Remember the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks spent the entire story looking for the item that was “just right.” She didn’t want the porridge that was too hot or too cold, but ate the porridge that was “just right.” She didn’t sleep in the bed that was too hard or too soft, but slept in the bed that was “just right.” Like Goldilocks, scientists are finding that the “just right” amount of sleep is 7-9 hours. This is the optimum duration to receive sleep health benefits.
In a recent study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that too little sleep and too much sleep are associated with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anxiety, and obesity.
Proper Nutrition Starts Early: Both Mother’s Pregnancy Diet and Baby’s Diet Can Affect Child's Behavior and IntelligenceSubmitted by aileenmeyers on Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:01
Instead of the adage “You are what you eat” new research suggests that “You are what you and your Mother ate.” The need for proper nutrition starts while in the womb. In a new study, Researchers from the Nutri Menthe project and the University of Granada report that nutrition received while in vitro and during early life can “program” children for long term health, brain development, and mental performance. They stress that certain nutrients are important to this childhood development process.
Nutri Menthe Project
The researchers from these findings are part of a long-term longitudinal project called Nutri Menthe. The Nutri Menthe goal is to gain knowledge as to the role, mechanisms, and the benefits of specific nutrients and food components on the mental performance of children. It was funded in 2008 and consists of an international forum of scientists from twenty different organizations and 9 world wide countries.
There is a call from the First Lady to battle childhood obesity. The growing trend of childhood inactivity is devastating to our children. With city and state budget cuts, one of the first school programs to be cut is Physical Education. Lawmakers and education policy makers should be aware there is a growing amount of evidence that demonstrates the importance of physical activity and the learning capabilities of children. The latest study showed another positive correlation between fitness and memory in children.
Scientists trying to understand exactly how the hormone melatonin alleviates the ravages of metabolic conditions such as hyperlipidemia and diabetes have discovered a mechanism that suggests it could be used to rein in weight gain.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland, a pea-like structure found in the center of the brain.
Melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake circadian rythm
It is produced when a person is in darkness; that wave of calm that sweeps in as you sit in the dark is melatonin kicking in, instructing your body to sleep. It exerts a major effect on our circadian rhythm, and for this reason it is given to jetlagged individuals or people suffering from sleep disorders in order to reset their internal clocks or induce sleep respectively.
Metabolic Syndrome (MS) is a collection of common metabolic disturbances that are especially prevalent in obese individuals. These metabolic disturbances include high circulating lipid levels, low HDL or “good cholesterol”, high blood pressure and high fasting plasma glucose levels. It is often incredibly challenging to get one of these issues under control, let alone several of them. Luckily, the men and women of the medical research community are tirelessly looking for new answers to the question that is obesity and they have yet again provided us with some answers.
You may be familiar with products known as functional foods. Basically, a functional food is a normal food product (not a supplement powder or pill) which is able to boost health or prevent certain diseases beyond basic nutritional requirements. A common example of a functional food could be something as simple as an orange juice fortified with folic acid.
A paper, which was published this month, reviewed years of scientific data regarding functional foods and their effects on some of the health issues mentioned above. The paper was published in the journal Reviews of Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders by Muhammad Issa Khan and colleagues.
Of all the worlds’ ills, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is by far a couple of the most insidious diseases. They often take years, even decades to develop and take hold, and oftentimes people fail to take action until it is too late. As a resident of Newfoundland, an island population in which CVD and T2D are particularly prevalent, I often see firsthand the effects these diseases can force an individual to endure.
While there are genetic factors that can predispose an individual to these illnesses, they are treatable and even preventable with the proper education and lifestyle. A study which was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition by Dr. David L. Katz, furthered that education a little more so that people who are at risk of developing these ailments may have another means to improve their quality of life. The study investigated the role of Walnuts on endothelial function in overweight adults with visceral obesity and other characteristics of Metabolic Syndrome, which is a risk factor for CVD and T2D.
When one thinks of eating disorders, it instantly conjures up images of young girls starving themselves to live up to some impossible standard of size. The truth is, it is not only females who suffer from these maladies but men as well. While almost everybody will acknowledge the fact, that yes, men can indeed suffer from eating disorders, they remain an underrepresented group.
This is an area which was in need of attention, as it appears men are more like to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol under these conditions. The research paper was published in General Hospital Psychiatry and investigated the differences in the biological, psychological and social factors of Binge Eating Disorder, between men and women. Binge Eating Disorder is compulsively overeating and individuals who suffer from this disorder feel like there is little they can do to resist this urge. Binge eating sessions can last a couple of hours or entire days.
The study consisted of 190 obese participants in total, all of whom were diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and 49 of these participants were men. There was a strict criterion to be met before any of the participants were allowed to continue as a research subject, so all the results you see are not affected in any way by some outlier of mental or physical health.
I cannot really remember the first time I set out to deliberately exercise, in order to get fit, but it must have been some time in high school, because that’s when I found myself preparing to go on my first hike.
Back then, the conventional wisdom about engaging in exercise was that you needed to put in some significant amount of time regularly for the exercise to be of any benefit; at least an hour, but if you could hit two hours, well and good. As far I still know, this is still the guiding principle for many people.
But I am not writing this piece to regale you with tales from the past, I write this because a couple of researchers are threatening my long held principles, suggesting that brief, intense durations of exercise can be better than those long hauls.
Less can be more, according to these fitness scientists who are keen to cut down exercise time to minutes, a whole new level of fitness minimalism.
Type 2 Diabetes is characterized by a disruption in glucose homeostasis in the body. While there are effective methods of addressing this issue, such as daily injections of insulin, these methods are not without their setbacks. It can be tedious, uncomfortable, and can easily be overdone resulting in low blood sugar. Many of you may be all too familiar with these unfortunate routines. Incorporating the appropriate nutrients into the diet can have profound effects on the management of diabetes, which may make each day substantially less taxing and one such nutrient is the amino acid, L-Arginine.
What’s the Big Deal?
It was recently revealed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, that L-Arginine may act as a potent stimulant for the secretion of a chemical essential to glucose homeostasis, known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). This chemical increases insulin sensitivity and past studies have revealed that surgical and medicinal efforts to increase the secretion of GLP-1 have been effective in regulating glucose levels in the body. It may be possible to achieve the same results without invasive surgeries or pharmaceuticals by supplementing L-Arginine in the diet.
Sustained physical activity with vigorous intensity can add years to your life and significantly improve the quality in the latter stages of aging, according to the latest results of a long term study into more than 12,000 elderly Western Australian men.
In the study, published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the University of Western Australia researchers found that 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week added 2-3 years to the lives of the men who remained physically active through the duration of the 13 year study. Vigorous exercise was defined as any physical activity that caused them to huff and puff. Physical activity, survival, and functional status were assessed at the initial recruitment, a follow up period, and at the study exit.
The physically active men demonstrated less depression, more functional independence (e.g. drive, pay their own bills), and less memory loss as opposed to their sedentary counterparts. The study concluded that when safe and feasible, vigorous physical activity promoted healthy aging and longevity. Exercise prevents many of the health problems that come with age.
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