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THE COST OF HEALTH

Go nuts

Despite the colloquial association with human lunacy, nuts are very healthy food. Nuts vary from tree to tree (or bush), but generally speaking, a good nut gives you healthy unsaturated fats, a bit of protein and a smattering of vitamins and minerals. On top of all that, they are tasty and make an easy snack. To top it all off, eating more nuts has been shown to help you lose weight. For new study researchers looked at almost 290,000 people and followed them for 20 years. They found that increasing nut intake by half a serve a day (around 14 grams) over a four-year period was linked to a 15 percent reduction in obesity and a loss of 0.7 kilograms. It’s partly to do with the goodness of nuts but also that they fill you up so you don’t reach for those fatty biscuits, pastries, and chips

Source: BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health

Not so sweet

It isn’t hard to understand that soft drinks aren’t good for you. You would never willingly consume something that bubbled out of the earth looking black and foamy, or even bright green and frothy, even if it did taste implausibly sweet. It is more difficult to convince yourself that fruit juice, the nectar of fruits you see growing on trees, could be bad for you. New research shows that you need to be careful of both. For the study 192,000 people were surveyed and the results showed that increasing either soft drink or fruit juice consumption by 120ml a day over a four-year period increases your chance of developing type-2 diabetes by 16 percent. By contrast, replace one daily serve of a sweet drink with water, coffee or tea and diabetes risk drops by up to 10 percent. It’s about moderation, and common sense.

Source: Diabetes Care

Training drains brains

You know that exercise is good for you. That’s why you do your daily walk, sweat it up at the gym three times a week and look fantastic in your tennis gear on Saturday. You expect that all that physical effort will leave your body tired but it might be leaving your brain drained as well. Researchers have found that increasing endurance training by 40 percent a week creates fatigue in the brain. This results in people acting more impulsively and being less able to focus on longer-term goals. It’s because the mental effort required to drive yourself to exercise drains mental resources, specifically in the lateral prefrontal cortex, which is the command deck of your brain’s starship Enterprise, where executive decisions are made. If you are going to hammer yourself in the gym this week, don’t make any big life decisions.

Source: Current Biology

Mushrooms and the prostate

Consumer societies run on the premise that more is better, but that’s not always the case. When it comes to the prostate, for instance, you don’t want the uncontrolled growth of cells that is prostate cancer. As far as mushrooms go though, more really is better. Not only do these fungi add a delicate dash of umami to your cooking, but they also offer vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant L-ergothioneine. Throw mushrooms into the prostate cancer stew and you get impressive results. Researchers followed more than 36,000 middle-aged men for between 13 and 25 years and found that men who had mushrooms more than three times a week were 17 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who at them less than once a week. These results held true regardless of how many vegetables were eaten overall suggesting that mushrooms do, indeed, contain some magic.

Source: International Journal of Cancer

MEDIFAST

Tomatoes and sperm Sperm need to be active to get their job done. Researchers have patented a form of easily absorbed lycopene from tomatoes and found that it can increase “fast swimming” sperm by about 40 percent. Eating whole, organic, un-patented tomatoes certainly isn’t going to hurt the little guys.

Source: European Journal of Nutrition

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