For Your Health: Does Laziness Run in the Family?

Insomnia is a common problem for postmenopausal women, but soy may be the answer to a good night’s sleep. Researchers from Brazil attribute the benefit to estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones found in the soy:

"Without knowing the source of postmenopausal insomnia, the researchers cannot say why soy seemed to alleviate it for many of the women taking the isoflavones.

"In addition, because the study is small, the authors caution, it 'does not permit the assumption that soy will act with the same efficacy for every woman.' Nevertheless, they conclude, given that insomnia troubles so many women during menopause, 'phytoestrogen treatment should be considered an option to improve patients' quality of life.'"

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The benefits of fish oil may finally be explained. Scientists say that feeding obese mice omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil supplements reduced inflammation that can lead to diabetes:

"By studying fat tissue in the mice consuming fish oil, researchers found omega-3 fatty acids seem to act on a particular receptor on cells, GPR120, which, when activated, blocks inflammatory processes.

"Chronic inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes."

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Are people really born to be couch potatoes? A new study suggests that the amount of physical activity and exercise we get is all in our genes and that laziness can be passed from one generation to the next:

"Scientists from the University of California found that on laboratory mice activity levels could be enhanced by selective breeding — the process of breeding animals for particular genetic traits.

"Their study showed that mice bred to enjoy running produce offspring that also like it, showing that the baby mice had inherited the trait of high activity."

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