Recent studies of Alzheimer’s disease in mice has shown that exercise and a compound found in green teas can slow the progression of the disease and may also reverse its effects. Researchers looked at epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is a green tea extract, and studied its effect on memory function by placing mice in a maze and testing their ability to navigate as well as build a nest with provided materials. After scoring them, the mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease tended to build poor nests. Later, the mice were given EGCG in their drinking water and access to exercise wheels. Upon follow-up maze and nesting tests on the mice, there was a visible improvement in cognitive function and behavior of mice that were given EGCG and exercised. These results suggest that dietary polyphenols and exercise may have positive effects on brain health and even help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
A study by University of Pennsylvania provides new insight on specific types of activities that help to improve sleep quality. Participants were asked what type of physical activity they typically do and how much sleep they got in a 24-hour period. All activities except for household/childcare were associated with a decreased likelihood of not enough sleep, as compared to those who didn’t perform any physical activity in the past month. Specifically, walking, aerobics/calisthenics, biking, gardening, golf, running, weight-lifting and yoga/Pilates were each linked to fewer cases of insufficient sleep, while household chores and childcare were associated with an more cases of insufficient rest. Findings suggest that those who exercise by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, and that higher-intensity workouts like running and yoga are even better.
Research shows that normalization of low testosterone levels with the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) helped decrease risk of heart attack, stroke and premature mortality. After performing studies on a group of older men without history of heart attack or stroke and who had below-average testosterone levels were given TRT. There were 47% fewer deaths among the group with normalized testosterone levels compared to men whose hormone levels failed to normalize, and there were 56% fewer deaths than those who did not receive TRT. Results show that testosterone carries anti-inflammatory and other beneficial effects and that normalization of testosterone levels using TRT is linked to lower mortality, fewer heart attacks and strokes if the dose is adequate to normalize the testosterone levels.
A recent weight loss study for women produced findings of supplementation with vitamin D lowering inflammation. Participants were assigned to an exercise program 5 days a week plus a low calorie diet supplemented with vitamin D every day for one year. At the end of the study, women who took the vitamin saw an increase in serum vitamin D, while those who received a placebo experienced a decline. Among participants who lost 5% – 10% of their weight, the decline in inflammation was significantly better for those who took vitamin D rather than those who received a placebo. The study’s authors say that since weight loss reduces inflammation, it is considered another way to lower cancer risk and that if increasing vitamin D levels can decrease inflammation even more effectively than weight loss alone, that could be an important addition to helping combat cancer risk.
Recent findings suggest that consuming ginger can help give your workouts a boost and speed up recovery time. Offering an abundance of antioxidants, ginger contains elements that simulate the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. During the study, twenty men and women ingested either ginger or a placebo for 5 days prior to performing a muscle-bearing exercise routine. Results at the 48-hour mark showed that maximum lift was significantly improved among the participants who ate ginger. Study authors concluded that 4 g of ginger supplementation may accelerate recovery of muscle strength after an intense workout but does not have much affect onset muscle soreness.
Adults often experience spikes in glucose levels after meals and a recent study of type-2 diabetics shows that 30 grams of protein at breakfast can help lower these spikes. Participants consumed either a high-protein or a high-carbohydrate breakfast, followed by a lunch consisting of standard amounts of protein and carbohydrates. Researchers found that eating more protein at breakfast lowered subjects’ post-meal glucose levels while insulin levels slightly increased after eating lunch. These results suggest that their bodies worked to regulate blood-sugar levels. Study authors conclude that a protein-rich breakfast most likely helps keep control of glucose levels during subsequent
New research suggests that tea, citrus fruits and juices may help stave off the risk of ovarian cancer. Studies show that dietary flavonoids significantly lower the chance of developing epithelial ovarian cancer, the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among women. Researchers say in particular consuming a couple of cups of black tea every day has been associated with a 31% reduction in cancer risk. The main sources of the protective compounds include tea, citrus fruits and juices, as well as red wine, apples and grapes, which are easily incorporated, making them simple yet effective dietary changes.
Green leafy vegetables may help improve visual processing because they contain carotenoid compounds, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important to eye health. Young, healthy men and women were enrolled in a study where they were randomly assigned to 3 groups: the first group received placebo, the second received zeaxanthin only and the third group received a mix of lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3s. In both the group receiving zeaxanthin and the group receiving the combination supplement, researchers observed that visual acuity increased 12% while visual motor reaction time increased by 10%. Researchers say that supplementation resulted in significant improvements in visual processing speed.
Beneficial to mental and emotional health, B-complex vitamins need to be replenished daily. During a study, adults ages 50 years and older who reported experiencing depression were given a combination of antidepressant medication, vitamin B12, folic acid and vitamin B6 over a year. Participants were monitored for changes and found that remission of symptoms were achieved by 75.8% and 85.5% after one year. Results also showed a significant reduction in the risk of relapse among participants who took the B-vitamins. Researchers concluded that, while B vitamins did not increase short-term effectiveness of treatments, they did see improvement in antidepressant response after continued treatment.
Before there were “organic” labels, all meat was grass-fed until we began to manage animals’ diets in an effort to increase production and lower costs. Nowadays, there are all kinds of labels on the market, making it harder to discern which is healthiest. “Conventional” beef is the most common meat in the U.S. (95%) and comes from cows that have been injected with hormones and antibiotics and fattened with grains, making it nutritionally inferior as well as laden with pesticide residues and GMOs. Another type, “grass-fed, grain-finished” refers to what you typically get when you buy “organic” beef in the U.S. and means that the cows were raised on pasture, but then fattened up with grains for 30 days. Alternatively, meat labeled “grass-fed, grass-finished” comes from cows that were raised entirely on pasture and contains more nutrients than grain-fed meat, including omega 3 fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins B, E, and K. All in all, nutrition experts advise against eating conventional meat altogether if possible and say that grain-finished meat is a step above conventional whereas grass-finished meat is the best option when deciding what to eat.