Coffee makes you a better, healthier person

Drinking coffee could help people become more ethical at work, and stave off diabetes, according to two new studies.
Tired workers are less likely to resist unethical influence from senior colleagues, and the equivalent of a large cup of coffee could help stave off tiredness that can lead to immoral behaviour, claims a new study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
Sleepy workers are more likely to give into unethical or deceptive requests from their bosses, the study claims. Providing caffeine in the workplace and reducing long hours could help workers avoid ethical lapses, the authors of the study said.
“When you’re sleep deprived at work, it’s much easier to simply go along with unethical suggestions from your boss because resistance takes effort and you’re already worn down,” said David Welsh, one of the authors of the study. “However, we found that caffeine can give sleep-deprived individuals the extra energy needed to resist unethical behavior.”

A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'

Just 25 minutes of brisk walking a day can add up to seven years to your life, according to health experts.
Researchers have found that moderate exercise could halve the risk of dying from a heart attack for someone in their fifties or sixties. Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, causing one death every seven seconds, and exercise has long been seen as a way to reduce the risks by cutting obesity and diabetes.
A new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress suggested that regular exercise can increase life span. A group of 69 healthy non-smokers, aged between  30 and 60, who did not take regular exercise were tested as part of the study at Saarland University in Germany.

Do fish oils REALLY keep the brain young?

Fish oil supplements are taken by millions of people to keep their wits sharp as they age. But doubts have emerged as to whether the capsules actually do anything to slow mental decline.
A study of 4,000 people found no evidence omega-3 supplements helps people maintain their brain power. Scientists tracked the patients for five years, finding that the whole group declined at roughly the same rate, no matter whether they had taken the supplements.

Previous studies have associated regular fish consumption with lower rates of dementia and larger brain volumes.  It is also linked to better heart health, stronger bones and lower risk of eye conditions.
It has been widely assumed that omega-3 fatty acids were behind the dietary benefits of fish. They are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for the growth and repair of nerves.
But the research, by Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, suggests that fish oil supplements on their own are not enough to keep the brain young.

Source  - Daily Mail

Saturated fats in meat and dairy not as bad for health as previously thought, study finds

The saturated fats found in meat and dairy produce are not as bad for health as previously believed, a study has found. However, the scientists who conducted the research have warned against reaching for the butter dish.
A major study into the health implications of dietary fats has failed to find a link between food containing saturated fats, such as eggs, chocolate and cream, and an increased risk of dying from heart disease, stroke or type-2 diabetes.
The study nevertheless did find that industrially-produced “trans-fats” made from hydrogenated oils, and once used in margarine, snack foods and packaged baked foods such as some cakes and crisps, are linked with a greater risk of death from coronary heart disease.
The latest findings, published in the British Medical Journal, appear to confirm the growing realisation that the prevailing health advice for the past half century to cut down on foods that are rich in saturated fats such as butter and cheese may have been misguided.
The study, carried out in Canada by Russell de Souza of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues found no association between saturated fats and ill health, but did find a link with the consumption of foods containing trans-fats, such as margarine.

Is butter bad for you?

Butter is rich in saturated fats and a recent study has shown that the supposed link between moderate intake of saturated fats and coronary heart disease does not appear to exist – contradicting about 50 years of health advice.
So what does the latest research say?
It was an “observational” study which means it analysed people’s memory of what they ate and compared this to whether they suffered or died from coronary heart disease, stroke or type-2 diabetes. It found no link between these diseases and saturated fats but did find a link with trans-fats, which are the fats made industrially by the hydrogenation of vegetable oil, for instance to make margarine.
What does that mean?
It does not mean that we can now reach out for the butter dish and forget all previous warnings about saturated fats – even the scientists who carried out the study say this. High amounts of saturated fats in the diet are probably not good for us, but the risk almost certainly varies between people.

Fish oil pills may help teenagers stave off schizophrenia

There may finally be a way to stop people progressing beyond the first signs of schizophrenia – fish oil. When people with early-stage symptoms took omega-3 supplements for three months, they had much lower rates of progression than those who did not, according to one small-scale trial.
People with schizophrenia are usually diagnosed in their teens or 20s, but may experience symptoms for  years beforehand, such as minor delusions or paranoid thoughts. Only about a third of people with such symptoms do go on to develop psychosis, however, and antipsychotic drugs can cause nasty side effects, so these are rarely given as a preventative.
Fish oil supplements, which contain polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3, may be a benign alternative. These fatty acids may normally help dampen inflammation in the brain and protect neurons from damage, and lower levels in the brain have been implicated in several mental illnesses.

Lycopene supplements may protect from 'ageing' infrared A rays

The recent heat sent many of us reaching for the sunscreen. But now, some experts are warning this may not protect us against a potentially harmful sunray: infrared.
Conventional sunscreens are designed to block out ultraviolet light - UVA and UVB - the rays that damage and burn the skin. However, these products do not block out infrared rays. These rays, which were discovered in 1800, transmit heat, raise skin temperature and are responsible for the warmth you feel when sitting in the sun.
Infrared rays make up to half of the sun's energy (UVA and UVB combined make up between 5 per cent and 7 per cent) and one type in particular, infrared A, can penetrate the deepest layers of the skin - deeper than ultraviolet.
Recent research in animals has suggested infrared A may play a role in skin cancer when combined with exposure to UVB. Infrared A may also contribute to ageing of the skin - scientists suggest it alters some of the biological processes involved in maintaining healthy skin cells, affecting the production of collagen, the protein that acts as scaffolding for the skin. This could ultimately result in wrinkles, sagging and ageing.

Iodine supplements during pregnancy could save the state money, says new research

The introduction of universal iodine supplements for pregnant women could save countries thousands of pounds in future health costs for each child, even in nations with only a mild iodine deficiency such as the UK.
According to new research the NHS could save around £200 per child if it gave small doses of iodine to expectant and breastfeeding mothers. The findings suggest the wider benefits to society could be worth around £4,500 for every child due to the likeliness these children would earn more and cost the public sector less to support. The World Health Organisation has described iodine deficiency as ”a serious public health threat for two billion people”, 241 million of whom are children.
In pregnancy, the problem “remains the leading cause of preventable retardation worldwide”, the report published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology says. Iodine deficiency is also implicated in stillbirth, miscarriage, physical impairment and thyroid dysfunction and thus is crucially important in pregnant women and young children especially. 

Alternative menopause therapies not best choice

Are you a woman in mid life struggling with menopause symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats?
If you're using complementary and alternative medicines like phytoestrogens, evening primrose oil,black cohosh or ginseng to help, you're wasting your money, the authors of a new study say.
It's estimated nearly 500,000 women a month are using these medicines to control so-called vasomotor symptoms like night sweats, vaginal dryness and hot flushes says Dr Roisin Worsley, from Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, who co-authored the study in the Medical Journal of Australia.
(Vasomotor symptoms relate to constriction or dilation of blood vessels and are generally regarded as "the most bothersome" of menopause problems.) "But none of these [remedies] have been proven in scientific studies to actually be of any benefit," Worsley says.
The study is the first to provide good quality data on how many Australians suffer these problems and what they are doing about it.

Whole Foods' asparagus water: do fruits and vegetables add health benefits?

The latest craze of flavoured water reached a new level this week when a Whole Foods store placed three stalks of asparagus in water and threw a $6 price tag on the side. Shortly after, they admitted the product was a mistake.
But the episode did raise the question: are any of these flavoured waters actually better for you than what comes from the tap? The Guardian spoke to nutritionists and the consensus seemed to be that adding fruit or vegetables gave “slight benefits”, and some additions are superior to others.
Leslie Bonci, a sports nutrition consultant based in Pittsburgh, said people have added everything to water, including artichokes, maple and now, asparagus. “Everyone is always looking for something new. Water alone isn’t good enough any more,” she said. “We know we need water, but it becomes boring.”
Although Bonci supports people keeping hydrated, she said asparagus in water at $6 a bottle is probably not the best way to go about it. 

Spicy food 'can lower the risks of early death'

Gastronomically speaking, adding a touch of spice to your daily meal has well-established advantages. But could it be that those who like it hot are also improving their health?
Researchers in China are reporting findings from an extensive study which found that those who regularly consume spicy food had a slightly lower mortality risk over seven years of follow-up, than those who ate them less than once a week.
Out of 487,375 participants, 20,224 died over the average seven year study period.
A similar pattern was seen in mortality risk for particular conditions, including cancer, and heart and respiratory conditions, according to the research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
When the results were adjusted for age and other influential factors, those who had spicy food – usually in the form of chilli peppers, chilli sauce or chilli oil – six or seven times a week, were found to have a 14 per cent lower mortality risk than those who rarely consumed such foods.

Sugar: Can we trust industry?

Imagine a kilo of sugar - the large bag that you might buy in a supermarket.
It's a lot, isn't it? But that's exactly how much sugar the average adult consumes in a fortnight. Teenagers have even more. This is the reason why the sweet stuff is the new frontier in the campaign to get people to live healthier lives.
One of the problems is that it's often hidden in the foods we eat. While fizzy drinks and confectionery are obvious sources, you may be surprised to learn that tinned soups, salad dressing and tomato ketchup all contain pretty high levels of sugar. Government advisers have recently suggested no more than 5% of daily calories should come from added sugar - half the level of the previous recommendation.
But that is going to be a tough ask. No age group was meeting the old guideline, never mind getting close to the new one.

Everyone 'should take vitamin D pills'

Everyone should consider taking vitamin D supplements to counter the lack of sunshine in the UK, government experts are proposing.
The draft Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition guidelines suggest, from the age of one, 10 microgram pills be taken to ensure people get enough. The plans are now being consulted on until 23 September.
Current advice is only at risk groups - including pregnant women, under fives and over 65s - should take supplements. But as there is no easy way of assessing who is getting enough vitamin D, SACN has proposed a blanket recommendation for everyone because of the benefits it would bring. The risk of getting too much vitamin D is considered to be extremely low.

Source  - BBC

How green tea could help you stay slim

Drinking green tea may help you keep slim, say scientists.
An extract from the tea was found to reduce the amount of starch – a type of carbohydrate – absorbed from food during meals. It means the drink could be used to help treat people suffering from obesity and diabetes.

Researchers gave 28 participants aged 19 to 28 a bowl of cornflakes to eat, having asked them to fast for the 12 hours before the test. They then asked them to eat a wafer – some of which contained around four grams of green tea extract, while others contained none.  This was equivalent to drinking ‘several cups of green tea’, said researchers.
The scientists then tested participants’ breath for the presence of starch. When starch is broken down during digestion, the amount can be picked up by testing how much carbon dioxide is in the breath. Led by Jaroslaw Walkowiak of Poznan University in Poland, the researchers found the dose of green tea extract decreased starch digestion and absorption compared to the placebo group.

Writing in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the study’s authors said: ‘This plant extract is widely available, inexpensive, and well tolerated, so it has potential utility for weight control and the treatment of diabetes.’

Source  - Daily Mail

Want to boost your brain power? Try climbing trees.

If crosswords are too easy and Sudoku a touch boring, why not go and climb a tree?
A study found that childish pastimes such as climbing trees, running barefoot and crawling dramatically boost memory. Working memory - the type of memory we use every day to remember phone numbers, follow directions and use a shopping list - improved by 50 per cent.

Those who don’t want to find their inner child will be glad to hear that squash, tennis and football are likely to have a similar effect. Like climbing a tree, they feed the brain with information about everything from balance to orientation and give it a good workout.

The University of North Florida researchers put 72 men and women aged between 18 and 59 through a test of working memory, in which they had to remember lists of numbers in reverse order. Some then spent two hours doing a range of obstacle course-like activities.

Source  - Daily Mail

Mobile phones ARE linked to cancer, study claims

Mobile phones pose a 'very real risk' to human health, a new study claims.
Radiation from wireless devices such as phones and tablets could be linked to a number of health risks, from cancer to diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, the researchers state. They claim this is because the radiation causes an 'imbalance' - or oxidative stress - in the body.  Oxidative stress is a damaging process thought to be closely linked to degenerative diseases. 
The new study is a review of experimental data on the effects of radiofrequency radiation in living cells - basically how mobiles phones may damage a person's DNA. 

Dr Igor Yakymenko, from the The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, claims the oxidative stress due to radiofrequency exposure could explain the link between wireless devices and cancer. After long-term exposure, it is also linked to other minor disorders such as headache, fatigue, and skin irritation, he says. 
His argument is based around reactive oxygen species - chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen.
They play an important role in cell signalling  and the control of internal conditions such as temperature.

Source  - Daily Mail