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  • Spices May Entice Your Teen to Eat Their Vegetables

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018
    New Science
    Spices May Entice Your Teen to Eat Their Vegetables

    Parents, there may finally be a way to get your teens to eat their vegetables! According to a study published in Food Quality and Preference, teens preferred seasoned vegetables over plain ones. After surveying a sample of students, parents, and cafeteria staff at a rural Pennsylvania high school to assess barriers to vegetable intake and familiarity with certain spices, researchers recruited 96 to 110 students, ages 14 to 18, to participate in eight taste tests comparing pairs—spiced and plain—of vegetable dishes. For the spiced vegetables, eight vegetables (broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, a black bean and corn blend, carrots, a green pea and corn blend, and a yogurt dip served with raw vegetables) were prepared with spice blends developed to complement the vegetables and tweaked to suit the students’ tastes as determined from the survey; for example, sweet potatoes were baked with salt, chipotle, cumin, garlic, and paprika; and carrots were cooked with soybean oil, salt, and cinnamon. For the plain vegetables, the same eight vegetables were prepared with just salt and soybean oil. When the students tried each vegetable over eight lunch periods, researchers found:

    • Students rated the seasoned versions of four vegetables—broccoli, yogurt dip served with raw vegetables, black beans and corn, and cauliflower—as more likable overall than their plain counterparts.
    • Students preferred the seasoned versions of six vegetables—corn and peas, broccoli, yogurt dip served with raw vegetables, black beans and corn, cauliflower, and green beans—over their plain counterparts when asked to choose between the two.

    Getting vegetables into your teen’s diet is important for their health, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans estimates that, on average, teens don’t get enough: most get a cup a day—a far cry from the daily three to four cups they should be getting. If you want to see if spices can tempt your teen to eat their vegetables, conduct a taste test at home. Some winning combos from this study include black beans and corn with cumin, oregano, cayenne, garlic, onion, and paprika; broccoli with soybean oil, salt, dill, garlic, onion, and black pepper; and cauliflower with soybean oil, salt, coriander, garlic, onion, and black pepper.

    Source: Food Quality and Preference

  • Nine Ways to Battle Allergies

    Tuesday, March 20, 2018
    Nine Ways to Battle Allergies

    It’s that time again: the weather is getting warmer, spring flowers are starting to bloom, and seasonal allergies are raining down with full force. While there are many remedies out there to help nip your allergies in the bud, a few lifestyle changes could help stop your symptoms before they take root. An article from Health.com suggests you:

    • Wash your washing machine. This may seem counterintuitive, but bacteria and fungi can breed in the dark warmth of your washer, and detergent doesn’t really cut it. Scrubbing the machine's drum, door, and rubber gasket with diluted bleach or bleach wipes twice a month can help remove these allergy-aggravators.
    • Keep the dust down. Skip the feather duster or dry cloth; they just stir dust into the air. Instead, use a wet cloth to pick up dust and other allergens like pet dander, mold spores, and fabric fibers. If you’re especially sensitive, wear a mask and gloves when you’re dust-busting to limit your exposure.
    • Block dust mites with pillow covers. Even though dust mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye, they can cause big year-round allergy symptoms. These little guys live in your bed, where their primary food source, shed skin, is abundant. To keep the mites at bay, some experts recommend covering your pillow—as well as your comforter, box spring, and mattress—with an allergen-proof cover.
    • Time your workout right. Avoid exercising outside during pollen-peaking times, like in the morning or when it’s windy. Check the pollen count before you leave the house and if it’s high, stick to an indoor routine or exercise at a different time. Rain will often wash away pollen, so working out after a rain shower is also a safe bet.
    • Allergy-proof your vacuum. Look for a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter, which will suck up tiny particles that settle on your rugs and furniture. Also, go for one that has a bag to reduce the amount of particles you inhale when you’re emptying it. But, if you’re attached to your bagless vacuum, just make sure to empty it outside and to wipe it all down before bringing it back in.
    • Put your freshly cleaned washing machine to work. Launder curtains, throw pillows, rugs, and shower curtains regularly. Choose the sanitize setting on your machine, or the hottest water temperature, to wash away dust mites and pollen. Consider replacing curtains with blinds and getting rid of area rugs to cut back on the loads of laundry.
    • Grow the right plants. Research has found that some plants, such as ficus, could exacerbate allergies. Fake plants are one alternative, but if you prefer the real thing, you could try a plant that produces negligible amounts of airborne pollen, like hibiscus.
    • Clean out your closet. Closets tend to be a dumping ground for allergens; in go the dirty socks and clothes in the hamper, and the dirty shoes on the shoe rack. Dust gathers in between the clutter and it can spread to the clean clothes on the hangers. Take time to give your closet a good cleaning every once in a while, making sure there’s room for air to circulate, in order to discourage mold growth.
    • Be a picky pet owner. Cats and dogs get a bad rap for causing allergies, but even a pet goldfish could cause allergies for a person allergic to fungi. That’s why it’s important to know which allergens you’re vulnerable to before getting a pet. If you’re allergic to pet dander, you’re most likely going to have problems with cats, dogs, and even birds (but maybe you can get a goldfish!). But if pollen is your issue, you may be safer with a short-haired dog that will pick up less pollen at the dog park.

    Source: Health.com

  • Helpful Stop-Smoking Tips for People with Diabetes

    Monday, March 19, 2018
    Helpful Stop-Smoking Tips for People with Diabetes

    Besides helping control blood sugar, quitting smoking directly affects your risk of developing conditions such as heart and kidney disease and diabetic retinopathy. To get started on your path towards becoming a non-smoker, the American Cancer Society recommends the following strategies:

    • Set a “quit date” and spread the word. Pick a day with special meaning, such as a birthday or anniversary. Share your quit date with your friends and family for support. Also, share the date with a doctor, as he or she may be able to prescribe a medication to aid the quitting process.
    • Make smoking difficult. Don’t leave smoking-related items, such as lighters, ashtrays, and matches, around the house.
    • Breathe through the urge. Inhale deeply and count to ten when cravings strike.
    • Go places where smoking’s not allowed. Visit a museum, theater, or library to get through the day without a smoke.
    • Keep your fingers occupied. Pick up knitting or text a friend to keep from lighting up.
    • Get active. According to at least one study, exercise can help decrease nicotine cravings while giving you something healthy to do in place of smoking.

    Source: American Cancer Society

  • Women: Staying Fit in Middle Age May Reduce Your Dementia Risk

    Friday, March 16, 2018
    New Science
    Women: Staying Fit in Middle Age May Reduce Your Dementia Risk

    Keep your body moving to keep your brain going: a study published in Neurology found women who were fit in middle age had a lower risk of dementia more than forty years later. The study began in 1968 and included 191 Swedish women, ages 38 to 60, who were participants in a larger study called the Prospective Population Study of Women. At the beginning of the study, these women performed a cardiovascular fitness test during which researchers measured the women’s peak workload (energy output) while they cycled to exhaustion. A peak workload of 120 watts or higher was considered a high fitness level, and a peak workload of 80 watts or lower was considered a low fitness level. Over the following 44 years, researchers monitored the women for cases of dementia through results on periodic examinations and interviews, hospital records, and registry data. After adjusting for varying socioeconomic, lifestyle, and medical factors, they found that:

    • Of the 44 women who developed dementia, the majority had low fitness levels at middle age; specifically, 32% had low fitness levels, 25% had moderate fitness levels, and only 5% had high fitness levels.
    • Of the women who developed dementia, those with high fitness levels developed it, on average, 11 years later than those with moderate fitness levels.
    • Women with high fitness levels in middle age were 88% less likely to develop dementia than the women with moderate fitness levels.

    These findings make a good argument for staying fit in middle age to help ensure better health later in life. Even though more research is needed to prove a causal relationship between middle-aged fitness and dementia risk, the plethora of evidence supporting the benefits of exercise, including better heart health and immunity, and reduced glaucoma risk, might convince you to get moving now. If you haven’t exercised in a while and need momentum, check out our guide for help easing into exercise.

    Source: Neurology

  • Three Tips to Green Your Diabetes-Routine

    Thursday, March 15, 2018
    Three Tips to Green Your Diabetes-Routine

    According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated around four and a half pounds of garbage per day in 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available. That’s a whopping 1,600 pounds per person, per year. The good news? Efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle have made a big dent in all that waste—about a third of the four and a half pounds is recycled or composted, significantly lessening the impact on the planet. So, in the spirit of continuing those efforts, here are some tips for people with diabetes to best dispose of, and, if possible, recycle, their diabetes-related items:

    • Meter it out. If you have old glucose meters, contact a local diabetes group or your diabetes educator to ask if they accept meter donations. Some will use them for teaching purposes in classes and support groups.
    • Be sharps-wise. According to Diabetes Forecast, a magazine that focuses on living well with diabetes, an empty laundry detergent bottle with a tight-fitting, puncture-resistant screw-on lid can make an excellent and safe sharps disposal container. The container should be leak-resistant and remain upright and stable during use. When you are ready to dispose of your plastic laundry bottle, two thirds full of sharps, label it clearly with, “Sharps Biohazard. Do Not Recycle”; securely close the container, tape the lid shut, and dispose of is as directed by your local regulations.
    • Consider donating. Perhaps you’ve had a change in your insulin prescription, and you have bottles of unexpired, unopened insulin on hand. If that's the case for you, a good idea is to contact Insulin for Life, a nonprofit that collects and distributes insulin and other unused diabetic supplies, to learn how you may be able to help someone in need.

    Source: Diabetes Life

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Copyright © 2018 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved.

The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.