In the News: Avocado Seed Husk May Have Disease-Fighting Potential, Peanut Butter Is Not as Unhealthy as It Seems, Breakfast Feasting May Be Beneficial

Avocado seed husk may have disease-fighting potential. While it’s common knowledge that avocados are full of healthy fats and provide tons of health benefits, it turns out the husk of the seed may be good for you too. According to recent research, the husk is made up of chemical compounds that may fight heart disease, certain viruses, and potentially cancer as well. This new finding suggests that you should not discard the seed and husk, since these parts may carry the most nutritional benefits. Some of the ingredients found in the seed husk oil include an alcohol that is used in antiviral medication, an acid that raises good cholesterol, and heptacosane that may be able to kill tumors. Want to add more avocado to your diet? Try these recipes. (MNT)

Peanut butter is not as unhealthy as it seems. For a long time, full-fat foods, eggs, and peanut butter have had a bad reputation, which many experts suggesting that they may cause weight gain and other health issues. As it turns out, these foods are okay to eat, as long as you consume them in moderation. Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins, full-fat products can increase satiety and positively impact gut bacteria, coffee may lower the risk of degenerative diseases, and peanut butter can provide healthy fatty acids and protein. Want to find new ways to eat peanut butter? Try these 25 tips. (ABC)

Breakfast feasting may be beneficial to your health. While many of us prefer to snack on something small for breakfast, eat a moderate size meal for lunch, and a big meal for dinner, it may turn out that doing the opposite is actually better for you. After reviewing 50,000 adults over the course of seven years, scientists have found that front-loading our calories may significantly aid in weight control. The American Heart Association has also backed this theory, stating that timing meals can prevent heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol. In fact, skipping breakfast altogether can raise your risk of diabetes and obesity, making it extra important to have a healthy and filling breakfast, instead of surviving on coffee or eating a donut on the go. Want some culinary inspiration? Give these 20 breakfasts a go. (NYT)

In the News: Late Night Snacking May Damage Skin, Study Says You Can’t be Fit and Fat, Blood Test May Find Cancer Early

Late night snacking may damage skin. According to a recent study, eating late at night may make your skin more prone to sun damage. When studying mice, scientists discovered that if their eating patterns shifted, they became more vulnerable to UV rays. When looking for an explanation, Dr. Joseph S. Takahashi found that altering the circadian rhythm changes the way a specific skin-protecting enzyme operates. This enzyme, known as xeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA), became less active during the day when the mice ate at different times and more active at night. While it’s not clear if this phenomenon would also impact humans, it does raise questions about how diet can impact your skin health. Want to stop nighttime eating? Try this plan. (MNT)

A study says you can’t be fit and fat. A study printed in the European Heart Journal has found that being overweight raises the risk of coronary heart disease, even if the person seems healthy overall. These findings challenge the notion that one can be overweight yet simultaneously fit. After analyzing thousands of heart disease cases in 10 European countries for over a decade, researchers discovered that being overweight was linked to a 25% higher likelihood of developing heart disease. These results will likely open a new discussion about what it really means to be healthy and whether blood tests or other assessments will be needed to determine that. Want to try a lightning-fast workout? You can do this one in just seven minutes. (CNN)

A blood test may find cancer early. A team at Johns Hopkins University has found that a blood test can detect breast, colon, lung, and ovarian cancer. While it will take a long time before this exam can be used as a method of cancer screening, it does show great promise. Scientists found that dying tumor cells shed tiny bits of DNA that can show up in the bloodstream. Interestingly, the team was able to find a lot of early-stage cancer patients having these changes in their blood. This type of testing can potentially find cancer before any symptoms even emerge. If these tests continue to be accurate over the next few years of research, it can create a huge impact in the world of early cancer detection. (NBC)

In the News: Solar Eclipse Safety Tips Revealed, Anger May Improve Happiness, Singing May Improve Parkinson’s Symptoms

Solar eclipse safety tips revealed.  As the anticipation grows for the upcoming solar eclipse, many are wondering how to safely witness this phenomenon. With so many people planning to wear their regular sunglasses or to buy counterfeit pairs it’s important to get the facts and stay protected. According to Steven Pfriem from the ICS Laboratories, the way to tell if your solar eclipse-viewing glasses are safe is to check for the “ISO 12312-2 standard” label on the frames, check that you can’t see your hand while you’re wearing the glasses, and make sure there are no bubbles, creases, dents, or scratches on the glasses themselves. (TODAY)

Anger can improve happiness. While it may sound strange to say that anger and hatred can somehow improve one’s happiness, research shows that this may be true. An international study found that happiness is more complicated than seeking to feel good and avoiding feeling bad. In actuality, feeling the emotions you desire to feel, even if those are negative, can boost your happiness. Some interesting findings showed that 11% of participants want to feel less positive emotions and 10% want to feel more negative ones. To make sense of this, Dr. Maya Tamir from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explains that people who read horrible news want to feel sad or angry rather than feeling nothing. Researchers also found that expecting to feel happy constantly can have serious downsides since it’s natural to have an ebb and flow of emotions. (BBC)

Singing may improve Parkinson’s symptoms. A new study has found that singing may be used as a voice therapy to help Parkinson’s patients. While symptoms differ from person to person, 60-80% of people with Parkinson’s experience some type of vocal change such as becoming monotone, speaking in a whispered voice, or losing vocal pitch. While typical Parkinson’s treatments don’t cover this area, singing, a form of voice therapy, may help improve these impairments. In one study, researchers found that in two months of singing, volume, swallow control, and pitch were noticeably improved. While further research is required to determine how and why this practice can improve these symptoms, for the time-being it is showing great potential. (MN)

In the News: Google Encourages Plant-Based Eating, Instagram Feed May Reveal Signs of Depression, Doing Puzzles Can Shave 10 Years Off Your Brain

Google encourages employees to adopt a plant-based diet. Google, a company that has never shied away from taking on environmental issues like pollution and deforestation is now taking a stand against meat. In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, Google is serving less beef in the employee cafeterias these days. In order to replace animal protein but keep the meals filling and delicious for their employees, they will be relying on nuts, grains, and legumes to create tasty meals. Some popular dishes include an award-winning vegan taco, quinoa dishes, and mushroom burgers. Want to try a plant-based diet? Give the 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough a try. (MH)

Your Instagram feed may reveal if you’re depressed. Using a special computer program that analyzed Instagram, researchers found it could diagnose depression in users with remarkable accuracy. Depending on which filter Instagram users chose, how many likes a photo received, and whether a filter was used at all, researchers were able to determine who may be depressed. Using the “Inkwell” filter or not using filters at all, receiving very few likes, posting photos of faces (but only a few), and choosing blue, gray, or generally dark color schemes for the photos all pointed to mental illness. Watch this clip to learn more if Instagram can cause loneliness as well. (ABC)

Doing crossword puzzles can help maintain brain health. Researchers have found crossword puzzles can help people 50 and older maintain a young and sharp brain. Researchers from University of Exeter and Kings College London analyzed 17,000 people to determine if certain activities improve brain health and found that doing puzzles can increase the accuracy of short-term memories and the ability to solve grammatical issues quickly. They discovered that regularly working on puzzles can help the brain operate as though it’s 10 years younger. Want to give your brain a boost? Try these four hacks. (HL)

In the News: New Drug Treats All Forms of Hepatitis C, Loneliness May Be a Bigger Killer Than Obesity, Green Tea Extract May Treat Tooth Sensitivity

FDA approves a new drug that treats hepatitis C. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around anywhere from 2.7 to 3.9 million Americans are currently living with hepatitis C. This condition slowly develops sans symptoms for years until serious damage, such as liver failure or liver cancer, eventually occurs. While past treatments required shots and pills with painful symptoms, it appears a better approach has emerged. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug that treats all types of hepatitis C in two months time. The medication is split between three pills that are taken once a day. While some side effects such as fatigue, itchiness, or nausea may occur, this new form of treatment is more efficient and convenient than ever before. (ABC)

Loneliness may be a bigger killer than obesity. While it may seem that obesity is the leading cause of premature deaths in America, it turns out that loneliness gives it a run for its money. Studies out of Brigham Young University indicate that social isolation increases the likelihood of premature death by around 50%. These findings also showed that loneliness was equal or greater than obesity in terms of its detrimental effects. When 2,000 people were polled, 72% stated that they’ve felt lonely before and 31% stated they feel lonely at least once a week. To solve this problem, researchers are suggesting that social skills should be taught and enforced in early education courses. Take this quiz to find out if you’re at risk of adult loneliness today. (MNT)

Green tea extract may treat tooth sensitivity. For anyone with tooth sensitivity, drinking a beverage that is too cold or too hot can cause horrible pain to the teeth and gums. While before it seemed that the only solution was time, scientists are now looking to green tea extract for a better option. The epigallocatechin-3 gallate (ECGC) compound found in green tea was shown to successfully plug up tubes in the teeth so that hot and cold liquids can’t touch the nerves. Not only was this extract capable of reducing unpleasant tooth sensitivity symptoms, the positive effect lasted for 96 hours. Learn more about the health benefits of green tea here. (MH)

In the News: Scientists Edit Human Embryos, Sexually Transmitted Zika Virus Confirmed in Florida, Low Calorie Diet Linked to Learning Improvement

Scientists edit mutation in human embryos. For the first time ever, scientists have successfully repaired a mutated gene that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This disease affects half a million Americans annually, particularly young athletes who pass away from sudden cardiac death. Scientists have spent the last few years looking into gene editing, particularly its ability to prevent certain diseases. A popular form of gene editing known as CRISPR-CAS9 involves removing or making changes to DNA sequences to change the way the gene operates. This scientific breakthrough raises ethical questions, with many wondering if this is a form of “playing God” and will require further research before it can be used in clinical trials. (MEDNEWS)

Sexually transmitted Zika virus confirmed in Florida. This year’s first sexually transmitted Zika case has been discovered in Florida recently. The state’s health department confirmed that a Florida resident’s partner showed Zika symptoms after returning from Cuba; both were diagnosed with this mosquito-borne virus. This recent case highlights the importance of taking precautions when engaging in sexual contact with someone who may have been exposed. The CDC also recommends postponing unprotected sex for six months or more to ensure females are not infected. While the symptoms of Zika are minor (rash, fever, pinkeye), it can cause birth defects if contracted during pregnancy. Want to learn more about Zika? Here are five facts you should know. (ABC)

Low-calorie diet linked to learning improvement in worms. Want to try a low-calorie diet? A new study has found that eating less gives worms a brain boost. Research has already shown that calorie restriction can boost longevity and it appears that it can also improve learning ability too. A team of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco trained roundworms to link the scent of butanone with a food-based reward. The worm groups were divided up between those who ate whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, those who fasted for sixty minutes, and those who were on a calorie-restricted diet. The group on the diet was two times more likely to complete the exercise the way they were supposed to as compared to the group that ate freely. Some experts believe that eating fewer calories lowers the amount of kynurenic acid (a brain chemical) which may improve learning ability. Want to try a restricted diet? Give this 1200-calorie meal plan a try! (NS)

In the News: Engineers Print an Artificial Beating Heart, FDA May Require Nicotine Reduction in Cigarettes, Men Who Eat Excess Sugar May Develop Mental Health Disorders

Engineers print an artificial beating heart. At ETH Zurich, engineers have successfully created an artificial heart with ventricles that pump a blood-like substance, that weighs the same as a real human heart, and can beat for 30 minutes at a time. Using a mold, they were able to 3-D print a silicone heart which can have major implications on the future of organ donating. They also aim to replace blood pumps, which can have malfunctioning parts that create health issues. This engineering marvel can also eliminate the process of waiting around for a heart when in need of a transplant. With heart disease claiming over 17 million lives across the globe, the speed and convenience of 3-D printing is poised to make a huge difference. (CNN)

FDA may require nicotine reduction in cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration is considering requiring tobacco companies to reduce the amount of nicotine in their cigarettes in order to make them less addictive. The hope is that this switch will reduce the public’s dependency on cigarettes, preventing the premature death of millions. This change will mark the first time in the history of the FDA that they will regulate nicotine levels in cigarettes. Producers of cigars, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco, and cigarettes will have until the summer of 2021 to submit their applications for review. Think switching to electronic cigarettes is the answer? Find out why they may be dangerous as well. (NPR)

Men who eat too much sugar may develop mental health disorders. While it’s common knowledge that consuming too much sugar can cause weight gain, inflammatory conditions, and other health issues, it turns out that men are particularly impacted. Research shows that men who eat over 67 grams of sugar on a daily basis have an increased likelihood of developing depression, anxiety, mental health issues, and mood disorders. Compared with participants who ate less than 39.5 grams of sugar daily, excess sugar eaters were 23 percent more likely to showcase these troubling symptoms. Ready to give up sugar? Try this 14-day detox plan. (MEDNEWS)

In the News: Brain Disease Found in 99% of Deceased NFL Players, Owning a Dog Can Improve Physical Health, Sperm Count Dropping in Men Across the World

Brain disease found in 99% of deceased NFL players. According to a study in the JAMA medical journal, 99 percent of deceased NFL players showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative brain disease. This condition, often seen in patients with consistent head trauma, causes a buildup of an abnormal protein that can switch off certain neural pathways and cause side effects like depression, anxiety, confusion, poor judgment, lack of control, and even suicidal ideation. Since an autopsy is required to properly diagnose this condition, it can be tricky determining who is currently afflicted with this condition. These findings do show how important it is to take proper care when playing contact sports and to seek help if any of these symptoms appear. Learn more about head injuries here. (CNN)

Owning a dog can improve physical health. While we all know that having a dog can improve overall happiness and improved mental health, a new study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health shows that dog owners are less stressed, more active, have a decreased risk of asthma, and have lowered blood pressure as well. While studying over 3,000 participants ranging in age from 49-91, researchers found that the participants who didn’t own dogs were sedentary for 30 minutes more than the ones who did. These findings may have implications in the senior citizen community, since retirement can often lead to a less active lifestyle. Owning a dog may just be the trick to maintain good health physically and mentally. (TIME)

Sperm count dropping in men across the world. After assessing the results over almost 200 studies conducted on men in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, researchers found that sperm counts have halved in less than four decades. These findings were the culmination of research from 1973 to 2011. When looking for an explanation, scientists point to an increased exposure to pesticides and plastic chemicals, along with lifestyle issues like obesity, stress, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. Find out how to boost testosterone here. (BBC)

In the News: Appetite-Suppressing Foods Revealed, Blue Light May Impact Eye Health, Time-Saving Services May Boost Happiness

Appetite-suppressing foods revealed. While there is no secret ingredient to help you lose weight, there are a few key foods you can eat to give you a boost. Nutritionists recommend Greek or Icelandic yogurt (which provides a healthy dose of protein), avocados (an excellent source of monounsaturated fat), red chili peppers, barley, soup (which helps you fill up for fewer calories), vegetable salad, spinach, and flaxseed. These ingredients provide you with protein, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fat, so you can feel satisfied without relying on high-calorie junk food. Want to learn more? Check out this natural appetite suppressant. (CNN)

Blue light may be hurting your eye health. Since we are on our computers and phones more often than ever before, we are exposed to an unprecedented amount of blue light emissions. Doctors are particularly concerned because the blue light that comes from electronic devices isn’t filtered by the cornea or lens, going straight to the back of the eye instead. While more research is required, some experts worry that this exposure can lead to damaged retinas and other eye health issues. If you want to prevent eye strain, optometrist Janelle Routhier, OD, recommends giving your eyes a break, using a light-reducing app and purchasing blue-blocking lenses. Find out how to further reduce blue light emission on your phone here. (HEALTH)

Time-saving services may boost happiness. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, spending money on time-saving services may boost overall happiness and satisfaction. Researchers studied the spending habits of 6,000 participants all over the world and found that those who paid for others to clean or cook for them reported increased contentment compared to those who didn’t. Interestingly, under 50 percent of the millionaires surveyed paid to outsource unpleasant tasks, while the others opted to do it themselves, potentially due to feeling guilty or wanting control. Another factor could be the “busy” culture of North America, leading people to juggle all aspects of their lives and enjoying that feeling of being capable. Some experts suggest that letting go and spending a little money to save time can have a huge positive impact on the quality of life. (ABC)

In the News: Study Reveals Why Cutting Carbs Is Hard, Laughing at Yourself May Improve Health, Diet Drinks May Cause Weight Gain

Study reveals why cutting carbs is so challenging. If you’ve ever tried to quit eating carbohydrates and found yourself in a cold sweat gawking at a chocolate chip cookie just days later, you are not alone. Researchers have devoted a lot of time and resources to finding out why cutting carbs is so universally difficult. While many people assume they lack willpower or discipline, it may be a bit more complicated than that. Insulin may play a role in regulating hormones, which is tied to obesity. When insulin is elevated, the body stops burning fat and starts burning carbs, and the more insulin you release, the more you will want to eat carbs. In order to avoid this trap, you need to avoid these types of foods along with social triggers, and plan ahead to make smarter choices. Wondering if your body is resistant to carbs? Take this quiz. (NYT)

Laughing at yourself can improve mental health. Have you ever noticed someone tripping on the street and laughing at themselves? On the opposite end, have you seen someone fall and try to act like nothing happened? As it turns out, of these two camps, those who are able to laugh at themselves may not only have a healthy outlook on life but also greater well-being overall. In a recent study, researchers found that laughing at yourself can improve your heart health, help you handle life’s obstacles better, manage pain more effectively, and surprisingly even boost your short-term memory. Feeling blue? Try these five at-home therapy hacks to boost your personality. (NBC)

Diet drinks have been linked to weight gain. While diet drinks often seem like ideal alternatives to sugary sodas, it turns out that they may not be any better. New research shows that people who regularly consume diet drinks have an increased BMI and a higher risk of developing heart disease. Belly fat in particular, seems to be linked to diet drinks, which is risky because a high waist circumference increases the odds of developing type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and other health problems. While it’s possible that those who drink diet soda are simply eating more sugary foods in addition to these beverages, scientists also believe that artificial sweeteners may be negatively impacting gut health as well. If you want to wean yourself off of diet drinks, try these infused waters instead. (INDEPENDENT)