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The Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Spice

Finally, some good news about the much-maligned PSL.

Happy pumpkin spice season!

The internet is full of people trying to slander the noblest of flavours. But it turns out that pumpkin spice, absent of all the sugar and syrup certain coffee shops may add in, is actually pretty good for you.

What’s in pumpkin spice, anyway?

Pumpkin pie spice, as it’s sometimes called, usually contains four or five ingredients, all of them good for us.

Ginger

Ginger is kind of a superstar spice. It’s an anti-inflammatory, for one thing, and can also help with digestion and quell nausea, which is why it’s often recommended for people suffering from morning sickness.

It can also reduce soreness and help with joint pain, and may improve brain function and fight infections.

You know how when you’re sick, everyone suggests you put ginger in your tea? This is why.

Cloves

There isn’t a huge amount of research behind the claims that cloves are good for you, so take this with a grain of salt. (Or cinnamon?) Many people believe cloves can be used to relieve dental pain. They also contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals that your body needs.

Nutmeg

Both nutmeg and mace — the nebulous covering of the nutmeg seed — are used in medicine. Nutmeg can treat nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and is used in some medications for cancer, insomnia, and kidney disease.

Quick word of warning on nutmeg, though: use it sparingly! Ingesting more than two tablespoons’ worth at a time can cause unpleasant symptoms like nausea, dry mouth, and extreme dizziness. In the Middle Ages it was used as an abortifacient, according to the New York Times, who also note that Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography that people used it as a drug substitute when he was in prison.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. It may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, and may be helpful with heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases, but as with cloves, there still isn’t enough research to back those claims up.

Sometimes: Allspice

The confusingly named allspice is the “optional” ingredient in most pumpkin spice mixes. It’s actually the fruit from a flowering tropical evergreen tree plant that’s picked before it gets ripe.

Allspice can help with a variety of conditions, many in the stomach area, including indigestion, abdominal pain, and menstrual cramps.

And it contains eugenol, which kills germs on your teeth and gums, which is why it’s sometimes included in toothpaste.

And what about pumpkin itself?

OK, fine, pumpkin spice lattes don’t actually contain any pumpkin. But pumpkin has been proven to improve the immune system and to slow digestion (which can help with weight loss). It’s also good for your skin and your eyes, and may help with diabetes and certain kinds of cancer.

What are you waiting for, fellow pumpkin spice lovers? This is your time.

By Maija Kappler    10/21/2019

 

HALLOWEEN HEALTH TIPS FOR ADULTS

Let’s be honest shall we? It’s not just the kids who go a little sugar crazy over the Halloween season, and even days and weeks thereafter – it’s the adults too! It happens to the best of us.
Following a yearly Halloween excursion, your little ones come home with a bucket full of mini candy bars to nosh on, or even worse, you have five cases of leftover treats you didn’t give away. Without even realizing it, you slowly eat more candy, chocolate and other sugary treats just because they are lurking in your cupboards.

How to avoid too much sugar

Unfortunately, most of the Halloween goodies given out as treats or found at parties are loaded with an abundant amount of white sugar. This is no surprise since white sugar is added to a myriad of products as a cheap filler to improve taste.
In fact, it is estimated that the average North American consumes two to three pounds of sugar per week in products such as cereals, cookies, yogurts and even ketchup! As you can imagine, during the days around Halloween, the amount of consumed white refined sugar skyrockets.

The dangers of eating too many sweets

What is the problem with a little white sugar? In addition to contributing to weight gain, white sugar can create a number of health problems in the body that include:
• Suppression of immune system function
• Fluctuation of energy levels
• Making the body more acidic
• Hyperactivity and impulse behavior
• Raised insulin levels
• Can elevate bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lower good cholesterol (HDL) levels
• Can contribute to diabetes and heart disease
By no means am I suggesting that you be “that house” on Halloween and eliminate all the holiday fun. When I was a child growing up, my dear father was a dentist and gave out toothbrushes for Halloween! Talk about a humiliating experience for a child. However, there is a balance and a degree of moderation that can be exercised to make Halloween a healthier time for both parents and tots.

What you can do

• Get rid of over 50 per cent of the food your child has collected and/or leftover goodies that were not given away. Donate it or throw it out. Having it in the house is too much of a temptation for all ages.
• Replace chocolate bars – featuring trans fatty acids and too much sugar – with small cut up squares of dark chocolate that are heart healthy and rich in antioxidants. Keep small bite sizes in the freezer and grab when you are craving a sweet treat.
• Exercise portion control. Many chocolate bars come in “thin” sizes with half the calories.
• Substitute in foods with healthier, naturally occurring sugars such as fruits and fruit juice. Over the fall and winter months, baked apples with cinnamon and sprinkled chocolate is a perfect treat to satiate any sweet tooth.

Take home point

Remember, it is best to allow yourself to indulge from time to time. Practice the 80-20 rule of eating. In other words, eat healthy 80 per cent of the time and allow yourself to fall off the health wagon and indulge 20 per cent of the time.
By doing so, you will avoid temptation and feelings of deprivation that can lead to future food binges. In addition, become a label reader and replace white sugary products with foods that contain naturally occurring sugars. Watch out for products whose first or second ingredient is glucose, high fructose corn syrup or sugar.
Happy Halloween!
 
BY: DR. JOEY SHULMAN     OCT 30, 2008
Dr. Joey Shulman is the author of the national best seller The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005). For more information, visit http://www.drjoey.com


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What’s really scary about Halloween: Crossing street, not tainted candy

By Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press October 17, 2012  

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Hey, mom and dad: Halloween’s not really all that scary — except when it comes to traffic safety.

Despite warnings about tainted candy, candle fires and even child abductions, real Halloween headlines are rarely about any of those things. Instead, tragedies related to the holiday typically involve trick-or-treaters hit by cars. Fortunately even those accidents are relatively few in number.

And here’s something that might surprise you. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the most emergency room visits involving children around Halloween are related to sports.

The report stated nearly 18 per cent of injuries on Halloween were to the finger and hand, and a third of those were lacerations, with some likely resulting from pumpkin-carving. But the report added that “a much higher proportion of injuries that occurred on Halloween were associated with sports, including football and basketball, than with knives.”

Which is not to say parents should spend Oct. 31 relaxing. (Are parents ever allowed to relax?) Obviously, you need to know where kids are, monitor candy hauls, and make sure they can see out of their masks and won’t trip on their costumes. But here are some statistics to provide a reality check on what’s really scary about Halloween.

TAINTED CANDY: URBAN LEGEND VS. REALITY
Of course you should examine goodies and make sure kids avoid treats that aren’t sealed.
But know this: “There isn’t any case of a child killed or injured from a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick or treating,” according to Joel Best, a professor at the University of Delaware who has extensively researched the subject.

Best says there have been more than 100 reports of tainted treats going back to 1958, but they include a father who poisoned his child to collect insurance money, incidents where someone gave out booby-trapped goodies but nobody was injured, and cases where kids had food allergies.


CAR ACCIDENTS
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in four out of six years between 2006 and 2010, more pedestrians under the age of 21 were killed by cars on Oct. 31 than on Oct. 30 or Nov. 1.

The numbers are small: A total of 16 deaths took place on Oct. 31 during those five years, compared to 11 on Oct. 30 and 10 on Nov. 1.

But a quick survey of news stories from 2011 suggests that traffic safety on Halloween is one area where parental vigilance is warranted. Last year, children and teenagers trick-or-treating or heading to Halloween parties were injured or killed in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Port Bolivar, Texas, Lower Allen Township, Pa., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Most cases involved pedestrians hit while crossing streets or walking along roads; one case resulted in a drunk driving arrest. In another case, parents were injured along with their child.

One way to increase pedestrian visibility on Halloween: Have kids carry a flashlight or glowstick, or add glow-in-the-dark necklaces or reflective tape to costumes.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?
Statistically it’s rare for children to be kidnapped by strangers, but it seems like there’s always a case in the news. In the last few weeks, a girl was found murdered in Colorado and another child was abducted, then found, in Wyoming. So it’s understandable that Halloween makes parents nervous, with kids out after dark, sometimes unaccompanied by parents, often approaching strangers to ask for candy.

Obviously parents should keep track of kids, stay in touch by cellphone with teens, and make sure younger children have adult supervision.

But perhaps you’ll find this reassuring: There is no data to suggest an increase in reports of missing children on Halloween, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

FIRE AND DEVIL’S NIGHT
Candles are often used for spooky decor and to light pumpkins. Be mindful if kids in billowy costumes are nearby.

But the fact is, according to Dr. John Hall, division director of the National Fire Protection Association, “there is no localized spike in reported fire injuries around Halloween.”

In past years, there has been a phenomenon called “Devil’s Night,” especially in the Detroit area, of arson at abandoned properties. A 2005 report from the U.S. Fire Administration noted that “on Halloween, and the night before, incendiary and suspicious structure fires are about 60 per cent more frequent than on an average day.” But the number of fires has been decreasing thanks to community and police patrols and other efforts. In 1984, more than 800 fires were started in Detroit during the Halloween period, compared to 169 in 2010 and 94 last year.

source: timescolonist.com


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Environmental group warns Halloween makeup may be hazardous

It’s as Halloween as candy and plastic pumpkins, but the makeup that transforms your little one into a vampire or kitty cat could be hazardous to your child’s health, according to an environmental group in Ann Arbor.

The nonprofit Ecology Center tested 31 types of novelty makeup purchased at big-box stores and at temporary Halloween stores. More than half contained cadmium, the center said.

Cadmium, a naturally occurring metal, is unsafe at different levels, depending on how humans are exposed to it. It has been linked to lung, bone and kidney damage in people.

Less clear is its toxicity when applied to human skin, said Rebecca Meuninck, the Ecology Center’s environmental health campaign director.

Until research determines what levels are safe or unsafe, Meuninck said parents should err on the side of caution. The Ecology Center’s project, http://www.healthystuff.org, has recipes for homemade makeup made from ingredients such as corn syrup and cornstarch.

“We don’t want to ruin Halloween, but we do want to get consumers the information so they can make purchasing choices,” Meuninck said.

All of the 31 items the Ecology Center tested had traces of some metal. Some items contained chromium; at certain levels, it is an approved additive in novelty makeup in the U.S.

Marc Beige, owner of Rubie’s Costume in New York, the manufacturer of some of the makeup, challenged the tests. In a statement, he said his companies use independent, accredited labs to ensure products meet all federal and state guidelines, and they “are committed to only sell safe, quality products for their customers.”

source: USA Today