1 - How Gardening Beats the Gym
Bending, twisting, carrying things, and moving around while gardening is a great way for the whole family to be physically active, and it can produce some tasty fresh food. In addition, it helps kids learn where real food comes from and encourages better eating habits later in life. For older adults, one study found that gardening is a better stress reliever than an indoor exercise class. Other benefits include:
- Improved mood
- Enhanced mental clarity
- Better self-esteem
- Stronger hands
- Less aggression among people with dementia
For anyone without a backyard, there are community gardens all over the country. They can enhance neighborhoods and enable residents to get to know each other and share common goals. To find a community garden near you, or to learn how to start one, visit communitygarden.org.
2 - 32% of FDA-Approved Drugs Required Safety Warnings
Among 222 new drugs that were FDA-approved between 2001 and 2010, 32 percent required additional safety warnings, and three were withdrawn from the market, according to research at the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn.
3 - Seven Killer Food Habits
Nearly half of all deaths from stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes can be attributed to seven killer foods and nutrients—either too much or too little of each. According to a study published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, the seven killers are:
- High sodium
- Low nuts and seeds
- High processed meats
- Low seafood omega-3 fats
- Low vegetables
- Low fruits
- High sugar-sweetened drinks
4 - Food Depends on Bees
Of all the food we eat, one in three bites depends upon bees and other insects that pollinate plants, according to Bee City USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining bees and other pollinators.
5 - Three Reasons to Eat Strawberries
They’re tasty, refreshing, and versatile as a healthy snack, dessert, or side dish. They also add flavor and texture to cereals, smoothies, and salads (pairing especially well with balsamic dressing). As if that weren’t enough, one cup of strawberries delivers:
- 3 grams of fiber, which most diets lack
- 230 mg of potassium, essential for controlling blood pressure and overall health
- 90 mg of vitamin C
But beware: The latest analysis of pesticide tests by the Environmental Working Group found that conventionally grown strawberries have the highest pesticide load of any fruit or vegetable, so it pays to choose organic varieties.
6 - Longer Life for Some, Not Others
Between 1980 and 2014, average life expectancy has increased in the U.S.:
- From 77.5 to 81.5 years for women
- From 70 to 76.7 years for men
However, it varies by as much as 20 years between the worst and best counties around the country, according research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Several counties in South and North Dakota had some of the shortest lifespans. In contrast, counties in central Colorado, Alaska, and along the East and West coasts, had the biggest increases in life expectancy.
7 - Walking for Brain Health
It’s no secret that walking is good for the heart, muscles, and bones, but it’s also good for the brain. A study at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas has found that the impact of the feet while walking sends pressure waves through arteries, and these increase the supply of blood to the brain. Researchers used noninvasive ultrasound to measure blood flow in young, healthy adults. An earlier study found that running affects blood flow to the brain even more, but walking at a brisk pace also has a beneficial effect. Cycling, while also helpful, has a less dramatic effect.
8 - Broccoli enhances gut bacteria
A cruciferous vegetable linked with lower risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, stomach, and lung cancer, broccoli has also been found to change gut bacteria in a beneficial way, according to research funded by the National Cancer Institute and the USDA. The study, led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discovered that eating about 1.25 cups of cooked broccoli daily for 17 days changed the balance of gut bacteria in a way that favors a leaner body and better mental function.
9 - Curcumin enhances athletes’ training
At the Exercise and Sport Performance Lab of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, researchers found that a curcumin supplement, taken daily for 8 weeks, reduced muscle damage and pain after downhill running, an exercise that damages muscles. The study compared different doses of CurcuWin, a patented form of curcumin found in various supplement brands, and a placebo in a group of 59 young athletes in training. A daily dose of 250 mg of CurcuWin was effective. Reporting on the study in The FASEB Journal, the researchers wrote: “The antioxidant curcumin is able to counteract the two leading causes of muscle damage, oxidative stress and inflammation, as it interacts with multiple inflammatory pathways.”
10 - Hot Pepper Extract Reduces Appetite
A hot pepper extract found in many supplements, Capsimax, reduces appetite and may help reduce belly fat, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Researchers compared daily doses of 2 mg and 4 mg with a placebo among 77 healthy but overweight men and women and found that both doses of the supplement were effective. The higher, 4 mg dose produced a bigger effect, but also produced some stomach upset among one in five people. No side effects were reported with the 2 mg dose.