There’s been a lot in the news lately about the question of longevity. This past week an article discussed the role of exercise in “biological aging,” the relative age of a person based on biomarkers (determined by telomere length in this study), rather than simple chronology.
To add to this discussion, I want to offer up a medically accepted dimension of biological aging that hasn’t gotten as much press lately. Lean muscle mass in happy tandem with organ reserve are two defining characteristics of both good health and longevity.
Have you ever heard someone say that a person died of “old age” or “natural causes”? Essentially, the person died as a result of the logical end of the aging process, the diminishment of organ reserve and corresponding muscle mass that supported his/her physical functioning.
New research conducted by researchers at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada suggests that thinner people are more motivated to exercise than their heavier peers.
In a study initially devised to determine how much rats are willing to pay for an opportunity to exercise, the researchers found that slimmer rats were more motivated to work out than their larger peers. In addition, the more weight the rat lost, the more motivated it was to hop on the wheel, so much so that some of the rats in the study quite literally exercised and starved themselves to death (a phenomenon that also occurs in our society in the form of activity- or exercise-anorexia).
A study in the February issue of Epilepsia suggests that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet can significantly reduce the number of seizures in adult epileptics.
For almost a century, physicians have prescribed low carbohydrate diets to control epilepsy in children. Among the more popular diets is the ketogenic diet, which requires a period of initial fasting, followed by a diet that severely restricts carbohydrate intake and reduces fluid intake.
In the most recent study to test the value of similar diets on adults, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore assigned 30 epileptic adults ranging in age from 18 to 53 year to follow a “modified Atkins diet” that restricted carbohydrate intake to about 15 grams per day. In order to qualify for the program, participants had to have tried at least two anticonvulsant medications without success and have logged an average of 10 seizures per week.
That makes it easy.
With all the talk of fighting, battling, combating and beating cholesterol into submission, you’d think it had a black plastic body suit and James Earl Jones’ voice. Big Pharma has, dutifully created quite an arsenal for our supposed defense, and the medical community has been a willing faction, delivering the rhetoric that would incite us all to pick up arms. Now if only we could put down the Big Macs. And the Ding Dongs, HoHos, Twinkies and…you get the point.
This versatile veggie is great in so many ways. Grilled, boiled, baked, broiled, steamed, sauteed, pureed or, if delicate enough, simply raw – it is hard to go wrong with this delectable vegetable.
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