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Richard’s Almanac: Forget apples — Brazil nuts keep the doctor away


I found some interesting nuggets in the most recent AARP webletter that I figured were worthwhile to pass along.

After all, we’re always interested in ways we can ensure good health and increase that longevity factor. Tips are also offered on how to avoid holiday scams and the importance of good dental health in our later years.

At the recent AARP conference, research was presented that showed that Brazil nuts seem to be best for snacking and not gaining weight.

According to Mee Young Hong, a professor at San Diego State University, Brazil nuts have a high amount of the mineral selenium which makes a hormone that regulates body weight.

He said that he compared the impact of pretzels and Brazil nuts to see their effects on blood sugar. The pretzels caused the sugar to go up while the Brazil nuts stabilized the sugar levels.

It has always been known that nuts are a good source of protein and fiber and fats.
“All of these nutrients take longer to process and absorb, so the sensation of satiety lasts for a longer period,” Hong said.

But don’t go overboard with the Brazil nuts. Too many can cause fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, rashes and bad breath.

Other suggestions for good heart health include not eating after 6 p.m. and weighing yourself daily.

Recent experiments have shown that eating 30 percent of your day’s calories after 6 p.m. increases your risk of high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.

I have always heard that weight gain is one of the most important factors in the aging process. So keep a scale near your bed or in the bathroom and step on it on a daily basis just to keep an eye on weight fluctuations. It’s kind of like taking your blood pressure regularly to keep track of changes.

Meanwhile, the webletter gave some interesting results of recent studies on maintaining good dental health. I grew up with a father who was a dentist so regular tooth and gum maintenance was part of my life. White, shiny, straight and cavity-free teeth were always the goal.

But now, with aging mouths, we have to be very much aware of periodontal disease — inflammation and infection of the gums which can adversely affect the rest of the body.

According to studies, severe periodontal problems can lead to problems such as Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, heart disease and erectile dysfunction in men.

Meanwhile, seniors are urged to keep an eye out for holiday scams designed to get their money.

There are the gift card scams. Make sure that you buy your card in packages with unbroken seals and never buy gift cards on an auction site. And never pay anyone with a gift card.

“Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always, always, always a scammer,” says Jennifer Leach, assistant director of the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education.

Also be on the lookout for fake retail websites and donation scams.

I believe that if you are not skilled with online buying, do your shopping the old fashioned way and do it on the Island.