In the News: Studies Show Importance of Going Outside Daily, Military Steps In As Olympic Security Hit With Illness, Hot Tea May Increase Cancer Risk in Heavy Drinkers and Smokers

Studies show the importance of going outside daily. Multiple recent studies have shown that, while it’s tempting to stay inside for long periods of time during the winter, doing so can be extremely detrimental to your health. Most of all, too little sunlight throws off your circadian rhythms, which control everything from your sleep patterns to your moods and digestion. Natural sunlight boosts your serotonin levels far more than artificial light and taking in vitamin D both reduces inflammation and promotes the effectiveness of your immune system. Taking just a twenty-minute walk outside is also a great time to be mindful during your day if you leave your phone behind and take in the fresh air. Yet another study performed at the University of Michigan showed that taking in the scenery improved memory and cognitive function by 20 percent compared to a group not exposed to any scenery. It may be the last thing you want to do when it’s the coldest time of year, but all of these health benefits are worth taking the time to bundle up and venture out. (NBC)

Over one thousand Winter Olympic security guards replaced with military personnel due to a norovirus outbreak. Forty-one of the security guards on Olympic duty have suffered from a sudden bout of vomiting and diarrhea just days before the beginning of the Olympic Games in South Korea, leading to all of the security guards in the Winter Olympics facilities to be pulled from their posts. The military will be fulfilling all aspects of the security staff’s duties until each individual’s condition has completely subsided, but all of the civilian guards are in stable condition as of now. The Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention immediately dispatched a team to check other people for symptoms and take the necessary steps to control and prevent further infection (such as checking the food and water sources), but it’s not clear right now how the illness originally came about in the facilities. Want to learn more about the Olympics? Get the scoop here. (CNN)

Hot tea linked to cancer risk in previous tobacco users. Drinking “hot” or “burning hot” tea increases chance of esophageal cancer in people who already smoked or drank heavily, according to one of the largest studies of its kind. The study was performed at Peking University in China and followed almost 500,000 adults over nine years. It is well-documented that smoking tobacco and drinking can cause esophageal cancer, but drinking hot tea increases that risk even further because it damages the cell lining of the organ, leaving it vulnerable to other carcinogens. Therefore, if you have a habit that you just can’t kick, you can reduce your risk by letting your tea cool before drinking. Learn more about cancer screening here. (CNN)