Berries and Parkinson’s

I just read about an interesting study that shows that eating berries can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Berries are very high in antioxidants, plant pigments, etc, and are very healthy foods. Coffee also lowers the risk. Apparently the solution to prevent Parkinson’s is to go to a Panera, and enjoy a Wild Berry Smoothie and a coffee. I actually did that last week.

Reason #1,374 to Drink More Coffee

coffee

I have written on the health benefits of coffee before, but it seems like research supporting the healthiness of coffee emerges so often, that it is hard to keep up.

I have mentioned before, many, many, times, how much I love coffee. That first cup in the morning, the second cup after lunch, and the third cup after dinner, all make my day more full and enjoyable. That a drink brightens my day so much is a testament to this amazing drink!

Now, if the taste and aroma weren’t enough, research shows that coffee may not only prevent Alzheimer’s, but actually reverse it! Yes, that is right, reverse it. The research was carried out on rats, but it looks promising nonetheless. Researchers gave rats (specially bred to develop Alzheimer’s like dementia) caffeine, the equivalent to 5 cups of coffee a day. They found some amazing things. First of all, the caffeine significantly reduced brain and blood levels of beta-amyloid, the substance many believe is responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. Second, giving young rats of this strain caffeine prevented dementia from developing in these animals, even though they were specifically bred to develop dementia. Third, and very exciting, once the older rats (who had, by this point, developed dementia) started receiving caffeine, they not only stopped losing their memory, but regained what they had lost, having normal memory as regular rats of the same age. In other words, consuming the human equivalent of drinking 5 cups of coffee a day not only prevented dementia, but reversed it.

Drink up.

Nice Change of Pace

The purpose of this blog is to not only have many years in your life, but also to help our readers have life in their (hopefully many) years on this earth. We often do this through health and fitness advice, but having a long and happy life is also dependent on doing activities that you enjoy. That was very true for me this week while visiting my family.

I live about four hours away from my mom and dad, so visiting them is always special. And, since they live so far away, it’s always necessary to find new things to do when visiting. This allows a nice change of pace.

For example, I enjoy target shooting a lot, but there aren’t any close places to shoot where I live. Although I live in the country, my land is flat and not ideal for target shooting. In addition, the nearest public ranges are at least 30 minutes away. But, my dad’s friend has over 100 acres of hilly land and lives 5 minutes from his house. So, my brother, dad, and I had a great time shooting. In addition to trying accuracy with our pistols, we also obliterated several pieces of wood with the shotgun.

Also, David and I are taking a health and wellness course and we wanted to do some studying together. So, we went to Tim Horton’s to have an evening coffee (no Tim Horton’s near Cleveland) and they had new blueberry flavoring. I love coffee and this seemed interesting. It was great and well, summery (if that’s a word).

It was also nice to do some pleasurable learning. Studies have shown that learning throughout life in beneficial to the brain’s health. Too often learning is not enjoyable, but a chore because it is required. In this case, I was very interested in learning about the topic (health and wellness), so it was a great experience. My brain got healthier and it also relaxed me.

Although I find comfort in routines and enjoy mine generally, a change of pace is nice too.

I Finally Found My Size of Coffee

bigcoffee

I saw this at Walmart and while the photo makes it kind of hard to see the real size, the plant  pots in the background give you an idea of how huge it is. If I could order one of these, I could brag that I only drink one cup of coffee a day!

The Health Benefits of Coffee

cup of coffee

It’s a cold, December, Saturday morning. The light is streaming in through the window, and you notice your wife is not in bed, and you smell the beautiful scent of coffee wafting through air. You walk into the kitchen and she has you a nice cup of bold coffee with some real cream and stevia sweetener.

It’s a hot summer day. You just got done playing a round of golf with your buddies, and you head over to Tim Horton’s for a large iced coffee. It hits the spot!

I love coffee. These stories more or less describe scenarios in which coffee enhances my life. Coffee not only enhances my life, but also my health. While many health food enthusiasts assumed for years that coffee and tea were bad for you (and in excessive amounts, they can be), scientific studies have shown that both of these foods actually have health benefits when consumed in reasonable amounts.

Natural News has written an article highlighting some of the health benefits of coffee, a drink loved and cherished by various cultures since its discovery around the 9th century AD.

Specifically, coffee can lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease, asthma, and headaches. Additionally, coffee drinkers are at a 20% lower risk of having a stroke. Drinking the golden brown liquid also helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease and type-2 diabetes. Gallstones? Coffee reduces the chance of getting those by 50%. Liver Cirrhosis? Coffee drinkers had an 80% lower rate. And Colon Cancer? Coffee drinkers have a 25% reduced risk of coming down with this deadly form of cancer. And finally, coffee has been shown to help prevent depression, and regular coffee drinkers have lower rates of suicide.

So next time you are enjoying that nice cup of Joe, enjoy it a little more, because it’s good for you!

Image taken by me then GIMPed up

The Little Things

With the worst day of the year fast approaching (although this year’s exact date will be a little different), I wanted to post something about stopping to enjoy the little things in life. I don’t want this post to turn into anything sentimental, but I do think if we focus on (and actually do) the little things we enjoy, stress is more manageable and we are healthier. Here a few of the little things that bring me pleasure:

1. Dunkin Donuts- It has great coffee and espresso and free wireless. I can make coffee and espresso at home and do so often. And, I have the internet at home too. But, there is something nice about getting away to Dunkin’s, either alone or with family, just to relax and get outside the normal routine.

2. TV- This one should not be overdone, of course, but watching a few programs or DVD’s that I really enjoy helps my stress levels. My faves are the Biggest Loser, the Office, Everybody Loves Raymond, McLaughlin Group, Who’s the Boss, and Eddie Murphy action comedies.

3. A Nice Bath- Especially in the winter, getting into a nice, hot bath and just soaking is a great treat.

4. Video Games- I’m 30 years old, but still enjoy playing games. Are they generally mindless? Sure. But, I think a lot: in my job, my classes, my hobbies, and life. Sometimes I just want mindless.

5. Hanging with the family- Everyone is so busy that just sitting down and relaxing with my entire family is a luxury. But, I enjoy it a lot. Finding time for this really shouldn’t be something that requires effort.

6. Prayer– This also shouldn’t be something that I have to make time for, but sadly, it often is. I usually pray in my car on the way to work and then with my family in the evenings. Yet, I also love the Liturgy of the Hours and other more traditional forms of prayer that I need to make more time for.

Now it’s your turn. Find those little things in life that bring you pleasure. You’ll need all of them to deal with the winter days still ahead.

Coffee May Help Beat Multiple Sclerosis

 

A study in rodents found that consuming the equivalent of 6-8 cups of coffee per day protected them from developing multiple sclerosis. While the researchers caution that caffeine may not work the same way in adults, the study is promising. Research already suggests that drinking coffee has its health benefits: helping to prevent Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Plus, those of us who love coffee find that a nice cup of coffee can make any morning, afternoon, or even evening a little better.

So next time you feel like coffee, have some, and enjoy not only the taste, but the health benefits. Just remember: good old-fashioned home-brewed coffee is just as healthy as the $3.00/cup stuff at Starbucks.