Stress is often blamed for wrinkles, dark shadows, and tired-looking skin. But a new study suggests that psychological stress make actually impair our skin’s ability to resist infectious germs. The skin is the first line of defense for our bodies against bacteria and viruses. It’s a naturally antimicrobial surface. When researchers reporting in the Journal of Clinical Investigation exposed mice to severe psychological stress and subsequent streptococcus, the mice developed worse infections and had higher stress hormone measures than mice who were not exposed to any stress. Though it’s only a murine study, it’s worth noting!
Later today, we’ll bring you some helpful stress-reducing tips just in time for the weekend.
There are many persistent myths about cancer and cancer prevention, but central among them is the assumption that cancer “just happens”. This is fallacious. How you live and what you choose to put in your body has a direct – and significant – causative relationship to whether or not your risk for cancer will be elevated.
Cancer isn’t an overnight event – it develops most frequently over many years due to a range of factors. A fascinating review of over 7,000 studies (talk about thorough) finds that what you eat and how fast you grow are perhaps most significant. I’ve long said that the fuel you serve your body impacts 70% of your health (the rest is exercise and stress management). But it’s interesting, especially in light of our Primal Health explorations, to consider the role of growth – and by growth researchers are talking about hormones.
Inflammation is a natural bodily response to stress, infection, or injury. However, prolonged inflammation caused by a self-destructive lifestyle is a harmful response that affects your musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal function, cardiovascular system, vision, and hormone balance. It’s crucial to control inflammation (there are medications, of course) but it’s even smarter to prevent inflammation. You can do this through daily exercise, stress management, and avoidance of smoking and drinking. But there are many foods that help control inflammation, too. (Chicken nuggets – or rings – do not.) These foods are known as vegetables. Yes – vegetables can help your inflammation just like drugs can. But don’t tell anyone.
October is the month for breast cancer awareness, and there’s been some encouraging news. Although the month began with some critics arguing that the pink ribbon campaign has created a false sense of security that the breast cancer battle is under control – that pink ribbon ubiquity has actually hindered research and progress – a couple of recent studies are encouraging. The Big Pharma disaster, aka HRT (hormone replacement therapy), inflated breast cancer cases. As doctors are now more cautious about recommending and prescribing this course of treatment for women, breast cancer rates have dropped.
But it’s not just breast cancer. Encouragingly, across the board, we’re seeing slight but meaningful drops in some types of cancer, particularly in at-risk groups. A few standouts: lung cancer has dropped a bit in women (women are more at risk to begin with). Colorectal cancers are down in men, largely due to better screening practices.
I’ve received a number of emails from readers asking for more details about my workout routine, especially after publishing a Case Against Cardio and the recent video of my beach sprints. Though I do snowboard and hike and love to try my hand at new stuff – especially while traveling – this basic weekly routine has been my foundational regimen for years. Of course, depending on travel, business and family matters, the routine varies, but this is the general idea. Over the years I’ve concentrated much more of my efforts on weight training, with great results. And I’m definitely an “outdoor” kind of guy. One thing I really appreciate about living in Southern California is the great weather; you can’t beat a hike for a natural, challenging work out. (By the way, if you’re not doing resistance activities, I encourage you to start. Weight-bearing and resistance exercises are essential, particularly as we age.)
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