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Olive oil may lower your risk of dementia-related death — and 4 other things we learned about healthy living this week

Welcome to your weekly roundup of health news you may have missed. This week, experts spoke to Yahoo about the increase in children’s colorectal cancers and what may be behind the alarming trend. Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shared that doctors found a dead worm in his brain. And Jessica Biel explained why she bathed in 20 pounds of Epsom salt before the Met Gala.

Back in the news this week is Panera Bread, whose highly caffeinated “charged lemonade” is being phased out following multiple lawsuits. Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey declared she is “done with diet culture” in a live-streamed conversation with WeightWatchers.

In addition to this health news, new studies explore the benefits of birdwatching and olive oil. Here’s what to know.

Look to the sky to feel better? It’s worth a try, says a new study from North Carolina State University. The study found that students who engaged in nature-based experiences reported better well-being and lower psychological distress — and that birdwatching was particularly effective, even when compared with outdoor activities like nature walks.

A recent study by researchers from Ohio State University College of Nursing, which surveyed over 700 parents, revealed that 57% of parents reported feeling burned out. Parental burnout, which was linked to unrealistic expectations around their role, was also associated with increased mental health issues — such as anxiety and depression — in children. Meanwhile, spending more free time playing with children — and reducing structured activities — correlated with fewer of these mental health issues in kids.

A new observational study published in JAMA Network Open found that participants who included a half tablespoon of olive oil every day into their diet had a 28% lower risk of dying from dementia compared with those who did not consume the oil. Those who consumed more olive oil had an overall lower risk, regardless of what the rest of their diet looked like.

A new study published in the BMJ peer-reviewed journal, found that people who consumed more ultraprocessed foods (such as cookies, sugary cereal and chicken nuggets) had a 4% higher risk of death. The study, which looked at the eating habits of 115,000 people with no history of cancer, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, found that meat products, as well as sugary foods like ice cream and soda, had a particularly high association with mortality.

A new study from the University of Toronto found that people suffering from depression had lower levels of physical activity, and that those who moved less were more likely to have worse symptoms. However, the opposite was also found to be true: Those who moved more were more likely to have improved mood. The study authors suggest that while depression may affect a person over the long term, it may not be as significant as the impact of current activity levels — highlighting the importance of staying active on not just your physical health but your mental and emotional health, too.

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