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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocoholics Celebrate!

Chocolate improving brain function? Sounds to good to be true? It's not, if you're eating the right chocolate.
According to research by the American Heart Association, having your daily chocolate fix could improve your cognitive function.
Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, contains antioxidants called flavanols. It can contain great quantities of flavanols if the cocoa hasn't been alkalized (which is called non-Dutched cocoa). The Dutch process destroys 60-90% of the natural cocoas original antioxidants (flavanols). So choose a chocolate bar that is 70% , 80%, or even 90% non-Dutch cocoa.
Small amounts of flavanols occur in grapes, red wine and apples but large quantities occur in green tea and natural cocoa. These flavanols have been linked with a decreased risk of dementia. They are believed to directly protect the neurons (your brain cells), improve your metabolism and maintain memory capacity. Flavanols benefit us by stimulating the body's antioxidant network, boosting blood flow to the brain and moderates immune system signals.
Alzheimer's & other forms of dementia effects 1 in 8 people age 65 or older and is the sixth leading cause of death in the US (2012 Alzheimers Disease Facts & Figures). It is encouraging to find the possibility that regular consumption of these flavanols could be a measure of prevention for lowered cognitive performance.
During a study, 90 elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment consumed specific amounts of flavanols for 8 weeks. After the study they were then retested and measured the patients decision making/ judgement functions, working memory, short term memory, long-term memory, mental processing speed and overall cognitive ability.
When comparing the scores, researchers found positive changes in the groups that consumed the largest amounts of cocoa (520-990 mg 3 times per day).
These patients had higher cognitive scores, reduced insulin resistence, blood pressure reduction, reduced oxidative stress, greatly improved visual acuteness and a significantly improved working memory, task switching and verbal memory.
Other highlights of research studies on cocoa flavanols show:
1. Regular consumption increases blood flow to the brain which could have promising effects on cognitive performance.
2. Regular consumption in postmenopausal women resulted in increased blood flow in those who had high cholesterol, suggesting it may improve vascular function.
3. Has been shown to decrease the potential formation of blood clots which may reduce the events that can lead to vascular damage.
So next time you reach for dessert drop the cake and ice cream and reach for cocoa instead. Sit back and enjoy yourself while reducing insulin resistence, blood pressure, increase your overall memory and blood flow!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oral Health and Longivity

Brushing and flossing properly and regularly, seeing you dentist at least twice a year can actually save your life! Research shows that if you have gum disease and it is treated promptly and completely, your blood vessel health will improve in as little as 6 months. Dr. Bertolini also checks his patients for oral cancer at each examination. Here are some tips to keep your mouth healthy, which will keep you healthy! Brush twice daily, in the morning & before bed. Brush throuoghly - click to watch a video Brush your tongue, remember that white coating we get in the morning is plaque & if you get rid of it, you get rid of bad breath and the breeding ground for bacteria. Use a mouth rinse containing xylitol. The benefits of xylitol are many, read our previous blog about it for more info (titled What is xylitol? June 10, 2010.) Floss daily!! Click to watch video. See your dentist 2 or more times of year. Avoid sticky sweet foods, the prolonged contact causes damage to your teeth. Don't smoke. Tobacco increases your risk of gum disease & makes the disease more difficult to treat. If you need resources to stop smoking, visit our website.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Can What You Eat Affect How You THINK?!

We are all aware that eating excess sugar can lead to tooth decay but did you know that it can also effect your ability to think? All commonly used sugars are made up of glucose & fructose. Whether it is cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, in excess either will promote disease and dull your brain's ability for memory and learning. The American Heart Association has stated that "High intake of sugars, as opposed to naturally occurring sugars[in plant foods and juices], is implicated in the rise of obesity. It's also associated with increased risks for high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, other risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and inflammation..." (AHA 8/2009). Fruits do contain fructose (4-10g) per serving but they also provide antioxidants, vita C, potassium and fiber. And these are all needed to combat the ill effects of fructose. The Main risk for exessive fructose consumption in our diet comes from sweetened drinks and foods rich in cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, not real fruit or juice. Sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet. One 12 oz can of soda has about 130 calories which come from an entire ounce of corn syrup or cane sugar that the drink contains. Whether its your problem is your overall weight, health issues, tooth decay or memory problems...all the research seems to point in one directions: real, whole foods are vastly superior to comercially processed 'convience' foods for your body. So, if you're the food planner for your family try to focus on cutting back on packaged items you purchase for meals. This will cut back on calories, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup especially when you increase your intake of veggies, fish, whole grains, fruits and fiber. Not only will your teeth thank you, your whole body will!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to Floss Your Teeth

First measure an arm's length of floss. Wrap one end around your index finger and hold the other end with your index finger and thumb. Using a back and forth motion slide the floss under the gum line gently and then away.
Flossing seems easy enough, but you'll want to make sure you're doing it right to maximize the benefits of all your effort. Compare your flossing techniques to the steps below, and make adjustments to your routine wherever necessary.

· Break off just over an arm's length of floss.

· Loosely wind about six inches of floss around your middle finger and use your thumb to hold it in place.

· Hold and straighten the floss with the thumb and pointer finger of your other hand.

· Use a gentle back and forth motion to guide the floss between your teeth.

· Make sure to never "snap" the floss into your gums.

· When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it against your tooth and gently slide it under your gums and then away from your gum line.

· Wind the used floss around your middle finger as you go.

Learning how to floss teeth properly can be the difference between a clean, healthy mouth and one riddled with tooth decay and gum disease. Keep in mind that while there are no guarantees when it comes to your dental health, solid oral hygiene habits, combined with regular visits to our office, is the best insurance your teeth have. Remeber: your smile lasts a lifetime!