Research published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics found that people in their 20s, mid-50s and late 80s suffer the most from loneliness. These sad, solitary feelings come with several health implications, and experts believe the reduction of life span linked to loneliness is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: Using a series of surveys, researchers measured participants’ levels of loneliness, mental and physical health, and wisdom. However, there is a silver lining: Those who ranged highest for loneliness ranked lowest in wisdom — a factor you can control and improve. Build your wisdom bank by practicing meditation, trying new things, talking to more people and seeking out some mentors.
Eat Organic, Beat Cancer
A French study that examined the diets of nearly 70,000 volunteers (mostly women) found that those who ate organic food had 25 percent fewer incidences of cancer — especially lymphoma and breast cancer — than adults who never consumed organic foods. However, Frank B. Hu, Ph.D., chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard, says eating more fruits and vegetables overall — organic or not — is the best way to prevent cancer. If your access to organic foods is limited or if they are financially out of reach, pick and choose your organic produce. Foods that contain the most pesticides include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers and hot peppers.
Food for Thought
Research examining the correlation between nutrients and brain health isn’t necessarily new, but how they are examining the connection is: Instead of inferring brain health from a cognitive test, researchers at the University of Illinois directly examined participants’ brains using high-resolution brain imaging. Subjects with good brain connectivity had higher blood levels of omega-3s, omega-6s and carotene, indicating a more healthful diet. And since faster brain connections boost energy and immunity and help reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, eating foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and squash could be the key to good mental health.