Put Down the Haagen-Dazs: Comfort Food is a Myth

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What’s your favorite “comfort food”? You know you have one — a treat you use to soothe bruised feelings following some distressing event. Well, guess what: You’re kidding yourself. A new study finds comfort foods are no more effective at lifting moods than any other foods — or even sitting quietly without consuming a calorie. “Negative moods naturally dissipate over time,” writes a University of Minnesota research team led by psychologist Traci Mann. “Individuals may be giving comfort food ‘credit’ for mood effects that would have occurred even in the absence of the comfort food.” That tub of Haagen-Dazs may not have magical powers after all. Mann and her colleagues describe four experiments, three of which were similarly structured. At an introductory session, participants were specifically asked “What foods would make you feel better if you were in a bad mood?”, as well as other foods they enjoy but do (Read More)

Shedding Pounds With A High-Fat Diet?

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Can you lose weight with a diet that places no restrictions on your fat intake? Those who swear by the Atkins plan and other low-carbohydrate regimes have long insisted you can – and new research backs them up, reports The New York Times. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, a racially diverse group of 148 obese men and women were given diets to follow. Half were put on low-fat regimes, which limited their total fat intake to less than 30 percent of their daily calories, while the other half followed low-carb diets that involved eating mostly protein and fat. Neither group was given calorie limits. Over the course of a year, those on the low-carb diet lost around 8 pounds more than the low-fat group, shed more body fat, and showed greater improvements in cholesterol levels and other measures of cardiovascular health. Those on the low-fat (Read More)

Sun Exposure Reduces Blood Pressure

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A little time in the sun can do more than just give you a tan; it may help reduce your blood pressure. The incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease correlates with latitude and increases during winter, and researchers from the University of Edinburgh set out to find out why. They hypothesized that the seasonal and latitudinal associations with hypertension could be related to the effects of the sun’s UV radiation on nitric oxide (NO) in the skin, in light of the fact that NO metabolites are abundant in human skin. In the body, NO typically has a vasodilating effect, facilitating blood flow and reducing blood pressure. In 24 healthy volunteers, irradiation of the skin with UVA lowered blood pressure with decreases in circulating NO and increases in NO metabolites. Dietary interventions to increase circulating NO had no effect on these UVA-induced changes, which suggests that the blood pressure reduction was (Read More)

Low Vitamin D Levels Increases Multiple Sclerosis Progression

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New research suggests vitamin D may protect against disease activity and progression in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Because vitamin D deficiency is common in individuals with MS, researchers set out to determine whether serum concentrations of 25-hyrdroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), a measure of vitamin D status, would be predictive of MS progression in patients during the early stages of the disease. In a study involving 465 patients with symptoms suggestive of MS (clinically isolated syndrome), serum 25(OH)D levels were measured at the beginning of the study and again at 6, 12 and 24 months. MS progression was tracked over a five-year follow-up period, clinically and by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Outcomes assessed included MS relapses and disability and MRI measurements of brain volume, new active lesions and increases in lesion volume. Overall, higher 25(OH)D status was associated with reduced MS activity and a slower rate of progression. Higher 25(OH)D levels (Read More)

4 Scientific Reasons Why Hugging Is Good For You

A recent study, as reported by the Daily Mail, found that hugging on the regular is correlated with a lower risk of heart disease, can fight stress and fatigue, boosts your immune system, fights infections and can reduce depression. A study by psychologist Dr. Jan Astrom, published in the journal Comprehensive Psychology, found that hugging for a mere ten seconds has health benefits. A ten-second-hug can increase “feel-good” hormones like oxytocin. This, in turn, causes stress chemicals like cortisol to drop. “The positive emotional experience of hugging gives rise  to biochemical and physiological reactions,” said Dr. Astrom in an interview. A study from the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill found that the “heart rate increased 10 beats a minute for those without contact compared with five beats a minute for huggers.” The study looked at 100 subjects. Psychologist Karen Grewen also found that hugging reduced blood pressure. The School of (Read More)

Study Finds Energy Drinks Affect Heart Function

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Energy drinks are incredibly popular among college students and young professionals in the United States. Ever since Red Bull popularized the concept of caffeinated drinks as an alternative to coffee, numerous other brands have joined the market, which can now be found in any supermarket or college campus in the country. Although energy drinks have been widespread for several years now, a growing number of doctors and nutritionists are concerned about the significant dangers that these energy drinks pose on the human body. Recently, a study by the Radiological Society of North America described some of the potential threats energy drinks can have on those who regularly drink them. Earlier this month, U.S. News reported on the study, which described many of the risks associated with drinking energy drinks, including: Excess sugar in the diets of energy drinkers, due to the high levels of sugar in energy drinks. Some have more sugar (Read More)

Muscle Power and Caffeine

As we age, our muscles naturally change and weaken. A study found caffeine boosts power in older muscles, suggesting the stimulant could aid elderly people to both maintain their strength and reduce their risk for falls and injuries. With the importance of maintaining a physically active lifestyle to preserve health and functional capacity, caffeine could prove beneficial to the aging population. Did you know that we now offer Organo Gold, a nutritionally enhanced coffee – infused with gandomera, the king of herbs, that supports good digestion, lower cholesterol, stronger immune system and a host of other health benefits?