A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, provides more evidence that following what is called the Mediterranean diet may slow aging. Eating mostly plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fruits and vegetables, reduces the risk of frailty in older individuals keeping them healthier and more independent as they age.
Frailty Syndrome is a term which refers to older individuals who manifest decreased muscle strength, low energy, weight loss and associated problems like increased susceptibility to falls and fractures. This study ads credence to the notion that the diet may play an important role in the development of frailty, or its avoidance as one ages.
This research paper analyzed the evidence available from many studies which have examined the possible health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In total the analysis included nearly 5,800 people from a number of countries.
Researcher Kate Walters, PhD of University College London, in the UK, says, “We found the evidence was very consistent that older people who follow a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of becoming frail. People who followed a Mediterranean diet the most were overall less than half as likely to become frail over a nearly four-year period compared with those who followed it the least.”
This study found that the Mediterranean diet may help older individuals maintain muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels. Research colleague Dr. Gotaro Kojima ads, “Our study supports the growing body of evidence on the potential health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, in our case for potentially helping older people to stay well as they age.”
More and more research continues to show that diet, nutrition and lifestyle are key components for any anti- aging program.
A study led by the University of Bonn, published in the journal CELL shows that the immune system responds to a high fat and high calorie diet in a way similar to its response to a bacterial infection. In this study 120 mice were the subjects . They were placed on a “Western diet”, high in fat, high in sugar, and low in fiber for four weeks. Researcher Anette Christ, of the Institute of Innate Immunity explains,”The unhealthy diet led to an unexpected increase in the number of certain immune cells in the blood of the mice.”
When the researchers placed the mice back on their typical cereal of cereal for another four weeks, some of the acute inflammatory responses abated . However, what was particularly disturbing was that did not go away was the genetic reprogramming of immune cells, so that the immune system abnormalities that had been switched on during the fast food phase of the study still had abnormal activity, and these inflammatory responses can be a part of the development of vascular diseases or type 2 diabetes or other diseases. Underlying inflammatory responses are increasingly being viewed as the culprit for many if not most of modern society’s chronic diseases. Researcher Eicke Latz concludes…”These findings therefore have important societal relevance. The foundations of a healthy diet need to become a much more prominent part of education than they are at present.”
This study is yet another piece of scientific evidence that disease prevention begins with a proper diet.
Research has shown that Vitamin D has protective effects against many common disorders, including cardiovascular disease. Now, a new research report may tell us why that is the case. This study from the Medical College of Georgia showed that after taking 4,000 IU of vitamin D for 4 months , measures of arterial stiffness were reduced in young, overweight, vitamin D deficient African-Americans . The skin makes vitamin D in response to sun exposure, and darker skin absorbs less sunlight, imparting a greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency to the African American population.
Rigidity of the arterial system predicts the risk of cardiovascular- related disease. Dr. Arnas Raed from the medical school’s Dept. of Medicine explains, “When your arteries are more stiff, you have higher pulse wave velocity, which increases your risk of cardiometabolic disease in the future.”
Dr. Raed, research resident from the Medical College of Georgia’s Department of Medicine, and the study’s lead author states that his data regarding Vitamin D supplementation showed that taking 4,000IU of Vitamin,”… significantly and rapidly reduced stiffness.” Research subjects who had taken 2,000 IU per day also a reduction in arterial stiffness but it was not as significant as for those who took 4,000IU .
Vitamin D containing foods include dairy, fatty fish like sardines, some greens like kale. Another good source is fortified cereals. Finally Vitamin D supplement are an inexpensive option to make sure your taking in enough to make a difference.
The practice of throwing away the yolk and getting protein just from the white’s of eggs may be a mistake. This discovery just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that the post-workout muscle-building response to eating a whole egg may be 40 percent greater than the response to consuming an equivalent amount of protein from just egg whites.
Professor Nicholas Burd lead researcher from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign which produced the study says, “This study suggests that eating protein within its most natural food matrix tends to be more beneficial to our muscles as opposed to getting one’s protein from isolated protein sources. ” He explains that ,” the yolks also contain protein, along with key nutrients and other food components that are not present in egg whites.” It seems that something contained within the yolk enhances the body’s ability to utilize the protein to build muscle.More
Another study confirms that fish consumption in children is linked to important health benefits.
Past studies have indicated a beneficial association between fish consumption and cognition. Other studies have shown that fish consumption helps sleep. This newly published study from the University of Pennsylvania as reported in the journal Scientific Reports, seems to link these benefits. It shows that children who eat fish weekly have better sleep patterns, and score better on IQ tests well.
Nutritionally, the intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish, has been found to be associated with improvement in both intelligence test scores as well as being associated with better sleep. The authors of this study believe that better sleep may be a mediator- the potential missing link between eating fish and intelligence score improvements.
Researcher A. Raine explains, “Lack of sleep is associated with antisocial behavior; poor cognition is associated with antisocial behavior. We have found that omega-3 supplements reduce antisocial behavior, so it’s not too surprising that fish is behind this.”
Over f5,000 9 to 11-year-olds in China were the study subjects. They were surveyed for their frequency of fish consumption and their parents surveyed for their sleep habits. The children were then administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- the IQ test. Their data revealed that children who eat fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exams than those who said they “seldom” or “never” consumed fish. Their fish consumption was also associated with fewer sleep disturbances.
Pinto-Martin,executive director of Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives, comments on the implications of this research- “It adds to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted. Children should be introduced to it early on.” Consumption of fish once per week moves a family into the “high” fish-eating group as defined in this study. “Doing that could be a lot easier than nudging children about going to bed,” Dr Raine says. “If the fish improves sleep, great. If it also improves cognitive performance – even better. It’s a double hit.”
The latest thinking about dementia in the scientific community is that cognitive impairment can be seen as “Diabetes Type 3”, because an abnormal handling of glucose in the brain seems to be one of the underlying mechanisms which promotes dementia, just as impaired glucose regualton in the body is an essential component of the common disorder known as Diabetes Type 2.
A study published by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology shows that drinking green tea may help fight brain glucose dysregulation, obesity and memory impairment. The mechanism involved was studied in mice. It shows that the active ingredient in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate), alleviates the effects of a high-fat and high-fructose diet known to promote cognitive impairment. Researcher Xuebo Liu, Ph.D.,of the Northwest A&F University in Yangling, China says, “Green tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water, and is grown in at least 30 countries, “The ancient habit of drinking green tea may be a more acceptable alternative to medicine when it comes to combatting obesity, insulin resistance, and memory impairment.”
In this study groups of mice were fed differing diets for 16 weeks, and the effects of those given the active ingredient in green tea, ( EGCG ) were shown to score better on performance of tasks which measure their ability to complete remember and thus perform a task, navigating a maze.
There have been a number of research reports regarding green tea’s health benefits in the past, and with regard to this study Thoru Pederson, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal
says, “Many reports, anecdotal and to some extent research-based, are now greatly strengthened by this more penetrating study.”