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Living Better

Month: May 2019

Eating Fruits and Vegetables Can Improve Your Mood and Mental Well-Being

You already know you should eat fruits and vegetables for the nutrients they provide the body. But a new British study has again shown that the health benefits of produce don’t end there. Researchers at the University of Leeds have shown that eating fruits and vegetables can also improve your mood and mental well-being.

Researchers found that people whose diets included more fruits and vegetables reported being happier. Those who ate even just one extra portion of produce a day reported better life satisfaction than those who ate less. Researchers estimated that the extra portion could have the same effect on your mood as walking an additional 10 continuous minutes or more eight days a month.

Previous research conducted in Australia and New Zealand, and published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, showed a diet rich in fruits and vegetables makes people feel happier.

The latest study, entitled Lettuce Be Happy was published in Social Science and Medicine. It is based on a larger group of people who were followed for a longer period of time.

The USA Allow Food Additives that Canada, Europe, China, and others Claim are Toxic

Chemical Structure of Potassium Bromate

Chemical Structure of Potassium Bromate

Potassium bromate, for example, is also illegal in Canada, China, the European Union, Brazil, India, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere because it causes cancer. In the United States it has been legal to add to food since it was first patented for use in baking bread in 1914.

Troy Farah writing for The Guardian:

But despite petitions from several advocacy groups – some dating back decades – the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers these to be Gras or “generally recognized as safe” to eat, though plenty of experts disagree.

“The system for ensuring that ingredients added to food are safe is broken,” said Lisa Lefferts, senior scientist at the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Lefferts, who specializes in food additives, said that once a substance is in the food supply, the FDA rarely takes further action, even when there is evidence that it isn’t safe.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to ban potassium bromate two decades ago due to cancer concerns, but the FDA’s response, according to a letter from the agency, was that it couldn’t examine the issue due to “limited availability of resources and other agency priorities.”

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A Sense of Purpose Could Prolong Your Life

Ephrat Livni writing for Quartz:

Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health analyzed data from nearly 7,000 individuals over 50 years old and concluded that “stronger purpose in life was associated with decreased mortality.” They believe that “purposeful living may have health benefits.”

The new research relied on data from individuals who enrolled in the American Health and Retirement Study (HRS)—longterm research that looks at a cross-section of subjects over time. The original research measured participants’ psychological well-being in 2006, their physical health and, subsequently, causes of death by 2010. The new analysis found that those whose psychological questionnaires reflected a lack of purpose were more likely to die than those who had “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals.”

In fact, people without a purpose were more than twice as likely to die than those with an aim and goals. Purpose proved to be more indicative of longevity than gender, race, or education levels, and more important for decreasing risk of death than drinking, smoking, or exercising regularly.

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The Evidence Is Strong » Air Pollution Can Cause Dementia

Aaron Reuben, writing in Mother Jones:

Of all the new research, three studies in particular paint a stark picture of the extent to which the quality of our air can determine whether we will age with our minds intact. In one from 2018, researchers followed 130,000 older adults living in London for several years. Those exposed to higher levels of air pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter released by fossil fuel combustion, were significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease—the most common kind of dementia—than their otherwise demographically matched peers. In total, Londoners exposed to the highest levels of air pollution were about one and a half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s across the study period than their neighbors exposed to the lowest levels—a replication of previous findings from Taiwan, where air pollution levels are much higher.

Another, a 2017 study published in the Lancet, followed all adults living in Ontario (roughly 6 and a half million people) for over a decade and found that those who lived closer to major high-traffic roads were significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease across the study period regardless of their health at baseline or socioeconomic status. Both of these studies estimated that around 6 to 7 percent of all dementia cases in their samples could be attributed to air pollution exposures.

Those studies from Canada and the UK are certainly intriguing. But the most compelling, and least reported on, study comes from the United States. It was also, incidentally, inspired by our previous reporting.

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Poor Diet is the World’s Biggest Killer

A new report from the Thomson Reuters Foundation states that our poor eating habits, from malnutrition to obesity, leads to millions of early deaths and could cost the global economy $30 trillion by 2030.

Poor diet has already overtaken smoking as the world’s biggest killer. One in five deaths worldwide in 2017 was linked to unhealthy diets in both poor and rich countries as burgers and soda replaced traditional diets.

Thin Lei Win writing for the Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Technology has made farming easier but government policy and climate change have slashed the foods produced by villagers which they fear is killing them when combined with the explosion in fast-food. “Now we don’t know where the oils we eat come from because we buy what’s quick and cheap and easy,” said Myint Soe, 59.

He said many people are suffering from cancer, hardening of the arteries and other ailments, likely caused by eating low-quality oil, sugary drinks, salty snacks and instant noodles.

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