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May: the Magic Mediterranean Diet

May is the official month of the Mediterranean Diet. Many studies have found that the diet based on the lifestyle of Mediterranean people in the 1960s is efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases, slowing aging and improving overall health. Its main focus is a natural, balanced diet which will prevent or even cure physiological problems and provide whole-range health.

“At the present time, the U.S. health system almost entirely ignores nutrition in favor of pharmacology and is hugely expensive and ineffective compared with the systems in other countries,” wrote Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard School of Public Health. “Integration of the Mediterranean diet and related dietary patterns into medical practice, hospitals, schools and other institutions has the potential to improve well-being.”

If compared to other healthy diets, the Mediterranean appears to be the most effective. It was determined according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who surveyed the eating habits of more than 4,600 women of the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. This and other studies have proven the Mediterranean diet to be a much better option than the standard low-fat diet, especially when comparing disease prevention and longevity. The diet has also shown to be successful in preventing major cardiovascular diseases, as well as protecting memory and thinking skills.


Studies and Conclusions


  1. PREDIMED Study

It happened for 5 years, with 7447 individuals who were at a high risk of cardiovascular disease and would follow either: a Mediterranean Diet with added extra virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean Diet with added nuts, or a low-fat control group diet.


A Mediterranean diet with either olive oil or nuts may reduce the combined risk of stroke, heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease

A Mediterranean diet may help to reverse the metabolic syndrome.

The Mediterranean diet caused reductions in oxidized LDL cholesterol (which causes inflammation and diseases), along with improvements in several other heart disease risk factors.

A Mediterranean diet without calorie restriction appears to be effective in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.

Compared to a low-fat control group, a Mediterranean diet can have beneficial effects on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Consuming nuts was associated with a significantly reduced risk of death over a period of 5 years.




  1. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet

The New England Journal of Medicine, 2008.Image result for Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet.

It involved 322 obese individuals who were randomly assigned to a calorie restricted low-fat diet, a calorie restricted Mediterranean diet, or an unrestricted low-carb diet.

The low-fat group lost 2.9 kg (6.4 lbs), the low-carb group lost 4.7 kg (10.3 lbs) and the Mediterranean diet group lost 4.4 kg (9.7 lbs). Diabetic participants had improved blood glucose and insulin levels on the Mediterranean diet, compared to the low-fat diet.


A Mediterranean diet may be more effective for weight loss and improving symptoms of diabetes, when compared to a low-fat diet.

There is already information about diets which use concepts from both Mediterranean and Low-Carb points of view to try achieving even better results.





  1. Mediterranean diet may be best for memory and cognitive skills

Neurology, 2013

The study was of 17,478 Caucasian and African-American subjects and lasted 4 years.


It found that adults who closely followed a Mediterranean diet were 19 percent less likely to develop memory and cognitive problems later in life. Subjects with diabetes had no cognitive improvements from the diet — about 17 percent of the subjects enrolled on the study had diabetes, and those who already had cognitive problems would probably not benefit from jumping on the diet.

However, there are many studies that a low-carbohydrate diet would reduce brain damage and even cure mental diseases, thus the connection of both would be an interesting idea.





The Diet

The basic principle of the Mediterranean diet is to use a wide range of fruits and vegetables, which gives the body maximum access to sources of vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients. There are individual foods within the Mediterranean Diet which are particularly beneficial to health, such as olive oil, garlic and some fruits and vegetables but overall it is the combination of foods within a healthy lifestyle which is linked to improved health.

The Mediterranean Diet is not about quick fix superfoods. Nor is it a strict list of what you should not eat. Rather, the Mediterranean Diet is a formula for healthy day-to-day eating over the long term. The major foundation of it is: eat NOTHING PROCESSED!

Some other guidelines are:

Maximize your intake of vegetables, peas and beans (legumes), fruits and wholegrain cereals.

Limit your red meat intake – fish and poultry are healthier substitutes.

Where possible, use mono-unsaturated olive oil or rapeseed oil.

Limit/Eliminate your intake of highly processed foods and ready meals, which may be high in salt and saturated fat.

Do not add salt to your food at the table – there is already plenty in the food.

Snack on fruit, dried fruit and unsalted nuts rather than cakes, crisps and biscuits.

Drink (red) wine during meals but no more than two small glasses per day.

Water is the best ‘non-alcoholic beverage’ (as opposed to sugary drinks), although health benefits have also been claimed for various teas and coffee.



The most interesting aspects of the Mediterranean Diet – actually a lifestyle – is that it highly recommends people to be active (at least 30 minutes a day) and, most importantly, to truly enjoy their meals. It means to take the time to socialize with others and have a good digestion.

In a nutshell, the Mediterranean Diet provides your body with the essential nutrients it needs for a full-potential, enjoyable, and lifelong health. It is achieved by focusing on right-from-the-source foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and good fats. Thus, by increasing the consumption of good nutrients and antioxidants, and decreasing the toxins, it is obvious that there are going to be many health benefits. The active and social lifestyle is also very important for hormonal balance and the body’s homeostasis.

Start this month well by giving the Mediterranean lifestyle a try, and enjoy its benefits!



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Dr. Perlmutter’s Life Plan for Health and Disease Prevention

The Neurologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. David Perlmutter presents his 35-year long research findings about how to prevent major diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, depression and cancer, generally a result of wrong widespread concepts.
He explains how basic lifestyle changes play a major role in adapting the human body to its natural health and potential.  Learn how a low-carb, high-fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise and hormone balance can give you optimum health and longevity.

Below is part of the article The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan With Dr. David Perlmutter posted by Lauren Bryant at the Wellness Force website (, accessed in May 1, 2017.


  • The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan With Dr. David Perlmutter Wellness Force Radio


“Our dietary choices play a major role in determining whether we are going to live into our 80s and 90s and even beyond with a good, functioning brain, or like 50% of people who live to be age 85, we will experience brain decline in the form of Alzheimer’s which is a preventable disease.”- Dr. David Perlmutter


When we think about brain health, we don’t think that our gut has anything to do with it. However, the fact is that the gut and free radicals have everything to do with how our brains function as we grow older.

Neurologist and New York Times Best Selling Author, Dr. David Perlmutter has witnessed the damaging effects that a poor diet can have on our brains. Today is perfect timing with the launch of his new book, The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan, as he shares why we are vulnerable to develop brain degenerative disease and how we can take matters into our own hands in order to live long, healthy lives with a bright mind that is free of illness.



Even if a relative of yours was diagnosed with a brain degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, you have the amazing opportunity to make lifestyle choices to ensure your brain’s health.

Factors such as sleep, nutrition, stress levels, free radicals and exercise can impact your health, but you can also take advantage of them to improve your wellness and lower the chances of brain decline.




“It’s a bit humbling to recognize that mood is regulated by our gut. Not only through the process of controlling inflammation, which is a cornerstone player in depression, but that around 90% of our levels of dopamine and serotonin are not manufactured in the brain. They’re mostly manufactured in the gut.” – Dr. David Perlmutter


Approximately 90% of the human body’s total serotonin is located in the GI tract, where it is used to regulate intestinal movements.

If the gut is leaky and we lack serotonin, it can be linked to feelings of depression. In a study with probiotic yogurt, researchers found a dramatic change in brain function and mood in the test subjects that ate the yogurt compared to those who did not.



At this moment, there is a diverse community of healthy, gut bacteria living inside of us. If any harm comes our gut’s way, it can increase the chances of having a leaky gut. This leaky gut can lead to inflammation and degenerative diseases including:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Cancer

The right way to eat food, is to focus on following a diet that helps reduce the chance of a leaky gut and inflammation from happening inside the body.



In today’s world, we should assume that it is likely that we all have somewhat of a leaky gut. We would have to take a test or participate in a study to know for sure by having an LPS level done in a lab.

There’s a higher chance that you have a leaky gut if you have an inflammatory condition such as:

  • Depression
  • Early onset Parkinson’s
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Joint issues
  • Skin inflammation
  • Autism

What can you do to heal your leaky gut?

To help heal your gut, remove any offensive agents that may be harming it such as any overuse of:

  • Antibiotics
  • GMOs
  • Over production of free radicals
  • Drinking chlorinated water
  • Artificial sugars and sweeteners
  • Acid blocking drugs
    • Proton pump inhibitors
    • Non-steroid and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stress

To heal our gut, we need to stimulate and increase the diversity of the organisms that live inside of the gut by exercising and eating foods that are rich in pre-biotic fiber that helps nurture our gut bacteria:

  • Mexican yam/ jicamo
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Leek
  • Dandelion greens
  • Kimchi
  • Kobucha
  • Yogurt
  • Fermented vegetables




“Inflammation caused by sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and quadruples your chances for Alzheimer’s Disease.” – Dr. David Perlmutter


For decades, we’ve been told that gluten and sugar is good for our health and that fat is bad. However, recent research has shown that this is the exact opposite.

Healthy fat is good for both the body and brain function, but gluten and sugar (including artificial sugar and sweeteners) can cause our insulin levels to spike which leads to inflammation in the body.

In fact, according to Dr. Perlmutter, artificial sweeteners were created to help people control the amount of sugars in their diet, but still be able to taste something sweet. Unfortunately, artificial sugars and sweeteners can dramatically increase a person’s risk for obesity and diabetes.

Take your health into your own hands by making good choices and eating foods that minimize free radicals. Eat healthy and avoid any sugary drinks, high gluten foods, and anything labeled “sugar free” or “contains artificial sugars.”



There’s a lot of taboo hanging around the words, “fat” and “fatty food.” However, healthy sources of fat are great for our bodies and important for our brain’s health.

According to Dr. Perlmutter, the brain is already made up of a lot of saturated fat and even human breast milk is 50% saturated fat. If you want to ensure that you follow a healthy diet, use the Ketogenic and Mediterranean diets as a good model to follow.

The best sources of healthy fats include:

  • Extra virgin olive oil (organic)
  • Fatty fish with DHA
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed and free-range meat

Olive oil particularly is good source of polyphenols that act as antioxidants and nurture the gut bacteria. This source of healthy fat provides both mono and unsaturated fats for our brain cell building blacks.

When you follow a Ketogenic or Mediterranean based diet, but add extra amounts of olive or cocnut oil, your cognitive function can improve dramatically.



To better understand your body and gene makeup, there are numerous services available from companies that offer biometrics tests including:

The sooner you better understand your genes and if there is a chance for you to have an inflammatory disease, the sooner you can take action to fight against it.

Depending on our dietary fat composition, there is a risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, but it can be handled by following a diet that includes food that is high in healthy fats.

As mentioned before, we should be eating more nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocado. Monosaturated fats such as almond oil, almond butter/nut butter, an oleic acid in sunflower oil can help prevent degenerative brain disease.

However, we should avoid canola oil, vegetable oil, corn oil and other modified oils in our diets. These are the unhealthy oils that can lead to excess free radicals, and harm our body and brain function.



If you want to build a healthy brain, change your diet, but also increase the amount of aerobic exercise. Working out helps to turn on BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) which serves as a growth hormone for the brain and helps increase the number of memory cells throughout our lifetime.

People who exercise regularly can reduce their chances for Alzheimer’s Disease by 50%!

One of the best things you can do to help your brain stay healthy is to include aerobic exercise for 20 minutes every day.



According to Dr. Perlmutter, there are 6 key factors and goals that take place in creating a whole life plan for a healthy brain and gut:

  • Reducing and controlling inflammation
  • Turning the body into a fat burning machine
  • Balancing levels of bacteria
  • Balancing hormones and increasing leptin sensitivity
  • Taking care of our genes
  • Balancing our life


Dr. Perlmuter is a Neurologist and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition who received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine where he was awarded the Leonard G. Rowntree Research Award.

He is the author of: The Better Brain Book and the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain, and Brain Maker, also a New York Times best seller. He is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders.

Over the past 35 years, Dr. Perlmutter has been interviewed on many nationally syndicated radio and television programs including 20/20, Larry King Live, CNN, Fox News, Fox and Friends, The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Like with Kelly and Michael, Montel Across America and The CBS Early Show.

The cornerstone of Dr. Perlmutter’s unique approach to neurological disorders is founded in the principles of preventive medicine. He has brought to the public awareness a rich understanding that challenging brain problems including Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, depression, and ADHD may very well be prevented with lifestyle changes including a gluten free, low carbohydrate, higher fat diet coupled with aerobic exercise.


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May: Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Month

In May, the weather is warmer and people start going out to enjoy the sun. We all know that absorbing some vitamin D is essential for our health, but being aware and cautious about its risks is part of the strategy for a balanced and healthy life. Let’s be aware of melanoma and skin cancer detection and prevention. Melanoma and skin cancer are types of cancer – the most common ones in the United States – that develop in skin cells when they start to grow out of control, and may spread to other parts of the body. They are normally caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays, either from the sun, tanning beds or sun lamps.


Prevention of Skin Cancer


Prevent Always

  • Avoid burning and intentional tanning (in the sun or tanning beds).
  • Stay in the shade when sun’s rays are the strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Use long-sleeved shirts and pants, hat and sunglasses whenever possible.
  • Apply sunscreen on exposed body surfaces; it should be applied on the face every day.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
  • Apply 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours.
  • Be extra cautious around snow, water and sand as these are surfaces that reflect more sunrays.

Detect Early

  • Do monthly complete body self-examinations to spot any signs of developing skin cancer. Learn how to do the self-examination step by step in the website below:

  • Invest in a first doctor’s examination and have it done at least once a year, along with your self-examination.
  • Remember: skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable!


Resources  Accessed in April 23, 2017.

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Omega-3, a Heart-Friendly Nutrient

This powerful and loved fatty acid is found in flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fatty fish, seafood, and spinach. When Omega-3 was given to 360 heart attack survivors for six months in a trial by the journal Circulation, it helped improving function and lessening scarring of the heart. The patients who had higher levels of omega-3 had a significant reduction in inflammation, and heart fibrosis – stiffening of the heart muscle that leads to many cardiac diseases, as heart failure and becomes more common with aging. Omega-3 has a role in the prevention of cardiac remodeling which can occur after a heart attack and is associated with heart failure.

Omega-3 is also efficient in lowering elevated triglyceride levels, acting as an antidepressant, and protecting against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Who is up for some salmon with spinach?



Life Extension Magazine in the News

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Sleep Better, No Stress, No Smoking

Heart and overall health is very dependent on other important factors than only healthy eating and exercise. Check them out!


Good Night!

“Reducing sleep by just two or three hours per night can have dramatic health consequences, as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. A recent study found that even little-reduced sleep (six to seven hours per night) was associated with a greatly increased risk of coronary artery calcification, a cause of future heart attack and death due to heart disease.”

Senior man sleeping in bed.

When you sleep, your body performs functions as the repair of muscles, memory consolidation, and the release of important hormones for your normal body functioning. Sleeping contributes to a healthy immune system, and can also help maintain your weight by regulating the levels of hormones that produce the feelings of hunger and fullness. Quality sleep is essential for the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels, which helps to prevent heart diseases.


Stress Free Zone

Chronic stress can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, reproductive, and cardiovascular systems. Over time, continued strain on your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses. The way you deal with the stress that comes into your life is extremely significant to your health as a whole. Practicing physical exercise, meditation, relaxation activities, and other gentle exercises may help reducing stress. Try to recognize stress signs that affect you and work on them. No stress!


No Smoking

It not only contributes to the hardening of your arteries and increases your blood pressure and heart rate, but it also leads to numerous diseases and early death. Ask your doctor for help to quit smoking. Be smoke and disease free!


Ultimately, heart awareness is all about nourishing yourself with the right nutrients, enjoying life actively, and getting good quality rest after all.  This way each day you will grow older, healthier and happier.



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Mayo Clinic website

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Eat Heart-Healthy

Eating heart-healthy is about being smart when choosing how to nurture your body. Always prefer options rich in nutrients that will provide what your organism needs to function properly, and avoid chemical or artificial ingredients that do harm to your internal functioning.

Make choices low or out of saturated fat and trans fat. These are bad fats that increase the risk of atherosclerosis, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and bad LDL cholesterol, which leads to heart disease. Also avoid sodium, because it increases blood pressure, and any processed sugary foods or beverages.

Enjoy a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains rich in fibers, fish, nuts, legumes, and seeds. These will fuel your body with the macro and micronutrients it needs: carbohydrates with low-glycemic level, unsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins and antioxidants- A, B6, B12, C, E, K- and minerals– calcium potassium, iron, zinc.

A study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables, which contain most of the important micronutrients for the body, every day can significantly reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer. So keep that in mind when you write your next grocery list!


Great healthy food options indicated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are:

  • Fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned without added salt or sugar)
  • Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts.
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta, brown rice, quinoa



American Heart Association website

Mayo Clinic website

Life Extension Daily News

Washington State University- My Nutrition


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Physical Activity for Your Heart

Elderly practicing physical activity.

Physical activity acts in maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and lessening arterial stiffening. These are all effects of improved health. It also increases good HDL cholesterol, which gets fats away from the arteries, and it may reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol, which forms these fatty deposits – harmful for the cardiovascular system.

The best exercise for your heart is aerobic activity. It strengthens heart and lung muscles, burns calories reducing fat deposits, and improves the immune system. Examples of aerobic exercises are walking, running, swimming, dancing, spinning, hiking, riding a bike, among many others. You just have to find one you will enjoy.

The amount of physical exercise recommended by the American Heart Association is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity every week or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity, or a combination of both. Also, on 2 or more days a week you need muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest shoulders, and arms).


Here are some exercise tips by the American Heart Association for elderly people:

  • Work with your health care provider to develop an activity plan to consider chronic conditions, limitations, and reducing the risk of falls.
  • Pick activities that you enjoy and that you will do year-round.
  • Start exercising at a low intensity(especially if you’ve been mostly sedentary), and progress gradually.
  • Make sure the environment you practice your physical activity is safe – does not intersect with traffic, and is well-lighted.
  • Muscular adaptation and elasticity generally slows with age,so take more time to warm up and cool down before and after exercising.
  • Stay hydrated by trying to drink some water every 15 minutes, especially when exercising in hot, humid conditions. As you age, your sense of thirst tends to decrease and you may not be able to completely rely on your internal sense of thirst.



Columbia University Medical Center

American Heart Association

Net Doctor

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February – month of Heart Health Awareness!

February is the month that focuses on heart health, so let’s understand what this important organ needs and how to improve its functions. Be aware of your heart, not just in February but for the rest of your life. Staying heart healthy includes building a routine with simple habits as practicing physical activity, eating healthy, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and not smoking. Stay tuned to learn more about each one of them.

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