7 things health experts said were good for you in 2018

The Week

Organic foods may reduce cancer risk. For almost five years, researchers in France regularly asked nearly 70,000 volunteers how often they ate organic fruit, vegetables, meat, and other products. During that period, the quarter of participants who ate the most organic foods were 25 percent less likely to get cancer than the quarter who ate the least, even after accounting for age, income, and other risk factors. Lead author Julia Baudry suspects the disparity is because organic foods have lower levels of pesticides, which can mimic hormones in the body and increase cancer risk. Promoting organic food consumption, she says, could be a “promising preventive strategy against cancer.”

Holding hands can reduce physical pain. In a University of Colorado Boulder study, 22 women were subjected to mild pain; first when their male partner was holding their hand, and then when he was not. The women reported that holding hands reduced the intensity of their pain by an average of 34 percent. Brain scans taken during the experiment showed that when the couple linked hands, their brain waves became synchronized — and that this “coupling” effect was even greater when the women were in pain. Lead author Pavel Goldstein says the research “illustrates the power and importance of human touch.”

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