Keep Moving to Stay Sharp

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April 30, 2010

A healthy body results in a healthy mind. In the European Journal of Applied Physiology (2004), researchers reported on a study that looked at the effect of fitness training on the physical condition and cognitive abilities of 37 male sailors in the Norwegian navy.

All sailors were in similar physical and mental shape after an initial 8-week fitness program. Half the group then stopped exercising for four weeks, while the other half continued the program.

After the four-week period, the men who stopped the training program had lower aerobic fitness lower heart rate variability, and lower scores on tests of executive function than the men who had continued exercising. This suggests there may be a connection between physical activity and mental acuity.

Bone Up on D

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April 29, 2010

Dairy delivers vitamin D.

New research has unearthed a dangerous gap in women's bone insurance policies. Eight out of ten women assume that they're getting enough vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis, reports the Society for Women's Health Research, which surveyed 500 women age 50 and older. But more than 70 percent don't get the amount needed to prevent bone-sapping osteoporosis. (Younger women also come up short, other research shows.)

Unless you get adequate vitamin D, about half the bone-building calcium you take ends up down the toilet, notes Felicia Cosman, MD, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

How much vitamin D is enough? "You should get 400 IU every day-and 600 after age 70-from a multivitamin or calcium-plus-D supplement," says Cosman, who is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University.

Some people might need up to 1,000 IU per day, depending on their current vitamin D levels. Cosman recommends having your doctor do a blood test to make sure you're not vitamin D deficient if you have osteoporosis, low bone-mineral density, or vitamin absorption problems (e.g., from celiac disease), or if you're premenopausal and have a history of breaking bones easily.

Quick tip: Forget exposing unprotected skin to the sun to produce vitamin D. Food and supplements can provide all you need.

Car Seat Safety

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April 28, 2010

One of the first responsibilities parents face before bringing home their new baby is choosing and installing a car seat. Use these tips to help ensure your child will be safe and secure while traveling:

CHOOSE YOUR SEAT WISELY Accepting a hand-me-down car seat is not the same as hand-me-down baby clothes. Never use a car seat that has been in a crash or shows signs of extreme use.

DO YOUR RESEARCH Make sure you are up-to-date on car seat safety guidelines, ratings and recalls. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site for the latest information.

CALL IN THE PROS Based on a study done by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, typically more than 70% of child safety seats are improperly installed. Make sure your car seat is correctly installed by contacting a certified child passenger safety technician at your local police or fire department.

4 Ground Rules for A Good Night's Sleep

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April 27, 2010

Experts agree: no matter what is keeping your child awake or rousing her from slumberland, there are a few things every parent should do to ensure healthy sleep habits.

1. ALWAYS PUT HER DOWN AWAKE.
New research shows that children who fall asleep independently-no rocking, no cuddling until they drift off-fall asleep faster, sleep an hour more a night, and wake dramatically less. "All kids wake up about three to six times during the night," says sleep expert Jodi Mindell, PhD. "But if they learn how to fall back asleep without without your help, they'll do so without disruption."

2. FOLLOW A SET ROUTINE. "Children don't have an internal structure. Having a consistent environment will help them develop that ability to settle down to sleep," says Erica Komisar, a psychotherapist in New York City. A ritual that comprises the classic B's (bath, book, bed, and in the case of a baby, a bottle) will help your child shift smoothly from day to night.

3. MAKE SURE SHE'S GETTING ENOUGH SHUT-EYE.
"Children who are not getting enough sleep will be thrown way off schedule by even the most minor of disruptions," says Marc Weissbluth, MD, a pediatric sleep expert in Chicago and the author of several books on sleep.

4.WATCH FOR THE TELLTALE SIGNS OF SLEEPINESS.
"Just like adults, children have definite sleep cycles, and if you put them down too late, you'll miss that groggy window," notes Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in Atlanta. Anticipate your child's needs: if he's slowing down, rubbing his eyes, yawning, or sucking his thumb, consider it time to hit the hay.

A cure for peanut allergies?

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April 26, 2010

Researchers at Duke University and Arkansas Children's Hospital may have found once. In two small studies, they fed children with a peanut allergy a daily dose. Starting at one-thousandth of a nut per day, consumption gradually increased to about 15 nuts daily, which most children started to tolerate. While this therapy requires further study, it shows hope for all kids who aren't able to eat foods made with peanuts.

Another Reason to Nurse

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Nipple time can cut your baby's chance of SIDS by up to half. German scientists studied more than 1,300 kids-those exclusively breastfed had the lowest. Experts recommend breastfeeding through at least 6 months. Plus, here's a benefit for you: more recent research shows that breastfeeding may lower a mom's risk for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

An Itchy Matter

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April 24, 2010

PROBLEM A new study finds that eczema-a dry, red, scaly rash that typically appears behind the knees, inside elbows, and on the cheeks and neck-is increasing among young kids. And it only gets worse in the winter.

SOLUTION First, make sure it's really eczema, says David E. Bank, MD, director of a dermatology center in Mount Kisco, New York. Mild eczema is typically itchy, red, dry skin, though severe eczema may be bright and crusty. But if there's no family history and your child has never had it before, see your pediatrician because it could be another rash or skin condition. If it is eczema, the best thing you can do is keep skin moisturized. Apply a mild, fragrance-free cream or mineral oil throughout the day and especially after baths, while the skin is still damp.

Eating Healthy When Eating for Two

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April 23, 2010

PUMP IRON
WHY Iron is essential for creating the red blood cells that deliver oxygen to your baby. If you skimp on the mineral, your baby will draw iron from your blood, increasing your risk for anemia. Being anemic makes you feel tired all the time and may cause dizziness and shortness of breath.

HOW Red meat is your best source of iron, followed by chicken, eggs, and fish. Go for 3-ounce servings of leaner cuts, such as sirloin or filet. You body absorbs the iron from animal sources most easily, but vegetarians aren't out of luck. Fortified cereals are a great choice-some have up to 15 mg of iron per cup. Soy nuts, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and other dark leafy greens are also top picks. Another tip: Have your iron source with a dose of vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the mineral. For instance, combos like beef and broccoli or fortified cereal topped with berries give you a bigger bang for your buck.

Cholesterol Check

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April 22, 2010

Heavy kids tend to have high cholesterol, which can stick with them into adulthood and boost their risk for heart disease. To get them on the right track, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends getting a baseline cholesterol check between ages 2 and 10-and the earlier the better. This is especially important if high cholesterol or heart disease runs in your family or if your child is overweight and has diabetes or high blood pressure. If your child's total cholesterol is above 170 mg/dl and his LDL (bad) cholesterol is over 110 mg/dl, cut the fat and cholesterol in his diet (start by switching to low-fat dairy) and increase the time he spends actively playing.

Don't Go Nuts During Pregnancy

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April 21, 2010

For the nine months you're carrying, cut back on peanuts and peanut butter. A new study found that eating lots of these can raise your baby's chance of developing asthma symptoms by almost 50 percent. Dutch researchers studied about 4,000 women and their children-less than half with an allergy or asthma history-for eight years. The findings: daily consumption of these foods by a mom-to-be increases the chances of her child's having wheezing problems by 42 percent, having regular shortness of breath by 58 percent, and needing steroids to east asthma symptoms by 62 percent. Scientists say they're not sure if other nuts, such as almonds and pecans, also have a negative effect. To be safe, limit snacking on nuts to a few times weekly, or have 1 cup of low-fat milk or yogurt instead for a good serving of protein.

The New Superfruits

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April 20, 2010

Give the apples and bananas a rest and round out your repertoire with these exotic, antioxidant-packed picks Though Americans are eating more fruit these days (go us!), more than half are the old standbys: bananas, apples, and oranges. Yes, they're good for you--but you're missing out. "Different fruits provide an array of disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants," says Joy Bauer, RD, author of Joy Bauer's Food Cures. In fact, broadening your horizons can measurably improve your health. Colorado State University nutritionists asked 106 women to eat 8 to 10 servings of produce daily for 8 weeks. Half the group chose from 18 different varieties, while the others ate the same 5 over and over again. Two weeks later, blood tests showed that the high-variety group reduced their rates of DNA oxidation, possibly making their bodies more resilient against disease; the other group had no change.

Ready to mix it up? Here's a quickie primer on some of the smartest "exotic" picks based on their health benefits--and how to serve them in place of common favorites.

Crunchy Brain Food

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Eat your veggies for better focus power Snacking on celery and green bell peppers may help keep your mind sharp. Luteolin, a plant compound abundant in these two green veggies, can prevent inflammation in the brain linked with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis, according to researchers at the University of Illinois. The scientists studied the compound's effect on human brain cells in a test tube and on mice, and in both cases found that it decreased inflammation.

Try dipping celery and green bell pepper slices in hummus, or chop and mix with tuna, herbs (like parsley or chives), and a dollop of plain yogurt for a healthy tuna salad.

Sugary Cereals

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April 18, 2010

A new Consumer Reports analysis found that 23 of the top 27 breakfast cereals marketed to children contain more than 50 percent sugar by weight. When buying cereal, make sure a serving contains no more than 8 grams of sugar. Some good picks: Cheerios, Kix, and Life.

Are You Depressed?

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April 17, 2010

Ask yourself about these questions to find out. In a recent Pediatrics study, researchers found that answering "most of the time" or "some of the time" to any question means you're at the risk for postpartum depression-even if you're not sad. "Many new moms feel like a certain amount of anxiety is normal," says Janelle Sheeder, an obstetrics and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "These questions help you distinguish normal anxiety from anxiety that could be problematic."

Do you blame yourself unnecessarily when things go wrong?

Do you feel scared or panicky without very good reason?

Have you been anxious or worried without very good reason?

Peaunut Butter-Slim Down Effect

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April 16, 2010

Rich in healthy fats that help banish belly flab Studies show that diets high in mono-saturated fatty acids (abundant in peanut butter and nuts) prevent accumulation of fat around the midsection, boost calorie burn, and promote weight loss. In fact, women who eat one serving of nuts or peanut butter 2 or more times a week gain fewer pounds than women who rarely eat them, according to recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health. One reason: A snack that includes peanut butter helps you stay full for up to 2 1/2 hours, compared with 30 minutes for a carb-only snack such as rice cake, finds research from Purdue University. (Carbohydrates satisfy a craving, while nuts keep you feeling full.) Peanut butter and nuts are high in calories, so stick with a 2-tablespoon portion-about the size of a golf ball.

Why So Many Egg Whites?

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April 14, 2010

Eggs give you the most bang for your nutritional buck. They're low in calories-just 15 per egg white. Five egg whites provide 20 filling grams of protein at just 75 calories (although the vegetables and low-fat cheese you add also have calories). Why do we care about protein? If your body doesn't get it from food, it will break down muscle to meet its protein requirements. Not only this will make you look flabby, but muscle burns more calories than fat does.

Red Flag for Red Meat

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April 13, 2010

If you're vulnerable to rheumatoid arthritis, lay off the beef.

Some rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk factors you're born with--including having a family history and being female. But not all: Cutting back on red meat may offer some protection if you're vulnerable, say British researchers.

They found that among 264 subjects, those who averaged 2 or more ounces of red meat every day had almost double the RA risk of those eating less than an ounce a day.

Red meat contains a lot of collagen, which may activate antibodies in people susceptible to the disease. Those antibodies are thought to trigger RA--an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks itself, breaking down collagen in joints.

Bake like a pro in no time

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April 12, 2010

Want to whip up a batch of treats but think it takes too long? Master these simple shortcuts and become a kitchen hero.

SOFTEN BUTTER IN SECONDS If you're ready to start your recipe but have forgotten to take your butter out of the fridge, thinly slice the amount you need and lay out the pieces on a plate at room temperature. The butter will be soft by the time you have measured the dry ingredients.

CLEAN YOUR HANDS QUICKLY Kneading dough for pies or biscuits is fun, but getting if off your hands when you're finished can be a chore. To speed it up, rub your hands with cornmeal and give them a brief rinse. The dough will come right off.

SEPARATE EGGS WITH EASE Use a plastic bag to help separate whites from yolks. Simply snip a small corner off the bag, place it in a glass to contain the white and carefully crack your egg into it. The white slips through the hole into the glass while the yolks stays in the bag.

MEASURE WITHOUT MESS Working with peanut butter, molasses, honey and other sticky substances can be slow, especially when you're using a spatula to get every bit into your mixing bowl. If you lightly mist your measuring cups with cooking spray beforehand, even the gooiest ingredients will slide out.

April Showers Brings May Flowers

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April 11, 2010

They say that "April Showers Brings May Flowers". So far, at this month we haven't experience of having rain. It's been a couple of days now that we have a very nice weather. The temperature is around 70's or nearly on the 80's which makes the weather gets warm. We've been at the park already enjoying this weather. My son Charles loves being at the park. He really enjoyed the swing and the slide. At first, I was a little nervous to used the slide by myself. I've never been on the slide when I was in the Philippines before, so it was my first time to sled with Charles.

My husband was laughing when I told him that I don't want to slide. He kept telling on me that I have to get it a try so I did for my him and to our son.

Body Language Belching and gurgling

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April 10, 2010

What it means: You have swallowed excess air, either while eating or conversation or both. But burps and gurgles can also point to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a common condition in which stomach acid seeps up into your esophagus and, in serious cases, can cause you to make gurgling noises because of the regurgitation of food or acid.

What to do: As your mom said, don't talk with your mouth full. That can cut back on burping, as can limiting gum-chewing and fizzy beverages. To avoid GERD, eat small, frequent meals, and skip foods that worsen the symptoms (like caffeinated drinks and onions). You may also get some relief from a nonprescription antacid.

When to seek help: If you experience GERD symptoms more than once a week, particularly at night, visit your doctor.

Been Busy on TV

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April 09, 2010

Lately, i've been too busy watching on my tv shows. Last night when i saw the preview of Real Housewives of New Jersey I was so excited. I really like watching reality shows. My husband doesn't like watching reality shows specially the Real Housewives. The only reality show that we both watch together are Top Chef Masters and Chopped. Before we used to watched American Idol but for me the show gets a little bit boring without Paula. And besides American Idol is on Tuesday my husband rather watch his favorite show "Lost".

Can't wait for the new season of Real Housewives of New Jersey.

Become an oil expert

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April 08, 2010

Save time and money-and make your dishes sing-by choosing the right cooking ingredient.

Olive Oil Used in kitchens worldwide, olive oil comes in an array of tastes and prices. Extra-virgin oil is more flavorful and usually more expensive than regular olive oil, so it's best used drizzled on salads or for dipping bread. Olive oil's relatively low smoke point means it isn't a good choice for frying.

Canola Oil With a more neutral flavor and higher smoke point than olive oil, canola is a great all-purpose oil, ideal for baking as well as higher-temperature stove top cooking. Canola oil is low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, which help lower cholesterol, so it's often labeled "heart-healthy."

Peanut Oil Best used for frying, this oil has a high smoke point and a neutral taste. Most common brands filter out the peanut proteins during the oil-making process, making it safe for those with peanut allergies to consume. But if you're allergic, be sure to check with your doctor before using.

Exotic Oils Looking for a new taste? Specialty oils are now available in many grocery stores. Sesame oil has a toasted, nutty flavor that works well in Asian dishes. Grape seed oil tastes similar to extra-virgin olive oil but can withstand higher cooking temperature.

Body Language Growling Tummy

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April 07, 2010

What it means: Usually it's just stomach and intestinal muscles contracting, which is a normal part of digestion, but stress can make muscle contractions more intense.
What to do: Track you symptoms by writing down what you eat and when you start to feel (and hear!) growls. Certain foods-such as dairy products and items high in carbohydrates-might increase the noise factor. Try taking 250 milligrams of magnesium at bedtime for a few days before your period. This can help ease the gas and constipation that often contribute to gut gurgles.

When to seek help: If abdominal noises really bother you in social situations, work on eliminating stress through yoga or meditation, or ask you doctor about antispasmodic medication.

Body Language Snuffling and Snorting

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What it means: You're congested. The noises are typically the result of mucus in your nose that's blocking the flow of air.

What to do: Flushing with a saline rinse can clear excess mucus that comes with a common cold or seasonal allergies. Several brands of saline rinse are available at drugstores, or mix up your own with 8 ounces warm water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Put half of the solution in each nostril using a syringe or nasal-spray bottle; it will flow out the opposite nostril. Repeat on the other side, then blow your nose.

When to seek help: See a doctor if your snuffling is accompanied by bleeding or you notice yellow-green drainage on your tissue, or if the congestion gets worse rather than better after five days, lasts more than 10 days or is accompanied by headache or facial pain. You could have a sinus infection, which is typically is treated with an antibiotic.

Breakthrough That May Protect the World against HIV

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April 05, 2010

Researchers at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Scripps Research Institute in LA Jolla, Ca, have discovered two new antibodies-produced by a minority of patients-that offer hope for an HIV vaccine. Because the new antibodies are "broadly neutralizing," they cripple many different strains of the deadly virus. Four other broadly neutralizing antibodies are known to exist, but the new weapons are more potent, latch on to their targets more easily, and are the first to have been isolated from patients in the developing world, where 95% of new AIDS cases occur. Researchers are now working on developing an active ingredient to put into a vaccine that would stimulate the production of these antibodies.

New Rule for Spotting Skin Cancer

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Size matters less than you think when it comes to better skin cancer detection. Current guidelines used to detect abnormal moles stipulate that people should look for moles only greater than 6 mm, or larger than a pencil eraser. "But size is increasingly arbitrary and irrelevant," says researcher Stuart Goldsmith, MD. One study estimates that 22% of invasive melanomas are less than 5 mm-so don't overlook smaller moles that appear abnormal (dark colored, with irregular borders), he stresses.

In Your Natural Sweeteners

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April 04, 2010

The average American consumes 130 g of added refined sugars each day. If you cut excess sugar and use natural sweeteners like molasses, honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup instead of refined whenever possible, you can add the equivalent of antioxidants from an extra serving of nuts or berries to your daily diet. That's according to researchers at Virginia Tech University who examined the antioxidant content of several natural sweeteners and found that molasses (particularly dark and blackstrap varieties ) had the highest amounts. Their study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, showed that honey, brown sugar, and maple syrup also contained significant levels of antioxidants. While the university study looked at commonly available commercial honeys (usually refined from clover nectar), earlier studies have measured antioxidants in a variety of honeys and found that darker types tend to have significantly higher polyphenol counts. For example, buckwheat has an antioxidant level 8 times higher than clover, which is outranked by sunflower and tupelo honeys.

Are tampons dangerous?

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April 02, 2010

No. Tampons don't contain any asbestos, the FDA states unequivocally. Some have trace amounts of dioxin, a chemical linked to diabetes and endometriosis (it comes from the rayon and cotton tampons are made from), but levels are so low as to be insignificant. According to guidelines from a UN safety committee, if you used 24 tampons in a month, your dioxin intake would be only 0.108 picogram/kg of body weight, or less than 0.2% of what's safe. Most of our dioxin exposure comes from meat (the chemical accumulates in fatty tissues of animals), says toxicologist Michael J. DeVito, PhD. "You're exposed to at least 13,000 times more dioxin from your diet than from tampons."

To limit exposure, eat more beans and nuts instead of meat.

Ignore sights, sounds and scents

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April 01, 2010

Taste is only one part of the cravings equation. Colors is a big cue. Red, for example, is used to stimulate appetite. (Ever notice how many restaurant interiors are red?) Music is another culprit. Researchers have found that when supermarkets play sedate music, people spend 38 percent more time in the store than when the music is upbeat. Even scents are planned-the aroma of baking bread, brewing coffee or baking cookies in the supermarket can drive shoppers to make impulse purchases.

Smart Strategy: Make a list before you walk into grocery store. Researchers say that more than 70 percent of our supermarket buying decisions are made while we're there. Following your list, not your senses, helps protect you from unhealthy choices

Avoid sneaky food traps

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I just read this article and I want to share it with on my blogs. Ever catch a whiff of fresh, hot french fries? Next thing you know, you can't stop thinking about them-with ketchup and a cola, of course. Before you realize it, you're taking the long way home just to visit the drive-through.

Why can't you resist the fries gravitational pull? One big reason: The restaurant selling them is good at its job. The food industry-manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants-has figured out how to engineer flavors, smells and sights to create foods that are physically irresistible. The good news? Once you identify those traps you can sidestep them and learn to stick to your healthy habits.