Posts Tagged ‘health’
SNIFF AN APPLE TO STOP A MIGRAINE
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it turns out they may have health benefits beyond that.
A recent study of 50 people by The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago found that the odour of green apple helped to reduce the severity of their migraines.
‘This may have something to do with the ability of pleasant fragrances to relax us and reduce tension,’ says Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Somerville College, Oxford. ‘The odour may also help to distract people from thinking about the pain of the migraine.’
Another study found that apple aroma could help to relieve claustrophobia, by making a room seem bigger.
Apples, in particular, are thought to help because people associate them with being outside.
USE SOAP, NOT SPECIAL HANDWASH
They have become ubiquitous in our homes, but scientists have warned that expensive anti- bacterial washes are no better at cleaning hands than ordinary soap — and may even encourage superbugs.
American research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that triclosan, the main active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps, can cause some bacteria to become resistant to commonly used antibiotics such as amoxicillin.
That’s because it targets bacteria in much the same way as such antibiotics do, by destroying crucial components of their cells.
However, bacteria are highly adaptable, and more common ones such as E.coli and salmonella — major culprits in food poisoning and which can cause kidney damage or even death — may develop resistance to the threat.
Dr Hilton says: ‘These products pander to people’s insecurities, which can mean they are used inappropriately — for example, very briefly or with cold water.
‘You should actually wash your hands thoroughly for several minutes in warm, clean water. The action of washing and the temperature help to remove bacteria more effectively than a fancy product.
‘It’s about technique — there is no evidence that expensive antibacterial products are any better than soap in a domestic setting.’
Dr Hilton also warns against over-reliance on antibacterial ‘dry soap’ gel hand sterilizers.
‘They are brilliant when you don’t have access to water, but still no substitute for proper hand washing,’ he says. ‘And if the hands are visibly dirty — for example, with mud — they are deactivated by being bound up with the organic matter.
‘So in many situations where they might be used — for example, at a music festival — they won’t actually do much good.’
DRINK CHOCOLATE MILK TO STAY FIT
Two new studies have suggested that a chocolate milkshake is the ideal post-workout recovery drink.
Researchers from the University of Texas in Austin found that athletes had significantly more power when they consumed low-fat chocolate milk, rather than a carbohydrate sports drink or a calorie-free drink.
Ron Maughan, a professor of sport and exercise nutrition at Loughborough University, says: ‘The science behind this is sound. There are two key things you are trying to do after exercise — recover and encourage the muscles you have worked to respond to how they have worked and become stronger.
‘A bit of protein provides the most effective way of doing this. ‘If you drink milk, you are getting a reliable, consistent source of protein, along with water and electrolytes. The chocolate component provides some added carbohydrate, which is useful.
‘Even the relatively high sugar content is acceptable in the context, as a means of restoring lost energy. ‘After all, why drink a foul-tasting protein shake when you could have something enjoyable with exactly the same benefits?’
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News & Updates
For many, summer is upon us and that means more sun exposure to soak up vitamin D. There has been a lot of debate over the amount needed to be sufficient in the body, and in the June, 2011 Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, the Endocrine Society has deemed levels between 40-60ng/mL to be necessary. Are your levels good enough?
Vitamin D is commonly absorbed through our skin via the sunlight when we are outside without sunscreen. Some foods, such as milk, might be fortified with vitamin D but otherwise it is a difficult nutrient to acquire. Many adults and children too find themselves needing an extra supplement to get the boost they need even in sunny states because sunscreen and clothing blocks most vitamin D exposure.
Many laboratories show the lower limit to be at 30ng/mL however research is showing that higher levels are protective against autoimmune disease, cardiovascular problems, certain cancers such as colorectal cancer, muscle pains, bone problems like osteoporosis, and seasonal depression. The Endocrine Society believes you may need between 1,500-2,000IU of vitamin D everyday to raise your low levels and not to exceed 4,000IU per day in adults without your health care provider’s direction. As an example, those with very low levels may need up to 10,000IU per day and some health care providers prescribe 50,000IU per week with repeated lab monitoring.
The test of choice is the 25 hydroxy vitamin D otherwise abbreviated as 25(OH)D3. Remember that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, therefore it can become toxic if levels elevate and it does require some fat for better absorption.
If you aren’t taking vitamin D, then talk with your health care provider about getting tested. It is a simple blood test that is often covered through insurance. If your numbers are below 40ng/mL, begin the appropriate supplementation to help keep your body at optimal amounts.
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Please be safe and healthy this summer! Sunscreen, hydration, and healthy foods will keep you happy and alert on the job. Make sure to always consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.