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Exercise and Air Pollution

Cycling to work in certain cities could be more dangerous than doing nothing.

Fifteen cities in the world have air pollution so bad that 60 minutes of daily cycling outweighs the benefits of exercise. By measuring the annual levels of PM2.5 pollution (tiny particles that embed themselves deep in the lungs) which are created mainly by vehicles and factories, scientists modeled the health effects of active forms of travel and air pollution. No U.S. or European city is included in these 15 cities.

PositiveTip: Choose to exercise outdoors at the time of day when air pollution is at the lowest levels.

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How Exercise Contributes to Cancer Prevention

Exercise can lower the risk of developing cancer.

Exercise contributes many direct and indirect biochemical changes that help explain its anti-cancer benefits. A few of these include:

  1. Changes to cell-growth regulators.
  2. Stimulate proteins involved in DNA repair.
  3. Improves immunity, especially regular, moderate exercise.
  4. Helps reduce chronic inflammation.
  5. Contributes to weight management.
  6. Outdoor exercise can result in increased exposure to sunlight and vitamin D.

There are likely many other pathways as well. Learn more by reading this excellent summary.

PositiveTip: Choose to get moderate exercise almost everyday of the week to enhance your health and lower your risk of cancer.

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Is Butter Back?

Using healthy plant oils will definitely reduce the risk of heart disease.

In spite of media attention to a systematic review and meta-analysis looking at the association of butter consumption and chronic disease, a careful analysis would suggest otherwise.  Even the authors of this study suggest butter is not "back". What the headlines missed is that there are no specific comparators. The default comparison was butter vs. the rest of the diet--which is usually an unhealthy mix of refined grains, soda, sugar and red meat.

PositiveTip: Butter is still a worse choice than sources of healthy unsaturated fats like olive, soybean or canola oil.

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Are Bagged Salad Greens Safe?

Salad leaf juices may enhance the growth and virulence of Salmonella.

British researchers have discovered that minimal amounts of damage to salad leaves can greatly increase the risk of Salmonella food poisoning. Apparently, the nutrient-rich juices secreted from crushed leaves in bagged salad products stimulates this bacteria's growth 280-fold compared to sterile water. 

PositiveTip: Follow these practical preventive guidelines to minimize this risk:

  1. Purchase the freshest bags available.
  2. Avoid bags with mushy or slimy leaves.
  3. Skip the bags that look swollen.
  4. Refrigerate immediately.
  5. Rinse well before eating.

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From the Plant to the Puff

There are 93 known and potentially harmful chemicals in cigarettes.

You may not be a smoker, but you know that cigarettes can kill you. It actually kills half of all who start and never quit! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created some videos and interactive tools to help you learn more about the potentially harmful chemicals in cigarettes from the plant to the product to the smoke.

PositiveTip: If you have children or grandchildren take some time to show them these videos and information. It could help them never start smoking.

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Reset Your Circadian Clock--Outdoors

Sick of going to sleep late and waking up tired? You need a couple of days camping!

Modern lifestyles tend to disrupt biological night by altering normal levels of melatonin. Researchers at the University of Colorado have found after a weekend camping trip (no flashlights, cell phones, or artificial light sources) in the mountains participant's circadian clocks shifted so melatonin levels rose earlier and they slept longer. Controls who stayed home shifted even later and woke up more groggy.

PositiveTip: Having a hard time going to sleep early? Maybe a weekend camping trip in the wilderness is what the doctor ordered!

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Does Burnt Toast Cause Cancer?

The jury is still out on acrylamide and cancer.

When starchy foods are cooked to a dark brown, acrylamide is formed. Animal studies suggest there might be a link between acrylamide and cancer risk, but a large, 10 country study across Europe found no significant evidence in humans (Watch Dr. Mitrou discuss this study.) While the jury is still out, you could follow the Food Standards Agency suggestion to lower exposure by aiming for golden yellow when baking, toasting or roasting bread, potatoes or parsnips.

PositiveTip: Strong evidence points to not smoking, avoiding alcohol, physical activity and a healthy weight as significant ways to reduce cancer risk.

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Did Your State Make the Grade?

New companies employ the same old dirty tricks to promote tobacco.

Tobacco kills 400,000 Americans every year. Another 16 million are living with tobacco-caused diseases. The American Lung Association has released its 15th annual State of Tobacco Control report. View the Federal Government grades here. Find out how your state is doing

PositiveTip: Let your state and national representative know you want them to do more to control cigarettes and other tobacco products.

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Homeopathic Teething Gel Warning

Worrisome amounts of belladonna found in some homeopathic teething products.

Laboratory analysis carried out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found belladonna (deadly nightshade) "far exceeding" what was stated in Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Gels label. Reports indicated more than 400 babies have been sickened and 10 have died in connection with this problem. Hyland has so far refused to recall these products, though requested to do so by the FDA.

PositiveTip: Seek medical help immediately if your child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and muscle weakness after using homeopathic teething products.