Wednesday, December 2, 2015


"Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health."  --Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D.

After seniors watched a funny video in a 2014 study, their cortisol levels dropped and they did better on memory tests. "No matter your age, anything that lowers stress will improve memory."  --Majid Fotuhi, MD, author of Boost Your Brain

Last week’s Wellness Wednesdays’ article was about what happened in a controlled situation when the added sugars consumed by 43 obese children were replaced with the same amount of calories from carbohydrates that were not in the form of high fructose corn syrup and other forms of added sugars.  The results were pretty amazing.  The study, conducted by Dr. Robert Lustig, found that ALL of the 43 children showed improvements in their blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar. 

Considering that we now know that Alzheimer’s starts decades before the first symptom appears, there are millions of reasons – our children – to ensure that all kids have access to healthy foods.  Does food play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s?  Yes.  Given the increasing number of Americans with Alzheimer’s and the devastation and havoc it has on an individual and their family, the obesity epidemic in children is the canary in the coal mine.  Consuming too many calories, especially calories from added sugars with no nutritional value found in products such as sodas and sweet treats made with high fructose corn syrup, leads to obesity which leads to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol.   Controlling blood sugars and preventing diabetes is critical to the long term health of our brains.  So is watching sodium intake and controlling blood pressure.  Increased blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes, which is a heart attack in the brain. 

Food matters to the health of our brains.  So does getting a good night's sleep, keeping stress in check, exercising, enjoying the company of family and friends, and the joys of a good laugh or two or five every day. 

There is one common denominator in every workshop conducted by Growing Healthy Kids:  the message about the importance of avoiding all foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup because of its negative effect on health.  Focusing on making this one change can set our children’s health on an entirely new – and healthier – path.  Given what we know now about foods that are good for brain health, such as olive oil, wild salmon, dark berries, nuts, and green vegetables, let’s all agree to make the change and be role models.  Please put down the high fructose corn syrup and pass the spinach.

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich 
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.