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"Let Food Be Thy Medicine"

May 2018

Jean Varney
Jeannie Varney
 Nutrition Consultant


Welcome to the Eat Right Be Fit Live Well monthly link roundup.
Each week I read many interesting articles relating to nutrition, fitness and wellness. Here are some of my favorites from the past month. While every article may not be relevant to your personal circumstance, I hope at least one will spark your interest and provide you with a healthy tip you can incorporate into your daily routine.  



New studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood:  Chocolate lovers rejoice. Just published, more research confirming that dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa is beneficial to our health. The higher the concentration of cocoa, the greater the benefit. Look for super dark chocolate bars and enjoy a little a few times a week.   (Loma Linda University Health) 

If You Need Proof The Food Industry Doesn't Care About You, Look No Further Than Smucker's "No Sugar Added" Jam:  You know better than to fall for this false advertising claim, right? Please be wary of all "no sugar added" claims. They typically mean a product contains either artificial sweeteners or a different type of sweetener like brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, agave, maple syrup, etc. all of which technically are not "sugar" but are treated by our bodies the same as sugar. They spike blood sugar and insulin, and convert to fat quickly upon ingesting. They also contribute to type II diabetes, heart disease and many cancers. (

Did Drinking Give Me Breast Cancer?  I know you don't want to hear this, but drinking alcohol, red wine included, significantly increases the risk of breast cancer in women and colon cancer in men. Sorry ladies, a mere 1 serving (1/2 cup a day) of red wine is still too much. This article lays out just how the alcohol industry twisted the facts years ago, to make us believe that alcohol, in moderation, was actually good for us. Buzz kill, I know, Sorry! Keep consumption to 2-3 servings a week.   (

20 Medications You Should Never Mix With Alcohol:  Oh dear, i'm guessing most of us are taking at least one of these medications. Check the list and if so, mind the alcohol. ( 

TMAO-Producing Enzyme Shown to Regulate Obesity in Humans:  When our gut bacteria breaks down red meat, eggs, and high fat dairy, it produces TMAO, a product associated with increased risk of obesity, type II diabetes, visceral fat, and increased body mass. A plant-based diet anyone? For optimal health and weight, love your veggies, whole grains, fruit, nuts, seeds, lentils and beans. (

Saturated Fat and Added Sugars Aren't doing Your Midsection Any Favors:  Still a fan of the paleo diet? Think again. Saturated fat found in beef, lamb, pork, dark meat poultry, full fat dairy and coconut and palm oils increases visceral fat which contributes to chronic disease. Enjoy a high fat diet? Me too - just make sure you get your fat from avocado, fatty fish, olives, nuts and seeds, and unrefined vegetable oils. (

The Menopause-Alzheimer's Connection:  Despite this bad news, "research shows that diet can alleviate and mitigate the effects of menopause in women which could minimize the risk of Alzheimer's." So ladies, PLEASE protect your brain by cleaning up your diet. How many of these foods do you consume daily?  (NY

Pasta Just Became The Latest Weight Loss Cure, But We Have Bad News For You:  Have you heard the pasta diet is all the rage? Before you jump in and give it a try, read this. (

The Humble Mushroom is the Newest Superfood:  While I don't believe any food is a "superfood," I do encourage you to consume mushrooms several times a week. They are LOADED with nutrients that fight oxidative stress/inflammation which is known to cause disease and aging. Might be the reason why in many cultures, mushrooms are considered medicinal. Sauté or grill all varieties and eat them as a side dish or mix them in your salads, whole-wheat pasta and/or grain dishes. (

The Sleep Cure: The Fountain of Youth May Be Closer Than You Ever Thought:   Sleep deprivation can cause inflammation - a leading driver of many diseases, including some cancers, cognitive decline, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even chronic pain. It is also tied to obesity. See what happens when you sleep and why it is so important for you to consistently get 7 hours each night. ( 

Life Gets Better After 50: Why Age Tends to Work in Favour of Happiness:  Turning 50 and struggling with this milestone? Don't fret the big 5 0, instead, embrace it. After 50 we typically experience less stress, less desire to "keep up with the Jones", and more time to focus on ourselves, our passions, meaningful relationships and our many blessings. Speaking from experience, despite life's unexpected curve balls, the years keep getting better. (

Forget Sitting Versus Standing. The Real Question Is Should You Squat More?  How many of you can squat for any length of time? Admittedly, I struggle with this pose but have committed to practicing it daily to improve my flexibility. Doing so has helped my back pain! ( 

About Jean Varney 
Jean Varney is the founder and president of Eat Right, Be Fit, Live Well LLC, a health and nutrition consulting firm committed to empowering men and women to improve their health through sustainable changes to their diet and lifestyle.  Based in the Washington DC metropolitan area, Jean coaches clients nationwide by phone and in person.  She focuses on helping individuals make smart choices about the foods they eat in order to maintain high energy levels, avoid unwanted weight gain and decrease their risk of heart disease, cancer, type II diabetes and other chronic illnesses.  Jean received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City.  To learn more about her practice, please visit her website at: