“How to Become a ‘Superager’”
The New York Times
by Lisa Feldman Barrett
Think about the people in your life who are 65 or older. Some of them are experiencing the usual mental difficulties of old age, like forgetfulness or a dwindling attention span. Yet others somehow manage to remain mentally sharp. My father-in-law, a retired doctor, is 83 and he still edits books and runs several medical websites.

Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. My colleagues and I at Massachusetts General Hospital recently studied superagers to understand what made them tick.

Our lab used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan and compare the brains of 17 superagers with those of other people of similar age. We succeeded in identifying a set of brain regions that distinguished the two groups. These regions were thinner for regular agers, a result of age-related atrophy, but in superagers they were indistinguishable from those of young adults, seemingly untouched by the ravages of time.

What are these crucial brain regions? If you asked most scientists to guess, they might nominate regions that are thought of as “cognitive” or dedicated to thinking, such as the lateral prefrontal cortex. However, that’s not what we found. Nearly all the action was in “emotional” regions, such as the midcingulate cortex and the anterior insula.

My lab was not surprised by this discovery, because we’ve seen modern neuroscience debunk the notion that there is a distinction between “cognitive” and “emotional” brain regions. (source)

Wellness Resource

“Fermented Foods May Be a Key Component
of an Anti-Cancer Diet”

by Dr. Mercola
Slowly but surely, scientists are increasingly starting to focus on the influence of nutrition on cancer. Mounting evidence supports the notion that a diet high in healthy fats and low in net carbohydrates (total cards minus fiber, i.e. non-fiber carbs) may significantly lower your risk by improving mitochondrial and metabolic function.

Fermented foods are also gaining recognition as an important anti-cancer adjunct. The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods have been shown particularly effective for suppressing colon cancer, but may also inhibit cancer of the breast, liver, small intestine and other organs.

For example, butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid created when microbes ferment dietary fiber in your gut, have been shown to induce programmed cell death of colon cancer cells, and cultured milk products may reduce your risk of bladder cancer about 29 percent.

Cultured Raw Milk Does Your Body Good. In the case of cultured dairy, lactobcillus and bifidobacterium are primary sources of probiotics in cultured milk products, and these beneficial bacteria have been shown to induce changes reflecting an increase in carbohydrate metabolism.


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Is Teff the New Super Grain?
The New York Times
by Anahad O’Connor

When Laura Ingalls, an avid runner from Boston, found out after a routine blood test that she was iron-deficient, she turned to the kitchen instead of the medicine cabinet: She started eating teff.

A grain the size of a poppy seed that hails from Ethiopia, teff is naturally high in minerals and protein. Ms. Ingalls started baking with it, cooking with it, and using it to make hot cereal with coconut oil. Now she loves it so much that she doesn’t run a race without it.

“Teff is like a runner’s super food,” she said. “It’s great as a pre-race meal. It’s high in iron and it’s a whole grain so it provides a slow release of energy, which is exactly what I need.”

Teff has long been a dietary staple for Ethiopia’s legendary distance runners, like the Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, who called teff a secret to the success of Ethiopian runners. But now teff is becoming a go-to grain for a growing number of Americans.

Endurance athletes like the grain because it’s naturally high in minerals. People who can’t tolerate gluten use teff as an alternative to wheat. And dietitians recommend teff as a way for Americans to introduce more whole grains into their diets.

The growing interest in teff is part of an increasing consumer desire for so-called ancient grains like faro, quinoa, spelt, amaranth and millet. Health-conscious consumers have been gravitating to these grains because they’re nutrient dense and have not been genetically modified. (source)

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Obesity and Diabetes Tied to Liver Cancer
The New York Times
by Nicholas Bakalar

A large study has found that body mass index, waist circumference and diabetes are all associated with an increased risk for liver cancer. Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer, and its incidence has tripled since the mid-1970s in the United States.

For the study, in Cancer Research, researchers pooled data from 14 prospective studies with more than 1.5 million participants. After controlling for age, sex, alcohol use, smoking and race, they found that being overweight increased the relative risk for liver cancer by between 21 percent and 142 percent as B.M.I increased. For each 2-inch increase in waist circumference, the risk of liver cancer increased by 8 percent, even after controlling for B.M.I. And those with Type 2 diabetes had more than double the risk for liver cancer, even among the non-obese.

There was no association of B.M.I. with cancer if the patient had hepatitis, a cause of liver cancer so strong that it overwhelms any other cause. But among those without hepatitis, the increased risk was significant.

“This study underscores that the parallel increase in obesity is part of the increase in liver cancer rates,” said the lead author, Peter T. Campbell, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. “Now we have to accept the fact that obesity and Type 2 diabetes are strongly associated with liver cancer.”

Wellness Resource

Native Americans Legends
Turkey, The Peace Eagle
An American Indian Legend – Nation Unknown

Our “Elders” tell us the Legend of the Turkey is not one we need to explain the Great Mystery and how it functions. So came the story of the Peace Eagle (Turkey) to the Eastern People….

In these days, the “Chief” was leader of the People because they trusted him and knew he protected his people. He was the “Father” of the “Nation” or “Tribe of People.” He ate only after his People were all fed. He slept under warm blankets only if everyone was covered and warm. The People called upon him for a great council. They turned to the “Chief” and asked, “When will the animals come back? When will you hunt again? We are starving and growing weaker. Many are dying and are no more. We must have food soon or we shall all perish.”…

So the “Chief” prepared himself to hunt. He prayed and did the Ceremonies of the Ancient ways to honor all life. He remembered the wisdom of his Grandfathers and Elders. He walked through the forest for 28 days, fasting, to find a solution to feed his people….

“Creator” looked upon this and saw this “Chief.” Love was again being shown for the gift of life and Good Earth. He lifted the Chef into the “Dream Time Lodge,” so he could be with the “Chieftains” of “The Elder Fires.” The “Chief” was given a vision of a “Turkey.” (source)

Wellness Resources

Educate Your Immune System
New York Times
by Moises Velasquez-Manoff
In the last half century, the prevalence of auto immune disease – disorders in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the body – has increased sharply in the developed world. An estimated one in 13 Americans has one of these often debilitating, generally lifelong conditions. Many, like Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, are linked with specific gene variants of the immune system, suggesting a strong genetic component. But their prevalence has increased much faster – in two or three generations – than it’s likely the human gene pool has changed.

Many researchers are interested in how the human microbiome – the community of microbes that live mostly in the gut and are thought to calibrate our immune system – may have contributed to the rise of these disorders. Perhaps society-wide shifts in these microbial communities, driven by changes in what we eat and in the quantity and type of microbes we’re exposed to in our daily lives, have increased our vulnerability.

To test this possibility, some years ago, a team of scientist began following 33 newborns who were genetically at risk for developing Type 1 diabetes, a condition in which the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.

The children were mostly Finnish. Finland has the highest prevalence – nearly one in 200 under the age of 15 – of Type 1 diabetes in the world. (At about one in 300, in the United States isn’t far behind.) After three years, four of the children developed the condition. The scientists had periodically sampled the children’s microbes, and when they looked back at the record, they discovered that the microbiome of children who developed the disease changed in predictable ways nearly a year before the disease appeared. Diversity declined and inflammatory microbes bloomed. It was as if a gradually maturing ecosystem had been stuck by the blight and overgrown by weeds. (source)

Wellness Resource

How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?
by Michael Greger, M.D.
In 1776 – at the time of the American Revolution – Americans consumed about 4 lbs of sugar per person each year. By 1850, this had risen to 20 lbs, and by 1994, to 120 lbs, and now we are closer to 160. Half of that is fructose, taking up about 10% of our diet. This is not from eating apples, but rather the fact that we’re each guzzling the equivalent of a 16-oz soft drink every day; that’s about 50 gallons a year.

Even researchers paid by the likes of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and The Coca-Cola Company, acknowledge that sugar is empty calories, containing no essential micronutrients, and therefore if we’re trying to reduce calorie intake, reducing sugar consumption is obviously the place to start.

Concern has been raised, though, that sugar calories may be worst than just empty. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the fructose added to foods and beverages in the form of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup in large enough amounts can trigger processes that lead to liver toxicity and other chronic diseases.

Fructose hones in like a laser beam on the liver, and like alcohol, fructose can increase the fat in the liver, increasing the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is one of the most remarkable medical developments over the past 3 decades – the emergence of fatty liver inflammation as a public health problem here and around the globe. (source)

Summer Health Classes at WHS

hj-headphones-2016Preventing Cancer: Your Best Odds Lifestyle
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 7/19
In this informative series, Howard Jacobson, PhD, draws upon the latest research to share a new understanding of cancer prevention. The good news is, we now know how to prevent 70-95% of all cancers. Not through “early detection,” which has nothing to do with prevention, but through diet and lifestyle strategies. Learn more…

How to Defeat High Blood Pressure the Natural Way
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 8/16
Learn about dietary lifestyle strategies, developed from the latest research, that have been proven safe and effective in defeating high blood pressure. Learn more…

Healthy Gut, Healthy Life: Heal Your Microbiome & Improve Your Digestion
Tues 7:45-9:10PM, 3-class series, beginning 9/13
Science has recently discovered the importance of our gut microbiome-the trillions of tiny critters that live in the digestive tract and do most of the heavy lifting in our digestion. Learn more…

Wellness Resource

Health Myths – Foods You Think are Healthy but are Not
by Dr. Ann
Health myths abound when it comes to food. Many so called “health foods” are nothing more than nutritionally defunct, empty calories masquerading as the good guys you want them to be. What follows are the most notorious “health food imposters.”

Flavored yogurt products: Although these “healthy favorites” provide some calcium, B vitamins, and essential amino acids, they are loaded with added sugar – in many cases more than is typically found in a standard dessert. “Yogurt” products, through slick packaging and clever marketing, have very successfully garnered what is referred to as the “health halo effect” – meaning consumers naturally assume any product with “yogurt” on its label is wholesome and good for you. The only truly healthy yogurt is low-fat plain. If you prefer it sweetened, combine with some berries or cut up fruit or add a teaspoon or two of maple syrup or honey.

Meal Replacement/Energy Bars: While some are a bit more wholesome than others (15 vs. 40 or so ingredients), these popular, modern day favorites are the ultimate in 100% pure factory made, processed foods. In my book, they are not food, but food-like artifacts that are generally high in sugar and/or unhealthy fats. Have a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit as a real, healthy alternative. (If you must – Kashi, Nature’s Path, Luna, or Pria are the best options.)

Infused Water: Like yogurt, “water” has the health-halo effect and the beverage industry is currently exploiting it to the max. Water infused with all sorts of supposedly healthy extras, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and herbs are the fastest growing beverage products. Most of them are nothing more than sugar-fortified drinks like their first cousins, soda with a smidge of a few added vitamins. There is zero evidence that extracting nutrients from their native context (foods) and adding them to water has any health benefit (and may even have risks). If you use these products, you are paying several 100 times more than you would for tap water (which is more rigorously monitored than bottled water). By the way, pure water is the only beverage that provides 100% of what we need and why we have to drink to stay alive – namely H2O. (source)