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Pistachios Help Stress

Pistachio nuts may improve stress response and blood pressure in diabetics.

Penn State researchers randomized two groups of type-2 diabetics to different diets. All consumed a heart healthy diet, but the experimental group's diet included 2 daily servings of pistachios.  Researchers provided all the meals for 4 weeks. The blood vessels of those eating the pistachios remained more relaxed and open during a cold water challenge and stressful mental test. They also found real world measures of blood pressure were lower.

Positive Tip: Unsalted pistachios in moderation may be a good addition to a healthy diet.


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Excess Weight Increases Cancer Incidence

Higher body mass increases risk of many cancers.

Researchers investigated the relation between baseline BMI and cancer incidence in 160,000 new cancers from a population of 5 million adults collected over 7.5 years from British general practices. Higher BMI was associated with increasing cancers of the uterus, gallbladder, kidney, cervix, thyroid, liver, colon, ovary, and breast (postmenopausal) and with leukemia. Cancers of the lung and oral cavity were attributable entirely to smoking and not BMI.

PositiveTip: Maintaining an ideal weight through physical activity and a healthy diet lowers risk of many kinds of cancer.

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Diabetes Rates Decline

Long-term trends indicate diabetes prevalence and incidence has declined.

Analysis of the National Health Interview Survey in the U.S. now suggests  a potential slowing in the diabetes epidemic. Diabetes (type 1 and 2) rose sharply each year between 1990 and 2008, but has leveled off between 2008 and 2012. The researchers suggest this new trend may be related to a recent slowing in obesity rates. However, this was not found among certain populations, including Hispanics and blacks.

PositiveTip: Make positive choices to maintain a healthy weight! It will lower your risk of diabetes.

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How to Keep Your Heart Efficient

An hour of moderate exercise significantly drops your risk of heart failure.

Swedish researchers studying 40,000 people found regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart failure by up to 46%. Heart failure refers to inefficient heart pumping not a failure to pump. Risk of death is 30-50% within 5 years of diagnosis. Researchers found that a daily dose of either 1 hour of moderate exercise (brisk walking) or 30 minutes of high intensity exercise (running/biking) had equal benefits.

PositiveTip: Get your leg muscles moving daily to keep your heart muscles efficient.

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Your Child's Sleep Environment

A "sleep unfriendly" environment can impact quality and quantity of sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation has summarized three important parts of a "sleep friendly" environment for children. They are noise, light, and temperature. The noise generated from the household and neighborhood can disturb sleep patterns. Unwanted light levels can disrupt sleep, although complete darkness isn't necessary. A room temperature that is not too cold, but is cool, makes sleeping easier. Economic and security concerns may influence each of these factors.

PositiveTip: Seek to provide a "sleep friendly" environment for your children and yourself.

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Screentime at Bedtime Robs Kids of Sleep

Children that go to bed with an electronic device sleep 1 hour less on average.

The National Sleep Foundation's 2014 survey found that almost 72% of children go to bed with an electronic device. The light from these devices disrupts the natural sleep patterns, causing children to sleep 1 hour less on average. Insufficient sleep can adversely affect children's school performance, decision making and overall behavior.

PositiveTip: Parents should set limits and provide healthy alternatives for bedtime electronic use.

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Lifestyle Change, Not Medication for Mild Hypertention?

Is mild hypertension being overdiagnosed?

Almost 40 percent of the world's population have hypertension, and more than half are considered to be mild hypertensives. About half of these are treated with medications, even though there is only limited evidence that this reduces mortality or morbidity. Some researchers are suggesting an overemphasis on drug treatment limits the opportunities to focus on individual and population lifestyle factors.

PositiveTip: If you are hypertensive, ask your physician if lifestyle changes (i.e. physical activity, weight loss, salt reduction) might be effective for you.

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Fitness Puts a Cap on Blood Pressure

Fit men experience less progressively rising blood pressures with age.

Many people believe it is inevitable that the older they get the higher their blood pressure will be. A study which included almost 14,000 healthy men without hypertension, cardiovascular disease or cancer were followed for nearly 40 years. Highly fit men reached abnormal systolic blood pressures a decade later than men in the low fitness category. These findings may not apply to women, or nonwhite men; as these groups were not included in the study.

PositiveTip: Keep a younger blood pressure! Stay physically fit.

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Teen Exercise May Improve Brain Efficiency

Fit teen’s brains have improved white matter to aid attention and memory.

A new study examining 24 students aged 9 and 10 found that physically fit teens had better developed white matter than less fit teens. White matter connects different brain regions. Researchers monitored white matter connecting attention and memory brain regions and hypothesize that “children with higher fitness levels may have faster neural conduction between brain regions important for cognitive control”.

PositiveTip: Keep your teens physically active so their muscles and brain matter will both develop.

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Sleep and Weight Gain in Teens

Obesity is more likely in sleep-deprived teens.

Teens are 20% more likely to be obese at 21 if they get less than 6 hours of sleep per night rather than 8+ hours of sleep. Using data for 10,000 teens over 6 years, researchers found 1 in 5 teens were sleep-deprived. The link between sleep and obesity may be attributed to resulting inactivity and poor food choices made when sleepy.

PositiveTip: Help your teens manage their night-owl activities and get their 8+ hours of sleep so they perform better in school and reduce obesity risk.