Topic: Nutrition

Sometimes You Feel Like a…

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

Nut consumption has been linked to improved cholesterol levels by an analysis of studies published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Results indicated that enjoying approximately 2.3 ounces of nuts daily decreased total cholesterol levels by 5.1 percent and LDL cholesterol (the "undesirable" type) by 7.4 percent. It improved the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (the "desirable" type) by 8.3 percent and reduced triglyceride levels by 10.2 percent in persons with high triglycerides.

Although the strongest evidence for nuts’ helpful effects has come from research involving walnuts and almonds, other types of nuts have also been found beneficial. They include pecans, peanuts, macadamias, hazelnuts and pistachios.

Due to their high caloric content, nuts can contribute to unhealthy weight gain if eaten in excess. However, moderate nut-eating can add useful dietary fiber, vegetable proteins, vitamins, antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering unsaturated fat to the diet.

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One Last Morsel of Wisdom

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

"He that takes medicine and neglects diet, wastes the skill of the physician."

     — Chinese Proverb

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Why Is the Mediterranean Diet So Heart-Healthy?

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Among other beneficial foods, the "Mediterranean diet" features virgin olive oil, which researchers believe may support heart health by repressing genes that promote inflammation. Scientists at the University of Cordoba, Spain, recently studied a small group of patients with metabolic syndrome — which increases one’s risks for both heart disease and type 2 diabetes — and published their findings in BMC Genomics (11:253), a journal of BioMed Central.

Specifically, the researchers sought to learn more about how a diet abundant in "phenol compounds" (found in olive oil, especially the extra-virgin types) influenced the workings of genes. While acknowledging that other lifestyle factors may also contribute to the lower risk for cardiovascular disease in the Mediterranean region, the study’s authors wrote: "These results provide at least a partial molecular basis for reduced risk of cardiovascular disease observed in Mediterranean countries, where virgin olive oil represents a main source of dietary fat." To view this research article, click here.

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Sweet Stuff for the Heart

Thursday, July 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

German researchers who followed 19,357 people (ages 35 to 65) for 10 years have found that eating chocolate can be heart-healthy — that is, eating modest amounts of chocolate, especially the dark type. Their results were published earlier this year in the European Heart Journal, a publication of Oxford Journals.

Participants in the study who enjoyed a small (7.5-gram) square of chocolate daily had lower blood pressure and a 39 percent lower risk for heart attack or stroke, compared to those who ate the least amount of chocolate. Lead researcher Brian Buijsse said that "dark chocolate exhibits the greatest effects, milk chocolate fewer, and white chocolate none."

Buijsse cautioned against eating so much chocolate that it raises one’s overall calorie intake or replaces one’s consumption of healthful foods. Weight gain is undesirable, and it should be noted that a 7.5-gram piece of chocolate is quite small. Even so, dark chocolate can make a good substitute for high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food snacks. To learn more about this study, click on http://www.oxfordjournals.org/news/research/2010/03/30/chocolate.html.

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Fibromyalgia and Exercise

Monday, May 17th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

As reported by HealthDay, a recent Norwegian study found that physical exercise and weight control may help ward off fibromyalgia. Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology followed 16,000 Norwegian women for 11 years, during which time 380 developed fibromyalgia. Below are several important findings from the study:

  • Women who exercised at least four times a week had a 29 percent lower risk for fibromyalgia, compared to inactive women.
  • Women who exercised two to three times a week were approximately 11 percent less likely to develop the condition.
  • Women who were overweight (with a Body Mass Index of 25 or more) had a 60 to 70 percent higher risk for developing fibromyalgia, compared to women with a healthy body weight.
  • However, overweight women who exercised at least one hour per week were less likely to develop fibromyalgia than were inactive overweight women.
  • Since this investigation did not prove a direct cause and effect between exercise or body weight and fibromyalgia, more research is being called for. Patrick Wood, MD, of the National Fibromyalgia Association told HealthDay that exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight may be helpful in avoiding the condition, and that doing both are especially prudent for people with a family history of fibromyalgia.

    This research was published in the American College of Rheumatology’s journal Arthritis Care & Research (62:12). To read the abstract, click on http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123268508/abstract.

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    The Right Rice

    Thursday, April 1st, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    To lower one's risk for type 2 diabetes, choose brown rice over white. That's the word from a large-scale study recently presented during the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference.The analysis involved data on the long-term dietary consumption of more than 39,000 men and more than 157,000 women. Results:

    Those who had five or more servings of white rice a week were found to be 17 percent more likely to develop the condition, compared to those who had less than one serving of white rice a month.

    Those who had two or more servings of brown rice a week were 11 percent less likely to develop the condition, compared to those who had less than one serving of brown rice a month.

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    Antioxidants May Help Maintain Muscle Function

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    At a recent meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, researchers described a new study that found diets rich in antioxidants to be potentially helpful for preserving the muscular strength of older adults. The scientists examined the long-term eating patterns of more than 2,000 persons in their seventies. In addition, they recorded the subjects’ handgrip strength at baseline, and then again after the passage of two years. (For more news about grip strength, see the following article.)

    A significant positive association was found between muscle strength change and the consumption of vitamins C and E. This was true even for subjects who started out with low levels of strength. Researchers don’t think it is effective to take high-dose vitamin C and E supplements, which in some cases can be unhealthy. Instead, these findings point to the value of following a well-balanced diet that is high in nutritious fruits and vegetables.

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    Nutrition in 2010

    Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

    Well, here’s one common-sense take on weight control:

    "People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas."

    – Author Unknown

     

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