Experts Agree: Squat Toilets Are Good For You

squat toilets
Sean McLachlan

Chances are your morning glory isn’t good for you.

In the Western world we’re second place when it comes to doing Number Two. A growing number of medical experts agree that our seat toilets aren’t nearly as good as squat toilets, which are what’s used on the majority of places in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

It all comes down to positioning.

The medical textbook Gastroenterology, the definitive reference to the subject and written by three MDs, states, “The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position, with the thighs flexed upon the abdomen. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased, thus encouraging expulsion …”

In plain English, squatting releases pressure on your rectum and makes it easier to poop. Sitting in a Western style toilet is means you’re pushing against your own muscles. Many doctors say that using squat toilets reduce the chances of constipation, hemorrhoids, even bowel cancer.
Neuroscientist Daniel Lametti writes that wile there haven’t been any smoking gun statistics for cancer, it makes intuitive sense that people would be less constipated if they squat and less likely to put strain on their anus that would cause hemorrhoids.

Having spent a great deal of time in countries where squat toilets were the only option, I can testify that squatting is easier on the bum, if not the thighs. You get through your business quicker, and it does feel easier and more natural. It’s how we’re built, after all. Interested in learning more? Check out this article on how to use squat toilets.

Fight Against Malaria Takes Odd New Turn

malaria
A new study has found a possible way to stop at least one species of mosquito from giving you malaria – by infecting them with a special strain of bacteria.

Researchers have found that infecting mosquitoes with the Wolbachia bacterium makes it nearly impossible for malaria to survive in the insects, thus keeping them from spreading it to humans, the BBC reports. The technique was tested on Anopheles stephensi, a species that ranges from the Middle East to Asia. An example is shown here in this Wikimedia Commons image. This remarkable photograph shows the insect sucking blood from a human. It’s become so engorged it’s actually ejecting extra blood from its rear end. Sorry if you were eating when you saw this but hey, it’s in the name of science.

The bacteria passed from female mosquitoes to their offspring, opening up the possibility of infecting the entire species. Researchers followed 34 generations of infected mosquitoes and found the bacteria passed on through all of them. The results have been published in the journal Science. A study last year showed the same bacteria can be used to stop dengue fever.

The technique has not yet been tried on Anopheles gambiae, the main source of malaria in Africa.

This potential breakthrough in the fight against malaria is coming along at an important time, now that mosquitoes are developing a resistance to DEET.

Go Hiking: It’s Better For You Than You Thought

hiking, walkingNot feeling healthy? Go hiking. Two new studies from the UK show that a hike, or even a good walk around the city streets, boosts mental and physical health.

A new survey by Ramblers, the British walking charity, found that a quarter of adults in Britain walk for an hour or less a week. And when they’re talking about walking, they don’t mean hitting the trails in the local nature reserve, they mean all types of walking, including walking to the shops, work or school. Presumably walking to the fridge to get another lager isn’t included. Of the more than 2,000 people surveyed, a staggering 43 percent said they walked for only two hours or less a week.

The Ramblers cites government health advisers who recommend that you get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Walking counts in this, and is one of the easiest ways to get fit. Not only does it reduce the risk of several physical ailments like heart disease, it reduces weight and improves mental activity and emotional well being. It also saves money on gas and public transport.
The British Heart Foundation has more details on their webpage.

Another new study shows that being outside more is more beneficial than we generally think. While many people worry about the harmful effects of the sun, a new study by Edinburgh University has found that UV rays cause the body to produce nitric oxide, a compound that reduces blood pressure. Researchers suspect that the benefits of exposure to the sun may outweigh the risks.

[Photo courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources]

Belfast airport now charging for smoking

Belfast, smoking areaBelfast International Airport has introduced a new charge. After deciding to charge people £1 ($1.64) to drop off passengers and £1 for a clear plastic bag to put liquids in, now passengers are going to be charged £1 to use the smoking areas.

Airport officials defend the charges saying it costs them extra to maintain separate smoking areas, which are used only by a minority of the passengers.

Smokers will have to insert a pound coin into a coin slot to open the doors to the smoking area. Do you think this is fair? Take the poll below or sound off in the comments section!

[Photo courtesy Piotrus via Wikimedia Commons]

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Free condoms in New York City? Safe sex is only an app away, so tap that app today!

condom, condomsThe New York City Health Department is serious about safe sex. So serious, in fact, that it gives away a staggering three million free condoms every month. Now they want to make sure everyone knows where to find these little packets of joy. They’ve come out with an app for the iPhone and Android phones that shows you exactly where the five closest distribution points are. And with more than a thousand locations all over the city, you won’t have to go far to ensure a lower risk of pregnancy and STDs.

The NYC Condom Finder not only tells you where the distributions points are, but also their hours of operation, and what other safe sex products are available there. To get it, users of Android or Apple mobile phones should search for “NYC Condom” in the Android Market or the iPhone App Store.

Despite the title of this post, safe sex is serious business. HIV is still a deadly problem, as are numerous other STDs. Consistent use of a condom seriously reduces the risk of catching these infections.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says, “Using a condom every time you have sex protects you and your partner from contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Condoms also prevent unintended pregnancy.

Well said, Dr. Farley. So if you’re going to play, please play carefully.