Plus, Should you try a vegan diet?
[Copy of my weekly newsletter] Please enjoy my hand-picked 4 Most Valuable pieces of content that I found this week, to help you live longer better.
These four topics stood out to me (click the links below):
1. With a little planning, Vegan diets can be a healthy choice (Harvard Health)
There's a lot of discussion, often passionate, about vegan diets. Some believe it is an ethical question about animal cruelty, others about greenhouse gas emissions. How about the health benefits?
A study of 300,000 people found that those most closely following plant-based diets (while de-emphasizing or eliminating animal foods such as meat, dairy, and eggs) had a 23% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Another study of 26,000 men over 8 years found that vegan-diets were linked with a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. That stands out to me - being a prostate cancer survivor.
That's food for thought. The rules of living longer better are simple - eat real food, less of it, more plant-based, and exercise regularly. The biggest challenge for people moving to a more plant-based diet is fundamentally knowing how to get enough protein - the major macronutrient affected by the change.
Action: Read the article - it's only 5 minutes - as it gives great advice about how to plan to have more plant-based meals. It also outlines how to ensure that you maintain a proper supply of calcium, iron and vitamin B12 - often low in poorly planned vegan diets.
2. High fibre, high prebiotic diet for healthy individuals
Prebiotics are a relatively new discovery, yet evidence supporting their health benefits is relatively convincing. A prebiotic is a type of fibre that can pass through to our large intestine undigested. Once there, prebiotics have been found to improve sleep and boost stress resilience by influencing gut bacteria.
Other benefits include possible protection against colon cancer, improved blood glucose and insulin profiles, protection against intestinal infections, and alterations in the progress of some inflammatory conditions.
Action: Add extra fibrous foods like leeks, artichokes, onions and whole grains including oats, cashews and pistachio nuts to your regular diet. Here are some tips to help you increase your fibre intake:
3. No, you will not lose weight by consuming more protein. Do the math
I'm referring here to one of my own posts. Sometimes clickbait headlines spur me to examine the facts.
It's a popular claim by protein shake vendors that one before bed will accelerate weight loss. It won't.
The best case is that you will lose the calories equivalent to 9 minutes of housework.
Actions: Placing your hope in fads often leads to discouragement. Don't waste your money on extra protein shakes. Do an extra 6 minutes of brisk walking or climb the stairs one extra time. You'll be better off physically and nutritionally. PS I take a protein shake for breakfast.
4. A stretch that will change your life - and you just have to lie down to do it!
Our exercise of the week - is a stretch! One we all need to do.
Because of our modern lifestyle our thoracic spine (the part between your shoulder blades and the area to which all of your ribs attach) has a tendency to get stiff and bend forward.
This leads to neck pain, shoulder pain and lower back pain. You can get relief, and prevent this pain with a simple at-home stretch.
Action: Check the article for how to use a pillow and a bath towel to get a great stretch. It takes just 2 minutes, and by straightening your arms out to a "T" you'll get an extra stretch across your chest.
PS If you are diabetic, like me, check this post I wrote on the science-based benefits of Carnitine.
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Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter