News Worth Noting

Recent research can give us insight into best practices for living happy, health-filled lives. When I read something of interest, I’ll share it with you here and give you my brief take on it. 


The Mediterranean Diet often tops lists of Best Diet Ever. My guess is that the emphasis on fruits and vegetables is its most essential element. Eating only moderate amounts of animal products may also be in its favor. One other important aspect: eating with others to enjoy our meals.

One year-long clinical trial shows another factor: the diet promotes a healthy microbiome. The South China Morning Post reports, “The results held true regardless of age or weight, both of which influence the community of bacteria species – numbering up to 1,000 – that make up the human microbiome, the scientists reported in the journal Gut.”

If you eat a lot of meat, consider subbing in a bit more fish and beans. If you eat a small amount and variety of produce, consider eating more. Enjoy your meals with others and also a nice helping of olive oil. 

February 2020

 PEACE, LOVE, and healing 

Many of us were told that for injuries – either acute or chronic – we should ice. The acronym RICE told us to rest, ice, compress, and elevate. Newer research indicates that ice might help alleviate some pain but it doesn’t help us to heal. It’s not clear whether ice inhibits healing or it simply is of no benefit.  In fact, inflammation is essential for healing. If you can skip the Advil, you’ll get more benefits out of your workout as your body adapts to the stress.

There’s a new acronym, PEACE, that stands for Protect (for the first day or two after an injury), Elevate, Avoid Anti-Inflammatory Medications, Compress, and Educate (meaning, figure out how to heal and grow stronger).

I wonder how the high school coach is going to handle telling his football player to PEACE his swollen ankle. Maybe ACE would catch on better? Avoid, Compress, Elevate.

There’s a second acronym, LOVE. Give your body some PEACE and LOVE. I am feeling that, and, again, I’m not sure it’s going to go mainstream just yet. What LOVE includes is the emphasis on getting moving again (Load, Optimism, Vascularization, Exercise).

Research is pointing us away from rest and into activity that stimulates circulation and, thus, healing. NPR’s “Exercising to ease pain: Taking brisk walks can help” acknowledges that when we’re in pain, we may be afraid of movement that will set off more pain. Dr. Virginia Byers Kraus explains how movement helps our cartilage.

"Cartilage doesn't have a blood supply but does have living cells," she explains. "So the way it gets nutrition is by dynamic motion — putting weight off and on as you walk and move. The fluid inside the joint flows into and out of the cartilage like a sponge, so all the nutrients in the joint fluid get into the cartilage" and help slow any degradation there.

Movement also can change our brains and retrain our nervous system, bathing us in pain killers and desensitizing us to pain. The podcast Invisibilia presented an interesting (and challenging) story of treating teens with chronic, debilitating pain with an intense exercise program.

Moving gently and increasing activity gradually is especially important when we’re older; very busy and stressed; or otherwise already challenged. The message, however, is clear: as soon as possible, get moving after illness or injury to facilitate further healing. 

February 2020