Is this why going to church is so healthy?


It’s well known that going to church helps you to live longer. Now some scientists think they know a reason not previously considered.

Here comes a big word: telomeres. Here’s an explanation.

“Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.”

Hang in there. A 2016 study published in the journal Social Science & Medicine that found:

“Adults who frequently attend religious services, pray with regularity, and consider themselves to be religious tend to exhibit longer telomeres than those who attend and pray less frequently and do not consider themselves to be religious.”

Did Jesus understand telomeres?

~ A.D. Litem


Have another cup of coffee


If you want to live forever, that is.

Coffee drinkers have healthier gut microbiotas. Higher caffeine consumption was associated with increased richness and evenness of the mucosa-associated gut microbiota, and higher relative abundance of anti-inflammatory bacteria, such as Faecalibacterium and Roseburia and lower levels of potentially harmful Erysipelatoclostridium.”

Harvard researchers say this is the exact amount of coffee you should drink to stay healthy. “Our findings confirm those of previous studies that showed that higher coffee consumption was associated with lower Type 2 Diabetes risk,” explained the study’s lead author, Shilpa Bhupathiraju. “Most importantly, they provide new evidence that changes in coffee consumption habit can affect Type 2 Diabetes risk in a relatively short period of time.” The Harvard paper motions that drinking between one and three cups of coffee a day over the course of four years decreases one’s risk of developing diabetesby 11%.

Just two cups of filtered coffee a day could slash the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%. Researchers found those who drank “filtered coffee” were less likely to develop diabetes over the next seven years. The same was not true for the boiled version of the pick-me-up. Coffee contains compounds that have been shown to affect the break down of fat, as well as targeting inflammation. It can also be rich in the molecule diterpene, which negatively influences the metabolism of sugar. This is thought to get caught in filters, preventing it entering coffee prepared this way.

~ Eutrapely

It’s not what you eat but when


I came across two articles in as many days that advocated timing your meals to lose weight and control your blood sugar. Then I came across a third, which I’ll get to.

The first presented research from Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of the Tel Aviv University showing that a starch-rich breakfast consumed early in the morning coupled with a small dinner could replace insulin injections and other diabetes medications for many diabetics.

“We believe that through this regimen it will be possible for diabetics to significantly reduce or even stop the injections of insulin, and most of antidiabetic medications, to achieve excellent control of glucose levels,” she said. According to her research, our metabolism and biological clock are optimized for eating in the morning and for fasting during the evening and night, when we are supposed to be asleep.

The experimental comprises a meal of bread, fruits and sweets in the early hours of the morning; a substantial lunch; and a small dinner specifically lacking starches, sweets and fruits. The group on this regimen not only lost weight but also experienced substantially improved sugar levels.

The second article reported on research revealing  that a 10-hour time-restricted eating intervention, when combined with traditional medications, resulted in weight loss, reduced abdominal fat, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and more stable blood sugar and insulin levels for participants. This means doing all your eating within 10 hours.

Being a genius, I put the two ideas together: Can you eat an early, large breakfast, then stop all eating 10 hours later? Apparently, early means within 15 minutes of waking up. Oh boy.

Now for the third article. Dr. Jason Fung is the medical director and cofounder of the Intensive Dietary Management Coaching Program, which is a for-profit company that promotes and sells fasting-based programs for weight loss and diabetes reversal. His article is entitled “A diet guru explains why you should eat dinner at 2pm.”

There you go. He combines the two ideas for you:

The circadian rhythm suggests that late-night eating is not optimal for weight loss. This is because excessive insulin is the main driver of obesity, and eating the same food early in the day or late at night have different insulin effects. Indeed, studies of time-restricted eating mostly show benefits from reducing late night eating. So it makes sense to combine two strategies of meal timing (circadian considerations and time-restricted eating) into one optimal strategy of eating only over a certain period of the day, and only during the early daytime period. Researchers called this the eTRF (early Time Restricted Feeding) strategy.

The group with the best results ate everything between 8 a.m. and  2 p.m. After a period of adjustment they found they weren’t hungry at night. However, you’ll have to decide how to work this around jobs and school.

~ Fingerpost

If you don’t want to get the flu

Here are some unexpected ideas from Jerilyn Covert, a health writer for many years for a number of publications.

  1. Wash your hands a lot. Scrub your hands together—including the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails—for at least 20 seconds. It’s a proven way to help prevent illness and the spread of infection. One suggestion is to sing “Happy Birthday” twice — that’s about the right amount of time.
  2. Spread the hand sanitizer around. In a 2014 study, researchers contaminated the hands of one adult in each of seven different households with a virus. They then placed an alcohol-based hand sanitizer around the house—kitchen, bathrooms, nurseries—and instructed family members to use it one to three times throughout the day. After eight hours, using hand sanitizer resulted in 99 percent fewer viruses on their hands, compared with those who didn’t use hand sanitizer. There were also fewer viruses on counters, faucets, light switches, and other surfaces.
  3. Get some fresh air. Staying cooped up indoors increases your exposure to germs. Plus, getting outside helps boost physical activity and social interaction, which are both good for your immune system. Exercise can reduce your risk of an upper respiratory infection. When researchers tracked 1,000 adults during the winter months, they found those who exercised at least five days per week were 43 percent less likely to get sick, compared with people who exercised one day or less.

She has some other good ideas, such as wiping down your TV remote, using separate hand towels and taking the stairs — every thought about how many people press those elevator buttons? And which one do you think gets pressed most often?

~ Manu Mission