Issue: # 9

October 2010


Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo with HealthCare Insights, LLC



Hello Friends,

Now that summer is gone we hope that you are ready for some cooler weather and fun fall times.  As it gets cooler it’s time for heart warming foods and warm blankets.  What foods can keep you warm? Nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains.

It’s time for you to go crazy for nuts this fall!  Nuts are high in minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and essential fatty acids. There are many delicious ways to include nuts in your every day life.  One way to make a delicious dish highlighting nuts is to make Nancy’s Nut Pate.  Not only does this dish include nuts, veggies & nuts, it’s brain healthy and tasty too!

Intrigued about nuts? The article that follows goes more in depth about why these odd shaped treats are so good for you.


Go Nuts!
All nuts and seeds provide antioxidants, fiber, and healthy types of fat that help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels. A daily handful of almonds or hazelnuts, and certain seeds, helps provide Vitamin E – an essential brain cell protector. Recommended portions size is 1.5-3 oz/day as calories are relatively high (150-200 calories/oz for most nuts).  Clinical research suggests however that people adding nuts to their usual diet do NOT gain weight, possibly because nuts are so filling people naturally cut back on other foods, and perhaps nuts also assist metabolism.  Since we are all different, observe results for yourself.  To limit sodium intake choose unsalted versions if possible; nuts themselves usually contain very little sodium.

Nuts and seeds are stars among brain healthy foods, and eating a daily portion of a variety will help you reduce LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, oxidative stress and inflammation, all risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and some other brain diseases. Nuts and seeds are whole foods rich in plant proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and other antioxidants and phytosterols, consumed by humans throughout human history, but neglected in more recent decades.  Nuts and seeds are increasingly recommended to help people prevent or treat heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases that are themselves risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.

Only almonds (Chauhan 2005 and walnuts (Chauhan 2010 have been looked at specifically for impact on Alzheimer’s-related pathology, using AD transgenic mice. Both studies (by the same researcher, Abha Chauhan at New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities) found significant positive effects on both lowering the problem A-beta protein and improving cognition in AD transgenic mice.  Yet almond’s prominent feature is vitamin E and high mono-unsaturated fatty acid content and walnut’s is their high Omega-3 content. The most recent study found that a dietary addition of the equivalent for humans of just 1 to 1.5 oz of walnuts in the Alzheimer’s mice (who were previously impaired) diet improved learning, memory, emotional regulation and motor coordination.

Perhaps Alzheimer’s researchers will next look at pistachios featured recently by Tufts Nutrition Letter: “Penn State researchers report that pistachios not only lower “bad” cholesterol but also pack a potent antioxidant punch. Pistachios contain higher amounts of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, gamma-tocopherol and lutien than most other nuts, which may help pistachios combat inflammation in the body. ”  Gamma-tocopherol has been reported by AD researchers (Martha Morris and others) to be especially important for the brain.  A 1-oz serving of pistachios, with 160 calories, also offers an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and magnesium; and are a good source of fiber, thiamin and phosphorus. (

Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of plant protein and fiber. Fiber provides a feeling of satiety and helps decrease harmful LDL cholesterol by binding it in the intestinal tract and reducing its absorption. Plant sterols are another prominent group of compounds found in nuts and seeds. Plant sterols are believed to lower serum cholesterol levels thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Nuts and seeds are also a great source of healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats help raise the “good” HDL cholesterol without contributing to a rise in the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.  Researchers have observed a decrease in cardiovascular disease in persons who include mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids in their diets. In addition, dietary intake of unsaturated fats has been shown to lower blood pressure, prevent blood clot formation, protect against irregular heart rhythm, and reduce inflammation.

A recent meta-analysis of 25 previous studies confirms this finding  (see Joan Sabate, MD, Dr.PH lead author’s article in Journal of Nutrition, June, 2010. abstract at  ) Most of the reviewed studies focused on almonds and walnuts; the average amount consumed by people in the intervention groups was 2.4 oz. The length of the studies ranged from 3 to 8 weeks. Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter report states, “Compared to control groups, participants adding nuts to their diets saw an average 5.1% decrease in total cholesterol, 7.4% decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol, and 8.3% improvement in ratio of LDL to “good” HDL. Those with high triglyceride levels saw a 10.2% decline. Different types of nuts had similar effects.”

We agree with Dr. Sabate’s statement in Achives of Internal Medicine that “Dietary interventions to lower blood cholesterol concentrations and to modify blood lipoprotein levels are the cornerstone of prevention and treatment plans for coronary heart disease,” and suggest they are also the cornerstone of prevention and treatment plans for many brain diseases.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids include vegetable type Omega-3s (ALA) and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 3’s and 6’s are essential fatty acids which cannot be produced in the body so we must eat them as part of our diet. The body uses essential fatty acids to make eicosanoids, a group of compounds that participate in the immune response to injury and infection.

Nuts and seeds are also high in antioxidants, most notably Vitamin E. Almonds and hazelnuts are known to be especially high in vitamin E, and brazil nuts, peanuts and pine nuts are “good” sources (see Nutty Table #2 and our August Newsletter) Antioxidants play a key role in reducing oxidative stress caused by the environment as well as chemical reactions in the body as part of metabolism. Eating more antioxidants may reduce cancer risks by protecting cell DNA from damage.

Other beneficial components found in nuts and seeds include the B-vitamins (including folate, niacin and thiamine) and minerals such as copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur (see Nutty Table #2 on our website).  The B vitamins are critical to maintaining healthy brain function, both for mood and cognition.  B vitamins are also important as coenzymes in metabolism and for helping to lower blood homocysteine levels. Research shows an association between elevated blood homocysteine and a higher risk of coronary heart disease, so keeping homocysteine levels low is recommended.

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are found in many nuts and seeds with highest amounts in macadamia nuts  (79% of total fat is MUFA!), almonds (65%), cashews (59%), pecans (62%), hazelnuts, pistachios, and peanuts (50%). But for Walnuts it is only 23% .  Walnuts are prized for their high Omega-3 and Omega 6 content. Sesame seeds also contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats.

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in higher quantities only inwalnuts and some pine nuts, and also in flax seed and flax seed and canola oils.  The Omega-6 fatty acids are particularly high in walnuts, with some found in most nuts, and high quantities also are found in pumpkin (pepita) seeds and sunflower seeds.


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Save 20% on any nutritional supplements ordered on-line in October and November 2010
Go to our website:

Offer Expires: November 30th, 2010




Have You Heard About This Exciting Website?

Have you wanted to make veggies and fruits more exciting for you and your family?  Here is an exciting new website that is paving the way for more fruits and veggies to get into your diet! This website has exciting things like menu planners for the week that includes shopping lists, ideas for 100 calories snacks (not prepackaged), reasons why we should have more fruits and veggies, new exciting recipes, and so much more.

Think your the only one that has a hard time getting your child and yourself to eat more veggies?  Guess again!  This website has a community page that helps you see how people in your area are winning the battle to make fruits and veggies more important. It also has the top 10 ways to get your child involved and help them to start thinking about veggies and fruits.

This website doesn’t only talk about veggies and fruits though…it also has a nut database showing why nuts are also an important part of your diet! This website seems to have endless helpful options.


Public invited to presentations by Dr. Emerson Lombardo Oct 16th, 21st and 26th, and Nov 9th, 10th, 17th and 18th, Dec 8th.
See Dr. Emerson Lombardo in Person!

October 16th, 2010: You Are What You Eat!
This free event will be held in Boston, MA at Compass on the Bay, 1380 Columbia Road, Boston, MA 02127. This event runs from 11:00am-12:00pm. Check out the events page at

October 21st, 2010: Brain Food: For Smart Kids and Adults
This free event will be held in Brookline, MA at the Friends Childcare Place, 110 Cypress Street, Brookline, MA 02445. This event runs from 6:00-8:00m. Seating in Limited. Check out the events page at

October 26th, 2010: Evidence Based Recommendations for Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Cambridge, MA at The Cambridge Homes, 360 Mt. Auburn St, Cambridge MA 02138. This event runs from 4:00-5:30pm.  Brain Healthy refreshments will be served.  Check out the events page at

November 9th, 2010: Food for Thought: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain
This free event will be held in Duxbury , MA at the Duxbury Council on Aging, 10 Mayflower St , Duxbury , MA 02332 .  This event runs from 5:00-7:30pm.  Lite dinner from 5:00-6:00pm with presentation at 6:00-7:30pm.  Check out the events page at

November 10th, 2010: CEUs! Evidence Based Recommendations for Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Methuen, MA at Methuen Village at Riverwalk, 4 Gleason Street, Methuen, MA 01844.  Open to the public, CEUs will also be offered free to nurses and social workers.  This event runs from 4:00-5:30pm. Brain Healthy refreshments will be held.  Check out the events page at

November 17th, 2010: Evidence Based Recommendations for Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Dorchester, MA at The Standish Village, 1190 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02124. Open to the public, CEUs will also be offered free to nurses and social workers.  This event runs from 4:00-5:30pm. Brain Healthy refreshments will be held.  Check out the events page at

November 18th, 2010: Current Issues in Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
This MASS-ALFA event will be held in Hopkinton, MA at the Hopkinton Country Club, 204 Saddle Hill Rd, Hopkinton, MA 01478. This event runs from 9:00am-3:30pm with 4 speakers, Nancy will be speaking after lunch. Contact MASS-ALFA at to register for this event.

December 8th, 2010: Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Methuen, MA at Methuen Village, 4 Gleason St, Methuen, MA 01844. This event runs from 5:30-7:00pm with lite refreshments being served.  Check out the events page at



Another first for Memory Preservation Nutrition Program!

On September 16th, Dr. Emerson Lombardo and her associate Cheryl Franchi, RD, worked with The Compass on the Bay staff to lead 30 residents (including about 20 from the Memory Support Neighborhood) in a history-making tasting of Brain Healthy Snacks™. This 90-minute fun activity included a brief discussion of why herbs and spices, vegetables and nuts are particularly valuable for promoting brain and body health, then a series of taste-testing and commenting by residents of the following:   MPN™ nut pate (“Nancy’s Nut Pate”) (comprised of walnuts, spices, a variety of vegetables and fruits, served on a whole wheat cracker, topped with a blueberry), an MPN™ Green Smoothie (comprised of green leafy vegetables, fruits, spices and Greek-style yogurt), low-sodium dehydrated vegetable chips and veggie juice, a mixture of whole nuts,  and fresh apple cider.  The afternoon was a great success as 90% of the residents devoured 100% of everything offered and many volunteered they’d like to have these foods again.  This event underscores what  HCI have been innovating for The Compass and other Senior Living Residences (SLR) Assisted Living communities’ residents:  Assisted Living residents will enjoy healthy snacks when offered to them instead of unhealthy donuts and cake.  For recipes see

Later that evening, Dr. Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D. attended the Grand Opening of The Compass on the Bay along with her HCI colleagues, consulting nutritionist Cheryl Franchi, RD and nutrition intern, Kristina Scangas.


Nancy is available to answer all questions via e-mail.

Look for my monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact me for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at



Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

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