In the News: Snortable Chocolate on the Rise, Coffee May Increase Longevity, FDA Approves New Cancer Treatment

Snortable chocolate on the rise. A product called Coco Loko is making waves among the party crowd in Europe in recent years. This snortable chocolate powder claims to reduce stress and act as a stimulant, giving users a sense of euphoria and calm focus. While this product isn’t dangerous when consumed orally, inhaling it may create issues. According to Dr. Ryan Stanton, an emergency physician, this powder may get stuck in the lungs if it doesn’t stay in the nose and that can create respiratory issues. People with asthma, pulmonary issues, or lung diseases are urged to avoid snorting Coco Loko for the sake of their safety. Want to enjoy chocolate the healthy way? Try these guilt-free recipes. (CNN)

Coffee may increase longevity. Coffee lovers have one more reason to celebrate: several studies have found that consistent coffee consumption lowers death rates from a wide variety of causes. While many may assume only a certain amount is beneficial, it turns out that the more cups you drink, the greater the result. In an American study that took place over 16 years, participants who claimed to drink four or more coffee drinks daily, were linked to an 18 percent lowered chance of death than the others. In a European study, researchers studied 520,000 people in 10 different counties over 16 years and they found similar results. In the U.S. study, researchers found that decaffeinated coffee provided the same benefits as the caffeinated kind, which means the longevity potion doesn’t necessarily lie in the caffeine. Learn more about the pros and cons of drinking coffee here. (ABC)

FDA approves new cancer treatment. A new cancer treatment that uses the patient’s immune system to fight their cancer has been approved by the FDA. Known as a “living drug”, this treatment, takes cells from the patient’s body, changes the genes, and then fuses those changed cells back into the body, essentially using its own immune system to fight the disease. While concerns about safety and cost are a factor, this revolutionary treatment is a huge advancement in the field of cancer research. Are you snacking on these six cancer-fighting foods? Add them to your diet today. (NPR)

One Viewer’s Experience on the Mono Diet

green vegetables

The Monotrophic Diet, often known as the Mono Diet, is based around the concept of eating only one item per meal. On this regimen, you’re allowed to eat unlimited quantities per meal, as long as you stick to the same food. The only beverage you’re allowed while on the diet is water. Here is one person’s experience on the Mono Diet. If you’re thinking about trying this out, make sure to speak to your physician first before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle.

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In the News: Forgetfulness May Make You Smarter, Mindfulness May Reduce Blood Sugar, Lectin-Free Diet Is the Latest Diet Fad

Forgetfulness may make you smarter. As it turns out, having a perfect memory may not be as brag-worthy as it seems. A report out of the journal Neuron, indicates that forgetting everyday things may increase intelligence. Researchers at the University of Toronto posit that the point of memory is to improve decision-making by only retaining the most important things and releasing the rest. When studying memory and brain activity in mice, researchers found that old memories were regularly swapped with new ones, which lead to more informed decision-making and increased activity in the hippocampus. (CNN)

Mindfulness may reduce blood sugar. Penn State University researchers studied 86 overweight and obese participants to determine how stress impacted their health. They randomly assigned mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) courses to some women and assigned general health courses to the other women. After tracking the results for eight weeks, they determined that the MBSR group was significantly less stressed than the group in the general health courses. While both groups did improve in terms of mood, sleep, and psychological issues, only the MBSR group had lowered blood sugar levels. While more research is required, these findings show that practicing mindfulness may provide significant physical benefits. Feeling stressed? Here’s how to go from manic to mindful in just five minutes. (TIME)

Lectin-free diet is the latest diet fad. Just as going gluten-free was a huge diet trend just a few years ago, it appears that going lectin-free is the new big thing. Lectins are specific proteins found in grains and beans. While research has shown that lectins may have positive and negative effects, a lot of online gurus are writing them off entirely, suggesting that lectins can cause irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and inflammation. However, nutritionists point out that the the type of lectin you choose, and the preparation, can play a role in terms of health benefits. If you are indeed suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, try this plan to find relief. (WP)

In the News: Eating Vegetable Protein May Prevent Early Menopause, Eating Certain Foods Before Bed May Improve Sleep, Long-Term Breastfeeding Linked to Cavities

Eating more vegetable protein may prevent early menopause. A study at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, scientists have found that consuming foods like whole grains, tofu, and soy may prolong reproductive function and keep early menopause at bay. They also found that eating enriched pasta, certain types of bread, and cold cereal could also push off the start of menopause and that eating animal protein didn’t produce the same effect. For a woman on a 2,000 calorie diet, experts recommend eating three to four servings of these veggie protein foods, with the servings fluctuating based on BMI, age, and lifestyle habits. The next stage of research will have to look at the impact of soy-based protein versus non-soy vegetable protein to determine how it effects the ovaries. Wondering if you’re at risk for early menopause? Take this quiz. (SD)

Snacking on certain foods before bed may improve sleep quality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of adults are not sleeping enough. As it turns out, diet can play a role in how effectively you snooze. Researchers suggest eating foods high in tryptophan, which is an amino acid that your body converts into melatonin and serotonin, both of which help you relax and feel drowsy. Snacks rich in this ingredient include granola, unsweetened cereal, whole grain crackers, milk, and turkey. You can also snack on oranges, bananas, and pineapples to increase melatonin. Looking to sleep better? Find out your sleep chronotype first. (CNN)

Long-term breastfeeding linked to more pediatric cavities. According to Pediatrics journal, breastfeeding children for two years and up can increase the likelihood of cavities. When studying 1,129 children in Brazil, researchers found that 23.9 percent had severe cavities and 48 percent had at least one cavity. Children who were breastfeed for over two years had more than double the risk of having serious dental issues, whereas kids who were only breastfed for a year or less had a much smaller risk. When looking at the reasons, experts explain that a lot of these breastfeeding sessions take place at night and more frequently over all, which makes it difficult to keep the teeth adequately clean during these hours. Another explanation links prolonged breastfeeding with a higher consumption of sweets and a lower income background, which can explain why there are dental health issues. (CNN)

Easy Ways to Cultivate Good Health in the Garden

 

woman gardening

There are many more ways to stay healthy and fit than simply just going to the gym. In fact some options are right in our own backyard. While gardening may not be considered exercise by some, it can actually build or maintain strength, stamina, and flexibility. Some studies have shown that it can also reduce the prevalence of heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression and improve one’s perceived quality of life. Some research even indicates gardening reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s by 50 percent. Want to learn more?

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In the News: New Human Carcinogens Revealed, Food Poisoning Myths Debunked, Bacteria Found in Chain Coffee Drinks

Seven more substances officially labeled carcinogenic. In the 14th Report on Carcinogens, released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 248 carcinogens were listed, included seven new additions. Five viruses, including Epstein-Barr virus, Human immunodeficiency virus type 1, and Merkel cell polyomavirus were included on this year’s list since they have been linked to over 20 types of cancer, including skin cancer, lung cancer, stomach cancer, eye cancer, and others. This report highlights the importance of prevention strategies, since these infections can often be fatal.  (CNN)

Nine food poisoning myths debunked. With al fresco dining in full swing this season, it’s important to separate fact from fiction in terms of food poisoning. While many people assume food poisoning can’t happen to them, it actually impacts 48 million people annually so it’s important to take precautionary measures. Another assumption is that food poisoning attacks cause sickness quickly. In reality, some bacteria take 12 to 48 hours to make themselves known, while others can take one to eight days to strike. Another myth is that if food is hot or cold enough it’s not in the danger zone. The only way to know for sure if your food is in the danger zone (between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit) is to use a thermometer to be sure. Keep this checklist handy the next time you’re feeling ill to determine if you have food poisoning.  (TODAY)

Fecal bacteria found in chain coffee drinks. The BBC’s consumer-affairs Watchdog program has found fecal bacteria in ice at Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffe Nero in the United Kingdom. While they found trace amounts, when measured the levels were found to be alarming, causing companies to have to rethink their ice handling tactics. What’s worse, the bacteria found in these cafes was considered to have human disease potential, making it not just unsanitary but potentially dangerous to consumers. These findings underscore how important hygiene practices are for all kinds of eating and drinking establishments. (CNBC)

A Healthy Reset for Everyday People

Glass bottle of spinach juice on wooden table, closeup

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Written by Sue Ward, Director of Nutrition at Sanoviv Institute

If you are ready to improve your health, boost energy, shed excess body weight, and improve your appearance, then consider a brief “reset.” This reset plan is about removing potentially harmful substances from our bodies while nourishing ourselves with healthy foods and lifestyle practices.

Here is a simple 7-day reset that can help put you on the path to better health. It includes a simple meal plan — a shake, a salad, and a soup each day; a shake for breakfast, salad for lunch, and soup for dinner. This is an easy-to-follow plan that can be modified to suit individual needs, using the following suggestions. Read more  »

In the News: Older Fathers May Have ‘Geekier’ Sons, Airplane Coffee and Tea May Be Full of Bacteria, Centenarians Share Secrets to Longevity

Older fathers may have ‘geekier’ sons. According to a “Geek Index”, created by King’s College London, men who wait longer to start a family may have “geekier” sons. A team of scientists analyzed test results from 15,000 twins, noting their non-verbal IQ, ability to focus on a subject, and social aloofness.  They found that the boys who scored high were brighter, more focused, and less worried about fitting in. Interestingly, they discovered that the age of the mother played no role in these results, and that daughters of older fathers were immune to these traits. When looking for an answer, researchers point out that new sperm mutations may be in play, as well as the fact that older men may simply encourage geeky traits thanks to their lifestyles.  (BBC)

Airplane coffee and tea may be full of bacteria. Do you find yourself ordering a cup of coffee or tea on a flight? You may want to rethink this beverage choice.  When asked which beverages they never go for on planes, stewardesses admitted they refuse to drink coffee, tea, or hot water. As it turns out, they may have the right idea. The water used for these warm beverages comes from the tap as opposed to a bottle, and that tap water may be full of horrible germs. One study found that in 158 airplanes, 13 percent were found to have coliform and two airplanes were even found to have E.coli in their tap water. An astounding one in every eight planes does not even pass the standards of water safety. To avoid ingesting potentially dangerous strains of bacteria, simply opt for bottled water or bring your own and save your caffeine fix for after you land. Here are eight more tricks to stay healthy while traveling. (T+L)

Centenarians share their secrets to longevity. As more and more people are reaching 100 years of age and up, scientists are looking into the secret behind their longevity. When asked how they maintain their youthful energy at the ages of 104 and 102, John and Charlotte Henderson point to a few key factors: eating well, sleeping enough, not drinking too much, having a loving partner, not overeating, and making time to exercise consistently. Another factor that plays a role is genetics. When Mac Miller, 102 years old, was asked how he’s stayed alive and healthy this long, he explained “my grandparents were in their 80s, my mother was 89, and my father was 93.” So it looks like a blend of behavioral factors, genetics, and today’s improved healthcare have led to an increase in the number of centenarians in the U.S. Want to stay on top of your longevity regimen? Check out this handy checklist. (USAT)