Everyone loved the X Games and the thrill of Marcus Kleveland’s gold-medal performance in Snowboard Slopestyle this year in Aspen, Colorado. But we’re even bigger fans of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s version. Its Xtreme Eating Awards gives “prizes” (the Worst Visceral Effects) to the Xtreme Eating opportunities at chain restaurants. In 2017, the prize went to this calorie-dense concoction: Chili’s Ultimate Smokehouse Combo, coming in at 2,440 calories, 41 grams of saturated fat and 7,610 milligrams of sodium.
If you chowed down on that, not only would you stoke the flames of inflammation, bewilder your guts and terrorize your heart’s blood-pumping chambers, you’d damage your brain’s ability to let you know when you’re full.
Researchers presented evidence at the recent Canadian Neuroscience Meeting that showed that the brain’s natural endocannabinoid signaling process (cannabinoids like THC also are present in marijuana) operates in a brain region involved in evaluating taste, touch and smell. When that’s working as it should, you know when you’re done eating. But if you regularly pack in calorie-dense foods, your brain can be physically altered and those cannabinoids make you always eager to eat! You’ll develop permanent munchies for calorie-dense foods. Yuck!
So, if you’re going for Xtreme health over Xtreme calories, you need to help your brain get straight! Stock up on calorie-light foods; try a second helping of steamed greens, with lemon garlic; 4 cups of raw spinach contains 28 calories! Stick with broiled salmon; 6 ounces equals 300 calories. Half a cup of brown rice has 150 calories. That’s Xtremely smart!
Kids, slash your risk for diabetes by 64 percent
“It goes without saying,” wrote columnist Erma Bombeck, “that you should never have more children than you have car windows.” While she was thinking about keeping the tykes entertained (in a pre-digital world) and preventing squabbling in the back seat, she could have been talking about the windows of opportunity that parents have to make sure their kids grow into healthy adults who do not develop Type 2 diabetes.
Writing in the journal Population Health Management, the Institute for Alternative Futures estimates that the prevalence of diabetes will increase by 54 percent, to more than 54.9 million Americans between 2015 and 2030; and total annual medical and societal costs related to diabetes will increase 53 percent to more than $622 billion by 2030.
But, according to research published in Diabetes Care, you can help redefine that future. If your kids are able to avoid becoming obese (currently about 17 percent of kids 2 to 19 are obese/12.7 million) or can reverse their obesity by age 25, they slash their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when they hit middle age by an astounding 64 percent.
The tools to achieve this are in everyone’s grasp: regular physical activity (at least 30 effort-filled minutes a day); seven to nine servings of fruits and veggies daily and only 100 percent whole grains; and dodging red and processed meats. That can transform today and tomorrow for individuals -- and help ease the tremendous financial burden of diabetes and its complications that harm families and society.
to lift depression
Humans have set some wacky, but impressive, weightlifting records: Most weight lifted using teeth? 620 pounds. Most weight lifted with the little finger? 242 pounds. And 182 pounds is the record weight lifted with an ear using a clamp.
We hope you’re not trying these risky forms of weightlifting. But if you’re not experimenting with some form of strength training, we suggest you give it a try. Not only has resistance/strength training been linked to better heart health and stronger muscles and bones, but now a new review shows that there’s good evidence that lifting weights and doing resistance exercise also can lift your mood.
An international mix of researchers from Iowa State University, as well as Sweden and Ireland, reviewed more than 30 studies on resistance training, with 1,877 participants, and found that this type of exercise was associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms.
So if you contend with anxiety, apathy, low mood or sadness, try resistance training. You don’t have to be a world-class lifter, you can use your own body weight as resistance doing squats, push-ups and planks, or try stretchy tubes or bands that work arms, legs, glutes and more. If you do 20 to 30 minutes three days a week, you’ll begin to feel the mood-lifting benefits pretty quickly. Add 30 minutes of aerobics, like interval walking, five days a week, and you’ll discover how powerful improved circulation, strength and coordination are when it comes to both your physical and psychological well-being.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.