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Saturday, January 23, 2021
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It all comes down to food

SDOH   Food & Nutrition   Stress Reduction

Today’s Read: 3.5 minutes

Whether traveling or staying home, food is the secret to keep you healthy, and possibly, happy.

MORNING BRIEF

Travel more

Those who regularly travel at least 75 miles away from home for vacation tend to be 7% happier than those who don’t, according to research out of Washington State University. And while travel isn’t really on the schedule in the near future, there are ways to make sure that you satisfy your wanderlust once it’s safe to move about the world again. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you plan and take those trips:

  1. Pay more attention to tourism-related information. Whether you’re just passively browsing destinations or actively gathering ideas about where to go, reading up increases the likelihood that you will travel.
  2. Talk about it. People who frequently discuss their travel plans with friends are more likely to go on regular vacations than those who don’t.
  3. Make traveling a priority. Participants in the study reported going on more than four pleasure trips a year.

So, where are we going next year?

Diminish GERD symptoms by 37%

If heartburn is an issue for you, pay attention. These five diet and lifestyle factors can make a significant impact on GERD:

  • Maintain a normal weight
  • Never smoke
  • Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity a day
  • Restrict coffee, tea, and sodas to two cups per day
  • Follow a prudent diet—one low in concentrated sweets, red meat, and refined grains

The latest findings from the Nurses’ Health Study suggest that following the above guidelines may reduce symptoms substantially by 37% and make medication unnecessary for some.

Snack on an apple, improve your mood

Add another reason why fiber is an important part of a balanced diet: A recent study links dietary fiber intake with a reduced risk of depression in premenopausal women.

Using the Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey data of 5,807 women, researchers found that among premenopausal women, dietary fiber intake was higher in the nondepressed group compared to the depressed group—confirming an inverse association between fiber intake and depression within this population. The study showed no significant difference in dietary fiber intake and mood among post-menopausal women. 

Why the difference? Estrogen depletion may play a role. Estrogen affects the balance of gut microorganisms. Changes in the hormone during pre- and post-menopause may alter the gut-microbiota composition and affect neurotransmission. It’s these gut-brain interactions that may partially explain the link between dietary fiber and depression. Adding fiber improves the richness and diversity of gut microbiota, possibly boosting estrogen’s effect. This, in theory, may improve neurotransmission and help improve mood.

ONE BIG NUMBER

12.4%

The percentage of food insecurity among older adults, according to a study that drew from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys data from 2007 to 2016. This is a significant increase in food security—up from 5.5%. Researchers also reported that older adults who had limited access to nutritious foods because of a lack of financial resources tended to have lower-quality diets.

DAILY DIVERSION

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