Life Lines

Health News You Can Use | Vol. 26 No. 3 | Mar-Apr 2016

NUTS FOR A LONGER LIFE

Making nuts a regular part of your diet may have wide benefits to your health. A study found that people who ate nuts at least 5 times per week gained on average an extra two years of life expectancy. Notably, they experienced a 50 percent reduction in heart disease risk.

Walnuts seem to be particularly protective against breast and prostate cancers, and, with many other types of nuts, have been found to contain nutrients with both strong anti-inflammatory and cancer protective properties.

Numerous studies have indicated that eating 1–2 ounces of nuts 5 times a week leads to great health benefits. “You won’t believe how healthy nuts are for you,” www.foodrevolution.org, January 18, 2016.

JUNK FOOD UNHEALTHY EVEN ON WEEKENDS

Weekend junk food binges after eating healthy meals during the week may be as bad for your gut as simply eating junk food all week long.

Within the human gut are tens of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms, which influence everything from the strength of the immune system and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, to metabolism and weight gain. A study found that the diversity and type of gut microbiota changed significantly between rats who ate a healthy diet, and those who ate mostly junk food. Strikingly, the rats who ate junk food only 3 days a week had nearly the same gut fauna as those who ate it every day. They also weighed 18% more than those on a healthy diet.

According to this study, eating healthy food most of the week is not enough to offset bad habits the rest of the time. To gain the full benefits of a healthy diet, it must be a daily habit. “Weekend binges just as bad for the gut as a regular junk food diet, study suggests,” www.sciencedaily.com, January 20, 2016.

PARSLEY PACKS A HEALTHY PUNCH

A wide body of research has found parsley to help in fighting cancer. In various studies, apigenin, a compound especially found in parsley, has shown the potential to significantly reduce cancer progression. Not only does it slow or stop IKKA, a key enzyme in cancer progression, it may also protect healthy tissue against some of the carcinogenic effects of anti-cancer drugs. Additionally, parsley has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and can help freshen your breath.

One tablespoon of raw chopped parsley a day, or a small amount of dried parsley sprinkled on your food, would provide the amount of apigenin used in the trials. “How to stay healthy and fight cancer with parsley,” www.foodrevolution.org, December 16, 2015.

HOOKAH NOT SAFER THAN CIGARETTES

As cigarette usage falls in some developed countries like the United States, hookah smoking has been gaining popularity. But how safe is it?

Hookah, originally from Persia and India, is a way of smoking tobacco by drawing it through water, often with communal pipes.

While seen by many as a safer alternative to cigarettes, hookah smoking still exposes a person to high levels of toxins. Recent analysis found that one hookah session exposes a person to 10 times the carbon monoxide, 25 times the tar, and 125 times the smoke as a single cigarette. While habits of smoking hookah and cigarettes differ, the evidence is clear—tobacco consumption in any form is not safe. “One hookah tobacco smoking session delivers 25 times the tar of a single cigarette,” www.sciencedaily.com, January 11, 2016.

 

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