HEALTH MATTERS: Walnuts, Obesity, Tart Cherry Juice, Body Temperature, and More
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Leonore welcomes comments on any of her articles.
Note: This article was first published in the March 2020 edition of Bob Branco’s online newsletter, The Consumer Vision, to which Leonore regularly contributes and which she helps edit.
1. Some of the Benefits of Walnuts
Regular walnut consumption linked to health and longevity for women, according to new study
Source: EurekAlert, February 25, 2020
According to the study, which looked at data from 33,391 women in the Nurses’ Health Study to evaluate the association between nut consumption and well-being in aging, women in their late 50s and early 60s who consumed at least two servings of walnuts per week had a greater likelihood of healthy aging than those who did not eat walnuts. Healthy aging was defined as longevity with sound mental health and no major chronic diseases, cognitive issues, or physical impairments following the age of 65. After accounting for various factors that could influence health in older adults, such as education and physical activity, walnuts were the only nut associated with significantly better odds of healthy aging.
Previous research has found that eating walnuts may have a positive impact on reducing the risk for physical impairments in older adults, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line is that while there is no one solution to slowing down the effects of aging, adopting the right habits, like snacking on a handful of walnuts, can help.
My husband and I have long made a habit of eating a variety of nuts every day, including walnuts. We read some time ago that walnuts are good for the brain. Costco sells delicious mixed nuts, but that mix does not include walnuts. Therefore, also from Costco, we regularly purchase large bags of walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios, as well of tins of wonderfully crunchy roasted and salted peanuts. Small portions of several types of nuts, including walnuts, are a part of every breakfast in our home, and I also sprinkle some mixed nuts on the whole-grain cereal I eat at night.
Looking online for more information on the benefits of walnuts, I found that it’s good to eat them in the morning, as they can help regulate blood pressure during the day. However, they can also help improve sleep quality, so a small nighttime snack of walnuts is also a good idea.
All nuts have a variety of health benefits. They keep very well in the refrigerator until they are eaten up. Nuts can also be frozen with no loss of nutrients or overall quality.
2. Obesity and Aging
Article title: The effects of obesity mirror those of aging
Sources: ScienceDaily, February 25, 2020, and Concordia University
Summary: Researchers say that obesity should be considered premature aging. Obesity predisposes people to acquiring compromised genomes, weakened immune systems, and decreased cognition. It increases their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer (including breast cancer), and other illnesses often seen in older individuals. Many previous studies have already linked obesity to premature death.
Obesity is a factor that accelerates the mechanisms of aging, including the aging of the immune system. These mechanisms can make obese individuals more susceptible to influenza. They are also at a higher risk of sarcopenia, a disease that features a progressive decline in muscle mass and strength.
Globally, an estimated 1.9 billion adults and 380 million children are overweight or obese. More people are dying from being overweight than underweight.
3. Tart cherry juice may juice up the brain
Source: EurekAlert, July 28, 2019 / University of Delaware
Montmorency tart cherry juice has long been known to help gout sufferers, athletes recovering from exercise, and those seeking a good night’s sleep. Now there’s evidence that it might help improve cognitive performance in older adults.
A study at the University of Delaware found that daily intake of tart cherry juice improved memory scores among adults 65 to 73. Improvements in cognitive function were seen in several areas, including visual memory and new learning.
The lead author of the study, Sheau Ching Chai, remarks that cognitive function is a key determinant of independence and quality of life among older adults. The potential beneficial effects of tart cherries may be related to the bioactive compounds they possess. They may also be related to tart cherry’s potential blood pressure lowering effects, as blood pressure can influence blood flow to the brain.
My husband and I became interested in tart cherry juice after we read that it can help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, as we both have some osteoarthritis. (We are both in our mid-70s.) Tart cherries and their juice are not to be confused with sweet cherries, which are generally enjoyed fresh, and which we also love. We buy delicious organic tart cherry juice, R. W. Knudsen brand, labeled “Just Tart Cherry,” in one-quart bottles at the supermarket.
We also use capsules of dried tart cherry powder. On the label, it says that the product “supports joint integrity, movement and flexibility.” The capsules are from Swanson Vitamins, swansonvitamins.com. They offer a very wide range of high-quality supplements at very good prices, and they often run specials with discounts, BOGO offers, and free shipping.
4. Our falling body temperature
Source: THE WEEK Magazine, February 7, 2020, Health and Science section
Here’s a medical curiosity for you. In 1851, German doctor Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich took the temperatures of some 25,000 people and concluded that the average human body temperature was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That number has remained the benchmark for scientists and doctors, but now it may be a little too high.
Our bodies have cooled down since then. The normal body temperature today is about 97.5 degrees. The most likely explanation for this heat drop is a population-wide reduction in inflammation. People today have fewer infections, thanks to vaccines and antibiotics. The concluding line: “Microbiologically, we’re very different people than we were.”
5. A surprising benefit of increasing the minimum wage
Source: THE WEEK Magazine, January 24, 2020
State-level increases of just $1 in minimum wage were tied to a 3.4 to 5.9 percent decrease in suicide rates among adults 18-64 with a high school diploma or less.
About the Author
Leonore H. Dvorkin and her husband, David Dvorkin, live in Denver, Colorado. David is the author of 29 published books, both fiction and nonfiction. Leonore is the author of four published books and teaches languages and exercise classes.
Since 2009, David and Leonore have been editing books and helping other authors self-publish them in e-book and print. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled.
Bob Branco is one of their 80+ editing clients. His book My Home Away from Home: Life at Perkins School for the Blind (C 2013) is an informative and moving account of his years at what is probably the country’s best-known school for the blind.
Details of Bob’s four nonfiction books are here: dldbooks.com/robertbranco/
The Dvorkins invite you to visit any of their websites for more information about their books and services.
David Dvorkin: dvorkin.com
Leonore Dvorkin: leonoredvorkin.com
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/