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July Nutrition News: Coffee Sweet Spot That Keeps Strokes at Bay and an Easy Fix for Better Sleep

Small diet changes make a huge difference for your overall health as time goes on. The great part is, you can start implementing these tweaks into your eating habits right now. Here are five nutrition news updates for July 2022 that involve ways you can adjust your mealtime habits.

Another reason to enjoy avocados.

An avocado a week can keep heart disease at bay, say researchers from Harvard. Their study, which included more than 110,000 participants and has spanned more than 30 years, revealed that people who ate one avocado a week had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Even better, using avocado in place of other fats, like butter and cheese, reduced the risk for heart disease–related events, like stroke and heart attack. Avocados are brimming with fiber and other healthful nutrients that are associated with a healthy heart.

Delicious way to ward off diabetes.

The Nordic diet, which emphasizes local produce, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy, keeps blood sugar balanced, say researchers from University of Copenhagen in Denmark. They found that people at risk for diabetes who followed the diet had lower blood sugar after six months than folks who didn’t follow the plan. The researchers suspect the diet’s lack of processed foods, excess sugars and saturated fat keeps blood sugar steady, while its healthful plant compounds and nutrients improve insulin sensitivity.

Plant-based diet eases arthritis pain.

So say researchers in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. They found that subjects with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who followed a plant-based diet eased pain by 36 percent, reduced swelling by 58 percent and lost an average of 14 pounds over the 16-week study. The reason? RA occurs when the immune system attacks the lining of joints, but the absence of immune system–stimulating proteins in meat and dairy stifles the attack to stave off pain and swelling.

Simple fix for better sleep.

Omega-3s are known to improve heart health, and researchers based out of Canada researchers reporting in Sleep Health found another benefit: better sleep. Folks in their study who had higher blood levels of omega-3s slept longer and drifted off faster than those with lower levels. The scientists suspect an omega-3 shortfall slows the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. The recommended daily dose: two 3-oince servings of fatty fish, like salmon, weekly or 500 mg. of EPA plus DHA daily.

Coffee sweet spot that keeps strokes at bay.

Coffee brims with polyphenols, compounds that reduce stroke-causing inflammation in the brain and improve blood flow, but sipping too much can raise blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke. Now, research in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reveals the heart-healthy dose: In a study of more than 460,000 people, they found that those who drank between 1⁄2 cup and 3 cups of joe daily had a markedly lower risk.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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