In the News: One Cigarette a Day Raises Heart Disease Risk, Who You Eat With Can Affect How Much You Eat, Aerobic Exercise May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s

Just one cigarette a day significantly raises heart disease risk. A new study conducted at the Cancer Institute of University College London and published in the British Medical Journal reviewed all credible health studies from 1946 regarding how many cigarettes people smoked and what happened to them – and the results were shocking. The study concluded that women who smoke just one cigarette a day have a 57 percent greater risk of heart disease than that of a non-smoker. To put that in perspective, smoking 20 cigarettes a day almost triples that risk. The main message is that quitting is the only option to substantially minimize your risk. Most credible sources have also found little evidence that e-cigarettes (and the very new “heat-not-burn” cigarettes) lower health risks, except in cases when transitioning to them helps people eventually quit smoking altogether. (NBC)

Who you eat with can affect how much you eat. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab recently confirmed the theory that people are less likely to stick to their diet and more likely to overeat when dining with someone who is overweight, regardless of how much or how healthfully the overweight individual is eating. Other studies have also shown that we are more likely to overeat when our companion is overeating, even if that person is not overweight. Cornell found that people take the most of the food that is placed at the beginning of the buffet, so you can make better choices by taking a full tour of the line before serving yourself and noting where the healthiest options are. Want to learn how to stop overeating around family and friends? Try these nutritionists’ tips. (NPR)

Aerobic exercise may help prevent Alzheimer’s. After scientists at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles reported last year that one in three cases of Alzheimer’s may be preventable with lifestyle changes, an exercise physiologist at Hartford Hospital, Gregory Panza, and his team attempted a comprehensive study on exercise’s cognitive effects. They reviewed 19 existing studies and analyzed over 1,100 at-risk seniors. Their study confirmed that seniors who did any exercise at all showed better cognitive performance than those who did not, but were actually able to draw more specific conclusions as well. It suggested that adults who did only aerobic exercise demonstrated three times better cognitive function than those who combined aerobic with muscle-strengthening exercise. Additional research is needed but this study is enough to suggest that adults who know they are at-risk for Alzheimer’s should carefully incorporate a lot of aerobic exercise into their routines. To further prevent Alzheimer’s, stock up on these delicious foods. (MNT)