In the News: Study Uncovers Gut Bacteria-Blood Pressure Connection, New Report Ranks Each State’s Health, Study Says Oldest Child is Smartest

A gut reaction on heart health. New study links gut bacteria and blood pressure. With more bacteria cells in and on our bodies than human cells, it’s no wonder they appear to affect our health. According to a recent study, gut bacteria may even lower blood pressure as well. In the study, scientists took intestinal bacteria from rats with high blood pressure also known as hypertension and introduced it into the intestines of rats with normal blood pressure. After about 7 weeks, the once normotensive rats developed hypertension! While more studies need to be done in humans, increasing your probiotics could be an easy way to improve your health. Check out the ultimate probiotic shopping list here. (SCIENCEDAILY)

From Kale-ifornia to Tuna-see, do you live in the healthiest state in the nation? New report ranks each state’s health. A recent poll from Gallup and Healthways surveyed more than 177,000 Americans in 2016 and found some interesting patterns. Topping off the list is the people of Hawaii while the bottom of the list is West Virginia. The authors had some good news, claiming that 2016 saw historically low smoking rates and historically high rates of exercise. Unfortunately, chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes are at some of their highest rates since 2008. No matter which state you live in, our new 21-day diet might be the best way for you to lose weight and decrease your risk of developing chronic disease here. (TIME)

Study says oldest child may be smartest. Firstborn children can all rejoice! The Journal of Human Resources has conducted a study that shows that firstborn children get higher IQ scores compared to their younger siblings. Other findings from the study show that older children received more mental stimulation and engagement from their parents, and were more often breastfed than their younger siblings. Another result of the research showed that first-time mothers were more likely to avoid drinking and smoking at all costs, staying very healthy during their first pregnancies. While it’s not clear if there is a link between breastfeeding, birth order, and intelligence, these results do raise some interesting questions. To learn more about birth order, check out this article. (FORBES)