Whole Life Magazine

August/September 2015

Issue link: https://digital.copcomm.com/i/548772

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Page 14 of 43

healthy living By Laura G. Owens FERMENTED FOODS FUEL CALM Rock Body YOUR "Go with your gut" is more than just an expression. Research led by professors at William and Mary found that people who eat more fermented foods (yogurt, kefi r, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc) have less social anxiety. "It is likely that the probiotics in the fermented foods are favorably changing the environment in the gut, and changes in the gut in turn infl uence social anxiety," said one of the lead authors, psychology professor Matthew Hilimire. The body's digestive tract, our body's "second or little" brain, is part of the enteric nervous system (ENS). While the ENS system can't "think" it does communicate back and forth with the brain by sending signals to the central nervous system, which in turn, triggers mood changes. The fi nding was particularly strong among subjects who were at genetic risk for neuroticism, a disorder characterized by fear, anxiety, worry, moodiness, envy, frustration, jealousy and loneliness. FITNESS FOOD FALLACY If you're trying to lose weight beware of the "fi tness food" trap. A study published in the Journal of Marketing found snacks marked "fi tness foods" often enticed weight- conscious consumers to eat more. Subjects in the study were given a trail-mix type snack marked "Fitness" or "Trail Mix" to sample, then offered the option of exercising as vigorously as they wanted on a stationary bike. The "restrained" eaters, people chronically concerned about body weight, were more likely to not only eat more of the "fi tness" mix, but to exercise less rigorously. "Unless a food was forbidden by their diet, branding the product as 'fi t' increased consumption for those trying to watch their weight," wrote authors Joerg Koenigstorfer and Hans Baumgartner. We all know the wellness mantra: exercise, eat a healthy diet, manage stress and you're more likely to live longer. It turns out however; this common sense longevity advice is backed by sound science. In a study out of UCSF researchers found that men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer who made long-term lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, meditation) had a "signifi cant" increase in the length of their telomeres. Why care about telomeres? These protective caps at the end of our chromosomes affect how quickly our cells age. "Telomere shortening increases the risk of a wide variety of chronic diseases," wrote co- senior author Peter R. Carrol. "We believe that increases in telomere length may help to prevent these conditions and perhaps even lengthen lifespan." As our telomeres shorten, their structural integrity weakens; cells age and die more quickly. Moreover, the more devoutly subjects followed the recommended lifestyle program, the more dramatic the improvement in telomere length. "So often people think 'Oh, I have bad genes, there's nothing I can do about it," wrote lead author Dean Ornish, MD. "But these fi ndings indicate that telomeres may lengthen to the degree that people change how they live." The fi ndings, say scientists, likely also apply to the general population. LENGTHEN YOUR TELOMERES august/september 2015 15

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