Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Nov. 11)

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.

Screen Time During the Day, Sleepless at Night

We all know that staring at smartphones in bed can lead to a bad night of sleep, but so can screen time during the day. According to a new study published in PLoS One that tracked screen time via a mobile app on participants’ smartphones, as screen time went up, sleep quality — taking more time to fall asleep and getting less sleep overall — went down. Screen time in the evening was especially bad for sleep. It could be that the blue light emitted by smartphones suppresses production of melatonin, a hormone that help us sleep, says senior study author Dr. Gregory M. Marcus of the University of California, San Francisco. “However, it is also possible that engrossing activities that result in stimulation, such as following the latest post on Facebook or a bothersome tweet, might be counter to productive sleep preparation,” he said. (Reuters)

Several Cities Deal Major Blow to Big Soda

Looking for a silver lining to this week’s election? All four cities that voted on soda taxes passed them. Boulder, Colorado voted yes to a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors, and San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California passed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax. “This is an astonishing repudiation of big soda. For too long, the big soda companies got away with putting profits over their customers’ health,” says Jim Krieger, the executive director of Healthy Food America. “That changed tonight.” (Vox)

5 Reasons to Meditate

Mediation benefits both the mind and the body. Skeptical? Then read this article, which describes five science-backed reasons to meditate: improves focus and memory, decreases stress, boosts immunity, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and helps with physical pain. (Tiny Buddha)

 Emulsifiers Linked to Colon Cancer in Mice

Two emulsifiers used in processed food — polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose — disrupt intestinal bacteria in mice, which promotes inflammation and colon cancer, according to researchers at Georgia State University. “The incidence of colorectal cancer has been markedly increasing since the mid-20th century,” says Emilie Viennois, an assistant professor at Georgia State’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences. “A key feature of this disease is the presence of an altered intestinal microbiota that creates a favorable niche for [the production of tumors].” Emulsifiers are added to processed foods foods to improve texture and extend shelf life. (CBS)

Speaking of Emulsifiers…What’s Up With Carrageenan?

Carrageenan, an emulsifier derived from seaweed, is found in many organic products in order to achieve a creamy texture that might otherwise not exist (think non-fat yogurt). But, that might change when the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board meets in St. Louis later this month. Although some proponents argue that carrageenan is derived from a natural source, others argue that industrial carrageenan production involves many complex steps and chemical solutions and should not be allowed in organic food. “There’s enough data on the health side to raise questions about its use in conventional food. But organic food is supposed to have a higher bar,” says Consumers Union senior staff scientist Michael Hansen. (Civil Eats)

Want to Unplug? Travel Off the Grid

If you’re truly looking to get off the grid on your travels, Sierra Magazine recommends checking out FreeHouse, a website that lists wild, remote, and self-sufficient vacation rental properties. (Sierra)

The Real Poop

In a fascinating look at at the increasing number of startups that are trying to cash in on the fecal transplant business, Wired magazine previews the next wave of poop pills — ones that are engineered with just the right bacteria to help various health conditions. (Wired)

Gwyneth Launches First Goop Perfume

Goop is coming out with its first fragrance next Tuesday, a non-toxic formulation that smells like burning wood and incense. “Fragrance is a really important part of my life,” says founder Gwyneth Paltrow. “This is a way that we can create something that was non-toxic and stay within the ethos of Goop, offering the modern woman a better, cleaner version of a typical scent. But it’s complex, romantic, sexy, cozy, and all of these things. It’s not just rubbing lavender oil on yourself from the health-food store.” (New York Magazine)

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