Health and Fitness

It Matters What You Eat After Exercise

Many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise are due to the most recent exercise session (rather than weeks, months and even years of exercise training), and the nature of these benefits can be greatly affected by the food we eat afterwards, according to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology ( ). "Differences in what you eat after exercise produce different effects on the body's metabolism, " said the study's senior author, Jeffrey F. Horowitz of the University of Michigan. This study follows up on several previous studies that demonstrate that many health benefits of exercise are transient: one exercise session produces benefits to the body that taper off, generally within hours or a few days. "Many of the improvements in metabolic health associated with exercise stem largely from the most recent session of exercise, rather than from an increase in 'fitness' per se, " Dr. Horowitz said. "But exercise doesn't occur in a vacuum, and it is very important to look at both the effects of exercise and what you're eating after exercise.

Should Women Decide Whether Or Not To Eat And Drink During Labor

Women should be allowed to eat and drink what they want during labour, say Cochrane Researchers. The researchers carried out a systematic review of studies examining the traditional practice of restricting food and fluid intake during labour and found no evidence for any risk or benefit for women at low risk of complications. Throughout much of the last century, eating and drinking during labour was considered dangerous and many maternity units operated "nil by mouth" policies or restricted what women in labour were allowed to eat and drink, regardless of women's preferences. This was largely due to concerns about possibly fatal damage to the lungs caused by "Mendelson's syndrome", where particles of regurgitated food are inhaled under general anaesthetic during Caesarean sections. Recently, however, attitudes have begun to change and in many maternity wards, particularly in the UK, women are now allowed to eat and drink what they want during labour. The Cochrane Systematic Review, which included five studies and a total of 3130 women, looked at the evidence for restricting food and drink in women who were considered unlikely to need anaesthesia.

Trial Of Vitamin D Supplementation To Reduce Falls In Nursing Care Facilities

Giving people living in nursing facilities vitamin D can reduce the rate of falls, according to a new Cochrane Review. This finding comes from a study of many different interventions used in different situations. In hospitals, multifactorial interventions and supervised exercise programs also showed benefit. Older people living in nursing facilities or who have been admitted to hospital are much more likely to suffer a fall than those living in the community. In these settings, falls fairly often result in head injuries and fractures, with rates of hip fracture more than ten times higher in nursing facilities than in the community. It is important to try to prevent falls to avoid unnecessary stress for older people and their families, and to reduce pressure on staff and resources. However, prevention is complicated as falls usually happen for several or many different reasons. "Many of the preventive measures used to avoid falls in older people are combined in what are called multifactorial interventions, so it can be very difficult to separate out the effects of all the different measures, " said lead researcher Ian Cameron, who is based at Sydney Medical School at the University of Sydney in Ryde, Australia.

Pomegranate Extract Stimulates Uterine Contractions

The team identified beta-sitosterol - a steroid that can inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine - as the main constituent of pomegranate seed extract. The research suggests that pomegranate extract could be used as a natural stimulant to encourage the uterus to contract during labour. Pomegranate juice is thought to have a number of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure to protecting against some cancers, but until now there has been no evidence to demonstrate its effects on the uterus. Researchers investigated pomegranate seed extract - more highly concentrated than pomegranate juice - and its effect on uterine smooth muscle samples. Professor Sue Wray, from the University's Department of Physiology, said: "Previous study has suggested that the pomegranate's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have a positive impact on health. We wanted to understand its effect on uterine contractions to help us explore new ways of treating women who may experience difficult labours.

Sufferers Of Crohn's Disease May Benefit From Vitamin D Supplements

A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, led a team of scientists from McGill University and the Universit de Montr al who present their findings about the inflammatory bowel disease in the latest Journal of Biological Chemistry. "Our data suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease, " says Dr. White, a professor in McGill's Department of Physiology, noting that people from northern countries, which receive less sunlight that is necessary for the fabrication of Vitamin D by the human body, are particularly vulnerable to Crohn's disease. Vitamin D, in its active form (1, 25-dihydroxyvitamin D), is a hormone that binds to receptors in the body's cells. Dr. White's interest in Vitamin D was originally in its effects in mitigating cancer. Because his results kept pointing to Vitamin D's effects on the immune system, specifically the innate immune system that acts as the body's first defense against microbial invaders, he investigated Crohn's disease.

Fluctuating Blood Glucose Levels May Affect Decision Making

Would you choose to receive a small amount of money today or a larger sum next month? We know that it is worth it to wait longer for a larger reward, but sometimes the temptation for the smaller, immediate reward becomes too great and we simply cannot resist it. Selecting the immediate reward is known as "future discounting" and often suggests a lack of self-control. Studies have indicated that there may be a link between blood glucose levels (our body's energy) and thinking. For example, making difficult choices uses up cognitive resources (or brain power) and these resources can be restored by increasing blood glucose. Psychological scientists X.T. Wang and Robert D. Dvorak from the University of South Dakota investigated how blood glucose levels impact the way we think about present and future rewards. Volunteers answered a series of questions asking if they would prefer to receive a certain amount of money tomorrow or a larger amount of money at a later date. They responded to seven of these questions before and after drinking either a regular soda (containing sugar) or a diet soda (containing the artificial sweetener aspartame).

Decoding The Sodium Contents Of Processed Foods

Sodium is essential for myriad biological processes including fluid balance and muscle contraction. However, too much sodium can have harmful effects such as increasing blood pressure. Consequently, reducing sodium intake is an important health message. Because processed foods contribute the majority of dietary sodium, reducing their sodium content and overall sodium consumption are often emphasized as public health goals. There is a wide range of sodium content among processed foods, however, which makes it difficult to monitor sodium consumption. In part to help solve this problem, researchers from The George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia conducted a systematic survey of the sodium contents of processed foods available in Australia. Their findings, as well as an editorial by Sonia Angell of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, can be found in the February 2010 edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. According to American Society for Nutrition Spokesperson Roger Clemens, DrPH, "The research by Webster and colleagues is important in that these real-time data provide baseline information on the sodium content of many foods in Australia.

Low Carb Diet Lowered Blood Pressure More Effectively Than Weight Loss Pill

A new study from the US showed that two popular weight loss methods, one using the obesity treatment weight-loss pill orlistat plus a low-fat diet and another just based on a low carb diet were equally effective at helping people lose significant amounts of weight, but in a surprising twist found that that the low carb diet was much better at helping them lower blood pressure. Researchers from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center, both in Durham, North Carolina, reported their findings in a study published online on 25 January in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The Department of Veteran Affairs paid for the research. Lead author Dr William S. Yancy Jr, an associate professor of medicine at Duke, said their findings send an important message to people with high blood pressure who are trying to lose weight: "If people have high blood pressure and a weight problem, a low-carbohydrate diet might be a better option than a weight loss medication, " said Yancy, who is also a staff physician at the VA center in Durham where the study was conducted.

Link Between Common Antidepressant Drugs And Lactation Difficulties In Mothers

According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking commonly used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in many ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This new study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs may be linked to a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion. "The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts' ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely related to the body's production and regulation of the hormone serotonin, " said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study.

Antioxidants Aren't Always Beneficial To Your Health And Can Sometimes Impair Muscle Function

Antioxidants increasingly have been praised for their benefits against disease and aging, but recent studies at Kansas State University show that they also can cause harm. Researchers in K-State's Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory have been studying how to improve oxygen delivery to the skeletal muscle during physical activity by using antioxidants, which are nutrients in foods that can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to the body. Their findings show that sometimes antioxidants can impair muscle function. "Antioxidant is one of those buzz words right now, " said Steven Copp, a doctoral student in anatomy and physiology from Manhattan and a researcher in the lab. "Walking around grocery stores you see things advertised that are loaded with antioxidants. I think what a lot of people don't realize is that the antioxidant and pro-oxidant balance is really delicate. One of the things we've seen in our research is that you can't just give a larger dose of antioxidants and presume that there will be some sort of beneficial effect.

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