More Upside to the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has received a great deal of attention in the popular media over the past couple of years. But for those in the healthcare community, it’s even more exciting that growing evidence of its benefits has also been showing up in well-regarded medical and scientific journals.

Act One: The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health

Much of the excitement about the Mediterranean diet has centered on its ability to promote cardiovascular health. And there’s good reason for this. Researchers from the University of Barcelona recently published the findings of a large-scale 5-year study involving 7,447 people in the New England Journal of Medicine. The aim of their research was not to reduce common risk factors such as participants’ cholesterol, blood pressure or weight, but to count the number of actual heart attacks, strokes and deaths from any cause to evaluate how effective the Mediterranean diet was in reducing these events and increasing longevity.

The subjects of this particular study had been specifically selected to participate because they had significant cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease and being overweight. Over the course of their investigation, the researchers found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of death from the effects of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke, by 30%. They were also 40% less likely to have suffered a stroke in the study’s 4-year follow-up period than those who followed a low-fat diet.

This research made a significant impression on many of those who examined the work. Dr. Steven E. Nissen, from the Cleveland Clinic’s department of cardiovascular medicine noted “Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent. And you can actually enjoy life.”

Act Two: The Mediterranean Diet and Brain Health

Alongside research into the cardiovascular health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, there has also been exciting new research into the brain health benefits. A group of investigators—again in Barcelona—placed 447 cognitively healthy individuals (average age 67 years) in one of three dietary groups:

  • A group of participants that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (1 liter per week)
  • A group of participants that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts (30 grams per day)
  • A control diet group of participants that was advised to reduce dietary fat.

Participants in all three groups received baseline cognitive function tests at the beginning of the study, and those remaining in the study after approximately 4 years (about 75% of them) were tested again at the end of this period. The participants who consumed the Mediterranean diet with additional with extra virgin olive oil experienced significantly better cognitive function, while those who ate the mixed nuts experienced significant improvements in memory. At the same time, those participants who followed the low-fat control diet experienced a significant decrease in memory and cognitive function.

Why are olive oil and nuts brain boosters? Scientists have a few theories, but one of the most widely cited has to do with oleic acid. Both olive oil and nuts are rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that is a key ingredient in myelin, a protective covering that twists around nerves (neurons), including those in the human brain. The myelin sheath is critical for nerve functioning. It insulates nerves and prevents electrical current from leaking out of the axon so that they can communicate effectively with each other. The brain—of course—depends on the foods we eat for nourishment, so it’s not surprising that some foods may positively affect performance while others may hamper it. The antioxidant-rich foods in Mediterranean diets as well as nuts and olive oil provide nourishment to the brain and appear to help protect against overall brain health and cognitive decline.

10 Great Reasons to Stay Hydrated

Water is essential to life. Our bodies are already 60%-70% water, and those reserves need to be replenished on a daily basis to keep us healthy. Add either extreme heat or extreme cold (both of which dehydrate us), and drinking enough water becomes even more critical.

Exactly how much water we should drink each day is an open question. As reported by the Mayo Clinic, the Institute of Medicine has determined that adequate water intake per day is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) for men and 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) for women. Some sources recommend more, some less, but there seems to be no question within the healthcare community that many of us should be drinking more water than we are. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Water curbs your appetite, and contains zero calories. Both of these reasons should have some appeal to you whether you’re actively trying to lose a few pounds or just trying to maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that often when people think they’re hungry, they’re really thirsty.
  2. Water increases your energy levels. Studies have indicated that a cup of water can be more effective at boosting your energy levels than a cup of coffee. One suspected reason for this is that our perception of fatigue is often caused more by dehydration than actually being tired.
  3. Water is good for your skin. Rather than investing in expensive creams and lotions, why not invest in a few more glasses of water per day? They will help to keep your skin healthy, radiant, and glowing. And it’s a lot less expensive than anything you could buy at the cosmetics counter.
  4. Water increases your brain power. According to a study in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, subjects who drank a glass of water before performing a series of cognitive tasks reacted faster and thought more clearly than subjects who did not.
  5. Water helps maintain the balance of your other bodily fluids. You lose moisture daily via sweat and other excretions. Similarly, your blood, lymph, and intestinal fluids become depleted, and must be replenished with a proper intake of water.
  6. Water improves your moods. Although there are many causes of depression, headaches, irritability, and fatigue, one of the most common is dehydration. When your body becomes low on water, your blood vessels dilate, causing all of these symptoms. Increasing your daily intake of water can counter and reverse them.
  7. Water lowers your risk of heart attack. When your arteries and veins become clogged with plaque, you increase your likelihood of heart disease—one of the most effective ways of preventing this buildup of plaque is to remain properly hydrated. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that drinking more water was positively associated with a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Drinking liquids other than water increased this risk, according to the same study.
  8. Water can keep your joints lubricated, too. The synovial fluid that keeps your joints functioning properly and that keeps your bones from rubbing against each other becomes depleted when you are dehydrated. Drinking more water prevents this.
  9. Water improves your digestion. Your ability to digest your food depends on the proper functioning of a series of enzymes in your intestinal tract. The “delivery mechanism” for these enzymes is water—don’t get enough of it, and your ability to digest and assimilate nutrients in your food breaks down.
  1. Water even prevents fluid retention. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Dehydration causes the body to retain water, because it thinks there is a critical lack of it. Drinking more water actually causes your body to stop retaining it.

Breakfast Ideas to keep you Hydrated

This fruity orange blend is made with yogurt, which contains tons of water, and, if you opt for Greek instead of plain, tons of extra protein as well.

5 Foods You THOUGHT Were Good for You

On 6/15/2017 | By Chiro One Wellness Centers

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are a lot of foods out there that tout themselves as healthy and natural, when… they aren’t. While we wish so many of these foods were as good as they seemed, there are many other healthful alternatives. Bad news first, then we’ll give you some good news substitutes!

Trail Mix

Depending on what bag you choose, trail mix can actually be a calorie-laden snack that leans more toward unhealthy than healthy. Many packaged trail mixes are filled with super salty roasted nuts, candy-coated chocolate, deep-fried banana chips and artificial ingredients galore.

Smart substitute: Make your own trail mix by combining raw nuts, dried fruits and seeds from your store’s bulk food section.

Granola Bars

Loaded with sugar and a laundry list of ingredients, pre-packaged granola bars are basically candy bars parading around as health food. While there has been an influx of bars on the market with better ingredients, you’re often looking at a snack that’s high in calories.

Smart substitute: Look for a bar with simple ingredients (oats, grains, fruits, nuts), low in sugar and high in fiber. Even better? Skip the bars and stick to your homemade trail mix.

Agave Nectar

A few years ago, agave nectar flew onto the scene as a healthy substitute for sugar. It turns out it’s actually a pretty poor sugar substitute. Agave nectar has incredibly high fructose content—in fact, it’s higher than high fructose corn syrup. Due to this, it ranks low on the glycemic index (a ranking system for rating how carbohydrate foods affect blood sugar—high is good, low is bad), which means it negatively affects blood sugar.

Smart substitute: Pure, raw honey is the best choice for a sugar swap. In addition to sugar, honey has amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants and more.

Vitamin Drinks

Cousin to sports drinks, vitamin drinks are a popular beverage choice—and both are also incredibly high in sugar. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6.5 teaspoons of added sugar (26 grams) a day, but the average American is actually getting around 22 to 30 teaspoons (88 to 120 grams) each day. A popular vitamin drink brand contains about 32 grams of sugar, i.e. more than your daily recommendation.

Smart substitute: Water is the obvious choice, but there are a ton of other healthy options out there! Try sparkling mineral water, sparkling waters with a splash of 100% juice or try green tea.

Brown Rice

Many people over the years have switched to brown rice as a healthier option to white rice—but that might not be the case. Rice contains phytate/phytic acid, which basically binds to minerals and renders them useless. And while brown rice is high in nutrients, it’s also high in phytic acid—which means your body isn’t able to access the nutrients you were feeling good about in the first place.

Smart substitute: Swap your rice for quinoa or get creative and make or buy cauliflower rice.

More Upside to the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has received a great deal of attention in the popular media over the past couple of years. But for those in the healthcare community, it’s even more exciting that growing evidence of its benefits has also been showing up in well-regarded medical and scientific journals.

Act One: The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health

Much of the excitement about the Mediterranean diet has centered on its ability to promote cardiovascular health. And there’s good reason for this. Researchers from the University of Barcelona recently published the findings of a large-scale 5-year study involving 7,447 people in the New England Journal of Medicine. The aim of their research was not to reduce common risk factors such as participants’ cholesterol, blood pressure or weight, but to count the number of actual heart attacks, strokes and deaths from any cause to evaluate how effective the Mediterranean diet was in reducing these events and increasing longevity.

The subjects of this particular study had been specifically selected to participate because they had significant cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease and being overweight. Over the course of their investigation, the researchers found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet reduced their risk of death from the effects of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke, by 30%. They were also 40% less likely to have suffered a stroke in the study’s 4-year follow-up period than those who followed a low-fat diet.

This research made a significant impression on many of those who examined the work. Dr. Steven E. Nissen, from the Cleveland Clinic’s department of cardiovascular medicine noted “Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent. And you can actually enjoy life.”

Act Two: The Mediterranean Diet and Brain Health

Alongside research into the cardiovascular health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, there has also been exciting new research into the brain health benefits. A group of investigators—again in Barcelona—placed 447 cognitively healthy individuals (average age 67 years) in one of three dietary groups:

  • A group of participants that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil (1 liter per week)
  • A group of participants that ate a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts (30 grams per day)
  • A control diet group of participants that was advised to reduce dietary fat.

Participants in all three groups received baseline cognitive function tests at the beginning of the study, and those remaining in the study after approximately 4 years (about 75% of them) were tested again at the end of this period. The participants who consumed the Mediterranean diet with additional with extra virgin olive oil experienced significantly better cognitive function, while those who ate the mixed nuts experienced significant improvements in memory. At the same time, those participants who followed the low-fat control diet experienced a significant decrease in memory and cognitive function.

Why are olive oil and nuts brain boosters? Scientists have a few theories, but one of the most widely cited has to do with oleic acid. Both olive oil and nuts are rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that is a key ingredient in myelin, a protective covering that twists around nerves (neurons), including those in the human brain. The myelin sheath is critical for nerve functioning. It insulates nerves and prevents electrical current from leaking out of the axon so that they can communicate effectively with each other. The brain—of course—depends on the foods we eat for nourishment, so it’s not surprising that some foods may positively affect performance while others may hamper it. The antioxidant-rich foods in Mediterranean diets as well as nuts and olive oil provide nourishment to the brain and appear to help protect against overall brain health and cognitive decline.