NZ Woman's Weekly
Weekly Health Watch

Weekly Health Watch

RUDE HEALTH
NUTMEG
This can work as an aphrodisiac, according to researchers in India. Studies found that compounds in nutmeg extract stimulate the nervous system,
leading to increased sexual activity.

TIME FOR SOME TOFU?
Eating soya is linked to a lower risk of lung cancer in women. New research based on 70,000 women, who were monitored for more than nine years, suggested it lowered the overall risk by 37%.

The study, by researchers at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the US and other centres, also showed the protective effect appeared to be greater among older women, and in non-smokers who had a 51% lower risk.

The women recorded how much they ate of certain foods. The results showed that every increase of 5g of soya a day (equivalent to 1oz of tofu) was correlated with a seven percent drop in relative risk. It is thought that oestrogen-like compounds found in the food may help lower inflammation, which reduces cancer risk.

HEALTH WATCH
• It’s not a myth – rosemary really can help your memory. Researchers have concluded that essential oil derived from the popular herb is able to help people remember to do things if they sniff it. In a series of tests, the team from Northumbria University in the UK found sniffing the oil increased the chances of remembering to do things in the future by 60-75%.
• Red wine has been touted as a cure-all for everything from dementia and diabetes to heart disease, but scientists now say its health benefits don’t work if you’re obese. A Danish study found that when resveratrol (the antioxidant in red wine that has shown powerful effects in other studies) was given to obese men, it had no effect on their blood pressure, cholesterol or sensitivity to insulin.

Yoga for pregnancy. Photo/Thinkstock.

STRIKING A POSE BETTER FOR BABY
Yoga could be a way of preventing complications during your pregnancy.

New research shows that women who had hourly sessions of yoga, three times a week, were less likely to have pregnancy related high blood pressure and diabetes. They also had significantly fewer low-weight babies.

In the study, reported in Preventive Medicine, 68 high-risk pregnant women were allocated to either yoga or standard care (where they were given lifestyle and healthy eating advice). The yoga group received standard care, plus one-hour yoga sessions, three times a week.

Just how it works for pregnancy related problems is not clear, but the researchers say that previous studies have shown that yoga encourages relaxation, which may reduce high blood pressure and inflammation.

MEDICAL MISCELLANY
UNDER YOUR SKIN
There are dozens of parts of your anatomy you’ve never even heard of, named after people you probably didn’t know existed. Yet these are important for your health…

GRAAFIAN FOLLICLE
This is the name given to the collection of cells that forms around a woman’s egg every month. When it has released the egg for fertilisation, the Graafian follicle develops into the corpus luteum (what is left of the follicle after a woman ovulates). This produces the hormone progesterone to make the lining of the uterus ready for the implantation of the fertilised egg. If the egg is not fertilised, the corpus luteum leaves the body
with the menstrual blood.

NAMED AFTER:
Reinier de Graaf was a Dutch physician, born in 1641, who discovered much about the human reproductive organs, including the existence of Graafian follicles, through dissecting animals.

WHAT CAN GO WRONG:
If the Graafian follicles do not develop properly, due to hormonal imbalances, and release their eggs, they can turn into cysts on the ovaries, leading
to polycystic ovarian syndrome. Affected women can then have trouble conceiving.

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