Research is increasingly demonstrating the value of natural, nontoxic, nutritionally-based preventive approaches and interventive therapies, particularly for the purpose of prolonging a healthy, productive lifespan. Let's review recent study findings that validate the safety and efficacy of various nutritional supplements for the prevention and treatment of aging-related diseases.
Don't run short on vitamin D: At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, researchers have completed a study suggesting that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a 26 percent increased risk of death from any cause. Vitamin D also may help prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a recent study. Good food source of vitamin D include salmon, cod liver oil, fortified milk.
Remember your omega-3: Following on two studies published in April 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that reported regular consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids was effective in preventing age-related cognitive decline, Chih-Chiang Chiu, from Taipei City Hospital (Taiwan), and colleagues found that omega-3s actually provide therapeutic benefits for the condition. Another study suggests increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids also slashes the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Good food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include oily fish (mackerel, herring, sardines, etc.).
Reduce the pressure with potassium: A study led by Mark C. Houston, MD, reports that increased intake of potassium, (and possibly magnesium and calcium) by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension. High intake of these minerals also may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Good food sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, soybeans and bananas. Good sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach and unrefined grains.
A little dark chocolate for the heart: In a recent study, researchers collected subjects' dietary habits via food surveys and measured serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a blood marker of inflammation. The team determined that CRP levels were 17 percent lower in subjects who consumed dark chocolate as compared to those who did not consume any at all.
Calcium -- not just for strong bones and teeth: Mitsumasa Umesawa, from the University of Tsukuba (Japan), and colleagues followed 41,526 Japanese men and women (ages 40 to 59 at the study's start) for 13 years. Men and women who consumed the highest calcium from all dietary sources lowered their risk of stroke by 30 percent, reported the study, published in the July 17, 2008 issue of Stroke. Good food sources of calcium include plain yogurt and cheese.
To learn more about the many benefits of sound nutrition and how you can design a nutritional program that's right for you and your family, talk to your doctor.