Yoga health benefits

Yoga could be as effective at combating heart disease as traditional aerobic exercise, say scientists – but they have no idea why.
Dismissed by some as hardly being exercise at all, yoga is an ancient practice that originated in India and incorporates physical, mental and spiritual elements. But a team of investigators have revealed that yoga “may provide the same benefits in [heart disease] risk factor reduction as biking or brisk walking”, as well as helping cut down on weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels when compared to those who do no exercise at all.
A group of scientists from the US and the Netherlands carried out a comprehensive “meta-study” of 37 randomised controlled trials – in total covering more than 2,700 test subjects.
The heart disease findings were the most dramatic, with even greater risk factor improvements observed when yoga was combined with medication.
The similarity of yoga and exercise's effect on cardiovascular risk factors, say the investigators, "suggest that there could be comparable working mechanisms, with some possible physiological aerobic benefits occurring with yoga practice, and some stress-reducing, relaxation effect occurring with aerobic exercise".
The study has been published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, and senior author Professor Myriam Hunink from Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston said it represented the growing evidence of yoga’s health benefits.

Is SALT triggering your headaches?

Cutting down on salt could cut headaches by a third, according to new research.
People who reduced their salt intake to three grams a day suffered significantly fewer headaches, a study found. 
Three grams of salt is the equivalent of around half a teaspoon, or the amount found in a McDonalds Big Mac and large fries.  Experts said cutting salt could reduce headaches because it lowers blood and pulse pressure.
But even people with normal blood pressure saw a reduction in headaches when they cut their salt intake.  However, switching from a healthy diet to an unhealthy one had no effect on headaches, scientists said.
As part of the study almost 400 people were randomly assigned either a low-fat diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products or a typical Western diet as a control.
Participants ate food with almost nine grams of salt a day for a set period, reflecting average salt consumption in the USA.

Source  - Daily Mail

'Sugar worse than salt' row erupts

Scientists have clashed over claims that sugar may be worse for blood pressure and heart health than salt.
US experts say people need to place a greater focus on cutting sugar intake and suggest the benefits of lowering salt levels are "debatable." Their arguments are published in the journal Open HeartBut other researchers have said the claims are "disingenuous" and "scientifically unnecessary". They maintain both need to be reduced.
Researchers from St Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, and Montefiore Medical Centre in the USA reviewed a selection of evidence from basic science experiments, animal studies and human research. They came to the conclusion that sugar - particularly fructose - may play a stronger role in high blood pressure and other cardiac conditions than salt. And they say lowering salt consumption under certain levels may do more harm than good.
The research team suggests attempts to reduce salt in processed food may drive people to eat more. But Prof Francessco Cappuccio, at the University of Warwick, said: "The emphasis on reducing sugar and not salt is disingenuous. Both should be targeted at population level for an effective approach to cardiovascular prevention. The shift in attention from salt to sugar is scientifically unnecessary and unsupported."

What does your tongue say about your health?

For those feeling under the weather, the old adage of 'stick your tongue out', may betray the signs of the illness by which they are afflicted.
The tongue can signal signs of a cough, fever, jaundice, headache or bowel habits, and helps doctors make their diagnosis. A healthy tongue should be pink, clean and covered in papillae, which contain taste buds.
But inflamed, red, black or white tongues could be a sign of other conditions such as thrush, while a swollen tongue can be a sign of an allergic reaction. Meanwhile a black, discoloured tongue is indicative of extended antibiotic use, or a fungal overgrowth in HIV patients, say Indian scientists.
And long furrows on the surface are a sign of the sexually transmitted infection, syphilis. Ulcers should ring alarm bells, warning of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. And a 'beefy and smooth' tongue might reveal vitamin B12, iron or folate deficiency, and anemia.
Moving on to more serious conditions, sores or lumps on the tongue - or unexplained bleeding - can be a sign of mouth cancer, warns Cancer Research UK.  

Source  - Daily Mail