food

Lager is now good for you... and other great news.

We’ve done the hard work (well, except for the working out – that’s on you) and found some mindboggling new nutritional stories to get you feeling peppy.

Activated coconut

Put your green chia seed smoothie down and listen up. Activated nuts are so last year. Now it’s all about activated charcoal.

According to Americans (they’re people that live on the opposite side of the world), activated charcoal is the answer to inner health. An article published in the Sydney Morning Herald says activated charcoal is being used to deep clean your insides and purify the skin, activated charcoal is already making its way onto menus and hipster chalkboards in Australia.

RELATED: The 7 health fads of 2014 (and whether they were worth your time)

Having been used medicinally since 1831 for its ability to absorb toxins, activated charcoal is no longer the domain of alcohol poisoning or accidental ingested household chemicals, and rather, is popping up in pantries and bathroom cupboard all over the place (some say it’s also great for whitening the teeth). Not only does it give your liver and kidney a solid clean out, but it’s also said to aid a sore throat, reduce the severity of a common cold and even prevent illnesses such as Bali Belly. Plus advocates say it makes a great topical treatment for infection and insect bites.

So what exactly is activated charcoal? Can I just scrape some ash out of the fire and call myself healthy? Well, no. Activated charcoal is made from coconut shells predominantly and is “activated” using either steam or chemicals.

Mia's self-described "wanker" nuts. And some green thing.

Health professionals have been quick to point out that there is no scientific evidence that activated charcoal possesses any real detoxifying properties and rather, may inhibit the effectiveness of some medications and supplements by blocking their absorption in the stomach.

It kinda makes me sad to think of Mia Freedman sitting alone in the corner munching on her activated nuts. :(

This is your brain when you give up sugar

Thought the effects of giving up sugar were all in your head? Well, you're wrong.

According to a new article published this week on iflscience.com, author Jordan Gaines Lewis details exactly what happens to your brain when you go cold turkey on the white stuff.

RELATED: Donna Hay: Paleo diets and quitting sugar are ‘just a new eating disorder’

Firstly, you have withdrawals. Like, real ones. In much the same way an addict to narcotics experiences tremors, blurred vision and teeth chattering, so too do those withdrawing from sugar.

The reasoning, as explained in the article,  is because of an emotional and physical connection we have with the substance. Sugars are, according to Gaines Lewis and his friend and fellow graduate Andrew, a natural reward which makes the body feel good when we eat it. We then chase the feeling in the hopes of recreating it. The downside is that sugars are deliciously addictive, so the body craves more and more. Therefore sugar addiction is very much a real thing, and not just a state of mind.

Gaines Lewis says, "There are four major components of addiction: binging, withdrawal, craving, and cross-sensitisation (the notion that one addictive substance predisposes someone to becoming addicted to another)." Just as is the case with any addiction, all of these components are observed when people give up sugar. Actually, we're getting a headache just from all the conflicting arguments.

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Surprise benefits to drinking beer

If you're a lover of a good lager, you might want to listen up. Don't panic, it's not the usual doom and gloom. In fact recently we were treated to the news that beer drinking may actually be good for you.

This week an article was published on the website refinery29.com which made my beer loving heart sing a little.

The article references a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health which assessed the overall health of drinkers versus non drinkers. It says "People who frequented happy hour reported less ill health than abstainers.

Post workout ritual? Image via iStock

But wait, the good news doesn't stop there. Furthermore, beer may actually be beneficial post workout. Yep, you read that right. While it might not be your current post workout hydration, maybe you should rethink your choices. According to researchers at Granada University in Spain, individuals who consumed beer after a workout were actually better hydrated than those who refuelled using water. The study used a sample of university students. I'll bet those in the 'water' group were pretty bummed.

Ok, ok, one more happy little bit of info for the beer drinkers. The article goes on to say that beer drinkers may also experience lower levels of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and women who liked a brew were more likely to have stronger bones than those who elected to drink other beverages. Cheers!

Study reveals which foods are most addictive

So we've already heard this week about sugar addiction being a real thing but did you know that certain foods are actually more addictive than others, and now someone has made a list.

The latest study on food addiction has been completed by Dr Nicole Avena of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sanai. In it, researchers indicated "behaviours and attitudes surrounding some types of food which closely followed addictive patterns".

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The Huffington Post explains that the following foods are on the bad list are pizza, chocolate, chips, cookies and ice cream (in that order) and on the least addictive list are cucumber, carrots, beans, apples and brown rice.

No surprises there really since we've all just read about sugar addiction – and looking at the foods in the naughty list all of them seem to be packed full of the stuff in one form or another.

Ingredients in olive oil kills cancer cells with it's own enzymes

Olive oil. Great for cooking, hair treatments and removing makeup. It could now also be a key breakthrough in cancer research.

Paul Breslin, Professor of Nutritional Sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences together with  two cancer biologists, David Foster and Onica LeGendre of Hunter College have discovered the amazing ability of one ingredient found within olive oil.  

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Olive Oil could hold the answers in the quest for a cure. Image via stock images

The study, outlined in this article, found that oleocanthan, a protein found in extra virgin olive oil possessed the ability to force cancer cells to self destruct, in a very short amount of time. While scientists already knew of oloecanthals, they didn't understand exactly how they worked. This latest research worked on the idea that oleocanthans target a protein within the cancer cell itself causing it to die off.

In clinical trials, cancer cells began to die off very quickly after the application of the protein. In fact, many were dying off within 30 minutes to an hour.

Scientists are now in the process of testing the theory on living subjects to see whether the effect is the same.

Here's a friendly gallery of some foods you may not have known were healthy

What's the greatest health news you've heard this week?