A look at this week's most intriguing health headlines.
Smokers: next time you have the urge to light up, try grabbing a side of asparagus instead. According to a new study published in the Oxford Journals, researchers found that smokers who consumed more fruits and veggies were more likely to be successful in their attempts to quit smoking. Just how much more? Participants who ate fruit and veggies four or more times a day while attempting to quit were three times more likely to be smoke-free 14 months later. What’s more, results were the same despite age, sex, race, education and household income.
The Journal of Women’s Health recently released results from a study looking at the connection between vitamin D levels and weight gain in older women. More than 4,600 women age 65 and older took part in the study, and those found to have insufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood gained an average of two pounds more during the course of the five-year study than those who had normal levels (30 nanograms per millimeter or above). Lest we forget the bad wrap vitamin D already gets for its connection to osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer, consult with your physician to determine your D levels and map out a healthy plan for optimal health.
If you’ve experienced a vaginal delivery—either first-hand or as a witness—you know how truly miraculous it is when a baby emerges into the world in that way. But researchers at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, wanted to experience still more. With the intention of finding out what makes a baby’s birth stall in the birth canal, the team recorded a live birth on a MRI machine back in 2010. The newly released video shows just how a baby’s bones and skull plates shift to fit something that is historically described as a watermelon through an opening the size of a grapefruit. Watching the process in such a way makes this mom pause and marvel all over again at how amazing the human body truly is.
Dieters everywhere have a new option for weight loss assistance. This week the Food and Drug Administration approved Belviq, a weight loss drug that is the first in 13 years to receive FDA approval. A study of non-Type 2 diabetic trial participants shows that nearly half who took Belviq lost at least 5 percent of their starting weight, which comes to an average of 12 pounds over the course of a year. Not to be relied on as the sole course of weight loss, Belviq is best used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.