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Unlock Brain Health Secrets: Everyday Kitchen Staple Can Reduce Dementia Risk

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In the quest to mitigate the rising prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, a new study published on May 6 in JAMA Network Open delivers some promising news. It reveals that the daily consumption of about half a tablespoon of olive oil may play a significant role in reducing dementia-related mortality. This study is among the pioneer research works to delve into the relationship between diet and death related to dementia.

The research tracked around 90,000 participants over nearly 30 years, discovering that a daily consumption of seven grams of olive oil was correlated with a decreased mortality risk from dementia. Additionally, replacing mayonnaise or margarine with olive oil appeared to present similar protective effects. These intriguing results were first unveiled on July 23 at NUTRITION 2023, a yearly gathering of the American Society of Nutrition, before being scrutinized and approved by peer review.

“In our study, we see that dietary guidelines recommending vegetable oils like olive oil not only buttress heart health but could also potentially prop up brain health,” proclaims Anne-Julie Tessier, RD, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and the presenting author of the study. “Opting for olive oil, a natural product, instead of fats such as margarine and commercial mayonnaise is a sensible choice which may lower fatal dementia risk.”

Dementia is an overarching term for a series of conditions characterized by a significant impairment in thinking and remembering abilities to the extent that it interferes with daily activities. The most prevalent type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 6 million Americans and is considered fatal due to its incurability.

The research participants, who were more than 90,000 Americans, were tracked by the study over three decades, with a majority of them being women. Starting from 1990, they provided dietary information every four years which facilitated researchers in understanding their general diet and the frequency of their olive oil consumption. It was found that 4,749 participants died from dementia during the study.

Notably, participants who consumed more than half of a tablespoon of olive oil each day had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia than those who never or seldom consumed olive oil. Moreover, substituting about one teaspoon of mayonnaise or margarine a day with olive oil led to an 8-14% lower risk of fatal dementia, independent of the overall quality of the diet, as per the researchers.

The research also points out that those who died of dementia were more likely to have the APOe4 gene, which increases Alzheimer’s disease risk and triggers higher cholesterol production in the body. Even after adjusting for this gene, the results remained consistent.

While the research cannot definitively prove that olive oil reduces the risk of fatal dementia due to its observational nature, it does suggest that olive oil may contain beneficial properties for brain health, in addition to its established heart health benefits.

Tessier added, “Some antioxidant compounds in olive oil can cross the blood-brain barrier, potentially exerting a direct effect on the brain. Olive oil might also indirectly benefit brain health by improving cardiovascular health.”

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans already advocate for the substitution of saturated fats with unsaturated fats like olive oil to decrease harmful LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and curb the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A 2021 study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that the same amount of olive oil used in the new study was associated with a 14% lower risk of heart disease compared to no olive oil consumption. Additionally, olive oil has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes. It has also been associated with an 8–34% lower risk of death from all causes—including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and respiratory diseases—when it replaces other fats like mayonnaise, butter, and margarine.

Despite these promising findings, further research is required to confirm olive oil’s impact on brain health and dementia-related death and to potentially determine the optimal quantity of olive oil intake. However, this new research aligns with existing dietary recommendations and provides further evidence for favoring olive oil over less-healthy fats. It also holds out the possibility that adopting healthy eating habits, including the inclusion of olive oil, can help prevent or slow the progression of dementia.

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  1. Sandra G Babcock

    May 25, 2024 at 10:27 am

    Long know the benefits of olive oil added to my diet. It also adds flavor to the foods you consume!

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Heart Health Alert: Cardiac Surgeon Reveals 4 Foods He Never Eats

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Focusing on heart health has never been more critical, as heart disease remains a leading cause of death worldwide. A renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr. Jeremy London, recently shared his advice for those looking to improve their cardiac health. Using his professional experience and knowledge, he revealed four foods that he “absolutely avoids” for the sake of his heart. So, let’s delve deeper into Dr. London’s video and the dietary choices that can affect our heart health.

1. Fast Food

Fast food may be convenient and tasty, but it’s a category that Dr. London firmly advises against. “The name says it all, right? Most of what’s available in fast food chains is ‘edible food product,’ it’s not even real food,” asserts the cardiac surgeon.

2. Soft Drinks

Dr. London cautions against the consumption of soft drinks as well – both regular and diet. Regardless of the low-calorie or no-sugar alternative, these beverages pose threats to heart health.

3. Milk Products

It’s not just junk food and fizzy drinks that are on Dr. London’s avoid-list, but also milk products. He shares, “We are the only mammals that drink milk outside of infancy, and we drink it from a different species. Think about it.” He is in line with the American Heart Association’s recommendation to only consume low-fat or fat-free milk, as they contain less saturated fats compared to whole milk options. As they explain, “Saturated fats tend to raise the level of LDL-C cholesterol in the blood. High LDL-C cholesterol is one of the six major risk factors for heart disease that can be changed, treated or modified.”

4. Alcohol

Lastly, Dr. London recommends avoiding alcohol, including the occasional glass of wine with dinner. “Alcohol is absolutely toxic to every cell in our bodies. Even moderate or occasional use is, in fact, detrimental,” warns Dr. London.

It’s important to remember that while these dietary suggestions are valuable, they aren’t the only factor when it comes to heart health. Incorporating regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management practices also play significant roles. And, as always, seek professional guidance for personalized health advice. As Dr. London’s recommendations show, every step you take towards healthier dietary choices can make a significant difference for your heart’s well-being.

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Dietitian Reveals the Top Beverage Choice to Support Healthy Digestion

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No one wants to experience the discomfort of constipation, a common condition that can bring on symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. Should you find yourself in such an unpleasant predicament, have no fear – there are certain foods and beverages that can help to alleviate your discomfort and get your digestive system back on track.

Constipation is often caused by inadequate fiber intake, dehydration, or the overconsumption of processed foods. Being mindful to hydrate and bulk up on fiber can help in preventing constipation. However, even the most vigilant among us might find ourselves needing fast relief from constipation. To this end, you can turn to certain foods such as prunes, raisins, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, and black beans.

Apart from food, did you know that certain drinks can also lend a helping hand? Apart from the ubiquitous water, which keeps you hydrated, coffee is a choice beverage for relieving constipation, as suggested by Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN. And for the non-coffee drinkers out there, she recommends prune juice as a commendable alternative.

Why does coffee, particularly the morning cup, send many of us to the bathroom? Manaker explains,

“It stimulates the gastrointestinal tract, which increases peristalsis—the movements your intestines make to push content toward the exit.”

Simply put, coffee causes the muscles in your colon to contract, stimulating a bowel movement.

Moreover, coffee’s natural acidity may aid digestion by increasing stomach acid production. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated varieties of coffee contain acids that enhance the production of a particular hormone, gastrin, leading to the muscle contractions that stimulate bowel movements.

Manaker adds that for many individuals, even “the mere act of drinking a warm liquid in the morning can stimulate bowel movements.” However, she also highlights that individual reactions to coffee can differ significantly.

If coffee isn’t your beverage of choice, don’t worry – prune juice is another drink that can relieve constipation effectively. While not everyone can handle prune juice, its high dietary fiber and sorbitol content make it an excellent natural remedy for constipation.

“Prune juice is often hailed as a natural remedy for constipation due to its dietary fiber and sorbitol,” explains Manaker. “The fiber in prune juice adds bulk to the stool, which helps to promote bowel movements. Sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol found in prunes, works as a laxative by drawing water into the intestines, softening the stool, and making it easier to pass.”

This combination creates an effective and gentle method to address constipation and encourage regular bowel movements. Manaker underscores the fact that staying hydrated is crucial to promoting good digestive health and regular bowel movements.

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Oncologist Reveals Top 5 Cancer Prevention Tips You Shouldn’t Ignore

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In the complex world of cancer, experts often struggle to pinpoint a single cause for this life-altering disease. However, certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing it, many of which are preventable. Renowned oncologist Waqqas Tai, DO, recently provided insights into the habits he personally avoids to maintain a low risk level. Drawing upon his extensive knowledge and experience, he shared five things that he “would never do as a cancer doctor.”

1. Tobacco Usage

Dr. Tai’s first advice pertains to tobacco. He warns against the usage of tobacco products and vaping due to their carcinogenic properties.

“Smoking tobacco, using any tobacco products, and vaping—all that is carcinogenic. The tobacco products, the tobacco itself has carcinogenic properties,” he alerts.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) validates this, stating that tobacco smoke contains thousands of chemicals, 70 of which are known to be carcinogens. Dr. Tai also flags the harmful combustion aspect of smoking, and the resultant tar buildup in the lungs, which can lead to cancer.

2. Alcohol Consumption

Another substance Dr. Tai recommends avoiding is alcohol. He notes that even a single glass of wine at dinner can be carcinogenic.

“Any level—even one glass of red wine at dinner—is carcinogenic,” he explains.

This aligns with the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which advises against drinking to lower cancer risk.

3. Consuming Certain Meats

The next item on Dr. Tai’s avoidance list is specific types of food.

“All red meats and deli meats are carcinogenic,” he shares. According to him, the processes of salting, curing, and smoking these meats produce numerous carcinogenic byproducts, posing a serious health risk.

4. Neglecting Sunscreen

Regular application of sunscreen is a habit that the oncologist strongly advocates for.

“Any skin that’s going to be exposed to the sun has to be covered, especially if you’re going to be driving for a long time to work or you’re a commuter,” he advises.

It’s not a one-time solution, however. Dr. Tai stresses the need to reapply sunscreen every few hours for continued protection against harmful UV rays.

5. Avoiding Obesity

Lastly, Dr. Tai emphasizes the link between obesity and cancer risk.

“If you are overweight, you are at a higher risk of cancer,” he explains. To lower this risk, he advises engaging in rigorous exercises for at least 150 minutes per week.

For those struggling with weight loss, the oncologist suggests considering professional medical assistance, such as bariatric surgery or medications like Ozempic or Mounjaro.

Navigating the vast ocean of cancer-related information can be overwhelming. However, key insights from professionals like Dr. Tai offer valuable guidance on preventable risks. Remember, every little step counts in the journey toward a healthier life. Remember, though valuable, this information should not replace the professional advice from your healthcare provider. Always consult with them regarding your medication or any other health concerns.

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