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Science bites: 5 surprising new finds

Man cuddling his dog on the sofa

Healthy Food Guide rounds up five of the most interesting recent scientific discoveries.

1 Assault your immunity

Too much salt not only raises your blood pressure, it may weaken your immune system.

According to a study published in Science Translational Medicine, participants who consumed an extra 6g of salt a day – the equivalent of the salt in two fast food meals – showed pronounced immune deficiencies.

2 Love your pets for better health

A study published in AERA Open found cuddling a dog or cat for at least 10 minutes can lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and boost your mood.

3 Berry nice news for your brain

Older adults with a high intake of flavonoid-rich foods such as berries, apples and tea are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias over 20 years than people who have a low intake, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.

A high intake is roughly 7.5 cups of blueberries or strawberries a month, eight apples and pears, and 19 cups of tea. Doesn’t sound too hard!

4 Good things take time

It takes 50 hours of being together for an acquaintance to become a casual friend — and 200 hours before you normally consider someone a close friend, according to the Journal of Social & Personal Relationships.

5 Steps for a longer life

The next time you’re out pounding the pavement, consider this: it is the number of steps, not the intensity, that really matters, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Here are three ways to lift your step count at home:
➜ Stand up and walk while on the phone
➜ Hang washing outside on the line, rather than inside on a clothes horse
➜ Mark out a mini walking track around your house or backyard

First published: Jul 2020

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