Healthy News You Can Use
Coffee Compounds Curtail Diabetes Risk
Japanese researchers discovered that coffee polyphenols favorably influence blood sugar balance by increasing a hormone that reduces elevated blood sugar after a meal.
Yoshie Fujii, Noriko Osaki, Tadashi Hase and Akira Shimotoyodome. “Ingestion of coffee polyphenols increases postprandial release of the active glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1(7–36)) amide in C57BL/6J mice.” Journal of Nutritional Science / Volume 4 / 2015.
Curry Compound Combats Cancer
Turmeric, the component of the spice curry that gives it that characteristic yellow color, is high in a compound called curcumin. Curcumin exerts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and lipid-lowering effects. Curcumin is especially effective for some types of cancer, as it targets key cancer promoting proteins. It also negates the proliferation of cancer cells by arresting them at different phases of the cell cycle and/or by inducing their death.
Shanmugam MK, Rane G, Kanchi MM, Arfuso F, Chinnathambi A, Zayed ME, Alharbi SA, Tan BK, Kumar AP, Sethi G. “The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment.” Molecules. 2015 Feb 5;20(2):2728-69.
Peanuts Promote Heart Health
A number of studies suggest favorable cardiac and metabolic effects of consuming nuts – almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts and macadamia nuts. Luu et al found that peanut consumption was associated with a 17 -21% reduction in total mortality, and 23-38% reduction in cardiovascular mortality among those subjects in the highest nut intake group, as compared to the lowest consumption group. Consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.
Luu HN, Blot WJ, Xiang YB, Cai H, Hargreaves MK, Shu XO, et al. “Prospective Evaluation of the Association of Nut/Peanut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality.” JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Mar 2.
Think Diet Soda is a Healthier Alternative? Thing Again.
Sodas that contain artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, acesulphame potassium and sucralose) have been popular for some time. A study analyzed data collected on 749 Mexican- and European-Americans, ages 65 years and older. Diet soda intake, waist circumference, height, and weight were measured at study onset, and at three follow-ups totaling 9.4 follow-up years. After adjusting for confounding factors, the team revealed waist circumference increases of 0.80 inches for non-diet soda drinkers, 1.83 inches for occasional drinkers, and 3.16 inches for daily drinkers over the total 9.4-year study follow-up period. The study authors warn that: “increasing diet soda intake was associated with escalating abdominal obesity, a potential pathway for cardiometabolic risk in this aging population.”
Fowler SP, Williams K, Hazuda HP. “Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging.” J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Mar 17.
Eat Healthy to Breathe Easy
As the third leading cause of death in the United States, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and result in breathing problems. A study by Varrasso et al found that those men and women who ate a diet highest in whole grains, vegetables and nuts, and lowest in red meats and sugars, were up to a third less likely to develop COPD – even if they smoked – than those who ate the worst diet. “These findings support the importance of a healthy diet in multi-interventional programs to prevent COPD.”
Varrasso R., Chiuve S., Fung TF, Barr RG, Hu FB, et al. “Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 and risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among US women and men: prospective study.” BMJ 2015;350:h286, 3 Feb. 2015.
Scientific Basis for Benefits of Napping
A recent study observed that the stress hormone norepinephrine more than doubled in men the afternoon after a night of sleep restriction, compared to the day after they had slept normally. However, there was no change in norepinephrine when participants were allowed to nap. Lack of sleep also affected interleukin-6, an immune-regulating molecule; levels of it dropped when the men were sleep-deprived but stayed normal when they were allowed to nap. The data suggests that napping has stress-releasing and immune effects, and could be used to help those suffering from the ill effects of sleep deprivation.
Faraut B, Nakib S, Drogou C, Elbaz M, Sauvet F, De Bandt JP, Leger D. “Napping reverses the salivary interleukin-6 and urinary norepinephrine changes induced by sleep restriction.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Mar;100(3):E416-26.
You can’t Out-Run a Bad Diet
If you’re hitting the gym or running every day but don’t see the numbers going down on the scale, you might be going about weight loss all wrong. New research says focusing solely on exercise is not the answer to losing weight.
An editorial published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine points to excess sugar and carbs, not physical inactivity, as the primary cause for the growing obesity epidemic.
While regular exercise has many health benefits such as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer by 30 percent, it is our high caloric diets that lead to obesity.
Calorie counting alone isn’t the answer as the source of the calories matters too. For every additional 150 calories of sugar, there was an 11-fold increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, compared to 150 calories obtained from fat or protein. These results were independent of the person’s weight and physical activity level.
Bonus from Stephanie Lecovin
Choosing a Healthier Sunscreen
With summer around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about sunscreen! Since choosing a non-toxic, quality sunscreen can seem as challenging as identifying the best retirement plan or choosing health insurance, we thought we’d help guide you through the process.
Here are four tips for choosing a healthier sunscreen:
- Look for protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause skin to burn when overexposed, while UVA rays penetrate deeply and increase risk for skin cancer and premature aging.
- Look for active ingredients that are minerals, not chemicals. Choose sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, both of which reflect UV light. Avoid ingredients such as oxybenzone (linked to hormone disruption, cell damage and skin cancer), benzophenone, octinoxate, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene.
- Avoid sunscreen with vitamin A (often labeled as “retinyl palmitate” or “retinol”) as it is linked to skin tumors and legions when exposed to sun. Also avoid the following inactive ingredients: parabens, phthalates, phenoxyethanol and PEGs (polyethylene glycol).
- Use the following two websites to help you decide if the sunscreen you want to use is non-toxic and healthy for you or your child:
- Environmental Working Group Guide to Sunscreens: http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/best-sunscreens/best-beach-sport-sunscreens/
- Mighty Nest Guide to Safe Sunscreens: http://mightynest.com/learn/getting-started/healthy-living-guides/guide-to-safe-sunscreens-0