3 New Health Benefits of Eating Chocolate

October 4th, 2013

Chocolate has all but been elevated to superfood status. And the benefits of chocolate keep rolling in.

So here are three more reasons why you may not want to be too quick to break that chocolate habit. (As long as you’re hitting the dark stuff.)

Chocolate makes you smarter. Ample research suggests that the flavonols in dark chocolate increase cerebral blood flow, which in turn may trigger the creation of new blood vessels and brain cells. And a new study shows that older adults performed better on cognitive tests after eating small portions of the sweet stuff. Talk about some major benefits of chocolate (and a nourished noggin)! (Here’s why opting for semisweet or unsweetened chocolate may be even better for your brain.)
Chocolate improves heart health. Although more research is needed to confirm this one, a new study shows that regular chocolate eaters who had heart disease were less likely to die following a heart attack compared with the people who didn’t treat themselves to the dark and dreamy stuff. (Here’s more on heart-health benefits of chocolate.)
Chocolate has a cavity-fighting compound. Okay, so you don’t necessarily want to trade in your toothbrush for a chocolate bar. But some interesting new research shows a compound in chocolate — theobromine — may be just as good as fluoride at hardening tooth enamel. So the compound could find its way into toothpastes and mouthwashes one day. Until then, keep in mind that most commercially prepared chocolate has lots of sugar in it. Get healthier teeth and gums with these three easy dental tricks.

Don’t Go Overboard
Despite the benefits of chocolate, you don’t want to o.d. on it lest you do your waist and blood sugar more harm than good. Learn why just one Hershey’s Kiss worth of chocolate may be all you need to lower your blood pressure.

The above article was from Sharecare online

Homogenized Milk Myths Busted

August 30th, 2013

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by Berkeley Wellness | February 13, 2013

Nearly every aspect of cow’s milk inspires debate—from its fat, protein and sugar (lactose) content to the hormone residues it may contain, the pasteurization process it undergoes, and even its very suitability for human consumption. We’ve discussed all that, but some of our readers have raised concerns about something else: homogenization. You may wonder, what could be wrong with homogenized milk?

Well, it seems there are plenty of people who are promoting “non-homogenized” milk as a healthier option. You may see it on the shelves in health-food stores and some supermarkets.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: non-homogenized isn’t necessarily raw milk (“raw” simply means not pasteurized). Though all raw milk is non-homogenized, not all non-homogenized milk is raw. And while raw milk poses definite health risks, non-homogenized milk does not unless it’s not pasteurized.
Ye olde milk?

When cow’s milk is not homogenized, its fat separates out, producing a layer of cream on top. Developed in the late 19th century, commercial homogenization is a mechanical (not chemical) process that breaks up the fat globules to such a small size that they remain suspended evenly in the milk, producing a uniform (homogeneous) consistency. It also gives milk a longer shelf life. “Nonfat” milk—formerly called skim milk because the fat was skimmed off—is also homogenized, since it contains some fat, albeit a very small amount.

According to its detractors, homogenized milk contributes to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic disorders, as well as allergies, largely by boosting the absorbability of an enzyme in milk called xanthine oxidase (XOD). They claim that the resulting higher blood levels of XOD increase disease-promoting inflammatory processes.

While it’s true that elevated activity of XOD (along with other enzymes) produced in the body can increase inflammation, the adverse effects of XOD in milk remain theoretical. In any case, the point is moot, because XOD is not absorbed from any food.

The notion that homogenization, and milk’s XOD in particular, is a health hazard was originally disproven by researchers from the University of California at Davis in a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition back in 1983. Subsequent research has also debunked it.

In addition, studies have shown that homogenization actually improves the digestibility of milk and that it does not increase the risk of milk allergy or intolerance in children or adults.

Bottom line: Over the years, nearly all the fears about milk have proven to be unfounded. Many studies have linked dairy products—possibly even whole milk, despite its saturated fat—to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers continue to examine the effects of various milk components on the risk of heart disease and on health in general. So far, there’s no convincing evidence that homogenization is an issue. The only reason to drink non-homogenized milk is if you like the way it tastes and are willing to pay a premium price.

REAL FISH VS. OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTS

August 6th, 2013

Bottom line: The proposed cardiovascular benefits of fish oil supplements now seem uncertain. Some major studies are underway and may help clarify matters. In any case, your best bet is to get your omega-3s from two or three servings of fatty fish a week. The AHA continues to advise people with heart disease or high triglycerides to consider taking the supplements, after consulting their doctors. That’s still good advice if you don’t eat fish, especially since some of the other proposed benefits of omega-3s may still pan out. The supplements have few, if any, serious adverse effects—unless, that is, they lead you to think you can eat an unhealthy diet or can avoid taking the statins or other drugs you may need.salmon jpg

Probiotics in Yogurt – Bottom Line

July 17th, 2013

Whether yogurts and other fermented dairy products (such as kefir) provide probiotic health benefits is debatable, but they are excellent foods, high in protein and calcium. The voluntary “Live & Active Culture” seal from the National Yogurt Association is the best assurance that a certain number of bacteria were present at the time of manufacture—though this may not mean much since many may have perished since. And note that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the seal. Also, be aware that yogurts that are heat-treated after fermentation do not contain live organisms.

If you are lactose intolerant, you’ll probably have less of a problem with yogurt than milk, because the live bacteria will have digested some of the lactose (milk sugar).yogurt-modified-MF_235_235

Pregnancy and Smoking

April 15th, 2013

Know a pregnant smoker who’s planning to quit the instant she gives birth? Speed-dial her and say, “Not soon enough!” A study of 8- to 16-year-olds shows that kids exposed to smoke in the womb are six times more likely to have asthma than children of nonsmokers are. And smoking is now tied to 5% to 8% of premature births. HEALTH Smoking 1

Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives

April 11th, 2013

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In August of 2012, the Ad Council joined with The Partnership for Health Mouths, Healthy Lives, a coalition of more than 35 leading dental health organizations, to debut Kids’ Healthy Mouths. Dental decay is the most common chronic childhood disease with more than 16 million kids suffering from untreated tooth decay in the U.S., oral disease is estimated to cause kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually, and disproportionately affects children from low-income families.

At Diamond Dental, we recommend children have their first dental visit by age 1 as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (www.aapd.org), and maintain regular 6 month cleaning appointments for exams. Parents and their children can visit www.2min2x.org to watch entertaining videos and listen to music, while children are brushing their teeth. Make oral health part of your New Year’s Resolution!

5 Ways to Lower Stroke Risk

February 26th, 2013

Every year, about 140,000 Americans die as a result of a stroke. Strokes are also the leading cause of serious long-term disability. You can reduce your risk by controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol, losing excess weight, not smoking and getting regular exercise. But diet matters, too. In addition to cutting down on salty foods, here are five other study-based steps that may help reduce the risk of stroke. These new studies add to the growing evidence that a plant-based diet—with some fish and a little alcohol—is not only good for your heart, but for your brain as well.

Eat More Citrus

Women who consumed the most citrus were less likely to have an ischemic (clot-related) stroke than women who consumed the least, according to data from the well-known Nurses’ Health Study, reported in the journal Stroke. The researchers attributed the benefit to compounds in citrus called flavanones, which may reduce inflammation and improve blood vessel function. Other substances in citrus, including potassium, may also play a role.

Eat More Apples and Pears, Too

This advice comes from a Dutch study, also published in the journal Stroke. People who ate the most white-fleshed produce (at least 6 ounces a day, excluding potatoes) had half the risk of stroke over 10 years, compared to those who ate the least. Apples and pears are rich in substances known as flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Other white fruits and vegetables, such as onions, mushrooms and cauliflower, may also be protective.

Get Enough Magnesium

A Swedish analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that for every 100-milligram daily increase in dietary magnesium, there was a 9 percent drop in stroke risk. (The recommended daily intake is 320 milligrams for women, 420 for men, and most people fall short.) Many studies have linked dietary magnesium to lower blood pressure and reduced cardiovascular risk, but those using supplements have had inconsistent results. The best sources are leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds and fish.

Drink a Little Alcohol (Not a Lot)

In another study in the journal Stroke that looked at women from the Nurses’ Health Study, light to moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink a day) was associated with a lower risk of all strokes. No benefit—and possibly increased stroke risk—was seen at higher amounts. Alcohol, in moderation, may help prevent blood clots and has a beneficial effect on cholesterol. But, as other studies have shown, high amounts can increase blood pressure and have other negative cardiovascular effects.

Limit Trans Fat

A study of the participants in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, published in the Annals of Neurology, found that those who consumed the most trans fats (averaging 6 grams a day) were nearly 40 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the least (averaging 2 grams a day). Other fats and dietary cholesterol had no effect on stroke risk. This was true even after the researchers controlled for other dietary, lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors. Trans fats have been removed from many (but hardly all) foods in recent years.

The article above was from UC Berkeley Wellness newsletter

Children’s Dental Health, School Performance, and Psychosocial Well-Being

February 22nd, 2013

child_studying
Objective
To assess the effects of dental health on school performance and psychosocial well-being in a nation-
ally representative sample of children in the US.
Study design
We analyzed data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health for 40752-41988 children.
The effects of dental problems and maternal-rated dental health on school performance and psychosocial well-
being outcomes were evaluated using regression models adjusting for demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics.
Results
Dental problems were significantly associated with reductions in school performance and psychosocial well-being. Children with dental problems were more likely to have problems at school (OR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.37-1.72) and to miss school (OR = 1.42; 95% CI: 1.23-1.64) and were less likely to do all required homework (OR =0.76;
95% CI: 0.68-0.85). Dental problems were associated with shyness, unhappiness, feeling of worthlessness, and
reduced friendliness. The effects of dental problems on unhappiness and feeling of worthlessness were largest
for adolescents between 15 and 17 years.
Conclusion
Preventing and treating dental problems and improving dental health may benefit child academic
achievement and cognitive and psychosocial development.
(J Pediatr 2012;161:1153-9)

The above abstract is from The Journal of Pediatrics

If you have any questions about our children’s dental health, please contact Diamond Dental . We would love to help you learn more.
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Fear of the Dentist Passed on to Children by Their Parents

February 21st, 2013

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A recent study found that a parent who fears the dentist may pass that fear on to family members. The higher the level of dentist dear or anxiety in 1 family member, the higher the level in the rest of the family. The study shows the need to involve both mothers and fathers to prevent children’s dentist fear and the need for fathers to regularly visit the dentist and display no signs of fear.

The above abstract is from the CDA Journal, February 2013

Please contact Diamond Dental to schedule your 1st appointment, Dads!!

PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND INCREASED RISK OF HEART DISEASE AND STROKE

January 16th, 2013

The body of evidence that periodontal disease may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as a host of other systemic diseases has been growing for the past 15 years.
Now 2 large studies strengthen that evidence and have underscored the benefits of having your teeth cleaned to reduce those risks.
In a Swedish study, nearly 8,000 patients with periodontal disease in Sweden were evaluated. Those with a higher number of deep pockets had a 53% increased risk of heart attack. Those with the highest incidence of bleeding gums had more than twice the risk of stroke.
In the 2nd study, more than 100,000 patients in Taiwan were followed for 7 years. Those who had their teeth professionally cleaned and scaled at least once a year had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% reduced risk of stroke compared to those who had their teeth cleaned and scaled only once or not at all in 2 years.
So we urge you to keep up with your gum, or periodontal, care and you will be helping to prevent serious health issues from occurring.