Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter.
I’ve got a mixed bag for you this month. Let’s call it Hugs, Drugs, and Wine.
Did you know that the average hug lasts just 3 seconds? According to various research studies, that 3 second window is pretty typical for many other human actions and neurological processes. In fact, research as far back as 1911 indicates that we humans operate in 3-second bursts, according to an article on Science Magazine’s website.
“Goodbye waves, musical phrases, and infants’ babbling and gesturing all last about 3 seconds. Many basic physiological events, such as relaxed breathing and certain nervous system functions do, too. And several other species of mammals and birds follow the general rule in their body-movement patterns. A 1994 study of several species of zoo animals for example, found that although the duration of the animal’s every move, from chewing to defecating, varied considerably, the average was, you guessed it, 3 seconds. “What we have is very broad research showing that we experience the world in about these 3-second time frames,” says developmental psychologist Emese Nagy of the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom.
BUT did you know that the IDEAL HUG is 20 seconds or more? It takes at least 20 seconds of hugging until scientists see a rise in oxytocin, sometimes called the “love-drug.” Research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine has linked increased oxytocin levels in both men and women to reduced blood pressure, reduced cortisol (stress hormone), and improved sleep patterns.
Here’s another interesting tidbit: testosterone inhibits oxytocin, which may partially explain many men’s reluctance to “share” and show affection. On average, men have a shorter lifespan than women. Could be a link there. In our reluctance to hug, we increase our stress, increase the risk of cardio problems and are probably reducing our longevity.
Okay, enough hug science. Everybody look around, and find someone to share a long hug with. Now relax into the embrace and count to twenty: one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi…
From hugs, let’s move on to our drug topic.
A new study from the University of Waterloo has linked cholesterol medications, like the popular Lipitor, with the development of cataracts.
The report published in Optometry and Vision Science found the use of medicines known as “statins” increases the risk of developing cataracts 50%. And people with type-2 diabetes have an even greater risk.
Statins, like Lipitor, are used to lower cholesterol and inflammation. But they can have dangerous side effects (in addition to raising your cataract risk). In March, the FDA added a new warning to statins saying they can raise blood-sugar levels and cause memory loss.
Over the past few years I’ve cautioned readers about statins. More and more the FDA is cautioning people as well. If you have high cholesterol, do your research. There are more natural ways to control it without using statins. Lots of foods help lower cholesterol. For example, white onions contain a chemical called allyl propyl that lowers your overall cholesterol (and reduces the risk of stomach cancers). Blueberries, one of my favorite healthy foods, also lowers cholesterol.
Finally, drinking wine helps maintain bone strength for women better than milk does. How’s that for an interesting statement?
Researchers from the University of Oregon found postmenopausal women (ages 50 to 65) who drank two small glasses of alcohol a day had lower rates of “bone resorption”, a natural process that slowly erodes your bones, than women who didn’t drink alcohol at all.
Resorption is a process of bone shedding old cells and recycling calcium. When the women in the study weren’t drinking, their resorption rates outpaced the production of new bone cells, thereby weakening bone strength. This leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
I mentioned a study in a previous newsletter that said women who drink red wine have a significantly higher bone density in their spine than women who don’t drink red wine. This new research points to the actual mechanism of action and benefit of drinking red wine for overall bone health.
Recall that red wine has many other benefits for women and men. It decreases the risks of diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. So I’m back on my four ounces of wine a night to get the maximum benefits.
So get your hugs, give up your drugs, and start drinking……but don’t tell anyone you heard that advice from me!