Cheese boosts lifespan in kids

Children who consume plenty of dairy foods such as milk and cheese are likely to live longer, say researchers.

Researchers in Bristol and Queensland tracked 4,374 UK children from a 1930s till 65 years and found that those who had high dairy and calcium intakes as children were protected against stroke and other causes of death.

The study showed that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy, predominantly from milk, cut death risk by a quarter. The researchers suggest that three servings of dairy foods — for instance, 200ml glass of milk, a pot of yogurt and a small piece of cheese can provide all the calcium most people need each day.

Dairy products can also influence heart and circulation health through a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

“We need to take a further look to really assess the benefits of milk in reducing the chances of dying from stroke,” said Joanne Murphy1.

“In the meantime, we advise parents to opt for a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in saturated fat and salt for the overall health of their children,” she added.

Red cherries can give good sleep

Can’t sleep? Well, then red cherries can give you the passport to ‘land of nod’.

Yes, you heard it right. The ‘wonder’ fruit can regulate the body’s sleep patterns.

It has been found to contain significant quantities of melatonin, the hormone needed for a restful sleep.

In the new study, researchers have found that the Montmorency tart cherry is one of the few known food sources of melatonin. Melatonin is manufactured in the brain and triggers sleep.

University of Texas Health Science Centre study leader Dr Russel Reiter said: “Eating just a handful of Montmorency cherries will increase melatonin levels in blood, thereby improving the body’s natural sleep patterns and potentially providing other health benefits”.

Asthma linked to one’s environs

An Indian-origin researcher has found that areas surrounded by restaurants, entertainment, cultural facilities and ethnic diversity are more likely to have lower asthma rates than those where people are less likely to move, as well as those where there are more churches and not-for-profit facilities.

Dr Ruchi Gupta has found that neighbourhoods with more community vitality, specifically economic potential, community amenities and social capital had lower asthma rates. Her study focused on 287 Chicago neighbourhoods, where nearly 50,000 children grades K-8 were screened for asthma.

“Previous studies showed that neighbourhoods right next to each other with similar racial makeup had very different asthma rates; we wanted to see what else was going on in each neighbourhood to cause such a disparity,” Ruchi said.

Social activity key to motor function

Older adults who spend less time socialising experience more rapid decline in motor function, a new study has found.

The study suggested that elderly who are more social might be better protected against the loss of motor abilities than unsocial people. Loss of motor abilities often leads to reduced muscle strength, loss of speed and dexterity.

Dr Aron Buchman said: “It’s not just running around the track that is good for you... Our research suggests that engaging in social activities may also be protective against loss of motor abilities”.

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