TEA LOWERS IRON LEVELS
THE CLAIM Drinking tea can lower your levels of iron. THE FACTS With its bounty of antioxidants and relatively moderate levels of caffeine, tea is one of the healthiest beverages around. But drinking tea is said to block the body’s absorption of dietary iron, potentially causing a deficiency. Studies have shown that there is some truth to the idea. Compounds in tea called tannins can act as chelators, binding to minerals and inhibiting the body’s ability to absorb them. Although that can reduce a person’s levels of iron, studies have also found that it is unlikely to have much of an impact.In one study, scientists examined the effect by having people eat a typical meal – a hamburger, string beans and mashed potatoes – and then measuring their iron levels after the meal was combined with various drinks. When the subjects ate the meal with tea, there was a 62 per cent reduction in iron absorption. Drinking coffee resulted in a 35 per cent reduction. Orange juice increased iron absorption by about 85 per cent.But there was a twist. Coffee and tea affected only the levels of non-heme iron, the kind found in grains and vegetables. Heme iron, found in meat, fish and poultry, was unaffected. Because most Americans generally get more iron from their diets than needed, a daily cup or two of coffee or tea is unlikely to lead to low levels of iron.
TRY NATURAL SCENTS TO DE-STRESS YOURSELF
Feeling stressed or fretful? Try savouring the scent of lemon, mango, lavender or other fragrant plants to calm yourself.
Scientists in Japan are presenting the first scientific evidence that inhaling certain fragrances alter gene activity and blood chemistry in ways that can reduce stress levels.
Akio Nakamura, of Saitama University, Japan and colleagues note that people have inhaled the scent of certain plants since ancient times to help reduce stress, fight inflammation and depression, and induce sleep.
Aromatherapy, the use of fragrant plant oils to improve mood and health, has become a popular form of alternative medicine today.
And linalool is one of the most widely used substances to soothe away emotional stress. Until now, however, linalool's exact effects on the body have been a deep mystery.
The scientists exposed lab rats to stressful conditions while inhaling and not inhaling linalool.
Linalool returned stress-elevated levels of neutrophils and lymphocytes - key parts of the immune system - to near-normal levels.
Inhaling linalool also reduced the activity of more than 100 genes that go into overdrive in stressful situations. The findings could form the basis of new blood tests for identifying fragrances that can soothe stress, the researchers say.
These findings were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
E-MAILS CAN RESURFACE AFTER DELETION......IN THE WRONG HANDS
Beware, emails or Facebook posts or pictures can resurface months after they are deleted -- in the wrong hands or at the wrong time, according to researchers.
'If you care about privacy, the internet today is a very scary place,' said University of Washington (UW) computer scientist Tadayoshi Kohno. 'If people understood the implications of where and how their email is stored, they might be more careful or not use it as often.'
For instance, a lost cell phone can expose personal photos or text messages. A legal investigation can subpoena the entire contents of a home or work computer, uncovering incriminating, inconvenient or just embarrassing details from the past.
The team of UW computer scientists developed a prototype system called Vanish that can place a time limit on text uploaded to any web service through a web browser. After a set time text written using Vanish will, in essence, self-destruct.
Study co-authors include Roxana Geambasu, Tadayoshi Kohno, Hank Levy and Amit Levy, all with UW's department of computer science and engineering.
'When you send out a sensitive email to a few friends you have no idea where that email is going to end up,' Geambasu said.
'For instance, your friend could lose her laptop or cell phone, her data could be exposed by a hacker, or a subpoena could require your e-mail service to reveal your messages. If you want to ensure that your message never gets out, how do you do that?'
Many people believe that pressing the 'delete' button will make their data go away. 'The reality is that many web services archive data indefinitely, well after you've pressed delete,' Geambasu said.
Simply encrypting the data can be risky in the long term, the researchers say. The data can be exposed years later, for example, by legal actions that force an individual or company to reveal the encryption key.
'In today's world, private information is scattered all over the internet, and we can't control the lifetime of that data,' said Levy.
'And as we transition to a future based on cloud computing, where enormous, anonymous data centres run the vast majority of our applications and store nearly all of our data, we will lose even more control.'
Researchers compare using Vanish to writing a message in the sand at low tide, where it can be read for only a few hours before the tide comes in and permanently washes it away.
Erasing the data doesn't require any special action by the sender, the recipient or any third party service.
A paper about the project went public on Tuesday and will be presented at the Usenix Security Symposium Aug 10-14 in Montreal, Canada.