Monthly Archives: December 2013

Cell Phones Make You Sad!

Frequent Cell Phone Use Linked to Anxiety, Lower Grades and Reduced Happiness in Students, Kent State Research Shows

Today, smartphones are central to most of our lives.

College students keep them constantly connected with their friends, family and the Internet.  Students’ cell phones are rarely out of reach whether the setting is a college classroom, library, recreational center, cafeteria or dorm room.

As cell phone use continues to increase, it’s worth considering whether use of the device is related to measurable outcomes important for student success, such as academic performance, anxiety and happiness… and for the rest of us.

Kent State University surveyed more than 500 university students.

Daily cell phone use Photo of Kent State student with cell phonewas recorded along with a clinical measure of anxiety and each student’s level of satisfaction with their own life, or in other words happiness.

Finally, all participants allowed the researchers to access their official university records in order to retrieve their actual, cumulative college grade point average (GPA). All students surveyed were undergraduate students and were equally distributed by class (freshman, sophomore, junior and senior).  In addition, 82 different, self-reported majors were represented.

Results of the analysis showed that cell phone use was negatively related to GPA and positively related to anxiety. Following this, GPA was positively related to happiness while anxiety was negatively related to happiness. 

For the population studied, high frequency cell phone users tended to have lower GPA, higher anxiety, and lower satisfaction with life (happiness) relative to their peers who used the cell phone less often. 

The statistical model illustrating these relationships was highly significant.

Earlier this year, another research team also identified a negative relationship between cell phone use and cardio-respiratory fitness.

Taken as a whole, these results suggest that students should be encouraged to monitor their cell phone use and reflect upon it critically so that it is not detrimental to their academic performance, mental and physical health, and overall well-being or happiness.

And for the rest of us? The same!!

We should also reflect on this: in our culture, too many people (especially the young) cannot be alone with themselves. That is unhealthy.

The study reported here is published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior (2014).

We CAN Reverse Aging: by Simple Changes in Lifestyle

A small pilot study shows for the first time that changes in diet, exercise, stress management and social support may result in longer telomeres, the parts of chromosomes that affect aging.

It is the first controlled trial to show that any intervention might lengthen telomeres over time.

The study was published online in The Lancet Oncology. It was conducted by scientists at UC San Francisco and the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, a nonprofit public research institute in Sausalito, Calif. that investigates the effect of diet and lifestyle choices on health and disease. The researchers say they hope the results will inspire larger trials to test the validity of the findings.

“Our genes, and our telomeres, are not necessarily our fate,” said lead author Dean Ornish, MD, UCSF clinical professor of medicine, and founder and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute.

“So often people think ‘Oh, I have bad genes, there’s nothing I can do about it,’” Ornish said. “But these findings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live. Research indicates that longer telomeres are associated with fewer illnesses and longer life.”

Study of Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Patients

Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that affect how quickly cells age. They are combinations of DNA and protein that protect the ends of chromosomes and help them remain stable. As they become shorter, and as their structural integrity weakens, the cells age and die quicker.

In recent years, shorter telomeres have become associated with a broad range of aging-related diseases, including many forms of cancer, stroke, vascular dementia, cardiovascular disease, obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes.

For five years, the researchers followed 35 men with localized, early-stage prostate cancer to explore the relationship between comprehensive lifestyle changes, and telomere length and telomerase activity. All the men were engaged in active surveillance, which involves closely monitoring a patient’s condition through screening and biopsies.

Ten of the patients embarked on lifestyle changes that included: a plant-based diet (high in fruits, vegetables and unrefined grains, and low in fat and refined carbohydrates); moderate exercise (walking 30 minutes a day, six days a week); stress reduction (gentle yoga-based stretching, breathing, meditation). They also participated in weekly group support.

They were compared to the other 25 study participants who were not asked to make major lifestyle changes.

The group that made the lifestyle changes experienced a “significant” increase in telomere length of approximately 10 percent. Further, the more people changed their behavior by adhering to the recommended lifestyle program, the more dramatic their improvements in telomere length, the scientists learned.

By contrast, the men in the control group who were not asked to alter their lifestyle had measurably shorter telomeres – nearly 3 percent shorter – when the five-year study ended. Telomere length usually decreases over time.

Read more and watch an interview with Dean Ornish, MD.

A plant-based diet is key to anti-aging, as well as to supplying the energy to exercise and the support for managing stress. For us Juice Plus+ has been the catalyst for all our lifestyle changes, which have led to our ‘getting younger’ every year!

Mindful Nutrition For the Holidays

invest

Think Before You Eat…

Most people abandon all attempts at healthy eating over the holidays. That may only lead to a gain of about two pounds from November to January for most people, but:

1. They don’t lose the weight (and may gain more during the year) and that adds up to 20-30 pounds over 10 years! This is called “weight creep.”

2. Those bad habits we developed (plus the loss of self-discipline) carry over to the next year, with potentially disastrous consequences.

For the next few weeks every day seems like a holiday or a reason to celebrate. To celebrate without guilt or consequences, follow these 10 “mindful” guidelines to extend your cheer beyond the season:

  1. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. It jump starts your metabolism and you’ll eat less throughout the day.
  2. Eat like a princess, not a king. Fill ½ your plate with non-starchy veggies, ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with fiber-rich grains or starches (tip: limit potatoes, rice or pasta to 1 cup).
  3. Exercise for the health benefits and not just calorie burn (always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program).
  4. Watch your liquid calories. Juice, eggnog and alcohol add up (tip: one alcoholic drink=12 oz. beer or 5 oz. wine or 1-1/2 oz. distilled spirits). If you do drink, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women or two for men.
  5. Enjoy special treats/foods you otherwise wouldn’t eat year round  and skip the foods you can live without (i.e. bread and butter).
  6. If you do over-indulge one day, it’s not the end of the world! Get some fresh air, hydrate, eat a healthy breakfast and move on.
  7. Stock up on healthy food options. Fill your home with seltzer water, seasonal fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, edamame, etc.
  8. Create memories. Focus on the people around you and less on the food buffet.
  9. Plan your meals. Even busy people can cook from scratch—crock pot meals and easy soups can be prepared ahead of time. Cut-up fruit and vegetables (stored properly) can last for 5 days.
  10. Sleep 8-9 hours/night. Lack of sleep disrupts hormones, which affect appetite control and sets you up for overeating.

Did you know it takes 2 hours and 11 minutes of walking to burn off one Starbucks Peppermint Chocolate Mocha? Just something to keep in mind!

Based on the article by Author Katie Mazzia MS, RD, CDE, a nutritionist at Vail Valley Medical Center.  Read more…

Healthy Holidays and Happy Christmas!

Veggie Protein Sources

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s OK to eat a meatless meal, as often as you like. This does not mean you are becoming vegetarian; however, it is a healthy and inexpensive meal option.

In fact, we eat meat about once a … month or two (always a special choice for a special occasion). We eat lots of healthy fish, some dairy, but very little meat. We’ve eaten this way for 20 years and we’ve never been healthier.

Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables indicates 36 percent of American adults and 37.7 percent of teenagers eat fruit less than once a day?

37.7 percent of American adults and 22.6 percent of our teenagers eat  vegetables less than once a day.

my plate usdaThe U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines recommend building a healthy plate. You can start building your healthy plate by making half of it fruits and vegetables (one-fourth grains, one-fourth protein, and a little dairy).

You may ask, “How am I to get protein without any meat?”

Beans and peas are considered part of the protein group, because they are an excellent source of plant protein and nutrients such as zinc and iron. Beans and peas are also part of the vegetable group because of their excellent source of dietary fiber and nutrients like folate and potassium.

Let’s not get confused; green peas, with only 7 grams protein per serving, are not considered a strong protein source. Green lima beans contain 19 grams of protein per serving. Green beans are not considered to be a part of this group, because their protein content is equivalent to vegetables like onions, lettuce, celery, cabbage, and other vegetables. People who normally eat meats consider beans and peas as part of the vegetable group, and those who seldom eat meat count beans and peas in the protein group.

No Meat Athlete” is a growing trend, as well as the title of a book. Together with famous vegan athletes (who consume no animal products at all) – such as Carl Lewis – vegetarian athletes have upended the traditional thinking of many in the sporting world.

The benefits of eating meatless meals are great, such as better health through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, increasing daily fiber, managing weight, preventing many chronic diseases, and simply stretching your dollars.

Did you know it is also a great way to support a sustainable, local economy (the locavore movement)? If you buy local fruits, vegetables, beans, peas and yes meat, this helps local family farmers stay operational on their land, earn a fair living, and preserve a traditional way of life.

For almost twenty years we have eaten 13 grams of plant-based protein at one meal by adding a scoop of Juice Plus+ Complete to our smoothie/shake every day. It provides a variety of proteins from water-washed soy, peas, chickpeas, tofu, rice, and other plant sources.

We get 8 grams of fiber and 20 grams of carbs as well – all from nutritious plant sources in the Complete. It’s delicious and makes getting that healthy protein easy.

I also use the Complete pre- and/or post-workout when I am training hard; so I get an extra 13 grams whenever I need it.

So go ahead; plan a meatless meal. Bon appétit (enjoy your meal)!

Lifestyle as Medicine: At a Fork in the Road, Who’s Got a Spoon?

It’s all about how we use our feet, forks and fingers.

drkatzby David Katz, M.D., Director, Yale Prevention Research Center

Hippocrates recognized the power of lifestyle as medicine some 2,500 years ago, testimony to his wisdom and prescience. As president-elect of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, I celebrate the possibility of finding our way back to a future informed by such insight.

But for now, in the immediate aftermath of announcement and ongoing debate about just how many of us should take statins, let’s consider what Big Pharma would have to do to compete on an even playing field with the power of lifestyle.

Imagine, for instance, if the news were to break tomorrow, on the landing page of your favorite site, or front page above the paper crease for you traditionalists, in whatever news source you like best — that there is a new prescription drug. The drug is stunningly effective and shockingly free of side effects. It is astoundingly safe — safe enough for newborns and octogenarians alike. It is available in bountiful supply and remarkably inexpensive. In fact, you might be able to get it without spending any extra money at all — maybe even save money by taking it.*

And, here’s the punch line. If you take this pill — which everyone else in your family can take along with you — once daily for the rest of your life, it would reduce your risk of EVER getting ANY major chronic disease — heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, dementia, etc. — by 80 percent.

The only question here is which would be a better idea and the more immediate priority: calling your doctor to get a prescription for this wonder drug, or calling your broker to get some share of stock in the company holding the patent.

But, of course, there is no such drug. There never has been any such drug. And in my opinion, there never will be any such drug. But lifestyle is exactly that medicine, and we have known about it… well, since Hippocrates.

But we know about the power of lifestyle as medicine in the modern age in ways unavailable to Hippocrates. A seminal epidemiologic study published in 1993 in the Journal of the American Medical Association famously pointed out that the leading, actual causes of premature death in the United States are not heart disease, cancer, and so on, but the things that cause heart disease, cancer, and so on. Those factors sum up to a list of 10 exposures we each overwhelmingly have the capacity to control in our daily lives. That list of 10 is, in turn, overwhelmingly dominated by just the first three: tobacco use, dietary pattern, and physical activity pattern. Or, as I like to call them, how we use our feet, our forks, and our fingers.

That initial study spawned a whole branch of the epidemiologic literature, reaffirming over a span of decades now that lifestyle is by far the best medicine ever conceived — or, if neglected, a source of years lost from life, and life lost from years. Study, after study, after study, after study, after study has shown that feet, forks, and fingers are nothing less than the master levers of medical destiny. Add to these three the management of sleep, stress levels, and loving relationships in our lives, and the control over our medical destinies is astounding.

dnadestinyAnd, in tandem with the literature showing how these factors overmaster our fate with regard to chronic disease risk, there is a burgeoning literature showing that they have the capacity to alter gene expression, too. The Genomic Age has served up a powerful insight, albeit not the one we were expecting: DNA is not destiny. To a greater extent, dinner is destiny — because dinner, and lifestyle, can alter the behavior of our very genes. The nature/nurture debate is rather an unfortunate distraction, because we can, in fact, nurture nature.

Lifestyle is then, irrefutably, the greatest of all medicine. But as we learned from Mary Poppins if not elsewhere, there is the separate challenge of getting the medicine to go down. Certainly the last thing we need in this case is more spoons full of sugar!

lifestylemedicineLifestyle is the greatest of all medicine, but it may feel in this morbidigenic, obesigenic worldof ours that we can’t get it to go down, because we just don’t have the right spoon. It may feel that we can’t get there from here.

That is, in a word, wrong. We can get there from here.

Doing so begins by embracing the destination — by acknowledging that lifestyle is medicine we all want. Then, we have to acknowledge that we do indeed know just what destination we mean, that we know what healthy living looks like. We do – including diet — and if we could get past the distractions of competing dogma, we would have the destination clearly in our sights. I have written extensively about that destination before, in columns, peer-reviewed papers, and textbooks.

Finally, once the destination is clear, it’s a matter of following a route that leads there. And so we come to it: a fork in the road, where for far too long, a luminous opportunity for better health, and consequently better lives, has languished. A fork where health could remain along the road not taken, or find itself on a path of much lesser resistance. It’s time to choose.

forkAlong one tine of our fork is perpetuation of the status quo, where we lose loved ones we don’t need to lose, long before their time. Or perhaps they lose us. It’s a road where we succumb to unnecessary miseries and lose both years from life, and life from years. And where we bequeath the same and even worse to our children — where they inherit along with our abdication an ever greater burden of chronic disease and premature death, at ever younger age. I think, and hope, this road is readily rejected.

Along another tine is a world that makes health more accessible, a better world. My career is devoted mostly to creating such a world. But it’s a long, slow, arduous process. This tine doesn’t lead to any immediate opportunity for each of us. Along this tine, some of us keep working, while the rest of us just keep on waiting on the world to change. It may happen, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

And then there is the third tine, which leads promptly and without detour to the skill set we need to be the health we want to see for ourselves. It leads us to be the health we want to see for those we love. And of course, when enough of us have changed ourselves, it leads us to be the changes we want to see in the world as well.

There is a place, an important place even, for lifestyle IN medicine — where health care professionals offer valuable guidance and counseling that is both constructive and compassionate. But the power of this cannot compare to that of lifestyle AS medicine, where each of us pulls on the master levers of medical destiny every day. Think about the Blue Zones, those places around the world where people live the longest, healthiest, most vital lives. Those benefits are attributed to how they live and to their culture, not to the counseling they get from doctors. We are in control of how we live, if latently. We are in control of our culture — which begins at the level of household, where family values take hold. The cultivation of vitality could be a family value.

You can prescribe yourself lifestyle as medicine. You are the doctor in this case, for yourself and those you love. But as with all doctoring, it requires a skill set. If you don’t have it, you can get it. And frankly, there is no real alternative. No other medicine can do what lifestyle can do, and no one else can practice lifestyle for you. It’s your life, and only you can live it. If you empower yourself, if you acquire the requisite “skillpower” to take lifestyle as your medicine, it will almost certainly be a better life. Healthy people have more fun.

Lifestyle is the best medicine there is, ever was, and likely ever will be. At a fork in the road for health care, our economy, our culture, and what the future holds for our children and grandchildren, each of us holds the spoon that could get this medicine to go down.


In his new book, DISEASE PROOF, Dr. Katz shares the very skill set on which he and his family rely, to enjoy lifestyle as medicine.

More from Dr. Katz …

*In fact Dr. Katz is describing Juice Plus+ but, of course, he is making a different point.

While we agree that there is no drug that can provide perfect protection, and that lifestyle IS the only answer to our health crisis, we can reliably quote Dr. Richard DuBois (internal medicine), referring to the benefits of Juice Plus+ in more than 30 published studies: “There is nothing, anywhere in the world, with or without a prescription, that has been proven to do what Juice Plus+ does.”

We in Juice Plus+ are proud to be associated with Dr. Katz, one of the most popular and respected physicians in North America today, and world famous Director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University.

Dr. Katz is one of thousands of health care professionals around the world who recommend Juice Plus+ to their patients, friends and family.

More fruit and veg could decrease heart disease

According to a report published in the journal Circulation, the Western diet made up of fried foods, snacks, and meats make up 30% of the global heart attack risk. Researchers carried out a study which looked at the various dietary habits of 52 countries around the world.

The idea behind the study was to see which countries had the best diets.

They found that those who ate a Western diet had a 35% greater risk of heart attack compared to those on a diet that did not consist of fried foods and meat as much. Those who had a diet rich in fruits and vegetables cut their risk of heart attack by 30% compared to those who only ate minimal fruits and vegetables.

The diet which was rich in fruits and vegetables was known as the Prudent diet.

When people increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables, it leads to a measurable decrease in blood pressure that might decrease the risk of heart disease.

It’s already known that you can decrease your blood pressure by increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables. This approach, developed in the US, is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) study. Researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, have sought to demonstrate the benefits of this eating plan in a group of people in a primary care setting.

They randomly allocated 690 people to either intervention – where they were actively encouraged to eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – or control, where they were told not to alter their diet. In the first group, fruit and vegetable intake went up by an average of 1.4 servings a day.

Their blood levels of antioxidants increased, compared to the control group, while their blood pressure decreased. The decrease was an average of 4 mm Hg systolic (top figure) and 1.5 mm Hg diastolic (bottom figure) – which is small, but significant. Such blood pressure falls could well decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, say the researchers.

Heart health is one of the consistently proven benefits of Juice Plus+.

Vitamin D Deficiency During the Winter

Daylight savings has come and we’ve had our first snow with more too come. Living in the mountains of Colorado we are very fortunate to have plenty of winter sunshine, but those COLD days tempt us to stay inside.

So, it’s time to start considering the risk of vitamin D deficiency — the days are getting shorter and,  for many of you, drearier. This means less hours of sunshine and less direct sun rays, which can be a bit of a problem since sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. 

An estimated 85% of people in the USA are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is not a vitamin; it’s a hormone called calcitriol, that your body metabolizes when exposed to sunlight.

It may not be a vitamin, but it’s still vital. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium which helps keep our bones nice and strong.

Vitamin D deficiency is implicated in many diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Low levels of vitamin D are thought to cause depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder in some individuals, with fall and winter being especially high risk times.

Get all the sunlight you can in the winter.

Sunlight is the best way for your body to get vitamin D. Even though many may worry about skin cancer, it’s still recommended that we get a moderate amount of sun for vitamin D production. The body actually stores extra vitamin D in the fat cells to avoid seasonal deficiency.

On a sunny day during the spring or summer for someone with a moderately tanned skin and fairly close to the equator, it only takes being outside for 15 minutes with face and hands uncovered (with no sunscreen) for the body to produce enough vitamin D. During the winter, try to walk outside for 15-20 minutes during the sunniest part of the day several times per week, if not daily.

Recommendations for the amount of sunlight needed can be tricky since adequate vitamin D production is based on a number of factors. First of all, the darker your skin, the more difficult it is for the UVB light to penetrate and produce vitamin D. It also depends on where you live. The further away from the equator you are, the less direct UVB rays you get. It also depends on the time of the year, and as we discussed, the winter months produce the low amounts of sunshine.

Cautious tanning bed usage. Although large amounts of time spent in a tanning bed are not recommended due to the risk of skin cancer, these beds still produce UVB light that your body can turn into vitamin D. The Vitamin D Council recommends caution with tanning beds, but still suggests a short period of time on a bed that contains more UVB than UVA light. The rule of thumb recommended by The Council is half the amount of time it takes your skin to turn pink (for light complexioned people this is probably about 4-5 minutes).

What other ways  can we get vitamin D during the darker winter months and avoid vitamin D deficiency?

Dietary sources typically only make up for 20% of our overall vitamin D intake, but it doesn’t hurt to load up on these foods during times of lower sunlight.  Here are few foods to help you avoid vitamin D deficiency:

  • Fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel or salmon. Six ounces of salmon contains over 600IU of vitamin D.
  • Eggs (in the yolk).
  • Fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, soy milk and cereals.
  • Beef liver.
  • Cod liver oil (if you get desperate) which used to be a very common vitamin D supplement.

Supplements may be a necessary option. 

The FDA’s daily recommendations for vitamin D are 600IU for ages 1-70 and 800IU for those over the age of 70, but according to other research this might just be the bare minimum.

Always be careful when taking supplements as you never want to overdose, especially on a fat soluble vitamin such as vitamin D. The upper tolerable level for vitamin D is set to 10,000 IU for all forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 is best.

Bottom line: low levels of sunlight can be a bummer for the mood and the body, but you can easily obtain the vitamin D you need though adequate UV rays, foods, and supplements to keep happy and healthy during the winter months. Avoiding vitamin D deficiency is easy and can result in vast improvements in your health.

Read more…

iDoctor

No, that’s not a typo, and I’m not talking about eye health.

My smartphone is getting ‘smarter’ every day, and so am I because of it.

I already use iphone apps to record my exercise (Runkeeper), to track my water (Water Your Body), to make healthy food and drink choices (Fooducate), to find local, in-season produce (Locavore) and even to check that I buy organic versions of certain fruits and veggies (The Dirty Dozen).

All these tools and Juice Plus+ keep me out of the doctor’s office. But when, one day, I need medical help, my future looks brighter than ever because of my … smartphone!

Could a smartphone be the future of medicine? Could the ‘iDoctor’ be the digital doctor of the future, with the doctor-patient relationship increasingly being founded on WiFi?

One of the world’s top cardiologists, Dr. Eric Topol says ‘yes’.

Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, chief academic officer of San Diego-based Scripps Health in California, Dr. Topol has a prescription that could improve your family’s health and make medical care much cheaper. He claims that the key is the smartphone. Topol has become the foremost expert in the exploding field of wireless medicine. These days he “prescribes more apps than meds!”

According to this forward thinking doctor, billions of dollars are wasted every year for screening and unnecessary medications because people are “being treated like a cattle herd” in our frantic fee-for-service, litigation-happy world. “Medicine today is about as wasteful as one can imagine,” he said.

Topol believes that a third of drugs prescribed are “total waste” and mass screenings represent “medicine dumbed down” by treating everyone the same.

Dr. Topol believes the smartphone can help make the doctor-patient interaction much more intimate because now he’s sharing the results in real time. “We can make the office visit an enjoyable thing.”

As he describes in his book The Creative Destruction of Medicine “the patient of tomorrow is the biggest switch. People need to take ownership. They need to seize the moment and seize the data.”

Topol says the future will be a health system focused on the patient, thanks to all the data these gadgets and monitors will turn out. He is one of a growing number of medical experts, like Dr. David Katz, Dr. Bill Sears and Dr. Mitra Ray, who believe the patient should be given the tools and knowledge to ‘own’ their own health and health care. We call that “Self-Care”.

One ‘tool’ that thousands of doctors are using with their patients is Juice Plus+.