women

If you’re trying to become pregnant, you may want to pay attention to your activity levels outside the bedroom. Based on a study of 3,600 Danish women, researchers determined how much exercise helps – or hinders – conception.

The new workout rules:

Description: Five hours or more per week of vigorous exercise (running or aerobics) reduced pregnancy odds per cycle by 40%

Five hours or more per week of vigorous exercise (running or aerobics) reduced pregnancy odds per cycle by 40%

Not too little: Every hour of moderate exercise (think brisk walking) per week nudged up conception rates, with those logging at least five weekly sessions conceiving 18% faster than couch potatoes.

Not too much: Five hours or more per week of vigorous exercise (running or aerobics) reduced pregnancy odds per cycle by 40%. The exception: for women who were overweight, all types of workouts sped up conception.

Good to know

Why massage works: In analyses of muscle tissue, scientists found that a post-workout rubdown turns off genes that spur soreness-causing inflammation and switches on those that help with recovery.

Sad story, happy you

Choosing Titanic over The Five-year Engagement may improve your outlook on life. in experiments at Ohio State University using the 10-hankie film Atonement, investigators found that viewers who were the most saddened by the tale of betrayal, war, and lost love ended up contemplating their own relationships after the movie – which inspired more positive feelings. That may be the reason people are drawn to sad books and films, say the researchers – not, as you might think, that tragedy makes one’s lot seem rosy in comparison. Indeed, “Seft-centered thoughts like ‘Glad I didn’t go to war’ didn’t raise happiness,” says lead author Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Ph.D. “Sadness can inspire us to pay attention to our relationships,” she adds, which is why a romantic comedy might not pack the same emotional punch.

Description: why a romantic comedy might not pack the same emotional punch?

why a romantic comedy might not pack the same emotional punch?

Is it safe to eat soy?

Sam Asks: I have been asked this by everyone from girlfriends to visitors to the GH Nutrition Lab. They’re all worried about breast cancer – and confused about the role soy might play in either preventing the disease or promoting it. I can see why: In the 1990s, it was reported that soy reduced the risk of breast cancer (It’s good!). Then, starting around 2000, lab studies showed it might stimulate breast cancer cells to grow (It’s bad!). To help sort out the risks, I turned to Wendy Chen, M.D., M.P.H., at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She reassured me that while test tube studies have raised alarm bells, research among real women shows eating soy foods is safe and perhaps even protective.

But here’s the fine print: The women in the studies were eating soy in the form of whole foods – tofu, edamame, soy nuts, miso, soy milk – not as processed isolated soy protein, which is in snack bars, protein powders, and some veggie burgers. Do easy on these, Dr. Chen advises. It’s fine to enjoy soy foods – even every day, she adds – as long as you don’t feast on them morning, noon, and night, 365 days a year. For me, that means having soy milk on my cereal some days and enjoying edamame with my sushi on others – and only occasionally having a soy snack bar.

Description: Is it safe to eat soy?

Is it safe to eat soy?

Energy star

Made from unroasted-coffee-bean extract and fruit juice, Starbucks’ new Refreshers are thirst-quenching pick-me-ups when you want a boost, not a buzz. The drinks deliver about 50 mg of caffeine for a grande (about what you get in a cup of tea). In Cool Lime (50 calories per grande) or Very Berry Hibiscus (70 calories).

This spud’s for you

In a study at the University of Scranton, volunteers who ate six to eight small microwaved purple potatoes with skins twice a day for a month experienced drops in both blood pressure numbers. These tubers are high in polyphenols, plant chemicals that may be responsible for the health perk. And while potatoes have gotten a bad rap on the diet front, nobody in the study gained weight.

Best nutrition I’ve heard this month

When you sit down to a meal, eat the lower-calorie items (veggies, fruit) first. You’ll be less likely to overdo it if you’ve taken the edge off your hunger before you start on the higher-cal foods.

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