Healthy Mind Articles
Antioxidant Spices Reduce Negative Effects of High-Fat Meal
(8/10/11) Eating a diet rich in spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, reduces the body's negative responses to eating high-fat meals, according to Penn State researchers.
"Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood," said Sheila West, associate professor of bio-behavioral health, Penn State, who led the study. "If this happens too frequently, or if triglyceride levels are raised too much, your risk of heart disease is increased. We found that adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30 percent, compared to a similar meal with no spices added."
West and her colleagues prepared meals on two separate days for six men between the ages of 30 and 65 who were overweight, but otherwise healthy. The researchers added two tablespoons of culinary spices to each serving of the test meal, which consisted of chicken curry, Italian herb bread, and a cinnamon biscuit. The control meal was identical, except that spices were not included. The team drew blood from the participants every 30 minutes for three hours. They reported their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition.
"In the spiced meal, we used rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika," said Ann Skulas-Ray, postdoctoral fellow. "We selected these spices because they had potent antioxidant activity previously under controlled conditions in the lab."
When the meal contained a blend of antioxidant spices, antioxidant activity in the blood was increased by 13 percent and insulin response decreased by about 20 percent.
According to West, many scientists think that oxidative stress contributes to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. "Antioxidants, like spices, may be important in reducing oxidative stress and thus reducing the risk of chronic disease," she said, adding that the spice dose they used provided the equivalent amount of antioxidants contained in 5 ounces of red wine or 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate.
Skulas-Ray noted that adding two tablespoons of spices to meals did not cause stomach upset in the participants. "They enjoyed the food and had no gastrointestinal problems," she said. But, she added, "The participants were notified ahead of time that they would be eating highly spiced foods and they were willing to do so."
In the future, West plans to investigate whether she can get the same results by adding smaller doses of spices to meals. (Original Source)
Narcissism May Benefit The Young, But Older Adults? Not so much…
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — We all know one, or think we do: the person whose self-regard seems out of proportion to his or her actual merits. Popular culture labels these folks "narcissists," almost always a derogatory term. But a new study suggests that some forms of narcissism are – at least in the short term – beneficial, helping children navigate the difficult transition to adulthood.
The study appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
"Most people think of narcissism as a trait that doesn't change much across the lifespan," said postdoctoral researcher Patrick Hill, who conducted the study with University of Illinois psychology professor Brent Roberts. "But a lot of recent studies have shown that the developmental trajectory of narcissism goes upward in adolescence and what we call emerging adulthood – the late teens and early 20s, and then typically declines."
This reduction in narcissistic traits coincides with a decline in their usefulness, the researchers found.
Hill and Roberts surveyed 368 undergraduate college students and 439 of their family members to get a picture of the narcissistic traits of the students and of their mothers. (There were enough mothers but not other relatives in the study to provide a robust sample size for analysis.)
"We looked at three different forms of narcissism," Hill said. The first, an inflated sense of leadership or authority, is the belief "that you know a lot and people should come to you for advice," he said. The second is "grandiose exhibitionism," being pompous, wanting to show off, and having an exaggerated sense of one's capabilities and talents. The third is a sense of entitlement and a willingness to exploit others for personal gain.
In the study, young people who were high in the leadership and grandiose exhibitionism forms of narcissism were likely to report higher life satisfaction and well-being, while mothers who had the same traits were not.
A sense of entitlement or willingness to exploit others for personal gain predicted lower life satisfaction at every age, however.
In general, participants had a lower opinion of those with narcissistic traits. Narcissistic mothers, in particular, tended to be viewed as neurotic and low in conscientiousness, the researchers found. Students who were narcissistic were not generally judged to be neurotic, but they and their narcissistic mothers were more likely to be viewed as low in "agreeableness."
These negative judgments, particularly of older adults, "could have quite interesting negative ramifications for people's circumstances in middle and old age if they retain this rather grandiose sense of self," Roberts said.
"This study continues a line of research that shows that there is a fundamental developmental shift in both the amounts of narcissism that people have and also in the meaning of it as people age," Roberts said. An exaggerated belief in one's own capabilities and prospects may help young people "navigate adolescence and the turmoil involved in trying to find a sense of identity," he said. Later in life, however, those same traits "appear to be related to less life satisfaction and a poorer reputation." (Original Source)
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