by Lisa Garber
‘It’s no secret that the Mediterranean diet can help us achieve longevity, but the overall lifestyles of the region’s populace shouldn’t escape our attention. Tucked away in the Aegean Sea is a small, rocky island called Ikaria, where residents on average reach the age of 90. Here are a few island secrets of longevity researchers have picked up after years of studying the dreamy getaway.’
by Brian Milligan
‘Over five days, I set out to see if it was possible to include sufficient fruit, vegetables, protein and carbohydrates in my food to do that, spending no more than £1 a day – while trying not to lose sight of the fact that eating should be a pleasure, not just a necessity.
Coffee, alcohol, cakes and even salad are just too expensive. But there are plenty of surprising goodies that are very much on the menu.’
by Tara Culp-Ressler
‘A New York City elementary school became the first public school in the nation to go completely vegetarian when it stopped serving meat in its cafeteria this year.
Flushing’s P.S. 244 consists of about 400 students between kindergarten and third grade. And the staff say that the school lunches — which include options like black bean quesadillas, brown rice, falafel, roasted red potatoes, and tofu — are a hit among those young kids, some of whom have started requesting similar foods at home.’
by Michelle Roberts
‘Staying healthy means following a balanced diet. A growing number of people, however, are eliminating entire food groups, seeing only negative qualities in things like dairy, eggs, meats, grains, and fats.
Over time, the only things left in their diet are fruits and vegetables. Taken to an extreme, it’s now treated as an eating disorder called “Orthorexia”.
This is how Boston University Nutritionist Jenn Culbert defines Orthorexia: “What it essentially means is that someone is obsessed with eating only healthy food that they consider to be pure.”
The problem, according to Culbert, is our bodies need those so called bad foods.’
‘Data from a new study of British adults suggest that adherence to a “Western-style” diet (fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) reduces a person’s likelihood of achieving older ages in good health and with higher functionality. Study results appear in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
“The impact of diet on specific age-related diseases has been studied extensively, but few investigations have adopted a more holistic approach to determine the association of diet with overall health at older ages,” says lead investigator Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD, Inserm, Montpellier, France. “We examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with aging phenotypes, identified after a mean 16-year follow-up.”
The AHEI is a validated index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Investigators analyzed findings from the British Whitehall II cohort study, which suggest that following the AHEI can double the odds of reversing metabolic syndrome, a condition known to be a strong predictor of heart disease and mortality. The research team sought to identify dietary factors that can not only prevent premature death, but also promote ideal aging…’
New research suggests that practicing yoga produces internal changes on a genetic level ~ Pacific Standard
by TOM JACOBS
Newly published research from Norway suggests that a comprehensive yoga program rapidly produces internal changes on a genetic level. The results help explain the well-documented health benefits of this ancient practice.
“These data suggest that previously reported (therapeutic) effects of yoga practices have an integral physiological component at the molecular level, which is initiated immediately during practice,” writes a research team led by Fahri Saatcioglu of the University of Oslo. The team’s study is published in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Researchers first reported five years ago that practices such as yoga which elicit the “relaxation response” may have a long-term effect on gene expression. That’s the scientific term for whether a specific gene is “turned on,” meaning its protein or RNA product is being made. This latest study confirms those findings, links them to the body’s immune system, and suggests this effect may be instantaneous.
Your Food is Deceiving You: Interview with Ocean Robbins CEO-Food Revolution Network ~ Thom Hartmann
This film tells the story of a South Los Angeles edible garden planted in a surprising spot. Ron Finley, its planter, constructed the garden the way he wishes his neighborhood could be. And his vision of repurposing unused open space, like that of many others working together on urban agriculture in our city, should inspire us all, and remind us of how, with a little creativity of vision, and willingness to get our hands dirty, we can remake spaces defined by asphalt and dead grass into productive places of beauty.
TO LEARN MORE about the food movement in Los Angeles and how to get involved visit the Los Angeles Food Policy Council:
TO JOIN IN the MOVEMENT sign the GOOD FOOD PLEDGE:
by Tom Philpott
Remember that Stanford research meta-analysis purporting to show that organic food offers no real health advantages? (I poked some holes in it here). Buried in the study (I have a full copy but can’t post it for copyright reasons) is the finding that organic foods tend to have higher levels of phenols—compounds, naturally occurring in plants, widely believed to fight cancer and other degenerative diseases.
After the study’s release, one of the study’s authors, Dena Bravata, downplayed that result in a New York Times report :
While the difference [in total phenol levels between organic and conventional produce] was statistically significant, the size of the difference varied widely from study to study, and the data was based on the testing of small numbers of samples. “I interpret that result with caution,” Dr. Bravata said.
A paper published Feb. 20 in PLOS One highlighted the link between organic agriculture and phenols. A team of researchers compared total phenol content in organic and conventional tomatoes grown in nearby plots in Brazil. By cultivating the tomatoes in the same microclimate and in similar soil, the researchers were able to control for environmental factors that might otherwise affect nutrient content.
The result: Total phenolic content was 139 percent higher in the organic tomatoes than in the conventional at the time of harvest; and vitamin C content clocked in at 55 percent higher.
The authors hypothesize that the additional stress experienced by organic plants—having to fend off pests, scrounge harder for nutrients like nitrogen in soil, etc.—”resulted in oxidative stress and the accumulation of higher concentrations of soluble solids as sugars and other compounds contributing to fruit nutritional quality such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds.” In other words, when the plants suffer a bit, they generate more of these vital nutrients. And the same could be true for other phenol-rich fruits and vegetables.
There was a trade-off: the conventional tomatoes were significantly larger. But who wants big, tomatoes when smaller, more nutrient-dense ones are available? In my experience, smaller tomatoes, all things being equal, also tend to pack more flavor.
It’s important to note that this paper is just one data point within a complex topic; and the authors themselves note that more research is needed to understand the mechanism by which organic ag seems to boost phenol content. But as even the Stanford paper concedes, there does seem to be something to the connection.
A new study has found that fretting over stressful events could trigger inflammation in one’s body.
The study found that levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of tissue inflammation, rose when participants were asked to ruminate on a stressful incident, Daily Mail reported.
This is the first study to directly measure the effect of negative thought on the body.
Peggy Zoccola, an assistant professor of psychology at Ohio University, US, the study’s lead author, said: “Much of the past work has looked at this in non-experimental designs.”
“Researchers asked people to report their tendency to ruminate, and then looked to see if it connected to physiological issues. It’s been co-relational for the most part.”
The study team recruited 34 healthy young women for the project.
The C-reactive protein is primarily produced by the liver as part of the immune system’s initial inflammatory response.
It is widely used as a clinical marker to determine if a patient has an infection, but also if he or she may be at risk for disease later in life.
- Cayenne Pepper: Desensitizes the respiratory system to tobacco and chemical irritants helps stop cravings for cigarettes. Take the spice daily: add a couple of pinches to a glass of water.
- Ginger: Ingesting pure ginger helps you quit smoking. Ginger has a warming and heating effect in the body, which promotes perspiration. When your body sweats it excretes toxins and relieves some chemical loads from the body. A great detox for a smoking addiction. Also - Drink ginger tea. Instead of smoking try preparing a cup of ginger tea. This is effective because it helps form a new habit instead of smoking.
- Ginseng: Prevents nicotine-induced releases of the neurotransmitter dopamine found in cigarettes. Take a teaspoon of ginseng powder in some cereal or maybe a health shake. (prevents cravings)
- St. John’s Wort: Recommended 450 mg capsule 2 times a day
- Peppermint: nausea can be alleviated with peppermint tea or peppermint oil. It’s great for relieving nausea but is also helps relaxation. It has an anesthetic and pain-relieving effect on the body – that’s perfect for combating this dirty habit.
- Lobelia: Active ingredient is lobeline, thought to have similar properties as nicotine. Research has shown that lobeline may increase levels of dopamine in the brain similar to cigarettes.
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your well being, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.
1. Mercat St. Josep la Boqueria, Barcelona. Photo By Franz St.
2. Karatai Konya, Turkey. Photo by Volkan Başar
3. Olive stand, St. Remy de Provence market, France. Photo by UCMe
4. Vegetable seller in Pushkar, India. Photo by Michael Sheridan
5. Halong Bay, Vietnam. Photo by Life in AsiaNZ
6. Cheese market – Alkmaar, The Netherlands. Photo by Micky
7. Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington
8. Indonesia. Photo by Randy Rakhmadany
9. Damascus. Photo by Friend Faraway
10. Santorini Greece
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘you are what you eat’, and now some believe food choices may actually contribute to anger and violent behavior. Jeff Resnick believes it; he even knows what sets him off. “I can get irritable, absolutely, when I’ve had too much of the carbs,” he said.
Nutritionist Nicolette Pace says carbs can make you feel good, but it doesn’t last. “They don’t give your body what you need to cope with day-to-day stresses,” she said. Pace agrees that there is a connection between anger and food. “Deficiencies in nutrients, magnesium or manganese, vitamin C, or some B vitamins may make a person hyperactive towards a stressor, a short fuse so to speak,” she explained.
Pace and other nutritionists say if you eat plenty of fish, eggs, beans, fruits and green leafy vegetables, you should have the nutrients you need. However, people who tend to eat a diet loaded with processed or packaged foods could find themselves more easily irritated.
Dr. Drew Ramsey says it’s all about the brain. “The gears just don’t run as well, so you are going to feel more irritable,” he said. According to Ramsey, without the proper nutrients, the body can’t make chemicals like serotonin which is necessary for clear thinking and good mood.
Being moody isn’t the worst thing that can happen. “Deficiencies in these nutrients have been correlated strongly with either increases in aggressive behavior and/or violent acts,” Pace explained.
To test that theory, Oxford University researchers gave vitamin supplements to prison inmates. They found it led to less aggressive behavior. “I think it does demonstrate there is something to nutrient deficiencies giving people a propensity toward violence,” Ramsey said.
According to Pace, adjusting your diet could produce a noticeable change. “You’ll see that you have the ability to cope, producing less aggression to stressful situations.”