Watching sports is good for you — and 3 other things we learned about health this week

Watching sports can benefit your well-being. What to know. (Getty Creative)
Watching sports can benefit your well-being. What to know. (Getty Creative)

Welcome to your weekly check-in on the latest health news. This week saw a salmonella outbreak linked to organic basil sold at Trader Joe’s, a new report from the American Psychological Association on why social media needs to be made safer for young users and a study that found that signs of multiple sclerosis can be detected in the blood five years before symptoms appear.

Other research to keep on your radar? A study analyzing how time-restricted eating stacks up against monitoring calorie intake when it comes to weight loss. As you gear up for Earth Day (celebrated on Monday), keep these eco-friendly (and health-boosting!) tips in mind, read on to see what else is happening in the world of health right now.

🧠 All that thinking you do at work pays off

Working in mentally challenging jobs may lower the risk of memory and other neurological problems later on, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology. The researchers found that jobs requiring complex thinking — like analyzing information — were linked to better cognitive health after age 70. Conversely, jobs involving routine manual tasks, such as factory work, showed higher rates of cognitive issues.

🏀 An excuse to keep watching sports

A new study from Japan found that watching sports can boost one’s well-being. Researchers discovered that watching sports activates the brain's reward circuits, leading to feelings of happiness, while frequent sports viewers even showed structural changes in brain regions related to reward, suggesting long-term benefits. Researchers also found that watching much-loved sports like baseball seemed to have a bigger boost overall on well-being than when participants viewed videos of less popular sports such as golf.

😴 People want more sleep — and aren’t getting enough

A new Gallup poll found that 57% of Americans say they would experience improved well-being with more sleep, and only 42% say they get the necessary amount of rest. Struggling with your own sleep? Find tips for getting some shut-eye here — though it turns out that having a late bedtime might not actually be a big deal.

🍉 Does your produce have pesticides?

A new Consumer Reports study found that produce including watermelon, bell peppers, blueberries, green beans and potatoes contained significant pesticide residues, with imported produce, particularly from Mexico, carrying a higher risk. CR recommends choosing foods that are primarily on the lower-end of the pesticide spectrum, and choosing organic when possible. Though organic fruits and vegetables generally had far less pesticide residue than conventionally grown foods, they still pose a risk for pesticides, highlighting the importance of washing and peeling your produce properly.