Ran across this video today. It’s basic, but a good synopsis of the dangers of sugar. Check it out if you have a few minutes.
While reviewing the website www.knowyourteeth.com sponsored by the Academy of General Dentistry I came across an article highlighting oral health concerns dentists carry for their vegetarian patients. Many dentists ask their patients about their diet, and find those that are vegetarian tend to be very knowledgeable about nutrition. The concerns however, tend to be directed towards children on vegetarian diets that may be lacking essential nutrients, and with adults that also may be lacking essentials needed for proper tooth and gum health.
According to Dr. Ludwig Leibsohn, some vegetarians, particularly those who do not consume any food of animal origin, can experience deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12 or complete proteins. Studies show that by eating the right amount of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, they can get the nutrients they need. “An adult on a vegetarian diet for a prolonged period can be at increased risk for periodontal (gum) disease from a lack of vitamin D and calcium,” says Dr. Leibsohn. To reduce this problem, Dr. Leibsohn suggests that vegetarians seek counsel from a nutritionists and take a multi-vitamin daily.
Another concern for vegetarians is their potential lack of Vitamin D. Teeth can become more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease with a lack of Vitamin D. Although Vitamin D is produced with sun exposure, if one is out of the sun often and not consuming any in their diet there is a possibility of a deficiency. According to Dr. Leibsohn, adding vegetable margarines or soy milk to one’s diet will solve this problem.
In conclusion, it’s important to have an open line of communication as a patient with your dentist and any other doctor’s you see. If we have all the information, it allows us to better asses your health conditions as a whole and suggest any additional care needed.
Read the article for yourself here:
Dentists Should Advise Vegetarians on Good Oral Health
Have you considered how much the younger generation interacts with social media now days? How about the affect it may have on you as an adult? TIME magazine had an article about just that last week titled Wired for Distraction?. In the article Dalton Conley lamented the possibility that the present digital lives of children are transforming their brains, changing them from how our own brains evolved without so much digital interaction.
A Kaiser Family Foundation report last year found children ages 8-18 averaged 7 hours and 38 minutes a day using entertainment media. People may think the ability to digitally interact (ie texting, twitter, facebook, etc) while engaging in some other task simultaneously may increase one’s ability to multitask. Former Microsoft executive Linda Stone sees it differently; coining the term continuous partial attention. On her online blog she describes the difference between multitasking and continuous partial attention:
“Continuous partial attention and multi-tasking are two different attention strategies, motivated by different impulses. When we multi-task, we are motivated by a desire to be more productive and more efficient. Each activity has the same priority – we eat lunch AND file papers. We stir the soup AND talk on the phone. With simple multi-tasking, one or more activities is somewhat automatic or routine, like eating lunch or stirring soup. That activity is then paired with another activity that is automatic, or with an activity that requires cognition, like writing an email or talking on the phone. At the core of simple multi-tasking is a desire to be more productive. We multi-task to CREATE more opportunity for ourselves –time to DO more and time to RELAX more.
In the case of continuous partial attention, we’re motivated by a desire not to miss anything. We’re engaged in two activities that both demand cognition. We’re talking on the phone and driving. We’re writing an email and participating in a conference call. We’re carrying on a conversation at dinner and texting under the table on the Blackberry or iPhone.
Continuous partial attention involves a kind of vigilance that is not characteristic of multi-tasking. With cpa, we feel most alive when we’re connected, plugged in, and in the know. We constantly SCAN for opportunities – activities or people – in any given moment. With every opportunity we ask, “What can I gain here?”…In this state of always-on crisis, our adrenalized “fight or flight” mechanism kicks in.”
What’s the problem with always being in crisis mode? When we’re consistently overstimulated we get an excess release of norepinephrine and cortisol. Cortisol can attach itself to any receptor site, thus leaving little room for the attachment of dopamine and seratonin, the hormones that make us feel calm and happy. As a result, we’re left feeling hyped up and restless, with no real interpersonal fulfillment.
To compound the issue, as stated in TIME, a 2009 study found that when extraneous information was presented, participants who did a lot of media multitasking performed worse on a test than those who did little to none because the heavy media users were more sensitive to distracting stimuli. In 2006 UCLA scientists showed that media multitaskers use their striatum to encode learning, while those less distracted relied on their hippocampus. In the end, those less distracted could utilize their new skill or knowledge broadly while the multitaskers could not.
As for our children, continuous use of media after school results in less time alone, and more time focused on others and the “gossip” that is so thick in high schools. Some believe that less time alone as an adolescent/teenager allows less time for contemplation and personal development into a profound sense of self. And to top things off, kids seem to stay up later, extending that subconscious desire not to “miss out” into time that should be spent getting a good nights sleep. Less sleep equals less focus during the day, and alas!, the cycle repeats itself.
So what’s the solution? Perhaps turn off the phone, computer and TV and learn to be in a quiet space, allowing your body time to cool off from the “fight or flight” responses throughout the day. And maybe have your children participate in this time with you. It’s a good lesson, one that will probably be needed even more drastically as technology continues to expand exponentially.
While watching my morning news today, CNN presented a brief story on which fruits and veggies you should buy organic vs. conventional. If you read my last post, Foods for Cancer Prevention, you’d find that numerous research studies indicate the best food to eat for cancer prevention are fruits and vegetables. So, when eating them, when should you buy organic, and when conventional? The recommendation, at least for the TV segment was simple…
If you want to go organic to avoid the pesticides, invest in the fruits and vegetables that you consume the skin when eating. For instance bell peppers, grapes, raspberries, apples, celery. If you want to go conventional, the safest fruits and vegetables to go this route are the food items whose skin is removed prior to consumption. Like bananas, avacados, mangoes, onions and grapefruit.
Back in June of 2010 CNN posted an online article listing the “Dirty Dozen,” twelve fruits and vegetables containing 47 to 67 pesticides per serving! The top twelve are more prone to carrying the pesticides because of their soft skin that absorb it. So for these twelve, if you’re looking to avoid those pesticides, definitely go organic.
In the same article, they also listed “The Clean 15″.
The Clean 15
Pesticides are chemical substances used by farmers to protect their crops from diseases, pests and weeds. The government says pesticides in small amounts are not harmful. However, many studies have linked pesticides to weakened immune systems, cancer, ADHD and nervous system disorders.
It’s also important to note that pesticides aren’t necessarily washed off by water (although I’d still give them a good rinse and scrub down). And although peeling away the skin does usually make a substantial difference, there are pesticides within some fruits and vegetables because it is in the soil used to grow them, and the pesticides are taken up through the roots into the plants. The best way to avoid all this? Go organic… at least with the dirty dozen.
CNN Article “Dirty Dozen”
The first, How Meditation May Change the Brain published January 28 2011, discusses the findings of a study from the Jan. 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. They reported, “M.R.I. brain scans taken before and after the participants’ meditation regimen found increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region connected to anxiety and stress. A control group that did not practice meditation showed no such changes.”
According to studies, benefits of meditation are widespread, including a study claiming meditation can lower BP in patients with coronary heart disease and another indicating those that meditate have longer attention spans. [see links below for studies]
The second article in the NY Times on February 7th 2011 titled Taking Your Brain for a Walk discusses the findings of a study published Jan. 31st in “The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.
120 sedentary mid-60 year-old men and women were split up into two exercise groups. The first was the walking group, walking for 40 minutes around a track three times a week. The second group did less intense aerobic exercises like yoga and band resistance training.
At the age of 60 years old a slow and steady decline in hippocampus volume is normal. However, brain scans of the walking group indicated an actual 2% increase in the volume of their hippocampus. The other group had an average of 1.4% decline. The study also noted that both groups improved on a test of spatial memory, but the walkers had a greater improvement.
Various other walking studies suggest that for people in their sixties, regular walking lowers the risk of dementia. In addition, spending time in a natural setting like walking in a park reduce brain fatigue, something that could be relatable to meditation. The purpose of meditation is to use different objects to focus one’s attention, bringing the mind back to the here and now opposed to letting it drift. Taking a nice walk through nature, while stopping to smell the roses could do just that.
So you want to reduce stress and brain fatigue and increase your learning ability and memory? Take a nice long walk, focus your mind, and let that brain grow.
See the studies for yourself:
How Meditation May Change the Brain
Can Meditation Curb Heart Attacks?
Study Suggests Meditation Can Help Train Attention
Taking Your Brain for a Walk
Natural Settings Help Brain Fatigue
Walking May Lower Dementia Risk
An article written in JADA (The Journal of the American Dental Association) in October 2010 discussed a study done in New South Wales, Australia studying the long-term effects of smoking. With the data of 103,042 participants they were able to come to interesting conclusions.
The results of the study indicated a significant increase of complete tooth loss (“edentulism”) in smokers compared with nonsmokers. Their most startling claim: ”Current smokers were at more than twice the risk of experiencing complete tooth loss compared with never smokers.” In addition, they discovered, that although the risks are much lower with people that have stopped smoking for 30 or more years, they remain at a higher risk than those that had never smoked.
Furthermore, they learned that although people may not be smokers, being in an environment with others that are can be detrimental. Researchers found individuals that have never smoked but are around ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) for six or more hours a week, are almost one and a half times more likely to lose teeth than nonsmokers not around ETS.
Lesson? If you want to keep your teeth, I’d stay away from the cigarettes. And if you’re already a smoker, I’d try quitting. You don’t want to lose your pretty smile!
Learn more about the study here