Mediterranean Diet Can Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

According to a new study traditional Mediterranean foods and dishes inspired by them could lower you risk for dementia. The study found that these foods interfere with the buildup of amyloid and tau proteins which turn into the plaques and tangles that are clear hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the study authors the evidence that “you are what you eat” when it comes to brain health continues to pile up. This study is important because it demonstrated you can improve cognitive function, specifically memory. But it also demonstrated a measurable reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

In the study participants reduced brain aging by one whole year for each point of compliance in the diet plan. The evidence was striking and showed researchers that people can direct control of their brain health according to what they eat.

The Mediterranean diet is simple. It consists of plant-based cooking. The focus of meals is on fruits and vegetables, beans, seeds and whole grains. With some nuts and a lot of extra-virgin olive oil. Other fats besides olive oil are rare. And there is little to no refined sugar or flour.

Meat only makes rare appearances. Usually to flavor dishes. Meals do often include eggs, diary and poultry. But the portions are much smaller than those typical in the west.
Fish, however, is a staple with its brain healthy Omega-3s.

 

10,000 Steps a Day: Myth or Reality?

The 10,000 step a day target that is often touted can seem impossible to achieve, but where did it actually come from and how accurate is it? If we look all the way back to 1965 in Japan we may find one possible answer.

A pedometer made by Yamasa Clock was named “Manpo-kei” which translates to “10, 000 steps meter.” This was simply a marketing tool, however it seems to have stuck across the world as daily goal for walking. It even appears in modern devices such as smartwatches.

Research has shown that the 10k step target does have benefits for lowering diabetes risk, mental health and heart health other research shows why we might have stuck with this arbitrary number.

In ancient Rome distances were measured by counting steps. The word mile comes from the Latin phrase “mila passum” or 1,000 paces (or 2,000 steps). It is said people walk about 100 steps a minute or one mile in about 30 minutes for the average person. So this person would need to walk 4-5 miles (two hours of activity) to reach 10,000 stpes.

Recent research has shown significant benefits to walking less than 10,000 steps. One study from Harvard Medical that about 4,400 steps a day is enough to lower the risk of death in women (when compare to only 2,700 steps a day). The more people walked, the lower the risk of dying. But this benefit leveled off at about 7,500 steps a day. No additional benefits were seen with more steps.

The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) per week for adults. Research also shows even low intensity exercise improves health so your steps per day can contribute to that 150 recommended minutes.

Research also shows that people who sit all day for their job had a 59% increased risk of death compared to those sitting less than four hours a day. But the study also found 60-75 minutes per day of moderately intense activity eliminated the increased risk of sitting. So even some brisk walking can help.

So if you aren’t quite hitting that 10k step target, don’t get down on yourself, just keep walking!

Exercises to Relieve Office Aches Part 2

Too much time at the computer can cause different kinds aches and pains —this is especially true for those of us that work 9-5 (or longer) all on the computer. While this kind of work is not physically demanding stiffness, lack of blood flow and misuse and disuse can cause just as many problems as lifting 100lb package wrong in a warehouse.

This set of stretching exercises will focus on the rest of the body, your core, legs and ankles.

Start slow and loosen up. Remember, pain is bad! The goal is to loosen up, not hurt yourself.

Hip Circles

Hip circles help your core but also stretch you back and hips. This can help with full body stiffness. Begin by standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Hands on your hips. Rotate your hips. Begin with small circles. As you gain momentum make, fuller, larger circles with your hips. You should feel your back and hips start to ease up. Do 10 hip circles in each direction.

Ankle Circles

Ankle circles can help increase circulation after sitting all day, which can also help reduce swelling in the ankle. Additionally, they will maintain your range of motion. You can remain seated for this exercise. Bend one of your knees and cross it over you other leg so the foot on top is close to your body. Rotate that ankle in one direction, the switch to the other direction. Then switch to the other ankle. Many find it is good to work one ankle in one direction for a number of rotations then the other. Make sure the first ankle feels loose before moving on. About 10 rotations per ankle, per direction as a start.

Leg Circles

Your ideal sitting position is with knees bent in front of you with feet on the ground. This will help increase blood flow and reduce cramping. However, we all have our own bad sitting habits. Leg circles will help reduce poor blood flow and stiffness from wonky sitting positions. Leg circles can be down standing or sitting, which ever makes you more comfortable. If you want to stand begin with feet shoulder-width part, hands on hips. Pick a leg to start with. Lift it off the ground and begin to make circles. Move from smaller to bigger circles with your leg. Lift your leg higher as the circles get bigger. Do 10 rotations one direction, then the other direction. Next work on the other leg.

Exercises to Relieve Office Aches Part 1

Exercises to Ease Chronic Aches from Computer Overuse

Too much time at the computer can cause different kinds aches and pains —this is especially true for those of us that work 9-5 (or longer) all on the computer. While this kind of work is not physically demanding stiffness, lack of blood flow and misuse and disuse can cause just as many problems as lifting 100lb package wrong in a warehouse.

These first two exercises should keep the office workers best friends, the arms and wrists, loose and comfy for work.

Start slow and loosen up. Remember, pain is bad! The goal is to loosen up, not hurt yourself.

Arm Circles

Arm circles help ease should stiffness and will increase your circulation after sitting. Begin by standing up straight. Extend your arms out to your sides. Move your arms in a small circular motion increasing the size of the circular movements. Continue to make the circles bigger. You should feel stretching in your shoulders, back and arms. After 10 seconds reverse the motion and make wider circles.

Wrist Circles

A long day of typing can cause stiffness in your hands and wrists. Many don’t think to do something about this kind of pain. Wrist circles can help relieve it. Stick you arms out straight, palms up, then bend your elbows (your palms should be facing you). Rotate your wrists in one direction for 10 seconds, then the other direction. You can work one wrist at once or both at once, whatever is easier.

De-Mystifying Food Labels

“Natural flavors” is a term many of us food label readers have probably seen hundreds of times but what are they really? It most commonly found on the labels of our most processed foods.

The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.

In other words, a chemical normally flavor found in any of the products can be extracted and enhanced and added to in a lab. These natural flavors may contain up to 50 or 100 added ingredients. If you have an allergic reaction to something and cannot figure out what it is, add “natural flavor” to your list of foods to avoid. It is prevalent in so many processed foods. Try to make your own foods from scratch – that way you know what is in them.