Topic: Nutrition

Social Overeating

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Two new studies explore the tendency to overeat in social situations. Researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen, in the Netherlands, paired women who had not previously met and monitored them as they shared a meal together. The scientists were studying behavioral mimicry, in which a person unwittingly imitates the behavior of another. In this study, the women did mimic each other’s eating behavior virtually bite for bite, including taking bites at the same time. Both members of a pair were influenced by the other member, and the mimicry was stronger at the beginning of the meal, diminishing towards the end of the meal. Since the women were new acquaintances, researchers think they may have unintentionally observed each other’s eating behavior in order to establish a matching pattern, unconsciously seeking to facilitate the social connection. That could shed light on why the mimicry subsided as they got to know each other during the course of the meal.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, found that "people pleasers" (persons who are sensitive to criticism, who put other people’s needs ahead of their own, and who worry about hurting other people’s feelings) tend to overeat in certain social situations. Each study volunteer was seated alone with an actor posing as just another study volunteer. The actor took a few pieces of candy from a bowl, then offered the candy bowl to the study volunteer. Being a people pleaser was associated with eating more candy. Lead author, psychologist Julie Exline, said, "People pleasers feel more intense pressure to eat when they believe that their eating will help another person feel more comfortable."

Both of these studies serve as useful reminders to eat mindfully in social settings.

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Tea Time

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

More and more, the potential health benefits of enjoying a cup of hot tea are coming to be recognized by the scientific community.Writing for the Monterey County Herald, Barbara Quinn recently discussed the topic:

Green tea and black tea derive from the same Camellia sinensis plant. Health-promoting properties attributed to these types of tea include:

  • Staving off food cravings, which can be especially desirable between meals;
  • Discouraging bad breath by slowing the growth of bacteria in the mouth that can promote halitosis;
  • Warding off infections by doing battle with microrganisms that can cause illness;
  • Lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol, probably thanks to antioxidant substances contained in tea.

  • Although herbal teas are not considered traditional "tea" (since they come from plants other than the C. sinensis plant), they may offer protective benefits of their own:

  • Hibiscus tea appeared to lower blood pressure in clinical trial subjects who drank three cups per day over a six-week period;
  • Peppermint and chamomile teas may have infection-fighting abilities;
  • Peppermint tea boasts abundant, powerful antioxidants which might help to impede cancer growth.

  • Here is a quick tip for keeping your cup of tea delicious: Don’t squeeze your teabag into the tea, because squeezing the teabag liberates bitter tannins that will taint the flavor.

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    More on Obesity

    Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Despite the very best of intentions, a New Year’s resolution to lose body fat may be more difficult for some people to fulfill than for others. New brain scan research indicates that in obese persons, neural activity in the brain may encourage over-eating. Writing in a recent issue of Science News, Janet Raloff explained the problem:

    After a hungry person eats a meal, blood sugar glucose levels return to normal. In people of normal weight, this causes the shut-down of a neural system that promotes positive feelings toward food. It is the brain’s way of acknowledging satiation and signaling that the need for calories has been met. At that point, normal-weight persons stop eating.

    But in obese persons, the system may not turn off following a meal. No matter how much they have just eaten, it still lights up at the sight of rich, high-calorie fare. This can occur even though blood sugar glucose levels have returned to normal. It may contribute to the persistence of obesity in some individuals who have tried and failed repeatedly to lose body fat.

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    A Low-Fat, Whole-Grain Treat

    Monday, December 5th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    With the holiday season upon us, there will be visitors and house guests — perhaps including grandchildren. What to serve them as a healthy snack? The American Diabetic Association recommends popcorn, but without the salt and butter. Instead, try flavoring popcorn with:

    • Low-fat parmesan cheese;
    • Garlic and basil seasoning;
    • A dash of spice (for example, pepper, paprika or chili powder);
    • A few chocolate chips; or
    • A dab of peanut butter.
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    White-Flesh Fruits & Veggies

    Friday, September 30th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Take a moment to consider this question: What are your favorite fresh foods? Researchers stress the importance of enjoying a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including those with edible sections that are red, purple, green, orange, yellow or white. So, do keep eating colorfully! However, Dutch researchers have discovered that fruits and veggies whose flesh is white may be value-added in terms of lowering one’s risk for stroke, as reported by the NIH publication MedlinePlus.

    The Dutch study looked at food-frequency data collected from more than 20,000 participants, ages 20 through 65, who did not have signs of heart disease at the start of the project. During a 10-year follow-up period, 233 of the participants experienced a stroke.

    Plant foods were categorized into four major color groupings:

  • Red/purple;
  • Green;
  • Orange/yellow; and
  • White.
  • The only category associated with significantly lower stroke risk was the white fruits and vegetables group. It included:

  • Apples;
  • Apple sauce and apple juice;
  • Pears;
  • Bananas;
  • Cucumbers;
  • Cauliflower;
  • Mushrooms; and
  • Chicory.
  • For every 25 grams of white-flesh fruits and veggies eaten per day, there was a nine percent reduction in stroke risk. Compared to the study’s participants who ate very few white fruits and vegetables, those with a high intake had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke incidence.

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    Salty Language

    Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The holiday season may not be the most accommodating time to get nutritional advice across, but dietary sodium doesn’t take a vacation from contributing to high blood pressure. So here’s a short-and-sweet, easy habit to start now and carry through into the new calendar year: To remove some of the excess salt, always drain and rinse your canned vegetables before preparing them.

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    Healthful Eating

    Friday, November 5th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    The Humane Society of the United States produces a lively DVD series called the "Latest in Clinical Nutrition" that reviews cutting edge research published in peer reviewed scientific nutrition journals and provides practical tips on eating to prevent, treat and even reverse disease. This series provides strong support for the belief held by many that a humane diet is also the healthiest.

    Hosting the series is Michael Greger, MD, the director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture in the farm animal welfare division of the Human Society. A physician specializing in clinical nutrition, Dr. Greger focuses his work on the human health implications of intensive animal agriculture, including the routine use of non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones in animals raised for food, and the public health threats of industrial factory farms. He is a founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a respected author and an invited lecturer at universities, medical schools and conferences worldwide. To view an invigorating 68-minute video of Dr. Greger conducting a highly informative nutritional presentation, click here.

    There are four fascinating volumes in the "Latest in Clinical Nutrition" DVD series. A new volume is added each year. They range in length from 90 minutes to approximately three hours, and cover numerous topics of contemporary interest. For example, volume 4 alone features 99 chapters, including the following examples:

  • Latest on alfalfa sprouts
  • Latest of aspartame
  • Latest on coffee
  • Latest on gluten
  • The healthiest herbal tea
  • Best fruits for cancer prevention
  • Improving memory through diet
  • Dietary osteoarthritis treatment
  • New cholesterol fighters
  • Statin muscle toxicity
  • Dietary theory of Alzheimer’s
  • Exercise and breast cancer
  • Anabolic steroids in meat
  • Obesity-causing pollutants in food
  • Plant-based diets and mood
  • Licorice: helpful?
  • Vinegar: helpful?
  • Vitamin D pills vs tanning beds
  • Mitochondrial theory of aging
  • The three preceding volumes address hundreds of intriguing topics, such as:

  • Preventing cancer: which foods to avoid
  • Preventing cancer: which foods to eat
  • How to eliminate constipation
  • The food that can drop your cholesterol 20 points
  • The healthiest beverage
  • The food that cuts your fatal heart attack risk in half
  • The one supplement everyone eating a healthy diet needs
  • Black pepper: helpful?
  • Oranges vs orange juice
  • Honeybush tea
  • Fish: omega 3s and mercury
  • Sun-dried vs golden raisins
  • The best bean
  • The best mushroom
  • Should people take antioxidant supplements?
  • What’s the #1 cancer fighting vegetable?
  • What’s the healthiest sweetener?
  • How does one alter one’s brain waves through diet?
  • Recipe of the year
  • The Humane Society Press (HSP) points out that the world’s longest life expectancy is found in California Adventist vegetarians. According to the HSP, they live 10 years longer than the general population and enjoy lower rates of many of the chronic diseases that plague Americans, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. For additional details and ordering information on the "Latest in Clinical Nutrition" DVD series, click on HumaneSociety.org/nutrition.

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    Get Real

    Friday, November 5th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    "If we’re not willing to settle for junk living, we certainly shouldn’t settle for junk food."

         — Pioneer of the Olympic sport of triathlon, Sally Edwards

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    Smart Eats

    Friday, November 5th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    At the Experimental Biology 2010 Meeting held recently in Anaheim, California, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) presented a scientific program including this important news:

    A study of nearly 4,000 persons, ages 65-plus, found that those who most closely followed a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk for cognitive decline with aging. The subjects’ cognitive skills were tested every three years for 15 years. Those with the highest adherence to the diet were the least likely to experience mental decline.

    The study’s lead author Dr. Christy Tangney, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in an ASN news release: "This diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, lower meat consumption, and moderate wine and non-refined grain intake. Instead of espousing avoidance of foods, the data support that adults over age 65 should look to include more olive oil, legumes, nuts, and seeds in their diet in order to improve their recall times and other cognitive skills, such as identifying symbols and numbers."

    In addition, Dr. Tangney said, "…we want older adults to remember that physical activity is an important part of maintaining cognitive skills."

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    A Leading Doctor’s Opinion

    Friday, November 5th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    "Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food."

         — Hippocrates

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