Dr. Lipman’s Wellness News Roundup (Nov. 18)

wellness news
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.

Take a Deep Breath

Still anxious about the recent election? You might want to try controlled breathing, which has been shown to boost immunity, reduce stress, and decrease symptoms associated with depression. “Breathing is massively practical,” says psychologist Belisa Vranich, whose book “Breathe” will be published in December. “It’s meditation for people who can’t meditate.” (NYT)

Healthy Lifestyle Trumps Genetic Heart Disease Risk

DNA is not destiny when it comes to heart disease risk, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. Healthy habits, including a nutritious diet, regular exercise and no smoking, can greatly reduce the risk of a heart attack among those who have an increased genetic risk. In short? Genes may load the gun, but environmental factors pull the trigger. (NPR)

More Doctors Need to Learn About Food

Most docs don’t feel comfortable talking about nutrition, and that’s a huge problem, writes Agustina Saenz, MD, director of nutrition education and policy at the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, in this opinion piece. Why? Because diet is a critical tool to fight the chronic disease epidemic. “For someone with diabetes, it may mean the difference between losing a foot or keeping it,” she notes. “For someone with heart disease, that conversation could free them from workplace disability or empower them to work harder. For someone who is steadily gaining weight, it could save them from gastric bypass surgery or from a lifetime of medications to treat obesity and weight-related complications.” (STAT)

 When It Comes to Sleep, Are You a Lion, Bear, Wolf, or Dolphin?

Forget early birds and night owls, says sleep specialist Dr. Michael Breus. When it comes to sleep, there are “actually four different chronotypes: the early one, which I’m calling the lion; the middle, which is a bear; the late evening people, which are wolves; and then there are the insomniacs, which are dolphins.” If you figure out your type, you can better customize your morning routines, he says. Take wolves, who are energized in the late evening. In the morning, “walk over to the window and get some direct sunlight,” says Breus. “It turns out that direct sunlight hits very specialized cells in your eyes and turns that melatonin faucet off in the morning, which is the one of the big problems that wolves have because we’re not morning people. One of the other things I ask my wolves to do is take a cool, not cold but cool, shower in the morning. It turns out that hot water makes people feel sleepy. And if you’ve already got a sleepy wolf in the morning, you don’t want to make them any sleepier.” (CBS)

Ghee Vs. Butter

Is ghee — butter that’s been clarified by removing the milk solids — healthier than regular butter? This article from Authority Nutrition compares the two fats across a broad range of categories and concludes that while ghee has a higher smoke point and is a better choice for those trying to avoid dairy, both ghee and butter can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. Be sure to pick grass-fed either way! (Authority Nutrition)

Exercise May Improve — and Even Prevent — Depression

Exercise can both treat and block depression, according to three recent studies. In one study, researchers found that people with the lowest fitness levels “were about 75 percent more likely to have been given diagnoses of depression than the people with the greatest fitness…[and the people] in the middle third were almost 25 percent more likely to develop depression than those who were the most fit.” (NYT)

Millennials Are Changing ‘Big Food’

Millennials are putting pressure on the food system — in a good way. More interested in sustainable, nutritious food than cheap, unhealthy, convenience foods, millennials are “changing the landscape of our food industry,” says Laura Batcha, CEO and executive director of the Organic Trade Association. “Millennial parents seek out organic because they are more aware of the benefits of organic, that they place a greater value on knowing how their food was grown and produced, and they are deeply committed to supporting a food system that sustains and nurtures the environment.” (Forbes)

How to Have a Peaceful Thanksgiving

Dreading the potentially explosive conversation with your Trump-loving Uncle Dan this Thanksgiving? Then, read this very helpful piece about how to argue fairly with your loved ones. Tips include listening carefully, minding your body language, and not arguing to win.“Think of it from a courage perspective: I can go in and I am going to ask questions that are truly, honestly aimed at increasing my understanding of where he or she is coming from,” says Amy J. C. Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard University. “How did they get there, and what is leading to that?” (NYT)