The Cost of Losing Sleep

Sleep often takes a backseat to work of parenting, but new research suggests that sacrificing slumber for productivity is a bad trade-off. Surveys of 22,000 Americans show that people who slept five hours or less on average weeknight were 28 percent more likely to have had a cold in the past month than those who averaged at least seven hours. Worse still, Reuters.com reports, the sleep-challenged subjects were 82 percent more likely to report battling the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection. The study doesn’t prove that sleep loss increases susceptibility to infections, but researchers note that sleep deprivation does hinder infection-fighting white blood cells. Moreover, people who are chronically tired may also be less likely to exercise or follow a healthy diet. Says study author Aric Prather, “It is our hope that this work will help raise the profile of sleep as a critical health behavior.”   Melatonin

Standing Fights Obesity

It’s well established that a sedentary existence is bad for us and that regular exercise promotes better health. Apparently, new research reveals, we don’t even have to hit the treadmill to feel better; just standing up can have significant benefits, The Washington Post reports. A five-year study of more than 7,000 adults found that people who stood for a least 25 percent of their day displayed considerably lower risk of obesity – 32 percent for men and 35 percent among women. Meanwhile, standing for half of the day reduced the likelihood of obesity among men by 59 percent, compared with 47 percent among women. It’s unclear from the data if standing directly reduces obesity risk or if people who are obese simply stand less. But the results offer another argument for logging some upright time. “Many of us have sedentary jobs and commute long hours,” says lead author Kerem Shuval (Read More)

Exercise Lowers Cancer Risk

If a healthy heart and trim waistline aren’t enough incentive, maybe a lower risk for cancer will inspire sedentary people to get moving. A new study from the National Cancer Institute shows that exercise may significantly lower the risk for 13 different forms of the disease, Time.com reports. Researchers analyzed 11 years of data on the health, diet, and activity of 1.4 million people and found that a higher level of physical exertion was associated with a 7 percent lower overall chance of developing cancer. Just a few hours of weekly exercise had a particular effect on esophageal cancer, lowering the risk for the disease by 42 percent. Working out also cut the risk for lung, kidney, stomach, and endometrial cancers by more than 20 percent and significantly reduced the likelihood that people would suffer from leukemia, colon cancer, or breast cancer. The more active people were, the more their (Read More)

Happy Wife, Healthy Life

New research adds credibility to the old saying “Happy wife, happy life,” suggesting that men and women with happy spouses are not only happier but also healthier. For the study, researchers analyzed data compiled on nearly 2,000 middle-aged, heterosexual couples whose happiness and physical health were tracked for 6 years. They found that those whose spouses had a positive outlook were 34 percent more likely to be healthy, exercise regularly and eat healthfully, and have positive outlooks themselves. Those with a pessimistic partner, on the other hand, had more health issues and were less physically active. Why? The researchers speculate that when one member of a couple adopts good lifestyle habits, that person encourages his or her spouse to do the same. Spouses with a positive outlook also cause less stress in the relationship, the study’s lead author, William Chopik, tells Time.com. “Simply having a happy partner,” he said, “may (Read More)

How Exercise Slows Aging

If working out makes you feel younger, a new study suggests it’s no illusion- vigorous exercise can actually slow the aging process on a cellular level, turning back the clock nearly a decade. Researchers analyzed 6,000 adults based on their physical activity and biological markers of aging, Time.com reports. Most importantly, they used DNA samples to measure the length of participants’ telomeres, protein caps that protect chromosomes, like the plastic tips of shoelaces. Telomeres shrink with age – we lose bits of them every time a cell divides. “In general, people with shorter telomeres die sooner and are more likely to develop many of our chronic diseases,” says study author Larry Tucker. Taking into account risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity, the researchers found people who exercised strenuously – say, running for 30 to 40 minutes five days per week – had longer telomeres. That gave them (Read More)

Diet Key to Weight Loss

Exercise has many proven health benefits, but those who dutifully log miles on the treadmill in the hopes of shedding stubborn pounds may want to reconsider their approach to weight loss. In a new study, researchers at Loyola University in Chicago found that healthy eating habits appear to be more important than exercise for long-term weight control, reports LiveScience.com. The team analyzed the physical activity and weight fluctuations of roughly 2,000 adults from the U.S., Ghana, Jamaica, South Africa, and the Seychelles. In each of the five countries, many of those who did 2.5 hours of moderate weekly exercise actually put on more pounds over two years than their more sedentary peers. The most likely explanation for this? Exercise tends to boost appetite, meaning active people eat more than they otherwise would. The findings suggest that physical activity alone is “not enough to prevent weight gain,” says lead author Lara (Read More)

Exercise Prevents Alzheimer’s

A landmark study has confirmed what many neurologists have long believed: Exercise is good for the brain. Researchers analyzed data from more than 150 studies on how physical activity affects the risk for Alzheimer’s. They concluded beyond a doubt that older people who exercise regularly have a significantly lower risk of developing the progressive brain disorder than those who are inactive. The study also found that people with Alzheimer’s who keep physically active are better able to perform routine daily activities than those who are sedentary, MedicalDaily.com reports. “After evaluating all the research available,” says study author Kathleen Martin Ginis, a professor at the University of British Columbia, “our panel agrees that physical activity is a practical, economical, and accessible intervention for both the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia’s.” The study’s authors recommend that older people adhere to current federal guidelines: at least 150 minutes of (Read More)

Runners Live Longer

Running for two hours a week could add about three years to your life, a new study suggests. Analyzing existing literature on the link between exercise and longevity, a research team found that running at any pace is associated with an up to 40 percent lower risk for premature death, The New York Times reports. The researchers suspect that running reduces common risk factors, including high blood pressure and extra body fat, but say it’s also possible that runners are more likely to have other healthy habits, such as eating healthfully and not smoking. For reasons that aren’t clear, the benefits of other forms of exercise, such as walking and biking, weren’t as striking, accounting for a roughly 12 percent drop in risk of early death. Overall, most people who laced up their sneakers for two hours weekly would end up running nearly six months over the course of 40 (Read More)

Part 2: Why Supplement?

Continued from Part 1 Reverse The Trend – Add 10 Years (Plus Quality) To Your Life! According to a recent study conducted at the National Institutes of Health, researchers examined end segments on the DNA strands of over 580 women. These segments, called telomeres, shorten a little each time a cell divides. Shorter telomeres have been linked with an increased risk of serious health issues and death. The researchers found that study participants who took a daily multivitamin had, on average, 5.1% longer telomeres than those who did not — the equivalent of approximately 9.8 additional years of life! It is thought that because nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E and the B vitamins (especially vitamin B12) and specific minerals can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, they may be useful for the maintenance of telomere length, especially when consumed in ratios that supply each nutrient with its supporting (Read More)

Pumpkin: A Super Food

Highly nutritious and loaded with antioxidants, pumpkins are a great super food to incorporate into your diet this fall. Usually used for decor, this under appreciated squash is one of the most beneficial foods that a person can eat. Moreover, it’s inexpensive, available year round either in its whole form or in can form, and can be used in hundreds of different tasty, yet nutritious recipes. Benefits of Eating Pumpkin: Raw pumpkin contains just 15 calories per 1/2 cup Pumpkin is  full of iron, zinc, and fiber- important nutrients for children and women Pumpkin’s bright orange color is a sign that the plant contains high amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene Pumpkins are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Canned pumpkin has less fiber than fresh pumpkin, but more beta carotene.  Pumpkin seeds (Read More)