HEADLINES / TRENDS l STATS l RESEARCH l MEDIA l PEOPLE

April 2013

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Vigorous Exercising Boosts Sleep

Want to sleep more soundly? Then get busy in the gym. That’s the word from the National Sleep Foundation’s annual Sleep in America poll, which links vigorous activity with more, and more restful, shuteye (www.sleepfoundation.org).

 

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MEDIA

Fighting Age, Deliciously

If you asked the average person, “Would you like to know which foods promote a longer, healthier life?” they might answer, “Sure, but can I eat anything that tastes good?”

The answer to that second question, according to chef Rebecca Katz and writer Mat Edelson, is yes. The authors of The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Superfoods (Ten Speed Press)—who previously teamed up on The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, also from Ten Speed—believe “great taste and great nutrition can joyfully coexist at the dinner table.” Actually, that’s the only way to maintain health over the long term; as a friend of Katz’s remarked, “If something doesn’t taste good, people won’t eat it no matter how good it is for them.”

The Longevity Kitchen’s “super 16” foods offer enough variety in taste and texture to please most palates. Not a fan of asparagus? Maybe kale will tempt you. Don’t appreciate thyme? Maybe basil is more your speed. What’s more, Katz has created recipes that blend healthy foods in creative ways, such as Quinoa with Edamame, Ginger and Lime or Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs. In addition to nutritional analyses, the recipes come with prep times and storage tips, making it easier for busy cooks to put in more kitchen time on slow nights and enjoy healthy leftovers on hectic ones.

“I’ve spent more than a decade motivating people to eat well,” Katz says. The knowledge she has amassed in that time is thoughtfully presented in The Longevity Kitchen.

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Children Consuming Fewer Calories

Public health officials have been fighting the rise in childhood obesity rates for more than a decade now, and their efforts are finally bearing fruit: Kids in the US consume fewer daily calories than they did 12 years ago.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also report that the type of calories eaten has changed, with more energy coming from proteins instead of carbohydrates. A diet weighted towards consumption of carbohydrates—especially highly refined types, such as sugar and white bread and pasta—tends to promote both excessive weight gain and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Calorie consumption among boys fell from 2,258 to 2,100 on average, while girls’ calories dropped from 1,831 to 1,755.

The CDC took these results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which combines interviews with physical examinations.

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NUMBERS

Rising Life Expectancy Worldwide

50%+

Decline in infant mortality 1990-2010


8th

Ranking of malnutrition as death risk factor in 2010 (was 1st in 1990)


43%

Deaths that occurred at age 70 or older (33% in 1990)

Sources: Institute for Health Metrics
and Evaluation/U of Washington

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Omega-3 and Vitamin D:

Help for Alzheimer’s?

One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the development of brain plaques made of amyloid-beta, a protein-like substance that can destroy nerve cells. However, scientists have found that omega-3 and vitamin D may bolster the immune system’s ability to clear amyloid plaques.

A study team at the University of Southern California’s David Geffen School of Medicine isolated macrophages, immune cells that engulf waste products such as amyloid-beta, from the blood of Alzheimer’s patients and healthy volunteers. The scientists then added amyloid-beta to the cell samples; some samples also received active forms of either vitamin D or omega-3.

Both nutrients boosted the ability of macrophages from the Alzheimer’s patients to ingest amyloid-beta. The study team also found that not only did the patients’ cells show different gene-based inflammation patterns compared with cells taken from the healthy people but that two separate gene patterns occurred in the cells from the Alzheimer’s patients.

Study results appear in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “We may find that we need to carefully balance supplementation with vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids depending on each patient in order to help promote efficient clearing of amyloid-beta,” says study leader Milan Fiala, MD. “This is a first step in understanding what form and in which patients these nutritional substances might work best.”

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Folic Acid and Omega-3

for Moms Help Babies

Pregnant women who supplement their diets with folic acid and omega-3 fats may increase their chances of delivering healthy babies.

Supplementation with DHA, an omega-3 fat, was linked to a reduction in delivery of preterm and low birthweight babies, according to researchers at the University of Kansas. In addition, women who took DHA had “shorter hospital stays for infants born preterm than the placebo group,” the research team wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

What’s more, a Norwegian study published in JAMA found that women who took folic acid supplements from four weeks before conception to eight weeks into pregnancy had a 40% lower risk of their babies developing classic childhood autism, a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills.

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Quote

 

“Genuine poetry can

communicate before it is

understood”

 

—T.S. Eliot

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