Every once in a while we like to do a recap of recent studies that have been published that can help you live your life a little cleaner and a little healthier. Here are some interesting ones that have been published in the last little while.

Every once in a while we like to do a recap of recent studies that have been published that can help you live your life a little cleaner and a little healthier. Here are some interesting ones that have been published in the last little while.

This roundup includes topics as diverse as the antioxidant benefits of eggs to probiotic benefits of pistachios, and even health issues with new cars.

Vitamin D – Depression and PMS
The importance of vitamin D was confirmed with several more studies. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found a strong correlation between high blood levels of vitamin D and a decreased risk of depression. For those with a history of depression, a higher vitamin D level reduced the risk of depression systems by 10%, and those without a history of depression the risk was lowered by 5%.1

Painful periods? Vitamin D can help with that too, and surprisingly, it can do it in a single dose. Women with a history of painful periods were given a dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D3 five days before their next menstrual cycle. Pain levels were measured for the following period as well as the next. 40% of the women who received a placebo during the study took drugs for pain at least once during their period, while none of the women who received the vitamin D needed the drugs.2

Flaxseed and Hunger
Feeling hungry between meals? Eating too much during meals? Try flax fiber. After an overnight fast, half of a study’s participants drank a solution containing 2.5 grams of soluble flaxseed fiber, while the other half drank a solution without the fiber. Appetite was assessed every 30 minutes for two hours before everyone was served the same meal at which time food consumption was measured. All those who drank the flax fiber reported less hunger and calorie consumption was 9% less than those who didn’t receive the fiber. While all fiber helps control appetite, according to the study authors, “The advantage of flaxseed fibers over other dietary fibers is that a dose of 2.5 grams is sufficient to impact appetite. This is a considerably smaller amount than in most other studies, which administered dietary fiber doses ranging from 5 to 12 grams.”3

Can the BPA
Stop eating out of cans, or at least make sure the cans are BPA free. Harvard School of Public Health found that people that consumed just one serving of canned food or soda for five days had significantly higher levels of bisphenol-A (BPA), an endocrine disrupter linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other health conditions. BPA is commonly found in plastic bottles and the lining of most food and drink cans. Always check for the statement ‘BPA Free’ for any food or drink in plastic or aluminum.4

Antioxidant Eggs
Eggs as a powerful antioxidant source? They’re great at nearly everything else, so why not?UniversityofAlbertaresearchers found that egg yolks form hens fed a diet of wheat or corn contained tryptophan and tyrosine, amino acids with high antioxidant properties. Two raw egg yolks contain twice as many antioxidants as one apple and about the same as half a serving (25 grams) of cranberries. (Just imagine if they were pasture raised feeding on their natural diet of bugs and grasses.) After frying or boiling the eggs, the antioxidant benefits were reduced by about half, but that still leaves their antioxidant levels equal to apples. The same researchers found that digestive enzymes convert egg proteins to produce peptides that work the same way as ACE inhibitors, drugs used to reduce high blood pressure.5 Protein, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and now antioxidants. Egg it up.

We could eliminate 50% of cancer cases today
Washington University researchers published a review that found that knowledge already exists to reduce the number of cancer cases by 50%. Smoking is responsible for a third of all US cancer cases and excess body weight accounts for 20%. Diet, exercise levels, alcohol intake, and other controllable factors are also involved. The authors stated that obstacles to adopting changes include widespread skepticism that cancer can be prevented, interventions that are administered too late to prevent the disease, and societal factors such as tobacco policy and government subsidies that encourage unhealthy behavior.6

Fasting stunts tumor growth
Short cycles of fasting slow down or even stop tumor growth. Subjects that had access to only water for 48 to 60 hours experienced benefits that were comparable to chemotherapy, with the greatest benefits being seeing in subjects that underwent both chemotherapy and fasting. 25% of mice in one experiment and 42% in another that fasted and received chemotherapy had long term survival rates, while zero did that received chemotherapy but ate their normal diet.7 The explanation of this is thought to be that during fasting, available nutrients are low and a normal cell uses available energy to maintain its basic survival needs rather than reproduce or grow. Cancer cells lack the ability to forgo growth and reproduction processes and continue to use available resources for those purposes, leaving insufficient nutrients to support basic processes, and thus the cell dies.

Probiotic pistachios
We love guts. More so, we love talking about guts. Maintaining a proper balance of good bacteria in the intestines is vital for healthy living. Turns out that just a small 3 ounce serving of pistachios for 19 days increased the level of probiotics (the good guys) during a study at the Human Nutrition Center in Maryland.8 Are pistachios really that special? I’m not so sure. The scientists think that it’s the abundance of fiber and phytochemicals in pistachios that were the reason for the increase. All that means is eat more of your favorite chemical free plants, nuts, and seeds.

Love that new car smell? Don’t breathe in too deep.
Deep breathing can help your health in so many ways. But you might not want to do it in a new car. That new car smell is the smell of toxic chemicals off-gassing and definitely isn’t anything you want in your lungs. The Ecology Center tested more than 200 2011 and 2012 vehicles for toxic heavy metals like lead and mercury, as well as cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and brominated flame retardants. These chemicals carry over from the manufacturing of seats, steering wheels, dashboards, and armrests. The least toxic vehicles were the Honda Civic and Toyota Prius, and the most toxic ones were the Mitsubishi Outlander and Chrysler 200 SC.9 We’re always told that buying a used car is always a better value, right? Let someone else take the depreciation and toxicity hit of a new car.

1 Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2011 Nov;86(11):1050-5
2 Archives of Internal Medicine 2012 Feb 27;172(4):366-7
3 Appetite 2012 Jan 11
4 Journal of the American Medical Association
5 University of Alberta Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science
6 Science Translational Medicine 2012 March 28;4(127):127
7 Science Translational Medicine 2012 Feb 8
8 Human Nutrition Center inMaryland
9 Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff.org: http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/cars/findings.021512.cars.php

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