Twitter Thursday HighlightsMay 13, 2010 Written by JP [Font too small?]
This past weekend I was discussing meditation with my dad. For years I’ve been trying to get him to meditate without much success. The thing about my father is that he’s great about taking supplements and pretty on-the-ball about diet and exercise. But when it comes to mind-body practices, I’ve yet to successfully convert him. I hope that today’s column will be the incentive he needs to finally take the leap and begin some form of stress relieving therapy. My wish for today is that you’ll all be able to take something of value from what I write here and apply it to your life. That could mean adopting a meditative practice, eating grass-fed instead of conventional meat or spending a little more time in the kitchen preparing simple recipes that support your health care goals.
Bill Yates is my “go to” Twitter source for all things relating to neuroscience. He is the man to follow if you’re interested in what makes the brain tick. A few days ago he posted a message that states, “Cortisol levels in saliva predict risk for cognitive decline over time in elderly community sample”. The basis for this comes courtesy of the June 2010 edition of the journal Psychological Medicine. Researchers from the University of Montpellier, France tested salivary cortisol secretion in “197 non-depressed community-dwelling elderly people”. Mental functioning was assessed at baseline and at 2 year and 4 year follow up exams. The older men with higher morning cortisol levels demonstrated “low cognitive performance in verbal fluency and visuospatial performance”. Higher levels of morning cortisol was also associated with a decline in visual memory in elderly women. However cortisol production is only part of the story. The authors of the study also noted that the men and women who eliminated cortisol more slowly exhibited greater cognitive decline over the 4 year period. It should be noted that the saliva-based cortisol tests were taken three times a day during the experiment. The concluding remarks of the trial are as follows: “Interventions blocking this pathway may provide new therapeutic options to prevent cognitive decline”. (1,2,3)
Not all dairy and meat is created equal. Grass fed livestock offer certain advantages over conventionally raised varieties. A recent tweet by the Weston A. Price foundation offers 10 reasons “Why Grassfed Meat is Healthy for You!”. The source of this claim comes from a well referenced blog by the name of The Nourished Kitchen. Here are some of scientifically-validated reasons why you may want to consider switching over to more grass-fed products:
- Grass-fed dairy and meat contain higher levels of CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) which has been linked to improved weight control and a lower risk of certain cancers.
- Grazing ruminants yield meaningful quantities of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid typically found in fish. EPA is considered a cardioprotective fat source which also benefits cognitive functioning, reduces inflammation and supports a healthier mood.
- Most commercial livestock are fed grain-based diets which are far removed from what is traditionally found in nature. It’s certainly more convenient and cost effective to feed animals in this manner but it flies in the face of what they’ve eaten for millennia. And ultimately, what they’re exposed to and what they eat ends up in our food supply. The healthier they are, the healthier we’ll be. (4,5,6)
The final tweet I want to highlight is from Dr. Mary Dan Eades, the co-author of Protein Power and The 6 Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle. She directs us to a recipe from Real Simple magazine which is “Low carb and yummy. Spinach and Parmesan Dip. Perfect with jicama sticks or baked, spiced low carb tortilla wedges”. This is my kind of recipe because it’s oh so simple to whip up! There’s no cooking involved and the total prep time is about 5 minutes. This nutritious dip also features one of my favorite dairy items: sour cream. Naturally cultured, organic sour creams often contain live cultures including L. lactis which may minimize seasonal allergies and promote healthier blood sugar management. (7,8,9,10,11)
Salespeople understand that they need attractive selling points in order to make a commodity appealing to prospective buyers. Whether it was obvious or not, I’ve just provided you with selling points that you can use to promote good health in those around you. Let your loved ones know that stress not only makes you feel terrible, but can also rob you of your mental capabilities. Go shopping with family and friends and explain why spending a few dollars more on grass-fed beef can result in improved heart health and lower inflammation. And if you know someone who claims to be too busy to cook, pass along the Real Simple spinach dip recipe. Who doesn’t have 5 minutes to spare when it means saving money and nourishing your body well? It’s time to go out there and sell, people. Ready?! GO!
Tags: Grassfed, Spinach, Stress
Posted in Memory, Mental Health, Recipes