Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Dec. 16)

Every day, we scour the Web looking for compelling wellness stories that provide the information — and inspiration — you need to make good choices. Here are this week’s must-read wellness articles.

Keep on Moving

So, you sit all day for work but you make up for it by hitting the gym in the evening, right? Not so fast, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Physiology—Endocrinology and Metabolism. Apparently “people who work out but also sit for long hours — active couch potatoes, you might say — may often share the same elevated risks for disease and early death as their less active peers,” notes the New York Times. In order to counter the effects of sedentary behavior, it may be more helpful to be more active generally. So, instead of a single intense workout, try to walk around frequently in addition to exercising. (NYT)

Most Drugs Have Few Benefits, says Yale Researcher

What’s the “biggest secret in medicine”? According to F. Perry Wilson, a researcher and physician at Yale University School of Medicine, it’s this: “For the vast majority of the drugs out there, the chance that you, as an individual, are going to see a benefit is quite small.” And, unfortunately, many experts have noted, drug companies are taking everyday, non-life-threatening conditions and medicalizing them in order to sell more drugs. “Even when people take these drugs for weeks or months, the benefits are modest or small, and the harms are nearly of the same size,” says Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Down with Carrageenan

Carrageenan may no longer be allowed in foods that are labeled “USDA Organic.” The National Organics Standards Boards, which advises the USDA, recently voted to recommend carrageenan be removed from the list of approved ingredients for organic foods. Carrageenan, an additive that is used to thicken and stabilize processed foods, has been linked to increased inflammation risk in some studies. If the USDA adopts the recommendation, which is expected, the ban could take effect within a couple of years. (NPR)

The Nutrient 90% of Americans Aren’t Getting Enough Of

What do egg yolks, chicken, liver, and lima beans all have in common? They are rich sources of choline, a nutrient that is critical for brain development, heart health and liver health. Unfortunately, according to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, about 90 percent of Americans are not getting enough choline. “There isn’t enough awareness about choline even among health-care professionals because our government hasn’t reviewed the data or set policies around choline since the late ’90s,” says George Mason University nutrition professor Taylor Wallace. (The Washington Post)

Feeling Down This Winter? Embrace the Danish Concept of ‘Hygee’

Many people get bummed out by the short, dark days of winter, but the Danish embrace the concept of ‘hygee’ — roughly translated as “coziness” — as a way to stay happy in the winter. This article outlines six ways you can bring hygee into your life, including slowing down, creating warmth via candles, a string of lights or a big pot of chili, and feeding the senses through soft sweaters, a bright bowl of citrus fruits, and beautiful music. (Rodale’s Organic Life)

Lifestyle Habits Can Prevent Heart Disease

Simple lifestyle changes in nutrition, exercise, and smoking can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease for all folks, including those with a high genetic risk. That’s the upshot of a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. “Moreover,” notes Aaron E. Carroll, a professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, “given how changes in lifestyle will also reduce your risk of other diseases like cancer (the No. 2 killer), it’s clear that a healthier lifestyle could have huge implications for many, many more people.” (NYT)

The Healing Power of Belief

When it comes to healing, we all know that nutrition, exercise, and a positive outlook play a big part. But, so does what you believe, according to Erik Vance, who has penned a fascinating piece on the placebo effect — and the profound effect it can have on health and wellbeing.“It’s not a magical thing,” says neurologist Michael Okun. “It’s another part of the brain that is producing a beneficial effect not directly related to the action of our treatment.” (National Geographic)

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