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January 2018

Full Issue (PDF)

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Articles

Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Do They Work?

Plants are prolific chemical factories. They continuously produce thousands of compounds called phytochemicals. These chemicals perform vital functions for the plants, and some are noxious or even poisonous. But some plant chemicals are helpful to humans when consumed in foods, such as fruits, vegetables, plant oils, and whole grains. Perhaps not surprisingly, these same foods are part of the healthy eating pattern outlined in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Part of the reason why eating patterns based on whole foods are healthy may be their anti-inflammatory properties.

Spicy Foods Curb Salt Intake —Subscribers Only

A large study in China found that people with a penchant for spicier foods preferred less salt, which was associated with less salt and sodium consumed overall and lower blood pressures, according to a study in Hypertension.

Lower Triglyceride With Diet —Subscribers Only

Triglyceride is the other blood fat, or lipid, that your doctor measures in addition to cholesterol to gauge your risk of cardiovascular disease. People with high “bad” LDL cholesterol and/or low “good” HDL are at higher risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. But triglyceride levels matter, too.

Is B12 A Brain Booster? —Subscribers Only

Some purveyors of dietary supplements claim that all you need to do is pop some vitamin B12 every day to obtain “brain support,” “brain protection,” and “cognitive power.”

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. Colon cancer runs in my family, so I want to do everything I can to lower my risk. I’ve heard that taking extra calcium can help. Is this true?

Q. Colon cancer runs in my family, so I want to do everything I can to lower my risk. I’ve heard that taking extra calcium can help. Is this true?

Q. What changes in my diet can I make that would help with regularity?

Q. What changes in my diet can I make that would help with regularity?

Q. How do cereals like oatmeal reduce LDL cholesterol? To what extent does oatmeal lower cholesterol?

Q. How do cereals like oatmeal reduce LDL cholesterol? To what extent does oatmeal lower cholesterol?

NewsBites

Child, Teen Obesity Rising Globally

Globally, the number of obese children and adolescents has risen sharply since 1975, according to a study in The Lancet. The study examined data on the height and weight from 200 countries and nearly 130 million people. Of the total, about 32 million were age 5 to 19.

Soy-Heart Connection Questioned

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, for the first time, moved to revoke a past ruling that allowed food manufacturers to claim that eating foods with soy protein helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. The FDA action follows a review of study data on the association between soy protein and the risk of heart disease. The agency concluded that current evidence “calls into question” the association between consuming soy protein and being less at risk of heart disease.

Walk for Your Health (and Life)

Regular walking reduces the risk of death in older adults, even when they do less than the amount recommended by national guidelines, according to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Do Nuts Prevent Weight Gain?

A small handful of nuts contains up to 200 calories, but people who eat them experience less weight gain over time, suggests a study in the European Journal of Nutrition.

New Blood Pressure Target Announced

In November 2017, The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology released new treatment guidelines that call for lowering the threshold for diagnosing high blood pressure from 140/90 to 130/80.

Special Reports

Healthy Meals with Pasta —Subscribers Only

Americans consume 6 billion pounds of pasta each year, according to the National Pasta Association. Pasta dishes can fit into a healthy eating pattern. It depends in part on portion size. The type of pasta—regular vs. whole-grain—could also be important, although the evidence for it is not definitive. It’s also relevant what sauces and other topping you use to make a pasta dish.