Gary J. Wayne, DMD

Feeling Stressed? Add These Foods to Your Diet

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Deadlines. Bills. Hardly a moment to slow down.

When we feel stress, we often grab a handful of M & M’s from the office candy jar or order a pizza with all the toppings. Instead, try these foods, which have a biochemical reaction that reduces our body’s reaction to stress.

Green Leafy Vegetables

According to Heather Mangieri RDN and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, a dopamine producer. Dopamine can have a calming effect. In numerous studies with middle aged to elderly and college students, people who ate the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms and also felt calmer or happier.

Replace lettuce with kale or spinach in your salad!

Turkey breast

The amino acid tryptophan in turkey and other protein-containing foods helps produce serotonin, which regulates hunger and happiness. On its own, tryptophan may have a calming effect. Are you a vegetarian? Other foods high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, tofu, fish, lentils, oats, beans, and eggs.

Oatmeal

Stress may cause you to grab for a donut or large plate of pasta. According to MIT research, carbs can help the brain produce serotonin. Instead of reaching for a pastry or digging into that bag of chips, try complex carbs like oatmeal, which won’t cause a spike in blood sugar.

Yogurt

The probiotics found in live active cultures may reduce brain activity that handles emotions and stress. Yogurt also includes calcium and protein, which may help reduce the impact of stress. Watch out for sugar added varieties.

Salmon

Stress increases production of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. The Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have anti-inflammatory properties the may help counteract the effects of these stress hormones. Be sure to look for wild salmon. Just one three-ounce serving can have more than 2,000 mg. of Omega-3s or double the dose recommended by the American Heart Association for people with heart disease.

Blueberries

Blueberries are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients that improve your body’s reaction to stress and may fight free radicals that result from stress.

Dark Chocolate

A square of dark chocolate (70% cocoa) can reduce stress hormones including cortisol. The antioxidants may also cause blood vessel walls to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. Dark chocolate has natural substances that create a feeling similar to being in love!

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Is Happiness Good for Your Health?

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Does a positive attitude impact your health? We know long term, ongoing stress or fear can alter our body systems in a way that may lead to illnesses like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. Ongoing anger and anxiety may even cause changes in the heart’s electrical stability and may be at the root of inflammation.

But can happiness have the adverse effect?

Laura Kubznasky, Harvard School of Public Health Associate Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health says, ““It looks like there is a benefit of positive mental health that goes beyond the fact that you’re not depressed. What that is is still a mystery. But when we understand the set of processes involved, we will have much more insight into how health works.”

A 2007 study at Harvard tracked more than 6,000 men and women 25-74 for twenty years. Kubansky found that enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement in life, and ability to face stresses with emotional balance seems to reduce the risk of heart disease. The effect was measurable, even taking into account behaviors like not smoking and regular exercise.

What are some tools that may help prevent cardiovascular disease?

Try to be optimistic. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends. Work on your ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Make positive lifestyle choices like following a healthy diet and exercise. Avoid unhealthy responses to stress like excess drinking or overeating.

And try to put a smile on your face!

 

 

 

 

 

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Asparagus Soup with Lemon & Parmesan: Seasonal Treat

 

Servings: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cut the tips off of the asparagus spears and set aside. Cut the remaining spears into 1/2-inch pieces.
  3. Add the chopped asparagus (except for the tips) to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until vegetables are very tender.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the reserved asparagus tips for a few minutes until tender-crisp. Drain and refresh under cold water or in an ice bath. Set aside.
  5. Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. (Alternatively, use a standard blender to purée the soup in batches, then return the soup to the pot.) If necessary, pass the soup through a fine sieve to remove the fibers (the best way is to place the sieve over a large bowl, then use a ladle to push the soup through in circular motions). Return the soup to the pot and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the lemon juice and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lemon juice if desired (you may need up to a teaspoon more salt).
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls, then top each bowl with asparagus tips, fresh chopped herbs, more grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and freshly ground black pepper if desired.

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Exercise Beats Vitamin D Supplements to Prevent Injuries in Older Adults

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The New York Times recently reported that regular exercise focused on balance, weight bearing, agility, and strength may help prevent falls leading to injury in older adults.

Finnish researchers conducted a two-year study of 409 women, 70 to 80, who were living at home. The women were assigned to one of four groups. One group took placebo Vitamin D; another took daily Vitamin D supplements but did not exercise. A third group took the placebo supplement but exercised; and a fourth group took Vitamin and exercised. The study can be found online at the JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers found that neither the vitamin supplements nor the exercise impacted the occurrence of falls but those who took Vitamin D without exercise were 16 percent less likely to get injured in a fall. The group that took the placebo plus exercise were 54% less likely to be injured and those who took the supplement and exercised were 62% less likely to be injured.

The researchers believe conditioning plus vitamin D may increase bone density.

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Fluoridated Water Beneficial for Older Adults

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Since fluoridation became the official policy of the US Public Health Service in 1951, the water in many communities has been fluoridated to protect children from cavities but according to a study at Ireland’s Trinity University, that benefit may extend to older adults.

A anecdotal study that was part of the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging conducted at the school of dentistry at Trinity College in Dublin included almost 5,000 adults over the age of 50. Subjects were asked how many teeth they had and in some cases, had their bone density checked by ultrasound. Participants who lived in areas where there was fluoridated water were more likely to have all their teeth. The study showed no impact on bone density, as was previously thought.

Fluoridation began in Ireland in 1964 and by 1970, was prevalent in most urban areas. About 85 percent of the water supply in Ireland is fluoridated.

(As reported in New York Times, March 30, 2015.)

 

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The ABCs of SPF

Woman Applying Sunscreen

Now that spring break is on the horizon, it’s time to restock the beach bag with sunscreen. How do you select the most effective and safest protection?

According to the Environmental Working Group 2014 assessment, only one in three beach and sunscreens on the market last year offered effective skin protection and were free of potentially harmful chemicals or additives.

FDA regulations restricted the “waterproof” and “sweatproof” claims on labels and stopped the sale of powder sunscreens and towelettes too thin to protect from UV rays. Powders contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide nanoparticles, which pose a serious risk when inhaled. The FDA is now considering a ban on sprays for the same reasons.

Broad Spectrum Protection: Just about every sunscreen on the shelves of your local Target or drugstore with an SPF of 15 or above meets the FDA’s standard for broad spectrum protection. Broad spectrum protection, simply put, means protection against UVA and UVB rays. The FDA sets the bar pretty low. The EWG estimates that only half of US sunscreens would make it to the shelves in Europe, where sunscreen makers have complied with restrictive standards.

SPF 50 +: Fifty, thirty, twenty, ten? A sunscreen’s “sun protection factor” is a numerical figure measuring its ability to deflect skin burning UV rays, mostly of the UVB variety. However, the SPF does not reflect the ability to deflect UVA rays, which research has concluded cause skin damage, immune suppression, and possibly even melanoma. People who use high SPF products are more inclined to use less sunscreen, apply less frequently, and spend more time in the sun because they feel they are protected.

Watch Out!: Check out sunscreen labels for some potentially harmful chemicals like  Vitamin A, also listed as retinyl palmitate retinol or retinol, appearing in about 20% of beach and sports moisturizers and 12% of SPF moisturizers. The chemical is also present in regular makeup as an anti-aging component and has been linked to hastened development of skin tumors and lesions on sun-exposed skin. Oxybenzone, in half of beach and sport sunscreens last year may trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Evidence shows the chemical may be a hormone disruptor, which has been detected in urine and breast milk samples, potentially impacting fetal development and children’s health.

Moisturizers and Makeup: Most of us feel at least somewhat protected when we apply our morning moisturizer or makeup with SPF protection but only one in four offer strong enough protection against UVA and UVB rays.

So, what offers the best protection?

  • Limit time in sun.
  • Cover up with hats, shirts, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid sunburn!
  • Do not use a tanning bed or sunbathe.
  • Protect kids! Early sunburns are the most damaging.
  • Pick a sunscreen with strong UVA protection.
  • Examine your skin. Check your skin regularly for new moles that are tender or growing. Ask your primary care doctor how often you should see a dermatologist.

(Info from EWG, Environmental Working Group, 2014.)

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Lollipop Kale: A New Way to Eat Your Greens

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the wearing of the green and those delightful spring days ahead, why not put together a recipe using kale sprouts, a nutty, sweet, nutrition-packed hybrid of Russian Red kale and Brussels sprouts, also known as Lollipop Kale or Kalettes.

Kale Sprouts are full of flavor and are a good source of flavanoids, Vitamins C, K, and B6. They are harvested just as the first leaves bud around the compact head. The leaves range in color from silvery blue to blue grey with crimson veins.

Wash the sprouts and remove the ends. Kale Sprouts can be chopped or left whole. Saute with olive oil and garlic, toss with olive oil and roast at 475 degrees for ten minutes, or grill in a basket. Chop and toss raw in a salad, lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon, perhaps some Parmesan cheese and chopped dates.

Roasted Kalettes with Beets

(From Ocean Mist Farms)

RECIPE INFORMATION

SERVES: 4
PREP TIME: 8 MINUTES
COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

6 ounces KalettesTM
1 (8 ounce) package prepared fresh beets, quartered 1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven to 425 F. On a rimmed baking sheet, add Kalettes, beets and walnuts. Drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes until Kalettes are tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with blue cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Dental and Health Benefits of Chocolate

Dark chocolate

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
– Charles Schultz

Most of us would consider a few Hershey’s Kisses or a handful of M & M’s an indulgence but did you know eating dark chocolate might benefit your dental health?

The cacao plant is rich in flavanols, a phytochemical found in tea, grapes, grapefruit and wine. However, some types of chocolate contain more antioxidants than others, depending on the amount of nonfat cocoa solids.

Dark chocolate is high in tannins, which contribute to the bitter flavor and dark color, polyphenols, and flavanoids, all of which may provide some protection against tooth decay. Tannins may prevent bacteria from sticking to the teeth. Polyphenols neutralize bacteria. Flavanoids may slow the progression of tooth decay.

The antioxidants in dark chocolate may also reduce inflammation, a factor in periodontal or gum disease and cardiovascular disease.

Research has indicated that regularly consuming one ounce of dark chocolate may lower risk for stroke, diabetes, and heart attacks.

Does this mean you should grab a handful of M & M’s or a chocolate bar each day? Not all chocolate is created equal! Chocolate products with higher levels of nonfat cocoa solids will have more antioxidants. Look for chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. Chocolate products may also have added sugar and unhealthy fats including milk fat, partially hydrogenated oil or even coconut or palm oil.

Natural cocoa powder (not Dutch cocoa, which is alkalized) has the highest amount of flavanoids. The second highest is unsweetened baking chocolate, followed by dark chocolate and semisweet chips. Milk chocolate and chocolate syrup provide the lowest amount of antioxidants.

For the maximum benefits, add a square of 70% or higher dark chocolate or even a cup of cocoa to our daily diet but be sure to balance the extra calories with the rest of your daily diet!

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The Tomato: One of Nature’s Healthiest Foods?

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Acai berries.  Kale. Goji Berries. Quinoa.  There always seems to be a “superfood of the day.”

Did you know tomatoes and tomato-based foods can top that list? Tomatoes are a great source of carotenoids such as alpha- and beta-carotene, lutein, and lypocene, which may decrease the risk for certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even obesity.

Tomatoes are also a source of potassium, vitamin A and C, and folic acid, along with a number of antioxidants, some of which may help stabilize blood glucose.

Eating tomatoes with healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil increases absorption of caretenoids anywhere from 2 to 15 times!

Aside from topping a sandwich or salad with sliced tomato, what are some other ways to add the nutrition powerhouse to your daily diet?

  • Dip cherry or grape tomatoes in hummus or make caprese skewers with fresh mozzarella and basil.
  • Add chopped canned or fresh tomatoes to marinara sauce or soup.
  • For a twist on the most popular dish on Pinterest, top multigrain toast with mashed avocado and sliced tomato.

 

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Toothpaste: A Historical Timeline

toothpaste

Did you know the very first toothpastes probably originated around 5000 BC in China Egypt, and India?

Egyptians combined rock salt, dried iris flowers, pepper, and mint, as well as some rather unsavory ingredients like ox-hoof ashes and burnt eggshells.

By the late 1700s, people brushed their teeth with a powder made from — burnt toast!  In 1824, a dentist added soap to the powders. A couple decades later, manufacturers were adding chalk to what was now available as a cream, more closely resembling today’s toothpastes.

In 1873 Colgate had begun to manufacture toothpaste in a jar. Before the turn of the century, Colgate had begun to sell toothpaste in the familiar tube. Dr. Washington Sheffield created a tube more similar to today’s packaging.

Fluoride first made its appearance in toothpaste in 1914. But, believe it or not, soap was still used as an emulsifying agent through World War II!

In the early 1940s, Procter & Gamble began research to find ingredients that would reduce tooth decay, a significant health problem of the time. By 1950, P & G had teamed up with Dr. Joseph Muhler at Indiana University to develop a new toothpaste with fluoride. Clinical studies showed an average 49% reduction in cavities in children 6 – 16 and similar results in adults who had tried the new toothpaste. Crest with Fluoristan was launched in test markets in 1955 and rolled out nationally by January, 1956.

During the 1970s, herbal toothpastes like Tom’s of Maine increased in popularity. Edible toothpastes were originally designed for astronauts who couldn’t swish and spit in space but were reformulated for young children who were prone to swallow.

In 1989, Rembrandt marketed the first whitening toothpaste and many other manufacturers came up with their own versions.

Today, the toothpaste aisle is filled with many variations. What’s your favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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