Happy Friday! I had a crazy week, with blog-writers block that was fueled by an unexpected paperwork fire that had to be put out (metaphorical, not literal), and a deadline for my next Seattle Times column. I didn't plan to not post Monday-Wednesday, but when I tried to come up with something to post about, all I came away with was "I've got nothing." Nothing that would make a good post, anyway. I could have talked about chronic kidney disease or gallstones, but I didn't think you really wanted to read about that. I did manage to procure some interesting nutrition-related links to share:
- In case you didn't know it, this week was election week! (I kid...of course you knew it.) I thought this USA Today graphic "Red vs. Blue: Divided by politics, united by food" was a nice little take on the national butting of heads. Interesting that the red states drink more carbonated beverages.
- If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that our gut microbiome (aka, the bacterial population of our large intestines) is one of my favorite topics. Why? Because it's fascinating...and so important to how we absorb nutrients from our food. The NIH News in Health had a nice article, "Your Microbes and You: The Good, Bad and Ugly." Since the average person has 10 trillion cells--and 100 trillion bacterial cells, I'm voting for the "good."
- I cringe sometimes when I see an article about superfoods, because what is often touted is some berry from three continents away. So very unnecessary, given the wealth of nutrient- and phytochemical-packed foods grown and raised right her in North America. So this CNN article "Eat more superfoods to lose weight" hit the nail on the head with its list of 10 superfoods (salmon, blueberries and broccoli, oh my!). I also appreciated the balanced view that eating nutrient-rich foods can aid with weight loss, but that they aren't magic, and eating too many great-for-you almonds can lead to weight gain.
- Have you been confused by recent news reports that taking supplements of omega-3-rich fish oil may not live up to the hype? I'm not...because I know all too well that when isolating a specific component of food, something is generally lost in translation. That's why eating nothing but snack cakes and jelly beans while popping multi-vitamin and mineral supplements will not bring you optimal health. As the New York Times explains, it's not the fish oil...it's the fish.
- On that note, it's not the medicine, it's the lifestyle that is the ticket to a healthy heart. The USA Today article "Prevention research shows obstacles to heart health" outlines some of the difficulties in designing a drug that will boost HDL ("good") cholesterol. The best part of the article comes about 3/4 of the way down, starting with the question "So which prevention strategies really do work?" Hint: exercise.