Friday, August 28, 2015

Mediterranean diet, not calorie counting, is key to good health: University of Liverpool


Eating a high-fat Mediterranean-style diet rich in olive oil nuts and oily fish, is more beneficial to your health than counting calories, according to Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool.

In an Editorial published in the BMJ Open Heart journal, Professor Capewell writes that focusing on a nutritionally based diet that includes healthy fats rather than simplistically reducing calorie intake is more beneficial to people’s health. It also cuts the risk of heart attack, stroke and other diseases.
He said: “It is time to stop counting calories, and time to instead promote good nutrition and dietary changes that can rapidly and substantially reduce cardiovascular mortality.”

Increased risk

The article points out that a can of cola a day, at 150 calories, is associated with a significantly increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, while four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil a day, at around 500 calories, has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
  The rising costs of obesity and Type 2 diabetes are highlighted by the article authors. They already costs the NHS over £10 billion a year and total UK costs exceed £30 billion; both are predicted to double in the next 20 years.

Controls on junk food

Professor Capewell added: “The most powerful and effective policies include a duty on sugary drinks, and subsidies to increase the affordability and availability of healthier foods such as vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Plus controls on the marketing of junk foods and clear package labelling to help consumers.”
The article `It is time to stop counting calories, and time instead to promote dietary changes that substantially and rapidly reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality’ is written by Aseem Malhotra, Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey, James J DiNicolantonio, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, US and Professor Simon Capewell from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society.
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How Inflammation In The Body Occurs


What do seemingly unrelated medical conditions like Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and heart disease have in common? Answer: They’ve all been connected to excess inflammation in the body.

Because of its link to many age-related diseases, there’s growing interest among pharmaceutical and biotech companies to find new targets involved in inflammation that could lead to novel anti-inflammatory drugs. But while the symptoms of inflammation in disease are well known, scientists still do not fully understand the biological mechanisms behind it.

Now, researchers at Virginia Tech and their collaborators have identified key cellular functions that help regulate inflammation – a discovery that could have important implications for drug development. The findings, published in the journal Structure, explain how two proteins in particular, called Tollip and Tom1, work together to trigger inflammation.

Short-term or acute inflammation is a good thing: It’s the body’s natural response after an injury or infection, and it restores normal tissue structure and function. But too much inflammation can be a bad thing.

“At appropriate levels, the inflammatory response protects your body from foreign materials, but if it is not properly regulated it can lead to severe, chronic conditions,” said Daniel Capelluto, an associate professor of biological sciences at Virginia Tech.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

For seniors, any exercise may be better than none


(Reuters Health) – Even 15 minutes a day of brisk walking, cycling or swimming could help older adults live longer, according to a review of past research that found any physical activity is better than none.

For people over age 60, meeting current U.S. guidelines for moderate-to-vigorous exercise was linked to a 28 percent lower risk of dying over about 10 years, compared to being completely sedentary. But even lower levels of exercise were tied to a 22 percent reduction in mortality risk.
“When our older patients cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week because of chronic diseases, we (the 2008 guidelines) recommend them to be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow,” said lead author Dr. David Hupin of the department of clinical and exercise physiology, University Hospital of Saint-Etienne, France, by email.
But, Hupin’s team writes in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the 150-minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous exercise suggested in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans could be too much for some older adults, discouraging them from exercising. The authors point out that more than 60 percent of older adults don’t meet that requirement.
For the new study, Hupin’s team looked at whether less exercise could still be beneficial. They analyzed data from past studies covering a total of 122,417 men and women between the ages of 60 and 101 in the U.S., Taiwan and Australia.

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Fitness Experts Share Safety Tips


Newswise — NEW YORK — Are you looking to increase your physical activity as we move into the waning days of summer? While the warm weather might seem like an ideal time to head outdoors for heart-pumping exercise, it is important to maintain appropriate safety measures when doing any form of rigorous activity especially during these warmer times. If left overlooked and untreated, the hot heat can cause dehydration and heat stroke.

Start your Monday Mile
“Take advantage of the opportunity to get active while enjoying the outdoors by walking a mile with friends, family, and/ or co-workers. The health benefits are worth it: Research has shown that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help improve blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Walking can also reduce the risk of certain diseases such as colon and breast cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes,” – Morgan Johnson, MPH, The Monday Campaigns, director of programs and research.

Move It Monday Fitness Tips from Experts
To end the season on a positive note and stay safe while having fun and doing the Monday Mile in the summer sun, the Move It Monday team reached out to hear what our fitness experts suggest:

When to Work out:
“If possible, work out early in the morning or late, late in the evening. These are typically the coolest parts of the day and every degree cooler can help.” – Glenneth Reed, CPT, National Academy of Sports Medicine
“Work out at the coolest time of the day.” – Wendy Bumgardner, certified marathon coach, Road Runners Club of America
“You don’t have to reserve time for fitness away from spending time with those you love, necessarily. Have fun in the pool, play around the playground, do family field day, or walk. Blend the two and it’s multitasking at its best!” – Katrina Elle, CPT, National Academy of Sports

Working Out Safely:
“Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! You’re exercising for the betterment of your health, so don’t forget the health of your skin!” – Tami Ulrich, CPT
“Select routes that are shaded and soak a scarf or buff in water to keep your neck cool.” – Wendy Bumgardner, certified marathon coach, Road Runners Club of America
“Give your body time to acclimate to the increasing temperatures by starting with shorter, lower intensity workouts as the weather starts to warm up.” – Tami Ulrich, CPT
“Heat and humidity have a negative effect on your body’s performance. When exercising outdoors this summer, be prepared to scale back the duration and intensity of your workouts as the temperature starts to rise.” – Tami Ulrich, CPT
“When all else fails, move indoors. When the temperature gets over 90, 95, or even 100, it may be time to explore the gym whose membership you have been paying or try new gyms in the area.” – Glenneth Reed, CPT, National Academy of Sports

How to Hydrate Properly:
“Drinks lots of water throughout the day. Make sure you are plenty hydrated before you start your workout. Going on a long run/walk? Carry a water bottle with you. but leave more water in a cooler in your car. That way if you run out or when you finish, you can continue hydrating.” – Glenneth Reed, CPT, National Academy of Sports
“Don’t know if you’re drinking enough during your summer workouts? Weigh yourself before your workout and after. You should weigh the same if you’re hydrating enough.” – Wendy Bumgardner, certified marathon coach, Road Runners Club of America

About Move It Monday
Move It Monday is a campaign from the Monday Campaigns, a non-profit public health initiative associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Syracuse universities that dedicates the first day of the week to health. Each Monday, individuals and organizations around the globe come together to commit to healthy behaviors like quitting smoking, exercise, and nutrition that help end chronic preventable diseases.

For more information and resources including toolkits, graphics and posters, visit

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What Is a Healthy Posture and How to Maintain It


Newswise — ROCHESTER, Minn. — Modern lifestyle factors, such as texting, reaching for your keyboard or wearing high heels, can create postural stressors that often cause muscle imbalances and injury. Having good posture is essential for good health; however, understanding what good posture is and maintaining it are hard.

When some people try to work on their posture, they tend to overdo it,” says Alynn Kakuk, physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “They get into a super-extended position with their shoulders way back — enough that it creates too much of an arch on their back. So, they just start shifting their weight too far back.”

Bad posture habits can cause imbalanced body alignment, strain on ligaments and muscles, chronic pain, injuries, impingement, low back pain, neck pain, hip pain, joint stiffness and muscle tightness, according to Kakuk.

Simple exercises, stretches and being conscious of your posture can eliminate these ramifications.

Practice a healthy posture
Stand up against a wall, and make sure your upper back, shoulders and bottom touch the wall. Your feet don’t have to be against the wall — just a couple of inches away from it. You should have a slight space in your lower back and be able to fit your hands in that space. But, make sure it’s not a big gap. Then, step away from the wall, and try to see if you can maintain that position. Keep in mind, strengthening your muscles will make it easier for you to maintain that posture overtime. Be careful of overdoing it or hyper-extending your back.

Using technology with a healthy posture
In a world filled with modern technology, reaching for your cellphone and keyboard are common movements. These movements can place stress on your upper back and neck, resulting in rounded shoulders and forward head. This can cause chronic upper back, shoulder, neck pain and headaches. Also, people can text so much that they develop pain and injury in their thumbs from that overuse. Here are some tips on how to maintain the correct posture while using technology.
Try to have your cellphone at eye level, so you’re not bending forward.
Do exercises that strengthen your upper back and shoulder, such as chest exercises to strengthen your pectoral muscles and diaphragmatic breathing techniques to release tension.
Stay aware of your posture throughout the day.

Ergonomics at the office
Those who sit at a desk all day should be conscious of posture and the importance of getting up at least once an hour to move. “Standing up and focusing on good posture for a few minutes can relieve muscle strain and improve breathing and circulation, which also helps improve attention and engagement,” says Deborah J. Rhodes, M.D., physician and cancer researcher at Mayo Clinic. Nonetheless, having good office ergonomic habits can keep your muscles and ligaments healthy. Here are some tips on ergonomics at the office.
Ensure your keyboard is at elbow height, so your hands can rest on the desk.
Place your computer at eye level. Place laptops on platforms for them to be at eye level.
Set your chair at a height that your feet touch the ground.
Take a walk or stretch break every hour.

Walking in high heels with the correct posture
Walking in heels is essentially walking on your toes, which results in a chain reaction on the rest of your body. It causes the knees to hyperextend, the pelvis to tip forward, the lower back to tighten, and the abdominals to become weak. Here are some tips on how to maintain the correct posture while using high heels.
When wearing heels, ensure you draw in your abdominal muscles to prevent that extra curve in your low back.
Try to limit the use of your heels.
Pick a heel that is smaller with a wider surface area that will help distribute your foot and weight better.
Maintaining good posture can help you walk, sit, stand and lie in positions that cause the least pressure on your muscles and ligaments during movement and weight-bearing actions.
It also gives confidence.
“People who have better posture tend to appear more confident and knowledgeable to others. It makes them feel confident internally as well,” says Kakuk.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or

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Instant oatmeal for breakfast may help curb your appetite at lunch: Quaker Oats, Pepsi


CHICAGO, IL, August 19, 2015 – A new study revealed that your cereal choice at breakfast might have an impact on how much you eat for lunch.
Newly published research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that a hearty bowl of instant oatmeal helped curb food intake at lunch better than a leading oat-based, cold cereal — even when each bowl provided the same number of calories.
The statistically significant results of the randomized, controlled crossover study (n=47) showed that a 250-calorie instant oatmeal serving (with an additional 113 calories of skim milk) enhanced satiety and feelings of fullness, reduced the desire to eat and may even lead to a lower caloric intake at lunch, compared to a 250-calorie serving of cold, oat-based cereal, also served with an additional 113 calories of skim milk.
“The satiety benefits of instant oatmeal alone were important findings,” remarked lead author Candida Rebello, MS, RD, of Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. “When we took it a step further and evaluated the intake four hours post-breakfast, we found that after consuming instant oatmeal, the participants chose to eat significantly less at lunch compared to those who ate the oat-based, cold cereal.”
After an analysis of the types of fiber in each cereal, the researchers suspected that the higher molecular viscosity of the beta-glucan in the instant oatmeal contributed to its satiating effect over the oat-based, cold cereal. Authors stated that the processing of the cold cereal might lead to changes in the oat fiber that reduced its ability to enhance satiety.
Researchers presented the participants with a lunch meal of their choice – turkey, ham, roast beef or vegetable patty sandwiches and a calorie-free or calorie-containing beverage, alongside potato crisps and cookies. The lunches offered ranged from 2,600 to 2,800 calories and participants were told to “eat to satisfaction.” Total calorie intake was significantly lower following consumption of instant oatmeal compared to the cold cereal, as were fat and protein intake. Grams of carbohydrate and total weight of the foods were not significantly different.
“The recent 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee Report emphasized the importance of eating breakfast for all Americans – and we know that instant oatmeal is a popular and convenient choice,” comments Marianne O’Shea, PhD, Director of the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence. “The fact that choosing instant oatmeal over a cold cereal may also help Americans curb their intake at lunch is especially encouraging.”

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Moderate physical activity associated with lower risk of heart failure in men: more evidence


WASHINGTON (August 12, 2015) – Men who participated in moderate amounts of physical activity, particularly walking and bicycling, were associated with a lower risk of future heart failure compared to those with lower and higher levels of activity.

However, recent active behavior may play a more important role than past physical activity, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

Heart failure is a condition where the heart is unable to pump as much blood as the body needs. Around 23 million people suffer from heart failure globally, including almost 6 million in the United States. On average, people have a 20 percent lifetime risk for developing heart failure.

Researchers followed 33,012 men from the Cohort of Swedish Men from 1998 until 2012–or first event of heart failure–to determine if physical activity was associated with heart failure risk. Overall, men who had the lowest and highest levels of physical activity had a higher risk of heart failure, 47 percent and 51 percent respectively, than men with a median level. When analyzing the different types of physical activity, walking or bicycling for 20 minutes per day was associated with the largest risk reduction.

When enrolling in the study, participants from two counties in Sweden completed a questionnaire about their level of activity at work, home, walking or bicycling, and exercise in the year prior at an average of 60 years old and retrospectively at 30 years old. Researchers assigned each type of physical activity an intensity score and determined walking or bicycling just 20 minutes per day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of heart failure and accounted for the largest difference in heart failure free survival. Of the men diagnosed with heart failure during the course of study, those who had engaged in at least 20 minutes per day in walking or bicycling were approximately eight months older compared to heart failure cases who had engaged in less than 20 minutes per day of walking or bicycling.

While researchers acknowledged the use of self-reported physical activity meant levels were possibly misclassified, the questions on physical activity in the Cohort of Swedish Men were validated in a prior study using a sub-population of the participants.

Upon analyzing the different types of activities, certain types of physical activity were associated with reduced risk of heart failure such as walking and bicycling or exercising more than one hour per week. Meanwhile occupation, household work and physical inactivity were not significantly associated with heart failure development. Researchers also found that men who were active at 30 years old but were inactive at the time of study enrollment did not have a decreased risk of heart failure.

“Because participants in the study cohort had also provided information about their physical activity at age 30, as well as at the time of enrollment around age 60, we were able to examine the long-term impacts of physical activity on heart failure,” said Andrea Bellavia, M.Sc., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and one of the study authors. “We found that recent activity may be more important for heart failure protection than past physical activity levels. The first incidence of heart failure in men was also later for those who actively walked or bicycled 20 minutes each day.”
While the study suggests both low and high levels of physical activity, compared to more moderate levels, could increase the risk of heart failure in men, study authors cautioned that the link between physical activity and heart disease is not fully understood. Heavy physical activity, such as long distance running, or manual labor may put stress on the body, which in turn has adverse effects on the heart.

“The U-shaped relationship between exercise levels and the likelihood of subsequent heart failure is a unique finding and will stimulate further research in the important field of prevention,” said Christopher O’Connor, M.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure.

In an accompanying editorial, Steven J. Keteyian, Ph.D., and Clinton A. Brawner, Ph.D., of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, wrote, “We are reminded that we still know relatively little about how variations in physical activity and exercise ‘dose’ might impact disease onset.”

According to Keteyian and Brawner, the paradoxical nature of the findings that risk of heart failure development actually increases for those reporting high levels of physical activity leads them to ask, “How much exercise it too much?” However, they also said they believe the study findings reinforce the “message that a moderate level of total physical activity is an important behavioral strategy” in both the treatment and prevention of heart failure.


The American College of Cardiology is a 49,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, promotes cardiovascular research and bestows credentials on cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit

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