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September 2018

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Articles

The Facts about Gluten-Free Eating

The gluten-free foods market has exploded in the past decade. It is important for people following or considering a gluten-free diet to know the facts.

Exercising for LIFE —Subscribers Only

Exercising regularly can help prevent age-related decline in physical functioning and decrease risk of falls, osteoporosis, and frailty, but the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity may seem daunting, especially for inactive older adults. While meeting these recommendations is best, a recent analysis by Tufts researchers suggests that even increasing physical activity by less than one hour a week can provide clinically significant benefits.

Supplements and Older Adults —Subscribers Only

A recent study, published in The Journal of Nutrition, looked at nutrient and herbal supplement use in U.S. adults. The study surveyed over 3,400 people ages 60 and older between 2011 and 2014. “About 70 percent of respondents reported using at least one dietary supplement over the previous 30 days,” says study co-author Johanna Dwyer, DSc, RD, senior nutrition scientist with the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health and director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts University. Older Americans may want to rethink this practice, however, since a growing number of studies have found that supplements may not have the intended health benefits. Additionally, more information is needed on potential interactions between supplements and prescription drugs.

Ask Tufts Experts

Q. What is maple water, and is it a healthy beverage choice?

Q. What is maple water, and is it a healthy beverage choice?

Q. Are plant-based “milks” equivalent to dairy? How do I know what to choose?

Q. Are plant-based “milks” equivalent to dairy? How do I know what to choose?

Q. I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of turmeric, but also about potential side effects. What does the science say?

I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of turmeric, but also about potential side effects. What does the science say?

NewsBites

Mediterranean Diet Associated with Lower Alzheimer’s Risk

Adhering to a Mediterranean-style eating pattern may protect the aging brain from Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research published in the journal Neurology. The three-year brain imaging study looked for Alzheimer’s disease-associated brain changes in 70 cognitively normal adults ages 30 to 60 years. Participants whose diets were closer to a Mediterranean style of eating showed fewer negative brain changes over the course of the study than those with lower adherence to this dietary pattern.

Cravings Can Lead to Higher Spending on Junk Food

A recent study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggests that cravings for junk foods not only can undermine good dietary intentions, but also may increase spending on unhealthy choices.

Vitamin D Alone Does Not Help Muscles

It has been suggested that taking vitamin D supplements could help preserve muscle strength and functionality in older adults, but a new study concluded that supplementation alone had no impact on either muscle strength or physical performance.

Bananas Beat Sports Drinks

A study published in 2012 found that competitive cyclists performed better on long rides if they consumed either a banana (plus water) or a sports drink, compared to water alone. Now a follow-up study, recently published in the journal PLOS One, concluded that bananas are even better than sports drinks at helping these athletes recover from extreme exertion.

Special Reports

The Power of Plant-Based Proteins

Eating more plant foods is associated with longevity and reduced risk for most chronic diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Plant foods (such as whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) are rich in health-promoting nutrients and compounds like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals. But plants can also be a good source of protein.

Meeting Varied Dietary Needs —Subscribers Only

When gathering together for a holiday, or any other group event, people may bring different dietary needs to the table. In addition to varying taste preferences, individuals may have dietary restrictions for medical, religious, or even moral reasons, or they could be following a particular plan they believe will support health or weight loss. Before undertaking preparing food for a group, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of some of the most common dietary restrictions.