City Trees Reduce Asthma
Living in a polluted city can aggravate asthma, but neighborhoods with trees can calm it down. British researchers at the University of Exeter looked at more than 650,000 serious asthma attacks in different urban neighborhoods and found that more trees meant fewer emergency room visits. After crunching the numbers, they concluded that 300 trees per square kilometer was associated with around 50 fewer emergency asthma cases per 100,000 residents during a 15-year period. Although some plants produce pollen that aggravates asthma, trees help reduce attacks because they remove pollutants from the air.
Ginkgo Improves Stroke Recovery
Medically supervised recovery from an ischemic stroke, the most common type, can be improved with ginkgo supplements in combination with aspirin, according to a Chinese study of 348 patients published in Stroke and Vascular Neurology. Ischemic stroke is triggered by a blood clot that interrupts blood supply to the brain and damages brain cells. Researchers compared the effects of 100 mg aspirin daily with the same aspirin dose plus 450 mg daily of a ginkgo extract, and standard medical tests showed significantly better neurological and mental function with ginkgo. Since the herb can increase bleeding risk, researchers caution against using the supplement among people who already face increased risk for bleeding due to medical conditions, or among people who take blood thinners.
Iodine Deficiency Reduces Chance of Pregnancy
The first study to investigate the link between pregnancy and iodine has found that a mild to moderate deficiency reduces the odds of getting pregnant. “Our findings suggest that women who are thinking of becoming pregnant may need more iodine,” said James Mills, MD, study coauthor at the National Institutes of Health. “Iodine requirements increase during pregnancy,” he added, “and the fetus depends on this mineral to make thyroid hormone and to ensure normal brain development.” Among 467 women in the study, nearly half were either mildly or moderately deficient, and almost 2 percent had a severe deficiency. Sea vegetables, especially kelp, are very rich iodine sources, and iodine is also found in many multivitamins.
1 Leafy Serving Per Day
Routinely eating about one daily serving of leafy greens can make an older person about 11 years younger in terms of memory and overall mental performance, according to a Memory and Aging Project study at Tufts University in Boston. Researchers found this by testing cognitive skills among 960 people, ages 58–99, during a 5-year period.
DIY Plant Protein Powder
“Making your own protein powders at home helps you control what goes inside, and allows you to have a wider variety of nutrients,” says Carina Wolff, author of Plant-Protein Recipes That You’ll Love. For healthy fats plus plant protein, try her seed-based recipe. It works best when added to hearty dishes, such as soups, sauces, and baked goods.
View our “From Scratch” Protein Powder recipe.
Gym equipment is rife with bugs, according to testing by FitRated Fitness Equipment Reviews. In tests of equipment in three different gyms:
- Free weights had 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat
- Treadmills had 74 times more bacteria than a tap in a public bathroom
- Exercise bikes had 39 times more bacteria than a cafeteria tray
Thoroughly washing hands, keeping them away from your face, and changing out of gym clothes after a workout can help to protect you.
Vitamin D Helps Relieve IBS
There’s no known medical cure for the pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation of irritable bowel syndrome, but vitamin D can bring some relief, according to a review of all related research at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. And deficiency of the vitamin is prevalent among people who suffer with the condition. “It is evident from the findings that all people with IBS should have their vitamin D levels tested, and a large majority of them would benefit from supplements,” said lead researcher Bernard Corfe, PhD. He also noted: “There is no single known cause, and likewise no single known cure.”
15 Birthday Candles
These days, it’s popular to avoid sugar and eat more protein and healthy fats, but an early driver of these trends, the South Beach Diet, recently celebrated its 15th birthday. “Sugars are the primary cause of epidemic obesity and diabetes and high rates of chronic diseases such as heart attack, cancer, and Alzheimer’s,” said Arthur Agatston, MD, the cardiologist who created the ever-popular diet.
Top 7 Dietary Killers
A study of more than 700,000 American deaths from heart disease, stroke, and diabetes concluded that diet played a significant role in 45 percent of cases. According to research published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, top diet features that contributed to the deaths were:
- High sodium
- Low nuts and seeds
- High processed meats
- Low seafood with omega-3 fats
- Low vegetables
- Low fruits
- High sweetened drinks