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.
2) 17% and Still Sick
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…
3) Girls Need Omega 3′s, Too
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.