Children who suck their thumb and bite their nails are less likely to get allergies.

Children who suck their thumb and bite their nails are less likely to develop some allergies, according to new research.

The findings support the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ that allergies are partly caused by children not being exposed to germs at an early age as they would be in the natural world.
There are a number of theories – and myths – about why the number of children with allergies has gone up in recent decades. The researchers found 45 per cent of 13-year-old children had at least a mild reaction to an allergen, such as cats, dogs, dust mites, grass, horses and airborne fungi.

But, among those who had sucked their thumbs and bitten their nails, this dropped to just 31 per cent. If they had one of the habits, the figure was 40 per cent. However, neither habit appeared to have an impact on whether the children developed asthma or hay fever.

One of the researchers, Professor Malcolm Sears, of McMaster University in Canada, said: “Our findings are consistent with the hygiene theory that early exposure to dirt or germs reduces the risk of developing allergies."

Source - Independent

Eating oily fish 'cuts risk of death from bowel cancer'

People with bowel cancer who eat oily fish may cut their chances of dying from the disease, research has suggested. It is thought survival rate may be boosted by having a rich Omega-3 diet, which is abundant in oily fish. 

Research, published in the journal Gut, analysed data from 1,659 people with bowel cancer along with how much Omega-3 they consumed. Researchers focused on the presence of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which previous research has indicated may suppress the growth of cancer tumours and curb blood supply to cancer cells. The scientists found those who consumed PUFAs of at least 0.3g per day had 41 per cent less chance of dying from bowel cancer than those who consumed less than just 0.1g per day.

Patients who increased their PUFA intake by at least 0.15g per day after being diagnosed with cancer had a 70% reduced chance of dying from bowel cancer compared with those who did not change their intake. Meanwhile, a reduction in daily intake of omega-3 was associated with a 10% increased risk of death from the disease.

Source - Independent

Walking football: the sporting craze helping men to battle depression

Men suffering from depression, anxiety and social isolation are literally walking back to happiness thanks to the rapidly spreading sporting craze of ‘walking football’, the sedentary iteration of the beautiful game that aims to attract older players who can no longer cover miles of turf in one match.  What's more, the deceptively challenging game hasn’t just captured the imagination of men who’d long ago hung up their boots. “We have guys playing who’d never kicked a ball before,” explains Paul Smith, who runs walking football sessions in the Scottish borders village of Newcastleton. “We have men in their 50s and 60s playing now for the first time, some of whom have had mental health problems – others who live alone and would struggle to leave the house before.”

Are pomegranates a fountain of youth?

The humble pomegranate may old the secret to a long and healthy life.

Scientists say the Middle Eastern fruit contains a ‘miracle’ ingredient that strengthens ageing muscles and extends life. With experiments in worms and mice producing results that ‘are nothing sort of amazing’, they are now testing the fountain of youth supplement on people.

Even something as simple as keeping muscles young could reduce the number of falls among the elderly and increase independence, allowing people to live in their own homes for longer. The Swiss scientists said: ‘We believe this research is a milestone in anti-ageing efforts.’

Their excitement centres on the pomegranate’s ability to keep mitochondria, the tiny 'battery packs' that power our cells, charged up. Normally, mitochondria run down with age, making them less effective or even toxic and, it is thought, leading to muscle weakening and frailty. However, chemicals in pomegranates are turned into a compound called urolithin A by the bugs that live in the gut.
The urolithin A then helps the body recycle these drained battery packs, recharging cells and holding ageing at bay.

Source  - Daily Mail

Would this help YOU go to the loo?

Many of us shudder at the thought of discussing our bowel habits – suffering constipation, piles or bloating in silence.
Now, soaring numbers of people claim using a footstool has revolutionised how they go to the loo.
Squatty Potty, dubbed the 'stool for better stools', is a device designed to improve people’s posture while on the toilet, to make the experience is as smooth as it can be. The company’s Facebook page has more than 130,500 likes, and stories of the footstool's benefits are sweeping through New York and London.

Based in Utah and launched in 2011, the product is by no means the only bathroom stool on the market. But it shot to fame last year after its television advert – featuring a wide-eyed unicorn who squats over a series of wafer cones and fills them up with rainbow-coloured 'ice-cream' – went viral.
The device was created as our current way of sitting at a toilet is not the best way of passing bowel movements easily, its makers claim.
Sitting with the body at a 90 degree angle to the leg means a muscle in the colon – called the puborectalis - remains taut. This keeps the bowel kinked, means it is difficult for faeces to pass through.

Source  - Daily Mail

Could beer help prevent cancer?

For women that enjoy a pint, raise your glass.
New research suggests hops - the flower that makes beer and gives it its zesty taste - could help fend off breast cancer.
The plant has long been tied to hormone levels, with studies showing it gives men 'man boobs' and soothes postmenopausal symptoms by boosting estrogen metabolism.  
And now, experts at the University of Illinois at Chicago claim that same process could activate chemicals that prevent tumors from developing.

Researchers applied hops extract to two different breast cell lines to monitor its effect on the cells' estrogen metabolism. Slower estrogen metabolism has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. 
As hoped, the researchers found one potent compound in hops - 6-prenylnarigenin, or 6-PN - increased the rate of estrogen metabolism, boosting a detoxification pathway in the cells.

Source  - Daily Mail

Going veggie IS good for you!

Ditching meat lowers your risk of cancer, diabetes, strokes and heart disease - and you can get all your protein from vegetables, a leading nutrition expert claims.
Americans eat 80 per cent more meat than the Chinese, where there is a government push to half meat consumption by 2030. But in the US, the latest dietary guidelines published by the Department of Agriculture do not advise eating less meat.
The long-awaited guidelines for 2015-2020 only list meat, eggs and dairy as a source of protein - with no mention of vegetables, grains or nuts offering the same benefits.
Hitting out at the advice, Professor Randall Stafford of the Stanford Prevention Research Center has written an open letter explaining how a vegetarian diet could do wonders for our health.

In fact, two cups of yogurt contain all the protein you need for a day, he claims.
'Increasingly, evidence demonstrates the health benefits of plant-based diets that eliminate or greatly reduce meat intake,' Professor Stafford wrote in a letter to the journal JAMA'Additional ethical and environmental dilemmas surrounding meat production provide impetus to reconsider the consumption of meat.'

Source  - Daily Mail

Can gardening improve the nation's health?

Crouched on a bank beside a stream, she is putting the final touches to a garden that attempts to convey the solitude of depression. Her creation is one of several at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show exploring links between health and horticulture.
"The one I've focused on is depression because I have family members and friends who have suffered from it," she says. "Rather than being inspired to do it, I was compelled to do it."
A few days before the opening of the show, her garden, The Outside Room, is taking shape, despite the rain. The periphery of the garden contains lush bright planting, which becomes sombre and sparse as you cross a dark moat on to a crumbling island.
"This signifies the sinking feeling and the darkness people suffering from depression will experience," says Amanda, who became a garden designer after a career in the military.

Taking pregnancy multivitamins is 'waste of money'

Pregnancy multivitamins are a waste of money, researchers have concluded.

A review found "no evidence" that multivitamins result in better health for a mother or her baby and were an "unnecessary expense". Instead, experts said women should focus on taking the single vitamins - which are available for a few pence per day - recommended by the NHS. These are folic acid in the first three months of pregnancy, and vitamin D. They should also follow a healthy diet.

Pregnancy multivitamins can cost more than £15 a month. The vitamins come with various marketing literature, including saying they provide all the "nutrients vital for both mother and baby", and "all the essential nutrients for pregnancy".

In the new research, published in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, a large panel of experts in the field reviewed available evidence on folic acid, vitamin D, iron, vitamins C, E, A, and multivitamins in pregnancy.

Source  - Independent