Choose to Win and Learn What's News In Health

Who can think of much else than the environment and the flooding in Texas? Dreadful, really!

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Topics: womens health, grandparenting, nutrition, parenting, senior health, mens health, childrens health, teens

The Magic Of Olive Oil


The Mediterranean Diet is still highly regarded incorporating the magic use of olive oil.

An analysis quoted (2014, Wikipedia) showed that an elevated use of olive oil is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality-cardiovascular events, stroke and type 2 diabetes. That olive oil use cut cancer death by 6% and that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, slower cognitive decline as well as less incidence of Parkinson ’s disease.

One of the keenly cited benefits is the use of olive oil, which contains monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid.  Olive oil protects via polyphenols against the oxidation of blood lipids.  

[ii]Regular consumption of olive oil is associated with increased longevity and preventing cardiovascular risk factors including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity as well as certain cancers including digestive and breast cancer. Though this article calls for more definitive research, this and another article says that olive oil is seen as being an:

  • Antihypertensive
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Anti-thromotic[iii]

Virgin olive oil is the one rich in phenolic compounds[iv] and is said that daily ingestion of this is beneficial and a key food for protection from cardiovascular issue.  It may be that extra virgin olive oil can be problematic because it is extremely perishable and can easily go rancid[v]. Perhaps semi-refined oil is better to use instead.  When oil is exposed to light or air it oxidizes and the chlorophyll in extra virgin olive oil accelerates this oxidation. Spoiled oil will do more harm than good (Mercola) .

So keep your olive oil in a cool dark place and close the cap immediately--plus perhaps buy small amounts at a time or transfer to smaller containers to mitigate oxidation.


Heating vegetable oil and cooking with olive oil is said to change the oil into an oxidant rather than an anti-oxidant-- because at high temperatures, it burns.

It is recommended to use coconut oil to cook with and olive oil when cold![vi]   

To tell if you have olive oil gone bad it:

  • smells like crayons or putty
  • tastes like rancid nuts and
  • has a greasy mouthfeel.   

Mercola indicates that corn, soy, safflower and canola oil are highly damaged by heat and can clog arteries.  He further warns as well about processed foods like potato chips, pre-made cookies and microwave dinners. They use trans-fats which raise LDL and is linked to heart disease.

Recently[vii] a review of 23 publications was done to see if heating vegetable oil increased the risk of chronic disease. The survey concluded that high use of fried foods is related to weight gain.  Our Team is inclined to go with the oxidation theory however--and chooses not to heat olive oil. We recommend that you check with a a qualified nutritionist. 


We are using coconut oil for cooking.  

We can choose!  Choose to Win!

  Click for news and alerts  from theTeam on behalf of Robin Quivers 


[i] Mediterranean diet Wikipedia

[ii] Br J Nutr 2015 Apr; 113 Suppl 2:S 94-101. Doi: 10.1017/S0007114003936. The role of olive oil in disease prevention: a focus on the recent epidemiological evidence from cohort studies and dietary intervention trials. Buckland G, et al.

[iii] Br J Nutr April 2015; Suppl 2:S94-101. Doi:10.1017/S000711451`4003936. The role of olive oil in disease prevention:a focus on the recent epidemiological evidence from cohort studies and dietary intervention trials. Buckland G, et al.

[iv] Br J Nut 2015 April;113 Suppl 2:S19-28. Doi: 10.1017/S007114515000136. Virgin olive oil: a key food for cardiovascular risk protection Covas MI, et al.

[v] New Warning about Olive Oil  Oct 20, 2010

[vi] Coconut oil vs Vegetable oils: What Oil Should You Be Cooking with and Which Should You Avoid?

[vii] Br J Nutr 2015 Apr; 113 Suppl 2:S36-48. Doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002931 Does cooking with vegetable oils increase the risk of chronic diseases?: a systematic review. Sayon-Orea C, et al.

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Topics: womens health, grandparenting, nutrition, parenting, senior health, mens health, teen's health

Care-giving Made Easier


"“Please secure your own oxygen mask, before assisting others” The flight attendants instruction.  We know this and as care-givers it is not so easy to remember.  Forgetting this key principle is so human that we wanted to post some guidelines that you can use during this trying time.

When our own needs are met, we can do our job as caregivers, best.  

And conversely, when we are overwhelmed, we cannot.

Statistics show that if you are:

  • a caregiving spouse between the age of 66 and 96 and are experiencing stress, your risk of death is 63% higher than other who are not in your situation.
  • a baby boomer who is caregiver for a parent, working and raising adolescent kids, you are at risk for depression, chronic illness and your quality of life may decline. 


The facts from the Family Caregiving Alliance are that family caregivers do not practice preventive healthcare nor self-care compared to their non-caregiving counterparts.

They report:

  • not sleeping
  • not eating well,
  • lack of exercise and
  • ignoring their own health conditions[ii] such as high blood pressure or obesity and
  • issues with focus or memory.

Dementia patients come with their own challenges for caregivers. Caregivers may become depressed and anxious and those whose loved ones have dementia are found to have higher levels of cortisol or stress hormones. The patients are agitated or aggressive and perhaps wander which can cause more stress for loved ones.

Caregivers also can tend to eat too much, smoke, drink or use drugs. While caregiving can be rewarding and create a bond with loved ones-- caregiving can be exhausting, physically and mentally challenging and financially devastating.   

For example, out of pocket spending for families with dementia patients averaged $61,522 over a recent five year period -81% higher than for those who died from other causes.       

And not unlike the flight attendant’s directive, we need to be clear that it is not being selfish when we take care of our own needs first.

Ask for what you want and what you need—no one is expecting you to handle two lives by yourself!  And if you deny help and cannot ask, then ask yourself what are you trying to prove and to whom?

Sometimes we think that no one else will step up and that it is our problem only-our cross to bear. Or we tell ourselves that only we are responsible or that we promised or we have the belief that we cannot turn outside the family for help.  These are things we tell ourselves and we need to look and see if they are really true and what these beliefs are costing us.

One National Institute of Health effort called REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health)[iii] showed that caregivers really need outside support.  


Things you can do to manage your caregiving healthfully!

  • Review what hospital classes are available to take to learn about the best care. Or look online for what care is best for your loved one so you can better help them.
  • Observe the warning signs for help from others. And if you are tired, depressed, have weight changes or loneliness, then take action.
  • Be on top of all of the financial angles--the covered costs your loved one might be entitled to through Medicare, Medicaid and privately.
  • Incorporate creative ways to relieve your stress symptoms and include meditation, taking daily breaks and walks in nature if you can.  Seek someone you can trust to spell for you for short periods. And remember a massage is good for body, mind and spirit.
  • Non-paid leave-check this out. If you are working this can be available under the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act-providing up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • Quit telling yourself that you have to do it all –don’t ignore your own needs-your food intake, socialization needs, fun--all of your well-being needs. 
  • Utilize daytime, group-caregiving resources in your community such as day programs, music events, etc..This is great for your loved one as well.
  • Inner Strength-rely on this so that you can get organized and set up caregiving that is workable for yourself and your loved one!
  • Visit your doctor regularly and your dentist!
  • Exercise even if it is 5 minutes to start the first week every day to build up to 30 minutes 5 times a week will make a huge difference in your physical and mental well-being.
  • Resourcefulness. Get hold of the National Eldercare Locator or Area Agency on Aging for local services. There is much out there to support you during caregiving! Enlist other family members as well to help find resources. A team approach is best!
  • Sleep enough!Click for news and alerts  from theTeam on behalf of Robin Quivers 


[i] The Family Caregiving Association FCA Taking Care Of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers

[ii] NIH In the News Coping with Caregiving Take Care of Yourself While Caring for Others


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Topics: womens health, grandparenting, nutrition, sleep, rest, meditation, senior health, exercise, caregiving, mens health, seniors

Adolescent Brains "It's What They Do!"

No this is not a Geico ad, but with the explosion of brain mapping technology in the recent decade, there have been many studies looking at various parts of adolescent brains to try and make sense of why some kids are risk-takers and may get depression and why some kids don’t get depressed/don’t take risks. 

Many studies have shown that increasing activity in a certain area called the mesolimbic dopaminergic reward system serves to increase risky behavior in adolescents. This increases the propensity of some kids being more sensitive to peer pressure- or social evaluation and loss.  Some studies have shown the opposite.

A study last year revealed information which could enable you to be "in action" to support your teen and understand what their brains go through. Neuroplasticity-brain stimulation is adaptive. We see that activation in the brain cuts across species and cultures.  Brains being stimulated seem more related to what is occuring and with what other area of the brain gets paired with the ventral striatum as it is activated.  

Contrary to previous work where heightened activity in certain brain regions orients adolescents toward more risky behaviors, more activation in the ventral[i] striatum can be actually useful to teens by increasing persistence in thinking, regulating emotion, decreasing depression and damping risk-taking behavior. 

Most studies of adolescents show that increased ventral striatum activation is linked with drug and alcohol use and resultant anxiety and depression--showin that such kids push the rules or break them altogether. 

Newer research suggests a more complex situation and that for example, some of this behavior is adaptive for independence, decision making, cognition function, regulation of emotions and positive influences.  It is now thought that individual differences in these striatal responses represent differences in learning and adaptation.

ACTUALLY IT IS THIS  AREA of brain activity in adolescents--that if it is associated with risky behavior is considered a vulnerability---and if it is directed toward pro-social behavior and actions, may have a significant implication for well-being and a source of protection to compromised health.

In fact, adolescents who showed the greatest ventral stratum activation when they were pro-social and at those times showed the greatest declines in depression and risk-taking. Those who showed the greatest activity in their ventral area of the brain also showed the greatest improvements in cognitive persistence and were most influenced by peers to engage in less risk-taking. Those who had the greatest brain activity during difficult working memory tasks scored the highest performance and those who had the greatest increases in stimulayion of this area of the brain when processing emotion showed the greatest declines in risk-taking.

Author, Telzer, concludes that stimulation differences are dependent on how this area of the brain can be coupled with other areas of the brain-the orbitofrontal cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, ventromedial PFC, amygdala and hippocampus.   

Findings such as the following have implications for desirable behavior in teens:

  • making risky choices alone or in the presence of peers, show the ventral striatum to be significantly active.
  • when making safe choices in the presence of mother the ventral striatum appears to function with another area of the brain-which is not occurring when making safe choices alone.
  • When the peer group is not risky or when mother is watching, less risky choices are made.  
[ii] There is brain activation based on the importance and rewarding nature of family assistance. 
  • It appears that the more reward that adolescents gain from providing assistance to their family, the more their risk-taking behaviors decreased over the high school years.
  • In general, those with more pro-social behavior are more likely to engage less in risky behaviors.                                      

Involve your kids in the family and the community.  Have them push the limits to see what is possible to create a better world! They are going to push the limits anyway. Why not pair it with something that will ensure their health and well-being protection life-long!

You can choose for your family!

Choose to win!

Click for news and alerts  from theTeam on behalf of Robin Quivers 


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Topics: grandparenting, parenting, teens