News Flash: Extreme Temperatures, Fit Dads and Smart Babies, and Eggs

Every week we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, one disease-reducing benefit of saunas, new research on how exercise changes male sperm, and info about how many eggs—yolks included—are part of a healthy diet.

Extreme temps might have health benefits

A growing body of research is beginning to suggest that exposing our bodies to extreme temperatures comes with health benefits, and that spending more time in room-temperature homes and offices could be far less advantageous for long-term health and wellness.

First, new research shows that frequenting hot saunas was associated with a 60 percent reduction in stroke risk. The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that middle-aged and elderly Finnish men and women who took four to seven hot sauna bathing sessions a week had a substantially lower risk of stroke than those taking only one a week. The study comes on the heels of similar research on the inflammation-reducing, metabolism stoking effects of hot baths.

Moreover, separate research shows that cold stimulates the release of fat-burning hormones, known as lipokines, in brown fat that are also stimulated by exercise. That kind of research has even prompted a new cool exercise concept to open in New York. So, there’s more evidence that your environment, as well as your effort, helps determine your results with exercise.

Fit dad, smart baby?

New research shows that exercise changes the brains and sperm of male animals in ways that later affect the thinking skills of their progeny.

The study, conducted with mice, indicates that some of the brain-boosting effects of regular exercise shown in both mice and men—including gains in memory, learning and sharper thinking—may be passed along to their offspring.

Mice that had exercised with running wheels and games for 10 weeks after being sedentary and then mated with female couch potatoes showed stronger neuronal connections in the hippocampus than the brains of babies born to completely sedentary fathers. Furthermore, they learned a bit faster and remembered better than the mice from inactive parents. The changes stemmed from molecular changes, including a spike in microRNA in the running mice’s sperm. The beneficial effects among offspring ended when the running did.

Eggs are not the enemy

For those with risk factors for heart disease, eating eggs has been fraught with conflict and confusion. On the one hand, we’re told they’re chock full of protein and a good source of vitamins D, A and B12. But many nutritionists continue to advise skipping the cholesterol-laden yolks or limiting them.

Well, good news for those craving a good runny fried egg: New research from the University of Sydney shows that eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year—yolks and all—didn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease among patients on a weight-loss program with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.

After following two groups for a year—one group had fewer than two eggs a week and the other had high egg consumption (up to 12 eggs each week)—there were no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk factors in either group, and both achieved equivalent weight loss regardless of their egg consumption.

“…Our research shows that people do not have to hold back from eating eggs if this is part of a healthy diet,” says lead researcher Nick Fuller, which includes healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil. So, bring on the Southwest omelet, just subtract the butter.

Photo credit: Dan Gold, Unsplash