Who Needs Caffeine When You Can Check Out This Clickativity?
(Okay, you might still want your coffee.)
The Motherland Continues to Annoy (but they do have an interesting point)
Seriously? Also in the news this a.m., the trend of giant handbags for women appears to have bad musculoskeletal health implications. Dolce & Gabbana could not be reached for comment.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
A lot of good stuff is buzzing about in the health world today, Apples. Here’s the best of the batch:
1) But my crumpet won’t be the same!
A new study finds that adding milk or cream to your tea diminishes the nutritional value. (The nutritional value of tea is off the charts: “tea exerts antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilating effects, ‘thereby rendering protection against cardiovascular diseases’ the researchers said.”)
Guess what? The study examined 16 whole people. And only women. Who were post-menopausal. In other words, hardly conclusive, yet it made a splash all over the media. (Science Daily got pretty darn dramatic: “Research published online in the European Heart Journal has found that the protective effect that tea has on the cardiovascular system is totally wiped out by adding milk.” And then bemoaned the plight of the British, who enjoy a bit of milk in their tea.)
Despite drinking gallons of tea, the Brits do have high rates of heart disease (although, if you recall from our news item last week, they’ve managed to slash their national heart disease rate by almost 40% in just a few years). While this study may turn out to be accurate, it pays to take a look at just how reasonable major new health claims actually are. In this case, a milk protein called casein may blunt the antioxidants in tea (known as catechins). Or maybe not: while it’s a good theory, it needs more testing.
The moral of the story? Being really dramatic about relatively small news is fun for the media (sorry guys and gals), so always consider the source and expect significant results.
We spend about 2 trillion dollars a year on health care. That’s not including food, or diets, or diet books, or exercise machines, or gym memberships. That’s just health care. TWO. TRILLION. DOLLARS.
By comparison, we spend about 9 billion on nutritional supplements.
2 trillion dollars is also more money than the entire national GDP of every single country in the world except the US, Japan, Germany, the UK, and France. That means our health care tab alone is more than the national economic value of 179 whole nations. Whew.
Now, with 17% of our national funds going to health care, what do we have to show for it?
When it comes to obesity, life expectancy, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, drug reactions, and preventable death, that old adage “We’re #1″ is, unfortunately, all too true.
The news is both sobering and encouraging. Here we are, the richest nation on earth, suffering ill health at rates far beyond most other industrialized nations. The good news (yes, there is good news!) is that nearly every major health problem we face can be prevented in most cases through lifestyle changes. All of the above listed health conditions and diseases are almost entirely preventable with a better diet, a little exercise, and a little TLC. We could spend money on health care until the cows come home, but the fact remains: an ounce of prevention…
Yet another excellent piece on the interesting link between migraines, depression, and anxiety in women. Women tend to suffer far more from these health issues than do men. Scientists postulate a few possible reasons: hormonal differences, social and cultural pressures related to gender, and the fact that women tend to attend to the health of their children or mates before addressing their own health problems. There’s no clear-cut answer, and men don’t have an easy time, either: men are prone to heart attacks earlier in life, higher blood pressure, and also tend to ignore serious health issues such as ED, cancer and depression because of the social stigma.
However, whether you’re a pretty pink or a big blue, you can do a lot to ease things like depression, anxiety, and even headaches by getting sufficient Omega-3 fats. Studies overwhelmingly point to the brain and heart benefits of these vital fats.
Get good fats in your body by cutting out trans-fat (found in margarine, processed foods and fried fare), eating more fish, olive oil, nuts and avocados, and taking a fish oil supplement.
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT: Choline
Choline is a B vitamin. It is essential to the body’s functions and it is found in every cell. Choline can be produced in the body, but not in adequate amounts. Choline works in concert with other vitamins, particularly Folic Acid and B12.
WHAT IT DOES: Choline assists in brain function, liver function, and cardiovascular function. This supplement is a precursor to acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter.
Choline also plays a role in lipid metabolism and storage in the body. Choline is particularly vital for the regulation of fat in the liver, possibly playing a role in triglyceride regulation and fat storage.
STUDIES SHOW: Pregnant women who take choline can help the brain development of the fetus. Choline supplements have been proven to increase blood choline levels. And high-performance athletes have benefited from choline supplementation because it can help boost endurance.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Choline was determined to be an essential vitamin by the U.S. government in 1998, but many people are unaware of its importance to good health. Choline may assist in memory, brain development and function, cardiovascular health, fat metabolism, liver health and energy levels. As an essential component of the B-vitamin family, choline can help to support your optimal health.
The latest study doesn’t look good for black cohosh. Here’s the clickativity.
Our take: The study was performed by the National Institutes of Health (your friendly government agency), and looked at just over 300 women – so, not exactly a conclusive study. However, size does not always matter – a good study is a good study. The researchers found that women taking black cohosh for hot flashes had a half-episode less per day than women on the placebo treatment. This marginal difference might be enough for some women to take the herbal supplement, but it’s not significant enough to pass scientific muster (and that’s really a good thing – that’s why science rocks).
Black cohosh has been used for hundreds of years and was a traditional Native American medicine. If you suffer from hot flashes and find that black cohosh has helped you, there’s probably nothing to worry about as it is a fairly harmless herb (though it can cause headaches and stomach discomfort in some).
The study designers did state that the jury’s not out and larger studies need to be conducted.
About a year and a half ago, a big study was released on echinacea. The report was that the herb did nothing to prevent or alleviate cold and flu viruses. The study was certainly well-designed: participants were locked up dorm-style in a completely controlled environment for the duration of the study. But despite the strict parameters, the scientists forgot something: the echinacea plant has different parts that can be utilized for medicinal purposes. Because herbal supplements are not regulated the same way as drugs are regulated, the type of echinacea in the assortment at your local GNC can literally vary from bottle to bottle. Other studies testing different sources of echinacea have proven a benefit. It just goes to show that “the latest study” is almost never the last word.
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