Diet high in calories, carbohydrates may aid patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease

Diet high in calories, carbohydrates may aid patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease

Published February 28, 2014

A small study has found that a diet high in calories and carbohydrates may improve survival for patients with advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, HealthDay News reported.

A rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disease, ALS attacks the body’s motor neurons – nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord responsible for controlling voluntary muscles.  Over time, patients with ALS experience muscle weakness and atrophy, eventually leading to difficulty swallowing or chewing, paralysis, and usually death from respiratory failure.

Because many patients lose the ability to eat on their own, they often require a feeding tube and lose a significant amount of weight.  According to study author Dr. Anne-Marie Wills, as ALS patients lose weight, they start burning their own muscle.

“Giving your patients more energy [calories] than they necessarily need or are burning could help them prevent disease progression, and it might actually help improve their survival,” Wills, an assistant professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, told HealthDay News.

In their new study published in The Lancet, Wills and her team conducted a small pilot study of 24 patients who received either a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate diet (HC/HC), a high-fat hypercaloric diet (HF/HC) or a normal diet.  They found that patients who received the HC/HC diet had significantly fewer adverse events than the control group and the HF/HC group.  Additionally, half of the patients in the control group died during the course of the study, compared to none in the HC/HC group.

Furthermore, those on the HC/HC diet gained some of the weight they had lost and showed a slowing of their disease progression.

Though Wills said their results are far from definitive, she argued that it’s important to closely monitor ALS patients’ weight loss/gain.

“We need larger trials to see if patients should be trying to gain weight, but until that happens, I think all ALS patients should try aggressively to avoid weight loss,” she said.

Healthified Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl

Healthified Spinach Dip in a Bread Bowl


Try this healthified version of classic

Spinach Dip. Nobody will know the difference.


2 boxes (9 oz each) frozen chopped spinach

1 can (8 oz) sliced water chestnuts, drained, chopped

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup low-fat sour cream

1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves or dill weed

1/2 tsp ground mustard

1/4 tsp pepper

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 lb round loaf unsliced 100% whole wheat bread

72 servings


Cook spinach as directed on boxes; cool.

Squeeze water from spinach; discard water. In

large bowl, mix all ingredients except bread.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend


Just before serving, cut 1– to 2-inch slice from

top of loaf. Hollow out loaf by cutting along edge with serrated knife,

leaving 1-inch shell, and pulling out large chunks of bread. Cut or tear

top slice and hollowed-out bread into bite-size pieces.

Place hollowed-out loaf on serving plate; fill with spinach dip. Arrange

bread pieces around loaf to use for dipping.



Provided by Rebecca McGonigle of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) from the February Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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Homemade Energy Drinks

Homemade Energy Drink

by Paige Russell

Step 0: Homemade Energy Drink

Intro: Homemade Energy Drink

I started out with the intention of coming up with a recipe for a homemade version of the store bought energy drinks, but after doing some research an…


Step 1: Energy Booster #2: Move it, move it!

Step 1: Energy Booster #2: Move it, move it!

If you’re body is feeling sluggish in the afternoon after sitting in front of the computer all day, get moving! Get up and go for a quick walk. Whethe…


Step 2: Energy Booster #3: Color Me Happy!

Step 2: Energy Booster #3: Color Me Happy!

Surround yourself with energetic colors! According to color specialists, orange is the most energy inducing color. But like art, color is subjective s…


Step 3: Energy Booster #4: The Scent of Citrus

Step 3: Energy Booster #4: The Scent of Citrus

I find the smell of citrus super invigorating, so something I’ve been trying is keeping an orange next to my computer on a little tray.  I use a tooth…

Picture of Homemade Energy Drink
I started out with the intention of coming up with a recipe for a homemade version of the store bought energy drinks, but after doing some research and discovering how unhealthy they are for you, I decided instead to try and design a less sugar/caffeine fueled way to help myself through the workday afternoon sleepy slump.
What I landed on was a system of three drinks and some energy boosting ideas that are going a long way to helping me keep my energy up all day long! Here’s the good on the drinks:
The Fire Hydrant (left) – 3-4 8oz glasses throughout the day
filtered water 1 slice lemon 1 pinch cayenne pepper
Other than getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, staying hydrated is the most important thing you can do to help keep your body functioning at optimum levels. So this drink is just water with a squeezed lemon slice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. The lemon not only tastes good, but is also super alkaline* which helps your body maintain a healthy pH level. The cayenne pepper helps raise energy levels naturally and provides protection for your heart by helping to maintain proper cardiovascular movement throughout the body. Combining this with 4-5 glasses of regular water will bring you up to your recommended 8 glasses of water per day!
*For an explanation of lemons’ miraculous transition from acidic outside of the body, to alkaline once ingested, visit this link:
The Quick Fix (center) – as needed, during the day (I don’t recommend drinking it at night as it might keep you up)
hot water 1 1/2 – 2 tsp honey (to taste) 1 inch of fresh ginger root 1/4 tsp ground cardamom 1/4 tsp tumeric
Cut off two thin slices of ginger and place in your cup or mug. Use a garlic press to juice the remaining ginger into your mug. Add both spices and fill your mug with hot water and stir.
This is the closest thing I found to a non-caffeine/refined sugar pick me up! And I find it pretty delicious. Ginger speeds up metabolism and increases circulation. It also aids in the digestive process which can help stave off the post lunch coma that contributes to the afternoon slump. Turmeric, a cousin of ginger, also helps speed things up in the body, including energy levels! And Cardamom has long been valued medicinally for its ability to increase circulation and improve energy. Honey is mother nature’s equivalent of an energy shot and is one of the best kinds of sugars for your body.
The Heavy Lifter (right) – 1 glass in the morning
1 ripe banana 1/4 cup raw almonds or 2 tbsp almond butter 1 scoop of high quality whey protein powder (low sugar content) 2 washed kale leaves 1/2 cup plain yogurt 1 tbsp ground flax seeds 1 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
According to Dr. Oz, sixty percent of women don’t get enough protein in their diets and that is often the number one reason for fatigue! ( A morning protein shake is a really easy and delicious way to make sure that you’re starting the day off well fueled. Pair this with a piece of whole grain toast and you have everything you need to give you a solid energy foundation for the day.
The next steps are energy booster tips that I find, when done along with the drinks, help me keep on keeping on all day long!

Researchers grow human lungs in lab for first time

Researchers grow human lungs in lab for first time

Published February 17, 2014

In a breakthrough that could one day revolutionize transplant medicine, researchers have successfully grown human lungs in a lab for the first time, Medical News Today reported.

Using portions of lungs from two deceased children, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston created a scaffold-like structure by stripping one set of lungs down to just collagen and elastin – the main components in connective tissue.

The researchers then gathered cells from the other set of lungs and applied them to the scaffolding, before placing it in a chamber filled with nutritious liquid. Four weeks later, the team had a complete human lung – and they were able to successfully repeat the procedure using another set of lungs.

The researchers first developed this technique in 2010, and have since tested the method on rat lungs and pig lungs before testing it on human lungs.

“It’s taken us a year to prove to ourselves that we actually did a good job with it. You don’t run out immediately and tell the world you have something wonderful until you’ve proved it to ourselves that we really did something amazing,”  researcher Dr. Joan Nichols said.

Though the researchers are excited about their discovery, they said it could take a minimum of 12 years before the use of lab-generated lungs in human transplants becomes a reality

Eating Nuts Every Day May Prolong Life

Eating Nuts Every Day May Prolong Life



The largest study of its kind, published in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that people who eat a handful of nuts every day live longer than those who do not eat them at all. Scientists from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health came to this conclusion after analyzing data on nearly 120,000 people collected over 30 years.  The analysis also showed that regular nut eaters tended to be slimmer than those who ate no nuts, putting to rest the notion that eating nuts leads to weight gain.

Senior author Charles S. Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and colleagues also examined how eating nuts or not related to causes of death. Prof.Fuchs says, “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease—the major killer of people in America.

But we also saw a significant reduction—11%—in the risk of dying from cancer.”  The team also found that the reduced risk of death was similar for both nuts that grow on trees, such as cashews and Brazils, and peanuts, which grow under the ground. Other types of tree nut include almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts. However, the data did not allow them to see whether this was also true for links to protection against certain causes of death.

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Previous studies have already shown links between eating nuts and lower risk for many diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer and diverticulitis. Eating lots of nuts has also been associated with lower cholesterol, reductions in inflammation, oxidative stress, body fat and insulin resistance.  And while some small studies have linked higher nut consumption to lower death from all causes in certain populations, none has examined the effect in a large population in such detail over a long time.

The more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die. In this new study, the researchers examined data on 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010 who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study, and on 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010 who took part in the Health Professionals’ Follow-up Study.

Participants in both cohorts filled in detailed food questionnaires every 2-4 years, and also answered questions about lifestyle and health. The food questionnaires asked the participants to estimate how often they ate nuts in a serving size of one ounce (about 28g), which is roughly the amount contained in a small packet of peanuts from a vending machine.

The researchers used sophisticated statistical tools to take out the effect of factors that might also have beneficially influenced the risk of death. For example, they found people who ate more nuts tended to be leaner, to eat more fruits and vegetables, not smoke, be more physically active, and drink more alcohol. But they were also able to take out the effects of these factors and find an independent link between nut consumption and lower risk of death.


First author Dr. Ying Bao, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains what they found: “In all these analyses, the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period.” Eating nuts less than once a week was linked to a 7% reduction in risk of death, once a week was linked to an 11% reduction, two to four times a week to a 13% reduction, five to six times a week to a 15% reduction, and seven or more times a week, to a 20% reduction.

The researchers point out that the study was not designed to examine cause and effect and so cannot conclude that eating more nuts causes people to live longer. However, they say the results are strongly consistent with “a wealth of existing observational and clinical trial data to support health benefits of nut consumption on many chronic diseases.”

Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation helped finance the study. In a large prospective study published recently in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers found eating nuts was linked to reduced risk of pancreatic cancer.


Provided by Rebecca McGonigle of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) from the February Wellstyles Monthly Newsletter.

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How to Get Rid of Phlegm in Your Throat Without Medicine

How to Get Rid of Phlegm in Your Throat Without Medicine

Foods That Help Relieve PhlegmAvoiding Things That Produce PhlegmOther Strategies for Relieving Phlegm

Edited by BiggestNav, Krystle, Nicole Marie, Bowser Jr and 36 others

You’ve woken up with terrible congestion in your throat, coughing a whole lot of phlegm. Soon enough you have a stinging throat. What’s worse is you don’t want to go outside to buy medicine. This article will show you what you can do to clear your throat using things you would have in your house.


 Part 1 of 3: Foods That Help Relieve Phlegm
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    Drink lemon tea with honey. You can either buy lemon tea, or make yourself some warm lemon water by mixing 2 teaspoons of lemon juice with a cup of warm water. The acidity of the lemon juice breaks up the mucus. Adding a tablespoon of honey to the mixture soothes your throat.

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    Eat spicy foods. Ever tried a bit of wasabi, only to have your nose start running uncontrollably? Spicy foods, such as horseradish or pepper, act as a decongestant and should help loosen up some of that noxious phlegm.

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    Drink warm liquids. Whether it’s tea, chicken soup, or something in between, warm liquids will help nourish you while breaking up some of the mucus stuck in your throat.

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    Gargle salt water. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water and gargle the mixture with your head tilted back.

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    Eat toast. Toast is a good food to break phlegm and carry it down to your stomach. Toast scrapes the throat softly, removing some of the phlegm as it is ingested.

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    Drink plenty of water. If your body is producing a lot of phlegm, it may be because it is trying to ward off sickness, which means your immune system is working on overdrive. Give your body the water it needs to do its job.

Part 2 of 3: Avoiding Things That Produce Phlegm

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    Stop smoking. While you have an excess amount of mucus, try not to smoke. Smoking dries out the vocal chords, and your body creates more phlegm in an attempt to the replenish the moisture that was lost.

    • In studies around the world, there has been a high correlation between smoking and phlegm production. [1] If you are a smoker, consider using nicotene patches for a bit while your phlegm dies down.
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    Avoid dairy. Milk or other dairy may not cause the body to produce more mucus[2], but in some people the fat content of milk causes the mucus to become thicker.[3]

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    Avoid exposure to fumes and hazardous chemicals. Paint fumes, cleaners, and other chemicals hurt the body’s respiratory function.

Part 3 of 3: Other Strategies for Relieving Phlegm

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    Take a hot shower or inhale steam. The heat from the water causes the phlegm to loosen.

    • Use a vaporizer if you have one. Try to strike a good balance of moisture in your room. You want to soothe your throat, but you don’t want your room turning into a tropical jungle.
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    Hum to yourself when you can. It is hypothesized that the humming vibrations help break up the phlegm in your throat.

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    Remember to ‘spit, not swallow’. Always keep a tissue on hand in case you need to expel the phlegm discreetly; try not to swallow any coughed up phlegm.