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Photo: iStockphoto

Want to lower bad cholesterol? Eat beta-glucan enriched pasta

Coffee can help fight jetlag, birth control pills can increase the risk of stroke in some womenstudies and research tips for a healthier you

Pasta can reduce bad cholesterol

Pasta enriched with healthy fibres, called beta-glucans, can increase good bacteria in the gut and also reduce bad cholesterol, a new study has found. People who were fed beta-glucan-enriched pasta for two months showed an increase in the number of beneficial bacteria in their intestinal tracts, and reduced number of non-beneficial bacteria. Beta-glucans are healthy fibres that humans cannot digest, but that can be digested by some species of gut bacteria. They are special types of sugars that are found in the cell walls of certain microbes, as well as in oats and barley. They are used clinically against diabetes, cancer, and high cholesterol. The beta-glucan-enriched pasta was made from a mixture of 75% durum wheat flour and 25 % whole grain barley flour. “These results highlight the influence of fibres and of the Mediterranean diet on gut microbiota, and indirectly on human health," said co-author Maria De Angelis. The study was published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Read more here.

Drinking coffee can beat jetlag

A study claims that drinking coffee can help people recover from long and tiring air journey, if they are travelling west. The study shows for the first time that evening caffeine delays the internal circadian clock that tells us when to get ready for sleep and when to prepare to wake up. Drinking a double espresso in the evening delayed the rise in the level of melatonin, the main sleep hormone released by the body, helping the body adjust to changing time zones. The study was led by the University of Colorado Boulder and the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England and the findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Read more here.

Chronic maternal stress linked to dental cavity in children

Mothers suffering from chronic stress are more likely to have children with a higher incidence of dental cavities, claims a new study. Researchers at King’s College London and University of Washington analysed data from 716 maternal-child pairs in the US, with children aged two to six years and mothers who were on average 36 years of age, taken from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–1994) in the US. They found that dental cavities were more common among children whose mother did not breast-feed them, than those who did: 62.9% against 37.1% respectively. Mothers who had one and two or more markers of chronic stress were significantly less likely to breast-feed than those with a normal stress level. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health. Read more here.

Birth control pills can lead to stroke

A study claims using birth control pills can increase the risk of stroke among women, particularly those who are already at a higher risk. “In women with other stroke risk factors, the risk seems higher and, in most cases, oral contraceptive use should be discouraged," said Marisa McGinley, co-author of the report. For women who take birth control pills and also smoke, have high blood pressure or have a history of migraine headaches, the risk of stroke is significantly higher. Nearly 100 million women worldwide use birth control pills. Pills now in use contain much lower concentrations of estrogens than older preparations. The study was published in MedLink Neurology. Read more here.

Parents’ involvement help teens with eating disorder recover faster

Children with eating disorders recover faster if their parents are involved in the treatment. According to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago, families can play a big role in helping teens recover from eating disorders like bulimia. Bulimia is a condition with repetitive episodes of excessive overeating, called binges, which the eater tries to compensate by making themselves vomit, abusing laxatives or diuretics, and fasting or exercising intensely. The research included 130 participants, aged 12-18 years, who met clinical definitions of full or partial bulimia. The research was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Read more here.

Compiled by Abhijit Ahaskar

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