Finnish researchers have uncovered grandpa’s secret: Turns out that rye bread is nature’s great answer to constipation. Writing in the Journal of Nutrition, the researcher found rye is not only more effective than laxative medications, it also helps make the gut healthier. Rye is rich in a compound called arabinoxylan, a favorite food of healthy bacteria in the colon. The bacteria ferment the compound to create short-chain fatty acids, which make the colon more acid, less friendly to pathogens and more active in moving wastes out. Constipation affects an estimated 27 percent of people in Western countries. Turns out grandpa had it right after all.
You’ve always heard that fish is brain food. Now, a growing body of research is supporting that contention.
One study published in the February edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry found that fish-oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids warded off psychosis in high-risk teens. Study participants received either fish oil or a placebo for 12 weeks. One year later, more of the fish-oil teens were still psychosis free. Researchers say the results are as good as those seen with antipsychotic medications, with benefits lasting longer than any other intervention. And, unlike typical pharmaceutical prescriptions that cause problems including weight gain and libido loss, fish oils seem to have no major negative side effects.
Other studies are finding that omega-3 oils can help the mind stay young and sharp. Earlier reports found that DHA, one specific form of omega-3, helped slow dementia but didn’t help folks with Alzheimer’s disease. A February report in the Journal of Neurochemistry suggests that EPA, another omega-3, may do the trick. The report’s authors believe EPA helps slow the natural decline of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, helping keep the brain young and boost memory and learning. Both DHA and EPA are typically found in fish-oil supplements in varying ratios.
A version of this post originally appeared on Wellwire.com.