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Health

Drinking Coffee May Actually Help You Manage Stress, New Study Reveals

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It’s been widely speculated that caffeine may have an inverse effect on chronic stress, and a new study may have finally figured out why.

A group of scientists from Brazil and Portugal and the U.S. set out to further understand the effects caffeine has on cognitive function and how those effects correlate to stress-induced situations.

The scientists used mice to conduct their study. For three weeks, one group of mice was given caffeine in their drinking water, while the other group was given regular water.

After the three weeks elapsed, the groups of mice were exposed to a series of stressful situations. The scientists observed the mice as they dealt with environments like damp bedding, shared living space, deprivation of food and water, cold baths, and tilted cages at 45-degree angles.

The results were conclusive. The mice who did not receive caffeine in their drinking water showed stress-induced changes in their brains and behavior. The mice who drank caffeine did not and remained stress-free.

The scientists explain that there is a good chance that the results involved the caffeine blocking certain adenosine receptors from causing a stress response, meaning that the caffeine operated as mental blocker against stress signals, similar to the way acetaminophen blocks pain receptors.

For a long time, scientists have suspected that caffeine boosts mood, and several studies have already found a link between caffeine and reduced levels of depression.

Due to the fact that this study was conducted on mice and not humans, it is difficult to say definitively that caffeine can minimize or eliminate stress.

However, the results were impressive enough to, at the very least, add to the growing collection of evidence suggesting that caffeine is a beneficial asset for cognitive function.

Written by Riley Schatzle of NextShark, Source: Business Insider

Categories
Health

New Study Shows That Loud Surroundings Are Making Us Fat

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If your noisy neighbors weren’t annoying enough, a new study shows they might also make you fat. According a team of Swedish researchers, a study on the effects of metabolism discovered a link between environmental noise and weight gain.

The study observed 5,000 people in Stockholm. Residents near noisy areas like airports, train tracks, or loud blocks, were found to be chubbier than their counterparts living in quieter areas.

Loud noises can lead to lack of sleep and cause prolonged stress. However, the researchers also hypothesized that the environmental noise also increased cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone known to stimulate fat growth.

According to the study, living by traffic will make people 0.21 centimeters thicker. Those living by a railroad were 0.46 centimeters fatter. Those living in an area with planes flying overhead will gain 0.99 centimeters.

While there’s really nothing those who live in metropolitan cities can do about this, it’s something interesting to keep in mind the next time residents are up all night thanks to environmental noise.

 

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Health

Science Says Eating Lunch at Your Desk Makes You Sad, Stressed, and Boring

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We’ve all been victims of the dreaded desk lunch: a sad salad, wilted sandwich, or microwave meal eaten mindlessly while staring at a screen.  The lunch break is disappearing and we’re none too pleased about it, especially as a recent study has shown that going out to eat, preferably with a group, resulted in higher relaxation and potentially increased creativity and connection to others.  And yes, the opposite is true for when you take your “break” at your computer to drool over clothes on Pinterest that you’ll never buy.

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The German study, published in PLOS ONE, explores the consequences of meal contexts on emotional and cognitive well-being. The 32 subjects were split into two groups, one, which ate alone, and one which ate a leisurely meal in a restaurant with others. After the meals, the researchers tested the subjects for semantic memory and their ability to process emotions in others.  Subjects also filled out questionnaires ranking their mood. The researchers found that more positive moods were reported by the subjects in the social lunch condition.  They also had less cognitive control, which is linked to better perceptual processing, recognition of emotions in others, and creativity.

Don’t end up like  the 65 % of poor saps who eat lunch alone at their desks or don’t eat at all.  When you’re trying to convince your boss that you need a lunch break, tell them it’s been shown that having extra relaxation time can boost your productivity. People with established and socially engaging lunch breaks are clearly getting the better end of the deal.

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Need some inspiration? Check out Not Sad Desk Lunch for some ideas of what to make when you do finally take that hour.

H/T Huff Po + PicThx Sad Desk Lunch