NEWS FLASH: Busting a Coaching Myth, How Food Affects Anxiety, And Eating Less Slows Aging

Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we examine new information on recovery poses, we look at how food influences anxiety, and we review how eating less squelches the inflammation that causes aging.

Did your coach have it wrong?

Those who have played on a sports team might remember their coach telling them when they’re out of breath to “stand up and get your arms above your head.”

The idea was to open up the airways and, perhaps, according to Football Scoop, not tip the opposing team off that you’re hurting, as the old hunched-over-hands-on-the-knees pose suggests.

But new research from the American College of Sports Medicine found that recovering with your hands on your knees was actually more beneficial for the female Division II soccer players tested after a high-intensity interval training workout.

The reason for this is that in the bent-over position, the “diaphragmatic zone of opposition” is maximized more than in a standing position, making it easier for athletes to catch their breath. And this larger aerobic capacity brought heart rate down more rapidly, as well, helping these players feel less fatigued and able to perform better.

Your diet could be making you more anxious

A large new Canadian study has found associations between diet and anxiety disorder risk, one of the most prevalent mental health conditions in the U.S., with just over 18 percent of the population reporting living with the condition, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Reporting in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the team of investigators assessed associations between different factors and the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder in 26,991 individuals who had taken part in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging between 2010 and 2015, reviewing interviews, lab tests and physical exams.

Researchers found that individuals who did not eat much fruit and vegetables were more likely to have an anxiety disorder than those who had a high fruit and vegetable intake.

“For those who consumed less than three sources of fruits and vegetables daily, there was at least a 24 percent higher odds of anxiety disorder diagnosis,” said lead author Karen Davison, Ph.D., in Medical News Today.

That could help explain the association between anxiety and body composition, co-author Jose Mora-Almanza said. As levels of total body fat increased beyond 36 percent, the likelihood of anxiety disorder was increased by more than 70 percent.

He hypothesized that if a diet deficient in fruit and vegetables leads to increased body fat, this may, in turn, promote systemic inflammation, which has been linked to anxiety. And women, according to the study, were far more likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men.

Researchers said more research is needed in the area of diet, particularly the effect of fiber, calcium and vitamin D on anxiety.

Eat less, live longer

To reduce levels of inflammation in your body, delay aging-related diseases and live longer, you might consider eating less food, according to new research from the Salk Institute of Biological Studies published in the journal Cell.

A team of researchers from China and the U.S. found that rats that ate 30 percent fewer calories from 18 months to 27 months (equivalent to age 50 to 70 in humans) than control rats on a normal diet had positive differences in the cells found in their fat, liver, kidney, aorta, skin, bone marrow, brain and muscle.

Many of the age-related cellular changes that occurred in the rats on a normal diet did not occur in rats on a restricted diet. Even in old age, many of the tissues and cells of animals were found to resemble those of young rats. Overall, 57 percent of the age-related changes in cell composition seen in the tissues of rats on a normal diet were not present in those on the calorie-restricted diet.

Some of the cells and genes most affected by the diet included those related to immunity, inflammation and lipid metabolism, or the breakdown and storage of fat for energy.

What this means is that the increase in the inflammatory response during aging—a precursor to many types of disease—could be systematically repressed by calorie restriction.