What’s new in the world of health and wellness this week?
We’ve got you covered:
- Traveling this holiday season? Here’s what not to eat before your flight.
- Why all calories aren’t created equal.
- A breakthrough drug for those with peanut allergies.
- Holiday gifts that inspire healthy eating.
- A new blood test for detecting early cancer.
The Top Things You Shouldn’t Eat Before Flying
If you’re traveling this holiday season, the last thing you want to be is uncomfortable on a long flight. It’s tempting to load up with a big meal or bring lots of snacks to keep hunger at bay while you’re in the air.
Eat smart and pack wisely. Some foods can make you more prone to stomach aches, gas, dehydration, and anxiety — none of which you want to deal with while flying. For example, some people think a stiff cocktail is a good idea for anxiety when flying. However, it can make you dehydrated, making for an unpleasant flight. You should also avoid too much caffeine unless you really like multiple trips to the tiny airplane bathroom.
Aim to steer clear of spicy foods that can cause indigestion, heartburn, or gas, salty foods that promote water retention and bloating, and beans or vegetables that can give you gas. No one wants to be “that person” smelling up the cabin!
Opt for a light meal like a salad, sandwich, or grain bowl. Fresh or dried fruit, unsalted nuts, popcorn, and granola bars are great snack options. Don’t forget to drink lots of water, too!
Read more about the worst foods to eat before a flight here.
If You Thought All Calories Were Created Equal, Think Again
Turns out, not all calories are created equal. A study from Harvard showed that people who ate a low-carb diet (with 20 percent of their total calories coming from carbs) burned 209–278 more calories daily than those who ate a diet with 60 percent of their calories consisting of carbs.
The study consisted of a randomized trial over a period of 20 weeks. Even more impressive, the participants were provided food for the duration of the study — over 100,000 meals and snacks totaling more than $12 billion for the duration of the study!
After five months, the low carb diet group increased the resting calorie expenditure by over 200 calories daily and the high-carb group initially decreased their resting energy expenditure. Furthermore, participants with the highest baseline insulin levels saw an even more significant 308-calorie calorie expenditure increase on the low-carb diet.
Traditional advice involves eating less and moving more, but this study proves it’s not that simple. The human body has specific hormonal responses to the foods we eat. A low-carb diet just might be the path the sustainable weight loss in the long-term.
Read the full story here.
A New Drug for Those With Peanut Allergies
Peanut allergies are common in children, and a new treatment has been unveiled that might be the answer for kids who have severe allergic reactions. The new study showed that children may be able to build a tolerance to peanuts over time and is ready for U.S. Food and Drug Administration review.
The phase three trial included 511 participants between the ages of four and 17, all of whom had life-threatening peanut allergies. They were given the experimental drug, which is derived from peanuts, for several months.
After nine to 12 months taking the drug, two thirds of the study participants could tolerate two peanuts daily. Half of those could eat four peanuts a day!
Co-author and allergist Jay Lieberman said, “We’re excited about the potential to help children and adolescents with a peanut allergy protect themselves against accidentally eating a food with peanut in it.”
Currently, there are no approved treatments available for those who suffer peanut allergies.
Lieberman, vice chair of the ACAAI Food Allergy Committee, said he expects the drug could be approved for use later next year.
Learn more here.
Holiday Gifts That Encourage Healthy Eating
It can be challenging enough to eat healthy during the holiday season and celebratory family dinners. Instead of gifting fattening chocolates this year, try giving a gift that inspires healthy eating and makes living a healthy lifestyle easier.
What kind of gifts inspire healthy eating, you might ask? A stem stripper is an inexpensive, flat gadget that has stem-sized holes in it for stripping leaves from herbs and leafy veggies. For those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you can get them a NutriBullet for about $60.
If someone on your list has a sweet tooth they can’t shake, check out Yonanas Deluxe Ice Cream Treat Maker for $56. You can make healthier versions of sugar-laden ice cream in 20 minutes or less! For the snackers in your life, try a KIND Chocolate Cheer Holiday Cube for $40. Every box has an assortment of dessert-esque KIND Bars such as dark chocolate cinnamon pecan and double dark chocolate nut.
Need more ideas? Read the full story here.
A Promising New Blood Test to Catch Cancer Earlier
Dr. Daniel De Carvalho and his team at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center have combined “liquid biopsy,” epigenetic alterations, and machine learning to create a blood test that shows promise for detecting and classifying cancer at an early stage of disease progression.
The technique will give doctors the ability to find cancer earlier and begin treating it before symptoms even appear. Dr. De Carvalho says, “We are very excited at this stage. A major problem in cancer is how to detect it early. It has been a ‘needle in the haystack’ problem of how to find that one-in-a-billion cancer-specific mutation in the blood, especially at earlier stages, where the amount of tumour DNA in the blood is minimal.”
De Carvalho’s team was able to identify thousands of modifications specific to each type of cancer, and used a big data approach to leverage machine learning, creating classifiers able to identify the existence of cancer-derived DNA in patient blood samples.
What’s next? The results need to be further validated with large population health research studies, which are already underway in many countries. If approved, the technique could be potentially groundbreaking for cancer screenings worldwide.
Learn more by reading the full story here.
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