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Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Greater Risk of Dementia

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Greater Risk of Dementia

Study can't prove causality, but adds to growing evidence of a connection.

November 2014 - Could the “sunshine vitamin,” known to be crucial to bone health, also help protect the aging brain against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? It’s possible, says Robin B. Kanarek, PhD, Tufts professor of psychology. “There is mounting evidence demonstrating that vitamin D is critical for the normal functioning of the nervous system,” she explains, “and that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to age-related decrements in cognitive behavior.”

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Will You Be Part of Salt’s Global Reach?

Will You Be Part of Salt’s Global Reach?

New study calculates worldwide sodium consumption and cost to health.

If you’re worried about getting too much sodium from salt in your diet, a new globe-spanning study reports you should have company among 99% of the world’s population. Daily sodium consumption in the 66 countries studied averaged 3,950 milligrams—nearly twice the maximum recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). That excess sodium intake, researchers estimated, contributes to about 1.65 million deaths a year worldwide from cardiovascular causes.

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Beyond Pumpkin: Harvest the Health Benefits of Winter Squash

Beyond Pumpkin: Harvest the Health Benefits of Winter Squash

Economical and easy to prepare, theyre packed with fiber and vitamin A.

This season’s culinary and cultural spotlight shines on the pumpkin, but the jack-o’-lantern’s less-celebrated cousins—winter squash—are also at their peak of flavor and nutrition. Like the pumpkin, butternut, acorn and other winter squash are technically fruits, but are consumed more like vegetables. Though they vary by species, winter squash are at least as nutritious as pumpkin and deliver more nutrients than summer varieties like zucchini. It’s no wonder the pre-Colombian Native Americans who first cultivated winter squash buried them with their dead to provide nourishment for the journey to the afterlife.\n

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Bacon

Special Supplement: The Latest on Facts: Facts vs. Fads

Dont be fooled by unproven claims not supported by science.

For a nation that not so long ago buried itself in the low-fat craze, America has seen quite a turnaround in its attitudes toward dietary fat—especially saturated fat. Given permission to indulge by the Atkins fad and a recent meta-analysis questioning the link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular disease (see the June 2014 newsletter), we’ve loaded up our plates. This summer, wholesale prices of butter and bacon both hit record highs in response to surging consumer demand.

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Black Bean & Barley Salad

Black Bean & Barley Salad

Looking for creative ways to use healthy fats like those in olive or canola oil? Packed with vibrant colors and contrasting textures, this hearty salad—a reader favorite—makes a tasty, nutritious and economical side dish. The optional avocado (one of the few fruits that provides healthy fats) adds 3.3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat per serving.

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Oven-Fried Chicken

Oven-Fried Chicken

No need to fry to make “fried” chicken. Removing the chicken skin and baking the chicken rather than deep-frying it yields an impressive savings of saturated fat and calories–and the results are every bit as delicious. In this recipe, we marinate the chicken in seasoned low-fat buttermilk. This step ensures that the skinless chicken stays moist and succulent. A whole-grain breading forms a tasty crust during baking. As most chicken-breast pieces are much larger than an appropriate serving size (which is 3 ounces cooked chicken), cut breast halves in half on the diagonal before marinating and dredging.

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Organic Crops Found Higher in Antioxidants

But it's uncertain how nutrition differences translate to health benefits.

Are organic fruits, vegetables and grains better for you? No one disputes that organic foods are lower in synthetic pesticides, though how important that is to your health remains controversial, as long as levels fall below EPA thresholds. But most studies have found little difference between organic and conventionally grown crops in nutritional value.

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Ask Tufts Experts

Q Your August newsletter article on BMI and age was very interesting. How much of the change in ideal BMI, however, is due simply to a person losing height, as often happens with age, which would cause the BMI to increase even if weight is the same? Should an older person’s BMI be calculated based on maximum height (when younger) or current height?

Q I’ve heard that foods from the nightshade family are supposed to aggravate arthritis. Is this true? Are some nightshade foods worse than others?

Q I read about a study that found individuals with a high intake of vitamin E had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. I have been taking 1,000 IU daily. Now I read in your newsletter (June 2014) that men taking vitamin E supplements were more likely to get prostate cancer. What should I do?