This week in health news: Drink tea for weight loss

Cheers to your health! Credit: Getty Images/TongRo Image Stock
Cheers to your health!
Credit: Getty Images/TongRo Image Stock

A cup of tea may help weight loss

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Data

Results: A cup of tea might be a valuable health and weight loss aid, according to new research published in the December 2013 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that regular tea drinkers have lower BMIs, smaller waist-to-hip ratios and less body fat compared to non-tea drinkers. In addition, green, black or oolong tea’s polyphenols and bioactive flavonoids may help prevent heart disease, certain types of cancer, and Type 2 Diabetes. Tea was also found to improve bone health and activate areas of the brain that improves attention, problem solving, and mood.

Significance: This new study of peer-reviewed papers adds further evidence to previously published study results showing that tea might work to improve health, both physically and psychologically.

 

One less thing to feel guilty about eating this holiday season

Location of study: U.S., U.K. and Germany

Study subjects: Data study

Results: Cranberries provide unique bioactive compounds that may reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections (UTIs), improve heart health and reduce inflammation, according to a study published in Advances of Nutrition. Researchers from Tufts University, Penn State, Norwich Medical School and Heinrich-Heine-University found that cranberries may also help protect against UTI recurrence, reducing possibly harmful antibiotic treatment; improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve inflammation and oxidative stress on the heart.

Significance: This is just the latest good news for cranberry lovers: “Hundreds of studies show that the bioactive compounds found in cranberries improve health,” says lead author Jeffrey Blumberg, Ph.D, FASN, FACN, CNS, Director of the Antioxidants Research Laboratory and Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.

 

Cocaine may stay in your body longer than originally thought

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: Lab study
Results: A team led by Anthony P. DeCaprio, Ph.D., of Florida International University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry found new evidence that cocaine damages proteins in the body and that these damaged proteins could remain in user’s biofluids for weeks or months after the drug is first taken. Currently, cocaine is only detectable for up to several days. The research will appear in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

Significance: Subjecting cocaine to the same testing and analysis as prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are intended for legal medical use may provide tools for better detection, the study adds. Beyond detection, further study of cocaine will gives a more comprehensive picture of the drug’s toxic effects and damage to the body, and possibly brain too.

 

Obesity is not up for discussions with most GPs, say overweight patients

Location of study: U.S.

Study subjects: 1,009 adults, 501 physicians

Results: Physicians are not discussing weight management with their obese patients, says a new survey conducted by Eisai Inc. in partnership with the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) and The Obesity Society (TOS). According to the survey, 44 percent of overweight and obese patients say their doctors offer no counseling on weight loss and 37 percent said their doctors are not able to help them lose weight. Nearly all physicians (92 percent), however, say they do counsel about diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Significance: “In this last year alone, we’ve seen tremendous strides made in the way society talks and thinks about obesity. There’s been recognition of it as a disease and advances in medicine to help those struggling with obesity. However, the conversations happening in the exam room have yet to catch up,” says TOS executive director Francesca Dea.


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