4 Things to Know About Intermittent Fasting for Health

Maintaining a good diet is vital to your health. It’s one of the reasons why so many different types of diets are developed and popularized every year. If you’re looking to improve your health, one thing that you can do is to practice intermittent fasting.

A lot of people scoff at the idea of fasting; they see it as a form of starving yourself. Fasting does not have to be extreme and it can actually provide a number of health benefits. The following are four things you should know about intermittent fasting:

1. What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is the practice of not eating anything for an extended period of time. This period of time can be as little as 12 hours, although some people even fast for as many as 24 hours.

2. Is Intermittent Fasting Beneficial to Your Health?

Numerous studies have found that intermittent fasting can be beneficial. For example, the way you eat can affect your sleep-wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). This means that intermittent fasting could potentially help to improve your sleep cycles. Getting good sleep is essential for both your physical and mental health.

3. How Does Fasting Affect Your Body?

Although most Americans aren’t starving, humans (and animals in general) don’t always have access to food, especially in times of hardship. The body naturally adapts to a lack of food through certain metabolic changes. For example, if you’re not consuming enough glucose, your liver will create ketones from fatty acids that your body will use as an emergency energy source.

4. How Can Fasting Promote Your Physical Health?

One of the ways that intermittent fasting can help improve your health is through a process called autophagy. When practicing intermittent fasting, your body will begin a self-detoxification process in which old and damaged cells are broken down and recycled. This helps to promote cellular replenishment in tissues, such as your skeletal muscle. 

For more information about maintaining a healthy diet, continue visiting us at The Benefits Store.

The Truth About Protein

ProteinAnyone that works out on a regular basis knows how important it is to maintain a healthy diet for best results. Most people are aware working out requires a diet rich in protein. Even if you don’t work out, odds are you’ve heard of protein shakes. Drinking protein shakes every day may not have the effect you want. Instead of drinking protein shakes or adding protein powders to your drinks, you should try to introduce a variety of different proteins to your diet.

Why is Protein So Important?

Every cell in your body requires protein because protein builds and repairs tissues. Proteins are also used to produce enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals your body needs. They are important building blocks for your muscles, bones, skin, blood, and cartilage.

So why do bodybuilders consume so many protein shakes and bars? It’s because, in order to build muscle, you have to break it down so that the body can repair it (and make it stronger). That process requires a lot of protein.

Why Should You Cut Down on Protein Shakes?

A new study was recently published in Nature Metabolism: Even though BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) can help build muscle, they have their share of drawbacks. For example, not only can consuming BCAAs negatively impact your mood and cause weight gain, but consuming too much can also reduce your lifespan. This is especially true if your diet is high in protein but low in carbohydrates. 

The better course of action is to vary your protein sources to get a variety of amino acids into your diet. For example, red meats, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, lentils, and more are healthier choices. 

Learn More About Maintaining a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is essential to maintaining good health. For more diet-related advice and to stay up-to-date on the latest health-related news, be sure to keep visiting us at The Benefits Store.

Can Exercise Help Prevent Cartilage Damage?

Individuals who are living with arthritis often experience cartilage damage. Cartilage is a connective tissue that functions as a cushion between the bones of joints. When cartilage damage occurs as a result of arthritis, that cushion disappears, often causing joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the destruction of cartilage caused by osteoarthritis. A recently published study revealed that exercise may be the key to preventing cartilage damage.

How Exercise Can Prevent Cartilage Damage

The study revealed that exercise causes the cells in one’s joints to experience mechanical forces that help to suppress the action of inflammatory molecules, which is what leads to osteoarthritis. When a person exercises, the cartilage in their joints are squashed. This mechanical distortion is identified by living cells within the cartilage. These cells block the action of inflammatory molecules as a result.

The study revealed that the anti-inflammatory effect caused by exercise is the result of the activation of HDAC6, which is a type of protein. When the HDAC6 is activated, it triggers a change in the proteins that form the primary cilia, which are tiny hair-like structures found on living cells. While there are certain pharmaceutical drugs that block the activation of HDAC6, thereby preventing the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise, there are other treatments available that can have the opposite effect, thereby mimicking the positive effects of exercise.

Anyone living with arthritis should exercise as a way to prevent their cartilage from degenerating, as this recent study, which was published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, has shown.  The study also backs the fact that exercise has anti-inflammatory effects on the arteries’ normal blood flow, helping to prevent arterial diseases, including aneurysms and atherosclerosis.

The results of the recently published study suggest that a new therapeutic approach called mechano-medicine could help treat conditions such as arthritis. Mechano-medicine would involve the use of drugs that simulate the effect of physical activity to help prevent cartilage damage. For all the latest information about advances in arthritis treatment or for health news in general, be sure to visit us at The Benefits Store today.

Mind-Melding: Facts to Know About the Brain

Parents often complain they have no idea what their kids are thinking; but when their children are born, there’s actually a mental link between the mother and baby. This is because the brain waves of babies “sync” with those of their mother as they are learning about their social environment. In fact, brain research recently presented at the CNS (Cognitive Neuroscience Society) revealed just how much the neural activity of babies sync with their mothers’ and what this means.

Brain Research Involving Neural Activity Syncing

Most neuroscience research that has been done involving the brain has been focused on the brain in isolation. Yet human beings are immensely social creatures. Very little is actually known about how the human brain performs social learning. As a result, scientists are looking for ways to understand brain function in a social context. 

The study recently presented at the CNS focused on how mothers responded toward novel toys in an emotional manner, and how those responses affected how their infants reacted to the toys. Both the mothers and their infants wore wireless EEG technology. Scientists would then record the brainwaves from each device as mothers reacted emotionally to one toy and how the infants reacted in response.

For example, a mother would pick up a toy, frown, and state she didn’t like the toy. The infant would then be allowed to choose what toy to play with. According to the data collected, the infants would be more likely to respond based on how their mothers reacted.

The study shows the neural activity of infants and their mothers are connected and how important it is to begin looking at the brain in a more social context. Learn more about the human brain and stay up to date on all health news by visiting us at The Benefits Store.

A Dog’s Nose: Sniffing out Seizures

Seizure Alert DogsSeizures can be caused by many different types of ailments. Epilepsy is one of the more common illnesses that causes seizures. It’s a neurological disorder that one out of 26 Americans will be diagnosed with over a lifetime. It’s estimated that roughly 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with epilepsy every year. Seizures are dangerous; they can cause a wide range of symptoms, including a loss of awareness and uncontrollable twitching, which can also lead to physical injuries.

Although there is no cure, a recent advancement in the study of seizures was made when it was found that dogs could identify the odor of a seizure. The potential use of seizure alert dogs could help researchers figure out ways to prevent seizures before they happen.

The Potential of Seizure Alert Dogs

There is enough evidence to indicate dogs have the ability to sniff out seizures before they happen; however, it’s unclear what exactly dogs are smelling. It could mean the subtle changes in how a person is behaving triggers a dog’s response. Whatever it is could lead to more knowledge about the seizures themselves and how to prevent them. At the very least, a person with epilepsy could seek a safe place when alerted by a seizure alert dog. 

A Study on Dogs and Seizures

Scientists recently conducted a study. They took body fluid samples from several subjects with epilepsy, using subjects not experiencing a seizure, exercising, and in the midst of a seizure. They gave these samples to five different dogs trained to identify a range of diseases.

All five dogs were able to identify the sample that was taken from a subject in the midst of a seizure. The study shows that there is something specific that dogs are able to sniff out that indicates a seizure is occurring or about to occur.

Seizure alert dogs can help scientists identify a specific chemical signature which could lead to important advancements in treating epilepsy. For more health news, visit us at The Benefits Store today.