Thursday, September 29, 2011

Coffee reduces depression in women

Coffee is known to decrease suicide attempts, reduced risk of Parkinson's disease and delays dementia. It can also positively affect cognitive performance, to reduce liver problems, and to provide antioxidants helpful in fighting cancer.

Now researchers believes that drinking coffee reduces depression in women.

According to the New York Times,

During the decade that the women were followed, 2,607 cases of clinical depression were diagnosed. Over all, women who regularly drank coffee had a lower risk of depression — about 20 percent — than the women who abstained, and the risk was dose-dependent. In other words, the likelihood of depression fell with each additional cup of coffee, in this case up to as many as six cups a day.

When soda, herbal teas and other sources of caffeine were taken into account, the relationship did not hold up. “The other sources were so minimal,” said Dr. Ascherio. “Nobody would get the equivalent of four cups of coffee by drinking tea or caffeinated drinks.”

The researchers aren’t sure why caffeine might keep depression at bay. “We know that caffeine enters the brain and activates the release of different neurotransmitters that are related to mood, like dopamine and serotonin,” Dr. Ascherio said. “That may explain the shorter-term effects on mood. But the long-term mechanisms of caffeine intake on mood we don’t really know.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

Health magazine rates the top 10 healthiest fast food restaurants in America based on their efforts to provide nutritious fare.

They surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast-food chains, as defined by the number of locations, and found many are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves (if we had the time)—from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts. Even better: They’re offering good-news Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean fare.

1. Panera Bread
2. Jason's Deli
3. Au Bon Pain
4. Noodles and Company
5. Corner Bakery Cafe
6. Chipotle
7. Atlanta Bread
8. McDonald's
9. Einstein Bros. Bagels
10. Taco Del Mar

I was surprised that McDonald's is even on the list. Are they serving new and improve low sodium low calorie Happy Meals now? Well, I guess so according to Health magazine:

“Among the big burger-based chains, McDonald’s is leading the way in overhauling its menu to offer more heart- and waist-friendly fare. Take the Happy Meals, which you can order with a side of apple dippers (with low-fat caramel) instead of fries and low-fat milk or fruit juice instead of soda. (Now the trick is just getting your kid to go for them!) And if you’ve gotta have fries, McDonald’s are made in a healthy canola-blend oil and come in at just 230 calories for a small.”

It’s safe to say that I can now visit McDonald’s for a meal. I just wish I can super size the apple dippers.