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Life Lines

Health news you can use

Healthy Eating and COVID-19

A study published in the journal Gut found that a healthy diet was associated with a lower risk of developing COVID-19, and reduced complications from the virus. Researchers followed a large group of adults from February through September in 2020, and reported that those who ate the most fruits, vegetables, and legumes “had a 9 percent lower risk of getting COVID and a 41 percent lower risk of developing severe COVID during the study period, compared with people who reported eating the least fruits and vegetables.”

Researchers even went as far as to say that a better diet could have prevented almost a third of COVID cases. 

Harvard study: Healthy diet associated with lower COVID-19 risk and severity,” Harvard Medical School,, Dec. 1, 2021.

Mental Health and the Heart Connection

Scientists are finding an increasing number of links between brain health and heart health. For instance, during 2020, heart patients were four times more likely to experience “stress cardiomyopathy,” a condition where acute stress causes the heart muscle to weaken rapidly. Researchers concluded that this was directly related to the social, economic, and psychological stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another study found a connection between traumatic childhood experiences and heart health. Adults in this study who had four or more traumatic events in their childhood had double the risk of heart disease and premature death compared to adults who did not experience childhood trauma. Other studies found that depression, hostility, anger, and social isolation are all factors that could contribute to poor heart health.

If you have any of these issues, consider taking steps to improve your mental health. Talking to a therapist, improving your lifestyle, lowering your stress levels, and keeping your brain active are all ways you can begin to better your brain health, and consequently your heart health.

Healthy brain, healthier heart?” Harvard Medical School,, July 22, 2021. 

Prediabetes Can be Reversed

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three Americans live with prediabetes, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. More than 84 percent of those with prediabetes are unaware that they have it. But this is not a death sentence. If detected early, prediabetes can be reversed with long-term lifestyle changes, such as a healthier diet, regular exercise, and weight management.

88 Million Americans at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Can Change Their Outcome,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,, Nov. 4, 2021.

Sleeping Late and Obesity

If you’ve been making a habit of going to sleep late, you may want to rethink your sleep schedule. A recent study published in JAMA Network Openfound that a habitual bedtime later than 10 pm was associated with a 20 percent greater risk of obesity. The risk was even higher (35 to 38 percent) among people who went to bed between 2 and 6 am.

While sleeping late doesn’t directly cause weight gain, later bedtimes can throw off our body’s internal clock, known as our “circadian rhythm.” This increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn may lead to abdominal obesity. This gives new meaning to the old adage, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

Going to sleep late at night associated with obesity, big bellies,” Harvard Medical School,, Nov. 1, 2021.

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