Researchers are reporting that moderate egg consumption can increase the amount of heart-healthy metabolites in the blood, and eating up to one egg per day may help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain a variety of essential nutrients. There is conflicting evidence as to whether egg con sumption is beneficial or harmful to heart health. A 2018 study published in the journal Heart, which in cluded approximately half a million adults in China, found that those who ate eggs daily (about one egg per day) had a substantially lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who ate eggs less frequently. Now, researchers have carried out a population-based study exploring how egg consumption affects markers of cardiovascular health in the blood. “Few studies have looked at the role that plasma cholesterol metabolism plays in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so we wanted to help address this gap,” said first author Lang Pan, with the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at Peking University in Beijing. Pan and the team selected 4,778 participants from the China Kadoorie Bio bank, of whom 3,401 had cardiovascular disease and 1,377 did not. They used a technique called targeted nuclear magnetic resonance to measure 225 metabolites in plasma samples taken from the participants’ blood. Of these metabolites, they identified 24 that were associated with self-reported levels of egg consumption. Their analyses showed that individuals who ate a moderate amount of eggs had higher levels of a protein in their blood called apolipoprotein A, which is a building-block of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good cholesterol”. These individuals especially had more large HDL molecules in their blood, which help clear cholesterol from the blood vessels and thereby protect against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.


Researchers from Japan have recently reported that dancing doesn’t just feel good, it also enhances brain function. In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Tsukuba found that music with a groove, known as groove music, can significantly increase measures of ex ecutive function and associated brain activity in adults who are familiar with the music. Music that elicits the sensation of groove can provide feelings of pleasure and enhance behavioural arousal levels. Exercise, which has similar positive effects, is known to enhance executive function. Accordingly, this may also be an effect of listening to groove music. However, no studies have examined the effect of groove music on executive function or brain activity in regions asso ciated with executive function, which the researchers at University of Tsukuba aimed to address. “We conducted brain imaging to evaluate corresponding changes in exec utive function, and measured individual psychological responses to groove music,” said lead author ofthe study Hideaki Soya, who is with the health and sport sciences department at the University of Tsukub in Japan. The researchers performed functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to examine executive function before and after listening to music. They also conducted a survey about the subjective experience of listening to groove music. “The results were surprising,” said Soya. They found that groove rhythm enhanced executive function and activity in the brain only in participants who reported that the music elicited a strong groove sensation and the sen sation of being clear-headed.

John Schieszer is an award-winning national journalist and radio and pod cast broadcaster of The Medical Minute. He can be reached at



We all know the mantra – calories in, calories out. And of course, if weight loss is our goal, we need to expend more energy (calories out) than we put in (calories in), so exercise must be beneficial. Right? To a certain extent yes – exercise plays a role in the weight loss game – but a relatively minor one. Burning calories at the gym, or whatever your chosen mode, is pretty time-in tensive and inefficient. For instance, 30 minutes of easy jogging will burn around 230 calories for a 90-kilogram person, and the heavier a person the more calories they burn. Unfortunately, burning calories may make us hun grier and we simply eat more to compensate. For most people weight loss is achieved via 80 per cent dietary changes and around 20 per cent exercise. However, there are a few hacks we can do that will help enhance the benefits of exercise as an aid to weight loss. Firstly, it is important that we consume enough protein. Protein is needed to help build muscle and it satisfies our hunger for longer. There is a myth that for optimal uptake and utilisation of consumed protein we need to eat it immediately post exercise. That’s not quite true although it is fair to say there is a window of opportunity. Consuming protein up to 48 hours post workout enhances its absorption, with the most effective period being in the first hour or so post training. We usually recommend around 20 grams of protein post workout, so that might be an egg and a glass of milk (all types of milk are good sources of protein). Of course, our bodies burn energy all day and most of that energy is spent just keeping us alive and conscious. This energy expenditure is known as

the resting basal metabolic rate (BMR) and one great thing about having stronger muscles is that it significantly increases the BMR. This means that, even when we are relaxing, we are burning more energy than with weaker muscles. Strength training is an important component of weight loss as mus cles burn more energy than any other type of tissue. Another useful hack is to exercise in a fasting state if you can, so exercise before breakfast not afterwards. When we exercise without food we burn more fat than if we exercise after a meal. The intensity of your workout might be a little impaired if fasting but for most people that additional fat-burning effect outweighs the impaired performance. It is a good idea to mix it up: a couple of sessions a week in the fasting state and perhaps a harder longer session with food onboard. So, exercise is an important component in weight loss but only if you do it . And for most of us the advantage of exercise is that it means you can indulge a little more than you might without exercise. But don´t go mad and lose all the benefits!

If you want help being more active please get in touch. Rachel Garrod (Ph.D. Physiotherapist) Tel. (+34) 699 501 190

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