1 pound Rice spaghetti pasta – cooked al dente, drained well
3 red peppers — cut in matchsticks
1/2 cup peanuts, dry-roasted
2 bunch scallions — cut thinly, diagnol
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup Coconut Aminos (soy free soy sauce!)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup cilantro — minced, packed
Heat sesame oil, then add red peppers. Toss in oil 3 – 4 min until slightly softened
Add red peppers to drained pasta.
Buzz peanuts in food processor. Some peanuts should remain large, and some should be ground.
Whisk together Bragg’s, rice vinegar and honey.
Toss all ingredients together.
Reston, VA (Embargoed until 7:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, June 14, 2021)–In patients with mild cognitive impairment, taking lipophilic statins more than doubles their risk of developing dementia compared to those who do not take statins. According to research presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2021 Annual Meeting, positron emission tomography (PET) scans of lipophilic statin users revealed a highly significant decline in metabolism in the area of the brain that is first impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.
Statins are medications used to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. They are the most commonly used drugs in the developed world, and nearly 50 percent of Americans over age 75 use a statin. Different types of statins are available based on a patient’s health needs, including hydrophilic statins that focus on the liver and lipophilic statins that are distributed to tissues throughout the body.
“There have been many conflicting studies on the effects of statin drugs on cognition,” said Prasanna Padmanabham, project head, statins and cognition in the molecular and medical pharmacology student research program at the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California. “While some claim that satins protect users against dementia, others assert that they accelerate the development of dementia. Our study aimed to clarify the relationship between statin use and subject’s long-term cognitive trajectory.”
Researchers separated study participants into groups based on three parameters: baseline cognitive status, baseline cholesterol levels and type of statin used. Participants underwent 18F-FDG PET imaging to identify any regions of declining cerebral metabolism within each statin group. Eight years of subject clinical data was analyzed.
Patients with mild cognitive impairment or normal cognition who used lipophilic statins were found to have more than double the risk of developing dementia compared to statin non-users. Over time, PET imaging of lipophilic statin users also showed a substantial decline in metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex, the region of the brain known to decline the most significantly in the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, no clinical or metabolic decline was found for users of other statins or for statin users with higher baseline serum cholesterol levels.
“By characterizing the metabolic effects associated with statin use, we are providing a new application of PET to further our understanding of the relationship between one of the most commonly used classes of drugs and one of the most common afflictions of the aging brain,” noted Padmanabham. “Findings from these scans could be used to inform patients’ decisions regarding which statin would be most optimal to use with respect to preservation of their cognition and ability to function independently.”
About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
SNMMI’s members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit http://www.snmmi.org
Years ago when my Meal Delivery Service was vegetarian I served veggie burgers made with rice and kidney beans. They sold well but I was never completely thrilled with the recipe. I couldn’t get them to be crispy enough and over the years I stopped eating beans. I found I couldn’t get them crispy enough and I thought they were just too heavy.
THESE are the veggie burgers I always wanted.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 onion, diced, caramelized and drained
16 ounces mushrooms, mix of shiitake + Portobello, de-stemmed and diced
2 tablespoons tamari
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons siracha, more if desired
½ cup crushed walnuts
¼ cup ground flaxseed
2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice, freshly cooked so that it’s sticky*
1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs, divided
Worcestershire sauce, for brushing (I make my own)
Ghee to pan fry
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until soft and browned, 6 to 9 minutes, turning down the heat slightly, as needed. Add the caramelized onion and stir well
Stir in the tamari, vinegar, and mirin. Stir, reduce the heat, and then add the garlic, and smoked paprika, and siracha. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a food processor, combine the sautéed mushrooms, walnuts, flaxseed, brown rice, and ½ cup of the panko. Pulse until well combined.
Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the remaining panko.
425° for about 9 minutes per side, or broiled for 5-7 minutes per side.
The impact of diet on health is really a no-brainer – even leading to calls for GPs to prescribe fruit and vegetables before writing out a drug prescription.
Now, US researchers report in the journal Cell Host & Microbe that they’ve found a mechanism to explain how obesity caused by junk food and an unhealthy diet can induce inflammation in the gut.
“Our research showed that long-term consumption of a Western-style diet high in fat and sugar impairs the function of immune cells in the gut in ways that could promote inflammatory bowel disease or increase the risk of intestinal infections,” says lead author Ta-Chiang Liu, from Washington University.
This has particular relevance for Crohn’s disease – a debilitating condition that has been increasing worldwide and causes abdominal pain, diarrhoea, anaemia and fatigue.
A key feature of the disease is impaired function of Paneth cells, immune cells found in the intestines that help maintain a healthy balance of gut microbes and ward off infectious pathogens.
When exploring a database of 400 adults with and without Crohn’s disease, the researchers discovered that higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with progressively more abnormal looking Paneth cells, captured under a microscope.
Armed with their discovery, they studied two strains of mice genetically predisposed to obesity and were surprised to find that the animals’ Paneth cells looked normal.
To dig deeper, the researchers fed normal mice a diet in which 40% of the calories came from fat or sugar, typical of a Western diet.
After two months the mice became obese – and their Paneth cells became abnormal. They also had associated problems such as increased gut permeability, a key feature of chronic inflammation that allows harmful bacteria and toxins to cross the intestinal lining.
“Obesity wasn’t the problem per se,” says Lui. “Eating too much of a healthy diet didn’t affect the Paneth cells. It was the high-fat, high-sugar diet that was the problem.”
Importantly, switching from junk food back to a standard diet completely reversed the Paneth cell dysfunction.
Further experiments revealed that a bile acid molecule known as deoxycholic acid, formed as a by-product of gut bacteria metabolism, increased the activity of immune molecules that inhibit Paneth cell function.
Liu and colleagues are now comparing the individual impact of fat and sugar on Paneth cells.
Whether the damaged cells respond to a healthy diet in humans remains to be seen, but preliminary evidence suggests diet can alter the balance of gut bacteria and alleviate symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
As I take the Meal Delivery Service back toward a plant based diet, I am making more raw dishes. I made this for the service last week and got a GREAT response! Here’s the recipe.
7 Gala Apples, cored, not peeled9
10 ounces black mission figs- cut off stem
14 ounces dates- pitted
1 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Place figs and dates in food processor with half of the cinnamon, or to taste. Blend until it turns in to a paste, it will eventually just ball up in one mass much like pie dough. Wet the pie plate and press 3/4 of the mixture into the plate to form a crust. You will definitely need to keep wetting your hands in order to spread it out .
Slice apples any way you want and toss with a small amount of lemon water and then fold in the remaining pie crust mixture after you have blended in the rest of the spices.
Michael Pollan says everything he’s learned about food and health can be summed up in seven words: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Probably the first two words are most important. “Eat food” means to eat real food — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and, yes, fish and meat — and to avoid what Pollan calls “edible food-like substances.”
- Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. “When you pick up that box of portable yogurt tubes, or eat something with 15 ingredients you can’t pronounce, ask yourself, “What are those things doing there?” Pollan says.
- Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce.
- Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
- Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions — honey — but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” Pollan says.
- It is not just what you eat but how you eat. “Always leave the table a little hungry,” Pollan says. “Many cultures have rules that you stop eating before you are full. In Japan, they say eat until you are four-fifths full. Islamic culture has a similar rule, and in German culture they say, ‘Tie off the sack before it’s full.'”
- Families traditionally ate together, around a table and not a TV, at regular meal times. It’s a good tradition. Enjoy meals with the people you love. “Remember when eating between meals felt wrong?” Pollan asks.
- Don’t buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
March 14, 2021 — 11:04 AM
More than 6 million Americans, age 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, that number is expected to rise to more than 12 million Americans by 2050.
So, while misplacing keys or forgetting someone’s name are harmless human mistakes, those memory lapses over time can grow concerning. Thankfully, our brain and memory function isn’t entirely out of our control.
The brain is constantly undergoing neuroplasticity, meaning it’s growing and changing throughout our lifetime. One way to support that process and enhance memory function is by eating functional foods, neuroscientist and neurodegenerative disease researcher Kristen Willeumier, Ph.D., tells mbg.
Here are her go-to nutrients and food sources for a sharper brain:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fat (aka the “good” kind of fat) that helps shape cognitive capacity. They’re rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which help support cognitive function, maintain the fluidity of cell membranes, and increase synaptic plasticity, Willeumier tells mbg.
In case you’re curious, “The more fluid a cell membrane is, the more efficiently it performs, contributing to a healthy mood and memory. It’s also crucial to cell survival, growth, and renewal,” she explains.
They also support memory function by maintaining brain volume in the hippocampus (the region of the brain involved in learning and memory) as we age, she explains.
Eating sustainable fatty fish—like wild cod, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout—is a protein-packed way to get more omega-3s. For those on a plant-based or vegan diet, Willeumier recommends marine algae and seaweed, walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds.
Polyphenols are a plant-based dietary antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits, and they’re abundant in berries. “Blueberries are great for the protection of chronic disease and brain health,” Willeumier tells mbg.
A 20-year study from Harvard Medical School found that the adults who ate blueberries and strawberries had the slowest rate of cognitive decline. “They could delay cognitive decline by as much as two and a half years,” Willeumier says.
Because of the blood-brain barrier, foods that protect the brain will also protect the heart, making blueberries a one-stop-shop for vascular health.
The American Heart Association published a study on more than 93,000 women between 25 and 42 years old. In an 18 year follow-up, they found that those who ate blueberries and strawberries three times per week had a greater reduction in heart attacks.
There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but instead of fearing unexpected outcomes, take control where you can. Simply adding delicious and nutrient-dense foods to your diet, like blueberries and walnuts, is one way to take initiative with your brain health.
2-3 cups butternut squash (or pumpkin), peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head escarole, or Romaine Lettuce, roughly chopped
2-3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
½ cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
¼ cup roasted and salted pepitas
1 shallot minced
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
· Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash with the olive oil and sprinkle it with kosher salt. Roast the squash for 15-18 minutes until golden browned on the edges and fork tender. Set aside to cool.
· In a small bowl whisk together the vinaigrette and season to taste with kosher salt.
· In a large bowl combine the escarole, bacon, apricots and pepitas with the butternut squash. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and gently toss to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt and serve immediately.
A diet that is predominant healthy and plant-based encourages a mix of ‘good’ bacteria in the gut, which is linked with lower risk of common illnesses like heart disease, obesity and type-2 diabetes, new research has said. The study, published in Nature Medicine, was carried out by researchers at King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health, the University of Trento, Italy, and health start-up company ZOE. Using genomic samples, blood chemistry profiles and detailed data about the dietary habits, gut microbiomes and metabolic markers in the blood, researchers carried out the Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial 1 (PREDICT 1).
The analysis pointed researchers to 15 microbes in the gut that are linked to common conditions like obesity and type-2 diabetes. The influence of these microbes and others correlated, either positively or negatively, with a person’s risk of serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Having a microbiome rich in Prevotella copri and Blastocystis species, for example, was associated with maintaining favourable blood sugar levels after eating a meal. Similarly, other species of bacteria were linked to lower blood fat levels and inflammation markers after a meal.
A leaky gut makes your intestines more permeable to absorption of nutrients and water, but also to their loss. Image: Harvard-Health
As the study describes it, a “healthy” diet has a mix of foods associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases. Subjects in the trial who ate a plant-rich diet were more likely to have high levels of “good” gut microbes that are, in turn, associated with low risk of common chronic illnesses. Also found in the study were biomarkers of obesity, cardiovascular disease and impaired glucose tolerance – all of which are risk factors for Covid-19.
“Finding novel microbes that are linked to specific foods, as well as metabolic health, is exciting,” said Dr Sarah Berry, a nutrition scientist at King’s College London. “Given the highly-personalised composition of each individuals’ microbiome, our research suggests that we may be able to modify our gut microbiome to optimize our health by choosing the best foods for our unique biology.”
Epidemiologist and Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London, who started the PREDICT study and is the scientific founder of ZO, said, “When you eat, you’re not just nourishing your body, you’re feeding the trillions of microbes that live inside your gut.”
The health of the gut microbiome showed a greater link to these disease markers than other factors like genetics, which is thought to also play a role in gut health. Some of the microbes identified in the study are so novel, they are yet to be given a name.
“This is now a big area of focus for us, as we believe they may open new insights in the future into how we could use the gut microbiome as a modifiable target to improve human metabolism and health,” said Nicola Segata, leader of the microbiome analysis in the study and principal investigator of the Computational Metagenomics Lab at the University of Trento in Italy.
The findings could help nutritionists and enthusiasts personalize eating plans specifically to help improve one’s health. It also adds to the mounting evidence that gut health affects overall wellbeing in ways we don’t yet understand.
Cholesterol is one of the most feared molecules in the world today.
Yet new research shows it’s one of the most beneficial molecules for your health.
How does everyone have it so backwards?
First off, this is not medical advice. If your LDL is above the reference range, you should work with a doctor. Before making any dietary changes, always consult with a healthcare practitioner.
How Did We Get Here?
Why did cholesterol get put into the penalty box? Three main studies damned cholesterol:
1913 Russian study on rabbits showed that cholesterol caused lesions.
Ancel Keys and his CORRUPT seven countries study showing a correlation b/w saturated fat & heart disease
A study in Framingham, MA 60 years ago claimed cholesterol led to heart disease .
All three ultimately led to the diet-heart hypothesis and Food Pyramid.
Cholesterol was the critical second link of the diet-heart hypothesis. The hypothesis was that saturated fat increased cholesterol. And based on the studies above, that cholesterol then caused heart disease.
After cholesterol was found to be present in artery walls in patients with heart disease, cholesterol was blamed as the cause of the disease.
But we convicted the wrong enemy.
The Truth About Cholesterol
All three studies used to convict cholesterol would turn out to be flawed and corrupt.
The 1913 study on cholesterol by the russian scientist was on rabbits. Rabbits are herbivores. Of course they react negatively to cholesterol.
Ancel Keys cherry picked seven countries out of 22. After including all the countries there was no correlation.
There was not a shred of truth in any of the three studies.
A 30 year follow up to framingham actually showed a negative correlation between cholesterol and disease.
“There is a direct association between falling cholesterol levels over the first 14 years and mortality over the following 18 years (11% overall and 14% CVD death rate increase per 1 mg/dL per year drop in cholesterol levels).”
So of course the USDA and health authorities backtracked on their cholesterol recommendations and saturated fat vilification right…? Of course not. They doubled down and still recommend people limit saturated fat.
Studies Confirm LDL and Total Cholesterol Are Not Risk Factors
Now that cholesterol has been rigorously tested, more studies continue to emerge that cholesterol is not predictive of heart disease.
In 1987, a thirty year follow up to the Framingham study was conducted — the study that crucified total cholesterol in the first place.
Those aged between 48 and 57 with cholesterol in the mid range (183-222 mg/dL) had a greater risk of heart attack than those with higher cholesterol.
They also found that “for each 1 mg/dL per year drop in serum cholesterol values, there is an 11% increase in both the overall death rate and the CVD death rate.”
In fact, there are zero studies that show that high LDL is a risk factor, independent of triglyceride levels and HDL levels.
What matters is the functioning of your lipid and energy transport system.
And a big reason why there is often a correlation between LDL, HDL and heart disease is because they are potentially indicative of a broken system.
And you know what? New scientific research confirms this.
There’s not a single randomized control trial that shows people with high LDL die younger. David Diamond has done some great work here.
In fact, some studies show that higher LDL-C is associated with equal or greater lifespan .
When it comes to total cholesterol, a study in Hawaii found the same. Having low cholesterol for a long time actually increases risk of death:
Instead of continuing to dig their heels in, I do appreciate the honesty of the study above: “we have been unable to explain our results”.
This study from UCLA showed that 75% heart disease patients had LDL below 130 mg/dl — the level at which doctors prescribe statins.
The above data shows that saturated fat can raise cholesterol. But no evidence has shown that, independent of other factors, high cholesterol is a cause for concern.
New evidence continues to pile up that cholesterol alone is not the culprit when it comes to heart disease. And that lowering it is not necessarily beneficial (in fact in some cases it can cause more damage).
In 2019, the BMJ reviewed 22 interventional trials and found that “‘The preponderance of evidence indicates that low-fat diets that reduce serum cholesterol do not reduce cardiovascular events or mortality”
In the recently unearthed Minnesota Coronary experiment researchers lowered cholesterol like they intended by 14%.
But this led to a “22% higher risk of death for each 30 mg/dL reduction in serum cholesterol”
This study was BURIED for 40 years.
Lastly, remember the seven countries study that blamed saturated fat and cholesterol for heart disease? Well Zoe Harcombe added in 290 more countries and the correlation flipped. Cholesterol actually becomes negatively correlated with heart disease.
What BioMarkers Are Predictive of Heart Disease?
Yes, cholesterol is present in the artery walls of heart disease patients.
But it’s because it was there to rescue their artery walls.
It’s like condemning firefighters for starting fires just because they’re present at all fires. The logic is completely backwards.
What matters is how the fire started in the first place.
LDL, the “bad cholesterol”, is not predictive alone. Of course not. Because it is not inherently harmful. It’s only indicative of an atherogenic environment when it’s coupled with inflammation and oxidation.
What is the signature of inflammation and oxidation?
It usually rears its head as high TG / HDL ratios and high fasting insulin.
In a recent study of 103,446 men and women, LDL levels showed very minimal effect on heart disease.
But an increase in triglycerides/HDL ratio doubled the risk of heart disease.
High triglyceride/HDL ratios are indicative of high remnant cholesterol, which is a better indicator for heart disease than LDL alone .
Dave Feldman showed below that remnant cholesterol correlated highly with all cause mortality.
And guess what is significantly associated with remnant cholesterol? Insulin resistance .
When it comes to biomarkers, I like to see:
Total / HDL < 4
TG / HDL < 1
HDL > 40
TG < 100
Fasting insulin < 10
Fasting glucose < 5 mmol/L
LDL, the “bad cholesterol”, is nowhere to be found…Why?
Big pharma can’t make money off the REAL predictive biomarkers
Make sure to also keep an eye on fasting insulin levels.
From the great Ivor Cummins: When insulin is low, high LDL particle count and high triglycerides don’t indicate that you’re at higher risk.
But when insulin is high, the risk of high triglycerides and high LDL is magnified.
When fasting insulin is >15 uU/mL, your risk of heart disease with the same triglyceride levels go up 6.7x. And with the same LDL-P levels, it increases 11x.
High LDL with high insulin is much more concerning than high LDL with low insulin.
Too Little Cholesterol is Worse Than Too Much
Cholesterol is an organic molecule found in cell membranes and most tissues. It’s in the food we eat and is naturally occurring within our bodies.
Of the cholesterol present, around 75% is created in our bodies, and 25% is ingested.
Cholesterol is one of the most vital compounds in our bodies. So vital that our bodies make around 3000 mg of it every single day. We can’t leave it to chance to get it externally – it’s that important.
Without cholesterol, we would literally be dead.
Cells would disintegrate. We’d have no hormones, no brain function, and no muscles. Every cell membrane is constructed out of cholesterol.
All of the following critical body components are made from cholesterol:
Cortisol (anti-inflammatory stress hormone)
Aldosterone (regulates salt balance)
Bile (required for fat and vitamin absorption)
Brain synapses (neurotransmitter exchange)
Myelin sheath (insulates nerve cells)
Not having any cholesterol is MUCH worse than having too much of it.
Cholesterol is one of the most important molecules in your body. It is not a direct etiological agent in heart disease — it is merely correlative because it can indicate fundamental damage.
We’ve talked about a lot here, and I really hope that you get a lot out of this article. It wasn’t easy for me to learn all this information – it took me years to learn about these things and improve my own health.