Maintaining Memory as We Age

We are all aging, no matter what we do. That is a given. But we want to age well, stay as healthy and independent as possible and retain our memories. Researchers compared data from 36 different studies of over 3,000 participants. They concluded that regular exercise helps support episodic memory over time and that aerobic exercise seems to be best. The greatest benefits were found in participants 55 and older.

Episodic memories are memories of specific experiences that include things like time and location, such as driving a car for the first time, your wedding or your most recent birthday. According to the study authors, episodic memory is one of the earliest memory systems to decline as we get older.

So how much exercise do you need to gain this benefit? The study authors found exercising three times a week for at least 4 months is what will help you reap the benefits in episodic memory. They saw greatest improvement in the participants between 55 and 68 years as opposed to those older than 68. So beginning earlier is better!

Also, another new study from Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found that in older adults, more physical activity equaled more of a protective protein in the brain that strengthens communication between brain cells via synapses. It’s especially meaningful that these benefits were specific to late-life activity and were even seen in people with markers of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It’s never too late to make a difference in your health.

Do you exercise regularly? Knowing it can help preserve your memory and overall brain health, would you begin now?

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A Natural Antidote to Stress

One of my very favorite things when hiking on our local trails or even just out in my backyard, is hearing birds chirping and singing. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. It could be 20 degrees outside and if I walk to my mailbox and hear a bird singing, I am immediately transported to springtime, my favorite time of year. Seeing the robins, cardinals, sparrows, the occasional blue bird (my absolute favorite) and hummingbirds just lifts my mood immediately.

It’s long been known that being in nature, even just looking at pictures of nature if you live in a city or are not near any green space, has powerful, calming effects. The results of this study reveals the sound of bird songs specifically were most often associated with stress recovery and attention restoration. In fact, even though spending time in nature is considered important for mental restoration, the presence of bird songs appears to enhance the mental benefits.

I love the sound so much I even purchased a CD of bird songs that I listen to while I am saying my prayers or doing my devotional in the morning. It makes me feel like I’m out in a beautiful meadow surrounded by flowers even if there are two feet of snow right outside my door.

Have you ever listened to bird songs or just spent time watching the birds around your home? Have you found those practices to be calming?

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Anxiety: Not So Sweet

I have written in the past about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. You can read a blog post here and this newsletter. I also recently shared some healthier options in this newsletter. It has long been known that aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) affects the brain and central nervous system.

What I have just learned is that not only is aspartame linked to anxiety, but those brain effects may be passed down to future generations as this study showed. That’s especially alarming because many people, including children and pregnant women regularly eat and drink foods that contain this sweetener. The dose of the sweetener used in the study was the equivalent of drinking 6-8 eight-oz cans of artificially sweetened soda, which all too many people routinely do.

The negative effects of aspartame have been questioned for years now, so it makes sense that perhaps we need to look back two generations to see if we are reaping the effects of this chemical. There are numerous neurophysiological symptoms that aspartame can cause including learning problems, seizures, headaches, migraines, irritability, depression and insomnia as well as anxiety. There are many other negative effects besides those affecting the brain and central nervous system including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

This is a very chaotic and anxiety-ridden world and consuming anything that will not only cause or add to that anxiety but possibly be carried down through generations is something I want to avoid. How about you?

If you eat or drink foods, and have been, that contain this ingredient, do you notice an increase in anxiety? Would you consider eliminating it from your diet?

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Oral Health: Better and Safer Than Fluoride

There have been numerous articles and posts talking about the toxicity of fluoride. Acute toxicity, which is the amount that can cause immediate problems, is extremely small. There’s a reason why regular store toothpaste warns against swallowing it. It only takes 2 grams for an adult and 16 mg in a child to potentially cause death!

Fluoride is more toxic than lead, but slightly less toxic than arsenic and has actually long been used in pesticides to kill pests like rats and insects. So I think it’s easy to see how over-ingestion of fluoridated dental products like fluoride gels, supplements, and fluoridated water can cause serious poisoning incidents.

Most mainstream dentists and hygienists will tell you it is very effective in preventing cavities. However, according to this study toothpaste made from 20% hydroxyapatite remineralized teeth better than fluoride toothpaste. Even with pretreating the teeth with an acid-etchant beforehand the hydroxyaptatite toothpaste remineralized the teeth better.

Some surgeons have used hydroxyapatite to graft bones in reconstructive surgery. It has the ability to chemically bond to bone, lacks toxicity or inflammation, and can stimulate bone growth through direct action on osteoblasts.

I have been using toothpaste and products that contain this and have avoided fluoride for years now. One tip – be sure the toothpaste doesn’t also contain glycerine as that will coat the teeth and prevent the hydroxyapatite from remineralizing.

Are you familiar with the dangers of fluoride and the use of hydroxyapatite instead?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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New Year Blessings for 2023

2023 is days away. The hope at this time of year is always for a better new year. I hope 2022 was good to you. Whether it was or not I am praying 2023 is much better – for all of us.

I genuinely appreciate each person who take time to read what I share and my prayer for us all as we approach 2023 is that we experience blessings, peace, love and joy in our lives in a greater measure than ever before.

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Christmas Blessings 2022

I just wanted to take a moment and say a heart-felt thank you to each person who takes the time to read and comment on what I share. It means more to me than I can say.. I know how precious your time is in this chaotic and busy world. Spending even a few moments reading what I share is very precious to me and I am sincerely grateful to each and every one of you.

My mission and goal is always to provide practical information that will help you and your family stay healthy. My ongoing prayer is that I can inform and encourage you, especially when much of the information coming at us is confusing, frightening and upsetting.

I wish you and your family a blessed, healthy and joyous Christmas and Hanukkah.

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Should You be Eating Flax Seeds

Studies have shown that ground flax seeds, 2-4 tbs a day, added to food, can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Research has shown that spikes in blood sugar after meals, (postprandial glycemic response), are associated with impaired control of diabetes. While research had already shown that long-term consumption of flax seeds can lower blood glucose levels; its effects on that postprandial glycemic response was not known.

Therefore, this study evaluated the effects of consuming raw flax seed on the 2 hour postprandial glycemic curve (2 hours after a meal) in men with type 2 diabetes. It was a randomized crossover clinical trial of 19 men with type 2 diabetes. The control group was given a standard breakfast and the other group was given 15 grams of raw golden flax seed before breakfast. Blood sugar was measured at fasting and after meals at 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 minutes.

Results indicated that the peak glucose rise and the 2-hour blood sugar average response was reduced in the flax group by 17% and 24%, respectively. So simply ingesting 15 grams (about 3 teaspoons) of raw golden flax seed before breakfast decreased the 2-hour blood sugar spike in the study participants. Seems like a very simple and easy thing most people should be able to do. I put flax seed in my smoothie. You can add it to a beverage or even your scrambled eggs or sprinkle it on your breakfast. Just be sure to grind them if they are whole because if you consume them whole, they will just pass through your system and you will not get the full benefit.

Would you consider taking flaxseed before breakfast to lower after meal blood sugar spikes?

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Memories and Attention

A memory can only hurt you if it has your attention. We carry so many old mindsets, thought patterns and memories, happy and not so happy. They live in us from childhood and very often we are unaware of the negative effects they have on our lives today. There are some memories we should have let go, released and gotten rid of long ago. But instead, many times we just pull them out periodically or whenever something else triggers them and brings them to mind and replay them.

While a memory is a remembrance of something from the past, if we replay it in our minds or talk about it over and over, it only gains power and can cause great pain – physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s kind of crazy to realize this truth because a memory is something that has already happened. It’s over. But we keep giving it life by thinking and talking about it. Your body reacts as if it was happening now because it can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination.

If we want to move forward, we have to let go of those memories or at the very least do what we can to neutralize their power over us if we want to be truly healthy and whole. It begins with paying attention. What thoughts or memories come across your mind and cause you pain? If you continually set your attention on them, they become bigger and stronger. Anything you focus on grows and this is no exception.

We are admonished in several places in scripture to think only on things that are excellent, and good and true and praise worthy as well as to forget what lies behind and press on, (focus on!) what lies ahead. That is really good advice that we all too often do not heed.

Are there memories that you are replaying and giving too much attention to that are causing you pain?

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High LDL on a Low Carb Diet

The last blood work I had done in 2021 came back excellent, except that my LDL cholesterol was high. Knowing how to do all the different cholesterol ratios, I did them and found that they were all in the optimal range. Even though the LDL was high, and my HDL (the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol) was also very high, triglycerides were very low, A1c and CRP levels were low, she focused only on the LDL level.

She was very concerned and to her credit, didn’t suggest a statin, which I wouldn’t have taken anyway. She said high LDL could raise the risk of stroke and heart disease so maybe I could take Omega 3’s. I told her I have taken Omega 3’s for 30 years, I eat a very low carb diet and that with all the other levels being so good, I wasn’t worried about the LDL. It really made no sense to me that my LDL level would be so high when I don’t eat sugars and grains and all the other factors were in optimal ranges.

Fast forward about a year later and I came across this YouTube video of Dr. Chris Kresser talking about this exact thing. It’s only about 15 minutes long, so you can listen, but he shares various studies that show that people who eat a low carb diet and have not other risk factors, have no reason for concern if LDL levels are higher. In fact high LDL alone has not been shown to be a significant risk factor for heart disease. Other studies have clearly shown that people with extremely low LDL cholesterol are at higher risk of developing cancer.

He goes on to say that coronary artery calcium score has been shown to be the most accurate predictor of cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality. My doctor did not include this test or even suggest it. The video I share has a link for a risk calculator. You put in the information and it calculates your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. I did it and it calculated my risk as .7%. I would never suggest disregarding your doctor’s advice or concerns, but in this case, I feel there is more to the story than meets the eye.

If you have high LDL do you also have other risk factors you should be addressing?

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Thanksgiving Blessings 2022

Well here we are again, preparing to celebrate another Thanksgiving. I simply want to wish you and your family a truly blessed Thanksgiving overflowing with the goodness of God.

I strongly urge you to intentionally make time each day to be grateful for all your blessings in life. We all have challenges and times of difficulty, never more than over these past few years. Seeing what is happening in the world can be discouraging, depressing and frightening, but there is always something to be thankful for.

I sincerely thank you for taking time each week to read my posts and share your thoughts. My goal, as always, is to inform, motivate and uplift. I am truly thankful for each and every one of you.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

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