Selasa, 11 Mac 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

Fighting fat by eating spinach

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 07:10 PM PDT

According to a study, spinach extract could help prevent obesity.

A natural compound hidden away in spinach has been shown to reduce food cravings between meals and could help prevent obesity, a Swedish scientist said on Monday.

Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, a professor of appetite regulation at Lund University in Sweden, found the compound – known as thylakoid – while looking for ways to slow digestion and alleviate hunger pangs.

The compound functions differently to processed foods, which tend to be digested only in the upper intestine. This prevents key hormones that make us feel full from being released to the brain, according to a statement from the university.

"I like to say our intestines are unemployed," Erlanson-Albertsson said. A test group of 15 people who took the compound every morning reported that it had become easier to resist the temptation to eat between meals.

Erlanson-Albertsson discovered the compound after speaking to her husband, a scientist researching photosynthesis. He steered her in the direction of thylakoids, a compound in green leaves believed to slow down fat digestion, meaning the whole intestine has time to get involved, the university said.

But eating spinach itself is not enough. It has to be crushed, filtrated and passed through a centrifuge, freeing the thylakoids from the plant's cells.

"Our bodies can't break it down from fresh spinach directly," the university said. — AFP Relaxnews

Omega-3 consumption linked to better sleep

Posted: 09 Mar 2014 09:30 PM PDT

An early study shows that eating food rich in omega-3 helps to improve sleep in children.

A new pilot study from the University of Oxford indicates increasing children's intake of omega-3 fatty acids may improve their sleep.

The study is said to be the first to analyse the potential link between sleep and fatty acid status in healthy children. Findings will be published in the Journal Of Sleep Research.

Researchers provided 362 children from 74 Oxford primary schools with daily 600mg supplements of algal sources or a placebo over a 16-week period to determine if sleep would improve. Participants were between seven and nine years old. The children weren't selected based on sleep issues, although all had problems with reading.

Previous research has shown an increase in omega-3 consumption can improve children's ability to concentrate, read and spell in addition to lowering disruptive behaviour.

At the beginning of the study, parents filled out a questionnaire, with results revealing that four in ten of the children dealt with regular sleep disturbances. The researchers fitted the 43 children rated as poor sleepers with wrist sensors that monitored movements in bed over five nights.

The study found children who took the daily omega-3 supplements enjoyed 58 minutes more sleep and seven fewer awakenings per night than those who took the placebo. Higher blood levels of the long-chain omega-3 DHA was linked to improved sleep, including "less bedtime resistance, parasomnias and total sleep disturbance".

"Various substances made within the body from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have long been known to play key roles in the regulation of sleep," said lead study author Professor Paul Montgomery of Oxford University. "For example, lower ratios of DHA have been linked with lower levels of melatonin, and that would fit with our finding that sleep problems are greater in children with lower levels of DHA in their blood."

While further research is needed given the relatively small number of participants, researchers say that if the study results are confirmed implications will be "profound" for children struggling with behavioral and learning issues.

Omega-3s are associated with a number of other health benefits, including their ability to lower blood pressure. A study announced last week and published in the American Journal Of Hypertension found omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are as effective, if not more so, in lowering blood pressure than commonly recommended lifestyle changes, such as exercising more, consuming less sodium and drinking less alcohol. — AFP Relaxnews

Tech and sleep don’t mix

Posted: 08 Mar 2014 03:50 PM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Electronic devices are the bane of children.

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