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5 Discoveries to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

5 Discoveries to Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Were still at the beginning of 2015, but this is when its hardest for a lot of people to stick to to their New Years resolutions. The good news is recent work by UT Austin researchers studying human development, biology, nutrition, and the brain can help you make the scientific case for following through on plans you made to change this year. 

Heres why to keep those resolutions.

Creative Commons burger image1. Curb a fast-food habit: A joint study conducted by Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor of human development and family studies in the College of Natural Sciences, and researchers at Ohio State University found the amount of fast food children eat is linked to how well they do in school. The study, published in Clinical Pediatrics, tested 11,740 students in fifth and eighth grades in reading, math and science. Children who ate fast food four to six times a week showed significantly lower scores than those who ate no fast food. Other studies have shown that diets high in fat and sugar could harm short-term memory and learning processes.

Growing Neurons poster

2. Exercise and/or try something new: Contrary to popular belief, adults are constantly growing new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to memory and emotions. Neuroscience professor Michael Drew explains that neuron growth is important for curbing stress and improving memory. One way to help your brain grow more neurons is exercise. Trying novel experiences and learning new things are more ways to boost neurogenesis.

3. Quit multi-tasking: In a study conducted by the Institute for Neurosciences Jarrod A. Lewis-Peacock and Princeton University researchers, participants were asked to juggle two pictures--a house and a face--in working memory. MRI data from these tasks shows that neural competition between these two pictures impeded participants from recalling them. When a participant decisively switched from thinking about one picture to the other, however, memory improved. Multi-tasking is essentially an act of neural competition, and when a memory loses that competition, it is easily lost.

Sleepy pups

4. Monitor how your foods grown: Vinclozolin is a fungicide farmers commonly use to treat crops, but a recent study by researchers at UT Austin and Washington State University found that the toxic effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in vinclozolin and other pesticides can pass from one generation to the next. Lab mice whose grandparents were exposed to vinclozolin showed significantly higher levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone similar to human cortisol) when exposed to stress, as well as higher expression of genes associated with anxiety and anxious behavior. The study was led by David Crews, professor of zoology and psychology at UT Austin.

Vegetables5. Eat more salads: UT assistant professor of nutritional science Jaime Davis was part of a research team that monitored the effects of nutrient-rich vegetables in the diets of 175 overweight obese Latino children in Los Angeles, and found that including these vegetables as even a small part of a child’s daily diet could significantly improve metabolic health. They found that children who consumed one or two fist-sized servings of non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens and orange vegetables like carrots) reduced their risk for liver problems, type 2 diabetes and other complications of obesity, making eating vegetables at least as important as weight loss for overweight kids.

 

 

 

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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