The Healing Power of Touch

Did you know that YOU have healing power, literally at your fingertips? The simple act of touching – not necessarily in a romantic manner – is so powerful that it can reduce pain, lower your heart rate, decrease your blood pressure, and strengthen your immune system! The simple act of holding hands with a loving partner can significantly reduce physical pain, a new study suggests. Researchers asked 22 heterosexual couples who had been together for at least a year to under go brain scans as they participated in different scenarios. The women either sat holding hands with their partners, sat nearby but did not touch them, or were in a different room. The scenarios were then repeated, but this time the women were subjected to mild pain. Overall, the women found that holding hands reduced the intensity of their pain by an average of 34 percent. The brain scans showed that (Read More)

Disinfectants and Obesity

Surface cleaners and other household disinfectants could be making children overweight by altering the bacteria in their gut. Researchers in Canada found that infants who lived in households where antimicrobial disinfectants were used every week were twice as likely—at ages 3 to 4 months—to have higher levels of lachnospiraceae gut bacteria, which are very efficient at breaking down food and help the human body extract more energy. By age 3, those children were more likely to be overweight or obese than kids whose households hadn’t used disinfectants as regularly. High levels of lachnospiraceae have been linked in animal studies to increased levels of body fat and insulin resistance. The study also found that children living in households that used eco-friendly cleaning products were less likely to be overweight, though that may have been because those kids had healthier lifestyles and diets overall. Senior researcher Anita Kozyrskyj says further research is (Read More)

The Dangers of a Daily Aspirin

In a study that upends decades of medical advice, Australian scientists have found that taking an aspirin a day does not reduce older people’s risk of heart disease or cancer—and in fact can cause them serious harm. For four and a half years, researchers observed more than 19,000 adults in Australia and the U.S. with no history of heart disease, stroke, or dementia and with a median age of 74, reports ABCNews.com. Half were given 100 mg of aspirin a day, while the other half received a placebo. At the end of the study, those who had been taking the drug were just as likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke—and faced a higher risk of dangerous internal bleeding in the stomach, brain, and elsewhere. The aspirin-takers actually had slightly higher rates of mortality over that period, in large part because of deaths from cancer—though researchers cautioned that further study was needed (Read More)

Anti-Cancer Properties of Curcumin

Curcumin has long been known to provide potent anti-cancer benefits. Over 2,000 published studies have shown curcumin combats cancers of the breast, prostate, liver, colon, lung, pancreas and more. Many of these studies have shown curcumin actually stops cancer cells from dividing. Curcumin has also been shown to found to suppress genes that promote cell growth and help induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) which is the body’s natural and necessary way of ridding itself from damaged cells. Studies have suggested that high consumption results in lower cancer rates. We already know the anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin. Combating chronic inflammation, a known contributing factor to the development of cancer, turmeric promotes the body’s ability to fight the spread of cancerous cells. Its potent antioxidants support the body’s natural immunity to oxidative changes—changes that can cause cancer to develop and progress. A 2007 U.S. study using curcumin along with chemotherapy to treat bowel (Read More)

The Ploy of Soy

In a ground breaking article about soy titled “The Ploy of Soy,” Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig, Ph.D., of the Weston A. Price Foundation put the nutritional realities of soy consumption into perspective – a perspective you won’t find anywhere in the main- stream. Soy is one of the most harvested crops in the world, meaning the likelihood of soy containing GMOs is extremely high. Here are a few of the key points they make: Soybeans contain “anti-nutrients” that inhibit enzymes needed for protein digestion and amino acid uptake into the blood stream 
 Soybeans contain hemagglutinin, a substance that promotes the clotting of red blood cells 
 Soybean hemagglutinin and enzyme inhibitors are deactivated during the fermentation process which makes soy acceptable 
 Enzyme inhibitors are reduced in bean curd and tofu, but not completely eliminated 
 Soybeans are high in phytic acid; an organic acid that impedes the (Read More)

Could Full-Fat Dairy Be Good For You?

Health experts have long warned people away from full-fat dairy products because they contain high levels of saturated fat, which is thought to raise levels of LDL—or “bad” cholesterol. But a major new study has concluded that in moderation, whole milk and full-fat yogurt and cheese could in fact help protect against heart disease and stroke. Researchers examined data from more than 130,000 people across 21 countries over nine years and found that participants who ate two or more daily servings of full-fat dairy had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease, a 34 percent lower risk of stroke, and a 23 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. (A serving was 8 oz of milk or yogurt, or a half-ounce slice of cheese.) Butter consumption wasn’t linked to similar benefits—though that may have been because most of the study’s subjects ate little of it. Study co-author Mahshid (Read More)

Dehydration Hurts Concentration

When you find yourself struggling to concentrate on something, try having a glass of water. That’s the conclusion of a new, detailed analysis of more than 30 studies into the effects of dehydration, NPR.org reports. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that going thirsty had no significant impact on reaction times and other basic cognitive functions. But for more complex tasks that require focused attention or coordination, dehydration did appear to impair people’s performance. Examples include “maintaining focus in a long meeting, driving a car, [or] a monotonous job in a hot factory,” said study leader Mindy Millard-Stafford. “Higher-order functions like doing math or applying logic also dropped off.” Millard-Stafford and her colleagues found that cognitive impairment tended to begin when people lost 2 percent of the water in their body. For the average person, that equates to about 35 fluid ounces of sweat—roughly what you’d produce with an (Read More)

Americans Shirking Exercise

A new government study has found that about 80 percent of Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, potentially setting themselves up for health worries later in life, reports USA Today. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that people ages 18 to 64 get at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week—walking at a brisk pace, for example—or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running or swimming. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities, such as weightlifting or push-ups, at least twice a week. But only 23 percent of adults are meeting those guidelines. Researchers found that a person’s sex, home state, and finances affected how much exercise they got. Nationally, some 19 percent of women and 27 percent of men hit the target. Residents of Mississippi were the least likely to work out, with about 14 percent meeting the guidelines, and Coloradans the most, at 33 (Read More)

No Limit to Longevity?

If there is an upper limit to the human life span, we might not have reached it yet. The average life expectancy around the world has more than doubled since 1900, thanks to improvements in sanitation, health care, and food supply. Still, past studies have suggested that because of biological limits, only a handful of genetic outliers will live beyond 115 years old, such as the oldest verified person ever, Jeanne Calment, who died at age 122, in 1997. But a new study of nearly 4,000 Italian centenarians indicates that human longevity may be slowly increasing. According to established demographic data, after age 65, the probability of death doubles each year. The mortality rate begins to decelerate at age 80 and, the researchers found, seems to plateau at age 105. At that point, the chances of dying in a given year are roughly 50-50. Study authors say this plateauing might (Read More)

Health Benefits of Church

People who attend religious services a couple of times a week may live longer, a new study suggests. Harvard University researchers analyzed data from the Nurses’ Health Study, a survey of 74,534 healthy, primarily Christian women. At the start of the study in 1992, participants were all asked how often they went to church; the researchers then tracked them for 20 years. By 2012, 13,537 of the women had died. After adjusting for other risk factors, it turned out that the ones who attended services more than once a week were 33 percent less likely to have died of any cause than those who never went at all. Overall, going to church at least once a week was associated with a lifespan increase of about five months. “There is evidence that it provides social support, discourages smoking, decreases depression, and promotes optimism or hope,” study author Tyler VanderWeele tells MedicalDaily.com. (Read More)