Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Surviving the Postprandial Energy Dip

If you typically feel the postprandial urge to nap in your desk chair, you're not alone. According to The New York Times, it is natural for us to want to go to sleep about 7 hours after we wake. While this phenomenon is common, it affects each of us differently, with 15-20% of us unable to resist a few minutes of shut-eye. Since the last time that most of us were encouraged to take an after-lunch nap was kindergarten, we rely on alternatives to get ourselves over the hump. For some this means reaching for sugar or caffeine. But there are other options to help stay alert such as meeting with a colleague or stretching at your desk. Ultimately, it's best to address the underlying factors of fatigue which involve getting the right amount of sleep at night and waking up at the same time each morning.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Antioxidant Supplements Don't Offer Protection Against Heart Disease

While pill-popping has become popular preventative maintenance for a variety of ailments, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concludes that this might not be the best course of action when it comes to heart health. New research shows that vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene are not effective for preventing heart attacks, strokes, or related deaths. This study, one of the longest ever to examine the cardiovascular impact of antioxidant supplements, included more than 8,000 women at high risk for cardiovascular disease. During the 10-year study, no evidence emerged to support the benefits of antioxidant supplementation. The findings are consistent with other major studies published in recent years. According to the study's authors, when all is said and done, a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is preferable to isolating individual components through supplementation.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Can Weight-Gain Be Contagious?

According to a study that was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine, having a friend become obese increases a person’s chances of becoming obese by 57 percent. Surprisingly, a friend's weight gain has more impact than that of family members. How is this "contagion" effect possible? Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School and a principal investigator in the study, told The New York Times that one explanation is that friends affect each others’ perception of fatness. When a close friend becomes obese, obesity may not look so bad. The researchers say their findings can help explain why Americans have become fatter in recent years.