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Mar 20

The strict anti-aging routine of a 45-year-old CEO who spends millions a year to be 18 againfrom diet to exercise – Fortune

In a recent Fortune interview, tech CEO Byran Johnsonwhose $2 million reverse aging regimen caught the internets attentionsays he wants to live long to enjoy more of what life offers.

I love life, Johnson says, whose rigid medical interventions have given him the heart health of a 37-year-old, skin of a 28-year-old and lung capacity of an 18-year-old, according to his team of doctors. If we can dramatically show that aging can be slowed and reversed, it would change everything for the human race.

He adds: Am I scared of dying? No.

A few years ago, Johnson says he learned to fly a plane, receiving his flying license.

It was stunning to me how well the autopilot flew the plane, he says. I wondered, could I build an autopilot for me and my body. In order to do that, he has put faith on medicine and technology.

His fascination led him to adhere to a strict approach with the goal of reversing aging with the help of a team of 30 from nutritionists to MRI specialists. He undergoes daily body fat scans, routine MRIs, and often, invasive blood and stool sample tests to see the biological age of his organs.

He has 100 different protocols embedded in his day, he says. Johnson consumes a precise 1,977 calories a day, and over 70 pounds of vegetables a month. His breakfast is a standard mix of broccoli, cauliflower, black lentils, mushroom, garlic, and ginger, followed by a meal of nutty pudding with nuts and berries, and finally, a meal of vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds (along with 15 grams of 100% dark chocolate and 30 milliliters of extra virgin olive oil). He admits to ending his three ounces of red wine a day he used to consume in order to meet the metrics.

With a wakeup at 4:30 each morning, Johnson completes 35 different exercises and takes a list of supplements. It has all been a part of his Blueprint Project, where he measures the health of his organs to determine his rate of aging. He says he plans to continue this regimen forever.

But the data, and the effect his endeavors have on his biological age, is preliminary.

While aging and longevity experts find Johnsons commitment fascinating, they say it poses a concern given the level of discipline and money required to upkeep the routinenot to mention, the limited science available to back up his choices.

In many ways, he is a walking experiment, Dan Buettner, longevity expert and founder of Blue Zones LLC, previously told Fortune. He adds that he is still worth paying attention to, although results in a decade from now will prove more fruitful.

I applaud anybody whos tried to use science to live longereventually, theres going to be an intervention thats going to represent a big leap in life expectancy, he says. I dont think its here yet.

But the uncertainty of whether or not Johnsons approach will succeed doesnt seem to bother him. Is the fountain of youth here right now hiding in tens of thousands of scientific publications and really hard work? he says.

The wealthy CEO does not mind being the guinea pig.

Lets play an infinite game together, he tells Fortune. None of this stems from fear; it all comes from an absolute joy for life and a belief that there are majestic things that await us in our next evolution.

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The strict anti-aging routine of a 45-year-old CEO who spends millions a year to be 18 againfrom diet to exercise - Fortune

Mar 20

Can a Mediterranean diet help keep heart disease, dementia, and cancer at bay? – Medical News Today

For some time researchers have suggested that a Mediterranean diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and sh may help lower heart disease risk and increase life expectancy. An increasing amount of scientific evidence now backs up this notion. Recent studies have linked reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancers with Mediterranean diets. Medical News Today looked at the evidence and spoke to experts about the science behind the benefits of this diet.

Over the years, many diets have been proposed for keeping healthy or reducing the risk of specific diseases, but few of them have stood up to rigorous scientific scrutiny.

One exception, however, appears to be the Mediterranean diet.

Increasingly, studies are showing that there are significant health benefits for people who follow this eating plan. Not only has research shown that it reduces cardiovascular disease, but it may also benefit cognition, decrease diabetes risk, reduce the risk of some cancers, and alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

The Mediterranean diet is an umbrella term referring to diets based on the historic eating habits of people who live around the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the American Heart Association, which recommends this type of diet for cardiovascular health, its key features are:

The Harvard School of Public Health adds to these recommendations, emphasizing the importance of healthy fats olive oil, avocados, nuts, and oily fish.

It advises that people should eat red meat only occasionally, but get their protein from fish or seafood at least twice a week and eat small quantities of poultry, eggs, and dairy most days.

Although water should be a persons main drink, people may also drink one or two small glasses of red wine each day, as per the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Researchers add, however, that a healthy diet should also be paired up with some form of enjoyable physical activity every day.

Dr. Scott Kaiser, a geriatrician, and director of Geriatric Cognitive Health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, noted:

Research supports the benefits of adopting healthy lifestyle habits and indicates the critical importance this can play in shaping our future individual and collective health. [] Start with including lots of fresh vegetables especially green leafy vegetables and then enjoy fresh fruits like berries and other antioxidant-rich foods, along with fish, olive oil, and other foods rich in brain-healthy omega-3s.

Mediterranean diets have long been associated with benefits to cardiovascular health. In the mid-20th century, the Seven Countries study showed that dietary patterns in the Mediterranean and in Japan in the 1960s were associated with low rates of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.

Since then, research has shown that this type of diet not only benefits cardiovascular health, but it also reduces the risk of many other health conditions.

And recently, evidence has been increasing for the wide-ranging health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet. But what makes Mediterranean diets so healthy, exactly?

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by high fruit and vegetables, high fiber, high levels of good fats, moderate intakes of fish and meat, low amounts of high processed foods and sugary treat foods, noted Dr. Eamon Laird, a visiting research fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, in Ireland.

These food components give high amounts of fiber, good fats, antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals choline, vitamin C, potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin D from fish, etc. [and] proteins which give health benefits throughout a large number of organ and tissue systems, he explained.

Lots of research has investigated the effect of a Mediterranean diet on the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).

A meta-analysis of several studies published in March 2023, with a pooled sample of more than 700,000 female participants, has found that, by adhering closely to a Mediterranean diet, women reduced their risk of CVD by 24%, and their risk of death from any cause by 23%.

According to Dr. Laird, [w]omen are also much more likely to stick with the diet compared to men, which could explain why we see more of the health benefits in women.

The meta-analysis seems to confirm the findings of previous research. For example, in 2015, another meta-analysis had found that the Mediterranean diet could be a major factor in preventing CVD.

And it was the complete diet, rather than any particular aspect, that seemed to have this effect, as Dr. Joanna Hodges, an assistant teaching professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University, told MNT.

[The study] concludes that no specific component of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be as beneficial as the whole diet [in CVD prevention], she told us.

There is also increasing evidence that the diet may enhance cognitive function. A study published in March 2023 that used UK Biobank data has just reported that individuals with a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet had up to 23% lower risk for dementia compared with those who had lower adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

The study, which used data from more than 60,000 people, concluded that the Mediterranean diet lowered dementia risk even in those with a genetic predisposition for dementia.

The authors conclude that adopting a diet high in healthy, plant-based foods may be a strategy for reducing dementia risk.

Another study, also published in March 2023, which looked at postmortem Alzheimers pathology, found that those who had followed a Mediterranean or MIND diet, particularly one rich in leafy greens, had a much lower beta-amyloid load.

Beta-amyloid is thought to be responsible for many of the symptoms of Alzheimers disease.

The diet may also be beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). A preliminary study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurologys 75th Annual Meeting in April 2023, found that people with MS who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 20% lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who followed it the least.

The diet has been found to both reduce the risk of some cancers and improve the efficacy of some cancer treatments.

A 2019 review found that high adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower rate of several cancers, including breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers.

This study concluded that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of components of the diet prevent and counteract DNA damages and slow down the development of various forms of cancer.

For prostate cancer, recent research has shown that eating a diet high in colorful fruits and vegetables both reduces the risk of developing prostate cancer and speeds recovery in those who undergo radiation therapy for the disease.

The studies, from South Australia, found that diets high in lycopene and selenium reduced the risk.

Tomatoes, melons, papayas, grapes, peaches, watermelons, and cranberries are rich in lycopene, and white meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, and nuts contain high concentrations of selenium. All of these are recommended in the Mediterranean diet.

And it is not only prostate cancer patients whose treatment may be more effective on a Mediterranean diet.

A recent study presented at UEG Week 2022 found that the diet was significantly associated with an improved response to immunotherapy drugs in people with advanced melanoma.

Although the exact mechanism by which the Mediterranean diet benefits health is unclear, there is increasing evidence that the diet can have five main effects:

Dr. Laird explained to MNT how some components of the diet benefit health:

Omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, resveratrol, vitamins, and polyphenols may contribute to lower levels of inflammation (CRP, inflammatory cytokines), and may improve endothelial function. By reducing levels of inflammation, improving blood flow, improving insulin sensitivity, and improving lipid metabolism, by default you are also reducing some of the major risk factors for CVD, cognitive decline, cancers, and diabetes.

Studies have found that it is best to take in these nutrients in their natural form as part of a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

Although they can be obtained through supplements, there may be side effects to taking excessive amounts.

The Mediterranean diet is just one of many diets that have health benefits. Others include the MIND, Nordic, and DASH diets.

The common thread throughout all the [healthy] diets is a heavy influence of plant foods, which we see [] has numerous benefits in increasing dietary fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, said Kate Cohen, a registered dietitian at the Ellison Clinic at Saint Johns, part of the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine and Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.

So, key to any healthy diet is incorporating plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Most importantly, any dietary changes made should be long-term and sustainable to give health benefits.

Long term it [the Mediterranean diet] may be difficult to follow in its true form, particularly to those accustomed to processed food diets. A good approach would be to slowly integrate components into your current diet and to build slowly again variety is the spice of life and we should have a varied and diverse diet and not rely solely on one dietary pattern to meet all our needs and requirements and tastes food is to be enjoyed too!

Dr. Eamon Laird

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Can a Mediterranean diet help keep heart disease, dementia, and cancer at bay? - Medical News Today

Mar 20

My food revolution: how I learned to love a gluten-free diet – The Guardian

How to have a healthy gut

After years of pain, the diagnosis of coeliac disease was a crucial turning point for Lizzy Davies. She explains the changes it forced her to make and how she learned to love food once again

Sat 18 Mar 2023 09.00 EDT

It starts with a strange tingling on my tongue as I get on the tube in central London. About five minutes later, I start to wonder if I might feel a little faint (or is it just really, really hot down here?). After 15, I know: Im going to vomit the entire contents of my stomach into a bag full of orchard fruits from my friends dads garden. Have some apples and pears from Normandy, shed said, charmingly, just an hour or two earlier, as we sat down for my 40th birthday afternoon tea. Little did she know the horror that was to be unleashed on that inoffensive little tote.

A few minutes later, as I stand at the side of the road in north-east London, puking into a bin in broad daylight, it occurs to me that people must think Im drunk. But alcohol has nothing to do with my current predicament. You can blame that entirely on the scones. Or perhaps the sandwiches. I certainly have my suspicions about the dainty little tart whose pastry tasted so good, so buttery, so, well, not gluten-free, that I double checked with the waitress. But thats the thing about being coeliac: youre often not quite sure what the culprit was. You just know theres been a crime and your poor, long-suffering gut is the victim.

It was towards the end of a two-year, pasta-filled stint in Italy as the Guardians Rome correspondent that I realised something was seriously wrong with what my mother would term my insides. I remember calling her after a trip to Venice (I think it had been to cover George Clooneys showstopper of a wedding now theres a nice contrast for you), convinced that the agonising guttural cramps and debilitating fatigue I was experiencing were due to Giardia, a tiny parasite that spreads diarrhoeal disease. But it says on the internet that you generally only get Giardia from travelling to far-flung places where theres no clean water, my mum said, or something to that effect, gently, and doubtfully. Ive been to Venice! I wailed, insistent that the pungent waters of the Grand Canal had left me bedridden. I wasnt fooling either of us.

Several months later after weeks of mysterious and relentlessly unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms I finally went to the GP in Britain. I had visited a doctor during a grim holiday in the US when I was largely unable to leave the apartment but Id been prescribed antibiotics, which had done nothing, and stung for several hundred dollars, so I wasnt feeling optimistic. But I was desperate: my illness had come to dominate my life. I had lost a huge amount of weight. I was so weak I ended up leaving Italy without telling many people because I simply didnt have the energy physical or mental to call them, let alone meet. (If youre one of them, sorry.)

But this doctor was great, and it was only in retrospect that I realised quite how unusual she was. Upon hearing my symptoms she immediately referred me for a blood test, and within days she called me at work to tell me the news: my bloods had shown I was severely anaemic and I had coeliac disease. What, I remember saying, that thing with gluten? No way! When I was really sick the only thing I could stomach eating were those little salty wheat crackers; I would eat packets and packets of them Oh. The cogs of my brain started, slowly, to turn.

I got lucky with my doctor. Plenty of people, Ive since learned, struggle for years with all the symptoms of coeliac disease bloating, diarrhoea, vomiting, heartburn, brain fog: a veritable smrgsbord of delights without ever being diagnosed. As it was, I was told to continue eating gluten until I could have the biopsy that would confirm my diagnosis by showing damage to my small intestine. And then? What was the treatment, I wanted to know? When could I go back to the crackers?

The answer was short, and blunt: never. The only way for someone with coeliac disease an autoimmune condition that, if undiagnosed, can lead to the slow damage of organs and bowel cancer is to give up gluten for ever. Now, given that this is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, barley and, due to high levels of cross contamination, oats that can feel like a mammoth challenge. It means, obviously, no (normal) scones, no cakes, no sandwiches. It also means no beer, no Colmans mustard, no soy sauce. Do not sample that street food, do not take a punt on that new chippy, do not linger beside the festive buffet.

It is the end of one era of your life, and the beginning of another. Of course, theres a sense of loss. But by that point many people are so glad to finally have an answer to their troubles that they are happy to start afresh. I certainly was. It was worrying enough to hear about my anaemia, which was so bad my GP said I would in previous years have been hospitalised. (These days industrial-strength iron tablets did the trick.) On top of that a bone scan showed I had osteopenia, the precursor to osteoporosis. I was in my early 30s. The consultant said Id probably had coeliac disease for about a decade without knowing it.

I was desperate, therefore, to feel healthy and energetic again although I did wonder if maybe it had been so long I had forgotten how that felt. I threw myself in to decoding this new and unfamiliar world: one of scanning each label on every item of food to see if I could eat it or not (bewildering, to begin with, but now I do it without even thinking about it, my brain like a barcode-reader). Shopping took a lot longer. Eating in restaurants was a minefield. (I am lucky that my partner is a fantastic cook I am hopeless.)

Going to friends houses was excruciating. It is incredibly difficult, especially if youre a chronic people pleaser like me, to say to someone who has tried their hardest to cook something gluten-free that you still cant have it because theyve put in one forbidden ingredient or used the same pan for normal and GF pasta or sprinkled some soy sauce on at the last moment or, well, the list of unfortunate potential errors is, sadly, endless. Its best for everyone if I just bring my own. I do the same when I travel abroad for work, which is on the one hand soul-destroying in countries like Lebanon, with some of the most delicious cuisine known to man, but frankly reporting is easier if youre not also trying to vomit into your handbag and Id rather not take the risk. Having said that, the best gluten-free bread Ive ever had, bar none, was in Bethlehem.

If youre reading this because you have been recently diagnosed, please, dont worry. You will feel healthy again! You will enjoy food again! It will be a bit different, but after a few years you wont even notice. It becomes normal. Theres a huge variety of gluten-free food in the shops, the kind that coeliacs couldnt have dreamed of 30 years ago. The M&S Made Without Wheat range is a personal favourite, though its not cheap, and I have recently discovered Leighs gluten-free bakery, which makes mouthwateringly good focaccia and delivers coeliac-friendly doughnuts to my door: the dream! Oh, and I know I said no soy sauce but actually tamari is just as good.

Though it may not feel like it to begin with, you can still eat a huge range of food on a gluten-free diet: fruit, vegetables, pulses, potatoes, rice, and, depending on your diet, dairy, meat and fish. If anything, my diagnosis has made us cook more from scratch and more healthily as a family. Our kids are educated in the details of the gastrointestinal tract: the five-year-old has been known to do a highly dramatic full-body imitation of my small intestines villi collapsing, vanquished by the deadly enemy: wheat. I have found the best gluten-free bakery in Paris, and mastered the art of a GF sticky toffee pudding.

One day, perhaps, I may even brave an afternoon tea again. But not any time soon; Im still having flashbacks to that tote bag.






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My food revolution: how I learned to love a gluten-free diet - The Guardian

Mar 20

What is the healthiest vegetable? There isn’t one ‘best’, but these are great nutrient-dense options. – USA TODAY

Only one in 10 adults consume the recommended daily vegetable intake, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. And while a regular intake of vegetables is crucial to a healthy diet, food insecurity in 27% of American households shows there are significant barriers to accessing vegetables to cook at home.

If youre looking to increase your daily vegetable intake, look no further. Heres a guide to the mostnutrient-dense veggies,plus tips for incorporating more fresh and frozen greens into your diet.

When it comes to vegetables, registered dietitian and nutritionist Danielle Crumble Smith says "dont discriminate."

She says there isnt just one "healthiest" vegetable, though there are some particularly nutrient-dense options to keep an eye out for. Here's a look:

"Dark leafy greens get a lot of attention and for good reason," she says. "They have vitamin K, theyre rich in calcium and a host of different antioxidants."

Most people think of spinach when they hear "leafy greens,"but Crumble Smith recommends widening your palateand trying chard, collard greens, mustard greens or beet greens.

What is the healthiest fruit?: This one is high in antioxidants and has cognitive and cardiovascular benefits.

Cruciferous vegetables make another great addition to one's diet. Those include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage andbok choy, among others.

Cruciferous vegetables contain fiber, phytonutrients to prevent cellular damage and indole-3-carbinol, a compound shown to decrease estrogen dominance and reduce the risks of estrogen-related cancers as well as colon cancer, Crumble Smith says.

But there are some specifics to look out for when it comes to vegetables and your specific dietary needs. (As always, consult your physician if you have specific questions related to your diet.)

Spinach, beet greens and chard contain oxalates, which can bind to minerals like calcium and inhibit their absorption. For this reason, Crumble Smith recommends that people who are dairy-free should look outside of leafy greens to satisfy calcium needs.

People who have had oxalate kidney stones and want to prevent future recurrence may also want to be wary of vegetables with high oxalate content, though she says drinking enough water every day can also decrease the risk.

Crumble Smith says these vegetables are still good sources of vitamin K, lutein and vitamin C, so its not a reason to avoid them, or any other vegetable, completely.

Starch vegetables, which include potatoes, corn, squash, peas and carrots and others, often get a bad rap because of their carbohydrate content.

"Those have a host of nutrients, but also do provide carbohydrates and they can elevate blood sugar levels,"Crumble Smith says. "People who have diabetes or any sort of insulin resistance and people who have weight loss goals, over-consuming carbohydrates could interfere with their weight loss."

But that doesnt mean you should avoid starchy vegetables theyre an excellent source of fiber and potassium, which can help control high blood pressure.

Crumble Smith says starch vegetables in one's diet can fuel runners for longer distances and assist with recovery.

How to eat less ultra-processed foods: Avoid health risks with these new practices

What foods are high in iron?: Here are some healthy options to add to your diet

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day for adult women and 3 to 4 cups for adult men. Here are a few examples of what counts as "one cup" of vegetables:

Tossing extra vegetables into soups, stews and sandwiches is also a good way to reach your recommended daily intake. But if that doesnt sound appetizing, try these tips from Crumble Smith:

Your instinct may be to look for fresh vegetables rather than stocking your freezer with frozen ones. But unless youre buying them locally and know exactly how long theyve been sitting out since being harvested, Crumble Smith says frozen veggies actually have more to offer.

"Theyre flash frozen at their peak stage of ripeness when all those nutrients are there and preserved,"she says. "Frozen veggies are a great, very nutrient-dense option and theyre also really good for people who forget there are veggies in the fridge that might be going bad before they get to it."

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Just Curious?: We're answering your everyday questions

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What is the healthiest vegetable? There isn't one 'best', but these are great nutrient-dense options. - USA TODAY

Mar 20

An inflammatory diet could be hurting your sleep. What foods to avoid (and which to indulge in) – Fortune

Having trouble falling asleep? Staying asleep? Getting good sleep?

Your diet could be to blame.

A new study from the University of South Carolina, published recently in the journal Nutrients, found that those who ate more inflammatory foods slept worse than those who ate less of them.

Dr. Michael Wirthone of the studys lead authors, and an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the universitys Arnold School of Public Healthtells Fortune hes looked at the role of inflammatory diets in a number of different groups: police officers, pregnant women, and men in general.

All such studies came to the same conclusion: When people move toward a more anti-inflammatory diet, they sleep better.

They dont necessarily sleep longer, Wirth cautions. But they spend more time in bed asleep, without waking up. And they get more quality sleep. It improves their sleep efficiency, he notes.

Why? High levels of inflammatory markers like interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor inhibit the natural rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle, Wirth says. If someones diet frequently contains inflammatory foods, you lose that natural rhythm.

His advice to those who want to improve their sleep via diet: Dont start drastic.

One thing I try not to do is say, Hey, take your diet and completely change everything about it, he says, adding that Americans, in particular, dont respond well to such demands on their freedom.

His suggestion instead: Start by adding just a couple of anti-inflammatory foods to your diet regularly.

Even smaller changes can make a difference, like adding spices, herbs, onions, and/or garlic to the dishes you had already planned to make. Spices and herbs in particular are some of the most anti-inflammatory foods on this planet, Wirth saysan effect opposite of what you might expect, given their zest and heat.

If you find yourself sleeping better and are looking to take things a step further, cut down on animal protein and foods that come in a box, Wirth recommends.

He references the notion of shopping on the outside of the store. If you stick to the parameters, youll encounter whats freshfruits, veggies, protein, dairy, and the likeand avoid processed foods chock full of unhealthy preservatives and additives.

If that seems too tall of an order, focus on snacks first, Wirth suggests, as theyre typically the main source of processed foods in a diet.

Other good foods to limit due to their inflammatory status: fried foods like fried chicken, and those laden with oil, like many pizzas.

Eliminating even one or two inflammatory foods from your diet will put your body on a path toward healing, Wirth advises. And you can expect to be paid in benefits both short- and long-term.

After two, three, four nights of really good sleep, youre going to start to see changes in alertness during the day, the ability to think on your feet, physically not being as tired, he says.

Further out, expect a reduction in risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other maladies.

When inflammation disrupts the bodys natural circadian rhythm, more than just sleep is affected, Wirth cautions. So is everything from your bodys ability to fight off infection and digest your food, to prevent insulin resistance.

The good news: Small, positive diet choices can begin moving the needle backquickly.

Adds Wirth: Youre going to feel better, be able to think better, do things physically better.

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An inflammatory diet could be hurting your sleep. What foods to avoid (and which to indulge in) - Fortune

Mar 20

What happens when you grow up on the Mediterranean diet? She … – American Heart Association News

Naima Moustaid-Moussa (left) and her husband, Hanna Moussa, with food they cooked for international students at Texas Tech University. (Photo courtesy of Naima Moustaid-Moussa)

You can find health advice almost anywhere these days. But finding reliable information and figuring out how to apply it can be overwhelming.

So to help sort things out, American Heart Association News is launching "The Experts Say" as a new series where specialists tell us how they apply what they've learned to their own lives.

Today's expert is Naima Moustaid-Moussa, Horn Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences and director of the Obesity Research Institute at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. She talked about how her eating habits are shaped both by the flavorful foods she ate growing up and what she's learned as a scientist. Here are highlights from the conversation.

Is there a guiding principle behind what you eat?

There are two. One is culturally guided, and one is science-based.

I grew up in Morocco. We mostly ate fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. We'd go to the market and buy the fish. We always cooked with olive oil or argan oil. So I grew up eating what we call the Mediterranean diet. We didn't know it was called a Mediterranean diet at that time. It was just what we ate.

As I grew up, went to grad school in France and came to the U.S., I got more into science. And what we see is that if you're eating your fiber, your fruits, your vegetables, it will provide much of the vitamins and minerals that help promote a healthy lifestyle.

For example, I've always liked fish, even at a younger age, but knowing data on fish oil, I eat even more, and I made sure when my children were at home to provide diets containing fish and other nutrient-dense foods.

Especially prior to the pandemic, my husband and I have had parties for our lab and cook things we study. I do actually eat the foods we study. For example, I didn't eat tart cherries specifically when I was in Morocco, but I've been eating them more and looking for them when I shop since we've been doing research on them.

Tell us more about how where you grew up influences your food choices.

My parents did not have any education at all, but they have always insisted not only on us getting education, but also eating healthy. It was important to them that we ate fresh fruits and vegetables, and to not overeat. My father is 100 years old now. While he may have inherited some great genes, he was also physically active most of his life and was eating balanced diets.

The only canned food I had growing up was tomato paste. I'm not saying that all canned food is bad; as some canned veggies or fruits are great alternative for someone who cannot access readily fresh produce. But that's the only thing that was canned.

In most of our cooking we use ginger, coriander, parsley and saffron. In some, we use cumin as well. When you use this mixture, you don't need a lot of salt because you really have flavor and good taste.

Walk us through what you might eat in a typical day.

I'm a very-early-morning person. I wake up at 5 o'clock, sometimes earlier, and may have coffee and get a workout done before breakfast. Sometimes, I have breakfast first.

Breakfast is often a mix of Moroccan and Syrian foods (my husband is Syrian.) We use a spice mix called za'atar. It's basically a mix of thyme and some other herbs and roasted sesame seeds. We use that with olive oil and also fat-free Greek yogurt (we call it labneh) as a dip. We eat it with whole-wheat pita bread. And I would have on the side some olives not too many, because they can be very salty. And then we have some cucumbers, some tomatoes and sometimes arugula or lettuce with it. Sometimes we would add a couple of eggs as well, cooked plain or scrambled in olive oil and spices.

I usually have a light lunch, like a salad. I bring snacks with me. I like dried mangoes, dried figs, or fresh fruits, or dried vegetables. Sometimes, I take a walk around campus and grab a light lunch close by if I did not bring it from home.

My children are grown now and in college or working, but we used to have a family dinner with the kids. We would always have protein fish is a common one, or lean beef or chicken. We would have rice or bread, and a salad and other cooked veggies on the side.

My husband is an exceptional cook and would do most of the cooking. As an example of a side dish, he would brush okra with olive oil and put it in an air fryer, then make fresh tomato sauce and mix it together with spices to add flavor. He also makes Syrian salads such as tabbouleh.

Or we would have couscous, especially for parties. It is called "seven vegetable dish," made with eggplant, turnip, Brussel sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, squash and yellow and green zucchini, mixed with chickpeas. It's made in a double boiler. You have the vegetables in the bottom part, with the spices mentioned above plus fresh parsley and coriander, and tomato sauce. Then at the top, you steam the couscous over the vegetables. Sometimes we cook it with lamb or beef in addition to the veggies.

One dish I love is roasted saffron chicken. We use a lot of saffron, and saffron has a lot of health benefits.

I like desserts too, but mostly for the weekend or special occasions. We make or buy baklava filled with pistachios, walnuts or dates.

If someone wants to change their eating habits, what do you recommend?

Sometimes it's just portion size. That is a good place to start. Because even if you're eating healthy, but eating too much of everything, that's not good either.

Reduce a little at a time. Maybe rather than using big plates that we all use in the U.S., start with smaller plates. Then you can fit less food. One can also substitute cooking methods. Like instead of frying, you can bake or use an air fryer with small amounts of olive oil. This significantly reduces the fat calories.

What's your most essential nutrition advice?

A person has to really be convinced they want to make changes and understand why this is good for their own health. If they're not ready for it, no matter what you tell them, it's not going to happen. Family and friends' support is also important.

Once you are convinced that you want to change the way you eat, then it is important to set realistic goals and do it in small steps, while seeking both medical and dietitian advice, as every person may have different needs.

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What happens when you grow up on the Mediterranean diet? She ... - American Heart Association News

Mar 20

Humans are altering the diet of Tasmanian devils, which may … – Science Daily

The Tasmanian devil roams the island state of Australia as the apex predator of the land, feeding on whatever it pleases as the top dog -- or the top devil. But some of these marsupial scavengers could be starting to miss out on a few items from the menu.

According to a study led by UNSW Sydney, living in human-modified landscapes could be narrowing the diet of the Tasmanian devil. The research, published recently in Scientific Reports, suggests devils have access to vastly different cuisines depending on the type of environment they live in.

"We found Tasmanian devil populations had different levels of variation in their diet depending on their habitat," says Anna Lewis, a PhD candidate at UNSW Science and lead author of the study. "The more that habitat was impacted by humans, the more restrictive the diet became."

A previous study by the team found most devils are individual specialists, feeding on the same food items consistently over time. But human impacts could be influencing whether they have access to their favourite foods.

"How humans change the environment impacts the animals within them," says Professor Tracey Rogers, an ecologist at UNSW Science and senior author of the study. "Even small changes can have significant consequences for devils, so we need to be mindful of the consequences of our actions."

The devil is in the details

For the study, the researchers investigated the diets of devil populations across habitats of differing levels of disturbance, from cleared pasture to undisturbed rainforest. They did this by analysing chemical stamps called stable isotopes in whisker samples taken from Tasmanian devils in different environments.

"It's similar to how tree rings capture chemical signals about atmospheric elements over time. We're doing the same thing with the devils, matching up the biochemical signatures in the whiskers to the prey so we can learn more about what the devils are eating," Prof. Rogers says.

They found devils in human-impacted landscapes, such as cleared land and regenerated native forests, fed on the same food items, primarily medium-sized mammals. Meanwhile, in environments like rainforest areas, devils ate a broader range of prey and incorporated smaller animals, such as birds, into their diets.

"We found devils in heavily altered areas like cleared land fed on a smaller range of prey compared to populations living in ancient undisturbed regions, who had much more variety in their diet," Ms Lewis says. "They may be turning to human-derived sources of food, such as highway roadkill, which are more readily available."

Interestingly, devils living in regenerated native eucalypt forests also ate a smaller variety of food items. Comparatively, their diets were closer to the devils in cleared agricultural land than those from undisturbed forest regions.

"These regenerated forests not logged for many decades may look like natural landscapes to us, but the devils that live there have similar simple diets to the devils that live on cleared agricultural pastures," Prof. Rogers says.

"The regenerated land doesn't have the complex features such as tree hollows in large old trees to support diverse bird life and small mammals that the devil eats in the rainforest."

Restrictive diets could increase threat

Devils that all maintain the same diet run the risk of interacting more frequently around carcasses, which is of particular concern for spreading the highly contagious and fatal cancer, Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). The disease has already reduced local devil populations by 82 per cent and spread to most of Tasmania.

"The highest rate of cancer transmission other than during the mating season occurs when they're feeding around these large carcasses," Ms Lewis says. "So, there could be an increased chance for the disease to spread amongst devils, and the devils themselves are also at risk of being hit while feeding."

The researchers say the findings highlight the urgent need to protect what remains of untouched landscapes for both the devils and the species they eat.

"It's apparent there is much more diversity of species available in these old-growth forests, and the devils are shining a light on how vital these pristine areas are, and the urgent need to preserve what remains from the constant threat of clearing and mining," Prof. Rogers says.

In the next stage of the research, they hope to investigate the eating habits of devils in native grasslands to better inform conservation efforts across more habitats.

"By better understanding what is impacting devil diets, we can work to protect this iconic Australian animal and ensure their continued survival in the face of ongoing environmental change," Ms Lewis says.

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Humans are altering the diet of Tasmanian devils, which may ... - Science Daily

Mar 20

Cardiometabolic health, diet and the gut microbiome: a meta-omics … –

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Mar 20

Endometriosis Diet: What to Eat and Avoid – Verywell Health

Diet alone cannot cure or treat endometriosis. However, dietary changes may assist in maintaining, treating, and recovering from the condition. Food can affect hormone levels, inflammation, and weight, all of which are factors that impact the progression and severity of endometriosis.

Foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish, can reduce inflammation, therefore, helping to reduce pain from endometriosis.

This article discusses dietary changes for endometriosis, foods that help to fight inflammation, when to seek medical help, and more.

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

A nutritious eating plan is an important component of overall health and longevity. If you have endometriosis and are having trouble controlling your symptoms, adopting some dietary changes to reduce inflammation may help manage your pain.

In addition, changing your diet may increase your chances of getting pregnant if you're trying to conceive. However, results are very individual and will differ based on the stage and severity of your endometriosis.

Chronic pelvic and abdominal pain is a common symptom of endometriosis. Ongoing pain may mean you are experiencing a great deal of inflammation. Though changing your diet won't completely alleviate your symptoms, there is no harm in trying.

Some people with endometriosis have flare-ups before or during menstruation. Others experience symptoms constantly, randomly, or with changes, often increasing in frequency and worsening with time.

Changing your eating habits during these times may help, especially if you experience digestive problems like constipation. Increasing fiber and fluid intake can help treat constipation.

One study evaluated the effects of a Mediterranean-style diet in women with a previous laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis and postoperative endometriosis-associated pain.

Participants followed an eating plan that included fresh vegetables, fruit, white meat, fatty fish, soy products, magnesium-rich foods, and cold-pressed oils. They were asked to avoid sugary drinks, red meat, sweets, and animal fats. Researchers found significant improvements in the condition, including:

People with endometriosis are at increased risk of having problems with fertility. If you are trying to conceive, what you eat can positively impact your fertility.

Research shows eating a diet that includes low-mercury seafood about twice per week, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables may improve fertility in both men and women.

In addition, certain nutrients are required for a healthy pregnancy, including:

Endometriosis can cause endo lesions within the pelvis and other body parts outside the pelvis. Lesions are frequently found on the ovaries, ligaments, peritoneal surface, bowel, and bladder.

Although no specific endometriosis diet exists, certain foods high in antioxidants are encouraged to reduce inflammation. The Mediterranean diet has proved capable of decreasing markers of inflammation. This eating style consists of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fatty fish, olive oil, nuts, and seeds while limiting trans fat, saturated fat, and sugary foods.

Foods that contain magnesium and zinc can help you reduce inflammation. Magnesium-rich foods include whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and green leafy vegetables. Meanwhile, oysters, beef, pumpkin seeds, eggs, dairy products, fortified breakfast cereals, oats, whole grains, and legumes contain zinc.

Endometriosis growth is stimulated by estrogen. Eating foods that help remove estrogen and prevent levels from getting too high may prove beneficial. Fiber-rich foods can help pull estrogen out of the body through bowel movements. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Foods with omega-3 fats help calm inflammation, which may reduce the severity of symptoms and potentially reduce the progression of endometriosis. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna and walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, plant-based oils, and fortified foods.

One study linked a higher intake of dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, to a lower risk of endometriosis. The association appeared greater when intake was more than three servings per day. Researchers believe this association may occur because these foods are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium.

It is important to speak to a healthcare provider before taking any supplements. You want to ensure that the supplements you are choosing do not interfere with any current medications you are taking, that they are from a reliable source, and that their dosages are not too high.

The type of supplements you choose will depend on what result you are looking to achieve. If you are trying to conceive, you should take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid and choline. Other supplements that may be recommended include zinc, magnesium, probiotics, vitamin C, vitamin D, quercetin, curcumin, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Research suggests that foods high in trans fat and sugar can increase inflammation. Higher intakes of trans fat have also been associated with a greater chance of developing endometriosis.

Foods high in trans fat include:

It doesn't mean you can never eat these foods again, but limiting your intake may help. It also opens up more room for other foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, which can be beneficial.

Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring estrogen-like compounds found in plants. Dietary sources of phytoestrogens are found in fruits, vegetables, spinach, sprouts, beans, cabbage, soybeans, grains, and oilseeds (such as flaxseed).There are different classes of phytoestrogens, including isoflavones, coumestans, lignans, and flavonoids.

The data on phytoestrogens and endometriosis is complex and inconsistent. Some research suggests that phytoestrogens can have an anti-estrogen effect and help reduce inflammation, while other research has found the opposite.

The complexity resides in how much estrogen a person has and the types and amounts of phytoestrogens consumed. Many studies are short and include animals, which makes it hard to formulate one answer. Researchers acknowledge the need for studies longer in duration.

Natural remedies, like complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), are interventions not part of standardized care. In treating endometriosis, these natural approaches may include:

Ask a healthcare provider if these approaches can help you.

Having meal ideas to work from can help you change your eating patterns. It can save you time, money, and stress. You don't need to eat precisely this way. Use these suggestions as a guide for planning and preparing meals rich in anti-inflammatory foods, fiber, and micronutrients:





Working with a registered dietitian (RD) is important when creating an eating plan and making dietary changes while managing a condition. They can customize individualized eating by taking into consideration all of your personal needs, medical history, culture, and food preferences.

RDs can also examine your eating history to ensure an adequate intake of important vitamins and nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates). They can assess if supplements are necessary and guide you on how to take them safely.

Changing your dietary habits may not cure endometriosis, but research shows that eating a diet rich in certain nutrients can help reduce inflammation. You don't have to overhaul your entire diet at once. Simply start by making small changes and see how you feel. If you need assistance, consider working with a dietitian who can customize a plan that suits your needs and goals.

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Endometriosis Diet: What to Eat and Avoid - Verywell Health

Mar 20

New research establishes how and why Western diets high in sugar … – Science Daily

New research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine has established a link between western diets high in fat and sugar and the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, the leading cause of chronic liver disease.

The research, based in the Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building at MU, has identified the western diet-induced microbial and metabolic contributors to liver disease, advancing our understanding of the gut-liver axis, and in turn the development of dietary and microbial interventions for this global health threat.

"We're just beginning to understand how food and gut microbiota interact to produce metabolites that contribute to the development of liver disease," said co-principal investigator, Guangfu Li, PhD, DVM, associate professor in the department of surgery and Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. "However, the specific bacteria and metabolites, as well as the underlying mechanisms were not well understood until now. This research is unlocking the how and why."

The gut and liver have a close anatomical and functional connection via the portal vein. Unhealthy diets change the gut microbiota, resulting in the production of pathogenic factors that impact the liver. By feeding mice foods high in fat and sugar, the research team discovered that the mice developed a gut bacteria called Blautia producta and a lipid that caused liver inflammation and fibrosis. That, in turn, caused the mice to develop non-alcoholic steatohepatitis or fatty liver disease, with similar features to the human disease.

"Fatty liver disease is a global health epidemic," said Kevin Staveley-O'Carroll, MD, PhD, professor in the department of surgery, one of the lead researchers. "Not only is it becoming the leading cause of liver cancer and cirrhosis, but many patients I see with other cancers have fatty liver disease and don't even know it. Often, this makes it impossible for them to undergo potentially curative surgery for their other cancers."

As part of this study, the researchers tested treating the mice with an antibiotic cocktail administered via drinking water. They found that the antibiotic treatment reduced liver inflammation and lipid accumulation, resulting in a reduction in fatty liver disease. These results suggest that antibiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiota can suppress inflammatory responses and liver fibrosis.

Li, Staveley-O'Carroll and fellow co-principal investigator R. Scott Rector, PhD, Director of NextGen Precision Health Building and Interim Senior Associate Dean for Research -- are part of NextGen Precision Health, an initiative to expand collaboration in personalized health care and the translation of interdisciplinary research for the benefit of society. The team recently received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund this ongoing research into the link between gut bacteria and liver disease.

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