Eating More Whole Grains Linked With Lower Death Risk

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The American Heart Association recommends a heart-healthy dietary pattern emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other nutritious foods and specifically that at least half of grain consumption should be whole grains. Whole grains provide many nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, which are removed during the refining process.

Eating more whole grains linked with lower risk of death

DALLAS, June 13, 2016 — Eating at least three servings of whole grains every day could lower your risk of death, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Although dietary guidelines around the world have included whole grains as an essential component of healthy eating patterns, people aren’t eating enough, according to the analysis. In the United States average consumption remains below one serving a day, despite the long-time recommendation of three servings a day.

In the first meta-analysis review of studies reporting associations between whole grain consumption and death, researchers noted that for about every serving (16 grams) of whole grains there was a:

  • 7 percent decreased risk in total deaths;
  • 9 percent decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths; and
  • 5 percent decline in cancer-related deaths.

The more whole grains consumed, the lower the death rate. According to researchers, when three servings (48 grams) were consumed daily the rates declined:

  • 20 percent for total deaths;
  • 25 percent for cardiovascular deaths; and
  • 14 percent for cancer-related deaths.

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Full bibliographic information Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies (DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.021101.)

The Wild World Of Caffeinated Snacks

The elements to good health – eating, food, nutrition and health has taken a divergent route. The introduction of additives and nutrients won’t necessarily lead to good health.  However, you might fool your body for a while with some of these snacks that border on food porn.  Clearly, these are not essential but they sure might make you feel lit up.  In the meantime, you can sign up for a healing circle for your adrenal glands in a neighborhood near you.

With the myriad of caffeinated products on store shelves these days, there’s hardly any need for coffee. Everything from jerky and sunflower seeds to waffles and ice cream is offering a buzz. We decided to take a look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick.

Because of this influx of new products and their potential appeal to children, the Food and Drug Administration is evaluating their safety and how to best regulate the changing market.

While it does so, we thought we’d share this quick review from Hella Wella and take a closer look at some of the products currently providing consumers with a caffeine kick. Watch out Starbucks!


Arma Energy Snx Potato Chips & Granola

“It’s not your mom’s granola,” says Arma Energy Snx’s website. The company makes kettle-cooked potato chips, granola, fruit mix and trail mix — all “energy-infused” with caffeine, taurine and B vitamins. One 2-ounce package of BBQ kettle-cooked chips contains 290 calories and 70 milligrams of caffeine — that’s slightly less than a shot of espresso.


Bang! Ice Cream

Even your dessert can bring a buzz. And in the case of Bang! ice cream, you might want to have dessert toward the beginning of the day since one serving dishes out 125 milligrams of caffeine — roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee. The ice cream comes in four flavors: Peanut Butta, Heaps of Gold, Iced Latte-Da and Cooky Mint.


Blue Diamond Roasted Coffee Almonds

Blue Diamond jumped on the bandwagon with its roasted coffee-flavored almonds, which contain 25 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Keep in mind, though, that there are four servings per package, so if you plan on chowing down all of it, you’re looking at the same amount of caffeine that’s in some energy shots.


Cracker Jack’d

Frito Lay made headlines last November when it announced its new line of snacks: Cracker Jack’D. Unlike the famous Cracker Jacks snack that came before it, Cracker Jack’D comes with 70 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d get from a shot of espresso. The 2-ounce snack mix comes in flavors like zesty queso, PB & chocolate, berry yogurt and cheddar BBQ.


Crackheads2 Gourmet Chocolate Coffee Caffeine

Crackheads2 (squared) makes no apologies for its extreme caffeine content. In fact, it boasts it wherever it can. One box of the candy- and chocolate-coated coffee beans contains 600 milligrams of caffeine — the equivalent of six cups of coffee, 7.5 cans of Red Bull and 11 cans of Mountain Dew, according to the company’s website. Good luck sleeping!


Jelly Belly Sport Beans

You (hopefully) won’t find these jellybeans in a kid’s Easter basket. Jelly Belly’s Extreme Sport Beans are advertised as “quick energy for sports performance.” The website recommends popping the beans 30 minutes before your workout and says they’re “loaded with carbs for fuel, electrolytes to help maintain fluid balance and vitamins to optimize energy release and protect cells against oxidative damage.” A single 1-ounce package packs 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of sugar and 50 milligrams of caffeine — a little more of a jolt than you’d get from a can of Diet Coke.


Perky Jerky

Perky Jerky found its way onto the market after its creators accidentally drenched their beef jerky in an energy drink and ate it, only to find it boosted their energy as they skied. The brand is advertised as “all natural, ultra premium jerky” that’s made with a seven-ingredient marinade that includes guarana (the stuff you’ll find in energy drinks). One 1-ounce package offers 150 milligrams of caffeine — about what you’d find in a Monster energy drink.



Apparently even sunflower seeds are capable of being infused with caffeine. Sumseeds come in flavors like dill pickle, honey BBQ, ranch, and salt and pepper — in addition to the original flavor — and pack 140 milligrams of caffeine into a single 1.75-ounce bag.


Wired Waffles

You won’t need coffee with this breakfast. Wired Waffles are exactly what they sound like: waffles — even maple syrup — with caffeine. With 200 milligrams per waffle and about 48 milligrams per serving of syrup, you’re looking at a buzz stronger than what you’d get from most energy drinks.



Poor Amino Acid Breakdown Increases Risk Of Heart Disease

homocysteine levels predictors of heart diseasePeople with a genetically determined, reduced breakdown of the amino acid homocysteine have an increased risk of coronary heart disease compared to healthy people. This is revealed in doctoral research carried out by Mariska Klerk at Wageningen University.

The researchers from Wageningen have demonstrated that people with a genetically determined, specific form of reduced homocysteine breakdown have a 16 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease. People with the aforementioned reduced breakdown have on average a 25 percent higher homocysteine concentration in their blood from birth onwards, compared to other people.

Homocysteine has been associated with cardiovascular disease for a long time. However, until recently it was not clear whether an increased concentration of this amino acid in the blood was the cause or consequence of cardiovascular disease. This research into people with a genetic predisposition for a high homocysteine concentration in the blood supports the argument that this high concentration is a cause of cardiovascular disease.

Homocysteine is an amino acid (protein building block) which is formed in the body during the breakdown of another amino acid (methionine) obtained from food. The body regulates the homocysteine concentration in the blood with the aid of several B vitamins, including folic acid. Apart from a genetic predisposition, a shortage of these vitamins can also lead to an increased concentration of homocysteine in the blood. Folic acid supplementation is therefore an effective strategy to reduce the quantity of homocysteine in the blood.

The research has also revealed that people with genetically determined, reduced homocysteine breakdown only had an increased risk of heart disease when the folic acid concentration in the blood was low. This result suggests that reducing the homocysteine concentration in the blood by means of folic acid supplementation will reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers also investigated whether a reduction in the homocysteine concentration in the blood as a result of vitamin B supplementation had a favourable effect on blood clotting in healthy volunteers. The assumption was that homocysteine increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by overstimulating blood clotting (which could eventually result in thrombosis). Despite a considerable reduction in the homocysteine concentration in the blood of people who had received extra vitamin B, no clear effect on blood clotting could be demonstrated.

The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

The Cognitive Continuum: Vitamins for Vitality

Cognitive Nutrition FoodsVitamins offer significant benefits to a spectrum of brain-related functions and conditions, including reducing risk of depression, autism and stroke. And the medical community has long advocated vitamin supplementation—especially with B vitamins—for prenatal health.

Folate supports crucial mechanisms in brain health; the vitamin is responsible for DNA and RNA formation, while building neurotransmitters connected to mental health such as serotonin and dopamine. When combined with vitamins B12 and B6, folate helps metabolize methionine to avoid dangerous homocysteine buildup.

A study published in a 2013 Journal of the American Medical Association reported mothers who took prenatal folic acid supplements were less likely to give birth to autistic children.  Folic acid supplementation at time of conception reduces neural tube deficiencies in children, research has shown. The large-scale Norwegian cohort study found maternal supplementation offered a 39-percent lower risk of developing autistic spectrum disorders.

However, B vitamins’ benefits reach across the aging spectrum. Older adults with elevated psychological distress improved cognitive functioning including memory performance after two years of folic acid and B12 supplementation.2 The Australian National University randomized controlled trial (RCT) tested 400 mcg/d of folic acid plus 100 mcg of vitamin B12 versus placebo in adults aged 60 to 74 years. Supplementation increased telephone interview for Cognitive Status-Modified (TICS-M) total scores (P0 .032), immediate (P=0.046) and delayed recall (P=0.013), compared to placebo.

In a randomized, multicenter study by Harvard Medical Center, schizophrenia patients taking folate and vitamin B12 significantly reduced severe depressive symptoms of the condition, which are often difficult to treat.3

Citicoline also plays a paramount role in brain function by maintaining cell membranes and neurotransmitter synthesis. A 2012 study published in Food and Nutrition Sciences found healthy, middle-aged woman improved attention focus and inhibition after four weeks of 250 and 500 mg/d citicoline supplementation (as Cognizin from Kyowa Hakko).  While previous studies have established the brain nutrient’s success in boosting attention in those with cognitive defects, the University of Utah trial supported application in healthy subjects.

B vitamins aren’t the only ones slated for brain health. A 2011 study published in Neurology found higher intakes of omega-3s and vitamins C, D, E and B were less likely to have brain shrinkage associated with Alzheimer’s disease; the nutrients were also associated with higher scores on cognitive tests.5

Long established as a safe and effective nutrient, vitamin C may help boost mood for those with deficiencies. In a double blind clinical trial, researchers from McGill University noted 500 and 1,000 mg twice daily reduced mood disturbance by 34 percent in hospitalized patients after just 10 days.6

Vitamin E , specifically d-alpha-tocotrienol, provides unique protection from brain cell toxicity and stroke-induced neurodegeneration. In an Ohio State University study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), low-concentrate alpha-tocotrienol prevented toxicity that induces brain cell death, which occurs during a stroke, while supporting the recovery of dying neurons.7

A recently completed trial from the University of Science Malaysia analyzed the effects of mixed-tocotrienols (containing Tocomin SupraBio from Carotech) on white matter lesions, brain damage associated with full-blown stroke. Subjects took 400 mg/d or placebo for two years. Results for the study—the largest on tocotrienols—will be published soon, according to said Bryan See, regional product manager, Carotech.

“The results of this clinical study are extremely encouraging,” See said. “Regression of white matter lesions in terms of numbers and size in the brain were observed after one to two years of supplementation.”

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