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Eat a Few Nuts to Your Health!

Nuts may lower the overall glycemic load of the diet.

Pooled research from 12 clinical trials of 450 participants with type 2 diabetes, found those eating an average of 2 ounces of tree nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts or cashews) conveyed improved glycemic control. They experienced significantly lower levels of fasting glucose and HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar over time). It may be that the healthy nut fats convey this benefit.

PositiveTip: Substitute calories from foods with questionable nutrition for a small handful of tree nuts each day.

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Tree Nuts to the Rescue?

Pistachios nuts daily may lower diabetes risk in prediabetics.

Spanish researchers tested the effects of pistachio nuts in the diets of 54 adults with prediabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to consume a daily handful of pistachios, or to the control group, with added olive oil instead, to keep the calories the same. After 4 months those eating the pistachios showed lower blood sugar and insulin levels, and a drop in biomarkers for inflammation. Neither group grained significant weight.

PositiveTip: Include a small handful of tree nuts in your diet daily.

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Cannabis Use in Alcohol Treatment

Marijuana use associated with less abstinence in alcohol treatment program.

Associations were examined between marijuana use and outcomes of treatment for alcohol dependence in about 1200 participants in an 18 week treatment program and a 1 year follow-up. Any use of marijuana resulted in lower abstinence from alcohol. Each day of cannabis use was associated with 4-5 days less abstinence from alcohol. This observation does not prove it causes more alcohol use, though.

PositiveTip: Avoid marijuana use during treatment for alcohol dependence.

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Wishing You a Healthy New Year

In your quest for health, don't reach for products--reach for a lifestyle.

On the last day of this year, you may be thinking about making resolutions to will improve your health. Dr. Max Hammonds shares three absolute rules for reaching success:

  1. There are no magic pills--none. Quick-fixes don' exist and are a waste of time.
  2. One size does not fit all. Find what works for you.
  3. It takes time to heal. Never start programs that end in just a few weeks. 

PositiveTip: Carefully follow Dr. Hammonds nine simple steps to good health. Happy New Year!

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Teens Perception of Pot Changing

The marijuana industry wants to grow its profits while downplaying the health risks.

After marijuana was legalized in Washington and Colorado, teens perceived it less harmful and use of the drug in this group increased--especially in the younger teens. A large national survey has found even in states without laws allowing recreational use, the perception of the harmfulness of marijuana declined significantly following passage of these laws. While these laws are aimed primarily at adults, they also effect the younger generations.

PositiveTip: Don't let the rising popularity of marijuana blind you from the adverse effects.

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Sleep Deprivation Common on the Street

Insominia and fatigue common when living on the streets with no fixed address.

This time of the year many of us savior the blessings of home and family. A survey from France compared age, sex, and location-matched individuals in the general population with homeless people and found they got significantly less sleep. The homeless, especially women, were most likely to report sleeping less than 4 hours per night. Additionally, 41% of the homeless experienced insomnia compared with only 19% in the general population.

PositiveTip: Homeless shelters can assist individuals by improving alertness, health, and the ability to face daily challenges.

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Hearing Loss First, then Dementia?

The worse the hearing loss, the greater the risk of developing dementia.

Researchers with the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging have found a strong association between hearing loss and dementia. When compared to individuals with normal hearing, those with mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss had, respectively, a 2, 3, and 5 fold, increased risk of developing dementia over the 18 year study. This correlation held true even when age, diabetes, hypertension, and other confounders were ruled out.

PositiveTip: Have your hearing tested by an audiologist, and if needed, wear hearing aids to hear better and to protect your brain.

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The Slippery Slope of Dishonesty

One evil habit, if not firmly resisted, will strengthen into chains of steel, binding the whole man.

A fascinating series of computer-based experiments on 55 participants discovered that with each successive lie, MRI evidence showed progressively decreasing activity in the amygdala. This decreasing emotional response illustrated that small acts of dishonesty tend to become ever more blatant and less disturbing. An early health reformer once stated: "One wrong act prepares the way for another." (Child Guidance 202). So true!

PositiveTip: Remember: unethical behaviors tend to escalate. We must stay on the path of honesty.

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Sugar Tax Impact in the U.K.

A three-tiered U.K. sugar tax is set to reduce health care costs.

Based on a report last year from the U.K. Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, the U.K. has decided to implement in 2018 a three-tiered tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB):

  • High tax: >8 g sugar/100 ml
  • Moderate tax: 5-8 g/100 ml
  • No tax: <5 g/100 ml

Researchers have now estimated, based on modeling scenarios, this will significantly benefit the prevalence of obesity (150,000 fewer obese), type 2 diabetes, and a reduction in dental caries.

PositiveTip: Reduce your consumption of refined sugars to cut your risk of disease.