Starts young

A new study by UK researchers underscores the importance of natural infant nutrition in developing healthy lifelong eating patterns. In the new study, researchers examined the diets of almost 8,000 infants at six months of age and then again at age seven – the latter milestone shown in other research to be a strong predictor of both childhood and adult eating habits. The team found that high fruit and vegetable consumption at six months was a strong predictor of this eating patterns later in childhood, with prepared infant foods having little or no predictive value. In the study, the effect was strongest for children weaned between four and six months and immediately introduced to a plant-rich diet. Learn more about the new study at Healthy Eating Starts Young.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Vargas

Brain health

A new study of factors contributing to lifelong brain health concludes that half of Alzheimer’s cases can be prevented through healthier lifestyle choices. The new study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, counters widespread perceptions that chronic brain impairment with aging is not actionable. The new study involved a meta-analysis of lifestyle and Alzheimer’s diagnosis data covering a global sample set. It concludes that seven specific lifestyle factors combine to account for roughly 50% of the risk of this disease: low educational levels (19%), smoking (14%), physical inactivity (13%), depression (11%), midlife hypertension (5%), midlife obesity (2%), and diabetes (2%). Learn more about the new study and immediate steps you can take today to promote lifelong brain health at Alzheimer’s Study and Lifestyle Changes.

Photo courtesy of Garpen Brain

Jungle banks

Corn and veggie-encrusted baked tilapia up against a bank of greens with diced cucumber, cut pea pods, red onion, tomato pieces, and a few dried berries…garnished with pistachios, parsley, tarragon, and black pepper…

Most walkable

Walk Score has just released its 2011 rankings of the most walkable cities in the United States. Though the data is for the U.S. only, it is an excellent example of the growing trend toward better collection and communication of health and quality of life information at the community and even neighborhood level, using understandable analytics and simple online tools. Imagine similar rankings for sociability, access to nature, longevity, and other health and quality of life measures, all compiled into community profiles and accessible for everyone to see and consider. This coming convergence is sure to promote greater transparency, new quality of life debates, and ultimately better health outcomes in communities around the world. Learn more about the new walkability rankings and check out the cool maps and tools at Most Walkable Cities – and take a walk already!

Photo courtesy of Neathermead

Talkin’ turkey

But no need to apologize…a couple of lean and spiced-up turkey patties with a mixed greens, cut pea pods, diced cucumber, grape tomatoes, a few berries, and just a bit of red onion…garnished with pistachios, parsley, paprika, marjoram, and black pepper. Super satisfying, healthy, and ready in ten…

Good vs. bad

Alain de Botton summarizes the six essays of his worthwhile Consolations in two sentences, “Not everything which makes us feel better is good for us. Not everything which hurts may be bad.” Almost all of us understand this essential idea, but still struggle to overcome our native instincts and intuitions to live fuller and more adaptive lives than simple hedonism allows. A way out of this dilemma involves progressive or natural living – where we develop a life plan for ourselves and then periodically improve it as we work toward its goals, learning from our actions and the world around us as we proceed. The approach is based on natural evolution and relatively simple, and yet often proves quite powerful, surfacing and testing our ideas and assumptions and often remaking our lives in unexpected ways over time. Get information on HumanaNatura’s recommended practice of natural life planning at Developing Your Plan and learn about de Botton’s work at Alain de Botton.

Photo courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eisenerzer_Reichenstein.jpg

Monday mix-up

Here’s a Monday mix-up that can help get your week off to a great start…simple veggie omelet, diced orange, and mixed greens and berries…garnished with pistachios, parsley, paprika, anise, and a bit of red pepper…bring on the week!