The health benefits of exposing skin to sunlight may far outweigh the risk of developing skin cancer, according to scientists. New research suggests sunlight helps reduce blood pressure, cutting heart attack and stroke risks and even prolonging life.
UV rays were found to release a compound that lowers blood pressure. Researchers said more studies would be carried out to determine if it is time to reconsider advice on skin exposure.
Learn more from this BBC article.
you MUST watch this 50 minute video!
Just saw it last night: 10 Things You Need to Know to Lose Weight.
Important new research into the power of sleep, and what it may do for you physically and intellectually. Miss out on too much sleep and you may end up fat, sick and stupid!
Don’t miss this story from the PBS Newshour… The new info about how dolphins sleep is fascinating!
Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may cut their risk of heart problems, a study suggests, but experts are still cautious about long-term safety risks. Published in the journal BMJ, the study also found HRT is not associated with an increased risk of cancer or stroke, but past studies have shown a link.
The researchers traced 1,000 women over 10 years – half of them were on HRT. The paper’s authors said: “HRT had significantly reduced risk of mortality, heart failure, or heart attack, without any apparent increase of cancer, deep vein thrombosis or stroke.” However, they stressed that “due to the potential time lag, longer time may be necessary to take more definite conclusions”.
Safety concerns about the long-term use of the therapy has been debated by academics over the past decade.
The women in the study were between the ages of 45-58 years old and recently menopausal. Those on treatment started it soon after menopausal symptoms began.
HRT replaces female hormones that are no longer produced during menopause, which can help with hot flushes, insomnia, headaches and irritability.
After 10 years, 33 women in the group that had not taken HRT had died or suffered from heart failure or a heart attack, compared with just 16 women who were taking the treatment.
(Please note there are a number of different types of hormone replacement. I have been on very low levels of bio-identical estrogen for the past few years, administered through a skin patch, and I have been very happy with the results!)
A diet rich in tomatoes, peppers and watermelon may reduce your risk of having a stroke, according to researchers in Finland.
They were investigating the impact of lycopene – a bright red chemical found in tomatoes, peppers and water-melons. A study of 1,031 men, published in the journal Neurology, showed those with the most lycopene in their bloodstream were the least likely to have a stroke. They believe the lycopene acted as an antioxidant, reducing inflammation and preventing some blood clotting.
The Stroke Association called for more research into why lycopene seems to have this effect.
Dr Oz spoke about the apparent magnesium shortage among Americans these days, and how it’s making us all super tired.
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Dietary magnesium is absorbed in the small intestines, and excreted through the kidneys
Here’s the scoop from the NIH Fact sheet on which foods give you the most magnesium:
|Wheat Bran, crude, ¼ cup||89||22|
|Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce||80||20|
|Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup||78||20|
|Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup||77||19|
|Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce||74||19|
|Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup||74||19|
|Wheat germ, crude, ¼ cup||69||17|
|Nuts, mixed, dry roasted, 1 ounce||64||16|
|Bran flakes cereal, ¾ cup||64||16|
|Shredded wheat cereal, 2 rectangular biscuits||61||15|
|Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared w/ water, 1 cup||61||15|
|Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 ounce||50||13|
|Peanut butter, smooth, 2 Tablespoons||49||12|
|Potato, baked with skin, 1 medium||48||12|
|Blackeye peas, cooked, ½ cup||46||12|
|Pinto beans, cooked, ½ cup||43||11|
|Rice, brown, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup||42||11|
|Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup||36||9|
|Vegetarian baked beans, ½ cup||35||9|
|Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup||35||9|
|Chocolate milk, lowfat, 1 cup||33||8|
|Banana, raw, 1 medium||32||8|
|Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 fluid ounces||32||8|
|Milk chocolate candy bar, 1.5 ounce bar||28||7|
|Milk, lowfat or nonfat, 1 cup||27||7|
|Raisins, seedless, ½ cup packed||26||7|
|Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces||24||6|
|Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared, 1 slice||23||6|
|Avocado, cubes, ½ cup||22||6|
|Chocolate pudding, ready-to-eat, 4 ounces||19||5|
You may have heard the news yesterday, fish oil supplements, widely touted for their ability to improve heart health, may not be as useful in protecting the heart as once thought, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon and other cold-water fish. These healthy fats have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, and prevent heart rhythm abnormalities, but clinical trials investigating whether these properties translate into a lower risk of heart attack and stroke have had mixed results.
In the new study, researchers sought to resolve these inconsistent findings by re-examining data from 20 previous clinical trials involving nearly 70,000 patients. Overall, they concluded, fish oil supplements were no more effective than a placebo at preventing premature death or serious cardiovascular problems.
HOWEVER, every time a new study about krill oil hits the journals, its list of health benefits grows longer, and the differences between fish oil and krill oil becomes ever more pronounced. Krill oil is often compared to fish oil as a source of animal-based omega-3 fats. But krill consistently comes out on top in the research.
Studies have shown that krill oil may be 48 times more potent than fish oil. This means you need far less of it than fish oil, as confirmed by a 2011 study published in the journal Lipids. This is because krill oil contains phospholipids, so the omega-3 fats are already in the form that your body can use. This bioavailability means krill oil is absorbed very quickly and can cross your blood-brain barrier, so is able to reach important brain structures. Also, phospholipids are one of the principle compounds in high-density lipoproteins (HDL), which you want more of.
Fish oil is quite prone to oxidation, and oxidation leads to the formation of free radicals. Consuming free radicals further increases your need for antioxidants. Fish oil is weak in antioxidant content, whereas krill oil is rich in antioxidants. Krill oil also contains astaxanthin—probably the most potent antioxidant in nature—which is why it is so stable and resistant to oxidation.
Also keep in mind that many, if not most, fish and fish oil are now contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals, even fish that is thousands of miles away from coal plants and other environment-polluting industries. Try to find Antarctic krill, because it is less prone to this contamination.
Finally, the supply of krill is far more sustainable as a food source than is fish, because it’s the largest biomass in the world, making krill harvesting one of the most sustainable practices on the planet.
Over the years, published research has demonstrated that the practice of regular meditation can increase brain density, boost connections between neurons, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, provide clarity of thought, and increase positive mood endorphins. Other published studies have shown meditation can improve physical functioning, decrease chronic disease risks, and enhance overall quality of life.
These studies demonstrate that regular meditation effectively supports mental, emotional and physical health in numerous tangible ways. In building upon this strong body of evidence, researchers are continuing to deepen our understanding of the profound and inspirational benefits of regular meditation practice in everyday life.
UCLA Researchers Uncover New Benefits of Meditation for the Brain
Most recently, neuroscientists at UCLA have shown another fascinating neural effect of regular meditation: the ability to increase “cortical gyrification” of the brain. Cortical gyrification refers to the folding of the cerebral cortex – a function that allows the brain to process information faster. The cerebral cortex is the outermost layer of neural tissue in the brain and serves an important role in controlling memory, consciousness, thought processing, decision making, attention, and awareness. During cortical gyrification, the tissues of the cerebral cortex fold, creating indented fissures and “creases” called sulci and gyri. The sulci and gyri increase neural processing and neurotransmitter communication. In this way, increased gyrification enhances the brain’s capacity for computing information, maintaining focus and attention, creating and retrieving memory, processing logic, and forming decisions.
The neuroscientists at UCLA compared meditators of different experience levels to people who never meditated. In those who meditated, they found significant increases in cortical folding across a wide area of the brain responsible for numerous functions beyond rapid information processing and retrieval. Additional areas of the brain markedly affected by meditation involve emotional and mental health capacities, influencing processes of emotional control, heightened awareness, and introspection. This falls directly in line with some of the more noticeable results of regular meditation, which often include increased compassion for one’s self and others, enhanced self-awareness and introspection, and greater emotional stability.
Researchers also found significant increases in cortical gyrification among more experienced practitioners. In other words, the longer a person had been practicing regular meditation, the greater the beneficial changes in their brain.
Chocolate might not be the healthiest thing for your waistline, but research suggests it may protect against stroke.
A study following more than 37,000 Swedish men showed those eating the most chocolate were the least likely to have a stroke. This follows on from other studies that have suggested eating chocolate can improve the health of the heart. However, researchers and the Stroke Association warned the findings were not an excuse to overeat chocolate.
Everyone taking part in the study was asked about their eating habits and their health was monitored for a decade. They were split into four groups based on the amount of chocolate, with the bottom group eating, on average, no chocolate each week and the top group having 63g (2.2oz) – slightly more than an average bar.
Comparing the top and bottom groups showed those eating the most chocolate were 17% less likely to have a stroke during the study, published in the journal Neurology.
Click over to the BBC to learn how the beneficial effects of chocolate consumption on stroke may be related to flavonoids.