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Health scan

A snapshot of the current thinking in medicine, fitness and lifestyle trends that impact your life.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 16, 2013 22:18 IST

Online or off, bullying proves harmful
Children who are bullied online or on cellphones are just as likely to skip school or consider suicide as who are physically bullied.

A little more than one in five students — 22 % — who were physically bullied skipped school or thought about it.

In comparison, 27% of students who were bullied online (email, blogs and chatrooms) and 28% who were received bullying text messages skipped school or thought about doing so.

Parents should pay attention to warning signs of bullying such as mood changes, sadness, social withdrawal etc. Supervision of activity online, can help reduce your child being targeted.

Relationship anxiety weakens immunity
Anxiety and concerns about close relationships can make you fall ill by reducing immunity. Such concerns function as a chronic stressor that compromise immunity, reports a study that found that the most affected are those who are on the high end of the attachment anxiety spectrum.

Signs of high relationship anxiety are excessive concerns about being rejected, having a tendency to constantly seek reassurance that they are loved, and those more likely to interpret ambiguous events in a relationship as negative.

Such persons are prone to produce higher levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that is released in response to stress, and have fewer T-cells, which are a measure of the immune system’s defence against infection.

Dark chocolate, red wine, food health
If you want to keep the hearts of people you love beating strong, get them dark chocolate and red wine. Red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher contain resveratrol, which lower blood sugar.

Red wine is also a source of catechins, which could help improve good HDL cholesterol. Truffles, soufflés and even hot chocolate can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) as long as dark chocolate with a high content of cocoa is used.

Healthy meals improve sleep
You are what you eat, the saying goes, but is what you eat playing a role in how much you sleep? Sleep, like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being.

A new study shows that nutrients play an underlying role in short and long sleep duration and that people who report eating a large variety of foods — an indicator of an overall healthy diet — have the healthiest sleep patterns.

In general, those who sleep between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night are most likely to experience better overall health and well being.

Food variety — many types of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals — is highest in normal sleepers, and lowest in very short sleepers.