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  • Flavonoids Associated with Reduced Depression Risk

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018
    New Science
    Flavonoids Associated with Reduced Depression Risk

    A study found that a high intake of dietary flavonoids—found in citrus and other food and drinks—is associated with a reduced risk of depression in women. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and included data from 82,643 women, ages 36 to 80, without a history of depression and who were participating in the Nurses’ Health Study I and the Nurses’ Health Study II. During a ten-year follow-up period, participants answered food-frequency questionnaires every two to four years, which researchers analyzed for total flavonoid intake and for intake of specific flavonoids, including flavones and proanthocyanidins, among others. Participants also reported any episodes of depression, defined as clinically diagnosed depression or antidepressant use. At the end of ten years, a total of 10,752 cases of depression were reported. After comparing the incidence of depression with total and specific flavonoid intake, researchers found that:

    • Participants with the highest flavonoid intakes had a 7 to 10% reduced risk of depression compared with those with the lowest intakes.
    • High intake of particularly rich sources of flavonoids—citrus fruits and juices—yielded an even higher risk-reduction: participants who consumed two or more weekly servings of citrus fruits or juices had an 18% reduced risk of depression compared with those who consumed less than one weekly serving.
    • Participants aged 75 or older with high intakes of flavones and proanthocyanidins had a 17% reduced risk of depression compared with those with low intakes.

    Along with the possible mood-enhancing effects found in this study, flavonoids may provide other health benefits to be happy about. Research has associated them with improved heart health, healthy aging, and a reduced risk of diabetes. And more good news—flavonoids are found in a large variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, teas, wines, nuts, and seeds, so getting your flavonoid fix is as easy as a trip to the grocery store.

    Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

  • Cocoa Powder Benefits Cholesterol and Inflammation in People with Type 2 Diabetes

    Monday, August 13, 2018
    New Science
    Cocoa Powder Benefits Cholesterol and Inflammation in People with Type 2 Diabetes

    Research found that cocoa powder—derived from fat extracted from cacao beans (the same beans used for chocolate)—benefits cholesterol and inflammation levels in people with diabetes. Published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, the six-week trial included 100 people with type 2 diabetes. The study was divided into two groups: in the cocoa group, each person consumed 10 grams of cocoa powder in milk twice daily; in the control group, each person consumed just milk. Those consuming cocoa saw a significant reduction in total cholesterol (-16.5%), triglyceride levels (-13.3%), and several inflammatory markers. In contrast, the control group experienced more modest changes in total cholesterol (-5.08%) and triglyceride levels (-3.99%). Cocoa consumption did lead to a reduction in “good” HDL cholesterol (-7.58%), although other research has shown cocoa positively benefits HDL levels. Otherwise, the findings support previous research done on cocoa’s cholesterol-lowering and anti-inflammatory effects.

    Source: Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders

  • Exercise at Your Desk to Stay Fit

    Friday, August 10, 2018
    Exercise at Your Desk to Stay Fit

    You’ve probably heard that sitting at your desk all day is not good for your health. But standing all day may be no better. So, how do you avoid becoming a desk potato when you’ve got a job that ties you to your cubicle? Well, it may come as no surprise that research says you should move throughout the day. That may sound like it’s easier said than done, but have no fear—Time suggested ten exercises that you can do from the comfort of your office:

    • Desk push-ups. Put both hands on your desk and walk your feet back until they are at a 45° angle. Do a dozen push-ups to help strengthen your arms.
    • Book presses. Hold a heavy book behind your head, extend your arms up, and drop them back down behind your head. Repeat for a terrific triceps workout.
    • Shoulder blade squeezes. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for ten seconds, then release. Repeat to improve hunched posture.
    • Office yoga. Bring your mat to work and do a little downward dog to destress in the afternoon.
    • Chair squats. Stand six inches in front of your chair, then lower down until you hit the chair. Stand up and repeat to tone your derriere.
    • Desk dips. Facing away from your desk, place your hands shoulder-width apart on your desk with your legs extended out at an angle to the floor. Dip down while bending your arms, and then rise back up, straightening your arms almost all the way (to keep tension off your elbow joints). Repeat to strengthen your triceps.
    • Wall sits. Squat against a wall at a 90° angle. Stand back up and repeat to tone your quads.
    • Calf lifts. Stand with your feet together, rise onto the balls of your feet and hold for ten seconds. Release and repeat to help strengthen your calf muscles.
    • Leg raises. Remain seated for this one, then straighten your leg and hold for ten seconds. Drop your leg back down, almost to the floor, and hold again. Do a set on each side to tighten your abdominal muscles.
    • Call pacing. Get a headset so you can walk around when you’re on a call. That’ll keep you moving!

    Just be sure to go at your own pace, with proper form, and be mindful of any restrictions or injuries. If an exercise is producing discomfort, don't do it!

    Source: Time

  • Soy Isoflavones May Help Protect Bones During Menopause

    Thursday, August 09, 2018
    New Science
    Soy Isoflavones May Help Protect Bones During Menopause

    Concerned about soy? Another study adds to the debate about whether consuming soy is a healthy choice, finding that it may benefit menopausal women at risk for osteoporosis. Presented at the Society for Endocrinology’s 2015 annual conference, the study randomly assigned 200 women in early menopause (two years within onset of menopause) to one of two groups: the first group received 30 grams of soy protein plus 66 mg of soy isoflavones daily, while the second group received only 30 grams of soy protein daily. After six months, here is what the researchers found:

    • Women who consumed soy protein plus isoflavones had significantly lower levels of a protein related to bone breakdown in their blood, compared to women who consumed soy protein alone. Lower levels of this protein are thought to indicate a slower rate of bone loss that could, over time, lead to a reduced risk of osteoporosis.
    • In addition, compared to women in the soy protein-only group, women in the isoflavone group had beneficial reductions in levels of fasting glucose and fasting insulin—markers of carbohydrate metabolism closely linked to cardiovascular disease risk.

    These findings show that taking soy protein plus isoflavones might slow bone loss in the short term, but longer studies that measure actual changes in bone mineral density are needed to determine whether this effect translates into protection against osteoporosis. One possible explanation for soy isoflavones’ benefits is that they are similar in chemical structure to human estrogen, and so might stimulate bone regenerative activity by interacting with estrogen receptors. This could be especially important after menopause when estrogen production is at its lowest. It is important to note that, while a typical Asian diet contains a similar amount of soy isoflavones as was used in this study, a typical Western diet only contains a fraction of that amount (about 2–16 mg).

    Source: Society for Endocrinology 2015

  • Finding Running Bliss—Without Roads

    Wednesday, August 08, 2018
    Finding Running Bliss—Without Roads

    Running without roads? To some, it may sound like heresy. But to the ever increasing number of trail runners, it’s all part of the plan. The allure of trail running, a sport that seems to have gained considerable popularity in the last few years, is in the setting; it’s an opportunity to get away from the traffic, noise, and commotion of everyday life. Another benefit is that trails may put less stress on the body than running on hard surfaces like pavement. This doesn’t mean, however, that trail running is all gravy. The natural terrain does require more of a quasi-meditative approach to exercise, since if you are not focused on and attentive to your surroundings, there is a decent chance of face planting after tripping over rock or root. It can also be competitive. A number of off-road ultramarathons (greater than 26.2 miles) sport some downright scary lengths: 31 miles, 55 miles , and 170 miles, to mention just a few. But even if you have no intention of running insane distances, you can still hit the trails. Here are a few pointers for your first dirt jaunt:

    • Start out slow and focus on your effort. Because you might be going up some pretty steep hills and winding switchbacks, your pace won’t be as consistent as on the road. Instead, focus on your effort level, even if you need to slow down or walk—you are adapting your running style to a totally different environment.
    • Watch out for obstacles. Unlike smooth pavement, there are all kinds of possible hazards on trails, including branches, mud, rocks, roots, and other things. Remember to focus on your running so you don’t get caught by surprise.
    • Know the course. Whether you’re in a race, or out by yourself, be aware of bathrooms and aid stations—and plan accordingly.

    Source: Washington Post

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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.