In the News: Calorie restriction

Caloric restriction protects against liver disease, animal studies suggests. Liver Cancer. 2020 Sep;9(5):529-548.

Consuming fewer calories has a protective effect against developing hepatocellular carcinoma ( primary liver cancer)  associated with hepatitis C virus infection, and non alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to a rodent study published in the Journal liver cancer.

Editor’s Note:  Recently, worldwide increases in obesity and metabolic syndrome have raised the prevalence of primary liver cancer derived from non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), Indicating a close relationship between overnutrition and liver tumorigenesis, the authors stated.

The study used mice with the liver cancer core gene that spontaneously developed fatty liver and tumors. For 15 months, the animals were given either a control diet that allowed them to eat as much as they liked, or a diet that contains 30% fewer calories than the controls.

At the end of 15 months, animals that received calorie restricted diets had fewer and smaller liver tumors, less liver oxidative stress, lower inflammation, downregulation of pro- cancer mediators, increased autophagy(cell self degradation), as well as other improvements, compared to the control group.

In the News: Lower Alzheimers’ Risk with Flavonols

What are Phytochemicals?

Phyto chemicals are biologically active substances in plants that have positive effects on health They are also called phyto- nutrients. They perform a variety of functions including these roles:

  •  Antioxidants
  •  Inhibitors of inflammation
  •  Preventers of infectious disease

Flavonols act as antioxidants in the body and the good news about flavanols has made chocolate a health food. Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate is a rich source of flavonols.. Regular intake of flavonols such as a daily consumption of a cup of hot chocolate made with cocoa powder is related to improved blood flow, reduced blood pressure, and decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Flavonols are also found in good amounts in foods such as berries, wine, and tea.

Lower Alzheimer’s Risk Linked to Greater Flavonol Intake. Neurology, 2020 Apr 21:94(16):e1749-e1756.

An article in the Journal Neurology reported an association between consuming more compounds known as flavanols, and a  lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Flavanols are found in many fruits and vegetables as well as in tea and chocolate.

The study included 921 participants with an average age of 81. The subjects the subjects did not have Alzheimer’s disease at the beginning of the study. Questionnaires that were completed at enrollment and then annually during a six year average follow-up period, provided data on dietary intake that was analyzed for flavonol content. Participants were also evaluated yearly for the presence of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the course of follow up , 220 individuals developed the disease. Participants were then divided into five groups, according to their level of flavonol intake. Among those whose intake was highest, at an average of 15.3 milligrams per day, 15% developed Alzheimer’s disease , compared to 30% whose intake was lowest, at approximately 5.3 milligram per day.

The authors stated that “eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking more tea could be a fairly inexpensive and easy way for people to help stave off Alzheimer’s dementia.”

A Timeless Way to Eat: The Mediterranean Diet

There is no real Mediterranean Diet – you know, the ones you read in diet books that offer set meal plans and do’s and don’ts with endless lists of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and of course, let’s not forget the snacks. (or maybe we should). The more recent habit of the American Diet is the increased eating opportunities fueled by the fact that we can eat just about anywhere and that mainly was the desire of big food companies (for more profits). But more about that in a future post.

“Over the span of more than eight decades, clinical research has continued to confirm that eating the Mediterranean way is a sound strategy for lifelong health. At its heart, The Mediterranean diet is precisely the way nutrition experts have been urging us to eat. It’s built on a foundation of whole, mostly unprocessed foods like whole grains, beans, and nuts. It embraces fruits and vegetables with abandon while being stingier with red meat and sweet treats. It includes moderate amounts of fish, eggs and dairy products though vegan and vegetarian versions are doable. It’s sprinkled with heart healthy vegetable oils , mostly olive oil, rather than saturated fat rich butter or lard and it can even include, if desired, a little alcohol traditionally red wine, enjoyed in moderation as part of a meal.”

“People who follow a Mediterranean diet also tend to live longer and perhaps age more gracefully. A recent meta analysis of four studies involving elderly patients found that those who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean style eating pattern had significantly less risk of becoming frail, an important measure of quality of life for older adults.”

The components of the diet are generally plant-based that give us ample vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, fiber, and good fats and carbohydrates. Long-term studies have shown lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, and a reduced risk of some cancers (breast, prostate, and  colorectal).  

“Encouraging research suggests that a Mediterranean pattern of eating may also have benefits for the brain. Several studies have linked the eating patterns to lower rates of depression, others notice a small but significantly lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and of progressing to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Source: Joyce Hendley. Mediterranean Diet: A delicious path to lifelong health. Eating Well Magazine.

For more….. CLICK HERE.

The Mediterranean Diet At A Glance

Healthy Lifestyles and Longevity

According to David Sinclair, PhD in his recent book, Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, “Aging is a disease and that disease is treatable.” What if you could have some control over how many years you can live and live that life with reasonable health?

There is now a fascinating new surge in aging research and a lot of attention paid to the contribution of healthy lifestyles. According to Dr. Sinclair, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, the key is “activating newly discovered genes, the descendants of an ancient survival circuit that is both the cause of aging and the key to reversing it.” Sounds a little mystical? It makes a lot of sense (after reading the book). New ideas can change the way we think about aging and what we can do about it. Anyone who ages must read about these new concepts.

Spoiler Alert: From the article and study: Researchers estimated participants who didn’t follow any of the habits had a life expectancy at age 50 of 29 years for women and 25.5 years for men. Yet for those who did adopt these guidelines, after age 50 women could expect to live another 43.1 years, compared to 37.6 years on average for men. Ben Renner, Harvard Study: Adopting These 5 Healthy Habits can Add Decade To Your Life. Study Finds, June 16, 2018,

CLICK HERE.

Intermittent Fasting: An Introduction

Intermittent fasting is also known as time-restricted eating, helps regulate the expression and activity of proteins and other cellular functions known to influence health and aging. In other words, it’s not so much of what you eat, but when you eat. The simple act of limiting food intake increases lifespan and reduces age-associated disorders such as diabetes and heart disease. This action may also boost our resistance to other diseases and ultimately help extend lifespan.

Sources:

Rafel de Cabo, PhD and Mark P. Mattson, PhD. Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease. The New England Journal of Medicine, December 26, 2019.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting. Life Extension, February 2021

Diana Licalzi, MS, RD. How Intermittent Fasting Impacts Longevity: A Summary of the Research. October 23, 2020

CLICK HERE.