So-called fasting diets have recently received a lot of buzz in the media and attention from researchers as a possible means to promote weight loss and improve health. Data from animal studies are promising on several fronts, but data on humans are limited and short-term. Lets take a closer look at the current science on this increasingly-popular diet trend.
In honor of the upcoming National Cholesterol Awareness Month, we answer some common questions about cholesterol.
We cannot survive without cholesterol in our bodies. It is an essential part of cell walls, is used to make bile acids (which are critical in fat digestion), and is necessary for the production of vitamin D and a number of hormones. But too much LDL cholesterol and not enough HDL cholesterol in the blood is associated with increased risk for heart attack and stroke. While the liver can produce all the cholesterol the human body needs, we also consume it in the form of animal-based foods like meat and dairy.
Animal research suggests that nourishing our gut microbes with fiber and other prebiotic foods might help prevent loss of muscle mass and strength.
As we age, the strength and size of our muscles tend to decrease. This loss of muscle mass and function, called sarcopenia, is associated with decreased independence and reduced quality of life. Staying active (and purposefully incorporating muscle-strengthening exercises) is essential, but emerging data suggest that nourishing our gut microbes could be important as well.
More than a diet plan, this health-promoting food pattern allows room for preferences.
Although it has been the subject of numerous health, weight loss, and cooking books, the so-called Mediterranean diet is not actually a diet planits the traditional way of eating in countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea.
In addition to its role in blood clotting, emerging research suggests vitamin K might help protect bones and joints, promote healthy arteries, and reduce risk of diabetes.
Vitamin K was named for its role in coagulation (koagulation in German), but it turns out this important vitamin has significant roles beyond blood clotting. Work by Tufts researchers and others shows that vitamin K may be an important factor in bone health, cardiovascular health, and type 2 diabetes.
The jury is out on whether or not dietary or supplemental magnesium can help prevent or treat debilitating migraine headaches.
The International Headache Society (IHS) defines migraine as a headache disorder with recurrent attacks (at least five) that last from 4 to 72 hours, are associated with nausea and/or sensitivity to light and sound, and also have at least two of four other characteristics including: pain that is of moderate or severe intensity; throbbing or pulsing; affects only one side of the head; or is worsened by routine activity such as walking. According to the 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study, migraine is a major cause of disability worldwide.