Monday, February 28, 2011

Study shows to take more vitamin D than most people to prevent cancer successfully....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-28-2011

Recently a suggested amount for vitamin D intake was published suggesting that 600 to 800 iu a day was a better amount than the old 400 iu a day.

Most of the recent research shows this standard was set incompetently low.

But it’s always nice to have a specific study to look at to be sure this is the case.

Today we have one showing that you need to take in the range of 4,000 to 8,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 to prevent many cancers.

But they found doing so quite worth doing since the protection was substantial – up to 50%.

Breast cancer was one of the kinds included in this protection. That suggests that prostate cancer and ovarian cancer might also be reduced that much.

First a little background is in order.

4,000 to 8,000 iu sounds like a lot. But here is why it really isn’t.

On a summer day, your body will often make 10,000 to 30,000 from exposure to sunlight. That suggests rather strongly that taking up to 10,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is extremely safe. Your body is set up to deal with a good deal more than that.

Second, a study was done showing your body will make use of at least 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 if it is available.

And, in one study I saw, the health benefit they looked at for taking vitamin D3 didn’t show up at all at a 1,000 iu intake but did at 1700 iu or more.

So, we already know that about 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 is the real minimum amount needed for health benefits and that the optimum level is between 2,000 & 10,000 iu a day.

Now for many cancers, we have a study confirming this.

“Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk” was published on the internet on Sunday, 2-27-2011, yesterday by: (HealthDay News)

The researcher, Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California at San Diego, was quoted as saying this:

"We found that daily intakes of vitamin D by adults in the range of 4,000-8,000 IU are needed to maintain blood levels of vitamin D metabolites in the range needed to reduce by about half the risk of several diseases -- breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes."

He was a co-author of the study and noted that he was surprised that the levels needed were so much higher than the 400 IU a day needed to prevent rickets in the 20th century. (Below, we’ll give the two likely reasons for that.)

This study also involved the Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha.

They did a survey of several thousand people who took vitamin D3 supplements ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 IU per day.

The researchers then did blood tests to determine the levels of vitamin D metabolites in their blood. That way the researchers got a rather exact idea of how much vitamin D people needed to take each day to get their blood level of vitamin D to the levels that the researchers already knew to be protective.

The story also noted that there are studies showing that only 10 percent of people in the United States have the appropriate level of the vitamin D-related metabolites in their blood to prevent diseases linked to a deficiency of vitamin D.

Until recently, most of these people in that 10 % have worked outdoors, where their vitamin D levels were boosted through sun exposure.

Last year, a National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee announced that 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D appears safe for adults and kids aged 9 and up.

(That’s on the very conservative side for adults. But it may be closer to the mark for children in the 9 to 12 range since they literally often weigh half of what they will when they adults. But even for them, 5,000 iu is likely quite safe.

Researcher Dr Cedric Garland also said this in the press release about their study.:

"Now that the results of this study are in, it will become common for almost every adult to take 4000 IU/day," "This is comfortably under the 10,000 IU/day that the IOM Committee Report considers as the lower limit of risk, and the benefits are substantial."

The study was published in the journal, Anticancer Research.

X* X* X* X*

My further comments:

When it was found that vitamin D prevented rickets, no one had TVs and most people spent time after work and on weekends outside in some kind of active recreation.

Far more people spent time walking as all or part of their daily commute than is common in the United States today.

And, many more people had jobs that were done outside.

So most people tended to get far more sun generated vitamin D than is true now.

In addition, rickets apparently only needs to prevent it just enough vitamin D to prevent severe deficiency.

But for the best protection from cancers and autoimmune diseases and for truly strong bones and a healthy heart, most people today need to take closer to the optimum daily intake of vitamin D3 as a supplement.

The good news is that 1,000 iu capsules of vitamin D3 are relatively inexpensive. Last time I checked you could get 100 such capsules from Carlson at a health food store for $8 or less – including state sales tax.

And, you can also get 4,000 and 5,000 iu capsules for similar prices per 1,000 iu of vitamin D3.

I decided some time ago to take a 400 and a 1,000 capsule with breakfast and the same again after dinner and to take a 5,000 capsule with my lunch. Since I also get 400 iu in my multivitamin that gives me 8200 iu a day of vitamin D3.

I spend most days inside in my job and currently my wife and I drive to and from work.

Given that and the total of a bit less than 10,000 I decided is about what I likely need to take for best results. And, it clearly is safe.

Some doctors who actually test the blood levels of vitamin D of their patients do give 50,000 iu a day at first until their patients get to desirable blood levels.

But that is close enough to the 100,000 iu a day at which some harm is reported according to Wikipedia that 50,000 iu a day may be a bit too much for some people if they keep doing it every single day.

But under such a doctor’s care, taking that much on a temporary basis is likely safe. And, a bit under 10,000 iu clearly is safe.

Now that this study has been done, I agree with its co-author, most knowledgeable people will take at least 4,000 iu a day of vitamin D3.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Nondrug ways to prevent or remove joint pain...

Today's Post: Friday, 2-25-2011

This is a tricky area. Short of strong opiate drugs, your attitude is more powerful than many people realize.

A recent study found that people who believe a pain killer will work get good results even if the pill they get contains none.

But, they also got sharply reduced results from drugs that have proven in double bind studies to reduce pain if they doubt the drug will help them.

Given that, here are two ways to prevent or remove joint pain without drugs.

The supplements in the first part may work for you or if you are a bit of a disbeliever in them, they may not.

However, the two things in the second part of this post work for sure and have many other health benefits.

So, I strongly recommend them.

1. There are many supplements that may help joint pain according to some studies.

If you think they will or might work, they may well be worth taking. If you believe there’s no chance they will work, it might be better to pass based on this new study.

I take most of them since I think some work and some might. So far taking those supplements and my other health protecting practices are working and I rarely feel joint pain. I’ve read that’s rare for people my age.

These include glucosamine, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and shea oil supplements sold as FlexNow.

Celery seed extract has studies showing it helps prevent or turn down gout which is a cause of joint pain and damage.

Glucosamine and the shea oil have some studies showing that they help restore or repair the surfaces of your joints. (It also helps that I read there are no known allergies to shea oil.)

Hyaluronic acid helps the shock absorbing materials in your joints stay hydrated which helps them to be effective and more effective than they would be otherwise.

MSM seems mostly to dial back the pain response from what I’ve read and might help to heal damage too.

2. There are two things that are much more certain to work however.

Since they both have massive health benefits in other areas, even if you pass on all the supplements in the group above, you might consider these two methods.

a) People evolved in a time when they got more omega 3 oil in their food than the average American does now. And, because they did NOT eat meat from animals fed corn which is high in omega 6 oils and did not use oils high in omega 6, they got something like a tenth of the omega 6 oils the average American gets now.

Before people got about the same amount of omega 3 & omega 6 oils, a one to one ratio.

Now, many people have 16 to 20 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 in their food and their bodies.

Unfortunately, that cause chronic inflammation which causes heart disease and helps cause many cancers.

And, it also makes an joint inflammation and pain far worse. It’s like pouring hot sauce on them internally -- or pouring gasoline on a fire!

So, if you

stop eating refined grain foods since the grains are high in omega 6;

stop using oils high in omega 6, corn, soy, canola, and safflower and use extra virgin olive oil instead;

eat other proteins besides meat from grain fed animals such as nuts, beans and lentils, animals fed only grass, and wild caught fish (Note that farmed fish do NOT work for this. They are fed grain unfortunately and even worse are very high in multiple pollutants.)

– OR when you eat meat from grain fed animals, you only eat it occasionally and only eat the most fat reduced kinds and trim all the visible fat;

and, you take omega 3 supplements daily from purified fish oil and eat wild caught fish high in omega 3 oils two or three times a week,

-- you will slash your chronic inflammation.

You will cut your risk for heart disease and cancer. But in addition, any joint pain you did have short of that caused by severe damage will get a lot better.

In fact, one study found that just taking the omega 3 supplements, just a part of what you can do, got equal results to taking over the counter pain medications.

Second, an email I got today from the Real Age people notes a study that doing this set of things strongly prevents your telomeres from shortening. That literally slows aging. Since aging tends to produce joint damage, doing this set of things not only reduces inflammation and pain, it helps prevent the damage that causes it by turning off one of its causes!

b) Curcumin from supplements taken from the spice turmeric or eating curried foods often that have the yellow color of the turmeric in them does several super things.

Studies find it strongly preventive for Alzheimer's disease.

It helps prevent many cancers.

But it does even better with joint pain.

It not only lowers inflammation quite a bit, it prevents a kind of excess blood vessel growth inside your joints that increases the damage and prevents repair.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Effective ways to protect your heart, part 3....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-24-2011

Last week I posted two times on effective ways to protect you heart in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Since then, I was reminded rather forcefully that I left some things out.

1. One in particular may have close to doubled my own protection.

So, I decided I’d better add them to the two posts last week by doing today’s post about them.

My LDL readings had been running between 96 & 106. Then last time my LDL was 73.

That’s a very large improvement, particularly considering what it took me to go from 130 to the 100 range.

What happened?!

Losing 5 to 10 % of your bodyweight as fat does tend to improve your protection and readings including LDL even if you still have more fat it would be nice and good for you to lose. I lost from 176 to 160 at the beginning of last year. That was a bit over 9%.

So, my initial reaction was that was why my reading was so much better. And, I’m sure it did help.

But I also began to take a daily curcumin supplement and use lots of a curry spice with the turmeric that also contains the curcumin thought to have the health benefits – and, I do so three or four of my dinners every week.

I did that since it increasingly was evident that doing these two things provides very strong protection from Alzheimer’s disease.

Later, I learned it also cut my risk of getting any cancer by quite a bit.

One of the ways curcumin and turmeric do those two things is that they sharply reduce chronic inflammation. And, such chronic inflammation we now know is a major cause of heart disease. It also tends to cause cancer or keep your body from getting rid of it soon enough or both.

So for that reason alone, curcumin & curry belong on the list of things that effectively prevent heart disease.
(Ginger is a relative of turmeric and using it as a spice has similar effects as well.)

But there is more! I ran across Dr Dean Ornish’s new book The Spectrum. His knowledge and information has improved since his early work.

And, in this book he includes supplements and notes that curcumin/turmeric also is a strong antioxidant AND tends to lower your LDL cholesterol.

So, that is well worth including.

2. Vitamin D3 we now know has very similar benefits to curcumin and it helps prevent autoimmune diseases of every kind.

Today, most people work and play inside and rarely get vitamin D from the sun.

Studies have found that our bodies will make productive use of at least 3,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 if it is available.

And, most people are capable of making 20,000 or more iu’s of vitamin D3 when they are exposed to the sun in the summer.

This means the current guidelines for vitamin D issued by the Institute of Medicine are so bad, they a bad joke.

The real minimum daily requirement for vitamin D3 is closer to 2,000 to 3,000 iu a day and it’s clearly safe to take at least 10,000 iu a day.

The results when people have taken that much – 2,00 to 10,000 iu a day in recent studies have been spectacular. Doing so helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, many cancers, AND heart disease. (There’s a list of at least a dozen other health benefits of doing so as well.)

Vitamin D helps your body put calcium into growing new bone and to NOT put it in your artery walls!

That means in particular that taking that much vitamin D3, eating foods that contain calcium, and doing weight bearing exercise every week, work dramatically better at preventing osteoporosis than taking calcium supplements.

And, since we just discovered taking calcium supplements DOES tend to put it in your artery walls and cause heart disease and high blood pressure, that is critically important to know about.

3. Drinking green tea and taking green tea extract supplements either has no or very little effect on some of its claimed benefits when people ingest it instead of using it directly on cells in the lab or that is close to the truth.

BUT, there ARE two for sure proven benefits to your health and heart of doing these things.

You can drink green tea instead of regular or diet soft drinks both those that contain caffeine and those that don’t. If you do that, your health and heart get massive protection of multiple kinds!

And, the one benefit for drinking green tea that has tested as strongly supported is that it benefits your heart.

4. The strength of the contractions of your heart and possibly it having the correct rhythm depend on the mitochondria in all your cells including your heart muscle working well.

Your apparent and “real” age do as well. This is because the mitochondria are the power and energy centers for each of your cells.

But they only stay healthy as you get older if you begin to supplement effectively with CoQ10 because it is something your body provides for your mitochondria when you are younger but begin to provide it for them less and less as you get older.

If you do provide CoQ10 effectively for your mitochondria in your cells it slows aging, keeps you more energetic and able, and does the same things for your heart.

Secondly, we now know that taking CoQ10 does this job badly to almost not at all. BUT, if you take the ubiquinol form, your blood level of CoQ10 does go up and stay up enough to do the job. It is between 4 and 10 times more effective than taking the CoQ10 form and the blood tests have proven this to be the case.

Middle aged adults can do well on 50 mg once a day of ubiquinol while older people with existing heart disease may do better on 200 mg three times a day. (I take 100 mg when I first get up and 50 mg with my lunch now.)

People who take statin drugs must take the ubiquinol form and double the dose. It seems some of the worst side effects of statin drugs is because they deplete the CoQ10 in your heart. (That’s one of the reasons why for almost everyone doing the things in these 3 posts is not only safer than taking statins but provides far better heart protection.)

(Note: I tried yesterday to find the section on the Berkeley Heart Lab website that showed that niacin worked more effectively for heart protection for almost everyone in the many types of people they have discovered than statin drugs. I could not find it.

They may have removed it after threats from the drug companies attorneys or just found it didn’t increase their sales and wasn’t needed for that.

I hope to find some more scholarly papers with the information I can point people to now that contain this information for a future post.)

5. The compound resveratrol that is one of the things that makes drinking red wine a bit better for your heart than drinking white wine or other kinds of alcoholic drinks.

The anti-aging effect of taking 100 mg or 200 mg a day of the effective trans form of resveratrol is much lower than expected. (Drinking enough red wine to get that much each day would dramatically overdose you on alcohol and not leave any room for food! Supplements are far safer and more practical. I remember reading it would take drinking 50 bottles a day of red wine!)

But the heart protective effects of taking the resveratrol supplements are quite real and strongly supported by the studies.

So to protect your heart it is worth adding.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My personal, monthly, progress report on my fatloss...

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-22-2011

1. The past month my weight remained exactly the same; and I gained a quarter inch on my waist. So, I’m now one pound over my goal weight; &, at 38 & a half inches, I’m still 4 to 6 inches over what I’d like to see on my waist measurement.

That’s actually very good news & MUCH better than I expected!

Here’s why.:

I ate more often at restaurants over the past month; and I drank more than my target of 9.5 drinks a week. And, due to my arm injury and off and on again mild cold or flu, I was able to get less exercise over the past month than I schedule myself for.

People who do these things can gain over 5 pounds in a month.

2. Why didn’t that happen to me?

There are several reasons.:

Even though I drank extra while watching the SuperBowl and at not one but two restaurant meals for my birthday, The other days of each week I drank what I was supposed to. So the totals were not as bad as if I did that every day!

I ate mostly the protein and produce part of the restaurant meals at real restaurants instead of fast food places. And, I passed on 95% of the refined grain bread and all of the rice.

I also ate exactly the every other day no grain, lower calorie breakfasts each day I was supposed to and kept up all the other small calorie cuts I added.

Plus, I finally was able to become consistent on adding a tablespoon of vinegar each day by including it each evening as my last “supplement” and taking it right after my other evening supplements.

Even though I did have some days I thought it wise to do less by a bit on my early morning exercises, I did them every day except one even though I did have the off and on again mild cold or flu a good part of the month. So, even though many of my evening sessions on Monday & Weds evenings did get cancelled, my weekly totals for exercise only dropped off by 5 to 9 %.

Even better, I got two key pieces of information.:

The Physical Therapist who actually knows arm injuries and how to rehab them verified what exercise NOT to do; found my left arm IS healing well; & I CAN begin to add weight for my left arm safely and still have it heal.

In addition, I got two pieces of information on how to make my muscles grow and get stronger. Only do those sets once a week on the day where I have two days off to recover – NOT on the days where I only have one recovery day. And, after a few reps of warm up, do far fewer reps but in super slow motion both up and down. I could feel the difference & may have cancelled out some fat gain by adding muscle. One source said that each pound of muscle gained tends to cause a loss of 1.3 to 1.7 pounds of fat. So gaining 3 pounds of muscle nets out an extra 1 or two pounds of weight loss. That means if this style of exercise caused me to gain 6 pounds of muscle, that saved me from gaining two to four pounds on the scale this month.

But the news from this is FAR more promising than that. As I do more and more of this kind of exercise, I may well see enough muscle gain to finally take inches off my waist!

3. My left arm injury that has prevented my progress in increasing my calories burned each week and pounds of muscle did not get a lot better last month. BUT, that was because I DID push it more by using the next heavier dumbbell. Once it is OK with that, I’ll be able to go to my original weight I was using before the injury.

(The Physical Therapist I consulted also let me know that a doctor specializing in one of the 3 ways to speed such healing without taking anabolic steroids is practicing in the city where I live! So, I now have a back up to speed up or keep up my healing of my left arm if I do wind up needing it.)

The kettlebell exercises I’ve had to partly discontinue and not been able to progress in WERE working. I was getting vigorous exercise that was burning more calories than just the rest of my exercises without it. And, had I not injured my arm, I’d be likely doing three or four times that much by now. Plus, when you exercise a muscle in a way that will build it up, you can feel it in the muscle; and I was getting that feeling before I injured my left arm.

Soon I will be able resume those and build up to that level which will add more muscle & which WILL remove inches from my waist!

4. Lastly, ideally, by this time next year, I’ll have managed to do both -- get back to the kettlebell exercises AND add more weight in the other strength training exercises I already do. If I can burn more calories a week directly from using the kettle bell and burn even more by adding up to 20 pounds more muscle, my waist is likely to lose a few of the inches I need to take off of it!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

More Valentine's Day tips: -- on protecting your heart, part II....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-18-2011

Monday was Valentine’s day.

It’s icon is the red heart design.

It’s theme is love.

Love can be caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. So Valentine’s day is about that kind of love

Since sex often works best in such relationships or starts them, Valentine’s day is often about sex.

(Tuesday’s post was about ways to get healthier that improve your sex life and help you keep it.:

“The wonderfully good news is that virtually everything that you do to improve or protect your health with eating right, exercise, taking key supplements, and losing fat or staying trim both improves your sex life and allows you to keep it for years or even decades longer.”

It’s worth reading since virtually everything we suggest in that post also protects your heart.)

And, since you literally feel affection physically at times in the chest or while hugging someone one you love, for hundreds of years love has been associated with the heart. The American Heart Association often promotes heart health in February for this reason.

Yesterday and today together are the information I promised on Monday about protecting your heart (That’s important for the first two parts also since a healthy heart allows you to stay around longer for the love that’s caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. AND having a healthy heart is a key way to have better sex.)

There are two more ways to protect your heart that I didn't have time to post yesterday. Here they are.

(And, there are many more.) But these two are relatively major ways I wanted to add today.

1. Excessively high blood sugar levels have the effect of damaging your capillaries.

(Type 1 diabetes has this effect but is not as easily effected or affected the same way by the things that work well for people who have high blood sugar from insulin resistance.)

But, people who have blood sugar levels above the desirable level even if it hasn't gotten so bad as to become type 2 diabetes or type 2 diabetes itself can turn down the high blood sugar and prevent this effect by doing many of the things that are in our original post.

For heart protection, it's important to know your blood sugar level. If your fasting blood sugar is 100 or more, you will be better off in every way if you lower it below 100 and keep it there.

The capillary damage from high blood sugar doubles the heart disease risk in men and increases it by FOUR times in women. (It also can blind you, cut off circulation to your feet, and ruin your kidneys! Ouch!)

The good news is that by doing the vigorous exercise and NOT drinking soft drinks or eating sweet foods a lot or eating foods made from refined grains that are in the main post, you can and will lower your blood sugar levels.

You get multiple protection from doing those things.

But you can also lower blood sugar a bit with two supplements. (Others may work also. But these two definitely do and have other health benefits. So I recommend them highly. They were the two I added when I moved my own fasting glucose from 115 to 87 besides removing some sugar from my food.)

Chromium polynicotinate also increases your HDL and it gives your body a key nutrient it needs to keep your blood sugar low. Solgar sells it and that makes it easily available in most health food stores. 200 to 400 mcg a day is the amount that seems to work.

Alpha lipoic acid also helps your body lower high blood sugar. I only added 200 mg once a day. But you can also take as much as 600 mg three times a day as some studies found that to be effective.

2. The second major method to protect you from heart disease that I left our yesterday is to eat foods high in antioxidants and to take supplements that are antioxidants.

It seems that the LDL that is most effective at causing heart disease is oxidized LDL, so if in addition to having less LDL and much less of the small particle and most dangerous kind, you prevent your LDL from oxidizing.

Even better, you help your body stand up to the exercise you do without having it increase your level of inflammation or cause extra damage. So this step also makes exercise safer to do.

Foods high in antioxidants due to having certain micronutrients and vitamin A from animal sources and from plant sources, vitamin C, the vitamin E complex, and selenium but not too much all have this effect.

Blueberries and virtually all other berries are high in antioxidants of many kinds AND vitamin C.

And, there are many other fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C.

You can also take between 1000 and a bit over 2,000 mg a day of vitamin C. This not only is a good antioxidant but has been found to deliver some key heart protecting benefits in addition.

Eggs, wild caught fish, liver from grass fed cattle, and fortified lowfat milk have the animal form of vitamin A but not too much except for overdoing on Cod liver oil.

Any yellow or orange vegetable and many dark green ones where the green hides the yellow or orange colors are high in beta carotene and alpha carotene and many other kinds of carotene. These varieties of vitamin A besides being great antioxidants strongly prevent cancer AND were recently found to cut people's death rate from and every cause!

Carrots, broccoli, chard, collard greens, kale, squash, pumpkin puree, sweet potatoes and yams, and tomatoes both raw and cooked all are foods high in carotenes. Eating a variety of these vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, makes their carotenes more bioavailable. You can also take beta carotene in your multi. And you can take lycopene from tomatoes as a supplement too. But you get better health effects by eating a variety of these vegetables beyond that instead of adding more supplements. The vegetables have more antioxidants and more kinds of carotenes than the supplements do.

Garlic either just crushed or minced in a salad or as a deodorized garlic supplement has directly been proven to lower the oxidation of your LDL cholesterol and also works. (It also decreases excess clotting and makes your blood vessels more flexible and responsive.) So it is quite heart protective. (You can take the supplements any time. But eating the fresh version is best done for dinner because of the garlic breath you otherwise get in public if you eat it at breakfast or lunch.)

Many spices are quite high in antioxidants. In fact, so is coffee, tea, and green tea.

Lastly, you can eat nuts and avocados if you aren't allegic and eat extra virgin olive oil. These foods are OK for your heart as they increase your LDL AND they have the entire set of the vitamin E complex in their natural forms. This is a much better antioxidant than just taking vitamin E as alphatocoherol only -- though you can take that too.

Lastly, if you do that set of things AND take alpha lipoic acid, the alpha lipoic acid somehow recharges your antioxidants and multiplies how effective they are.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Valentine's Day tips: -- on protecting your heart....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-17-2011

Monday was Valentine’s day.

It’s icon is the red heart design.

It’s theme is love.

Love can be caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. So Valentine’s day is about that kind of love

Since sex often works best in such relationships or starts them, Valentine’s day is often about sex.

(Tuesday’s post was about ways to get healthier that improve your sex life and help you keep it.:

“The wonderfully good news is that virtually everything that you do to improve or protect your health with eating right, exercise, taking key supplements, and losing fat or staying trim both improves your sex life and allows you to keep it for years or even decades longer.”

It’s worth reading since virtually everything we suggest in that post also protects your heart.)

And, since you literally feel affection physically at times in the chest or while hugging someone one you love, for hundreds of years love has been associated with the heart. The American Heart Association often promotes heart health in February for this reason.

This is the post I promised on Monday about protecting your heart (That’s important for the first two parts also since a healthy heart allows you to stay around longer for the love that’s caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. AND having a healthy heart is a key way to have better sex.)

There is a good news/bad news aspect to protecting your heart.

The good news first:

There are over a dozen things you can do to protect your heart. Some of them are actually easy to do and many of the rest are relatively doable and easy to keep doing once you make them a regular part of your life.

Many of these things are astoundingly powerful also. Some make getting any kind of cardiovascular disease half as likely. Doing six of them may only make it 75% as likely. But by gradually adding more you can get to over 90% in my opinion. Some, like completely avoiding tobacco smoke and being consistently nice to people most of the time prevent heart attacks from happening even if you have some cardiovascular disease. And, some, like losing excess fat if you are obese or have a very large waist even though you are only overweight, make it more likely you will survive if you do have a heart attack.

But the ones to focus on are the first group since they remove the CAUSES of heart disease.

Lastly, if you do the things that protect your heart, ALL of your health improves. You age more slowly. You are far less likely to get or stay a type 2 diabetic. You are less likely to get either Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. And, your cancer risk will also fall at least in half.

The bad news is easy. There are so many ways that work to protect your heart, it can be a challenge initially to learn them all and do most of them. And, some -- such as losing excess fat – may be challenging for you to do well, at least at first.

But, if you do all the ones you can do and find easy, you can slash your risk of heart disease. You can work at adding the rest gradually as your are able to do.

Two of the most important are:

to avoid tobacco smoke both from smoking AND from second hand smoke.

& getting regular, vigorous exercise – both strength training and interval cardio – each week and on most days.

(See last Tuesday’s post for details on those two as we cover them well there.)

3. More on exercise.

(Exercise, particularly regularly done vigorous exercise is like a heart protection treatment. It removes much of the small particle LDL that causes heart disease by sticking into the chinks in your artery walls and changes what is left into the larger particles that roll along instead like tumbleweeds. You can see this on the tests since your HDL will go up or your triglycerides will go down –or both! This ratio shows how much of the dangerous LDL you have so you want high HDL and very low triglycerides. Exercise really helps!

The good news about the exercise is that although it can be even better for you to also get in several miles of walking each week or do Tai Chi in addition, the vigorous exercise session can be as short as 6 to 10 minutes a day and can be done at home.)

(My Friday session is 5 minutes of 4 very vigorous abdominal exercise and one minute of taking the kink out of my lower back though I rarely need it --while I do 35 minutes of strength training and 10 minutes on my Nordic Track on Saturday morning when I have more time.)

But even two minutes has some very positive effects.

And by doing them every week, it directly protects your heart each week AND the longer you have been doing them, the better your protection gets it was recently discovered!

So, try to do a session each day or 5 to 7 days a week even if it is just minutes long.

(This is easier and more reliable when you can do them first thing in the morning since the demands of the day that can prevent you haven’t showed up yet usually.)

Lastly, begin with easy and short sessions. Start each exercise just a bit slow and gradually boost up to what to you feels quite vigorous and then slow down or rest. The alternating of this kind in doing sets of strength training and in interval cardio makes short sessions effective at making you fit and creating health benefits. It does so MORE than long sessions of challenging but never varying cardio or aerobic exercise AND it is dramatically safer to do! (Also, for safety and to avoid injury increase how hard you work and how much you do very gradually. And only do it that way. The good news is you can build up to a level few people can do by just keeping at it even doing it that gradually.)

4. Do NOT eat hydrogenated fats or oils. These oils and for most of them the artificial trans fats they contain are heart attack starters. They do the reverse of exercise by INCREASING the bad LDL. They directly cause heart disease. Zero is the safe amount to ingest!

No shortening or pie crusts made with it is a heart protective practice. (In strict moderation real butter is actually far safer. And using extra virgin olive oil when it can be used is best.)

ALWAYS read labels.:

If the trans fat listing is any number besides zero, do not buy or eat that food. (The ingredients don’t always show where the trans fats came from.)

And, if the ingredients list has ANY listing for a hydrogenated oil do not buy or eat that food. (Zero transfats is not actually 0.0000 but up to 0.499 grams per serving instead and if you eat four of the too tiny servings to be a normal serving, you get quite a bit of trans fat.)

Most commercial snacks and baked goods and microwave popcorn still contain this stuff. Many fast food fried foods do. And, some breads, ice creams, candy bars, and peanut butters do as well.

5. New information: Both regular soft drinks and diet soft drinks and foods made with high fructose corn syrup have very similar effects to trans fats. Because they lower HDL -- and increase triglycerides a lot, that is solid proof of this.

So, too do foods made with refined grains and even real sugar if eaten in excess. A few times A MONTH is moderation. Several times each and every day harms your heart. And, most Americans have several times a day now.

These foods also cause obesity. If you stop eating and drinking all the worst ones -- and, make close to all your grain foods 100 % whole grains -- and eat real treat foods a few times a MONTH, and eat real foods instead, you may lose over half your excess fat with no other changes or added hunger.

Plus, your heart will stay far healthier; and your HDL, LDL, and triglyceride readings will improve dramatically.

6. New information:

The “natural” diet we evolved to eat and many of the best traditional cuisine deliver a one to one ratio of omega 3 oils.

But most people today get half or less of the omega 3 oils they need and close to 10 times too much omega 6.

This causes the chronic inflammation measured by the HS CRP test that is a powerful cause of heart disease equal to or greater than having too much of the bad LDL cholesterol. And, it makes you more likely to get most cancers.

Why? Most eat or use in cooking the oils high in omega 6 such as corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil or canola oil; AND they eat the fat from animals fed grains – mostly corn which is very high in omega 6 oils.

Eating less meat each month and eating only the leanest most fat trimmed versions IS protective for you in lowering your heart attack risk. But the fact that this cuts back on the omega 6 oils may be more important for heart protection than the saturated fat you also cut back by doing this.

Eating beans and lentils adds no omega 6 to speak of and is inexpensive and cuts down on your overall LDL level and tends to help keep off excess body fat.

And extra virgin olive oil is neutral as it is mostly monosaturated omega 9 oils and is the best oil to use by far for this reason. It also increases your protective HDL.

Meat from animals fed ONLY grass is also dramatically less harmful for your health than grain fed. This is also true of butter and full fat cheeses. This kind of real grass fed beef and butter and cheese is gradually becoming available. It costs more. But then by eating so much less of the bad stuff and eating more beans, your net costs may stay the same!

Lastly, eat wild caught fish that are high in omega 3 oils two or three times a week and take a daily omega 3 supplement from purified fish oil or from the algae the fish get it from.

(Tuna often has too much mercury to be safe more than once a month or less but wild caught salmon, herring, and sardines work and have dramatically less mercury.

Farmed fish are fed grains which destroys most of this protective effect. They also test as being one of the most multi-polluted foods on earth. Do NOT eat them.)

6. New information:

Unfortunately, taking calcium supplements just about doubles your risk of cardiovascular disease and fatal heart attacks.

The fast acting and concentrated supplements wind up in your blood as excess calcium and result in whatever artery plaque you have becoming calcified.

How calcified the plaque in your arteries are is a much more accurate indicator of heart attack risk than almost any combination of every thing else!

(Fifty to 100 mg of calcium in your daily multi is likely safe. But more than that is not. And taking 500 mg or more of calcium in supplements is now known to be quite dangerous.)

The good news is that eating foods high in calcium that deliver it gradually do NOT have this problem.

Even better, calcium in foods also tends to appear with the nonradioactive form of strontium which is more important in bone strength and density than calcium.

To keep your bones strong, eat a variety of foods high in calcium. (Most people tend to actually get enough from their foods of this particular nutrient by doing this.)

Nonfat and lowfat dairy foods work. Some full fat cheese from grass fed cows works. Canned and cooked wild caught salmon works and all canned, cooked sardines and herring are wild caught. And these cooked fish include the softened up bones with its calcium. So that works. Nuts, particularly, almonds, are high in calcium. And, broccoli and many kinds of greens and most beans and lentils have some calcium.

And taking at least 2,000 iu a day of vitamin D3 has been found to boost the amount of the calcium you eat that strengthens your bones. And the effect is LARGE. The calcium you eat is over five times as effective by doing this.

The same is true of getting “weight bearing” exercise daily. That can be as simple as doing housework while you stand or going on walks a few times a week. But doing strength training exercises that use your leg muscles to exert force or doing interval cardio while you stand up is even more effective.

Lastly, never drinking soft drinks removes one of the worst causes of bone thinning. And taking boron supplements and a daily vitamin K2 supplement have been found to help your body keep your bones strong. A small daily boron supplement also increase alertness and vitamin K2 also helps your body NOT put calcium in your arteries.

7. Too little known information:

The most accurate tests of exactly how your body and your genes handles the factors of heart attack risks were developed at Stanford and are now sold by the Berkeley Heart Lab.

When I looked at their website last, ALL these subtypes but one got more and better protection from taking the vitamin niacin than did from taking statin drugs.

(Niacinamide does some of the things for you that niacin does. But it does NOT have the heart protective effects.)

This is quite important to know. Statins have many side effects, quite serious ones in some people, and provide very little protection particularly for people who don’t do everything in the list above. They do lower total LDL and also lower CRP inflammation. But so does following the steps to cutting omega 6 and boosting omega 3 which is more effective and MUCH safer.

Niacin, by contrast, has been shown to cut the death rate from all causes. It increases HDL, lowers LDL, and lowers triglycerides. Taking it is one of the most heart protective things you can do besides doing all the lifestyle upgrades above.

If you take over 1,000 mg a day the flush effect can be a bit much and in can strain your liver so doing that is best under a doctors supervision who has you get your liver function tested every few months.

But, taking just 300 mg of niacin twice daily seems safe – once each after two of your meals each day -- & is quite effective and produces only an occasional and short flush reaction.

Further, taking inositol hexaniacinate of 300 mg a day twice a day delivers the niacin in it slowly as if it was a natural time release system. So unless you take with a quart of beer or something, it never produces any flush so it’s often labeled as no flush niacin. And you get the effect of about 250 mg of niacin from each 300 mg supplement.

Lastly, if your LDL is still 130 or more, taking sterol supplements will help lower it. And, mostly because sterols are in nuts and vegetables, taking them is very safe. Natrol makes a beta sitosterol, sterol supplement that is quite inexpensive. I take 3 a day.

And, adding this sterol supplement is one of the things I used to drop my LDL reading from 130 to 73.

My suggestion if your doctor wants you to take statins is to have him or her look at the Berkeley Heart Lab information.

Then ask if he or she thinks it worth having you get the $700 test to see if by chance you are in the group most benefitted by statins.

The good news is that you can get more improvement in your LDL readings and far more heart protection and do it much more safely than you can by taking statins. Just do all or most of the things on this list to the best of your ability.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More Valentine's Day tips: Getting healthier improves your sex life....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-15-2011

Yesterday was Valentine’s day.

It’s icon is the red heart design.

It’s theme is love.

Love can be caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. So Valentine’s day is about that kind of love

Since sex often works best in such relationships or starts them, Valentine’s day is often about sex.

The wonderfully good news is that virtually everything that you do to improve or protect your health with eating right, exercise, taking key supplements, and losing fat or staying trim both improves your sex life and allows you to keep it for years or even decades longer.

1. Good sex is sexual and about literally feeling good and pleasure.

But for that to work well, your nerves and brain need to work well and stay with you instead of disappearing. The good news is that exercise has been found to cause your body to release a key nerve growth hormone, BDNF, every time you exercise. So, exercise literally grows new nerves and brain cells. In fact, it was in the news lately that even moderate walking if you do it every week, will prevent your brain from shrinking as you get older.

2. Sex response at its best requires good blood circulation to work well.

That means that everything you do to keep your circulation good and your arteries clear and your heart healthy improves and preserves your sex life. (Our next post on Thursday is planned to cover much more on protecting your heart and the many ways to do that which also protects your circulation.

But one of the best ways is to get regular exercise each week. If you do vigorous interval cardio or focused strength training you can literally feel the increased circulation and with the interval cardio, you get so much all over your body, right at the end, you will actually look reddish from the extra circulation.

But the news is even better than that. It has long been known that getting such regular and vigorous exercising dramatically slows aging. So you look younger because in many ways you actually ARE younger. And you keep your good health longer – and a decent sex life longer.

AND, it was recently found that such a regular and continuing practice of doing vigorous exercise every week boosts your good cholesterol and lowers your bad cholesterol and triglycerides more years you exercise like that, the better your readings get! So instead of your heart attack risk and circulation getting worse as you get older, they get better instead!

3. High blood sugar causes type 2 diabetes if it gets bad enough which causes circulation problems and often causes sexual problems because of that.

But both doing any vigorous exercise even for as little as two minutes every day and doing both strength training and interval cardio every week, strongly lowers high blood sugar, improves insulin resistance or simply prevents them. (If your HBA1C reading is high, this kind of exercise has been proven to lower it.)

4. Being fatter than you should be cuts back on your sex life. You have less energy and your body makes less sexual hormones. So you are in the mood less often. Sex becomes harder to do. And, you look less attractive.

The good news is that many of the things to stop eating or drinking to protect your heart also make you fat, so for many, eating real food instead will remove many pounds of excess fat.

And, again regular exercise, doing both strength training and interval cardio every week, burns extra calories directly and even for hours afterwards. So it allows you to eat more and still get or stay trim. Plus you gain more muscle which burns more calories than the fat it replaces.

Again, there’s more. Even before all the fat comes off, people who begin to exercise regularly begin to get better health and better circulation AND have much higher self esteem.

So, getting both strength training and interval cardio every week is a potent way to improve and keep your sex life.

Lastly, something not everyone knows yet is this.: IT WORKS AS WELL FOR WOMEN AS IT DOES FOR MEN. And, it’s quite effective for men.

5. The one non-exercise way to improve your sex life that’s so important, I’ll include it today as well as next time is this.:

Not every one who smokes or is exposed to second hand smoke gets cancer from it though far too many do.

But what way too few people yet know is that EVERY exposure to tobacco smoke begins to cause heart disease and make your circulation worse. No one exposed often to tobacco smoke has as good a circulation as they would if they were not exposed.

But making your circulation worse means your sex life will be worse. Since this effect also causes ED, for men it often gets MUCH worse.

So the second major way getting healthier improves your sex life besides exercise is to completely avoid tobacco smoke.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine’s Day tips....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-14-2011

Today is Valentine’s day.

It’s icon is the red heart design.

It’s theme is love.

Love can be caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. So Valentine’s day is about that kind of love

Since sex often works best in such relationships or starts them, Valentine’s day is often about sex.

And, since you literally feel affection physically at times in the chest or while hugging someone one you love, for hundreds of years love has been associated with the heart. The American Heart Association often promotes heart health in February for this reason.

So, we have three posts this week on those 3 subjects.

Today’s is mostly about the love that’s caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. (Some of the ideas also work well for setting the mood for affectionate sex.)

Since our focus is health, the next post will be about how good health habits make for better sex.

And, the third one will be about protecting your heart. (That’s important for the first two parts also since a healthy heart allows you to stay around longer for the love that’s caring, affection, warmth, and a good relationship with someone special to you. AND having a healthy heart is a key way to have better sex.)

So, here’s our Valentine’s day tips.

Whatever things causes you to feel the love that’s caring, affectionate, and warm towards the person special to you, remember it.

Do that just before you look at them today. Do that just before you give them whatever card or gift you have for them. Do that just before you take them out to dinner or to bed if you plan that or do it.

It helps long term relationships to remember to do this a few times most weeks too.

Affectionate love and sex both rely on touch. So, when the person who is special to you is in a good mood or even better, you both are, a touch can really help.

What if your Valentine is someone you have been with long enough the new, “thrill,” part is gone or at least less intense – or the pressures of the day or this time in your life are a bit much?

Then something that people do who stay together can help you. You know this person well enough there are things they are good at – including things they are better at that you are many times.

Take a few seconds and remember those things. Think about why you are happy this person with those strengths is in your life and you are pleased they are.

This can be really helpful and is often very helpful if they are grouchy or have been under stress and a bit hard to be around.

Whether or not your relationship is new or decades old, the better you yourself feel and the more you match your behavior to theirs, the better your day will go.

So, remember reasons why you are doing well or areas where you are even if many areas are not. Remember things in the past you are still thankful for and things in your present you are happy with.

Be quickly and gently responsive to your valentine. And, do it in a warm manner with a happy feeling in your heart.

Granted this is far easier sometimes than others, but the better you can do it, the better things will go.

Lastly, if you are a man and your valentine is a woman and you want to have your relationship continue, do these two things to the very best of your ability.

Pay close and detailed attention to what she asks you to do. Then do it as soon and as well as you can manage. That is sometimes more than a bit challenging to do, BUT the better you do it and the more reliably you do, the longer you will be together and the more she will credit you with caring about her. (There are many things that good relationships share at least in part. But studies actually found this one is essential.)

The second one is where you are doing something for her that you think she will like but are not totally sure. Simply check with her. Say "I think you’d like" and say what you think she might like. Then say, "Is that right?" Or "Is that what you’d like?"

That way if it’s something you’d like in her place and she wants something else or she does like it but wants something else more or wants that thing but at another time instead, you know how to proceed without messing up!

Best of luck to you in your efforts today!

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Article on the states with the worst eating habits only 30 % accurate....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-11-2011

Today, an article titled “10 States With the Deadliest Eating Habits” from a news service called “24/7 WALL St” was on Yahoo and in one of the health info emails I get. The text shows the readers of 24/7 WALL St may have seen it on Weds, 2-9, earlier this week.

They got Mississippi and Alabama right as two of the worst and ranked them as the two worst states. Oklahoma that they had as 5th worst is clearly in the top 10. But the other 7 states while having some bad points were clearly not that bad. They ranked Missouri as 3rd worst despite it not having any worst 10 listings at all for example though it was #9 for their obesity rate. But they failed to list all the states in the top 10 for that measure.

The problem is that they included so many secondary indicators and too few direct ones.

“Gallons of Soft Drinks Purchased Per Capita” I presume per year – that they did include and it very clearly belongs. (See our post yesterday for example.) But they somehow did not list all the top 10 states on this measure.

For Oklahoma, they noted that: “Oklahoma also has the third-lowest rate of adults who meet the recommended two fruit/three vegetable daily intake, with only 9.3% of adults doing so. Perhaps this is part of the reason Oklahoma's obesity rate is 31.4%, the fifth-worst in the country.”

But they apparently did not realize that these two measures are so important and many of the 6 worst states for each of these measures failed to make their list.

For Mississippi they had: “Mississippi has the worst eating habits in the country. Only 8.8% of the adult population eats the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables, the lowest rate in the country. Residents consumed just under 82 gallons of soft drinks per capita in 2006, the greatest amount reported. …. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the state has the highest rates of both adult diabetes (12.8%) and adult obesity (34.4%).”

Earlier this week we posted that it is also one of the states with the highest death rate from strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.

But this rating system did not list the “% of the adult population eats the recommended amount of daily fruits and vegetables” or the “rates of both adult diabetes (12.8%) and adult obesity (34.4%)” as criteria.

If they had all the 6 worst states on those measures, their ratings would be far more accurate.

They also did not manage to find a measure of pounds of trans fats eaten per capita which also clearly belongs in this list.

In addition, even more important than just the eating habits, is which of the states have the worst health habits.

Many of the actual worst states on eating habits also are in the worst 10 on the percent of the people who do smoke and are also among the states with the fewest who get regular exercise.

I think had they done all those things, the other stroke belt states besides Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma would have been in their worst 10 list.

Lastly, I was appalled to see that most of the states listed had 52 or more gallons of soft drinks purchased per capita.

There are a bit over 10 & a half 12 ounce servings in a gallon of soft drinks. That’s an average of about 1 & a half soft drinks every single day of the year as a state average. But according to that one source I found that means that the average person in all these states carries 22.5 pounds of fat – just from drinking soft drinks! Mississippi, with its 82 gallons means that the average person there carries 35.5 pounds of fat just from drinking soft drinks. And, Alabama was close with 77 gallons.

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Diet soft drinks found to increase strokes & heart disease....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-10-2011

AFP and other news sources had this story yesterday and today.

The key information was: “A pair of studies released Wednesday suggest that --

diet soda drinkers face a higher risk of heart attack and stroke than people who do not drink any soda,

and that salty food boosts stroke risks, too.

The soda study examined 2,564 people in Manhattan and found that those who reported consuming diet fizzy drinks daily had a 61 percent higher risk of vascular events than people who said they did not drink any soda at all.

When researchers factored in allowances for metabolic syndrome, peripheral vascular disease and heart disease history, the risk was 48 percent higher, said the research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference.”

The salt part had this:

“A second study looked at 2,657 participants in the same area and found that high salt intake was linked to a dramatically increased risk of ischemic strokes, in which a blockage cuts blood flow to the brain.

People who reported eating more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium daily -- the amount contained in four large orders of french fries in the United States -- faced twice the risk of stroke as people who consumed less than 1,500 milligrams per day.

The average American consumes about 3,000 milligrams of salt per day, according to the study, though previous research has said it could be as high as 4,000 milligrams per day.

"Stroke risk, independent of hypertension, increased 16 percent for every 500 milligrams of sodium consumed a day," allowing for adjustments for age, sex, ethnicity, education, alcohol use, exercise, daily caloric intake, smoking status, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and previous heart disease, it said.

Current dietary guidelines in the United States urge people to consume less that 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, or about a teaspoon of salt. The American Heart Association recommends less than 1,500 milligrams per day.”

AP’s article had this: "A teaspoon of salt contains about 2,300 milligrams of sodium. About three-fourths of the salt we eat, though, comes from processed foods, especially tomato sauce, soups, condiments, and canned foods. "

My comments:

1. High fructose corn syrup in regular soft drinks give you calories initially without making you less hungry. Then the rebound effect of the blood sugar crash you get after the blood sugar spike makes you hungry for more sugary foods. I read one study even found that more than sugar does , high fructose corn syrup increases your appetite for sugary foods. It seems that because of this effect the same amount of high fructose corn syrup fattens you more than the same amount of calories from real sugar.

It’s now been established that the high intake of sugary foods this is part of and makes worse lowers your HDL that protects your heart and increases your triglycerides. Oops ! We now know that exact combination, just like eating transfats, means that this high intake of sugary foods is causing your body to release the small particle LDL that causes heart disease and helps cause high blood pressure and helps cause both kinds of strokes.

So, to avoid the calories and the fat gain, millions of people drink diet soft drinks. But, because of the way your body reacts to the sweet taste with no sugar in it, drinking diet soft drinks causes you to be even more hungry for other sugary foods than high fructose corn syrup does.

This causes the people who drink diet soft drinks to overdose on sugary foods and the fat gain and health effects of those are almost identical to what drinkers of the same amount of regular soft drinks experience.

So, the best solution is to drink no soft drinks at all – neither regular NOR diet soft drinks!

Water or ice water or carbonated water with no sweeteners of any kind do not have these dreadful effects.

This study found the people who drank those had far fewer heart attacks and strokes.

(It did not report that they were lighter and less fat too. But the other studies done show that they very likely were. One report said that people who drink either regular or diet soft drinks carry about 15 pounds of extra fat for each soft drink of either kind they drink each day.)

2. Note that the second study found that more salt resulted in more strokes. A key point is that this seemed to be true of both people who had high blood pressure and people who did not.

Most commercial baked goods and packaged desserts have added salt. And, virtually all packaged crackers and snacks do also.

So one way to cut back on salt is to simply rarely eat any of them. Since these same foods often contain sugar and refined grains which spike your blood sugar and tend to fatten you, that’s a really good idea.

Eating more fruits and vegetables uncooked or with salad dressings made from extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or chopped onion or minced garlic and perhaps other spices but no salt helps a lot.

Using minimal salt in cooking and then adding salt at the table AFTER tasting the food is another way to get good taste but often taking in a third or less as much salt.

3. Eating blueberries several times a week has been found to be directly protective of your brain and to decrease your risk of stroke. Taking vitamin C and eating other fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C likely has similar effects in protecting you from strokes. The potassium in blueberries, other fruits, and in vegetables also helps lower high blood pressure.

4. A study reported today found that a new drug derived from curcumin from turmeric that is used in mustard and curry and creates their distinctive yellow color prevented nerve damage from strokes and helped the nerves heal in 4 different ways.

The advantage of this drug, called “CNB-001,” is that it passes the blood brain barrier while curcumin eaten in curry or taken as a supplement did not.

That’s huge in treating stroke victims since the window of opportunity before damage sets in is so short.

BUT, guess what? Eating curried foods using curries containing turmeric and/or taking curcumin supplements has been found to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

I believe that fact and this recent study of the drug also suggests that if you do those two things for Alzheimer’s protection or cancer protection, if you do get a stroke, the damage will be dramatically less. That’s because over several months or years before the stroke these protective effects from the curcumin are already in your brain.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Junk food can reduce your kid’s IQ & real food doesn’t....

Today's Post: Tuesday, 2-8-2011

AFP and other news sources had this story today.

AFP titled theirs: “Junk food diet linked to lower IQ – study.”

A thorough British study of 14,000 people born in western England in 1991 and 1992 checked kids at three, four, seven and eight and a half years old.

Parents of the children were asked to fill out questionnaires that listed the kind of food and drink their children consumed.

The researchers found 3 dietary patterns: one high in processed fats and sugar; one "traditional" one mostly high in meat and with some vegetables; and finally a "health-conscious" one with lots of salad, fruit and vegetables, and less meat.

When the children were eight and a half, their IQ was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence test.

They then compared the 20 % of the kids who ate the most processed food with the 20 % of kids who ate the "health-conscious" food.

The processed food kids had an average IQ of 101 points, compared with 106 for the kids who tended to eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed fats and sugar.

It occurred to the researchers that factors such as economic and social background and education might cause both effects.

So the took special care to filter out such potential effects.

"We have controlled for maternal education, for maternal social class, age, whether they live in council housing, life events, anything going wrong, the home environment, with books and use of television….”

Given that the effect was there even after doing that and the large number of kids in the study, it looks quite likely that feeding the kids the processed fats and extra sugars and NOT feeding them as many nutritious foods did cut their IQ’s when a diet without the processed fats and extra sugars and with more fruits and vegetables would have boosted their IQ.

Asked why junk food had such an effect, one of the women researchers suggested junk food tends to lack vital vitamins and other key nutrients needed for brain development in early childhood.

I think she is correct. But I also think the effects of extra blood sugar spikes and decreased circulation from the effects of the extra sugar and refined grains & the resulting blood sugar spikes and from the “processed fats” – hydrogenated oils – also contributed too.

The study appears in the peer-reviewed Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, published by the British Medical Association (BMA).

The study I’d like to see is where they take a group of parents and kids and have them all:

learn to eat and eat what we now know is an optimum diet with health OK proteins and oils and with lots of the most nutritious fruits and vegetables,

limit TV watching time per week,

and have everyone in each family get some regular exercise.

The kids would likely have higher IQ’s than 106. But given that the good paying jobs today need people who can learn and think well, even if the kids only tested at more like 110 or 115, that would be very good news.

Certainly, this study suggests that not buying soft drinks or processed foods and bringing them home -- or eating at most fast food places with your kids would be wise.

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Stroke Belt States high in heart failure too....

Today's Post: Monday, 2-7-2011

Last Weds, Reuters Health had this story:

“U.S. "stroke belt" also hit by heart failure.”

It seems that researchers found that in 6 contiguous states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma -- the rate of death from heart failure was 31 per 100,000 people. That’s 69 % higher than the national average of 18 heart-failure deaths per 100,000 people, the researchers reported in the American Journal of Cardiology. This effect was true for both whites and African Americans.

In these “stroke belt” states, stroke death rates are about 50 % higher than in the rest of the country. This is already known.

The good news is that by NOT doing the things that people in these states do more of, you can avoid getting the strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure they do. (You’ll also be a lot less fat.)

In this study, SOURCE: American Journal of Cardiology, online January 19, 2011, the researchers found that death rates from heart failure where the heart begins to pump less well and often causes fluid build up were higher.

Actual heart attacks, blood vessels with blockages in them, and higher high blood pressure tend to cause heart failure.

Heart failure and stroke share some causes such as clogged arteries, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The researchers next step is to find out what causes this double effect.

One of the researchers said that a high intake of fried fish, more common in much of this set of states, might be a partial cause.

He also said that they haven’t yet established if this is because more people in this area get strokes and heart disease, or get less effective care.

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my younger brother recently moved back to the Oklahoma City area.

And, I’ve noticed some trends there when I lived there and in the many years since I lived there.

The mainstream people in these states tend to drink more soft drinks, eat more fast food, and eat packaged foods in front of their TV sets than they do in the San Francisco Bay Area of California where I live now. No surprise, the percentage of people who are obese or have big waists is higher in these states than in the rest of the United States.

In these states, it gets hot enough outside in the summer that people tend to stay inside in the air conditioning and get less exercise because of this.

And, for younger people and for the very warm but not so hot months, people who do go outside are thirsty more often from sweating. But, since people there drink soft drinks, that means they drink more of them.

So, between exercising less and drinking more soft drinks, these factors mean people in these states are fatter and tend to have higher blood sugar and triglycerides and higher blood pressure.

The fast food sales per capita in this part of the country are also quite high.

So, in addition, to the high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners in the soft drinks, the high glycemic fries and refined grain buns, and the foods that until recently have been often fried in trans fats – hydrogenated vegetable oils also high in omega 6, this means that a very large part of what they eat and drink tends to cause heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.

This is also a part of the country where much home and restaurant foods use shortening as a fat in things like biscuits, pie crusts, and corn bread. Unfortunately, shortening is pure hydrogenated vegetable oils and is the virtual mother lode of trans fats!

These foods and drinks cause heart disease directly; and both the narrowed blood vessels and the obesity cause high blood pressure.

There’s more. More people smoke in these states and do so in public as well. So even nonsmokers are exposed to more tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke’s worst and most certain harm, even more than causing 30 % of all cancers, is directly causing plaque build up in your blood vessels. Tobacco smoke also triggers heart attacks in people who otherwise would have escaped them.

Given all these factors, I strongly suspect that it’s mostly more people are having strokes or getting heart failure or getting worse cases of them than a lack of quality of medical care that causes these effects.

So, to avoid these effects yourself.

1. Don’t drink soft drinks and rarely eat in fast food places.

2. Don’t eat foods made with trans fats or refined grains or high fructose corn syrup.

In addition to doing the first thing above, use no shortening at home (never buy it & throw it out if you have it now), eat no foods in restaurant that likely contain it such as biscuits or pie crusts, or corn bread. Fried foods that likely were fried in shortening also are best avoided.

And, buy or eat no foods that contain ANY hydrogenated vegetable oils.

3. Get regular exercise virtually every week. And, when it’s hot exercise in the early morning when it’s less hot. Or exercise in an air conditioned room at home or at a gym. (If you do sweat a lot from your exercise, see the next point.)

4. If you sweat when it’s hot, drink water or ice water instead of soft drinks.

5. To the best of your ability, avoid second hand smoke. Quit immediately if you smoke. And, be sure the room where you sleep and where you work never are used by smokers and are smoke free.

6. Don’t eat fried fish. Similarly, don’t eat farmed fish as it is far higher in pollutants than is likely safe. Eat wild caught fish that is sautéed in olive oil or poached or baked instead. And/ or take omega 3 oil supplements from purified fish oil or the algae the fish get it from.

7. These 6 steps will help many people lose a significant number of pounds of fat or to not gain them in the first place.

And, if you still remain fat once you have been doing them awhile, do more strength training, interval cardio, and walking each week. Eat more green and nonstarchy vegetables and program in some small calorie reduction and keep track of your weight until you lose at least 5 % of your initial body weight.

8. This may not fit this geographic effect, but taking the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 as a supplement helps prevent heart failure. And, eating blueberries often tends to prevent strokes.

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Friday, February 04, 2011

Health OK Super Bowl snacks, 2011....

Today's Post: Friday, 2-4-2011

This is an updated edition of our post from this time last year, 2009 & before that in 2008.

Health OK Snacks for Super Bowl parties...

Why are health OK snacks so important?

It's not just at the time the Super Bowl happens each year about now that people eat snacks. Many people make snacks as much as a quarter or a fifth of all their weekly food. Some go to a full third of the calories they eat.

The other factor is that the health damaging snack foods are some of the very worst foods people eat while the health OK snack foods are actually good for you or at least not that bad.

That means that hosting or taking snacks pot luck style to a Super Bowl party is a chance to try out health OK snacks yourself & introduce them to your friends & family.


First, let's literally dispose of one category of what NOT to use. Last year, my wife & I were taking snacks to my parent's house. I knew that two things to use to dip snacks into that are actually good for you & taste great are guacamole & hummus. But my wife wanted to bring some traditional dips as well. I went to an upscale grocery store in our area & went to that section. Ouch !!

Even there, there were no health OK choices at all. Every one of the commercially made up dips except the guacamole they stocked had partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats) or high fructose corn syrup with some having both.

(In case you don't yet know, partially hydrogenated oils-- which contain transfats -- & high fructose corn syrup are avoidable health poisons that are not yet completely outlawed & out of our foods.

Transfats are literally cardiovascular disease & heart attack starters. They have the same kind of effect as using lighter fluid to start up charcoal for a BBQ. The safe amount of those to eat is zero, absolutely none. (Trans fat cause your LDL to become the tiny particles that go into the cracks in your artery walls, build up, and then restrict or block blood flow!)

High fructose corn syrup is not quite that bad. It only tends to make you fat & trigger type 2 diabetes. (People who eat real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup may get a bit fatter; but eating the same calories of high fructose corn syrup they get even fatter!) It may be safe to eat on occasion. But eating it in the quantities people do who don't know to avoid it -- is NOT safe.
(And there’s more, about 30% of the high fructose corn syrup contains mercury, a nerve toxin that can cause Alzheimer’s like symptoms!)

So, to be sure my wife & I don't eat high fructose corn syrup in quantity or eat any that contains mercury, we do not eat it all. We also are doing our part to boycott an unsafe food additive by doing that.

(2008 update: At this writing, between 30 % and 55% of the products, including name brands, that contain high fructose corn syrup also contain mercury because a mercury compound is use to make the high fructose corn syrup used in those products. Also note, if high fructose corn syrup is listed first or second on the ingredients list, it’s more likely the product contains mercury.

2011 update: Since it has NOT been in the news that this has been fixed, I seriously doubt that it has been fixed.

So we currently recommend you completely avoid buying or ingesting high fructose corn syrup.)

So, for dips at this writing, you have three health OK choices: buy guacamole; buy hummus: or make your own dips.

Health OK components to consider running through a blender or adding to after you run the blender to make health OK dips are salsa, vegetarian beans, cooked black-eyed peas, regular baked beans, hummus, nonfat yogurt, frozen chopped spinach, chopped onion, extra virgin olive oil, chili powder, & chopped cilantro.

You can also make a somewhat healthier dip by substituting one of these for part of the sour cream in sour cream based dip recipes. A half hummus, half sour cream recipe would have half the saturated fat of a full sour cream recipe. But it would taste richer than a hummus only version.

2008 addition: Real sour cream is not exactly a health food due to its high saturated fat content. But compared with dips with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil it almost IS a health food by comparison. As an occasional dip treat, we found that real sour cream with a good bit of a good quality, multiple ingredient, curry powder makes a great dip.

We’ve taken to bringing 3 dips when asked to provide them: Hummus, guacamole, and this curried real sour cream. I particularly like having about 2 or 3 fresh veggies with each of the three dips. That way, I get a lot of the fresh veggies and two thirds of the dips are actually good for me to eat.

Crunchy foods:

People often use crackers for crunchy snack foods. This is an extremely bad idea. Commercial crackers today still tend to use partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats). Almost as bad, they usually are badly over-salted and are made only or mostly from refined grains. About the only food component they contain is calories. So eating them tends to make you fat.

If for variety or for guests who would feel deprived, you would like to serve some crackers, there are two kinds that are almost OK.

Crostini makes an absolutely delicious cracker that is not too salty & uses olive oil instead of transfats. They sell those at Whole Foods Market stores. They do use refined grains. But they taste good & avoid the other health damaging components.

Safeway & other major grocery chains carry RyKrisp or Rye Krisp crackers. At least one of their versions has no fat at all. These are almost a little too crunchy for my taste. But that's because they have whole grains, which are better for you. But be careful as one or more of the available versions have partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats). Just check the label to see which kind is OK & skip the other versions. The version that has NO fat at all is the health OK one.


Because some people are quite gravely & severely allergic to these, they are likely NOT a good idea for larger groups of people you don't know well. This kind of allergy to peanuts is so wide-spread now, we suggest you never serve peanuts or mixes containing them to people you don't know.

Only serve nuts to family or friends you know can eat nuts OK.

However, for people who can eat nuts safely, raw walnuts, raw pecans, & dry roasted almonds are delightfully good crunchy snack foods. Even better, they have so many health benefits, that people who eat nuts regularly live several years longer than people who don't.

(I've found the best store for these to be Whole Foods Market stores. They carry these kinds of nuts in bulk & in packages -- both at reasonable prices.)

(Unfortunately, commercial nut mixes often do everything wrong.

We do NOT recommend those !!

They often include peanuts because they are cheaper. They increase the shelf life by roasting them in partially hydrogenated oils (which contain transfats) or in polyunsaturated oils like corn or soy oil that tend to break down at that temperature & contain excessive omega 6 oils. Then they usually make them even less health OK by over-salting them. Yikes!)

Crunchy vegetables:

Broccoli Florets; Cauliflower Florets, Celery sticks, & Carrot sticks work really well with dips.

Radishes are also a nice change of pace. They are too small to dip well. But they are both crunchy & spicy.

Protein foods:

B & M Baked Beans are decent simply heated up & served. If you want totally vegetarian, Bushes makes a decent, pre-cooked Vegetarian baked beans. Both come canned at major grocery stores.

If you can afford them, real crab meat, lobster meat, & shrimp with the tails removed are all health OK choices.

(Just don't mix these into dips as some people are allergic to them. Served alone though, people can see what they are & avoid them if they are allergic.)

Cheeses are less health OK because of their sky high amounts of saturated fat – and if from grain fed cows, they are also too high in omega 6 oils. But for special occasions only, they have no other health problems; they are easy to set out in bite sized pieces; they are available almost everywhere; & they come in many varieties with abundant flavor.

Other foods:

Another snack food that works really well is stuffed olives. They are a little too salty to eat at all often. But they are health OK otherwise. And many of the versions taste great. Pitted olives come with (or you can make them up to contain) sun dried tomato, blue cheese, feta cheese, garlic, blanched almonds, etc.)

Fresh strawberries that have been washed & green leaves & stems removed are an absolutely wonderful snack that is also really good for you to eat.


For non alcoholic drinks, Martinelli’s carbonated apple juice & carbonated apple cranberry juice are decent choices for special occasions. And, some people like, grape juice, orange juice, tomato juice, &/or V8 juice. You can also try 100 % cranberry juice mixed half and half with Martinelli’s or club soda for a lower glycemic and tarter but still festive drink.

(Drinking all kinds of sodas & soft drinks is so harmful to the health of so many people, I personally feel that they should never be bought or consumed even on special occasions.

If you feel differently though, drink as little of them as you can stand.

Here's why:

They usually contain high fructose corn syrup*, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, a preservative that has been implicated as causing cancer and thyroid disease, artificial flavors, water & nothing else besides the carbonation. Only the water is good for you. Sugar is OK only in strict moderation. And the other junk tends to reliably make people fat & cause health problems.

*2008 update: At this writing, between 30 % and 55% of the products, including name brands, that contain high fructose corn syrup also contain mercury because a mercury compound is use to make the high fructose corn syrup used in those products.

Of the alcoholic beverages, red wine & dark beer actually have extra health benefits! And, beer is a traditional drink for watching football. Even better, there are a huge number of really good dark beers now available.

Most alcoholic beverages, in fact, tend to boost HDL cholesterol.

But make sure to make the quantities small to moderate. Not only can people who drink too much cause problems at your party or get into an avoidable car accidents driving home, if they get into an accident where there is injury or significant property damage, as the host who served them too much alcohol, you can be sued in court.

I hope this post gives you some ideas as to what snacks to avoid year round & some that are either almost OK or are actually good for you to use instead.

2010 addition:

Some people serve chili at Super Bowl parties. Here are three alternatives.:

1. If you use exclusively beef from animals fed only grass, any good chili recipe you find or like is good at least on special occasions. (Grain fed beef has excessive fat, saturated fat, omega 6 oils and tends to have pesticides and herbicides bioconcentrated in its fat. Beef from cattle fed only grass is a bit more intense in flavor and avoids these problems.)

And, you can make up your own recipes. It’s not at all hard. Make one and taste it on Saturday; and if you like it or find it decent, save some to reheat and have during the Super Bowl.

2. Use any kind of cooked beef you like that comes from cattle fed only grass. Use hamburger, shredded cooked beef or chop cooked beef into quarter inch or a touch bigger cubes.

Use any good tomato sauce or pasta sauce with no oil added plus the amount and kind of mild extra virgin olive oil you like. (Or you can buy Muir Glenn pasta sauce at Whole Foods which, in its Four Cheese, Italian Herb, & Roasted Garlic varieties has some olive oil; & it comes in glass bottles -- not canned where you have to worry about BPA.) I use Muir Glenn and then add some extra, extra virgin olive oil for a richer taste. (Avoid any kinds, if you can, that use soy or canola oil. Those have too much omega 6 oils.)

Then add a good chili powder. Spice Islands and many other companies make these. Add a bit and taste. Then consider your likely guests in deciding how much to add or whether to add a bit of red pepper also. The ideal is to make it spicy but not so harsh or hot that some people won’t like it.

(You can add, mild cooked green chilies, chopped onions sautéed in olive oil, mushrooms, etc.

And, you can set out several kinds of add-ons, diced sharp cheddar cheese, diced raw onions, mushrooms if you don’t include them in the chili, or diced, fresh, organic tomatoes.)

Simply stir the ingredients together over low to moderate heat until heated through and your chili is done. (This presumes you cooked the meat first. Or, you can put everything into a crock pot and run it on low for several hours which both cooks the meat without overheating it and melds the flavors together.)

Unless you have guests coming you know hate garlic, it also adds a lot of taste and health benefits to add it. Use two or three or four cloves, depending how much chili you’re making,. Then peel, dice, and crush them and stir them in after the chili is cooked and just before it’s served.

3. You can also make 100% vegetarian chili. You can substitute whole, cooked beans or blenderized, cooked beans or canned black eyed peas or canned cooked lentils for the grass fed beef. You can even make it with hummus. If you add enough good tomato or pasta sauce, chili powder, extra virgin olive oil, and other spices the flavor is just as good as the grass fed beef version. (I like the versions with the blenderized cooked beans as it’s smoother and easier to eat than the whole cooked, bean versions.)

New ideas this year:

We do NOT recommend sandwiches on refined grain bread or chicken wings fried with a breaded and spicy sauce. (Refined grain breads both fatten you and tend to harm your health. They are nice for a kind of edible holder or temporary plate. Use paper napkin or fork or a real plate instead!)

But skinless chicken thighs with or without the bone or the smaller part of chicken wing in the bone with the wing part removed before cooking where they are slow cooked with a spicy sauce or marinade can be served with paper napkins or forks if boneless and plates or small paper plates can work. Cooking them overnight in a crock pot works and blends in the flavor too. Olive oil with garlic powder and red pepper to taste can work. Coconut milk with diced garlic and diced, peeled ginger also works well.

You can also use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them after they are cooked into bite sized pieces and serve on plates with a small fork.

Our you can cook hamburger patties using grass fed beef and serve them Atkins style on plates with a fork.

Using garlic powder and a pinch of salt and adding a bit of olive oil to compensate for the grass fed beef being lean and add some dried sour cherries and diced onion before the patties are cooked and then cook them over moderate heat in a cast iron frying pan.

Annie’s natural foods makes a yellow mustard with no MSG and a ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup. Both are also made with organic ingredients.

Last point.:

Super Bowl parties are a special event. So, people will be watching the game. Plus, this is one of the few times a year they watch the commercials. So, it is understandable that they will eat while watching. Our recommendation is to not worry about this for the Super Bowl game. If the snacks are health OK, stop there and let people enjoy the event.

But, one of the surest ways to get fat the rest of the year is to eat while watching TV.

Watching TV is fattening by itself, particularly if you watch over 15 hours a week.

And, snacking even on health OK snacks tends to cause people to concentrate on the TV and just keep eating even though they are no longer hungry. People who do both AND drink soft drinks and eat fattening snacks are virtually all obese (very fat!)

So, THAT we do suggest avoiding!

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

Whole grains and potatoes are NOT good weight loss foods BUT....

Today's Post: Thursday, 2-3-2011

Thursday & Friday last week there were several stories that suggested whole grains and potatoes might be good fatloss & weight loss foods.

It seems that a new book and cookbook titled, "The Skinny Carbs Diet" is now available and says that foods with “resistant starch” can work well for weight loss.

The story on Yahoo’s Contributor Network last Thursday said that foods with resistant starch can help you feel full for up to 6 hours after you eat them because they digest slowly.

The idea is that if someone on an Atkins low carb and high protein diet who wants to keep using it but is getting too hungry between meals might be well advised to include some resistant starch foods. That way they can keep using the part that keeps their weight down without too much hunger.

This might also help people who are using some version of the health upgrade to Atkins that includes only health OK proteins and oils and nonstarchy vegetables and some but regular whole, fresh fruit. Because of the health OK oils such as from nuts and avocados and extra virgin olive oil and fish and Omega 3 supplements, and the fiber in the fruits and vegetables, this problem is much less than in the original Atkins diet. (This is what we and others increasingly are suggesting since it is better for you than the original Atkins diet. It’s easier to stay eating this way. And, if you use it well, you will lose fat.)

But eating enough of the nonstarchy vegetables can be harder for some than others. And, sometimes it is not convenient enough to work well to solve the problem by eating more than 3 meals a day or including health OK snacks.

The good news is that cooked beans and lentils, particularly lentils, have abundant amounts of fiber and also have resistant starch -- BUT, they also have nearly as low a glycemic index as vegetables. As an added bonus, they are high in protein and combined with other kinds of health OK proteins, they can do a good job of adding protein for you at a much lower cost than those other protein sources.

Eating enough beans and lentils does solve this problem.

But what about potatoes and whole grains?

In March 2010, KABC-TV Los Angeles featured resistant starch foods as the right types of carbohydrates to enjoy when trying to lose weight.

They suggested eating potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, beans, 100 percent whole grain pasta, artichokes, and quinoa.

Artichokes and artichoke hearts are low glycemic and we just spoke well of beans which are low glycemic also.

Yams and sweet potatoes are lower in glycemic index than white potatoes. And, by eating them with extra virgin olive oil or even butter on occasion helps you to take in far more of the good for you carotenes that they contain – plus the combination is lower in glycemic index and spikes your blood sugar less than eating them plain.

The good news about white potatoes and whole grains is that a very similar strategy can work if used in moderation two or three times a month or a bit more.

Eating a baked white potato with minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil AND eating the skin has a dramatically lower glycemic index than eating just the potato with no fats or oils and not eating the skin. And, the fiber in the skin will help keep you full longer also.

On occasion eating a baked white potato with sour cream or butter and chives or diced onion can even be OK. (My wife found an imported butter from Germany that is from grass fed cattle that would be an excellent choice.)

My wife also likes to make potato pancakes that have added whole eggs and diced onion and are sautéed in extra virgin olive oil. We also use lowfat, plain yogurt as a topping which also lowers the glycemic index.

Adding Irish Cheddar cheese from grass fed cows to white potatoes or potato pancakes also is an option.

Similarly, lower glycemic whole grains such as sprouted whole grains of various kinds, buckwheat groats, quinoa, barley, and wild rice – or whole wheat pasta can be OK.

Thanks to the needs of people who cannot eat wheat or the gluten it contains, there are many recipes that have lower glycemic ingredients that can be added to breads made with non-gluten grains.

Almond flour, lentil flour, and pecan meal are three that work. Buckwheat, particularly if the certified gluten free kind from Bob’s Red Mill can work.

But, for people who can eat wheat, these same ingredients can also be used to combine with whole wheat to make a lower glycemic meal.

Similarly, whole wheat pasta will have a lower glycemic effect if you use half as much in each recipe and have the other half be spaghetti squash or cooked down kale that was cooked down in extra virgin olive oil.

And, including extra virgin olive oil or feta or parmesan cheese or walnuts with the pasta or adding diced vegetables pasta primavera style also adds flavor and lowers the overall glycemic index.

Lastly, right after eating a meal with white potato or a whole grain food, the glycemic effect will be less if you immediately go on a brief walk.

So the bottom line is that NO white potatoes and whole grains are not good fatloss or weight loss foods. Nonstarchy vegetables, nuts, and beans and lentils are a better choice.

But if you like them, there are ways to eat them anyway particularly if you don’t overdo how often you eat them.

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