A new study found that this association persists regardless of race/ethnicity and gender, but women may benefit slightly more than men from the health-protective effects of purpose
Growing research indicates that one’s purpose—i.e., the extent to which someone perceives a sense of direction and goals in their life—may be linked to health-protective benefits such as better physical functioning and lower risks of cardiovascular disease or cognitive decline.
Now, a new study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher found that people with higher levels of purpose may have a lower risk of death from any cause, and that this association is applicable across race/ethnicity and gender.
Heart health and your health in general are clearly tied to your psychological health. It should come as no surprise to regular readers here that eat less; move more; live longer works.
The American Heart Association has released a scientific statement addressing how psychological health can contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD). Their analysis of science to date concluded that negative psychological health (depression, chronic stress, anxiety, anger, pessimism, and dissatisfaction with one’s current life) is linked to CVD risk and may play a direct role in both biological processes and downstream lifestyle behaviors that cause CVD. Conversely, positive psychological health can contribute to better cardiovascular health and reduced cardiovascular risk.The majority of research suggests interventions to improve psychological health can have a beneficial impact on cardiovascular health.
Get regular health check-ups that include basic screening for psychological health and seek help from a mental health professional if you have concerns. The study also recommends exercise, meditation, and other self-care as potential ways to promote both mental and physical health.
Ah, coffee. Whether you’re cradling a travel mug on your way to work or dashing out after spin class to refuel with a skinny latte, it’s hard to imagine a day without it. The caffeine perks you up, and there’s something incredibly soothing about sipping a steaming cup of joe. But is drinking coffee good for you?
Good news: The case for coffee is stronger than ever. Study after study indicates you could be getting more from your favorite morning beverage than you thought: Coffee is chock full of substances that may help guard against conditions more common in women, including Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease.
Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease, say nutrition experts from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
What are the top health benefits of drinking coffee?
Your brew gives you benefits beyond an energy boost. Here are the top ways coffee can positively impact your health:
Your body may process glucose (or sugar) better. That’s the theory behind studies that found that people who drink more coffee are less likely to get type 2 diabetes.
You’re less likely to develop heart failure. Drinking one to two cups of coffee a day may help ward off heart failure, when a weakened heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to the body.
You are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is not only linked to a lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, but it may also help those with the condition better control their movements.
Your liver will thank you. Both regular and decaf coffee seem to have a protective effect on your liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee.
Your DNA will be stronger. Dark roast coffee decreases breakage in DNA strands, which occur naturally but can lead to cancer or tumors if not repaired by your cells.
Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down. One in 23 women develop colon cancer. But researchers found that coffee drinkers — decaf or regular — were 26 percent less likely to develop colorectal cancer.
You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. But the caffeine in two cups of coffee may provide significant protection against developing the condition. In fact, researchers found that women age 65 and older who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop dementia in general.
You’re not as likely to suffer a stroke. For women, drinking at least one cup of coffee a day is associated with lowered stroke risk, which is the fourth leading cause of death in women.
For the record, I love coffee. I confess that the caffeine part scares me, so I drink decaf. My favorite snack, which I have every day, is a cup of hot coffee and a handful of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds in the shell. Don’t know how this came to be, but I have been doing it for years and look forward to it every afternoon. Tony
Consumption of chili pepper may reduce the relative risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 26%, according to an analysis of diet and mortality data from four large, international studies.
Chili pepper consumption was associated with a 25% reduction in death from any cause and 23% fewer cancer deaths, compared to people who never or only rarely consumed chili pepper.
Individuals who consume chili pepper may live longer and may have a significantly reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2020. The meeting will be held virtually, Friday, November 13-Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care worldwide.
A study just released by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers is reporting a blood-DNA-methylation measure that is sensitive to variation in the pace of biological aging among individuals born the same year. The tool—DunedinPoAm—offers a unique measurement for intervention trials and natural experiment studies investigating how the rate of aging may be changed by behavioral or drug therapy, or by changes to the environment. Study findings are published online in the journal e-Life.
“The goal of our study was to distill a measurement of the rate of biological aging based on 12 years of follow-up on 18 different clinical tests into a blood test that can be administered at a single time point,” says lead author Daniel Belsky, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School and a researcher at the Butler Columbia Aging Center.
VANCOUVER—A simple shift in attitude could improve a lot for the world’s elderly population, according to a new global study.
That’s because how well we age is connected to how we view old age, the study stated, noting those with a positive attitude toward old age are likely to live longer — up to eight years — than their negative counterparts.
And older people in countries with low levels of respect for seniors are at risk for worse mental and physical health as well as higher levels of poverty, the Orb Media study found. By compiling global data, researchers also surveyed 150,000 people in 101 countries to discover levels of respect for older adults, which varied from country to country.
Canada ranked in the lower third of all for respect, along with Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
But one British Columbian expert pointed out that the…
As a dog owner, I absolutely have a bias on this subject. Also, I want to credit Learning from Dogs, Paul Handover’s fine blog for first publishing this as a part of one of his posts.
Dog owners have better results after a major health event.
The studies found that, overall, dog owners tend to live longer than non-owners. And they often recover better from major health events such as heart attack or stroke, especially if they live alone.
This is my dog, Gabi, sitting in her basket on one of our rides.
As dog lovers have long suspected, owning a canine companion can be good for you. In fact, two recent studies and analyses published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association, suggest your four-legged friend may help you do better after a heart attack or stroke and may help you live a longer, healthier life. And that’s great news for dog parents!
Clear evidence that higher levels of physical activity – regardless of intensity – are associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, is published by The BMJ Today. But being sedentary for several hours a day linked to increased risk.
The findings also show that being sedentary, for example sitting still, for 9.5 hours or more a day (excluding sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death.
Previous studies have repeatedly suggested that sedentary behavior is bad and physical activity is good for health and long life.
Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, but are based mainly on self reported activity, which is often imprecise. So exactly how much activity (and at what intensity) is needed to protect health remains unclear. Continue reading →
Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, killing about 650,000 people every year. Life expectancy is cut short by the disease and the health problems that stem from it. But by how much – and what can people do to take those years back?
For heart attacks alone, more than 16 years of life are lost on average, according to American Heart Association statistics. Researchers estimate people with heart failure lose nearly 10 years of life compared to those without heart failure.
“In the past few years, there have been tremendous gains in reducing cardiovascular disease and increasing life expectancy, but we’ve hit a plateau,” said Paul Muntner, an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Some people are at greater risk than others.
African Americans, for example, are more likely to have high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, and they live 3.4 years less than their white counterparts. Among the six largest Asian American subgroups, research shows Asian Indian, Filipino and Vietnamese populations lose the most years of life to heart disease – up to 18 years for some – compared with white people.
The risk of early death also is high for people with a history of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015, researchers found people with all three conditions had their life expectancy cut by 15 years compared to those without any of the health problems. Even having just two of the conditions reduced life expectancy by 12 years.
Can human growth hormones really benefit aging, like the elusive fountain of youth? In 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Len arrived in Florida to search for the fountain of youth. If he got any benefit from his quest, it was due to the exercise involved in the search.
Few men today believe in miraculous waters, but many, it seems, believe in the syringe of youth. Instead of drinking rejuvenating waters, they inject human growth hormone to slow the tick of the clock. Some are motivated by the claims of the “anti-aging” movement, others by the examples of young athletes seeking a competitive edge. Like Ponce de Len, the athletes still get the benefit of exercise, while older men may use growth hormone shots as a substitute for working out. But will growth hormone boost performance or slow aging? And is it safe?
What is human growth hormone?
Growth hormone (GH) is a small protein that is made by the pituitary gland and secreted into the bloodstream. GH production is controlled by a complex set of hormones produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and in the intestinal tract and pancreas. Continue reading →
Active, middle-aged men able to complete more than 40 push-ups had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes—including diagnoses of coronary artery disease and major events such as heart failure—during 10 years of follow-up compared with those who were able to do less than 10 push-ups during the baseline exam.
“Our findings provide evidence that push-up capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting. Surprisingly, push-up capacity was more strongly associated with cardiovascular disease risk than the results of submaximal treadmill tests,” said first author Justin Yang, occupational medicine resident in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The study was published February 15, 2019 in JAMA Network Open.
Objective assessments of physical fitness are considered strong predictors of health status; however, most current tools such as treadmill tests are too expensive and time-consuming to use during routine exams. This is the first known study to report an association between push-up capacity and subsequent cardiovascular disease outcomes.
The researchers analyzed health data from 1,104 active male firefighters collected from 2000 to 2010. Their mean age was 39.6 and mean body mass index (BMI) was 28.7. Participants’ push-up capacity and submaximal treadmill exercise tolerance were measured at the start of the study, and each man subsequently completed annual physical examinations and health and medical questionnaires.
During the 10-year study period, 37 CVD-related outcomes were reported. All but one occurred in men who completed 40 or fewer pushups during the baseline exam. The researchers calculated that men able to do more than 40 push-ups had a 96% reduced risk of CVD events compared with those who were able to do less than 10 push-ups. Push-up capacity was more strongly associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease events than was aerobic capacity as estimated by a submaximal treadmill exercise test.
Because the study population consisted of middle-aged, occupationally active men, the results may not be generalizable to women or to men of other ages or who are less active, note the authors.
“This study emphasizes the importance of physical fitness on health, and why clinicians should assess fitness during clinical encounters,” said senior author Stefanos Kales, professor in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School and chief of occupational medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance.
Life skills, such as persistence, conscientiousness and control, are as important to wealth and well being in later life as they are when people are much younger, according to new research led by University College of London (UCL).
Five life skills – emotional stability, determination, control, optimism and conscientiousness – play a key role in promoting educational and occupational success in early life but little has been known about their importance in later life.Continue reading →
As an old retired guy, I don’t have much time pressure in my life these days, but I remember how imposing work, family and social obligations can be on your schedule. Don’t let that keep you from working on living a healthy life. As Harvard says in this Women’s Healthwatch post, it all counts.
Good news for people who struggle to find time for exercise: every little bit matters, even if your “workout” is broken up throughout the day. To come to this conclusion, researchers who published their results March 23 in the Journal of the American Heart Association looked at data from 4,840 people ages 40 and older who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2006. People who spent the shortest amount of time in moderate or vigorous activity — 20 minutes or less daily — had the highest risk of dying during the roughly six-year follow-up period. But those who got at least an hour of moderate or vigorous activity cut that risk in half, and those who got at least 100 minutes a day cut their death risk by 76%. And they didn’t have to get those 100 minutes all at once. Even short bursts of activity at different points in the day added up to reduced risk.
According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:
Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.
For the record, I was a vegetarian for five years in my middle 30’s. At the time I did yoga daily and lived a generally active lifestyle. I weighed around 150 pounds and felt great. I stopped my vegetarianism mainly for social reasons. I felt guilty telling a hostess that I didn’t eat meat and needed different food. These days, I do eat red meat, but very sparingly. I am very conscious of the bad fats and am concerned about clogging up my arteries in my old age. As it turns out, I am eating according to the guidelines of this study from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
According to new data, a diet rich in plant-based foods and low in meat — without strictly following a vegetarian or vegan diet — may offer protection against obesity in middle-aged and older adults.
Experts already know that diets that emphasize plant-based over animal-based foods — such as vegetarian or vegan diets — can decrease the risk of obesity.
However, scientists do not yet know how strictly these diets need to be followed to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life. Continue reading →
Who doesn’t want to live longer? I am impressed every day by the number of much younger followers I am getting on this blog. Herewith Harvard’s latest on living longer..
Maintaining five healthy habits—eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping a healthy body weight, not drinking too much alcohol, and not smoking—during adulthood may add more than a decade to life expectancy, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Researchers also found that U.S. women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65% less likely to die from cancer when compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles over the course of the roughly 30-year study period.Continue reading →
I started taking courses in various aspects of good health and nutrition back eight years ago when I first started working on this blog. I created the Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? in 2013, so regular readers have been hearing about that aspect of good health since at least then. Here, we have a fresh insight into sleep habits that adds to the import of it.
A new study reports being a night owl might have significant consequences for your health, including an increased risk of dying earlier.
“Night owls” — people who like to stay up late and have trouble dragging themselves out of bed in the morning — have a higher risk of dying sooner than “larks,” people who have a natural preference for going to bed early and rise with the sun, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom (UK).
The study, on nearly half a million participants in the UK Biobank Study, found owls have a 10 percent higher risk of dying than larks. In the study sample, 50,000 people were more likely to die in the 6½ -year period sampled.
“Night owls trying to live in a morning lark world may have health consequences for their bodies,” said co-lead author Kristen Knutson, associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Continue reading →