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Quiet!

Tue, 2016-05-10 03:07
Photo: Hemera If you work all day in noise levels 85 decibels (dB) or higher, you’re going to experience hearing loss.

How loud is 85 decibels?

Whisper – 20 dB
Normal conversation – 60 dB
Heavy traffic – 80 dB
Lawn mower – 95 dB
Fire truck siren – 120 dB
Rock concert – 140 dB
Jet plane taking off – 160 dB

To protect your hearing, wear earplugs or special ear muffs when-ever possible—especially in the workplace. Try to find time and space for some “peace and quiet.”

Unfortunately, hearing loss is cumulative.

Family Safety & Health

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Smarter Students

Tue, 2016-05-10 02:57
Photo: Ali Taylor Students at Montana’s Whitefish Central School are calmer, more respectful, and smarter thanks to a change in their diet. School officials replaced the sugar and synthetic additive-filled snacks in the school’s vending machines with milk, yogurt, peanuts, fruit, and string cheese. In the cafeteria, fresh fruit and homemade salads, sandwiches, burritos, as well as other “from scratch” selections, supplanted processed foods.

“There has been a tremendous change in our students’ behavior,” reports school principal Kim Anderson. He notes that, in the past, 10-12 students were sent to him each day for behavior problems. Now that number is 4-8 per week.

Teachers report 10 to 15 percent more teaching time since their charges have calmed down and are more alert and focused. Grade scores are up, and food service is making money.

The Feingold Association at www.feingold.org

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, January/February 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

The Cold Hard Facts

Tue, 2016-05-10 02:43
Photo: Dawn Allynn We get more colds in winter than summer--not because it’s colder or wetter, but because we spend more time indoors where viruses are easier to swap. Classroom-cloistered children prove to be expert carriers of the malady.

Cold sufferers are infectious a day or two before they experience symptoms. Sinus congestion and colored nasal discharge are common signs of a cold, not necessarily the result of a bacterial infection, so antibiotics aren’t needed. Colds can last up to 14 days, and coughs can linger longer.

The best preventive action? Wash your hands often, and keep your immune system strong by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Hope Heart Institute

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, January/February 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Ladies, Move It!

Tue, 2016-03-29 02:20
Photo: Paco Sancho Participants at a recent International Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Cancer in Washington, D.C., heralded some good news in the fight against cancer.

1. Being physically active may be more important than body weight or body fat to your risk of breast cancer. Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine and cancer researcher at the University of Southern California, said that in a study of postmenopausal women, those who exercised nearly four hours a week saw their breast cancer risk drop more than 50 percent. Exercise offers benefits even after menopause by reducing circulating estrogen as well as body fat.

2. Failing to limit adult weight gain may account for up to one third of all breast cancers. Henry J. Thompson, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Prevention Laboratory at Colorado State University, found that weight gain of more than 11 pounds as an adult, along with getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day, is linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

3. Eating protective foods together seems to boost their cancer-protective effects. John W. Erdman, Jr., Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, found that a diet consisting of a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans offered the greatest anticancer effect. “Supplements,” he added, “cannot provide the synergistic action you get from whole foods.”

Environmental Nutrition

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, March/April 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Sleep On It

Tue, 2016-03-29 01:57
Photo: Lotus Head Got a problem? Go to bed.

Researchers recruited 66 people to discover if sleep spurred creative problem solving. They taught the participants two simple rules to help them convert a string of eight numbers into a new pattern. A third rule that required additional insight and would improve performance was kept secret.

After initial training, some participants slept eight hours, while others were forced to stay awake—some during the day, some at night. Those with sufficient shut-eye proved twice as likely as those who stayed awake to figure out the third rule and solve the problem.

The age-old advice to “sleep on it” now enjoys scientific support.

Massachutes Medical Society

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, January/February 2005. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Olive Oil and You

Tue, 2016-03-29 01:49
Photo: Stockxchng The magic charm of the Mediterranean draws million of visitors each year. Part of the attraction is the delicious food served in the region; breads, vegetable dishes, herbal seasonings, and pasta prepared with the greenish-gold, virgin olive oil. There is a large variety of olives, each possessing its own unique fruity flavor, which in turn produce oils with a wide range of flavors. The olive oil used here in the United States comes largely from Italy and Spain.

Southern Europeans who live in the Mediterranean have much lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes than Northern Europeans and Americans. One of the reasons for this advantage is the predominant use of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet rather than fats of animal origin. Olive oil has a composition similar to avocado oil, and is largely composed of monounsaturated fat. In addition, virgin olive oil has a high level of antioxidant phenolics that enables the consumer to enjoy lower blood cholesterol levels and a lower risk of breast and bowel cancer.

There are additional advantages from using olive oil. Blood glucose levels are better controlled and HDL cholesterol (the "good cholesterol") levels are not decreased as with many plant oils. Some experiments suggest that extra virgin olive oil may also lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of blood clots. Renaud has reported that French patients who survived a heart attack had a reduced risk of a second heart attack when fed an olive oil-rich diet.

Oil for Breakfast

Olive oil tends to be more expensive than other vegetable oils because of the labor intensive method of harvesting the crop. Typically, farmers avoid using chemicals to assist in the harvesting process because of the need for a quality product that is environmentally acceptable to the consumer. Virgin olive oil is considered as a pure fruit juice by the southern Europeans and many farmers in Greece consume a wine glass of olive oil for breakfast.

California produces almost all of the olives that are grown in the United States, and these are used to produce canned olives. While most of the calories in an olive come from fat, four ripe olives contain only 15 calories. Green olives, which are picked in the fall before they reach maturation have less than half the calories of the black mature olives.

The increased life expectancy and low rates of chronic diseases among the southern Europeans may be due in part to their simple, physically active lifestyle, and the unique Mediterranean diet that includes a regular use of olive oil.

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By Winston J. Craig, R.D. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Anyone for Mushrooms?

Tue, 2016-02-23 03:21
Photo: Dirk Ziegener Mushrooms have been very popular for many centuries. They have been used both as food and for medicinal purposes. Of the 14,000 mushrooms, only about 3,000 are edible, while 700 have known medicinal properties. In addition, less than one percent are poisonous.

Mushrooms are enjoyed for their flavor and texture. Their flavor normally intensifies during cooking, and their texture holds up well to usual cooking methods, including stir-frying and sautéing. It is popular to add mushrooms to soups and salads, or to use them as an appetizer. They also add an appealing touch to vegetable-based casseroles and stews.

Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/ounce). They have very little sodium and fat, and a high content of dietary fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.

Mushrooms are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that helps lower elevated blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. Mushrooms are a rich source of selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant that works with vitamin E to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. In the Baltimore study on Aging, men with the lowest blood selenium levels were 4 to 5 times more likely to have prostate cancer compared to those with the highest selenium levels.

Protective Effects

The most commonly consumed mushroom in the United States is Agaricus bisporus or the white button mushroom. An extract of white button mushrooms can decrease cell proliferation and decreased tumor size in a dose-dependent manner. Recent findings show that white button mushrooms possess substances that reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. The protective effect of mushrooms can be seen with a daily intake of about 100 grams (3.5 ozs).

Shiitake mushrooms have been used for centuries by the Chinese and Japanese to treat colds and flu. Lentinan, a beta-glucan isolated from the fruiting body of shiitake mushrooms, appears to stimulate the immune system, help fight infection, and demonstrates anti-tumor activity.

Many people enjoy going to the woods to pick their own mushrooms. However, identifying mushrooms can be a real challenge. The color, shape and size of the fruiting body can vary tremendously. It is important to properly identify mushrooms, so that one can avoid collecting a poisonous species.

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By Winston J. Craig, R.D. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Its Gotta Be Brisk

Tue, 2016-02-23 03:05
Photo: Carl Dwyer You can get fit by walking. But it needs to be “determined,” or brisk walking. What’s brisk? If you’re just starting out, walk at a 3.5 mph pace (one mile in just over 17 minutes). Work up to a 4 mph pace (a mile in 15 minutes).

Archives of Internal Medicine

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, November/December 2004. Copyright © 2005 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Down but Not Out

Sat, 2016-02-20 04:05
Photo: Adam Casalino Approximately four out of every five newly disabled older people regain the ability to live independently within six months of their disability episode––a higher recovery rate than previously reported. “Our study offers good news to older people,” say researchers Susan E. Hardy, M.D., and Thomas M. Gill, M.D., Yale University School of Medicine. “It offers compelling evidence that becoming disabled in old age is not necessarily a life sentence.”

The majority of people in this study who recovered from disability maintained their independence for at least six months. But, for many, recovery was short-lived, especially for those with a disability lasting two months or more. While the short-term prognosis for recovery is good, the findings of recurring disability suggest the need to prevent disability in the first place and also to prevent recurrence.

The study measured disability in terms of “activities of daily living,” such as bathing, dressing, walking, or getting out of a chair. 

National Institutes of Health

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, November/December 2004. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Flu Season

Mon, 2015-10-26 15:00
Photo: iStock I've always believed that the best defense to seasonal colds and the flu is a good offense. It's the daily steps that we take before flu season arrives that give us our best chances for fighting off or lowering the severity of colds and flu. Proper diet, sunshine, exercise, fresh air, plenty of sleep, low stress levels, and proper amounts of water all help our bodies to be in the best of health, allowing us to more effectively fight sickness.

God created us with wondrous and complex bodies, able to fight off disease and stave off sickness, but it is up to each one of us to keep our bodies healthy so that it may work properly when sickness does strike.

Treat Symptoms

Many times we don't take care of ourselves until sickness is upon us. We drag our haggard selves into the closest Rx for vitamins, drugs and various other cold and flu comforts. Many times these synthetic drugs treat the symptoms but really do nothing to make us get better any faster.

I recently read a newspaper poll conducted on health and sickness, where a high percentage of people polled claimed that diet, water, and sleep were not high priorities in there day to day lives, yet these same people also when polled said that they wished that there were some sort of “magic pill” that would help prevent them from getting sick at all. While we know that it's impossible on this earth of sin to live without sickness at all, we also know that preventative health is the closest thing to a “magic pill” there is.

This year don't let the flu sneak up on you, do the things today that will give you the strength you need when sickness rears it's ugly head.

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By Benjamin DuBose. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

No Time for Rocking Chairs

Mon, 2015-08-31 14:00
Photo: iStock If you’re 65 or older, it might be time to hit the free weights. A study published in an issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report finds that older people would do well to take up lifting weights. In the study, 11 percent of 6,000 respondents 65 and older said they participated in strength training such as weight lifting or calisthenics two or more days per week. Women, those classified as obese, and respondents labeling themselves as “in poor health” were the least likely to strength train regularly.

Strength training helped prevent such problems as bone loss and muscle atrophy. It also minimized falls and bone fractures.

The Nation’s Health
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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, September/October 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

A National Epidemic

Mon, 2015-08-31 14:00
Photo: J. Blarer About nine million children in America, aged six to 11 years, are overweight. That amounts to 15 percent of our children. The numbers have actually tripled in the past 30 years. And the rates for being overweight are almost double amongst Black and Hispanic kids.

Not only is the pediatric population as a whole getting fatter, but the fatter children are also getting more obese, with super-obesity having increased almost 100% over the past two decades. Obese children are at high risk of becoming obese adults, and the more obese the child becomes, the greater the risk of obesity when they reach adulthood.

After a passage of time the overweight child can experience elevated blood lipids, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and other problems. Almost seven million American children and teenagers are believed to have high cholesterol levels. Results from the Bogalusa and Muscatine studies indicate that children with elevated LDL cholesterol levels are at high risk of becoming adults with elevated LDL cholesterol levels.

Overweight kids are on a fast track to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, diseases that we usually associate with middle-aged adults. Pediatricians are alarmed at the rapid rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. They believe we are on the verge of a national epidemic of diabetes. In addition to these health problems, the overweight child also experiences emotional and social problems.

Why do we see so much obesity in children today? Lifestyle factors are surely to blame. Many young people today follow a very sedentary lifestyle. Leisure time is so often spent watching television and DVD movies, playing computer games, surfing the web, or chatting on the internet, rather than outdoor play and activities.

Fast Food Fat

In addition, the eating habits of children have substantially changed over the past two decades. Children are obtaining a greater proportion of their calories from fast foods and snacks that are typically high in fat, salt, and sugar. These foods include ice cream, soda pop, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pizza, french fries, shakes, chips, and candy bars, rather than fiber-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Furthermore, portion sizes have increased quite dramatically leading children to consume more food. Over the past two decades, the average portion sizes of food have increased by about 100 calories, while the average beverage serving increased from eight to 20 ounces. As the portion sizes increase so do the waistlines of our children.

Changes to help stem the national epidemic are long overdue. Children should be encouraged to engage in a greater amount of physical activity including walking, cycling, and other outdoor activities. School lunch programs need to provide more low-fat and low-calorie choices. Proper meal patterns should be established for the entire family with parent’s role-modeling good eating habits. Children should be encouraged to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less fast-food and processed food that is high in fat, calories, sugar, and salt.

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By Winston J. Craig, R.D. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Park the Stroller

Mon, 2015-08-31 14:00
Photo: Stockxchng To help keep your preschooler from having to fight the battle of the bulge later in life, leave the stroller behind.

Strollers encourage a more sedentary lifestyle, increasing the chances of obesity down the road. Allow children to walk, says Dr. Joel Steinberg of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. This encourages them to be active.

Steinberg works closely with obese children and insists that the average 3-year-old can walk just as long, but maybe not as fast, as an adult. “Parents usually tire before their kids,” he states. 

University of Southwestern News

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Good Memories Outlast Bad

Fri, 2015-08-28 14:00
Photo: Hemera During those moments of retrospection we all experience, we’re more likely to remember the good times than the bad.

Several studies, which included lab research, found that people’s perception of past events is mostly pleasant. However, depressed people don’t share this bias. “Their negative emotions faded less and positive emotions faded more,” says lead review author W. Richard Walker, an assistant professor of psychology at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.

It was concluded that when people share their memories with friends and family, the social interaction seems to alter the emotional experience of those memories. “In many cases, talking helps,” says Walker.

Winston-Salem State University

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, March/April 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Reusing Frying Oil

Fri, 2015-08-28 14:00
Photo: Matthew Maaskant Reusing frying oil increases the risk of high blood pressure. Researchers randomly sampled and analyzed cooking oil from 538 homes in Málaga, Spain, checking for nonvolatile breakdown compounds that form during frying and are absorbed by food, then consumed. They compared the amount of breakdown products in the oils to several health indicators of the adults in those homes.

Results demonstrate a direct link between the intake of these breakdown products and high blood pressure. They found that risk is greatest when using sunflower oil and least when cooking with olive oil, which remains more stable when heated. The monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil are also credited with beneficial effects on blood pressure.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, September/October 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

Killer Cleaners

Fri, 2015-08-28 14:00
Photo: iStock According to a World Health Organization 1997 study, 80 percent of cancer cases in the twenty-first century will be attributable to environmental factors. Where do we find many of these cancer-causing factors? Right in home sweet home.

The Environmental Protection Agency reported that toxic chemicals in today’s homes are three times more likely to produce cancer than outdoor airborne pollutants. The biggest culprit? Cleaning supplies.
Instead of simply giving in to dirt and grime, consider these suggestions:
  • Avoid petroleum-based cleaners and those containing chlorine, ammonia and phosphates.
     
  • Keep in mind that traditional toilet and oven cleaners and furniture polish contain the highest levels of toxins.
     
  • Choose hand-applied cleaners rather than sprays. Never mix cleaners.
     
  • Don’t clean with hot water, which quickly evaporates, lifting toxins into the air.
     
  • Invite kids, especially young ones, to play elsewhere.
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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, January/February 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Soda Waistlines

Mon, 2015-08-24 14:00
Photo: iStock Drink just one can of sugary soda per day while not adjusting the amount of food you consume or increasing your exercise level, and you’ll add 15 pounds to your weight over a year’s time.

One 12-ounce can of sugary soda boasts 150 calories. Super-size that and, well, you get the picture. Americans are drinking twice as much sugared soda per person as they did 25 years ago.

Want to quench your thirst without expanding your girth? Reach for fruit or vegetable juices. Then, of course, there’s always water!

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Secondhand Smoke

Mon, 2015-08-24 14:00
Photo: Peter Zelei Researchers from Montana and the University of San Francisco recently examined the impact of a short-lived Helena, Montana, 2002 smoking ban. Although the ban lasted only six months, reverberations from the smokeout were far-reaching.

While the ban was in place, heart-attack admissions among Helena residents at the region’s one hospital dropped by 60 percent, moving from an average of seven per month to a little more than three. No similar changes were reported in the surrounding communities.

Experts estimate that just 20 minutes of breathing smoke-filled air makes a nonsmoker’s blood platelets almost as “sticky” as the platelets of pack-a-day smokers. Such a condition makes the nonsmoker more likely to form clots that could cause a heart attack or stroke.

Tufts University, Health and Nutrition Letter

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, March/April 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Lather Up

Mon, 2015-08-24 14:00
Photo: Giampaolo Squarcina Want to keep yourself healthy? Then lather up. Research done at Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, Canada, revealed that people who wash their hands with soap and water more than seven times a day were four times more likely to be free of cold and flu symptoms as were those who wash less frequently.

The Council on Family Health offers these hand-washing tips to help you combat those nasty germs:

Wash your whole hand, not just the palm. Germs hide in cuticles, beneath your fingernails, and in the creases of your skin.

Wash for at least 15 seconds.

Use warm, running water to lift germs off your skin and carry them away. The water needs to be warm enough to cut through the built-up oil on your hands.

Always use soap, since rinsing isn’t enough. Even though soap bars don’t transmit germs, liquid soap is often the best choice for children since their little fingers may find it difficult to grip the bar.

Canadian Journal of Infection Control

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Fish Freedom Act

Fri, 2015-08-21 14:00
Photo: Studiomill Tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish can bubble a sigh of relief. Although they are rich in omega-3 fats, a component necessary for good health in humans, they’re not the only source available.

Dr. Thomas H. Lee, editor in chief of Harvard Heart Letter, says seeds, nuts, some oils, greens, and supplements are other ways for humans to get those important omega-3 fats. “Foods are almost always a better way to get nutrients than pills,” he states. Ground up flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, or wheat germ are all on his short list of sources. “If you like greens,” he adds, “follow Popeye’s advice and eat more spinach.” Dr. Lee suggests that using plant oils that contain omega-3 fats is another method for getting them into your diet.

So rather than trying to hook a big one, go fishing in your favorite supermarket and reel in all the omega-3 fats you need. No bait necessary.

Harvard Health Letter

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Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, September/October 2004. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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