HCF Fit and Well : HCF Fit and Well Winter 2015
SLEEP TO STAY YOUNG A good night’s sleep may help protect your stem cells from damage and premature ageing. When the body is under stress, which occurs when we are sleep deprived, some of the stem cells are forced into action. They have to divide rapidly to produce new blood cells and to repair damaged tissue, and this sudden activity can lead to DNA damage and premature ageing. “The stem cells go from a state of rest to very high activity within a short space of time, requiring them to rapidly increase their metabolic rate, synthesise new DNA and coordinate cell division,” says Dr Michael Milsom, a researcher at the German Cancer Research Centre. “Suddenly having to simultaneously execute these complicated functions dramatically increases the likelihood that something will go wrong.” When stem cells are resting they’re protected against this process, reducing the chances of ageing before their time. It just goes to show a good night’s rest really does deserve to be called ‘beauty sleep’. Kids’ lunch box choices Parents need to be conscious of the sodium content of foods packed in their kids’ school lunch boxes, warns Dr Jacqui Webster of the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney. Excessive salt consumption is linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. Research fndings show that Australian children are eating considerably more salt than the government’s recommendations, with those aged nine to 13 eating over a gram more than the upper limit of 5g, and those aged four to eight eating over 1.5g more than the upper limit of 3.5g. Dr Webster urges parents to choose low-salt options for foods such as bread, fllings and snacks, and to include fresh, whole foods in preference to processed foods. “Children can avoid consuming almost 4 grams of salt if parents make the right choices for their lunch boxes,” she says. Goodness in grapes Could dark red grapes help burn fat? Early research has found that they contain a chemical that may slow the growth of fat cells and have a positive efect on fatty deposits in the liver. The key ingredient is ellagic acid and about 1.5 cups of grapes a day appear to have benefts. Dr Neil Shay, a biochemist at Oregon State University, says while grapes aren’t a weight loss cure, they may keep the liver healthier. “If we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing the harmful accumulation of fat in the liver using common foods like grapes, that would be good news,” he says. Dietitians Association of Australia accredited practising dietitian Kellie Bilinski says like many fruits, grapes are good for us. “Two serves of fruit a day are ideal. Choose something dark red, yellow, green or orange – diferent colour fruits provide diferent nutrients,” she says. GENE RESEARCH FUNDING The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is offering valuable funding of up to $25 million for research into the potential role of genomic medicine in improving, preventing, diagnosing and treating disease, as well as its impact, as a part of patient care, on health policy and funding. The value of research into how genes function and interact, and their effect on growth, development and disease is gaining increasing recognition among the medical community. “Genomic medicine is truly the next frontier in how we will approach the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease,” says NHMRC Chief Executive Offcer Professor Warwick Anderson. It is expected that the grant will be allocated to a multidisciplinary Australian team drawing on the expertise of the country’s best researchers in this feld who will work towards unlocking this huge potential.
HCF Fit and Well Summer 201415
HCF Fit and Well Summer 2015-16