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The 11 Life Lessons

The 11 Life Lessons It Turns Out I’ve Taught My Six Kids

On my 46th birthday recently, my (mostly adult) kids wrote out a list of lessons I’d taught each of them in their lives so far. Each wrote their own list, and my wife Eva sweetly put them together in a notebook.

As I read through them, I felt like crying. It’s so incredibly touching that they appreciate what I’ve been trying to pass on to them, things I’ve been learning and want them to understand.

As a father, there are few things more meaningful than to see how you’ve helped your kids through your example and talks over the years. We have a mixed family of 6 kids, aging from 13 years old to 26 years, and all of them are wonderful human beings.

It turns out, there were some lessons that all or most of the kids put on their list, which I’m going to share with you here. These lessons they had in common made me wonder if these were the more powerful lessons, or if they were simply the ones I talked about the most. 🙂

So here they are, roughly ordered in how frequently they showed up on my kids’ lists:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and it’s okay to fail. This was tied (with the next one) as the most common lesson on their lists — it made all their lists, I think. I really love that this lesson hit home with them.
  2. Have empathy & try to see things from others’ perspectives. This was the other lesson on all their lists, and again, it’s beautiful that they all took this to heart. I’ve tried to show them this through my actions, though of course I’m not at all perfect.
  3. Push out of your comfort zone. This is another one I’ve tried to teach by example, from running several marathons and an ultramarathon to doing things that scare me, like speaking on stage or writing books. This lesson is so important to me that
  4. Don’t spend more than you have. This is such a simple idea, but one that is rarely followed. I’m glad my kids are starting out with this mindset — live within your means, save as much as you can.
  5. Appreciate what you have & enjoy where you are right now. I love this one. It’s something that I try to embody, but also remind them when they are thinking about what they don’t have. Each time we’re stuck in complaint, it’s an opportunity to wake up to the beauty that’s in front of us.
  6. Sadness is a part of life, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling it. Despite what I said in the previous item, it’s OK to feel sadness, pain, grief, frustration, anxiety, anger. In fact, most of us never want to feel those things, so we’ll do whatever we can to ignore them or get away from the feelings. Instead, I try to actually feel those things, as an experience. It teaches me about struggle — if we’re not willing to face our own struggles, how can we be there for others when they struggle?
  7. Don’t give up just because something gets hard. As new adults, our four oldest kids are facing various struggles in new ways. This is part of growth, of course, but struggles never feel good. My job as dad has been to encourage them not to give up just because it’s hard — to keep going, and to use the struggle to grow.
  8. But don’t overwork yourself. That said, I’m not a fan of overwork. I believe the brain doesn’t function well if you keep studying or working past the point of exhaustion, so I try to teach them about taking breaks, resting, going outside and moving.
  9. It’s okay to be weird in public. Have fun. I’m not sure why several of them had this on the list — they must have learned to be weird from someone else? OK, in truth, they might have gotten it from my tendency to dance and skip with them while we’re out walking around in a city, or to encourage us all to do weird things as a group, no matter what other people might think.
  10. Your reality is a reflection of the narrative you tell yourself. This is something I learned late in life, and I’m glad my kids are learning this. The good news is that you can learn to drop that narrative, if it leads to suffering. What would this moment be like without a narrative? Beautiful and free.
  11. Make people laugh. It makes their day brighter. I’m so happy they picked up this important lesson from me! With my kids, I’m mostly always joking, except for when I get (too) serious about teaching them an important lesson. The rest of the time, I try to take a lighthearted approach.

I love my kids with all my heart, and it has been a privilege to be their dad. I take 10% of the credit and give the rest to their moms, grandparents, and themselves.

Btw, you can read Chloe’s full list in her blog post.

dad kids

Also … from them, I’ve learned some lessons that are just as important:

  • Kids deserve to be heard, to be listened to, to be respected. I started out as a dad with the idea that what I say goes, and they just need to listen to me! But over the years, I’ve learned to listen to them, and treat them as I’d want to be treated.
  • Kids have tender hearts that hurt when you aren’t kind to them. As a young dad, my frustrations and insecurities led me to angry bursts of scolding, yelling, spanking. I’ve grown since then, but more importantly, I’ve learned to see the tenderness of their hearts, and how it hurts to be yelled at by someone they trust and love so much. I am much more gentle with those hearts these days.
  • I should relax and not take myself so seriously. Whenever I think too much of myself, my kids humble me. Whenever I get too serious, my kids laugh at me. I love that playful reminder to loosen up.
  • Dads are goofy, dorky, uncool. And that’s how we should be. I sometimes harbor the notion that I can be a “cool” dad. When I try to break out newish slang or reference a meme, my kids will tease me about it. When I break out a joke or pun that I think is hilarious, they’ll laugh while rolling their eyes and calling it a “dad joke.” So I’ve learned just to embrace my uncoolness, and be myself with them.
  • All they need is love. There are lots of things to stress out about as parents, and nowadays we tend to obsess about getting everything right with our kids. But really, we’re stressing about it too much. All the details are just details — there’s only one thing that really matters. They want you to love them. And to receive their love. That’s all. Feed them, clothe them, shelter them, educate them, sure … but beyond that, they just want you to love them. Drop everything that gets in the way of that and let it come out as simply and clearly as you can.

 

BY LEO BABAUTA
source: zenhabits.net
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Does Living Alone Increase Mental Health Risk?

A new study has concluded that living alone is linked to common mental disorders. The authors have also identified the main driver of this worrying relationship.

Some common mental disorders (CMDs) include mood disorders, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

According to some studies, almost one-third of people will experience a CMD in their lifetime.

These conditions can have a significant impact on the individual, of course, but due to their high prevalence, they also affect society at large.

Due to the widespread influence of CMDs, scientists are keen to understand the full range of risk factors that feed into mental health.

In recent years, scientists have investigated whether living alone might be one such risk factor.

A new study, the results of which now appear in the journal PLOS ONE, takes a fresh look at this question. The study authors conclude that there is a link between living alone and CMDs. They also find that it affects all age groups and sexes, and that primarily, loneliness is the driver.

Living alone

The number of people living alone is steadily growing throughout much of the Western world; this is due to a number of reasons, including the aging population, people tending to get married at an older age, and increased divorce rates.

Researchers have already looked at the relationship between CMDs and living alone, but most have focused on older adults, so their findings may not apply to other age groups.

Also, earlier studies generally focused on just one mental condition: depression. This might not provide the full picture.

Previous work has also not quantified how other factors influence this relationship; for instance, people who live alone are more likely to be overweight, smoke, use drugs, and lack social support. So which of these, if any, is the main driver of CMDs?

The authors of the new study aimed to fill in some of these gaps. They looked for links between living alone and CMDs in general, and they investigated which factors seemed to be influencing the relationship.

 

Looking at the data

To investigate, scientists from the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France analyzed data from 20,503 adults, ages 16–74, living in England. The data came from three National Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys that experts conducted in 1993, 2000, and 2007.

Participants completed Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised questionnaires, which assessed whether they had experienced neurotic symptoms during the previous week.

The surveys also collated data on a range of variables, including height and weight, level of education, employment status, alcohol and drug use, social support, and feelings of loneliness.

As expected, the authors found that the number of people living alone has steadily grown. In 1993, 8.8% lived alone. This is compared with 9.8% in 2000 and 10.7% in 2007.

Their analysis also showed that across all age groups and sexes, there was a significant association between living alone and having a CMD. The size of this relationship was fairly similar across the three surveys.

CMDs were more common in those living alone than those not living alone:

1993: 19.9% vs. 13.6%
2000: 23.2% vs. 15.5%
2007: 24.7% vs. 15.4%

The trouble with loneliness

When the scientists delved deeper into the relationship between CMDs and living alone, they found that loneliness explained 84% of the association.
Earlier studies had shown that loneliness is linked with depression and anxiety. Others still had investigated whether loneliness might increase mortality risk.
During what some experts call a “loneliness epidemic,” this finding is particularly important. Similarly, because ill mental health is a growing concern, understanding the risk factors associated with CMDs might help turn the tide.
Of course, not everyone who lives alone is lonely. However, for those who are, interventions to tackle loneliness are available. These may include talking therapies, social care provisions, and animal-based interventions.
The next and most challenging step is to find ways to ensure that people in need get access to these tools.
The researchers acknowledge certain limitations to the study. For instance, this was a cross-sectional study, meaning that it looked at a snapshot of people at one point in time. The authors call for longitudinal studies to ascertain how this relationship might play out over time.
As with any study of this nature, assessing cause and effect is not possible: Did a person develop a CMD because they lived alone, or did they develop a CMD and then decide to live alone?
Or, perhaps, someone with a predisposition for CMDs is more likely to want to live alone. As ever, scientists will need to carry out more work to fill in the gaps.
Earlier findings back up these results, but the new findings also go a few steps further; they show that the relationship between mental health and living alone is stable across time, that the link is not restricted to older adults, and that loneliness plays a pivotal role.
Thursday 2 May 2019       By Tim Newman Fact checked by Jasmin Collier


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Keen Sense of Smell Linked to Longer Life

(Reuters Health) – Older adults with a poor sense of smell may die sooner than their counterparts who have keen olfactory abilities, a U.S. study suggests.

Researchers asked 2,289 adults, ages 71 to 82, to identify 12 common smells, awarding scores from zero to as high as 12 based on how many scents they got right. When they joined the study, none of the participants were frail: they could walk a quarter mile, climb 10 steps, and independently complete daily activities.

During 13 years of follow-up, 1,211 participants died.

Overall, participants with a weak nose were 46 percent more likely to die by year 10 and 30 percent more apt to pass away by year 13 than people with a good sense of smell, the study found.

“The association was largely limited to participants who reported good-to-excellent health at enrollment, suggesting that poor sense of smell is an early and sensitive sign for deteriorating health before it is clinically recognizable,” said senior study author Dr. Honglei Chen of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

“Poor sense of smell is likely an important health marker in older adults beyond what we have already known about (i.e., connections with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, poor nutrition, and safety hazards),” Chen said by email.

People who started out the study in excellent or good health were 62 percent more likely to die by year 10 when they had a poor sense of smell than when they had a keen nose, researchers report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

But smell didn’t appear to make a meaningful difference in mortality rates for people who were in fair to poor health at the start of the study.

With a poor sense of smell, people were more likely to die of neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, but not of cancer or respiratory conditions.

Poor sense of smell may be an early warning for poor health in older age that goes beyond neurodegenerative diseases that are often signal the beginning of physical or mental decline, the results also suggest.

Dementia or Parkinson disease explained only 22 percent of the higher death risk tied to a poor sense of smell, while weight loss explained just six percent of this connection, researchers estimated. That leaves more than 70 percent of the higher mortality rates tied to a weak nose unexplained.

The connection between a poor sense of smell and mortality risk didn’t appear to differ by sex or race or based on individuals’ demographic characteristics, lifestyle, and or chronic health conditions.

One limitation of the study is that the older adult participants were relatively functional, making it possible results might differ for younger people or for frail elderly individuals, the study team writes.

Researchers also only tested smell at one point in time, and they didn’t look at whether changes in olfactory abilities over time might influence mortality. Researchers also lacked data on certain medical causes of a weak nose such as nasal surgery or chronic rhinosinusitis that are not related to aging.

“The take-home message is that a loss in the sense of smell may serve as a bellwether for declining health,” said Vidyulata Kamath of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, co-author of an accompanying editorial.

“As we age, we may be unaware of declining olfactory abilities,” Kamath said by email. “Given this discrepancy, routine olfactory assessment in older adults may have clinical utility in screening persons at risk for illness, injury or disease for whom additional clinical work-up and/or intervention may be warranted.”

Lisa Rapaport  APRIL 29, 2019
 
SOURCE: bit.ly/2vrDJkP Annals of Internal Medicine, online April 29, 2019.
 

www.reuters.com

Humans Smell With Their Tongues, Scientists Discover

The receptors that dot our noses and help us to smell also populate our tongues, according to a new study. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center have discovered working olfactory (smell) receptors in the taste-sensing cells on the papillae of the tongue. The findings were published in the journal Chemical Senses.
It is thought that the systems that enable us and other mammals to taste and smell are separate, and our brains combine this information so we can experience flavor. While the tongue deals with whether food is salty, sweet, sour, bitter, or umami, our noses provide more detail from smells.
As such, the study calls into question whether the mixing of smell and taste first happens in the brain. Instead, it provides evidence suggesting the process that creates flavor may first happen in the tongue.
However, Dr. Mehmet Hakan Ozdener, senior study author and a cell biologist at Monell Chemical Sense Center, stressed to The Guardian: “I am not saying that [if you] open your mouth, you smell.”
He said in a statement: “Our research may help explain how odor molecules modulate taste perception. The presence of olfactory receptors and taste receptors in the same cell will provide us with exciting opportunities to study interactions between odor and taste stimuli on the tongue.”
To arrive at their conclusion, scientists used genetic and biochemical tests to study human taste cells in a lab. They also used calcium imaging, which showed taste cells react to smells similarly to cells which pick up odor.
Ozdener was inspired to carry out the research after his 12-year-old son asked him if snakes waggle their tongues out of their mouths to smell.
The team hopes the research could help to combat the obesity epidemic, by creating flavor without the need for heaps of delicious yet unhealthy ingredients.
“This may lead to the development of odor-based taste modifiers that can help combat the excess salt, sugar, and fat intake associated with diet-related diseases such as obesity and diabetes,” he said.
The team also hopes their work will shed light on the little-understood olfactory system, which contains around 400 different receptors which enables us to smell.
Earlier this week, a separate team published a study showing humans use their sense of smell to navigate space. The scientists behind the study published in the journal Neuron created a “smellscape” in a room featuring the scent of pine and banana, which participants moved around.
By Kashmira Gander     4/24/19                                source: www.newsweek.com


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Positive Self-Talk: 7 Things Mentally Healthy People Tell Themselves

The messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power. Anything that is repeated and repeated and repeated can become “truth” — even when it isn’t. Any coach will tell you that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect but it certainly does make permanent.

Repeating negative messages can wear down our sense of self as surely as a constant stream of water will wear down even the hardest stone. Repeating positive messages, on the other hand, is more like creating a pearl in an oyster. With each additional positive message, our confidence and competence grows.

Positive psychologists have studied this extensively. As long ago as the 1950s, Abraham Maslow said that a self-actualized person is someone who focuses on her talents and strengths. Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center Dr. Martin Seligman, who has been called the father of positive psychology, has found that when people identify and use their top strengths regularly, they can be more productive and can experience a high level of self-esteem. (If you’d like to identify your top strengths, you can take Dr. Seligman’s free quiz).

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has concluded that positivity helps “broaden our ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical.”

What all this means on a practical level is that deciding to emphasize the positive is the key to a happy and productive life. Yes, deciding. Where we put our attention is a decision. It can seem like dark clouds cover every silver lining. But that silver lining is still there if we look for it.

Feeling good (or at least better) will not happen if we tell ourselves over and over that we are helpless and the situation is hopeless. To strengthen or improve our mental health, we all need to think the way mentally healthy people think: Shifting our focus from all that is wrong to whatever we can find that is good, positive and possible in ourselves, other people and in our situation is the key to thriving.

7 Things Mentally Healthy People Tell Themselves

“I am a lovable.” No child is born who is not lovable. Look at any newborn. That button nose and those tiny fingers and toes are meant to engage adult’s protective and loving feelings. You were no different. The adults around you when you were small may have been too wounded, too ill or to overwhelmed to love you but that is on them. You were and are — just by the fact of your existence — a lovable person.

“I am capable.” From the time they take their first breath, humans are wired to learn, to adapt, and to grow. You have been learning and growing every minute. You may not have been taught all you need to know to manage your feelings or to take care of yourself. You may have learned unusual behaviors or in order to survive. But you are never too old to learn new skills. Anything you’ve learned that is not helpful or healthy can be unlearned.

“Most other people are lovable and capable, too.” It’s crucial not to let negative or painful experiences with a few negative or toxic individuals color our opinion of everyone. The majority of people in the world do mean well and are doing the best they can. Once we’re adults, we can choose who we want to surround ourselves with. We can seek out the people who are living lives that are decent, warm and contributing good to the world.

“Success comes from doing.” It’s been proven over and over again by researchers: Feeling good comes from doing good things. Positive self-esteem is the outcome, not the prerequisite, for being successful in relationships, school, work, sports, hobbies —  just about anything. We all have a choice whether we wait to feel better or we do the things that we know will help us become better.

“Challenges are opportunities.” Life isn’t always easy or fair. How we meet challenges and obstacles is a choice. Healthy people find ways to engage with a problem and look for ways to solve it. They refuse to let their fears keep them from trying something new, even if it is difficult. Stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zones is what helps us grow. Mentally healthy people also recognize that sometimes the opportunity hidden inside a challenge is the opportunity to say “no.” Not all problems are worth solving. Not all problems can be “solved” as they are defined.

“It is only human to make mistakes”: Mentally healthy people know that a mistake is not the reason to give up. It is an opportunity to learn and try again. Willingness to acknowledge and fix our errors is a mark of strength. Cultivating the courage to be imperfect is central to being willing to try again.

“I have what it takes to cope with change — and to make changes.” Change is inevitable in life. Mentally healthy people believe in their ability to cope and to adapt to changes. They aren’t unrealistic. They don’t deny the seriousness of a problem. They do acknowledge when a situation is very difficult. They don’t criticize themselves for not wanting to deal with whatever it is they have to deal with. But they have a deep seated belief that if they do tackle the problem, they will eventually find a solution or a way around it.

 

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.     8 Jul 2018


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Time out for time outs: Why pediatricians now promote ‘positive parenting’

Canadian Paediatric Society calls for shift away from shaming, blaming and other types of negative discipline

The latest parenting advice from Canada’s pediatricians is to shift away from shaming, blaming and any other types of negative discipline to what they call positive parenting.

Positive parenting is a set of principles to correct children’s misbehaviour with greater empathy and communication and less punishment — and sticking with it at the times when it’s most challenging. Experts say positive parenting fosters loving, predictable and secure relationships between a child and their parent or guardian.

The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) said in its latest position statement, released Thursday, that this is the first time it is asking all primary care practitioners to encourage positive parenting. Doing so, the society says, buffers against the effects of stressors and traumatic events.

Gold-standard randomized trials have demonstrated how positive parenting techniques are more effective at reducing negative behaviour in children, said Jenny Jenkins, the Atkinson Chair of Early Child Development and Education at the University of Toronto. Jenkins, a clinical and developmental psychologist, wasn’t involved in the position statement.

“Negative comments, negativity or harshness towards children has been shown to be much more problematic developmentally for kids,” Jenkins said.

‘Pick their battles’

Positive parenting techniques provide a better relationship between parents and children.

“Rather than parents getting mad at kids and being irritable with them and negative with them, the interaction becomes a more positive one,” she said.

If parents ignore the low-level problematic things that kids often do and intervene only when there’s a safety concern or really bad behaviour, then their interactions with a child can shift in a more positive direction.

“The parents are trying to pick their battles,” Jenkins said.

But today’s parents may be at a loss on how to practise positive parenting since many of their parents didn’t use it with them, said Dr. Andrea Feller, a member of the CPS’s early years task force that wrote the position statement.

Past parenting advice was well intentioned and based on what was known at the time, she said. But experts in child brain development no longer recommend discipline that includes punishments like shaming and blaming.

Experts say positive parenting fosters loving, predictable and secure relationships between a child and their parent or guardian. the Canadian Paediatric Society, in a new position statement, is for first time asking all primary care practitioners to encourage positive parenting.

Feller encourages parents who feel conflicted between the way they were raised and adopting positive parenting to trust themselves.

“Parents are a child’s first, best and most important teacher,” said Feller,a pediatrician in the Niagara Region and a mother of two children under 12.

In fact, the CPS said the reason behind the new statement is that while there are many factors that can put kids at risk for developmental problems, parenting is one that can be easily changed. The focus is on children aged zero to six years.

child
Time outs ‘have a place’ but should not be used to discipline children under the age of three, who only understand that a parent or caregiver has turned them away, says Dr. Andrea Feller of the Canadian Paediatric Society. 

 

Recommendations to doctors

One way parents can get guidance is at the doctor’s office. The CPS is encouraging pediatricians and family doctors to be comfortable asking parents about their relationship with a child and how well the family is coping.

At every visit, clinicians should ask questions about a child’s behaviours and family routines, such as “What is your child’s bedtime routine?”

Parents of young children commonly ask doctors for advice on crying, sleep and challenging behaviours, so that could serve as an opening for those types of conversations.

Clinicians are also encouraged to broach difficult and sometimes uncomfortable topics, such as trauma, and ask questions like “Has anything stressful happened to you or your family since I last saw you?”

To promote positive parenting behaviours, the society’s other recommendations to clinicians include:

  • Ask if there is a consistent caregiver, since that is a protective factor.
  • Model communication skills by being open, predictable, kind and curious.
  • Promote shared reading by families.
  • Incorporate family-friendly hours and proactive scheduling into their practice (e.g. “Let’s make an appointment for early next month” versus “Come back if you’re having difficulties.”)

Primary care providers can also direct parents to positive parenting books or free community supports such as local early years centres.

Shift to time ins

The document also included a section on time outs and time ins.

A time out creates a brief break in the child’s behaviours, even if it’s a positive one such as expressing curiosity or reaching for a hug. In a time in, on the other hand, the caregiver invites the child to sit and talk about feelings and behaviour in an age-appropriate way.

“Time outs have a place,” Feller said, but should be considered a “last resort,” since time outs can drift inappropriately into punishment.

What’s more, time outs have no place in disciplining children under the age of three, who only understand that a parent or caregiver has turned them away. Often, Feller added, it is the parent who needs a break.

Feller noted social workers and early childhood educators already encourage positive discipline.

Now medical professionals are making the shift toward helping parents recognize that a young child’s misbehaviour is often a way for them to communicate: “I can’t handle things right now. I need your help.”

Pediatrician Daniel Flanders, founder and director of Kindercare Pediatrics in Toronto, said the position statement is reasonable.

“It’s a positive step in right direction, but it’s a really small one,” Flanders said. What’s missing is practical ways to help parents implement it.

“It’s all fair and good to say this is how parents should parent, but it’s a whole other ball game when a single mom is trying to make it through the day, and she doesn’t really have any resources or any support to really help her parent in all the ways this position statement is encouraging.”

Amina Zafar · CBC News  April 14

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amina Zafar has covered health, medical and science news at CBC since 2000. She has a degree in environmental science and a master’s in journalism.

source: www.cbc.ca

 

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Does sugar make kids hyper? That’s largely a myth

Does sugar make kids hyper? Maybe.

The idea of a link between sugar and hyperactivity in children dates to the 1970s, when the Feingold diet was prescribed by a pediatrician with the same name as an eating plan to alleviate symptoms of ADHD.

“His diet eliminated artificial flavorings, sweeteners and preservatives — and so sugar kind of got lumped in, as well,” King said.

This diet may have led parents to perceive that sugar is a culprit when it comes to kids’ excitable behavior — even if it is not the true cause of one’s hyperactivity.

In one study from the mid-’90s, researchers gave children a drink containing a sugar substitute. One group of moms was told that their kids were drinking a high-sugar drink; the other group was told the truth, that their kids were consuming a sugar substitute. Mothers who were told that their kids consumed sugar rated their kids as more hyperactive, even though they didn’t consume any sugar.

“Just thinking their children were consuming sugar caused moms to perceive their children as being more hyperactive,” King said.

“When children consume sugar, it’s usually around something fun: holidays, birthdays, celebrations; there’s already that excitement there,” she said. “I don’t think you can say the sugar made them run around and play with friends. … That would be very hard to separate out.”

Instead, a release of the hormone adrenaline might explain a child’s overly energetic behavior. “It’s a flight or flight hormone; when you are excited or fearful, it increases heart rate and directs blood flow to the muscles, which may make children more antsy and have the urge to keep moving, so you may be perceiving that as hyperactivity,” King said.

“If you look at the peer-reviewed evidence, we cannot say sugar absolutely makes kids hyper; however, you can’t discount that sugar may have a slight effect” on behavior, said Kristi L. King, senior pediatric dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
In the mid-1990s, a meta-analysis reviewed 16 studies on sugar’s effects in children. The research, published in the medical journal JAMA, concluded that sugar does not affect behavior or cognitive performance in children. “However, a small effect of sugar or effects on subsets of children cannot be ruled out,” the article said.
Like adults, some children may be more sensitive to blood sugar spikes than others. This may mean they are more likely to become aroused when consuming sugar.
Notably, a small percentage of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder may be extra sensitive to sugar, and their behavior changes when they eat it, according to Jill Castle, a registered dietitian and childhood nutrition expert who teaches a parenting course called the ADHD Diet for Kids. “They may become more aggressive or hyperactive or difficult to parent,” Castle explained. Minimizing sugar in the diet can be beneficial for these children.

According to Castle, lots of sugary foods can also equate to elevated amounts of food dyes, artificial flavors or other additives that could be problematic for a child with ADHD, often making it difficult to tease out whether sugar is the culprit.Complicating the issue is the fact that we don’t have a way to determine whether there is a link. “Is there a biomarker? A hormone level?” King asked. “It’s disheartening for parents. … They want answers. And unfortunately, nutrition is such an individual thing.”

 

Sugar and hyperactivity: Positive link or parent perception?

To try to determine whether your child is truly sugar-sensitive or just excited about a celebration, Castle recommends eliminating sugary foods from the diet for a few weeks and then testing the child with a sugary food like soda, frosted cake or a tablespoon of sugar in 100% juice, and watching the child’s response. “It may be a quick way to determine how sugar may be affecting the child,” Castle said.

Then again, like the parents in that study, you may just think they’re being hyper just because you know that they consumed sugar.

Tips for parents

Even though most kids don’t have a sugar sensitivity, that doesn’t mean sugar is good for their health. Sugary foods and beverages deliver calories without any nutrients. What’s more, eating foods high in added sugars throughout childhood is linked to the development of risk factors for heart disease, such as an increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure in children and young adults.

To keep kids healthy, the American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 consume less than 6 teaspoons – or 24 grams – of added sugars daily. To put that number in perspective, consider that 24 grams is the amount of sugar in just one 1.55-ounce chocolate bar. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 40 grams of sugar, well over a day’s worth.

If you are looking for ways to cut back on sweets for your children, here are some tips to get started:

Gradually reduce the amount of sweets in your child’s diet. This is good advice for all kids, with and without ADHD. “I teach the 90/10 Rule for the appropriate balance of nourishing foods and sweets and treats, which equates to one to two normal-sized portions of sweets or treats each day, on average,” Castle said. If there seems to be a strong sensitivity to sweets, Castle recommends removing sweets and added sugar from the diet as best as you can.

Establish routine meals and snacks on a predictable schedule. “Anecdotally, this is one of the main things I work on with families, and they tell me they feel their child is calmer and better-behaved. There is something to be said for nourishing the brain and body on predictable, consistent intervals of three to four hours,” Castle said.

When introducing foods with added sugars, pair them with protein, healthy fat or fiber. This helps to blunt the effects of blood sugar surges and drops, and it optimizes satiety.
Castle and King suggest the following combinations:

  • Cookies with milk
  • Candy or chocolate with nut butter on crackers
  • Ice cream with nuts or oatmeal crumble topping
  • Cake with milk or milk alternative

Experts say you can also include your treat as part of a snack or meal. “If you’re at a party, try veggies and hummus and then having some dessert!” King said. “Or eat a small, sensible meal with lean protein, like turkey meat; add some cheese and baby carrots, and then add a fun treat or small sugar-sweetened beverage.”

Don’t eat sugar on an empty stomach. Doing so can lead to a surge in blood sugar, and that itself may alter a child’s behavior, according to Castle.

Make sure that your child is drinking plenty of water. Also, avoid sugar-sweetened beverages on top of eating sugary foods, King advised.

Don’t hype up sugar. If you don’t have sugar and candies in your house often, and you bring sweets home and make a big deal about it, your child may pick up on it and become excited, King explained.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN       Thu April 18, 2019
Lisa Drayer is a nutritionist, an author and a CNN health and nutrition contributor.
source: www.cnn.com


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17 Food Combinations that Can Boost Your Health

Hard boiled egg + salad
Out of all the numerous topping options at the salad bar, pick up a hard boiled egg. The fat in the egg yolk helps your body best absorb carotenoids, disease-busting antioxidants found in veggies, according to 2015 research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Count it as one more reason you should definitely eat the yolks.

Fries + veggies
You don’t want to have to choose between the steamed veggie or fries as a side. Why not get them both? Pairing a nutritious and less-nutritious food choice (officially called a ‘vice-virtue bundle’) can help you stick to your health goals, suggests research in the journal Management Science. One tip to balance the calories—keep your portion of fries/dessert/onion rings small or medium, suggest researchers. If you can order only one size and it’s jumbo, ask for half to be packed upie immediately in a to-go box—or portion out half the plate for a companion. The researchers found that people didn’t actually want to eat enormous piles of treats anyway.

Marinade + steak
Grilling is a quick and healthy way to get dinner on the table, no doubt. However, cooking meat at high temps (a la grilling) creates potentially cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). The delicious solution: marinate your meat. Especially when you use certain herbs and spices in your marinade, including rosemary, it can reduce HCAs by up to 88 percent, according to a study from Kansas State University.

Olive oil + kale
Even though the buzz around heart-healthy fats like olive oil is good, you may still be trying to cut down on oil in an effort to save calories. But it’s time to start sauteeing your veggies again. ‘Vegetables have many fat-soluble vitamins, like A, D, E, and K, which means they need fat to be absorbed,’ explains culinary nutrition expert and healthy living blogger Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, of Nutritioulicious. In addition to kale, make sure you cook carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli with a little fat too.

Almonds + yogurt
Vitamin D is credited with so many health benefits, including boosting your bones, mood, and immune function. Many yogurts supply one-quarter your daily need for D per cup. To make the most of it though, toss some slivered almonds on top before digging in—especially if you’re eating non- or low-fat yogurt. The fat in the nuts helps raise the levels of D found in your blood 32 percent more compared to having no fat at all, reveals research in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Sardines + spinach
The fatty fish is abundant in vitamin D, while spinach offers magnesium. In 2013 research, magnesium was shown to interact with the vitamin to boost levels of D in your body. Long-term, this may even help reduce risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Turmeric + black pepper
You’ve no doubt heard the buzz around the anti-cancer properties of curcumin, the molecule in turmeric that gives the spice its yellow hue. Problem is, it can be difficult for your body to absorb and truly reap the benefits. Combining turmeric with black pepper—which isn’t hard to do in cooking—is a great way to up your body’s ability to use it by 2,000 percent, research shows.

Avocado + toast
If you’re participating in ‘Toast Tuesdays,’ you might have tried the much-obsessed over avocado toast. And it is delicious, FYI. The foods are a perfect match not just for their taste but because the fat from the avocado will slow the rate at which carbs are broken down, absorbed, and converted into sugar, points out Levinson. It’s simple: just spread avocado on whole grain toast and top with some sea salt and pepper (and even lemon juice or hot sauce) and you’re good to go. Add a fried egg for an extra protein boost.

avocado toast

Tomato sauce + spinach
Might as well pack more veggies into the sauce, right? Spinach contains iron, something you may need more of if you’re not eating meat (which is the most abundant source of the mineral). The catch? Iron is not easily absorbed from plant sources, so to tip the scales in your favor, you need to eat these plants with a source of vitamin C, according to Levinson. In this case, tomatoes provide the kick of vitamin C you need to best absorb your spinach. Try her recipe for tomato sauce with spinach, or opt for these other power duos: spinach salad with strawberries, beans and bell peppers, or tofu and broccoli.

Brown rice + lentils
If you’re vegetarian, you may have heard that you should eat certain foods together to ensure you’re getting a complete protein. It’s actually more important that you get a variety of plant proteins throughout the day rather than in one specific meal, says Levinson. Still, some combos are classics for a reason—together, they form a complete protein. Try a brown rice and lentil bowl, beans wrapped in corn tortillas, or nut butter slathered on whole grain bread.

Salmon + leafy greens
Greens to the rescue once more! Vitamin D and calcium are typically found together in dairy, and for good reason: Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, both of which are critical for bone health, points out Levinson. But if you don’t eat milk or yogurt, what do you do? Buy  salmon and eat it atop a bed of cooked greens of your choice (sauteeing them cooks them down, making it easier to eat a bigger serving).

Brown rice + garlic + onion
Here’s a reason to make a stir-fry tonight: Garlic and onion help increase the availability of iron and zinc in whole grains, according to Levinson. You can thank the sulfur-containing compounds within the stinky alliums (garlic and onion) for the mineral boost, say researchers.

Carbonation + water
Think we’re getting one by you? If you have trouble getting yourself to drink plain H20, hear us out about why bubbles and water make an ideal match. One German study found that people who made carbonated water at home (think SodaStream), drank more water than those who didn’t—and bonus!—consumed less fat during the day, too.

Red wine + black pepper
The spice does it again. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine, which may help improve the bioavailability of resveratrol (the disease-busting antioxidant in red wine) to tissues, suggests an animal study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. While it doesn’t seem like a natural pairing, simply drink a glass of vino with dinner, and keep the pepper mill handy. Bon appetit!

Green tea + lemon
When you give your cup a squirt of citrus, the vitamin C preserves green tea’s antioxidant catechins, helping them survive the harrowing journey through your digestive tract to where your body can absorb them—so you can reap the benefits from the brew—reveals Purdue University research.

Guacamole + salsa
Pass the chips, please. This is another perfect example of how the antioxidants in certain produce, like tomatoes, need a little fat in order to be absorbed. In fact, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating avocado with salsa improved the absorption of lycopene and beta-carotene in the tomatoes by 4.4 and 2.6 times, respectively. It’s the perfect excuse to go for Mexican tonight.

Pistachios + raisins
When you think about it, trail mix makes lots of sense. Eating dried fruit and nuts together can help improve your metabolic health to help decrease your diabetes risk, suggests a review published in Nutrition Journal. Together, they supply fiber, vitamins, and minerals—and the fat from the nuts helps keep your blood sugar at an even keel. Try making your own custom trail mix instead of paying a premium for the pre-packaged kind.

 

Jessica Migala  2019-01-16
source: www.msn.com


6 Comments

Kale Is a Surprise on 2019’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ List

While it may still be considered a super food, kale took third place on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue. Once again, strawberries and spinach took first and second, as they did on last year’s list.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization focused on human health and the environment, has produced the report annually since 2004.

This year, more than 92% of kale samples tested had two or more pesticide residues detected, and a single sample could have up to 18 different residues, EWG found. The most frequently detected pesticide, found on about 60% of the kale samples, was Dacthal, also called DCPA. It has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a possible human carcinogen, based on animal studies.

The EWG researchers analyzed test data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the report, and kale had not been tested in more than 10 years, says Nneka Leiba, MPH, director of healthy living science at EWG and a co-author of the report. “The percent of [kale] samples with residue increased from 76% to 98%,” she says, citing the difference between the testing in 2007 and in 2017, the data used for this year’s report. “The average number of residues on a single sample increased from two to more than five.”

Leiba stresses that the report should not discourage people from eating fruits and vegetables, although she does suggest people choose organic produce when possible as even washing produce does not remove all pesticides.

Other experts who viewed the report say the amount of pesticides found is not high enough to be a health hazard.

2019’s Dirty Dozen

After adding kale, this year’s list repeats all the entries on last year’s list except for sweet bell peppers, in 12th place last year. This year’s Dirty Dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes
Dirty_12_2019

Dirty Dozen Plus

The researchers also call out hot peppers, which they say don’t meet their traditional ranking criteria but ”were found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.” They found insecticides that are banned on some crops but still allowed for use on hot peppers: acephate, chlorpyrifos, and oxamyl. The EWG recommends buying organic hot peppers or cooking them, as the heat decreases pesticide levels.

Clean 15 List for 2019

The researchers also produce a Clean 15 list — produce least likely to have pesticide residue. Much of this year’s list also repeats last year’s. For 2019, mushrooms made the list, while mangoes dropped off. Overall, more than 70% of the fruit and vegetable samples on the Clean 15 list had no pesticide residues, the researchers found. If they did have residues, only 6% had two or more pesticide types.
  1. Avocados (less than 1% of samples showed detectable levels of pesticides)
  2. Sweet corn (less than 1% of samples showed detectable levels)
  3. Pineapples
  4. Frozen sweet peas
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbages
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloupes
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew melons
Clean_15_2019





Study Methods, Health Concerns

For the report, researchers ranked pesticide contamination of 47 fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of more than 40,000 samples taken by the USDA and FDA.  The researchers looked at the percent tested with detectable pesticides, the percent with two or more, average number on a single sample, average amount of pesticides found, maximum number found on a single sample, and total found on the crop.
EWG researchers point to the value of a diet low in pesticide residues, citing research such as a recent report finding that people with the highest frequency of organic food consumption had a 25% lower risk of cancers of various types than those who had the lowest intake. Another study found a link between eating foods high in pesticide residues and fertility issues.
A Toxicologist Weighs In
Carl Winter, PhD, a food toxicologist at the University of California Davis, is familiar with the EWG reports. He calls the rankings “arbitrary and of dubious value for consumers.”
When considering the risk of pesticides in food, he says, the actual amount of pesticide detected, the amount of that food eaten by a person, and the toxicity of the pesticide must all be evaluated, and he says the EWG research does not do this.
A Dietitian’s Viewpoint

“As a registered dietitian, the concept of ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ foods is concerning, unless food is truly dirty,” says Connie Diekman, a registered dietitian and director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

She reviewed the report. “The USDA, FDA, and EPA all work to develop guidelines for safe food, setting limits of additives, preservatives, and pesticides at levels that are significantly below levels that might be a concern,” she says. She cautions consumers not to fear certain produce.
The amount of pesticides used is small, she says, ”and the quantity of food we would need to eat for any potential health risk exceeds what people do [eat].”

“If you are more comfortable and can afford to, buy organic, but know it can have organic pesticide residue,” Diekman says.

Growers’ Views
Teresa Thorne is executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, an industry group representing farmers who grow both organic and conventional produce. She fears that the report will create ”unfounded and unnecessary fears.” She notes that few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetable daily as is.
The Alliance maintains a pesticide calculator on its companion site, www.safefruitsandveggies.com. According to its calculations, a child could eat 7,446 servings of kale in one day without ill effect, even if it had the highest pesticide residue recorded by the USDA.
EWG Responds

While the levels on individual produce may seem low, ”the overall burden is high,” Leiba says, adding that people are also eating other foods with chemicals and pesticides. “We are talking about a synergistic effect.”

Editor’s note: Connie Diekman is on the Bayer LEAD Network, Leaders Engaged in Advancing Dialogue.
WebMD Article Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD
March 20, 2019
Sources:
Libby Mills, RDN, spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Carl Winter, PhD, extension food toxicologist; vice chair, food science and technology, University of California, Davis.United States Department of Agriculture: “Changes in Retail Organic Price Premiums from 2004 to 2010.”United States Department of Agriculture: “Organic Production and Handling Standards.”Trewavas, A. Crop Protection, September 2004.Environmental Protection Agency: “Pesticides and Food.”United States Department of Agriculture: “Organic Labeling Standards,” “Organic Agriculture,” “Organic Market Overview,” “Labeling Organic Product.”Environmental Working Group: “EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce,” “FDA Bans Three Toxic Chemicals.”Winter, C. Journal of Toxicology, May 2011.North Carolina State University: “Strawberry Disease and Their Control.”The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station: “Removal of Trace Residues from Produce.”Krol, W. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, October 2000.National Potato Commission: “US Per Capita Utilization of Potatoes.”Srednicka-Tober, D. British Journal of Nutrition, March 2016.American Cancer Society: “Teflon and PFOA.”Crop Protection: “A critical assessment of organic farming-and-food assertions with particular respect to the UK and the potential benefits of no-till agriculture.”Journal of Agromedicine: “Pesticide/Environmental Exposures and Parkinson’s Disease in East Texas.”PLOS: “Choosing Organic Pesticides over Synthetic Pesticides May Not Effectively Mitigate Environmental Risk in Soybeans”Colorado State University: “Pesticides: Natural Isn’t Always Best.”British Journal of Nutrition: “Composition differences between organic and conventional meet; A systematic literature review and meta-analysis.”PBS: “USA to propose standard for organic seafood raised in U.S.”Food Standards Agency: “Pesticides.”Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, March 20, 2019.Nneka Leiba, MPH, director of healthy living science, Environmental Working Group.Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis; former president, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Carl Winter, PhD, food toxicologist, University of California, Davis.Teresa Thorne, executive director, Alliance for Food and Farming.JAMA Internal Medicine, December 2018.
www.webmd.com 

We’re Already Seeing The Health Effects Of Pesticides – Just Not Where You’d Expect

The risk of pesticides to the health of consumers is disputed but there is another group of people already seeing severe impacts.
When you bite into a strawberry or tuck into some spinach or kale you may be congratulating yourself on your healthy food choice. Most people won’t even think about the pesticides they’re likely ingesting.
A list published last week noted that almost all of the samples of strawberries from the most recent tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture contained residues of at least one pesticide, even after washing. Nearly 60 percent of the sampled kale — frequently championed as a nutritious health food — had pesticide residues.
In all, around 70 percent of produce sold in the U.S. has pesticide residues, according to the annual “Dirty Dozen” report by nonprofit group The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which lists the foods with the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residues. It says we may be exposed to worrying amounts of pesticides.

“Studies have shown that eating fruits and vegetables free of pesticides benefits health, and this is especially important for pregnant women and children,” said Carla Burns, of the EWG.

This is one of a number of recent studies about the pesticides we consume through our fresh food, which are fueling a debate about whether consumers should be worried and how they can reduce exposure.
When it comes to the impact of pesticides on consumer health, the science is far from clear.
Government health experts say we do not need to worry as the levels of pesticide exposure from food are below the levels that could pose a risk to consumers’ health. Carl K. Winter, a food toxicologist at U.C. Davis, specifically analyzed the EWG list in a 2011 study and concluded that the quantities of pesticides mean that risks to consumers were negligible and that moving to organic versions — as the EWG suggests — was unlikely to bring people any measurable health benefits.
Organic produce is farmed to strict federal standards but it is not necessarily pesticide-free — the food just tends to be free from any synthetic pesticides. Also, for many people, buying organic may be prohibitively expensive. A Consumer Reports study found on average organic food was 47 percent more expensive than conventional produce.
The EWG acknowledges that a bigger risk than pesticides, as far as consumers are concerned, is not having enough fruit and vegetables in your diet, full-stop. The same point was echoed by public health researchers.

“It’s not healthy for people to be scared of their food,” said Asa Bradman, a professor at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. “There are a few articles that hint at the benefits of organic versus conventional, but at this point, the information is only limited and the benefits of eating a healthy diet and a good selection of fruit and vegetables means I would not want to discourage consumption of those foods by people.”

As science continues to seek a clearer picture on pesticides and consumer health, one thing that does seem clear is that there’s a swath of people who are much more clearly affected but tend to get ignored: The farmworkers who bring the food to our plates.

“My personal view is that the risk to consumers is low compared to the potential risk to agricultural workers,” said Bradman.

Thousands of farmworkers experience the effects of acute pesticide poisoning including headaches, nausea, shortness of breath or seizures, according to the nonprofit Farmworker Justice. Long-term exposure can lead to chronic health problems, such as infertility, neurological disorders and cancer, says the NGO, which has been documenting pesticide poisoning among workers.
spraying pesticides
One of the starkest examples came from Caldwell in Idaho. A crew of 29 farmworkers began weeding a field of onions and noticed that their clothes were getting wet, but they just assumed it was dew. What they didn’t realize — because no warning signs had been placed on the field — was that a contractor had applied three pesticides to the field during the night without notifying the farm owner.
By lunchtime, some of the workers were vomiting and had headaches and diarrhea. Twenty-two of them were hospitalized, with two in need of critical care. The farm was later fined for its failure to train employees properly and to provide proper safety information on the farm.
These incidents are sadly not uncommon, said Farmworker Justice, yet largely go unreported by national media, which focuses on the more disputed risk of pesticides to consumers.
Not only are farmworkers subjected to these risks, but their families — who live in nearby communities and attend schools neighboring the fields — face similar dangers. Pesticides can be brought into the home on clothing or through the air from neighboring farmland.
The effects are especially worrying in children working with or in close proximity to pesticides, who are particularly vulnerable, according to research. Pesticide exposure has been linked to neurological and behavioral problems in children. A 2010 study, for example, that looked specifically at children living in farming regions of California found a link between pesticide exposure and attention problems.
Farmworkers Justice has called for better and compulsory pesticide training for farmworkers, who are mostly low-income immigrants with limited formal education. It says regulators should ensure Spanish translations of pesticide labels (88 percent of farmworkers are Hispanic), buffer zones around schools and residential areas to protect families being exposed to pesticides through aerial drift, and funding to research the health effects of pesticide exposure.
Virginia Ruiz, from Farmworkers Justice, said little progress has been made on any of these requests. Although there are rules in California for small buffer zones around schools during certain hours of the day, nothing has changed at a national level. There have also been no new funding initiatives to research the health effects of pesticide exposure on people working or living near where they are used, she said.

Alex Chensheng, a professor of environmental exposure at Harvard, blames a strong farming lobby for blocking reform. It is very tough to make any significant policy progress on pesticides, he said, “If we can’t eliminate the conflict of interest, no true progress will be made.”

As well as stricter regulation and better safety measures, there is a safer solution for reducing pesticide risks to both farmworkers and consumers, say campaigners. And that solution is to encourage more farmers to shift away from using pesticides.
There are more than 14,000 certified organic farms in the U.S, according to the most recently available data, with more than 2,500 of them in California. Although organic farms still only make up 1 percent of America’s farmland acres.

“We have nominal programs to support farmers converting to organic and that should be expanded, and we should be prioritizing research on organic farming,” said Kendra Klein, a scientific advisor for environmental organization Friends of the Earth.  She doesn’t suggest all farmers need to convert to organic, but rather that the U.S. should look to move away from a pesticide-intensive system. ″We need to change the system so none of us is exposed,” she said.

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By Tom Levitt, HuffPost US      03/29/2019