Worker Bees’ Daily Bites:
You’re still here? Hey, cut out early and go get some sun! Stretch those legs, Apples. We advocate slacking off once in a while – it’s good for beating stress, which makes you more productive and healthy, anyway. But first, the Friday wrap-up…
1) It’s a Good Thing It’s not 1776…
…or we’d be in a really sorry state of affairs. Britain is kicking our big, flabby behind when it comes to fighting heart disease. The Brits have cut back on smoking, reduced heart attacks, and are about to meet their health goal three years ahead of schedule. That’s right, ahead of schedule – when was the last time our government managed to meet, let alone beat, its own goal deadline?
Our New Year’s Resolution? Show the darn world who has real heart. (And statin-schmatin. We can do it the right way – cut out garbage food, get exercise at least three times a week, and stop smoking.)
Also, let’s set a decent goal. Uncle Sam is big on baby steps when it comes to public health, but we think it’s time to take massive, alpha-dog action. We all know “baby steps” usually amounts to a lot of crawling around and burping and not much stepping. The UK planned to cut heart disease by 40% by 2010, and they’re already at 36%. It’s barely 2007.
Do we even have a number goal? It’s bad enough that we get teased for lacking “culture”. But now we’re going to let them win the “better looking and healthier heart” award, too? If you love your country, better put away the smokes, move those lazy buns, and lay off the junk food. This is America, for cryin’ out loud! We don’t do baby steps here!
2) Celebrities Are Not Health Experts
Our beloved pals over at That’s Fit always cut through the gloss. Check out this clickativity and remember: if it sounds too good to be true, and if there isn’t science to back it up, and most importantly, if Madonna thinks it’s going to save your life, you might want to get a second opinion.
Between bird flu, Rhode Island school closures, conjoined children, the new WHO director, an ethical debate about a disabled daughter, and the ruckus over human-animal DNA splicing, it’s been quite a controversial and bizarre week in the world of science and health.
Frankly, I’ll leave these stories to Google and all the pundits chomping at the 5 o’clock Friday bit. If you’re looking for a little bit of a breather from all this, the Bees have gone hunting for the latest study findings in the field of health, and here’s the best of the catch:
1 – My favorite kind of study: one that’s randomized, placebo-controlled, and long-term (in this case, nearly 7 years!). The findings reveal that supplementing with zinc helps fight aging and age-related diseases, macular degeneration, and oxidation. It’s one of the better-designed studies I’ve seen on zinc. Although, quick note – long-term supplementation with zinc needs to be kept at a fairly low dosage and quality source such as found here. Here is the American Journal of Ophthalmology Clickativity for those who want the nitty-gritty.
2 – A researcher named Bruce. Now here’s a guy I like. He writes a terrific essay on the need for particular nutrients to mitigate certain effects of aging, cancer risk, and cellular function, and is upfront about his conflict of interest (he’s part of a scientific advisory board involved in the licensing of a supplement that supports mitochondria). Nevertheless, he doesn’t profit, his findings are spot-on, and I appreciate the academic honesty. That’s more than can be said for a lot of conflicts of interest in the medical industry that get hushed.
We’ll be getting into ATP, stress, oxidation and mitochondria in the future to help you understand why our bodies age and weaken the way they do, and what can be done about it (first tip: take a potent multivitamin with antioxidants, and lay off the sugar). But Bruce’s summary is worth perusing for a quick minute. The more you can do to stop oxidation at the cellular level, the better your health will be in myriad ways: wrinkling and aging, energy, immunity, cognition, disease prevention, liver function, nervous system function, cardiovascular health, and so on. There is a common component to many diseases, illnesses and dysfunctions of the body – it’s cell damage.
3 – Exercise improves life in your golden years. A study from the Journal of Gerontology highlights the critical need for folks over 60 to continue building their strength through exercise. Aging is essentially a process of tissue wasting away – hair, organs, vital fats, muscle and bone tissue, and even brain tissue. Exercise, particularly strength training, offsets this process to the extent that is possible. Living long is great – but I’m interested in living well, too. I’m sure you are as well. Exercise later in life is also critical for maintaining confidence, emotional happiness, and a sense of security – all important things for everybody but especially seniors. Medline Plus, a public service resource, summarizes the study nicely and offers some fitness tips. It also stresses the importance of a structured workout regimen: we humans do thrive on just a little bit of routine.
Smart Fuel, just in time for the weekend!
End the work week on a healthy note with some piping hot green tea. Green tea (and in fact, all tea) is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. These little nutritional buddies are great for your cardiovascular system and love your liver. The polyphenols in green tea – catechins, theaflavins and thearubigins – are not only fun to try and pronounce, they’re really potent free radical killers.
Here’s how to get the most from your tea:
- Steep for as long as possible. The longer you steep, the more you reap.
- Use loose-leaf tea if you can. If you use bagged tea, make sure the leaves get good and soaked. Be aggressive with your spoon. The tea won’t care.
- Avoid bottled green tea. Not only does it make a barrel of crude oil look affordable, but it’s not the best way to get antioxidants. Different companies have different steeping standards, and quality varies greatly. Plus, there’s usually sugar and other junk added in.
Worker Bees’ Daily Bites
What’s up, Apples? All kinds of great health news for you today. Here’s the latest you’ll want to click:
1) Fine…But It’s Still a Frankenfat
So, we don’t really have a comment on this. What goes on with this line of reasoning? Who thinks this stuff up? “Take bad fake fat. Fake it some more so it has some good in it. But it’s still bad fat. Sort of.” Huh? Here’s an idea: stop playing God with food! Oh yeah. Sorry. We promised no comment. People may never stop eating potato chips; should scientists just try to make them slightly less terrible for you? We just don’t believe this is the best humans are capable of. We’re only bees, of course…
2) Never Too Late to Feel Great with Folate
After it became common knowledge that women needs lots of folate to prevent birth defects, things started to improve. For a while. The government has conducted two back-to-back long-term studies to see if women are getting enough folate.
Surprisingly, levels are way back down again despite all the folic flapping. The researchers think it’s a combination of obesity rates increasing and supplementation rates decreasing. The moral? Stay lean, eat greens, and take a multivitamin, for goodness’ sake. (If for no other reason than to make us quit with the folate rhymes!)
3) We Knew It!
This just in: soap and water are just as good at removing germs as all those fancy-schmancy hand sanitizers. Repeat: soap and water are just as good. Hand sanitizers are the bottled water of the germ-conscious set.
Here are the facts for all you beloved germophobes:
- Alcohol-based sanitizers do a good job of killing bacteria IF you use a lot of the goop. Most people only use a little squirt and that’s not really enough. Also, these hand sanitizers kill good bacteria along with the bad. We would die without good bacteria, so it’s something to think about. Besides, remember that most of the really nasty stuff is viral, not bacterial (flu, colds, HIV, meningitis, tuberculosis, etc.).
- Which brings us to the next fact: while sanitizers will not always kill viruses, hand-washing will. That’s because soap isn’t a killer – soap is just a slimeball (literally). Soap helps bacteria and viruses slide right off your hands, which is why you need to “soap up” for at least 10 rigorous seconds before rinsing. Soap doesn’t kill, it just gives germs the slip.
More clickativity from around the web:
Bad Days Continue for Big Pharma: 8,000 people aren’t wrong.
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