From exercising to improve a flu shot's potency to the growing problem of energy drinks and an ice cube that can tell us we've had one too many drinks, this week had some interesting highlights affecting our fitness, health, and happiness.
And with so many headlines to read, news articles to sift through, and tweets to favorite, it’s nearly impossible to read every story that affects our health. So we’re making it easier for everyone by rounding up our top story picks that are innovative, thought-provoking, or could seriously change some health behaviors.
1. ER Visits Due to Energy Drinks Are Skyrocketing
Those Red Bull's and vodka need to stop — energy drink related ER visits have nearly doubled since 2007 (yikes). A survey released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration unveiled the scary stats, announcing that from 2007 to 2011, there have been more than 200,000 emergency room visits because of the beverage. Energy drinks can cause insomnia, racing heartbeats, and even seizures. Why people don't just stick to a cup of coffee or tea for a pick-me-up is beyond us.
Via The Big Story
2. These Ice Cubes Help You Track How Much You Drink
Why have friends tell you to slow down on the binge drinking when an ice cube can? MIT student Dhairya Dand created waterproof ice cubes that estimate how intoxicated someone is by tracking how often a glass is raised to their lips. It'll light up green (one drink in!), yellow (now two...) and red (you've had enough, buddy), to warn people of overconsumption. The craziest part? The cubes can even text a friend when its rightful owner has downed one too many cocktails.
Via abc News
3. Nearly 50 Percent of the World's Food Is Wasted
"Waste not, want not," now has global ramifications. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers discovered that of the four billion metric tons of food produced around the world, up to two billion end up in a landfill. The reason so much food goes uneaten is multifold, with poor infrastructure, irresponsible retailers, and consumer behavior to blame. So do yourself (and the world) a favor, and at least clean your plate.
Via CBS News
4. Performing Music Delivers a Natural, Honest-to-Goodness High
Take a close look at any musician on stage and it makes sense: Performing music can make you feel high. To test this theory, researchers found performing music released the same feel-good endorphins as people who exercise, eat certain foods, or have sex. The key, though, is that the musicians are finding flow — performing music releases more endorphins than simply rehearsing it. And that's good news, because people can find flow in lots of other way off the main stage, like writing, doing artwork, or any other passion-driven hobby.
Via The Atlantic
5. Working Out Helps Fight Off the Flu
If you want to reap the full benefits of the flu shot, you may want to hit the gym, like, now. Researchers took a closer look at people who exercised before or after getting vaccinated, and found that working out led to a significant increase in antibody response. Their thinking? Exercising, and thus getting the heart rate up, can activate certain parts of the immune system. Less isn't more in this case, though: Scientists saw the greatest effect on those who sweat it out for at least 90 minutes.
What health news grabbed your attention this week? Let us know in the comments below or tweet the author @lschwech.