10 Important Health & Wellness Studies From 2019. News You Can Use in 2020
At least once a week we try to update you on some of the most important health and wellness research reported by universities and healthcare institutions around the world. We focus on studies that you can use in your daily life. Today we have some new research to report along with a review of some of the top stories from 2019.
1. New! Hot peppers like jalapenos are great for you. A new study published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who ate hot peppers, like chili peppers and jalapenos, at least four times per week had a 23% lower risk of death from any cause during the period of the study, and a 40% percent lower death rate from heart attacks. The study was conducted with about 22,000 Italians over a period of 8 years.
A study done on over 16,000 Americans showed similar results. That study, published as part of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), found that Americans who ate hot peppers had a 13 percent lower risk of death during the study compared to those who didn’t eat them.
The benefits of hot peppers is likely due to capsaicin according to researchers, the active compound in nearly all chili peppers.
2. Take more naps. In 2019 we learned that afternoon siestas are beneficial for both children and adults.
Illuminate: "A short nap in the mid-afternoon can boost memory, improve job performance, lift your mood, boost your immune system, and ease stress. And a study published yesterday in the journal Heart, found that several afternoon naps a week can protect your heart too."
A new study reported by the U. Of Pennsylvania found that naps also have a positive and significant impact on children.
U. Of. Penn: "A study of nearly 3,000 fourth, fifth, and sixth graders ages 10-12 revealed a connection between midday napping and greater happiness, self-control, and grit; fewer behavioral problems; and higher IQ, the latter particularly for the sixth graders. The most robust findings were associated with academic achievement, says Penn neurocriminologist Adrian Raine, a co-author on the paper."
And afternoon naps are becoming cool....at least in Houston.
Houston's New Nap Bar: "Introducing Nap Bar, the solution for work-wellness and increased productivity. Nap Bar is the first napping center in the State of Texas. We offer a white-glove, health and wellness experience in Rice Village, Houston. Expect a sustainable rest and a full-service Comfort Concierge to help you gently fall asleep and wake up refreshed. Our service offers plush organic New Living Bungaloom mattresses, freshly tossed organic cotton sheets, pillows, and swanky surroundings to help ease you into Snoozeville."
Almost makes you want to move to Texas, except for the whole "these people elected Ted Cruz" thing.
3. Regular exercise is like the fountain of youth. You don't need a Peloton, but regular exercise is absolutely essential for your health. And, it will keep you young.
Illuminate: "A new study by Scott Trappe, director of Ball State University's Human Performance Laboratory, and an eleven person research team found, as expected, that "people who exercise regularly year after year have better overall health". But the extent of the benefits shocked the researchers. The study compared men and women in their 70s who worked out regularly to people 30 years younger, aged around 40, who rarely exercised. According to Trappe, the older group "have similar cardiovascular health to a 40- to 45-year-old.”
Make 2020 the year that you include regular exercise in your daily routine. Hike, swim, lift weights, walk the dog, make love....you get the idea.
New York Times: "There is mounting and rousing evidence that being physically active affects how we age, with older people who exercise typically being healthier, more fit, better muscled and less likely to develop a variety of diseases and disabilities than their sedentary peers. ....Past studies have shown that exercise alters the workings of many genes, as well as the immune system, muscle-repair mechanisms and many other systems within the body."
Last minute Christmas gift idea for someone you love... A gym membership!
4. Vaccines are safe and effective in preventing a variety of diseases. The anti-vax movement got a lot of attention this year - all of it negative. Generally, you have a right to be stupid, but not when it puts everyone's children in danger.
Illuminate: "Today there is overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccinations are safe and effective at addressing a variety of diseases which in the past claimed millions of lives, but which today are easily preventable, such as measles, smallpox, whooping cough, and rubella. [You can catch up with much of the most recent research here]."
"The avoidance of vaccinations leading to low vaccination coverage poses a significant problem to public health, the researchers say." And it's driving the return of measles, mumps, and whooping cough, which we thought were no longer threats.
So, in 2020, can you please just stop with the anti-vax, conspiracy theory nonsense!
6. Drink less soda and other sugary drinks. We published several articles this year on the negative consequences of drinking large quantities of soda, even diet sodas. It's closely associated with obesity and new research points to other consequences.
Illuminate: "The research on the negative health consequences of drinking too much soda is overwhelming. A new study of over 450,000 people published last week in JAMA Internal Medicine reinforces that consensus."
Washington Post: "The study, one of the largest of its kind, tracked 451,743 men and women from 10 countries in Europe. It found that consumption of two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day was positively associated with deaths from circulatory diseases. For sugar-sweetened soft drinks, one or more glasses a day were associated with deaths from digestive diseases, including diseases of the liver, appendix, pancreas and intestines."
Fruit juices aren't much better, so drink more water....or coffee!
7. Drink more coffee! 2019 was quite a year for coffee as numerous academic studies touted its benefits.
European Society of Cardiology: "The researchers found that participants who consumed at least four cups of coffee per day had a 64% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who never or almost never consumed coffee... "
WebMD: "In recent years, numerous studies have demonstrated associations between coffee consumption and lowered health risks of all sorts -- from type 2 diabetes to certain cancers to Parkinson's disease."
And, Johns Hopkins reports that coffee can even ward off Alzheimer's disease, especially in women.
Hopkins Medicine.org: "Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. But the caffeine in two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against developing the condition. In fact, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia in general."
8. Get outside and Enjoy Nature. There were several studies this year which demonstrated the positive health benefits of communing with nature.
Illuminate: "Dr. MaryCarol Hunter, an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan and lead author of the research says they found that "for the greatest payoff, in terms of efficiently lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, you should spend 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking in a place that provides you with a sense of nature." She refers to these nature visits as a "nature-pill prescription."
Science Daily: "The data revealed that just a twenty-minute nature experience was enough to significantly reduce cortisol levels. But if you spent a little more time immersed in a nature experience, 20 to 30 minutes sitting or walking, cortisol levels dropped at their greatest rate. After that, additional de-stressing benefits continue to add up but at a slower rate."
9. Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Your mom was right when she told you to get enough sleep. This year, scientists identified numerous negative consequences associated with a lack of sleep.
CNN: "The new study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found people with existing high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes who slept less than six hours were twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke" ...
... " The new research also found an association with cancer. People who had existing heart disease or history of a stroke who got less than six hours of sleep had three times the increased risk of dying from cancer."
Lack of sleep doesn't cause cancer, but it reduces your bodies ability to fight the disease.
CNN: "We're not saying that short sleep was a cause of cancer," he clarified. "We know that people with heart disease are more likely to have immune problems and develop cancer. And we know that there is a tight link between sleep and the immune system -- sleep-deprived people have higher levels of inflammation."
A separate study published this year came to the same conclusion.
Illuminate: "The journal of the American Academy of Neurology reported last week that a recent study found that "people who have trouble sleeping may be more likely to have a stroke, heart attack or other cerebrovascular or cardiovascular diseases..."
So make sleep a priority in 2020.
10. Get a dog. Dogs are cool and, apparently, have health benefits.
Illuminate: "In a new study published in "Circulation," the journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that "dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality."
Washington Post: "After reviewing 10 studies that included data on 3.8 million participants, the authors determine that “dog ownership was associated with a 24% risk reduction for all-cause mortality as compared to non-ownership.” The data showed even greater benefits among those who’d experienced cardiovascular issues, such as a heart attack and stroke."
The researchers theorize that dog owners get more exercise [walking your dog is good for you too], and earlier studies have shown that there are psychological benefits. Dogs offer companionship and can reduce anxiety and loneliness.
Have a healthy and happy 2020! And hug someone. It's great for both of you.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content