Latest Research : People with high cholesterol condition should eliminate carbs, not saturated fats.

burger with fries

For decades, people diagnosed with inherited high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia) have been told avoid saturated fats to lower their blood level cholesterol and reduce their risks of heart disease.

“Eating less saturated fat made no difference for patients with inherited high cholesterol condition.”

“For the past 80 years, people with familial hypercholesterolemia (inherited high cholesterol) have been told to lower their blood level cholesterol with a diet low in saturated fats” said lead author David Diamond, professor and heart disease researcher at the University of South Florida.

Saturated fat has been given a bad name.

It might be the bun and the fries raising your cholesterol, not the burger and cheese!

Doctors have consistently advised patients with inherited high cholesterol to try to lower their cholesterol blood levels, by avoiding foods which contain cholesterol, such as eggs, cheese, meat and coconut oil.

But there is no evidence that avoiding these high cholesterol foods makes any difference to patients with inherited high cholesterol condition.

The eggs, cheese and meat won’t raise your cholesterol levels, but the pizza base might!


“Our study showed that a more ‘heart healthy’ diet is one low in sugar, not saturated fat.”

David Diamond, professor and heart disease researcher at the University of South Florida

Professor Diamond and his co-authors say following a low-carb diet is most effective for people at increased risk of heart disease, such as those who are overweight, hypertensive and diabetic.

Bread, potatoes and sweets are the real dangers, for people with inherited high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Their findings are consistent with another paper recently published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology,” which provided strong evidence that food that raises blood sugar, such as bread, potatoes and sweets, should be minimized, rather than tropical oils and animal-based food.


Source: University of South Florida https://www.usf.edu/news/2020/people-with-high-cholesterol-should-eliminate-carbs-not-saturated-fat.aspx

Photos: Bread by ArtHouse Studio at Pexels Pizza by Pablo Macedo at Pexels.com


Self-control does not mean sacrificing pleasure

Happiness is pleasure without the regret

Carrot cake or carrot sticks?

… sometimes it’s a difficult choice.

… sometimes it’s an easy one.

If we are trying to reduce our size and change our shape, choosing the cake may feel like a fialure of self-control.

But not always.

Researchers at City University London have discovered that feeling of having “given in to temptation” doesn’t depend on whether you choose the cake or the vegetable: it depends on if you think you will regret your choice in the future.

If someone, who is weight conscious, ate a slice of carrot cake, they might think they had a “self-control failure” but only because they imagined they would regret that choice later.

But if that same person only ate a small piece of cake, that might not be enough to trigger the future feelings of regret. And therefore they would not see it as a “failure” – they’d just seeing it eating a small piece of nice cake.

Its not lack of self-control if you don't feel bad about it
It’s not lack of self-control if you don’t regret it.

“If a person is comfortable with their weight and does not anticipate to regret in advance their food consumption choices, then we cannot say that person lacks self-control.”

Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.

“It is not the consumption of cake that automatically signals a self-control failure, it is whether consumers believe that they may regret their food choice in the future; our research demonstrates that health and pleasure are not necessarily in conflict.”

Dr Irene Scopelliti, associate professor of marketing at Cass Business School.

This plays into the false perception that food is either “good” or “bad, which is an incorrect over-simplification.


Souce: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191029080726.htm

Photos: Happiness is a piece of cake by Antonio Quagliata at Pexels.com


 

Does lack of sleep cause weight gain?

Not enough sleep causes our bodies store fat

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have discovered that just a few days of sleep deprivation can make us feel less full after eating.

After spending a week getting plenty of sleep at home, 15 healthy men in their 20s checked into the sleep lab for the ten-night study. For five of those nights the men spent no more than five hours in bed each night.

The researchers gave participants a standardized high-fat dinner – a bowl of chili mac – after four nights of sleep restriction.

Most participants felt less satisfied after eating the same rich meal while sleep deprived than when they had eaten it well-rested.

A bowl of mac and cheese only feels filling and satisfying if you are well rested

If you are tired and sleep-deprived, you’ll want a second helping

Lack of sleep also changes the way our bodies metabolize the fats from our food

Researchers also found that men who were sleep deprived tended to store the fat from their evening meal. But when the person was well rested, less fat was stored from their food.

The experimenters had a simulated work week – five nights of only 5 hours of sleep. And a whole weekend of 10 hours sleep per night, to catch up on the lost shut-eye.

But even after the weekend rest, the volunteers biological reaction to food did not revert back to what it was before the experiment.

After the first night of good sleep they ate a bowl of chili mac and cheese. Although participants’ metabolic handling of fat from their food was slightly better after one night of recovery sleep, they didn’t recover to the baseline healthy level.


In other news : It’s not what you eat but when you eat, that makes a difference

Read more …

The experiment shows that the effects of lack of sleep continue, even when we have got back into a good sleep pattern. But the researchers did not find how many nights of good sleep, it takes, to get back to a healthy reaction to high fat food.

It might take several, continuous nights, of good sleep for our bodies to return to what they were before the sleep deprivation period.

Or maybe, or bodies never recover from a period of poor sleep. The experiment ended after 10 days, so the researchers don’t have those answers.

But one thing is clear; for those of us who want to reduce the fat on our bodies, we need to get to bed and get some quality shut-eye. Sweet dreams!


Source: https://www.jlr.org/content/60/11/1935

Photos: Feet in bed at Pexels.com | Baked mac and cheese by Ronmar Lacamiento at Pexels.com


 

Traditional vegetable diet reduces risk of premature babies

Eating vegetables before getting pregnant reduces risks of premature birth

It turns out we should follow our parent’s advice when we’re thinking about becoming parents ourselves, with a study finding eating the traditional ‘three-veggies’ before pregnancy lowers the risk of a premature birth.

University of Queensland PhD candidate Dereje Gete analysed the diets of nearly 3500 women and found high consumption of carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, cabbage, green beans and potatoes before conception helped women reach full term pregnancy.

Eating vegetables before conception can reduce the risk of premature birth.

It’s important to start eating vegetables long before conception, for it to have any benefit on the pregnancy.

“Starting a healthier diet after the baby has been conceived may be too late, because babies are fully formed by the end of the first trimester,” he said.


Source: https://medicine.uq.edu.au/article/2020/04/traditional-vegetable-diet-lowers-risk-premature-babies

Photos: Woman holding leaves by Daria Shevtsova at Pexels.com | Pills and thermometer on bed by Polina Tankilevitch at Pexels .com


Throw away the bathroom scales; pick up a tape measure instead

Throw out the bathroom scales - use a tape measure instead

For years, women have been told that weight gain could lead to heart disease. It’s true there is a link between heart disease and the amount of fat on the body.

A study by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) indicates it’s the location of the fat that matters most.

Not all fat is the same

Research shows it’s abdominal fat – fat around the middle or what doctors call “central obesity” – is the most dangerous.

“The findings of this study are consistent with what we know about the detrimental effects of central obesity.

Not all fat is the same, and central obesity is particularly dangerous because it is associated with risk for heart disease, the number one killer of women. Identifying women with excess abdominal fat, even with a normal BMI, is important so that lifestyle interventions can be implemented,”

Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

So rather than using weight or BMI as a measurement of health, women should be measuring their waistline as an indicator of progress.

“Inches off the waist” are more important for heart health that “pounds off the scales”.


Source: https://journals.lww.com/menopausejournal/Abstract/2019/11000/Association_between_obesity_type_and_obstructive.8.aspx

Photos: Tape measure on scales at Pexles.com


What words can strengthen a relationship in financially stressful times?

Financial stress can sometime strengthen a relationship

These current huge financial challenges can put a significant strain on romantic relationships.

So how to maintain and even strengthen your relationship in times of financial stress?

Researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered how relationships survive financial pressure, and even become stronger.

“Financial stressors happen to everyone. They happen more often and to a greater extent to some people than others, but everyone experiences financial stress,” sayd Ashley LeBaron, a doctoral student in the University of Arizona. “If they use that stress as a catalyst to make positive changes in the relationship, it can be an opportunity to grow closer together, instead of having that stress tear you apart.” LeBaron added.

LeBaron found that the strongest relationships were those in which partners remembered to practice “relationship maintenance behaviors,” including respecting one another, being there for one another, and showing love and affection for one another.

Some examples of
“Relationship Maintenance Behaviours”

  • Being grateful for each other’s efforts
  • Listening without distraction
  • Listening without judgement

Surprisingly, the best words are not “I love You”


The best words to strengthen a relationship? Although “I love you” might seem like the best contender.

But research, by the Open University, has shown that the best words to use, for longer lasting relationships are

…… drumroll please ….

“Thank you”.

The best words to strengthen a relationship.

Research reveals that showing gratitude towards your partner and appreciating what they do, is the most important part of a strong and stable relationship.

Just thanking your partner helps strengthen a relationship. Even if your partner’s efforts weren’t successful, thanking them for trying, creates a stronger bond.

Couples that have a stronger bond, are more likely to survive a financial crisis, with their relationship intact.

Thanking your significant other for the smallest thing, strengthens a bond.

They bring you a cup of coffee? Try looking at them in the eye and saying, sincerely, “Thank you. That’s kind of you.” You might be amazed at how good it feels and how well it’s received.


Source: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/what-helps-couples-weather-financial-storms

Photo: Couple in bed Photo by Jack Sparrow from Pexels.com | I love you words by Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw from Pexels.com


Japanese doctors found seeds from a Southeast Asian tree may improve obesity and diabetes

melinjo tree seeds on tree

Medical researchers have known for a long time that the hormone adiponectin improves obesity and diabetes and that the compound resveratrol increases the production of this beneficial hormone.

Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan who study plants from around the world for useful medicinal properties have found that Melinjo seed extract (MSE) stimulates the production of adiponectin, a beneficial hormone that improves obesity and diabetes. They also discovered that individual genetic differences were responsible for variations in its efficacy.

In Southeast Asia, the fruit, flowers, and leaves of Indonesia’s “Melinjo” tree are traditional foods.

Melinjo tree seeds

The resveratrol compounds in the seeds of Melinjo tree may help with obesity and diabetes.


Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-61148-2


Yo-yo dieters’ brains and drug addicts’ brains have similar behaviours

Desperate for another hit?

According to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) the yo-yo pattern of overeating followed by undereating, reduces the brain’s ability to feel reward.

An estimated 15 million people compulsively eat in the U.S. It is a common feature of obesity and eating disorders, most notably, binge eating disorder. People often overeat because it is pleasurable in the short term, but then attempt to compensate by dieting, reducing calorie intake and limiting themselves to “safe,” less palatable food. However, diets often fail, causing frequent “relapse” to overeating of foods high in fat and sugar (palatable foods).

Desperate for another hit? Or going “cold turkey”?

Yo-Yo dieters’ brains eventually show “drug-addict” like reactions.

“We are just now beginning to understand the addictive-like properties of food and how repeated overconsumption of high sugar — similar to taking drugs — may affect our brains and cause compulsive behaviors,”

Pietro Cottone, PhD, associate professor of pharmacology & experimental therapeutics at BUSM and co-director of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders.

In the experiment half the people were given a high sugar, chocolate-flavored diet (exciting food) for two days each week. For the remaining days of the week they were given a standard control diet (dull food). Essentially they “yo-yo’ed” between exciting food and dull food.

The other half of the people were given the standard, dull, food all the time.

Yo-yo dieters’ brains became immune to the effects of amphetamines. They needed a “bigger hit” to feel rewarded.

When these people were given amphetamines, (yes, the researchers gave them all drugs – under medical supervision of course!) the amphimines did not have as much effect on the yo-yo dieters as it did on the people who ate the standard, dull diet.

Researchers found that the yo-yo dieters’ brains behaved similar to drugs addicts’, specifically a “crash” in the reward system.

When people become used to eating highly rewarding, sweet foods, when they can no longer get those rewarding foods, they have a similar “downer” to drug addicts who are going cold turkey.

Drug addicts eventually become immune to the “reward feelings” caused by the drug, which leads to drug addicts needing a bigger and bigger “high” every time. Similarly yo-yo dieting, leads to a constant search for a “bigger high” with more rewarding food, after a period of dull, unrewarding standard food.

“Compulsive eating may derive from the reduced ability to feel reward. These findings also provide support to the theory that compulsive eating has similarities to drug addiction.”

The researchers hope these findings spark new avenues of research into compulsive eating that will lead to more effective treatments for obesity and eating disorders.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191017125240.htm

Photo: Hand reaching for donut by Tijana Drndarski at Pexels.com


Dutch scientists find that kids are twice as likely to eat healthier after watching cooking shows with healthy food and healthy portion sizes

Healthy TV cookery shows leads to healthy food choices by younger viewers

This lockdown might be benefiting children’s eating habits if they watch healthy cooking on TV.

Just as Joe Wick’s virtual PE lessons have got the nations kids jumping around their living rooms, and improving their health, healthy cooking TV shows can be a key ingredient in nudging children towards healthier food choices now and into adulthood.

In other news: People who compulsively check their phones,
tend to be fatter than people who don’t

Read more …

Researchers asked children to watch 10 minutes of a television cooking program designed for children, and then offered them a snack as a reward for participating. Children who watched the healthy program were far more likely to choose one of the healthy snack options — an apple or a few pieces of cucumber — than one of the unhealthy options — a handful of chips or a handful of salted mini-pretzels.

“The findings from this study indicate cooking programs can be a promising tool for promoting positive changes in children’s food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors.”

Frans Folkvord, PhD, of Tilburg University,Tilburg, Netherlands.
Watching healthy TV cookery shows leads to healthy food choices by younger viewers

Watching healthy TV cookery shows leads to healthy food choices by younger viewers

Visual prominence of healthier options in both food choice and portion size on TV cooking programs leads young viewers to want healthier options.

It also makes them freely choose those healthier options too.

So watching TV can be good for you!


Source: https://www.elsevier.com/about/press-releases/research-and-journals/kids-twice-as-likely-to-eat-healthy-after-watching-cooking-shows-with-healthy-food

Photos: Children slicing vegetables by Gustavo Fring at Pexels.com | Baby chef eating yellow pepper at Pexels.com


When does clean eating become an unhealthy obsession?

When healthy eating becomes an obsession it can become unhealthy
When healthy eating becomes an obsession it can become unhealthy

Although eating healthy is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, for some people this preoccupation with healthy eating can become physically and socially impairing.

When it becomes a pathological obsession with healthy eating or consuming only a limited range of food it is known as known as orthorexia nervosa 

 healthcare providers as well as members of the public should recognise … that so-called healthy eating can, in fact, be unhealthy. It can lead to malnourishment or make it very difficult to socialize with people in settings that involve eating. It can also be expensive and time-consuming.”

Jennifer Mills, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and senior author on the study

“When taken to the extreme, an obsession with clean eating can be a sign that the person is struggling to manage their mental health.”

Previous research has shown that unlike individuals with anorexia nervosa who restrict calories to maintain very low body weight, people who have the condition have a fixation with the quality of food eaten and its preparation rather than the number of calories.

Over time, people with orthorexia nervosa  spend increasing amounts of time and effort purchasing, planning, and preparing pure and healthy meals.

Eventually this planning and obsessing becomes all-consuming that interferes with other areas of life and results in weight loss.

Other eating habits such as being a vegetarian or vegan also put individuals at higher risk for developing orthorexia nervosa. Lacto-vegetarians were at highest risk for developing orthorexia nervosa and people who are on a strict eating schedule, spending large amounts of time preparing meals, were also at greater risk.

“In our research, we found equal rates of men and women who struggle with symptoms of orthorexia nervosa,” said Mills. “We still think of eating disorders as being a problem that affects mostly young women. Because of that assumption, the symptoms and negative consequences of orthorexia nervosa can fly under the radar and not be noticed or taken seriously.”

In short, it’s good to be careful about what you eat.
But also take care about being too careful!


Source: Materials provided by York UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Photos: Woman slicing vegetables by Retha Ferguson at Pexels.com


Proof: “device addiction” is making us fatter

Device addiction is making us fatter

New research from Rice University indicates that mindless switching between digital devices is associated with increased susceptibility to food temptations and lack of self-control, which may result in weight gain.

“Increased exposure to phones, tablets and other portable devices has been one of the most significant changes to our environments in the past few decades, and this occurred during a period in which obesity rates also climbed in many places,” said Richard Lopez, a postdoctoral research fellow at Rice and the study’s lead author.

People who compulsively check their phones,
tend to be fatter than people who don’t

The research found that people who used their phone compulsively or inappropriately (such as wanting check their phone for messages while they were talking to someone else) as well as more passive behaviors (like media-related distractions that interfere with your work) found that they had a with higher body mass index (BMI) and greater percentage of body fat.

When media multitaskers/compulsive phone users were shown pictures of food, whilst they were in a fMRI brain scanner, researchers saw increased activity in the part of the brain dealing with food temptation.

Compulsive phone user’s brains react
differently to images of tempting foods

Overall, Lopez said these findings suggest there are links between media multitasking, risk for obesity, brain-based measures for self-control and exposure to real-world food cues.


In other news: It’s not just WHAT you eat but also WHEN you eat

Read more …

“Such links are important to establish, given rising obesity rates and the prevalence of multimedia use in much of the modern world,” he said of the findings.

Lopez and his fellow researchers hope the study will raise awareness of the issue and promote future work on the topic.

The study was co-authored by Todd Heatherton of Dartmouth College and Dylan Wagner of Ohio State University.

“This study supports our research at MindfullyTrim” says Matt Walker-Wilson, lead researcher at MindfullyTrim, who did not contribute to the study.

“Automatic behaviour – or automaticity – is often the quickest and easier, but not always the best for our health.

Being mindful about what we are doing – being mindful about our eating and also being mindful about other activities – can lead to better choices and a healthier lifestyle.”


Source: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11682-019-00056-0

Photo: People using devices by fauxels at Pexels.com


 

Hot flashes impair memory performance

Almost had it - now it's gone

If you’re having difficulty identifying the right word to express yourself clearly or remembering a story correctly, you may blame menopause.

A new study by The North American Menopause Society suggests that physiologic hot flashes are associated with decreased verbal memory.

In this new study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to reveal exactly how the brain was behaving during a hot flash.


An apple a day might help keep bothersome menopause symptoms away

Read more …

It revealed that the areas of the brain which control storing and retrieval of memories, are affected during physiologic hot flashes.

“This goes some way to explaining the frustrations of menopausal women.” says Walker-Wilson, lead researcher as MindfullyTrim, who was not involved in the study. “There is the sense of being physically out of control, because of the hot flashes. And the even greater worry of being mentally out of control, caused by not being able to remember things.”

Matt Walker-Wilson, lead researcher at MindfullyTrim

Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200123095859.htm

Photos: Gone scrabble tiles Photo by Jess Bailey from Pexels.com


Eating salmon during pregnancy may reduce risk of asthma in offspring in later life

Cooked salmon with vegetables

The study, led by Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton, showed that the benefit of eating salmon while pregnant did not show up until the child was 2 to 3 years old.


Drinking orange juice and tomato juice while pregnant has been shown to improve infant intelligence

Read more …

Allergy tests were performed on children at six months and then at two to three years of age. Results were compared to a control group, whose mothers did not eat salmon during pregnancy.

The diet of pregnant mothers has long term effects on their child's health

This study shows how the effects of the mother’s diet, while pregnant, has long term effects on the child’s health.

These benefits may not be immediately obvious at birth or soon after and may only appear later in childhood.

“Our new findings from the Salmon in Pregnancy Study indicate that early nutrition interventions, even during pregnancy, can have long lasting effects on health”

Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton

These latest results are one example of Professor Calder’s ground-breaking research into specific relationships between nutrition and immune-related conditions over the course of the human life course.


Fishy diet – in moderation – when pregnant improves the child’s metabolism

read more …

Source: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/news/2016/04/philip-calder-award.page

Photos: Salmon steak on lettuce by Dana Tentis from Pexels.com


Upsetting day? Sleep on it – you’ll feel better

Problems seem small after a good night's sleep

Upset by something unpleasant?

We have all been there.

And we usually find we feel better about the next day.

At least: if you have restful REM sleep.

Stressful and upsetting events trigger a “siren” in out brains, to makes us more aware of potential danger.

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience discovered why you will be better able to bear tomorrow what you are distressed about today. And why that can go wrong.

A good night’s sleep, specifically REM sleep, is needed to “reset” this siren in our brains.

The Experiment

The researchers placed their participants in a MRI scanner in the evening and presented a specific odour while they made them feel upset.

The brain scans showed how the amygdala became active.

The participants then spent the night in the sleep lab, while the activity of their sleeping brain was measured with EEG, and the specific odor was presented again on occasion.

The next morning, the researchers tried to upset their volunteers again, in exactly the same way as the night before. But now they did not succeed so well in doing this.

Brain circuits had adapted overnight; the siren of the brain no longer went off. The amygdala responded much less, especially in those who had had a lot of restful REM sleep and where meanwhile exposed to the specific odor.

The finding can be of great importance for about two-thirds of all people with a mental disorder, as both restless REM sleep and a hyperactive amygdala are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression and insomnia.

  • People with PTSD carry their traumatic experience to the next day:
  • People with an anxiety disorder take their greatest fear with them into the next day
  • People with depression carry their despair into the next day
  • People with chronic insomnia hold onto their tension into the next day

Restless sleepers

However, among the participants were also people with restless REM sleep.

Things went surprisingly different for them.

Brain circuits had not adapted well overnight: the siren of the brain continued to sound the next morning.

And while the nocturnal exposure to the odour helped people with restful REM sleep adapt, the people who had restless REM sleep felt worse by being exposed to the odour.

The evidence is that REM sleep helps “reset” some of the active pathways in the brain.

And it is this “resetting” that helps the upsets and anxieties of yesterday, fade away.


Source: https://nin.nl/rem-sleep-silences-siren-brain/

Photo: Megaphone man by Pressmaster from Pexels.com | Bed pug Photo by Burst from Pexels.com


An apple a day might help keep bothersome menopause symptoms away

New study finds that higher intakes of certain fruits and vegetables may lessen menopause symptoms, but some actually increase menopausal symptoms.

The consumption of fruits or a Mediterranean-style diet, characterized by a high content of vegetables, fruits, cereals, and nuts, was linked to fewer menopause symptoms and complaints.

However, some fruits and vegetables were shown to have an adverse effect, according to a study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Specifically, citrus fruits seem to increase menopausal symptoms. Also dark green leafy vegetables and yellow vegetable were shown to worsen menopause symptoms.

Hot flashes impair memory performance

Read more …


Citrus fruits make menopausal symptoms worse.

Dark green leafy veggies and dark yellow vegetables are not good for menopause symptoms.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200219124232.htm

Photos: Citrus fruits by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist at Pexels.com |
Cabbage by freestocks.org at Pexels | Lilac apple on yellow by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels.com


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

Stress in middle aged people is greater now than in 1990s

Research shows that the 2010 decade was more stressful for everyone than the 1990’s decade.

No surprises there!

In 2010, at the start of that decade, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis was reaching its peak.

And many countries are still reeling from that shock and from that worldwide crisis.

These days, endless memes and social media would have us believe that millenials are the most stressed. But the research says otherwise.

A team of researchers led by Penn State found that across all ages, there was a slight increase in daily stress in the dacade from 2010 to 2020 compared to the 1990’s. But when researchers restricted the sample to people between the ages of 45 and 64, there was a sharp increase in daily stress.

Everyone is feeling more stressed this past decade, than they were in the 1990’s

But middle aged people – aged 45 to 64 – are feeling it the hardest

“We thought that with the economic uncertainty, life might be more stressful for younger adults. But we didn’t see that.

We saw more stress for people at mid-life. And maybe that’s because they have children who are facing an uncertain job market while also responsible for their own parents.

So it’s this generational squeeze that’s making stress more prevalent for people at mid-life.”

David M. Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State

More Responsibilities = More Stress

“It may have to do with people at mid-life being responsible for a lot of people,” Almeida said.

“They’re responsible for their children, oftentimes they’re responsible for their parents, and they may also be responsible for employees at work.


Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

Read more …

And with that responsibility comes more daily stress, and maybe that’s happening more so now than in the past.”

More News + Social Media = More Stress

Additionally, Almeida said the added stress could partially be due to life “speeding up” due to technological advances. This could be particularly true during stressful times like the coronavirus pandemic, when tuning out the news can seem impossible.

“With people always on their smartphones, they have access to constant news and information that could be overwhelming,” Almeida said.


Source: https://news.psu.edu/story/618484/2020/05/07/research/middle-age-may-be-much-more-stressful-now-1990s

Photo: Greyscale bald middle aged man by Brett Sayles at Pexels.com


Fishy diet – in moderation – when pregnant improves the child’s metabolism

Salmon and cucumber open sandwich

To eat or not to eat fish is a question that has long concerned pregnant women. Now, a new USC study shows that children whose mothers ate fish from one to three times a week during pregnancy were more likely to have a better metabolic profile — despite the risk of exposure to mercury — than children whose mothers ate fish rarely (less than once a week).

“Pregnant women should stick to one to three servings of fish a week as recommended, and not eat more, because of the potential contamination of fish by mercury and other persistent organic pollutants.”

Dr. Leda Chatzi, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC

Fish is a major source of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important for the developing fetus.


Eating salmon during pregnancy may reduce risk of asthma in offspring in later life


However, some types, such as swordfish, shark and mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury — a potent toxin that can cause permanent neurological damage. Mercury contamination is also found in soil, air, water and plants.

More fish is not better

The children of women who ate fish from one to three times a week had lower metabolic syndrome scores than the children of women who ate fish less than once a week.

But the benefit declined if women ate fish more than three times a week.


Drinking orange juice and tomato juice while pregnant has been shown to improve infant intelligence


Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200316141507.htm

Photos: Smoked salmon on toast by Lum3n at Pexels.com | Cooked salmon steak on lettuce by Dana Tentis at Pexels.com


The secret to happiness? Contagion! Wait! What? Seriously?

Happiness and contagion go together

Happiness: We All Want More

A Google search for “happiness” produces more than a billion results and is one of the more frequently used search terms.

Happiness is the most common promise made by sales people since the development of consumerism. “Buy this product and you will be happier” is the age old promise of almost every sales pitch and advert.

A study by Harvard Medical School, that looked at nearly 5,000 individuals over a period of 20 years, has revealed a surprising source of happiness.

It’s not any product you can buy.

It’s not money.

It’s not sex.

Incredibly, your happiness can be increased by someone you have never spoken to, have never met, and don’t even know exists.

Research shows that one person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only his friends, but his friends’ friends, and his friends’ friends’ friends. That’s three degrees of separation!

And it doesn’t have to be family or relatives – or people emotionally close to you – but physically close, like your next door neighbours.

The researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next door neighbors, 34 percent chance of becoming happier.

But the real surprise came with indirect relationships. Again, while an individual becoming happy increases his friend’s chances, a friend of that friend experiences a nearly 10 percent chance of increased happiness. Furthermore, a friend of *that* friend has a 5.6 percent increased chance—a three-degree cascade.

So a friend of a friend of a friend could have made you happier, and you don’t even know them.

Happiness can spread, like a contagious infection, through a linked network of people. And the “happiness infection” can spread as far as 3 degrees of separation.

This doesn’t happen by telepathy though. It’s not some mystical “force” or “energy” that spreads the happiness. That would be ridiculous. The spread of happiness obviously depends on some form of communication between the network of friends.

But that doesn’t have to be physical contact.

Phone conversations, Facebook, messaging, online chats etc. can all spread happiness from one person to another.

And then that happiness can spread to the next person.

The effect lasts for up to one year.

These effects are limited by both time and space. The closer a friend lives to you, the stronger the emotional contagion. But as distance increases, the effect dissipates. This explains why next door neighbors have an effect, but not neighbors who live around the block.

Thankfully, sadness does not spread through social networks as effectively as happiness. So an unhappy friend of a friend will not make you unhappy.

But you might be able to cheer them up, eventually, by being happier yourself!


Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081205094506.htm

Photo Credits : Happy Friends by Sharefaith on Pexels.com


 

Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

We use our memory to look back at our past.

But we also use our memories of what has happened in the past, to plan our futures.

When we are stressed, we cannot retrieve memories as quickly or as accurately. And that impairs our ability to plan for the future.

Stressing out about a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Stressing out over a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Researchers Stanford University conducted experiments where they monitored participants’ behavior and brain activity — via fMRI — as they navigated through virtual towns. After participants became very familiar with the winding routes in a dozen virtual towns, they were dropped onto one of the memorized paths and told to find their way to a particular point.

Some of the participants were told they would receive a mild electric shock at random. These participants – who were worried about a random electric shock – performed less well that the others who were not threatened with electric shocks.


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

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Participants who didn’t have to worry about being randomly shocked tended to find shortcuts based on memories acquired from prior journeys. Whereas the stressed participants tended to fall back on the meandering, habitual routes.

It’s possible that people who are suffering with financial stress, fail to make effective plans to help deal with financial problem. And that may make their financial situation even worse.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200403115103.htm

Photos: Red pencil stress words by Pedro Figueras | Man and laptop by Oladimeji Ajegbile 


It’s not just WHAT you eat but also WHEN you eat

What you eat and when you eat it make a difference

A recent study by Vanderbilt University, USA shows that it’s not just how many calories you eat, but WHEN you eat them that will determine how well you burn those calories.

We have all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”.

It turns out, this is more important than we imagined, for weight management!

Your daily biological clock and sleep regulate how the food you eat is metabolized.

Your body either burns stored fats or burns carbohydrates, and that choice depends on the time of day or night.

Your body’s circadian rhythm has programmed your body to burn fat when you sleep, so when you skip breakfast and then snack at night you delay burning the fat.


In other news: People who compulsively check their phones, tend to be fatter than those who don’t

Read more …

The experiments showed that a late-evening snack flipped a switch on fat/carbohydrate preference.

The late-evening snack session resulted in less fat burned when compared to the breakfast session.

Essentially, calories eaten at breakfast are used as fuel throughout the day.

Calories eaten later in the evening replenish the body’s fat stores.

If you want to avoid replenishing those fat stores – if you want those fat stores to be burned up as you sleep – avoid eating in the evening.

The longer your fast between your last evening meal and your first meal the next day – your break fast – the more of that stored fat is used up.


Calories consumed at breakfast time are burned as fuel throughout the day.

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day

Calories consumed in the evening are stored as fat.

Eating later in the day, means those calories are probably stored as fat

This study has important implications for eating habits, suggesting that a daily, and extended, fast between the evening meal and breakfast will optimize fat loss.


Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3000622

Photos: Loaded breakfast table by Pixabay | Woman with red wine by Elina Sazonova | Breakfast bowl and spoon by Burst


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