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Elemental
Your life, sourced by science. A publication from Medium about health and wellness.

Good Question

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Good Question

New research intensifies the debate

Photo: Promodhya Abeysekara/Unsplash

More than 90% of the U.S. population eats at least one snack a day, and most of us eat several. Some experts have called snacking “a hallmark of the American dietary pattern.”

Our enthusiasm for snacking isn’t new. Between the early 1970s and the late 2000s, the average number of snacks we consumed hardly budged; we ate two or three snacks a day back then, and that’s about how many we eat now.

While we may not be snacking more frequently than we used to, there’s some evidence that our snacks have gotten bigger.

Measured in…


Good Question

‘Poignant’ media may help us find answers to life’s big questions

Photo by Jace & Afsoon on Unsplash

The CDs were Neil Young’s Harvest, and greatest-hits collections from the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and the Steve Miller Band. He told me he’d picked these because they were some of his old favorites — part of the soundtrack of his life in the late 1960s and ’70s when he’d lived in Northern California and Oregon. Even before I’d listened to them, I liked them because he liked them.

I especially liked the Neil Young. It hooked me from the first…


GOOD QUESTION

Probably. But first, consider the risks.

Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Karsten Jipp/EyeEm/Getty Images

Googling “best sleep position” turns up a cool 765 million results, and some of the top hits maintain that how you sleep — back, stomach, left or right side, fetal — has profound implications for your spine, heart, breathing, appearance, and much else. There’s even some Freudian pseudoscience linking certain sleep positions to personality traits, which seems to have about as much solid scientific backing as palmistry.

All of these claims are somewhat confounded by the fact that we all tend to sleep in a…


Good Question

Beans, broccoli, and many other plant foods can be major gas triggers

A unidentifiable woman carrying a bag of fruit and vegetables over her shoulder.
A unidentifiable woman carrying a bag of fruit and vegetables over her shoulder.
Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images

The medical term for gas is “flatus.” While gas production varies from person to person, research has found that healthy people “pass flatus” up to 25 times a day. According to a 2013 study in…


Good Question

What research says about how it works in the brain — and the many conditions it may be useful for

Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Bonerok/Getty Images

Welcome to my new column for Elemental. Each Tuesday, I’ll attempt to answer a thought-provoking health question with the help of one or two experts. If you’d like to suggest a topic, please email me at goodhealthquestion@gmail.com.

Jessie Kittle wants to dispel all those old associations and misconceptions. “The idea that you can take over someone’s brain and run them around like a puppet against their will — that doesn’t happen,” says…


Good Question

What adverse reactions look like — and how risky they really are

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Olena Ruban/Getty Images

Welcome to my new column for Elemental. Each Tuesday, I’ll attempt to answer a thought-provoking health question with the help of one or two experts. If you’d like to suggest a topic, please email me at goodhealthquestion@gmail.com.

In Detroit, where I live, the sale of recreational cannabis is still outlawed. And so…

Elemental

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