Health tips — October 2015

How marine watching can help reduce stress and why the secret to living longer may be in how you eat.

Deep impact

Next time you want to de-stress, instead of grabbing ice cream, go marine watching.

When researchers from the National Marine Aquarium in the UK, the California Academy of Sciences and two UK universities studied viewers’ responses to a tank containing various levels of fish and other marine life, they found that heart rates and blood pressure fell. Researchers noted another positive effect: as the diversity of species increased, so too did the viewer’s engagement.

In times of increased work stress “perhaps aquariums can step in and provide an oasis of calm and relaxation,” says Sabine Pahl, associate professor in psychology at Plymouth University in the UK.

Fast facts 

The secret to living longer may be in how you eat.

In a pilot study published in the journal Cell Metabolism and conducted by researchers in the US, UK and Italy, 19 subjects were given three cycles of a fast-mimicking diet — which significantly reduced caloric intake and contained a combination of proteins, carbs, fats and micronutrients — once a month for five days. The result: reduced risk factors and markers for aging, diabetes and cancer. But, researchers warn, it may not be for everyone; medical supervision is necessary.