HEALTH BITES

Running barefoot only for the young; milk is a brain food

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, 6:02am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2015, 6:02am

Why older runners should keep their shoes on

Older runners are unable to adapt to minimalist running shoes as quickly as younger runners, a new University of Kansas study shows, and the researchers warn that older runners trying the barefoot running trend could increase their risk of injury. Minimalist shoes are said to more closely resemble barefoot running by encouraging the forefoot, instead of the heel, to hit the pavement first. In the study, 26 runners, aged 30 and above with at least 10 years of running experience, ran on a treadmill at different speeds in traditional running shoes, and then barefoot. It was found that 40 per cent of the men and 20 per cent of the women persisted with consistent strike patterns across all speeds with and without shoes.

Study finds hole in sweetener theory

There's limited evidence to support claims that the natural sweetener xylitol is effective in preventing cavities, according to a study review published in the Cochrane Library. The review, by University of Manchester's school of dentistry in Britain, analysed data from more than 5,900 participants in 10 studies. Used as a sugar substitute in many everyday products including chewing gum, toothpaste, gels, lozenges and sweets, it's been suggested that xylitol stops the growth of decay-producing bacteria. The researchers noted that several of the studies included in the review did not report sufficient information on the side effects of xylitol, which can include bloating and increasing laxative effects, such as diarrhoea.

Is milk brain food?

Vital for strong bones, important for your muscles, and now, milk could be good for your brain too, according to a new study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Among 60 study participants, brain scans showed that those who had indicated they had drunk milk recently had higher levels of a naturally occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain. The researchers, from the University of Kansas, say glutathione could help stave off oxidative stress and the damage resulting from reactive chemical compounds that are produced during the normal metabolic process in the brain. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.