Life Lines

Volume 26 No. 5

AVOID SODA WHEN HOT AND THIRSTY

Drinking soda after heat-induced dehydration may cause you to become more dehydrated, according to a new study. A study with rats found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages after heat-induced dehydration leads to worsened dehydration and an increase in kidney damage. This raises serious concerns for the common habit, especially amongst adolescents and young adults, of drinking soft drinks to quench thirst after becoming dehydrated. Drinking water, it seems, is still the best way to become rehydrated. “Rehydrating with soda on a hot day may worsen dehydration,” ScienceDaily, sciencedaily.com, June 7, 2016.

THE PLANT ADVANTAGE

A wide body of research is adding to the growing list of reasons for increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet:

Whole, plant-based foods are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients necessary for optimal health.

A plant-based diet can improve mental clarity, contribute to better rest, and improve your mood and immune system.

Whole, natural foods are nutrient and fiber dense, and therefore help to regain and maintain health, maintain an ideal weight, and promote better bone strength, as compared to a diet high in animal products.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers can all be reduced by a proper plant-base diet. “Why consider a plant-based diet?” YumUniverse, yumniverse.com.

BETTER SLEEP MEANS BETTER GRADES

Is poor sleep affecting your grades? Young adults need 8–9 hours of sleep per night to function properly according to the National Sleep Foundation. But a Dutch study finds that as many as two thirds of students do not get enough, wishing they could sleep an hour and a half longer. According to the study, chronically sleep deprived students score significantly lower on their final exams, have a significantly lower grade point average, and greater difficulty concentrating on studies than those who get enough sleep. Evening types, those who prefer staying up late to getting up early, especially struggled to stay awake in class, resulting in lower grades. While even more true for evening types, paying attention to good sleeping habits, such as maintaining regular hours of sleep, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and intensive exercise before bed, is important for all students. “Dutch students’ grades lower due to lack of sleep, ”Universiteit Leiden, www.universiteitleiden.nl“, March 17, 2016.

HIKE FOR A BETTER MIND

Do you regularly spend time in nature? A growing body of research finds that spending time in nature has strong positive effects on mental performance. Being active out of doors has also been found to reduce the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Additionally, even short walks in nature have been found to improve memory, self-esteem, and creativity, while reducing brooding and worrying.

The typical American child now spends half the time outside than they would have 20 years ago. A hike in nature, while not a cure-all solution, is a simple activity with clear, strong benefits for the mind. “What hiking does to the brain is pretty amazing,” wimp.com, April 11, 2016.

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