Wake Up to Wellness: Issue #7

Health Newsletter

What’s new in the world of health and wellness this week?

We’ve got you covered:

  • Americans aren’t afraid of fat anymore
  • Traffic signs aren’t just for the road – you’ll see them on cereal boxes
  • What you need to know about the massive beef recall
  • Why sauna lovers may have better heart health
  • If you love sleep, why you might not want to get too much of it

Why Fat Isn’t a “No-No” Anymore

According to a study by Pew Research, 49 percent of Americans are considered “health-oriented eaters,” or people that try to make nutritious food choices at least half of the time.

The study showed that fat is no longer at the top of the list of foods healthy eaters avoid. Fat is down to fifth place. What’s at the top of the list? Artificial sweeteners, sugar, artificial preservatives, and artificial colors.

The newsroom at Whole Foods made the following common about the trend, saying “fats are making a comeback, and the trendiest diets are on board. With the rising popularity of keto, paleo, grain-free and even ‘pegan’ (paleo + vegan) diets, plus a general shifting consumer mindset, fats are starring ingredients in creative, convenient foods.”

Want to learn more? Read the full story here.

Traffic Light Labels on Cereal Boxes?

Starting in 2013, the UK government starting implementing a “traffic light” method for labeling food grocery items. The labels make it easier for consumers to see sugar, salt, and fat levels by looking for the red, yellow, and green colors.

Companies are able to choose if they want to use this system or not. Some are eager to promote healthy products, while some are not. Kellogg’s UK has made the choice to use the labeling system after conducting a study including 2,000 consumers that showed people enjoy the “traffic light” labeling system because it helps them make healthier choices.

The managing director of Kellogg’s UK, Oli Morton, commented, “Put simply, they said we should change and move to a full colour solution as they want help making healthy decisions. We’ve listened and now we’re acting.”

“Traffic light” labels will roll out in 2019, and by 2020 the company plans to have their full product line labeled. Read the full story here.

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Beef Recall

You’ve probably heard about the extreme beef recall in the media due to salmonella contamination. The beef processor JBS Tolleson announced that over 5.1 million pounds of raw beef products were being voluntarily recalled that might be contaminated with salmonella.

The recall included ground beef that was packaged between July 26 and September 27. In October, the recall was expanded to include non-intact beef products, which brought the total amount of recalled meat to over 12 billion pounds.

The impact of the contamination has been broad. In the U.S., 246 people in 25 states have gotten sick, with 56 of those needing hospitalization.

William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said, “It is very concerning. It involves a food that’s widely used and enjoyed. Salmonella infection can be unpleasant and, on occasion, if you are vulnerable in some way or older or immune-compromised or have any substantial underlying illness, it can be serious.”

The CDC said that exposure to salmonella usually lasts four to seven days, but most people recover without the need for treatment. If the infection spreads to your intestines or gets in your bloodstream, it can spread to other parts of the body, making it more dangerous.

How should you protect yourself and family members? Make sure to cook your meat thoroughly and all the way through to the center. If you’re uncertain, use a meat thermometer and make sure the center of the meat is at least 160°F. Read the full story here.

How Lounging in a Sauna Can Reduce Heart Attack Risk

If you like relaxing in a sauna, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland may have some good news for you. Spending time in a sauna can be good for your heart health.

The author of the study, Tanjaniina Laukkanen, MSc, commented, “We have found risk reduction for cardiovascular events in both men and women. We didn’t have this information before.”

The results of the study showed that those who bathe in saunas reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease, but researchers aren’t quite sure why saunas provide such health benefits. They studied 1,688 participants between the ages of 53 and 74 between 1998 and 2001, with regular follow up after the completion of the study.

Each participant had to report how often they used a sauna, how long they stayed in the sauna, and the temperature of the sauna room. The participants were put into three groups. One group used a sauna once per week, another two to three times per week, and one group used the sauna four to seven times weekly.

Fifteen years after the study was over, there had been a total of 181 fatal cardiovascular deaths. The more frequent the participants used the sauna, the less likely they were to die. The group that used the sauna the least had four times as many deaths as the group that used it the most.

Dr. Cindy Grines, chair of cardiology at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, New York, commented, “We do know that heat (from hot tubs, steam, saunas or even warm climates) has therapeutic benefits with regard to lowering blood pressure. … Heat therapy is known to be beneficial for many different systems within our bodies. In fact, the reason one develops a fever is that heat allows the body to better fight the infection.”

Read the full story here.

Why Getting Too Much Sleep Might Not Be a Good Thing

If you think the more sleep you get each day, the better, you might want to think again. A study by the European Heart Journal suggests otherwise.

The researchers found that those who slept more than eight hours per day had a higher risk of heart problems, stroke, and death. Findings were based on almost 117,000 adults in 21 countries across seven regional areas.

However, the researchers didn’t record any information about study participants’ underlying conditions and the study wasn’t monitored closely since the participants self-reported their sleep habits.

The bottom line? Aim for a healthy amount of sleep between six to eight hours every night. Read the full story here.

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