Magnesium-Rich Foods Could Help Prevent Diabetes

An estimated 23.6 million Americans —including one out of four people aged 60 or older—have Type 2 diabetes. Roughly 5.7 million of them don’t know it. And 57 million others have pre-diabetes.

However, there is evidence that magnesium-rich foods can help prevent Type-2 diabetes.

Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely than others to have a stroke or to die of heart disease.

Healthy Food Quiz: Questions and Answers to Help You Fight Disease

Most people know that calcium is good for bones, fiber is good for constipation, and iron is good for blood, to name a few. But once you go beyond the basics, the picture gets murky.

Here’s a healthy food quiz (questions and answers included) to see how well you know which foods or nutrients can prevent or promote which diseases.

Feel free to cheat. The questions aren’t really a test of how well you read (and remember) every issue of Nutrition Action. They’re just a sneaky way to get you to look at the answers, which contain a wealth of information on how your diet affects your health.

The Extra Benefits of Walking Daily You Might Not Know

Staying active can help keep your brain in good shape, say two studies that tracked exercise and mental decline over time.

And the extra benefits of walking daily are clear in these studies.

In the first, which followed more than 2,200 Hawaiian men aged 71 to 93, those who walked the least (less than a quarter mile a day) were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those who walked the most (more than two miles a day) over the next seven years. Men who walked between a quarter and one mile a day had a 70 percent increased risk.

In a second study, which tracked nearly 19,000 women aged 70 to 81 for at least nine years, those who exercised the most had a 20 percent lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who exercised the least. Women who walked for at least 11/2 hours a week scored better on memory, attention, and other tests than women who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

Antioxidants and Cancer: What Are the Antioxidant Benefits?

Antioxidants and cancer were supposed to be bitter enemies. We were told antioxidant benefits also included a reduction in heart disease, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, cataracts and macular degeneration. Antioxidant vitamins (C, E, and beta-carotene) were supposed to help prevent all of them.

So far, the three antioxidants (plus zinc) have succeeded with only one: slowing the pace of macular degeneration in older people who already have the eye disease.

“The randomized trials for antioxidants have been very disappointing,” says Harvard’s JoAnn Manson, who led the Women’s Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, the Women’s Folic Acid Study, and other major trials.

The Risks of Eating and Drinking Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, which comes from a succulent plant, is sold as a juice and is added to foods, supplements, and skin care products. But just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to eat.

Carefully conducted studies by the U.S. government concluded that there was “clear” evidence that aloe vera extracts caused intestinal cancers in male and female rats, but not mice, when consumed. (Applying aloe vera on the skin is not likely to cause harm.)

Why Sitting is Bad (And How to Get Off Your Duff)

Sitting for hours on end can hurt more than your back end, say two studies.

British researchers tracked 153 younger and 725 older adults who all had risk factors for diabetes. Each participant wore an accelerometer to measure how much time he or she spent sedentary or engaged in moderate-to-vigorous exercise (like running or brisk walking) for at least a week. The results helped researchers hone in on why sitting is bad for people who are at risk for health problems such as diabetes.

Do Intermittent Fasting Benefits Include Living Longer?

“We’ve known for a long time that if you reduce the calorie intake of rats or mice, they live much longer,” says Mark Mattson, chief of the laboratory of neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Baltimore. Do these intermittent fasting benefits carry over to humans?

What happens in species closer to humans is more complicated. Rhesus monkeys fed 30 percent fewer calories lived longer in a study at the University of Wisconsin, but not in a study at the NIA.