a box. It's even added to ketchup! Soda pop is one of the most pervasive sources of sugar in America.

In order to understand the effects of sugar on our bodies, we need to first understand the normal metabolism of carbohydrates in our bodies. There is no known "minimum daily requirement" for carbohydrate ingestion into our bodies like there is for proteins and fats. All carbohydrates eventually break down into glucose.

Unlike complex carbs (from natural fruit and vegetable sources), which take more effort to digest, and release their sugar load more slowly, simple carbs (including foods containing refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup) break down quickly, with immediate absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.

This immediate release of blood glucose initiates the production of high levels of insulin to help the cells absorb the glucose. And with this reaction, another set of problems arises. High insulin levels increase fat formation and storage, while inhibiting fat breakdown to be used as energy. This makes it easy to gain weight, and VERY difficult to lose weight.

High insulin also enhances sodium (salt) re-absorption from the kidneys, thus promoting water retention and hypertension. High insulin levels can stimulate certain ovarian hormones that result in elevations in free testosterone, which can lead to male sex characteristics in women.
If you want to get off the sugar roller coaster and permanently improve your health, here are some tips to help you on your way.

Use fruit as a substitute. Fruit should be the sweetest thing you ingest. In the long term, fruit will fulfill your need for sweets.

Don't have sugar in the house. Don't buy more sweets. Try the "don't buy it diet."

Find a buddy to cheer you on, and one you can cheer on in your journey to health.
Try two supplements that have helped some people with their cravings: the herb Gymnema and the amino acid L-glutamine.

Be sure to take a potent multivitamin and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (finely ground flax seed oil may be your best choice, because it has both).

Love your body as it is (inside AND outside). Address emotional issues that may be affecting your image or attitudes toward eating and health.

Focus on "real" food -- natural organic meats and produce with no sugar or chemical additives.
Give it time and realize you are making important, lifelong changes. Perhaps soon, you'll be writing me a message similar to this one:

"I have known for some time that I am addicted to sugar. In September I cut out (for the most part) white refined flour and white refined sugar. I weigh myself every six weeks. Last time I weighed, I was down 20 pounds in 18 weeks. I look better, but more importantly, I feel better. This whole experience has made me want to learn more about sugar and its addictive nature."
To your dynamic health and energy!

Stan Gardner, MD

American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, source: http://www.acnp.org .
[Ed. Note: Stan Gardner, MD, has practiced energy and alternative medicine for over 10 years. He believes that many diseases could be prevented entirely, healed more quickly, and cause less damaging results through the application of proper nutrition…..]”

(He has a website you can visit.)

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A separate article points out that although eating sugar boosts your serotonin levels which tends to make you feel better, eating a lot of sugar tends to provide so much, your body make less. So you don’t feel as good without the sugar. That’s why sugar is so addictive.

And to highlight how sugar fattens, here is the key part of the article again with the key part set in bold.:

“simple carbs (including foods containing refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup) break down quickly, with immediate absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.

This immediate release of blood glucose initiates the production of high levels of insulin to help the cells absorb the glucose. And with this reaction, another set of problems arises. High insulin levels increase fat formation and storage, while inhibiting fat breakdown to be used as energy. This makes it easy to gain weight, and VERY difficult to lose weight.

High insulin also enhances sodium (salt) re-absorption from the kidneys, thus promoting water retention and hypertension.“

(Also note that this boosts your blood pressure enough to cause problems two ways. Not only do you tend to retain sodium which you likely get too much of, being fat directly causes high blood pressure as well.)

What I’ve found to work is to first eliminate all soft drinks, all foods or other drinks with high fructose corn syrup, refined grain flour and the foods made of it, white rice, white potatoes, and then to gradually cut my intake of regular sugar in half. I now eat about one fourth to one eighth of what I used to eat. And I’m about to cut that intake in half again.

I still love sugar; and I still eat it. But I am not eating any where near as much as I was. And by stepping down gradually this way, I find I don’t miss it as I would have likely done if I had simply eliminated it all at one pass.

Lastly, here is a list of foods that you now have to check the labels to avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup that I also saw just recently.:

Spaghetti & pasta sauce. Some of them have a lot of sugar. Some have less. And some have none. They all taste good so pick one with less or none.

Ketchup. Most kinds today have high fructose corn syrup; & many get as much as 20% of their calories from HFCS or sugar.

Most reduced fat and low fat products. These are often advertised as appropriate for weight loss & do have less fat. Unfortunately they add back sugar instead, so the product with less fat also is NOT as good as the original for fat loss. And that’s often true not only for things like cookies that normally have sugar; but for things like salad dressing that normally do not.

Bread. Bread today is often really bad for you. Not only does it tend to contain all or mostly refined grain flour that kicks your blood sugar as badly or worse than sugar, many – if not most – commercial breads have sugar or high fructose corn syrup. And many still have junk oils or hydrogenated oils with transfats. So eat less bread overall. And to the best of your ability ONLY eat bread that is 100 % from whole wheat or whole sprouted grains.

Potato Chips. These are very much like bread made from refined grain flour. The potato used kicks your blood sugar as badly or worse than sugar. Many contain sugar too. And many still have junk oils or hydrogenated oils with transfats. Then they are usually highly salted. They rank down at the bottom with soft drinks. Our suggestion is to never eat them at all. That saves having to read the labels!

High protein energy bars. Not only do most of these use extracted soy protein that many experts believe is bad for you to eat as a protein source, almost all of them contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar. And many still have junk oils or hydrogenated oils with transfats.

A very few use whey or egg or raw nuts for protein and real fruit for sweetening. Only eat those and stop consuming the rest if you want to avoid being fat and sick. (I’ve found raw pecans or raw pecans and raisins to be a great substitute. Eating a boiled egg also works.)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

How MSG fattens you....

Today's Post: Friday, 6-12-2009

Dr Russell Blaylock is one of the MD’s I get health information emails from. The free info varies as all his emails make an effort to sell his subscription service to access all his information.

However, on numerous occasions, he has claimed that getting MSG in food tends to make you fat.

(Others have said it may cause nerve damage. And the S in MSG is sodium, so since most people get too much sodium from salt and many are extra sensitive to blood pressure increases from too much sodium, it makes sense at the very least to not ingest MSG often.)

But as far as MSG being a fattening agent, I’d heard that nowhere else and have wondered if there was anything to it or not.

My knowledge is now upgraded. MSG DOES help make you fat. And, we even know how it does so.

I learned this in last Wednesday’s Early to Rise email.

Here’s the article:

"This article appears courtesy of Early To Rise, a free newsletter dedicated to making money, improving health and secrets to success. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.earlytorise.com ."

"MSG and Weight Gain

By James B. LaValle

Many people avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG) - the so-called "safe" flavor enhancer - because they get a headache or upset stomach after eating it. But here's another reason to avoid MSG: It might be causing you to gain weight.

MSG has been used for some time to "fatten up" lab rats for experimental purposes - but no one knew for sure if it had the same effect on people. So researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in China set out to study just that.

The researchers compared the MSG consumption of more than 750 Chinese men and women aged 40 to 59. (In China, MSG is commonly used in home cooking, as well as in restaurants and packaged foods.
And, in fact, the study found that approximately 82 percent of the subjects used MSG when they prepared food at home.) Those who consumed the most MSG were almost three times as likely to be overweight as compared to those who did not use MSG, even when adjustments were made for physical activity, caloric intake, and other variables that could be related to weight gain.

The researchers are now trying to determine why MSG causes weight gain. One theory is based on the observation that when lab rats are given MSG, they eat more, indicating that MSG somehow influences appetite signals from the brain.

Another concern is the way MSG affects blood sugar. In a 2000 study published in the journal Physiological Research, normal rats were turned into insulin resistant rats by feeding them MSG. The MSG-treated rats also stored glucose as fat more readily than normal rats.

Whatever the reason, it appears that one way to help control your weight is to reduce your intake of MSG.

In the U.S., most people do not use MSG in home cooking, though it is an ingredient in the flavor enhancer Accent. You are more likely to get MSG in restaurant food. You can't control the way food is prepared when you eat out, but you can at least make sure you read the labels when you shop at the grocery store. Foods to watch out for include soups (especially Asian-noodle type soups) and salad dressings. Many flavor-coated foods - like ranch or barbeque flavored chips and nuts - also contain a significant amount of MSG.

[Ed. Note: It truly is possible to improve your health just by making wise choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle. James B. LaValle, RPh, ND, CCN - founder of the LaValle Metabolic Institute and a nationally recognized expert on natural therapies - can give you easy-to-understand directions for living the healthy life you've always wanted. ....]"

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So, since MSG makes foods taste a bit better even if they are not very well made let alone if they are spiced by a master cook, it does tend to make you eat more total food. That’s not a crime exactly. But when it’s done to foods that are truly bad for you like potato chips, that’s really bad. So, using it in such foods clearly helps make and keep people fat.

But Dr Blaylock is right. The data show that MSG makes people who eat the same amount and exercise the same amount but ingest more MSG get fatter than those who get less MSG.

So, since people who use MSG often tend to eat more and have what they eat make them fatter, MSG is doubly effective as a fattening agent. This is particularly so if you ingest it often.

But MSG is even worse than that. It apparently helps cause insulin resistance and makes insulin and blood sugar more fattening. That in turn, if you keep ingesting MSG, increases the amount of excess insulin and blood sugar in your blood! So MSG becomes even more fattening the longer you consume it often.

Given the cost of treating diseases such as type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, and higher levels of obesity and the heart disease they tend to cause or make worse, MSG begins to look as bad for you as smoking or trans fats.

Since it does make foods taste good -- and it is at least possible to use it but not use it often, I suspect it will always be a legal food additive.

But the health damaging effects of heavy use of MSG are so clear now, there is absolutely NO excuse for ever having it in foods or spices where that is not clearly and completely disclosed.

That means it should be a hefty fine if any menu item or sauce in a restaurant contains MSG that is not disclosed on the menu.

And, it means that every food sold that can have a label MUST disclose if it has MSG in it, call it MSG, and say how much is in the food per serving and per package.

Since using less MSG is clearly called for, it should also be assessed an increasing health penalty tax by both the federal government and by the individual states.

Today, MSG can be called autolized yeast and a whole list of other terms that hide that the real ingredient is MSG.

Also, most spices today that contain mixes of spices list the main spices and a term such as spices, other spices, or natural spices without disclosing what the term actually stands for. Since the company may have a proprietary set of spices they prefer not to disclose, using such a term is understandable.

But, today, to be sure that term doesn’t include MSG, you have to contact the company and ask them. Then you have to hope the person at the company you contacted knows if it does or not and will tell you the truth. Or you have to find an appropriate lab and pay out of pocket to have it tested.

That’s NOT OK for an ingredient that makes people fat when that has become such an expensive and growing problem.

The only good news is that surely some of the makers of spices and sauces and some restaurants will recognize that providing their stuff MSG free and advertising that will gain them health oriented and upscale customers. Some Chinese restaurants do that now.

And, as the fattening qualities of MSG become better and better known, these ways of helping you escape using it often will increase.

In the mean time, avoid ingesting MSG as much as you can. And hope that avoiding MSG will get easier soon.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Self-test to control blood sugar….

Today's Post: Thursday, 6-11-2009

If you have a sore throat you know you are sick or may be coming down sick. But in the early stages, if you have high blood sugar, you may be completely clueless that you do.

Why worry about that?

For two reasons.:

It’s like correcting being a bit off course while flying in the early stages.

First, if you find out in the early stages while your blood sugar is only a little high, it’s much easier to correct and may even be fully reversible.

Second, you don’t wind up somewhere you didn’t want to go -- maybe even crash landing.

Blood sugar being too high is very like that. If it’s only a bit too high, you can still eat better and exercise more or better and put it back where it should be.

But if you wait until it’s much higher one of two things will happen, after your doctor or health plan tests you for high blood sugar, your doctor will diagnose you with type 2 diabetes and insist on having you take drugs for it – OR you’ll get frightening symptoms from the damage the high blood sugar is causing you as your first sign it’s high. NOT good!

That can be an unexpected heart attack or suddenly having numbness in different places or suddenly having blurry vision as you drive on the freeway.

And, if it’s uncorrected if after it gets really high, high blood sugar can cause blindness, senility, heart attacks, kidney damage bad enough to cause death or require dialysis, and/or foot amputation.

In addition, your body will have developed damage in its systems to correct the high blood sugar and it can be much, much harder to correct with eating better, exercise, and other nondrug methods.

The old situation was this.:

Until just recently, you had to get a fasting glucose test or a special test of your average blood sugar over the past 60 to 90 days called the HBA1C test to know if your blood sugar was too high. And you had to have your doctor or your health plan authorize that.

(Since your red blood cells live about 60 to 90 days, by testing the sugar stuck to them, the HBA1C test gives you a rather precise and accurate measure of your average blood sugar during that time. It’s so accurate in fact, doctors are now told to always use it to diagnose type 2 diabetes instead of fasting glucose which can be misleadingly high or low occasionally.)

So, you had to pay for a doctor visit &/or have health insurance to get these tests.

And, if your blood sugar was only a little high, you could have drugs prescribed for you or be diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes which then stays on your record permanently even if you later reverse the high blood sugar by eating better and exercise.

The consequences of having high blood sugar are so horrible, it was still a good idea to do.

And, if your blood sugar is quite high and you don’t yet know, it can save your life to have it tested that way even now.

But that was last month.

Today, you can test for it yourself for only about $30.

A company in the Silicon Valley, called Metrika, developed a simple and easy to use portable tester for HBA1C. It did work; but they didn’t have the manufacturing expertise to make thousands of them that were both accurate and reasonably priced.

But the drug giant Bayer bought them. Bayer had the money to hire the expertise and already had some of it inhouse in their drug manufacturing lines.

First, they made a version that they sold to doctors who then used it to get fast results when testing patients in their offices.

But they also began work on a version they could sell over the counter just like you can buy at home blood pressure testers.

It took them many months to get it right well enough to release it with the Bayer name on it. But they did.

Now, for about $30 you can buy a kit that will give you two HBA1C tests at home.

http://www.a1cnow.com/patients-families/a1cnow-self/ is the page that tells about it though it is clearly meant to be used mostly by people who already have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes instead of by people who may well not have it testing to see if their blood sugar is OK or beginning to be too high or already is too high.

That page has a link to this one: http://www.a1cnow.com/patients-families/a1cnow-self/

And, on that page it has a link to where you can buy it now through Walgreens online drugstore.

(They plan to add other retailers soon as well.)

So for about $30 you can test yourself to see where you are now with your blood sugar.

And, if it’s a bit high but not in the scary zone yet, you can test yourself again in 3 months to see if the fixes you did by eating less sugar etc and exercising more have put it back in the safe zone or not.

Here’s what the numbers mean.:

An HBA1C test of 5.8 or less is good and less than 5.5 is better.

From 5.8 to 5.9, that’s close enough to too high you should eat sugar less often, eliminate soft drinks of every kind, stop eating foods with high fructose corn syrup or refined grains in them and white potatoes; and you should get more regular exercise – at least some walking each week. (The good news is that if you do this, you’ll automatically begin to lose excess fat with no extra effort. You may even be LESS hungry.)

Some doctors will classify you as having type 2 diabetes at 6.0 to 6.4. I recently saw that the mainstream position may be to wait until 6.5 or higher to do so. But know this, if you have a reading of 6.0 to 6.4 now, you will have a reading of 6.5 or higher soon unless you take strong corrective steps. In addition to eating right, it is essential that you begin to build up to regular, vigorous exercise from strength training or interval cardio done every week, preferably both.

And, it may pay you to see your doctor. You definitely want to take strong, focused, and sustained action until you get your HBA1C at 5.9 or below as soon as you can.

At 6.5 to 6.9 you should immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor.

And, at 7.0 or even a bit higher, the appointment should be within a few days!

Above 6.5 your health of every kind is at stake in bringing down your blood sugar levels -- with drugs if you have to. And, at these levels, you should be taking the drugs.

Blood sugar that high begins to destroy your capillaries. Every part of you depends on good circulation of your blood as delivered by healthy capillaries. You want turn off the destruction before you lose something like your sight or your kidneys or your life!

Now you can get an early look at where you stand on blood sugar for just a few dollars.

Metrika and Bayer have created a lifesaving test.

Try it out. You may be VERY glad you did.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Curcumin may eliminate Alzheimer’s directly….

Today's Post: Tuesday, 6-9-2009

The original observation was that in India where most people were eating curried foods often, Alzheimer’s disease was rare or at least very much less frequent than in other places. In fact, some of these population studies found that people who only ate curried foods two or three times a week were less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

And, in curry, the most common ingredient is the spice turmeric with its distinctive yellow color that contains the active ingredient curcumin.

On this basis many people began taking curcumin or turmeric supplements. When I read that there might well be something to this I began doing so myself.

Last Saturday I got the periodic health news email that the NewsMax people send out that always has 4 or 5 of the current health news stories that their editorial staff thinks important or that they think might be of interest to readers.

The lead story on Saturday, 6-6-2009 was entitled, “Spice of Life Might Help Prevent Alzheimer’s.”

But the story was actually a good bit more exciting. It seems researchers have found evidence that curcumin not only does prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it also was able to remove its cause after it had developed.

The only maybe about it is that they tested this to be so in mice. Not every finding in mice or other nonhuman lab animals tests out as true for humans. But the combination of this new research and the population studies make it look close to certain that it does.

That means that in addition to doing the things that are known to keep your brain active and well supplied with good circulation such as avoiding type 2 diabetes, regular exercise, regular socializing, and learning new things, people can also take a daily curcumin supplement and also avoid Alzheimer’s disease.

And, it makes it look likely that early stage Alzheimer’s disease might be reversed by taking curcumin -- although the amount might be greater than required for prevention.

The apparent cause of Alzheimer’s disease is the damage to brain neurons from a build up of amyloid plaques. These amyloid plaques prevent communication between neurons so they become useless or kill the neurons or both.

It seems that at researchers at Duke in the Duke University Medical Center used some mice that had been genetically modified to reliably develop these plaques.

But when they fed curcumin to these genetically vulnerable mice from a young age, virtually no plaques developed. But even more exciting was when they fed high doses of curcumin to other mice that had already developed these amyloid plaques, the plaques gradually disappeared.

In addition, to be sure these findings work in people, the story reported that a human clinical trial is now being done in California.

The other reason to take curcumin or eat curried foods containing it is that the incidence of all cancers is also lower in India than elsewhere.

This may be due to different environmental factors such as what has been much lower use of herbicides and pesticides in India. But the NewsMax article ending by saying that turmeric and curcumin are also being studied to see if they also help prevent cancer as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

And, it added something I had not yet heard, that turmeric and curcumin are also being studied to see if they might help prevent arthritis.

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