Mindfulness practices encourage individuals to focus their attention on the present, instead of the past or future, and to take an objective look at their thoughts and emotions. A new study finds that mindfulness meditation may help older adults get a better night’s sleep. In the study, those who learned mindfulness practices slept better within six weeks and also showed a greater reduction in depression symptoms and daytime fatigue. Co-author Dr. Adam Spira writes, “Cognitive behavioral therapy is highly effective… What I found most interesting about this [mindfulness] approach is that it’s a non-drug option, and it’s accessible to the community at large.”
Exercise: Moderate Exercise Can Help Women’s Hearts.
Just a few bouts of moderate exercise each week can reduce a middle aged woman’s risk for heart disease, blood clots, and stroke by 20% when compared with women who do little or no exercise. Moderate exercise examples include walking, gardening, and cycling. Lead author Dr. Miranda Armstrong concludes, “To prevent heart disease, stroke and blood clots, women don’t have to be super athletes or strenuously exercise daily to experience the benefits of physical activity.”
A new study indicates that a simple high-fiber diet can help lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar, and aid in weight loss. Researchers found that increasing dietary fiber led to a host of other healthy dietary changes, likely because consuming more high-fiber foods can lead to a decrease in consumption of unhealthy foods that are high in fat and sugar. Study author Dr. Yunsheng Ma writes, “For people who find it difficult to follow complex dietary recommendations, a simpleto-follow diet with just one message — increase your fiber intake — may be the way to go.”
Mental Attitude: Kids Can Suffer from Migraines Too.
According to the American Migraine Foundation, about 6% of children and more than 25% of teens ages 15-17 suffer from migraines. Many factors can contribute to childhood migraines, including too little or too much sleep and abnormal stress. Children with migraines should be evaluated by a healthcare professional for potential treatment options.
Exercise: Access to Physical Activity Could Reduce Health Costs.
New research finds that standardizing access to physical activity services such as classes or counseling to encourage exercise could help reduce costs associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Past research has linked lack of physical activity to chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Lead researcher Dr. Cameron Moore adds, “These services can range from something as informal as an organized walking group, to something as structured as an aerobics class or counseling session. Physical activity services are certainly part of the broader health promotion picture, but they are unique in their cost-effectiveness and ability to improve health and well-being for all patients, not just those with a chronic condition.”
Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, February 2015
Chiropractic: Quick Recovery for Spinal Degeneration?
Lumber spinal stenosis is a condition that eventually leads to compression/choking of spinal nerve roots in the lower back that can produce tingling, weakness, or numbness that radiates from the low back and into the buttocks and legs. A recent study found that just one spinal adjustment resulted in immediate improvements in perceived pain, spinal mobility, and hip flexion among men who suffer from osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis. Further long-term studies are needed, but the findings are hopeful for those who are searching for relief from spinal degeneration symptoms.
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, September 2014
According to new research, the problem of American teens not getting enough sleep continues to worsen. In 1991, 71% of 15-year-olds reported getting seven of more hours of sleep per night. As of 2012, this percentage has decreased to 63%. The study shows that at age 13, approximately two-thirds of teens get at least seven hours of sleep a night and by age 18, that percentage drops to about one-third. Sleep experts have noted that too little sleep increases the risk of weight gain, poor school performance, depression, and other problems.
Exercise: Combination of Coconut Oil & Exercise Reduces High Blood Pressure.
Brazilian researchers have discovered that combining exercise and daily consumption of coconut oil can reduce high blood pressure, at least in animal subjects. Using hypertensive rats, the researchers found that the combination of a daily intake of coconut oil and exercise restored baroreflex sensitivity and reduced oxidative stress, resulting in a reduction in blood pressure. Study co-author Dr. Valdir de Andrade Braga explains, “This is an important finding as coconut oil is currently being considered a popular ‘superfood’ and it is being consumed by athletes and the general population who seek a healthy lifestyle.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, February 2015
Diet: Healthy Diet & Nutrition Critical for Mental Health.
A new collaborative study adds to a growing body of evidence showing a relationship between both diet quality and potential nutritional deficiencies and mental health. Studies have shown that many nutrients have a clear influence on brain health including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins (particularly folate and B12), choline, iron, zinc, magnesium, S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe), vitamin D, and amino acids. Lead author Dr. Jerome Sarris writes, “While the determinants of mental health are complex, the emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a key factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders suggests that nutrition is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology, and gastroenterology.”
Mental Attitude: Student Loans = Stress for Young Adults.
A new study finds that student loan debt is a significant cause of stress among young adults. Researchers conducted a survey across the United States and found that those with greater student loan debt reported higher levels of depressive symptoms. Study author Dr. Katrina Walsemann writes, “We are speculating that part of the reason that these types of loans are so stressful is the fact that you cannot defer them, they follow you for the rest of your life until you pay them off.” Further research is needed to determine how student loan debt affects other areas of health and life, such as job choices, marriage, and children.