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The diet that could reduce the risk of depression

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A new study has provided further evidence that a healthful diet is good for the mind as well as the body, after finding that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may help to lower the risk of depression.

Researchers have found that people with closer adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) were less likely to have depression over 6.5 years than people with lower adherence to the diet.

Study co-author Dr. Laurel Cherian, of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, and colleagues are due to present their findings at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting next month, which will be held in Los Angeles, CA.

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It is estimated that around 16.2 million adults in the United States — or approximately 6.7 percent of the country’s adult population — had at least one major depressive episode in 2016, making it one of the most common mental health conditions.

People with depression may experience persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or irritability, and they may lose interest in once pleasurable activities, have difficulty sleeping, and even have suicidal thoughts.

A family history of depression, traumatic or stressful experiences, and physical illness are among the risk factors for depression. But a new study suggests that we may be able to lower our risk of the condition simply by eating better.

The study included 964 adults who were an average age of 81, and they were followed for an average of 6.5 years.

At study baseline, all subjects were asked to complete dietary questionnaires. The researchers assessed these to establish adherence to various diets, including the Western diet, the Mediterranean diet, and the DASH diet.

The DASH diet is an eating plan that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but low in foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats. It was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as a way to lower blood pressure.

The study participants were also assessed for symptoms of depression during the follow-up period.

Compared with subjects who had the lowest adherence to the DASH diet, those who had the highest adherence were found to be 11 percent less likely to develop depression.

But a Western diet was found to have the opposite effect, and the closer the subjects’ adherence to this diet — which is high in saturated fats and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — the greater their risk of developing depression.

Dr. Cherian notes that this study only shows an association between the DASH diet and lower depression risk, so it is unable to prove cause and effect.

That said, she and her colleagues say that further research is warranted to determine whether this eating plan could help to prevent one of the most common mental health disorders in the U.S.

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Health & Lifestyle

Effects of Hot baths on inflammation, glucose metabolism

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According to new research, a hot bath could have effects that extend way beyond mental relaxation. According to the authors, regular hot baths might reduce inflammation and improve metabolism.

Over recent years, hot baths, saunas, and other so-called passive heating therapies have received growing attention from scientists.

Scientists now believe they offer some potential benefits, including improved vascular function and sleep.

Because hot baths are low cost and unlikely to cause significant side effects, understanding any benefits that a hot bath might have could be a quick win for medical science.



Recently, researchers set out to understand whether hot bath immersion could have an impact on metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.

 Almost 20 years ago, a paper concluded that hot water immersion of individuals with type 2 diabetes enhanced insulin sensitivity. However, it is still unclear how this might occur.

In the most recent study, the researchers dug a little deeper into the mechanisms at work. They theorized that the influence of a hot bath over glucose metabolism might revolve around the inflammatory response.

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Inflammation and insulin resistance

There is some evidence that chronic, low-level inflammation increases insulin resistance. In other words, inflammation reduces a cell’s ability to respond to insulin, potentially contributing to the development of diabetes.

Conversely, exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity — meaning that the body has better control over glucose levels.

Although doctors often recommend exercise to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders, not everyone can exercise — perhaps due to health conditions or physical capacity. It is, therefore, essential to find alternative ways to improve insulin sensitivity for these people.

Exercise, as with other physical stressors, sparks a brief inflammatory response, followed by a more extended anti-inflammatory response. The researchers wanted to see if a different type of physical stressor — a hot bath — might have a similar effect on the immune system.

For this study, the researchers investigated the impact of a hot bath on overweight, mostly sedentary men. The findings were published recently in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

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Hot bath intervention

Each participant immersed themselves in a water bath set at 102°F (39°C) for 1 hour. Scientists took blood just before and after the bath, and then 2 hours later.

Also, the researchers charted the participants’ blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate every 15 minutes.

 Over the following 2 weeks, the participants had a further 10 hot water immersions.

The researchers found that a single hot water immersion caused a spike of interleukin — a marker of inflammation. Similarly, there was an increase in nitric oxide (NO) production.

The spike in NO is important because it causes blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure. NO also improves glucose intake into tissues, and scientists think it has anti-inflammatory properties.



As expected, the 2-week intervention saw a reduction in fasting blood sugar and inflammation. In the same way that exercise influences inflammation, the researchers saw an initial increase followed by a long-term decrease in inflammation.

The researchers also write that it “might have implications for improving metabolic health in populations unable to meet the current physical activity recommendations.”

It is important to note that the people who took part in the study did report some discomfort. This was either due to the length of time that they were required to stay in the bath or the high temperature. Future research might investigate whether shorter periods or lower temperatures might have similar benefits.

Of course, hot baths alone cannot treat metabolic disorders, but they may be a simple, cost-effective intervention that can run alongside other treatments.

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Health & Lifestyle

Experts recommend natural remedies to Diabetes.

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Medical practitioners have recommended some natural remedies that could curb the increasing rate of diabetes in the country.

The practitioners offered the remedies in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

They spoke against the backdrop of this year’s World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated globally on November 14.



The practitioners said the awareness had become imperative because diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose.

“Diabetes usually is prevalent in middle aged and older adults but now becoming common in children. Adults are still at the highest risk than children,’’ Dr. Iorwuese Charles told NAN on phone.

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He said that diabetes has to do with an increase sugar level in the blood caused by an absolute deficiency of insulin that affects one out of three adults.

Charles, a medical practitioner at Police Hospital Ado, Ekiti State, said that diabetes is a group of diseases that usually ends up in too much amount of sugar in the blood.

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He advised families to always maintain good lifestyle habits to curb diabetes in their homes.

Charles said the symptoms in diabetes include increased frequency of urination, increase thirst, dry mouth, increase in eating with weight loss.

Other signs, he said, are: “Blurring of vision, tiredness, fatigue, mood swings, irritability, frequent urination at night and headaches.”

According to him, the symptoms of diabetes are endless with no permanent cure but with proper maintenance one could live a healthy life.

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