The human body: An inspiring biological work of art? Or a meaty sack of germs and fluids? Either way, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what goes on in there — and scientists are constantly attempting to find out more. Here are the most interesting things they’ve discovered about our bodies in the last seven days:
Go Sockless at Your Own, Gross Risk
Hipsters, earmuffs: The dream of a sockless future is dead. No longer can we blithely saunter around in pointy-toed Oxfords with exposed, perfectly tanned ankles and slim-fit trousers as if to say, “Look at me! I’m cool, I have style, the summer heat can’t hold me down!”
Nay. According to podiatrist Emma Stevenson, of the U.K.’s College of Podiatry, we are fungus-infested sweat monsters.
“Depending on the level of sweatiness of the foot, there may be issues with too much moisture in the feet, which can leave you vulnerable to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot,” says Stevenson. “On average, your feet will sweat half a pint a day; that’s a lot to be pouring out straight into your shoe without it being absorbed by a sock.”
That’s not the only problem, though. Stevenson also notes that the slim, pointed shoes guys like to wear sans socks can lead to other foot-related maladies: Blisters, ingrown nails and corns, for example, can result from friction on your exposed skin and pressure points if the shoes don’t fit right.
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to ensure you can continue to live your hippest truth. Things like applying an antiperspirant to your feet, rotating through your shoes to ensure each pair gets at least 48 hours to dry out, using moisture-wicking cedar shoe trees and replacing pairs that don’t fit right can all help prevent grody feet issues.
Or you could stop chasing trends and just wear socks. Your call.
Americans Are STD-Riddled Monsters
And it’s only getting worse—especially if you live in California.
One Salad Please, With Extra Fat
You think you’re being pretty healthy ordering that kale salad, do you? Daintily dipping each leafy morsel in that lite Italian dressing? Wrong. WRONG! Sure, it’s probably better than ordering a cheeseburger. But it’s not as healthy as it could be, and that’s because it might not have enough fat on it.
We’re not saying you should add a dollop of room-temperature lard — that’s not the move. We’re talking good fat, here: Olive oil, for example, a mostly monounsaturated fat loaded with antioxidants, is your friend.
In a study out of Iowa State University, researchers analyzed twelve women who each ate five salads with varying levels of oil. The more oil that was added to their salads, the easier it became for the women to absorb the salads’ nutrients.
“The best way to explain it,” said Professor Wendy White, who led the study, “would be to say that adding twice the amount of salad dressing leads to twice the nutrient absorption.”
Don’t add more than 32 grams — i.e., three spoonfuls worth — of fat to your salads, however: That number represents the point at which nutrient absorption reached its maximum. Anything over and participants began to experience diminishing returns, and probably oil-overload. Guess you really can have too much of a good thing.
Talking of Fat in Your Salad, Meet the Diet Avocado
Is there anything better than a perfectly ripe avocado? You can grill them. You can blend them. Guacamole should practically be its own food group. But the problem with avocados is they’re high in fat, right? Americans hate fat. They’re not entirely sure why it’s so bad, but what they do know is, that fat is very bad.
So it makes perfect sense that some food scientist might want to go ahead and marry our love of the magical fruit with our hatred for all things “fat” and invent a lite avocado. Which is exactly what’s happened: The folks at the Isla Bonita brand in Spain recently announced that they’ve created an avocado with 30 percent less fat. Hooray!
The only problem is, not all fat is created equal. There’s trans fat, which scientists agree is not good for you since it increases the risk of coronary artery disease. There’s also saturated fat — verdict is still out on that one — and unsaturated fat, which actually has real health benefits.
It’s that last one that makes up most of the fat in avocados. As long as you’re not eating unsaturated fat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a moderate diet of the stuff can help reduce bad cholesterol, thereby reducing your chances of suffering from heart disease. On top of that, unsaturated fat has been shown to also help in regulating the body’s insulin and blood sugar levels, which is great news for people who suffer from diabetes.
And it’s these benefits that makes the invention of a so-called “diet” avocado that much more puzzling. Avocados are perfectly healthful just the way they are! There’s no need to get fancy and invent one with less fat; that’s just making them less good for us.
Sorry, There’s No Such Thing As Hangover-Free Booze
In today’s “no, duh” news, drinking Prosecco will not leave you hangover free, unless you have like, a glass, and even then that’s true for one glass of anything.