FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Another Reason for Increasing Vegetables in Your Diet?

Dementia and cognitive decline are becoming more of a public health issue as our population ages. Recent data show adults continue to consume too few fruits and vegetables; overall, 12.2% met fruit intake recommendations and 9.3% met vegetable intake recommendations during 2015. Consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults with greater poverty. I may add that most of the favored choices of vegetables  in the U.S. are potatoes (starchy) followed by tomatoes (not exactly green or leafy). Scientifically speaking the tomato is a fruit. However, FYI, Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that, under U.S. customs regulations, the tomato should be classified as a vegetable rather than a fruit.

A recent study published in Neurology reported that consuming more non-starchy  leafy greens and cruciferous (broccoli and cauliflower) vegetables had a preventive effect on mental decline in an older population (average age was 81).  However, any increase in any vegetable intake appears to be one of the smartest thing you can do for your heart and/or brain. It also helps to tailor your diet to a more plant-based approach.

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Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented?

 

It is too bad that prevention is not emphasized more often to the younger population in order to possibly prevent the ravages of chronic diseases later in life. Research suggest that cognitive decline can at least be delayed by “healthy” lifestyle choices earlier in life rather than after the offending damage has occurred.

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The younger population appears to be less healthy than previous generations of the same age group affecting retirement age and health care costs. For more, CLICK HERE.


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Brain Supplements?

How many times have we heard  this advice?  Get your nutrients from foods, not supplements. When there is any effect, more than likely it is working through the placebo effect.  As a general rule, if you eat less than 1200 kcal a day, you may consider taking a multivitamin/multi-mineral supplement. Also if you are a vegan, you should consider getting your vitamin B12 from fortified foods.   A B12 deficiency is more likely due to a problem from poor absorption rather than from a low intake alone. Even though vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, blatant deficiency is rare because the body stores and reuses it efficiently. Check with your doctor about your vitamin B12 status and diet supplement use especially if you are elderly or on a restricted diet of any kind.

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The Brain and Sweeteners?

The headlines screamed “diet soda” but the studies also included some disturbing results from sugary drinks, too. There is an inexpensive, widely available, low calorie alternative – it is called water. In other words, the advice often given is “don’t drink your calories”.

There is no doubt that these studies require further research to establish reproducible results  and to further elucidate on what is happening to the brain in the presence of natural and/or artificial sweeteners.

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