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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: Mar 02, 2013 23:15 IST
Hindustan Times

Pessimism helps you live longer, healthier
Older people who are blighted by negative thoughts and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, a study has revealed. Low expectations for a ‘satisfying future’ actually led healthier lives. The study found that being overly optimistic about the days ahead had a greater risk of disability or death within ten years. The study also found those with higher income were more likely to be at greater risk of disability. “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions,” said lead author Frieder R Lang.

Sleeplessness makes you eat more junk
If you’ve had a sleepless night, think twice before hitting the buffet line.

Normal-weight men ate bigger portions of high-energy food after they were forced to stay awake all night as compared to when they got solid eight-hour rest. Also, they did so both before and after a breakfast, suggesting that sleep deprivation enhances food intake regardless of satiety. The study, at Uppsala University in Sweden, builds on a steady stream of research that has shown a link between sleep-deprivation and obesity.

Another study in The American Journal of Human Biology last year reported that the sight of junk food following a sleepless night triggered the brain’s reward centres, making the foods seem more tempting.

High Iron content in your food lowers PMS symptoms
Eating food full of iron from plant-based sources — such as dried beans and green leafy vegetables — can ease the pain and emotional tumult of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which affects one in 10 women. Symptoms include breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, appetite changes, depression and anxiety.

One in three women with iron in their diets did not develop PMS as compared to those who had less iron. Iron reduces the pain and emotional symptoms of PMS by boosting levels of serotonin, low levels of which are associated with clinical depression.

Milk, potatoes aggravate acne
If you want a clear complexion, step away from the mashed potatoes and drop that piece of cheese. A new study links acne and the consumption of dairy products and foods high on the glycemic index, such as sugar, white bread, rice and pasta, reports the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics.

Eating foods high on the glycaemic index — a measure how quickly blood sugar levels pike after eating certain foods — as well as milk and cheese can cause and aggravate the development of acne, said researchers from the New York Medical College and New York University after analysing data from studies between 1960 to 2012.

Sugar, a bigger cause of diabetes than overeating
Drinking just one can of fizzy drink a day could increase the risk of developing life-threatening Type 2 diabetes. Scientists have found that sugar-based calories, such as those found in fizzy drinks, are much more likely to cause the condition than the same number of calories from any other source.

For every additional 150 calories of sugar available per person per day, the prevalence of diabetes in the population rose by 1%. In contrast, an additional 150 calories of any type caused only a 0.1% increase in the population’s diabetes rate, reports the journal PLoS ONE.

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