This Just In: Healthy Food & Well-Being; Moderate Carb Intake; Fish & Parkinson’s Disease Risk

Healthy Foods May Affect Your State of Well-Being

Nutrition makes a difference in mood and brain health, but the connection is stronger in women than in men, according to a study published in Nutritional Science, July 2018. An anonymous survey of 563 people (48 percent men, 52 percent women) evaluated consumption patterns within nine food groups, particularly foods associated with mental activity. The findings showed that women who followed a Mediterranean dietary pattern were more likely to have a positive state of well-being than women who followed a less-healthy food plan. Also the researchers said women need more nutritional variety than men to maintain well-being, which they felt could play a role in why twice as many women as men suffer from depression and anxiety and for longer periods of time.

Moderate Carb Intake May Be Best for Long Life

Limiting carbs to between 50 and 55 percent of your daily caloric intake may be ideal for living the longest, according to a study published in The Lancet, Aug. 16, 2018. Researchers analyzed data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study on 15,428 people between the ages of 45 and 64 and followed up with them over the course of 25 years. They found that people whose carbohydrates equaled less than 40 percent or more than 70 percent of their diets had higher mortality rates than those right in the middle with a carb intake of 50 to 55 percent Also, people on diets favoring meat had higher mortality rates than those on diets favoring plant-based foods.

A Fish Protein Is Linked to Reduced Parkinson’s Risk

Beta-parvalbumin (BPV), a protein in fish, latches itself onto plaques associated with Parkinson’s disease and consumes them, according to research published in Scientific Reports, August 2018. As a result, eating fish may play a role in preventing or delaying Parkinson’s disease, the researchers said. The plaques grow on alpha-synuclein proteins primarily found in the brain, with smaller amounts found throughout the body. Common in many fish, BPV is highest in carp, cod, herring, and redfish. Codfish was used in this study, but a follow-up study is planned with herring. A word of caution: Parvalbumin is the key allergen for people who suffer from seafood allergies.

Vary Your Foods to Stay Out of the Hospital

Health experts have long advised eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to consume a variety of nutrients and achieve the best health outcomes. Research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Sept. 4, 2018, now confirms that eating a variety of foods, and changing up that variety from time to time, can make a difference in preventing heart health challenges, including hospital stays and death. Conversely, lack of variety results in what the researchers called “micronutrient deficiency” and a monotony of dietary patterns, leading to increased risks of those same health issues. The data came from food diaries of 246 people who had suffered heart failure (33 percent female). The diaries were evaluated for the presence of 17 micronutrients—11 vitamins and six minerals, and their quantities.

Unsaturated Fats May Help Fight Cardiovascular Disease

Keeping artery walls clear of plaque buildup is critical for long-lasting heart health, and it appears that unsaturated fats can help with that task. A protein in blood plasma called apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV) has been shown to keep platelets in blood plasma from clumping together. After food digestion, the anti-clumping activity increases, and, after consuming unsaturated fats, it increases even more, according to research published Sept. 6, 2018 in Nature Communications. Unsaturated fats are found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines), plant-based oils, avocados, olives, soy, nuts, and seeds. Human blood samples were drawn from healthy volunteers and randomly assigned to either the test or control group. Future studies are being considered to dig more deeply into this study’s results.

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