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Health News You Can Use | Vol. 28 No. 3 | Mar-Apr 2018

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WHOLE GRAINS HEALTHIER

A large study headed by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark researched the effects of exchanging refined grain products, such as white bread and pasta, for whole grain varieties. Participants who were at risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes were found to have less inflammation in their bodies when eating whole grains. Additionally, when whole grain products were served, participants generally ate less (presumably because whole grains cause a greater sense of satiety), and even lost weight.

Are you trying to lose weight, or are you at risk for heart disease or diabetes? Next time you’re shopping for bread or pasta, consider leaving the refined grains alone and selecting whole grain varieties instead. Your body will thank you for it! Several reasons why whole grains are healthy,” www.sciencedaily.com, Nov. 2, 2017.

LOW-CARB, HIGH RISK WEIGHT LOSS

Can you lose weight on a low-carbohydrate, high protein (LCHP) diet? Yes, but as many studies now show, it’s at the serious expense of your health. A good example was the 2009, Harvard University study of three differing diets on mice, all with the same caloric restriction. Group 1 received a LCHP diet, group 2 the Western diet, (significantly higher in carbs), and group 3 a typical diet for mice (highest carb percentage). After only 6 weeks, while all lost weight, group 1 showed a progression of coronary artery disease while group 3 showed no progression. Other studies found similar results with humans.

Researchers also found that LCHP diets were associated with inadequate intake of several vital nutrients and undesirable side effects including constipation, acidic breath, muscle spasms and chronic headache. In addition, long-term LCHP diets were found to cause serious kidney, bone, and liver abnormalities. Principles of Healthy Eating,” www.lifeandhealth.org, May 25, 2016.

FINDING THE SLEEP BALANCE

While a lack of sleep can be draining, too much sleep may leave you feeling less than energized. Research shows a relationship between irregular sleeping patterns and low energy. Significant deviations from one’s normal sleep patterns seem to increase daytime lethargy. After finding the right amount of hours to sleep for you, stick to it. Consistency is key. An irregular sleeping pattern can also lead to insomnia and other health issues. “…people who slept for nine or more hours per night had more calcium buildup in their heart artery walls and stiffer leg arteries than those who slept seven hours per night. These early signs of heart disease were also more prevalent in people who logged five or fewer hours of sleep per night and in people who reported poor sleep quality.” “Too much or too little sleep linked to stiffer arteries,” The Harvard Heart Letter, www.health.harvard.edu, Nov. 2015.

ENHANCING MEMORY

Global studies linked physical activity to improved cognitive function. In a controlled study, nearly 3,000 elderly Germans that exercised for 30 minutes, five times a week, were 20 percent less likely to develop dementia. The results of physical activity and reduction of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease was 41 percent in nearly 1,000 Japanese participants who had engaged in physical activities once a week. A 21-year study of Swedish adults engaging in leisure-time physical activities of moderate intensity for at least twice a week, revealed nearly a 60 percent reduction in developing memory loss. “Indeed, studies have also found that an increase or decrease of physical activity over time changes the odds of getting dementia in the expected direction.” Why are such results seen? Physical activity protects brain health and supports neuroplasticity. In the case of older adults, that exercise may increase grey matter in the brain. There are benefits at every stage of life. Cognitive Reserve and the Prevention of Dementia,”  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Aug. 1, 2016.

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