The Diet Detective: 7 Ways to Improve Your Health

Add Veggies and You'll Like Your Meal More—As Well As The Cook 

According to researchers at Cornell University, adding veggies to your meal will improve your perception of dishes (compared to those served without vegetables) as well as your attitude toward the cook.

"The results showed that meals were favored when a vegetable was included, such as steak vs. steak with broccoli, but also received better descriptions such as 'loving' for the same meal.

They also chose much more positive descriptors for the meal preparer that served a vegetable, including much more frequent selection of 'thoughtful,' 'attentive' and 'capable,' accompanied by a decrease in the selections of 'neglectful, 'selfish' and 'boring.'"
 
So make sure to include vegetables in all your meals—your family and friends will thank you. 

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Green Tea Can Decrease Blood Sugar Spikes

Penn State scientists found that when mice were fed an antioxidant in green tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) at the same time they were given cornstarch, their blood sugar spiked much less than when they were given the cornstarch alone.
 
There was a 50 percent reduction in blood sugar with a dose equivalent to about 1.5 cups of green tea for a human. The green tea needs to be consumed while you're eating the starch, not after. "Green tea could help (people to) control the typical blood sugar increases that are brought on when they eat starchy foods, like breads and bagels that are often a part of typical breakfasts."

Interestingly, the EGCG had no significant effect on blood sugar spikes in mice that were fed glucose or maltose, according to the researchers. Don't add sugar to your green tea, it will probably counteract the positive effects.

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Boost Brain Levels and Slow Alzheimer's with Physical Activity

More than 35 million people are suffering from dementia, according to the World Health Organization, but being more active could help. Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles, found that an active lifestyle helps preserve gray matter in the brains of older adults and could reduce dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  Dr. Raji and colleagues looked at 20 years of data from 876 participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study whose average age was 78.  

They reviewed lifestyle factors, including recreational sports, gardening and yard work, bicycling, dancing and riding an exercise cycle. Then they used MRI and voxel-based morphometry to model the relationships between energy output and gray matter volume.

Larger gray matter volume means a healthier brain. Shrinking volume is seen in Alzheimer's disease. And "greater caloric expenditure was related to larger gray matter volumes in the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes, including the hippocampus, posterior cingulate and basal ganglia."
 
Dr. Raji believes the increase in physical activity increases cerebral blood flow and strengthens neuronal connections.

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