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The 5 minute 'Health' read - Lifestyle: recent research (December)

I read a fair amount of research and thought some people might be interested in recent studies that I've found helpful.  I plan to write a blog post pretty much every week, highlighting helpful material that has emerged in the previous couple of months.  I'll rotate through six topic areas ... Lifestyle, Positive Psychology, Relationships, Ageing, Psychedelics, and Meditation.  I also plan to write occasional posts where I go into more detail about particular related subject areas. 

Here, for example, are ten Lifestyle posts mostly published in the last few weeks.  I found it intriguing that in addition to expected benefits for depression & anxiety (see Singh et al below), there is growing evidence that episodes of exercise improve brain functioning within minutes ... and for wide-ranging age groups (see Kekäläinen et al, Legrand et al, Monserrat et al and Polevoy et al below). 

Best diets in 2023: Mediterranean diet wins again

Medscape has just commented: "It's officially 2023, and if history repeats, millions of Americans are likely vowing that this year will be one when they drop those unwanted pounds for good.  After all, weight loss usually lands one of the top spots on New Year's resolution surveys.  And just in time, there's guidance to pick the best plan. Released today are U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of the best diet plans.  Once again, the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fish, got the top spot, as best diet overall. It's the sixth consecutive year for that win. But many other diets got top marks as well."

Ch.1: Food

Energy is an eternal delight

- William Blake

This chapter will aim to cover areas like - The proportion of premature death & illness due to poor diet.  The prevalence of obesity & eating disorders (and malnutrition).  Diet & ecology. Recent research on diet & mental health. What is a really healthy diet? Mediterranean diet & SMILES study.  The value/dangers of supplements.

 

New study highlights potential value of dietary change in depression treatment

At the end of last month, a fascinating new research study was published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.  The article is "A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial)" and its abstract reads "Background The possible therapeutic impact of dietary changes on existing mental illness is largely unknown. Using a randomised controlled trial design, we aimed to investigate the efficacy of a dietary improvement program for the treatment of major depressive episodes.  Methods ‘SMILES’ was a 12-week, parallel-group, single blind, randomised controlled trial of an adjunctive dietary intervention in the treatment of moderate to severe depression.

Effective weight loss: a wake-up call and a personal story

I was talking to an old friend recently and I remarked on how well he was looking.  He said he had lost two stone in weight and his waist circumference had gone down from 42 to 34 inches.  Wow!  I was very interested to hear how he had done it and he very kindly agreed to write his story:  

A Wake-up Call 

Salman Rushdie "Those who do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives - the power to retell it, re-experience it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change - truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts."

Twelve recent research studies on diet, psychological symptoms & wellbeing (2nd post): magnesium, zinc, folate, fish & selenium

I wrote a post a couple of days ago entitled "Twelve recent research studies on diet, psychological symptoms & wellbeing (1st post): overall dietary quality & depression".  I said that glancing back over recent research studies that I have noticed & downloaded to my personal database, I was struck by a whole series on the effects of diet on psychological state.  I've listed twelve that caught my eye in the last several months - the first post gave half a dozen on overall dietary quality & depression, whereas this post focuses more on specific dietary components.

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