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Health Research Updates

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Blood Pressure Tips

Blood pressure rises with age but these are some ways to keep it at bay, according to research presented at an American Heart Association Scientific Conference

1. Listening to enjoyable music lowers blood pressure in middle-aged people. Singing along or stretching to the tunes are options.

2. Eating whole grain cereal on most days of the week can lower the odds of elevated blood pressure by up to 25 percent. Eating more fiber-rich foods reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight.

3. Increasing the amount of potassium in your diet also helps to combat hypertension. These are some good sources:

• 1 medium banana contains 422 mg potassium and 108 calories
• 11-14 fl oz of coconut water contains approximately 560 to 670 mg potassium and 60 calories

4. People who are more physically active are less likely to have high blood pressure, even if they eat a high-salt diet.

Southern Comfort

Looking for a healthy summer getaway? Gather your girlfriends, significant other, or go solo—this destination spa is the perfect way to renew and recharge

Recently named number one destination spa in the country by Condé Nast Traveler, Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, has a sultry southern charm that puts one in a state of instant ease. An extensive menu of services includes a yummy variety of wraps, scrubs, massages, and facials, as well as the rare practice of Japanese acupuncture (Chinese acupuncture is more common), great for diffusing stress, says the spa’s licensed acupuncturist Aaron Rubenstein. “Acupuncture has a direct effect on the autonomic nervous system that seeks to restore its self-regulatory functions,” explains Rubenstein. “The results are usually immediately evident through a feeling of deep relaxation.” Also savor cuisine made with freshly picked herbs and vegetables from the spa’s own Healing Garden, or cozy up in a lakeside hammock and finally finish that book you’ve been meaning to read. For more information, go to

How Veggies Fight Cancer

Certain foods turn genes on or off, and in this way, can protect against cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, according to a review of research by scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In particular, a daily cup of broccoli sprouts protects against many cancers because the sprouts are rich in sulforaphane, a compound found in all cruciferous vegetables that triggers protective genes. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are other good sources of sulforaphane, which is also available in supplements. According to the study, published in Clinical Epigenetics, other protective foods include green tea, soybeans, fava beans, kale, grapes, and the spice turmeric.

Sleep More, Eat Less

Even people who aren’t overweight will eat more when sleep deprived, and lack of rest contributes to obesity, according to a study at Columbia University in New York City. In the study, when lacking sleep, women ate an extra 329 calories per day (mostly from additional fat), and men ate an extra 263 calories.

Whey Builds Bigger Muscles

Whey protein can help to make weight training more effective by making muscles grow bigger, according to a study by Canadian and British researchers, published in The Journal of Nutrition. In comparing muscle responses to various exercises, the study found that two factors work synergistically to produce maximum muscle growth:

• Resistance or weight training until a muscle is fatigued. The load can be heavy or light—the key is to reach a point of muscle fatigue.

• Consuming whey (15 grams in the study) within 24 hours after the exercise.