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Alcohol Not So Heart Healthy

The less you drink, the healthier your heart, according to large investigative study.

It's been reported that light to moderate alcohol drinking may improve heart health. A massive multi-center study involving 155 researchers and 260,000 people may overturn that thinking. People who drank 17% less enjoyed an average 10% less risk of coronary heart disease and had lower blood pressure and BMI. Light drinkers who reduced their drinking had the best heart health.

PositiveTip: Instead of drinking alcohol, increase your exercise and plant foods intake to enjoy proven heart health benefits.

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Compounding Health Choices

Diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol all affect your health, but especially when combined.

Swiss researchers looked at the health risks of poor diet, irregular exercise, smoking and high alcohol consumption among 16,700 Swiss men and women. Smokers were most likely to die prematurely, but people with all four risk factors were 2.5 times more likely to die. However, people free of all risk factors could increase their life expectancy by up to 10 years.

PositiveTip: Invest in your future by fostering healthy habits now. 

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Almonds Boost Heart Health

Eating almonds daily reduces the risks of heart disease.

Some researchers are calling almonds a "super-food" with specific heart benefits.  They gave 50 grams (2 handfuls) of almonds to an assorted group of healthy middle aged men, healthy young men and young men with heart disease risks. A similar control group ate as they normally would. After 1 month, the experimental group had lower blood pressure, improved blood flow and increased antioxidant levels.

PositiveTip: Add a serving of almonds or almond butter to your daily diet: your heart will thank you.

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Powdered Pure Caffeine Warning

Pure caffiene is a powerful stimulant and small amounts can cause overdose.

At least one teenager has died who used powdered pure caffeine obtained in bulk over the internet. These products are 100% caffeine, and a single teaspoon is equivalent to about 25 cups of coffee. Overdoses can cause rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeats, seizures, and death. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises all to avoid these products.

PositiveTip: Parents must communicate the potential dangers of these products with their teenagers and young adults.

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How Your Phone Can Hurt You

Texting while driving, or even while walking, is an increasingly serious hazard to your health.

We're inseparable from our cell phones, but there's a time to disconnect: when you're in motion. Distracted driving accounts for 25% of all motor vehicle accidents in US. A majority of both teens and adults admit to texting while driving. Even walking and texting is causing more accidents. Watch this brilliant Volkswagen stunt ad and consider your cell phone use in the future.

PositiveTip: Use you cell phone when you're stationary. It's less dangerous.

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You Won't Lose Weight with Veggies on a Side Plate

Simply adding fruit and vegetables to an excessive or unhealthy diet won't help you lose weight.

Fruit and vegetable consumption is a critical part of a healthy diet, and is often recommended for weight loss plans. However, a recent survey of weight loss literature found that simply increasing fruit and vegetable intake without restricting total calories or removing unhealthy foods from your diet had no effect on weight loss.

PositiveTip: To lose weight, change your plate - Push off fatty, sugary or processed foods, put on fruits and vegetables.

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They All Have Side Effects

Bottle of pills

Look at the folded paper, stapled to the professional white pharmacy bag, which instructs you on how to use the drug you just received. Or look at one of several websites which discusses various drugs or herbals that you might be taking. In either of these sources, did you notice, in addition to the “mechanism of action” and “how to use” sections, the “serious side effects” section? Every drug listed in the United States Pharmacopeia has side effects. And so do all the herbal medicines.

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The Sneaky New Tobacco

Don't believe what you hear. Hookah smoking is just as dangerous as cigarette smoking.

Cigarette smoking in the US has declined by 33% in the last decade, but hookah smoking is on the rise, especially amongst educated young adults and high school seniors. Many believe the ancient communal water pipe tobacco ritual is safe but  hookah smoking is linked to cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease.

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Adult Lifestyle Changes Lower Heart Risk

Healthy lifestyle changes during young adulthood pay big dividends.

Five healthy lifestyle changes (not overweight/obese, low alcohol intake, healthy diet, physically active, nonsmoker) have been found to lower risk of heart disease in later life. Researchers found the opposite was true also: adding unhealthy habits or dropping healthy ones increased risks.

PositiveTip: Choosing good lifestyle habits, even in young adulthood, moderates the risk of heart disease during the lifetime.

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Depression Predictor of Alzheimers?

Brain tissue buildup associated with depression may predict Alzheimer's diagnosis later.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia. There is little to be done for treatment so prevention is key. Researchers know that a buildup of the brain protein beta-amyloid is predictive of Alzheimer's. When comparing depressed and non-depressed patients amongst 371 people, researchers found that patients classified with severe depression had a 15% increase in beta-amyloid buildup.

PositiveTip: Invest in mental health for yourself and your loved ones. Social support, counseling and learning coping skills will improve your quality of life.

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