New York Presbyterian

FALL 2014

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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2 8 S P I R I T O F W O M E N FA L L 2 014 w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m H E A L T H C E N T R A L D I E T SHUTTERSTOCK Pint-size portions for kids Stress and health risks Stress could make a high-fat, high- sugar diet even more damaging to your wellbeing: Highly stressed women who have poor nutrition hab- its are more prone to health risks than low-stress women who eat the same amount of unhealthy food. That's the finding of research reported in the journal Psychoneu- roendrocrinology, which found that your body's metabolic response to fat and sugar may differ according to your stress levels. The study looked at 61 disease-free women, more than half of whom were chronically stressed, caring for a loved one. The remaining women had calmer lives. Both groups reported eating high- sugar, high-fat foods over the course of a year, and both were evaluated for biological markers for metabolic syndrome—abnormalities including insulin resistance, waistline measure- ment and visceral fat distribution— that increase the risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Stressed women had more of the markers than their counterparts who ate poorly but weren't stressed. Even though it may be tempting to soothe yourself with your favorite foods when you're stressed out, give your body a break by opting for healthier choices. • Statins no substitute for a healthy diet Even if you're taking statin drugs to lower your cholesterol, you still need to modify your diet to reduce your risk of heart disease, say health experts. But people on statins aren't as vigilant about eating healthier fare as they were in the past, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers compared statin users in 1999–2000 with those in 2009–2010, and found that the earlier group consumed almost 10 percent fewer calories and more than 14 percent less fat than those a decade later. People who didn't take statin drugs didn't have a significant change in their food intake over the decade, according to the study authors, who took their data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Experts advise statin users not to use the medication as an excuse to throw caution to the wind when mak- ing food choices. • W hen adults and children are offered oversized portions of food, they eat more and consume more calories. But what happens when kids are allowed to serve themselves, the goal at many a family dinner table? Children react to the same food cues as adults, according to a recent study involving 60 ethnically diverse 4- to 6-year-old kids, published in the Journal of Obesity. They dish out more food when using a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon. And when a large amount of an entrée is available, children help themselves to more than when a smaller amount of food is pre- sented, the study reports. So don't forget to keep tabs on your kids' portion sizes even when they're old enough to fill their own plates. • New insights about coffee health benefits In addition to helping you keep your eyes open in the morning, coffee may have other ocular benefits. Raw coffee contains chlorogenic acid, a strong antioxidant that might prevent degeneration of the retina, a thin tissue layer inside the eye, reports research recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Other potential benefits of drink- ing coffee include a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer and age-related cognitive decline. •

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