Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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One Portion Of These Foods Boosts Mental Health

People who eat more fruit and vegetables have better mental health, research finds.

Indeed, the more fruit and vegetables people eat, the better their state of mind.

Eating just one extra portion of fruit and vegetables per day is enough to measurably improve mental well-being.

Just one portion has the same positive effect as going for a walk on 8 extra days a month.

Only around one-in-ten people in the US eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables.

The recommended amount in the US is 1½ to 2 cups per day of fruit and 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables.

Dr Neel Ocean, the study’s first author, said:

“It’s well-established that eating fruit and vegetables can benefit physical health.

Recently, newer studies have suggested that it may also benefit psychological well-being.

Our research builds on previous work in Australia and New Zealand by verifying this relationship using a much bigger UK sample.

While further work is needed to demonstrate cause and effect, the results are clear: people who do eat more fruit and vegetables report a higher level of mental well-being and life satisfaction than those who eat less.”

The study followed many thousands of people across seven years.

The study controlled for other factors, like lifestyle, education, health status and other aspects of the diet.

Dr Peter Howley, study co-author, said:

“There appears to be accumulating evidence for the psychological benefits of fruits and vegetables.

Despite this, the data show that the vast majority of people in the UK still consume less than their five-a-day.

Encouraging better dietary habits may not just be beneficial to physical health in the long run but may also improve mental well-being in the shorter term.”

The study was published in the journal Social Science & Medicine (Ocean et al., 2019).

April 8, 2021

source: PsyBlog

veggies

Link Between Dietary Fiber And Depression
Partially Explained By Gut-Brain Interactions

New study suggests that higher daily dietary fiber intake is linked to lower risk for depression in premenopausal women

Fiber is a commonly recommended part of a healthy diet. That’s because it’s good for your health in so many ways – from weight management to reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. A new study also finds that it might be linked with a reduced risk of depression, especially in premenopausal women. Study results are published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

Depression is a common and serious mental health condition that not only affects a person’s ability to perform daily activities but can also lead to suicide. It’s estimated that more than 264 million people worldwide have depression, with numbers increasing over time. This debilitating condition is much more common in women, and there are a number of theories as to why this is the case. Changes in hormone levels in perimenopausal women have been linked to depression.

Because of the serious consequences and prevalence of depression, numerous studies have been undertaken to evaluate treatment options beyond the use of antidepressants. Lifestyle interventions, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness, may help to reduce the risk for depression. In this new study involving more than 5,800 women of various ages, researchers specifically sought to investigate the relationship between dietary fiber intake and depression in women by menopause status. Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.

Previous studies have already suggested the benefits of fiber for mental health, but this is the first known study to categorize the association in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. It also included a broader range of ages in participants and involved women who underwent natural, as well as surgical, menopause.

The study confirmed an inverse association between dietary-fiber intake and depression in premenopausal women after adjusting for other variables, but no significant difference was documented in postmenopausal women. Research has suggested that estrogen depletion may play a role in explaining why postmenopausal women don’t benefit as much from increased dietary fiber, because estrogen affects the balance of gut microorganisms found in premenopausal and postmenopausal women. The link between dietary fiber and depression may be partially explained by gut-brain interactions, because it is theorized that changes in gut-microbiota composition may affect neurotransmission. Fiber improves the richness and diversity of gut microbiota.

Results are published in the article “Inverse association between dietary fiber intake and depression in premenopausal women: a nationwide population-based survey.”

“This study highlights an important link between dietary fiber intake and depression, but the direction of the association is unclear in this observational study, such that women with better mental health may have had a healthier diet and consumed more fiber, or a higher dietary fiber intake may have contributed to improved brain health by modulating the gut microbiome or some combination. Nonetheless, it has never been more true that ‘you are what you eat,’ given that what we eat has a profound effect on the gut microbiome which appears to play a key role in health and disease,” says Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

Journal Reference:

Yunsun Kim, Minseok Hong, Seonah Kim, Woo-young Shin, Jung-ha Kim. Inverse association between dietary fiber intake and depression in premenopausal women. Menopause, 2020; Publish Ahead of Print DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001711

January 6, 2021

Source: The North American Menopause Society (NAMS)        www.sciencedaily.com


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Feeding the Brain

Our body’s control centre needs a healthy diet

“You can’t wink your eye without nutrients being involved, never mind think, remember, learn, or sleep.” So says brain expert Aileen Burford-Mason, author of The Healthy Brain: Optimize Brain Power at Any Age. Find out more about how to feed your body’s command and control centre.

When people embark on the path to healthy eating, they’re often motivated by a desire to lose weight or to help fend off disease. It’s less common for people to embrace a wholesome diet to boost the well-being of their brain.

This is something that puzzles Toronto-based biochemist, immunologist, and cell biologist Aileen Burford-Mason. An expert in orthomolecular nutrition, she says the brain requires proper nutrition to function optimally. In fact, as the most metabolically active organ of the body, the brain uses nutrients at 10 times the rate of any other tissue or organ in the body.

Our body’s command and control centre

“Over the years, it has really astonished me how many times people have said, ‘Why would the brain need food?’” Burford-Mason says. “You can’t wink your eye without nutrients being involved, never mind think, remember, learn, or sleep. There are nutrients involved in every single function of the body. The purpose to eating is to get all the essential nutrients into us, without which we can’t function.

“Because it has such high needs for nutrition, the brain may be the first to warble when we’re short,” she adds. “It may be the first place to tell us, with anxiety, depression, not being able to sleep. There’s so much evidence now that nutrition is at the root of developing dementia. It’s a huge concern.”

Burford-Mason first became interested in the body’s nutrient needs while studying biochemistry at University College in her native Dublin, Ireland. She went on to complete a PhD in immunology in England. Having emigrated to Canada in 1988, she was formerly an assistant professor in the pathology department at the University of Toronto’s faculty of medicine and director of a cancer research laboratory at Toronto General Hospital. The orthomolecular nutrition consultant is now also the author of The Healthy Brain: Optimize Brain Power at Any Age (Patrick Crean Editions, 2017).

With her book, Burford-Mason wanted to distill complex, scientific information into practical steps people can take to improve the state of their grey matter. Also known as biochemical or functional nutrition, orthomolecular nutrition (which takes its name from the Greek word ortho, meaning correct) uses diet, vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to support the body’s health and healing mechanisms.

What is commonly overlooked by doctors and the public alike, she says, is that, for optimal physiological functioning, the body needs all the nutrients all the time; these compounds all interact with and affect each other.

For instance, it’s well established that people living in Canada are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. However, for the sunshine vitamin to be metabolized, the body needs magnesium.

A well-oiled machine

“It’s like the interactivity of all the components of your car,” Burford-Mason says. “It doesn’t matter whether there’s no gas in the tank or no spark plugs or a wheel is missing; with any of those, you’re going nowhere.

“Even if it’s something small, like a wheel nut missing, eventually something will go wrong; the same thing applies to nutrition. All of the nutrients are needed all the time, and the absence of one, no matter how obscure you might think it is, can compromise the way the others work.

“People have talked about exercise and brain games for brain health; all of this is important, but you can’t keep tweaking spark plugs and making sure there’s air in the tires if you’re forgetting the gas,” she says. “Nutrition has been overlooked.”

lovebrain

Food for thought

Broadly speaking, the best thing people can do to enhance brain health via nutrition is to load up on vegetables, legumes (beans and lentils), and fruit. These foods are abundant in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and phytochemicals, which are plant-based chemicals that help reduce the risk of infections and many conditions, including cancer and heart disease. “Phytochemicals can build up in the brain and protect it from damage,” she says.

You can’t have too many vegetables, legumes, and fruit, though Burford-Mason encourages variety and cautions that people who are diabetic or trying to lose weight will want to limit their intake of fruit and starchy vegetables.

Avoid sugar. “If there is one thing that is damaging to the brain and should be left out of a diet, that is sugar,” she says. “Sugar is the new smoking. We have absolutely everything to be gained from cutting back on sugar or cutting it out. The sugar we get should come from vegetables and fruit.”

Rules for brain-healthy eating

  • Choose unprocessed foods.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods such as eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
  • Lighten the glycemic load. Limit yourself to one serving of starchy food per day, such as bread, potatoes, rice, and pasta.
  • Eat good fats, such as avocado, seafood, nuts (especially walnuts and almonds), and olive and coconut oils.
  • Have protein at each meal. Sources include chicken, turkey, tuna, shrimp, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, lentils, and tofu.

Tips for picking a multivitamin

If you take nothing else on a daily basis, a multivitamin should be your first choice. “They’re the core of the nutrient regimen, because it’s a little bit of everything,” says Aileen Burford-Mason. “You’re plugging gaps. They’re a jumping-off point, not a total solution.”

  • Choose a type tailored to your gender and age group.
  • Look for the widest spectrum of trace minerals; molybdenum is a good indicator of completeness.
  • Select a multi with at least 25 mg of most of the B vitamins and 400 mcg of folic acid. An imbalance of these two (too much folic acid, not enough Bs) has been linked with memory problems in the elderly.
  • You may need to supplement magnesium and vitamin C, as their levels will likely be low in a multi.

Must-have supplements

  • vitamins C, D, E, and K
  • omega-3 fats (fish oil)
  • magnesium
  • vitamin B12

The brain’s need for B vitamins likely exceeds the recommended daily intakes, especially if you exercise vigorously or work your brain hard. Although multis contain ample folic acid, it’s rare to find one that has sufficient B12. Low levels of B12 are linked to age-related cognitive decline, and prolonged B12 deficiency has similar symptoms as vascular dementia.

Additional supplements to consider

  • L-tyrosine, for stress, anxiety, and memory improvement (recommended for adults only)
  • L-theanine, for stress, anxiety, “busy brain syndrome,” insomnia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • melatonin, for insomnia

WRITTEN BY Gail Johnson  @YVRFitFoodie

Gail Johnson is an award-winning digital, print, and broadcast journalist based in Vancouver.

www.alive.com


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The Youthful Personality Traits Linked To Long Life

People with these personality traits as teenagers are likely to live longer.

Empathy, calmness and energy are among the personality traits that predict a long life, new research finds.

These teenage personality traits predicted people’s longevity five decades later.

Along with these, people who are tidier, intellectually curious and more mature also live longer.

In contrast, people who were impulsive as teens were not likely to live as long.

Impulsive people tend to act without thinking or controlling themselves.

aging

The conclusions come from a study that followed 26,845 people for almost 50 years, on average, starting in 1960.

All were asked about their personality, family background and later income and jobs.

The results showed that six personality factors were linked to a long life:

  • energy,
  • empathy,
  • calmness,
  • tidiness,
  • intellectual curiosity,
  • and maturity.

Only impulsiveness was linked to a shorter lifespan.

Personality may affect lifespan in a number of ways, the authors write:

“Life course mechanisms linking personality to poorer health outcomes include the adoption of poor health behaviours and long-term effects of wear and tear on the immune, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.

Maladaptive traits also appear to limit later educational attainment, impede mid-life occupational advancement and increase risk of divorce-social and socioeconomic factors linked to later death.”

However, it’s surprising how predictive adolescent personality can be, the study’s authors write:

“In one sense, the tracing of personality-mortality associations back to adolescence is surprising because the high school years are widely seen as a time of personality development and malleability.”

So, although people may change over the years, it is not enough to wipe out the effects of personality on longevity.

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (Chapman et al., 2019).

March 25, 2021                  PsyBlog


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Foods That Can Reduce Stress

Stress levels may be high these days, but did you know that what we choose to eat can help to reduce stress, ultimately allowing us to take charge of our mental health?

“Instead of thinking of food as ‘stress eating’ or ‘guilty pleasures,’ we can think of using food to shape the lens in how we experience stress,” said psychiatrist Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and author of the upcoming book “Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety.”

Taking control of stress with the foods we eat can help to counter inflammation throughout the body, as well as elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, which can otherwise lead to high blood sugar, increased appetite and weight gain, among other symptoms, according to Felicia Porrazza, a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian who helps stressed-out clients find natural ways to improve their overall wellness.

Feeling less stressed already? I hope so! Here are some food suggestions to help you live in a state of calm.

Open your palate to oily fish

Try out anchovies, sardines and herring, in addition to salmon, trout and mackerel. These foods are a rich source of stress-busting omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which play an important role in brain health.

“Increasing omega-3 fatty acids can help to regulate how our bodies handle stress,” Porrazza said. Stress can increase inflammation in the body so if we can reduce inflammation by consuming more omega-3s, we could also potentially reduce cortisol levels, which could improve health and wellness, Porrazza explained. In fact, omega 3s help to blunt the cortisol response after acute stress, some research has shown. On the flip side, low levels of omega 3s may affect the function of the HPA, or hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, axis, which plays a role in how our bodies respond to stress, according to Porrazza.

Omega-3 fats might help to reduce the symptoms of clinical anxiety, concluded a recent review and meta-analysis of 19 clinical trials involving over 2,200 participants from 11 countries.

Consuming high amounts of these fatty acids in fish may help protect us from depression, too, according to other research.

Need some ideas besides grilled salmon? Try a Caesar salad with an anchovy vinaigrette dressing, or add some herring to your Sunday bagel order.

Mix it up with shellfish

Mussels, clams and oysters are rich in vitamin B12 in addition to omega-3s, which are both prominent nutrients in diets connected with lower anxiety, Ramsey explained.

In fact, B vitamins, including vitamin B12, help to maintain the nervous system, and stress can cause a slight increase in the body’s requirements of these B vitamins, explained Martha McKittrick, a New York City-based registered dietitian who provides nutrition counseling and wellness coaching to many stressed-out New Yorkers.

Vitamin B deficiencies can increase the risk of developing stress-related symptoms such as irritability, lethargy and depression.

Since vitamin B12 is not produced by plants, if you are vegan, you should ensure that you are consuming vitamin B12 from fortified foods or a supplement.

Consume more vitamin C

Foods such as red and green peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are rich in vitamin C, which in high doses has antidepressant effects and improves mood, and may be helpful in treating stress-related disorders.

Other research has revealed that vitamin C may help reduce anxiety among high school students.

To boost your vitamin C intake, aim to include one vitamin C-rich food with a meal, and another for a snack. You could also try one of my favorites: dark chocolate-dipped kiwis or oranges for dessert!

Bananas

 

Choose healthy carbs

Carbohydrates can help to boost serotonin production in the brain, which is key in influencing our mood. “Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for happiness and well-being,” Porrazza said.

Serotonin has a calming effect and also promotes sleep and relaxation, McKittrick explained. In fact, low levels of brain serotonin, research has suggested, can lead to increased vulnerability to psychosocial stress.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is necessary for the production of serotonin in the brain. Complex carbs including whole grains and vegetables can help boost levels of serotonin because they make tryptophan more available in the brain.

Carbs like soybeans and peas also deliver a small dose of protein, which can help to balance blood glucose levels. This benefit is important, since fluctuations in blood glucose can cause irritability and worsen stress levels.

Additionally, if you eat too many highly processed carbs that are loaded with sugar and lack protein or healthy fats, like cookies and sweets, you can experience blood sugar spikes and crashes, “and that can make you feel more stressed,” McKittrick added.

Fill up on fermented foods

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, kefir, tempeh and sauerkraut contain friendly bacteria known as probiotics, which have the ability to reduce stress and cortisol levels.

In fact, randomized controlled trials featuring probiotics suggest a causal link between the gut microbiota and stress responding.

Feeling shy? Fermented foods may help reduce symptoms of social anxiety, too, research has shown. These probiotic-rich foods may also help control negative thoughts that are associated with low moods.

How does it all work? Our gut bacteria produce about 95% of our body’s serotonin supply, which can positively affect how we feel, according to Porrazza. On the flip side, stress can increase inflammation and gut dysbiosis, which is basically an imbalance of the gut microbiota, and this can negatively influence mood.

Other fermented foods include sourdough bread, kimchi, miso and pickles.

Ramsey fights stress with a kefir-rich banana smoothie. “I get a good dose of potassium from the banana and I add nuts, cinnamon and cacao for its anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a great energy and brain boost.”

Bananas are also a source of vitamin B6, which helps in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin.

Munch on magnesium-rich foods

A lot of times when you are stressed out, your magnesium levels can become depleted, McKittrick explained. “If you have a magnesium-deficient diet, it can raise stress hormones, so it is important to eat magnesium-rich foods, like leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds; legumes; and whole grains,” she said.

Conquer stress with crunchy foods

“A lot of my clients, when they think about crunchy foods, they think of chips, but sometimes you can manage stress with healthier crunchy foods like celery and carrots with hummus,” Porrazza said.

Cutting up an apple and then munching on it can also release stress, as Porrazza has observed with her clients. “Doing something with their hands can help them take themselves out of their head and give them a little bit of a mindful moment, which can take them out of the stress of the moment,” she added.

Take a tea break

Green, black and oolong teas are rich in theanine, an amino acid that helps reduce stress and promote calm feelings.

These teas are also rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce oxidative stress in the body, which helps protect against disease.

Black tea in particular has been studied for its role in stress recovery and reduction in cortisol levels.

And while there isn’t enough research to show that chamomile reduces stress, the act of sitting and drinking a cup of this herbal tea may be calming for some, Porrazza explained.

Other stress-busting diet tips

Lastly, there are a few diet strategies to avoid, in order to feel less stressed. One is to consume less caffeine.

Caffeine has effects on the brain and nervous system and can elevate cortisol levels and exacerbate the effects of stress on the body,” McKittrick said.

Because of caffeine’s effects, it’s important to pay attention to how your body responds to caffeine. “If I am stressed, I can only have half a cup of coffee,” McKittrick added.

And it’s important to not go too long without eating. Doing so can cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel more irritable and worsen stress. “It’s very individual, but for most I would say don’t go more than four to five hours without food – but pay attention to your own body,” McKittrick said.

By Lisa Drayer, CNN        January 23, 2021

source : CNN


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The 10 Most Important Things We Can Do for the People We Love

People. Life is all about people.

We don’t have to have a ton of relationships, but we all need people in our lives who get us. Who’ve seen our freak flag countless times and love when it comes out.

People who tag us on memes that capture our spirit, or Tasty videos they know we’d drool over. People who text us with random pictures of bumper stickers or book covers or bath mats or beard accessories with a note that reads “Saw this and thought of you.”

We all need these kind of close connections to feel a sense of security and belonging in the world.

We need people who think of us, look out for us, accept us, bring out the best in us, and challenge us to be the best us we can possibly be. And we need to be that person for them.

It could be the family you were born into, the one that you chose, or the one that chose you after plowing down the big wall you erected to keep yourself safe.

Whoever makes up your tribe, and regardless of its size, these are the kinds of relationships that make everything else seem manageable.

Whether you’re having a hard day or a hard month or a hard year, a call or a hug from the right person can remind you that life really is worth living. And when things are going well, it’s all the more enjoyable for having people you love to share it with.

Most of us would agree that our relationships are the most important thing. That a layoff or lost opportunity can be tolerated so long as the people we love are healthy and safe.

And yet it’s all too easy to lose sight of the big picture when we’re knee-deep in the struggles of our daily lives. It’s easy to deprioritize the little things that keep relationships strong when we’re worried about our debt and our deadlines.

It’s human nature—our negativity bias: we’re more sensitive to what’s going wrong than what’s going right. It’s how we’re wired, a means to keep ourselves safe.

But life is about more than just being safe. Or at least I want it to be. I want to focus more on what I love than what I fear. I want to be proactive, not just reactive. I want to wake up every day and be the good that happens to someone else instead of just playing defense to prevent bad from happening to me.

Couple-Laughing

Instead of focusing mostly on everything I want to gain or achieve, I plan to live each day with the following intentions in mind.

I intend to…

1. Be present.

I will put down my phone and focus fully on the person in front of me. My texts and emails will be there later. The person in front of me won’t.

2. Listen deeply.

Instead of plotting what I’m going to say next, or collecting mental buckets of sage advice I can’t wait to dole out, I will listen completely, with the primary goals of understanding and being there.

3. Speak truthfully.

Even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable, I will share what’s true for me. I won’t exclude the messy parts, no matter how tempting it may be to try to appear perfect. The jig is up—I’m not. Not even close! And neither are you. Let’s be beautiful messes together.

4. Accept fully.

I will see your quirks and edges and shortcomings and peccadillos and will accept them all as crucial parts of the complete package that is you.

5. Interpret compassionately.

Instead of assuming the worst, I will give you the benefit of the doubt, as I would want to receive it. I’ll assume you didn’t mean to be rude or to hurt my feelings. That it came out wrong, or you were triggered and reacting from a place of hurt, or you were simply having a bad day. And then I’ll stop assuming and ask to verify, “Is everything okay?”

6. Forgive often.

I will take every perceived slight or offense and put it through my mental shredder before I go to sleep each night. And if I can’t let it go, perhaps because it’s too big to simply discard, I’ll tell you how I feel and what I need so we can work through it together.

7. Appreciate vocally.

I will let you know that I admire how you always stick up for the little guy and love how you make everyone laugh. I will compliment you on your passions, your parenting, and how you exude peace, because you’re awesome and you should know it.

8. Give freely.

I will give my love, support, understanding, and well wishes; I’ll give things new and old that I think will be helpful. If there’s something you need that I no longer do, I’ll send it with a note that reads, “I thought you could put this to good use. And if not, sorry for sending you clutter!”

9. Remain unbiased.

I will put aside everything I think I know about you based on who you appear to be, and will be open-minded when you tell me or show me what you believe and what you stand for.

10. Love anyway.

Even if you’re stubborn or moody or judgmental, I will love you anyway. And when I’m stubborn, moody, and judgmental I’ll try to do the same for myself. I’ll try to rise above petty thoughts and sweeping generalizations and keep sight of who you and I really are: good people who are doing our best to navigate a sometimes-painful world.

Because we all stress and strain and struggle sometimes. We all get fed up, ticked off, and let down, and at times we all lash out.

In these moments when we feel lost and down on ourselves, it helps to see ourselves through the eyes of someone who believes in us. And it helps to remember we’re not alone, and that someone else really cares.

Someone who’ll stand by us at our worst and inspire us to be our best.

Someone who’ll sit on a roof with us and and talk about everything big or nothing important for a while.

Someone who might not always know which one we need, but who’s willing to ask and find out.

This is the kind of friend I want to have, and the kind of friend I want to be. Because life is all about people. And all people need a little love.

By Lori Deschene

source: Tinybuddha.com


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25 Habits That Help You Take Charge of Your Health

When you’re healthy, you feel good about yourself as it puts a bounce in your step. Now is the time to take control of your life and your health by changing a few of your bad habits into positive ones. If you wish to energy to climb to a mountain’s peak or to make it around an amusement park with your kids, then you need to get rid of those dreadful tendencies that are holding you back.

25 ACTIONABLE WAYS TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

If you know you need to make a change, but you’re not sure where to start, then here are a few simple things that you can do that will make a dramatic impact on your life and health.

1. FIND A GOOD BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND PLAY

While you must maintain a job to pay the bills, there needs to be time for play. You need to have sufficient time to let loose and have some fun. Plus, your children and spouse will want to see the exciting side of you rather than the person that’s always in work mode.

2. HAVE ROUTINE CHECK-UPS AT THE DOCTOR

Routine check-ups at your doctor can save your life. It would help if you had blood work done on occasion to make sure no cancers or other conditions have developed. These simple tests can help you to stay on top of your health.

3. ENSURE YOUR BRAIN HEALTH

Stress is a killer when it comes to your life. Your brain health is just as important as the rest of your body. When you’re under constant pressure, you’re at an increase for a heart attack or a stroke.

It’s essential to find ways to destress from the day. When you walk out of the door from work, leave your job behind.

4. INCORPORATE AEROBIC EXERCISE

Aerobic exercise is good for your heart. You need a few sessions each week to keep heart disease at bay. According to the National Institute of Health, if you’re overweight or obese, then these sessions can help you lose weight too.

5. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Obesity kills. If you are more than 30 pounds overweight, you need to get down to your targeted range. Each day, your weight puts a strain on your heart and increases the possibility of a heart attack or stroke.

6. EAT A HEALTHY DIET OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES

It would help if you had lots of fresh fruits and vegetables incorporated into your meals. The vitamin and fiber content in these plants can help ward off disease and keep you at a healthy weight.

Look to nature for your food sources, and it’s effortless to maintain good health when you’re consuming your daily requirements.

7. MAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE

It would help if you always take time for yourself. While you want to do a good job and take care of your family and your career, nothing else matters if you don’t take care of your health. Take time to decompress by listening to some music in a candlelit room, or you can get a massage to melt your stress away.

8. NO WHEN TO SAY “NO.”

Stop putting too much on your plate. You need to know your limits and when to say no. While you think you’re doing others a big favor, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

You only add to your pressure and strain when you take on things you know will be a burden to complete.

9. HAVE FUN

Laughter is good for you and those around you. It would help if you had fun in life and plan adventures. These outings not only give you something to look forward to, but an occasional break from the norm will be great for lowering your stress levels.

10. DON’T SMOKE

If you smoke, then you need to stop! Smoking is bad for your health as your putting toxins into your lungs. According to the CDC, around 80 percent of all lung cancer cases come from cigarette smoke.

11. LIMIT ALCOHOLIC DRINKS

Alcohol is something that you should enjoy only in moderation. While a little wine is good for the stomach and heart, the overabundance can pack on the pounds. Alcohol is high in calories, and you don’t want to develop the proverbial “beer belly.”

cheers

12. EAT YOUR CALORIES DON’T DRINK THEM

It’s very tempting to drink soda, fruit juices, and all other types of sugary drinks. However, you can easily consume more than your daily caloric intake in beverages. Water is the best drink for you, and you need to eat your calories and do not drink them.

13. MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FAMILY

No matter how busy your job and life become, it would help if you always made time for your family. Having a good balance is essential for your health and theirs. You don’t want to be the reason they’re sitting on a psychiatrist’s couch ten years from now.

14. USE HERBS AND SPICES RATHER THAN SALT

There are so many herbs that can flavor your food and make it extraordinary. The one seasoning that you need to steer clear of is salt.

Salt causes inflammation in the body, and it can increase your blood pressure. Get creative and use some other seasonings for your food.

15. UNPLUG OFTEN

Sometimes you need to unplug from technology. The mental torment of being frequently tied to a device can be overwhelming. For your sanity’s sake, please turn off the phones and all electronics, and you should enjoy the peace it brings.

16. TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN

A multivitamin will help you to keep your body healthy. As you age, you might find it hard to absorb the proper nutrients from your food. So, a multivitamin is an answer for many people to balance their levels and feel great.

17. GET OUTSIDE IN THE SUNSHINE

There’s something warm and healing about being out in the sunshine. Since the sun provides your body with ample Vitamin D, you need to get about 20 minutes out in the golden rays each day.

18. GET SUFFICIENT REST

Are you getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night or more? Your body needs this time to rejuvenate. If you have a sleep deficiency that’s accumulating, then it can affect your health.

19. LEARN HOW TO MEDITATE

A healthy diet is an excellent place to start for whole-body health, but you also should learn how to meditate. Meditation can help you eliminate negativity and chaos in your brain, and it can teach you how to deal with stress effectively.

It’s one of the best ways to get control of anxiety too.

20. DEVELOP AN OPTIMISTIC OUTLOOK

You can change your life and your immunity by simply being optimistic. Quit living in the past and looking at failures. Now is the time to press forward and look for positive things.

21. ADD MORE EGGS TO YOUR DIET

Eggs once got a bad rap as being high in cholesterol. However, eggs are a great source of protein. Studies documented on the National Institute of Health show they have little effect on your blood cholesterol levels.

22. AVOID PROCESSED JUNK FOODS

It’s tempting to snack on chips and sweet treats while you’re watching television. However, you need to choose healthier snacks if you want to maintain your weight. Try carrot sticks and broccoli with a little bit of ranch dressing.

23. DRINK MORE WATER

It would help if you had plenty of water to keep your system processes going. How much water do you drink each day? According to the Mayo Clinic, a woman needs about 2.7 liters a day, and men need to have at least 3.7 liters.

24. SOCIALIZE

Don’t stay closed in behind four walls as it’s not good for your mental health. Instead, you need to get out and socialize with your friends. Make sure that you have time to laugh, catch up with your buddies, and think about anything other than work or family responsibilities.

25. PRACTICE GRATITUDE

When you learn to be thankful for all the things you’ve been blessed with in this life, it will have a good effect on your overall health. Gratitude comes from a positive attitude and outlook, and pessimism comes from being overly pessimistic.

When you learn to see the glass as half full rather than almost empty, it changes everything about your life.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HABITS TO TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH

Did you find anything in these 25 habits that could change your life or health? What if you stopped eating fast food and processed junk and started snacking on fruits and veggies? This alteration alone would have a significant impact on your overall well-being.

Pick a few things from this list to incorporate into your life. You will be amazed at how much of an impact just a few small changes in your habits can make. Today is a new day and a chance to be a better you.

source: powerofpositivity.com     March 04, 2021


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EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

99 Percent of Non-Organic Raisins Tainted With at Least Two Chemicals

Nearly 70 percent of the fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains residues of potentially harmful chemical pesticides, according to EWG’s analysis of the latest test data from the federal Department of Agriculture. But the dirtiest produce commodity, according to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, is not a fresh fruit or vegetable but a dried one – raisins.

Traditionally, EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ has included fresh fruits and vegetables only. But because the USDA tested raisins last year for the first time since 2007, we decided to see how they would fare on the Dirty Dozen, our annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides.

Almost every sample of non-organic raisins tested – 99 percent – had residues of at least two pesticides. On the 2020 Dirty Dozen, raisins would rank worst of all fruits tested, including strawberries, nectarines, apples and cherries, all of which had residues of two or more pesticides on at least 90 percent of samples.

As with last year’s Shopper’s Guide, kale ranks third on the 2020 Dirty Dozen list. Even as kale’s popularity as a health food rich in vitamins and antioxidants has soared in recent years, the level and type of pesticide residues on kale has expanded significantly.

In USDA’s most recent tests, the pesticide most frequently detected on kale was DCPA, sold under the brand name Dacthal. The Environmental Protection Agency classifies DCPA as a possible human carcinogen, and in 2009 the European Union banned it.

Whether organic or conventionally grown, fruits and vegetables are critical components of a healthy diet. However, many crops contain potentially harmful pesticides, even after washing, peeling or scrubbing, which the USDA does before testing each item. Since pesticide contamination varies by crop, it is important to understand which items are most or least contaminated.

Also important to note is that the USDA does not test for all pesticides used in crop production. Notably, it does not analyze glyphosate, or Roundup, the most heavily used pesticide in the U.S., but high levels can be found in several grains and beans, such as oats and chickpeas, due to its increasing use as a pre-harvest drying agent.

EWG’S DIRTY DOZEN FOR 2020

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

Of the 47 items included in our analysis, these Dirty Dozen foods were contaminated with more pesticides than other crops, according to our analysis of USDA data.1 (The rankings are based not only on the percentage of samples with pesticides but also on the number and amount of pesticides on all samples and on individual samples. See Methodology.) Key findings:

  • More than 90 percent of samples of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines, and kale tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides.
  • Multiple samples of kale showed 18 different pesticides.
  • On average, kale and spinach samples had 1.1 to 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop tested.

EWG’S CLEAN FIFTEEN FOR 2020

  • Avocados
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Onions
  • Papaya
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Eggplants
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Cantaloupes
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi

These 15 items had the lowest amounts of pesticide residues, according to EWG’s analysis of the most recent USDA data.1  Key findings:

  • Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest. Fewer than 2 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides
  • With the exception of cabbage, all other products on the Clean Fifteen tested positive for four or fewer pesticides.
  • Almost 70 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had no pesticide residues.
  • Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 7 percent of Clean Fifteen fruit and vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF REDUCING DIETARY PESTICIDE EXPOSURE

Eating organic food reduces pesticide exposure and is linked to a variety of health benefits, according to an article published this year in the peer-reviewed journal Nutrients.2 In four separate clinical trials, people who switched from conventional to organic foods saw a rapid and dramatic reduction in their urinary pesticide concentrations, a marker of pesticide exposure. Additional studies have linked higher consumption of organic foods to lower urinary pesticide levels, improved fertility and birth outcomes, reduced incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lower BMI.2,3

Researchers from Harvard University used USDA test data and methods similar to ours to classify produce as having high or low pesticides.4 Remarkably, their lists of high and low pesticide crops largely overlap with our Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

spraying pesticides

FERTILITY STUDIES’ CLASSIFICATION OF PESTICIDE RESIDUES

High pesticide residue score

Apples, apple sauces, blueberries, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pears, peaches, potatoes, plums, spinach, strawberries, raisins, sweet peppers, tomatoes, winter squashes

Low to moderate pesticide residue score

Apple juice, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, cabbages, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplants, grapefruits, lentils, lettuce, onions, oranges, orange juices, peas, prunes, summer squashes, sweet potatoes, tofu, tomato sauces, zucchini

These researchers also found that people who consumed greater quantities of crops high in pesticides had higher levels of urinary pesticides and lower fertility.4,5 Alternatively, people who consumed a pro-fertility diet, which included the low pesticide crops, among other foods and nutrients, like whole grains and folic acid, were more likely to have a successful pregnancy.6

From these studies, it is unclear whether the positive effects associated with organic foods are directly and exclusively caused by lower pesticide exposures.

People who consume higher amounts of organic produce tend to be more health-conscious in general, making it difficult to determine the exact cause of an observed health outcome. Clinical trials – in which participants are monitored before and after switching to an organic diet – may be better able to identify cause-and-effect links between diet and outcomes.

But so far, the clinical trials for organic foods have been short-term studies spanning days to months, although health benefits from eating organic foods may take much longer to become evident. Until long-term clinical trials are completed, the published observational studies provide the best evidence in support of eating organic.

In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said children have “unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues’] potential toxicity.” The academy cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life to pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems. It advised its members to urge parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.” A key resource it cited was EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.7

An EWG investigation published this year found that for most pesticides, the Environmental Protection Agency does not apply additional restrictions to safeguard children’s health. The landmark 1996 Food Quality Protection Act required the EPA to protect children’s health by applying an extra margin of safety to legal limits for pesticides in food. Yet, as the EWG study found, this tenfold margin of safety was not included in the EPA’s allowable limits for almost 90 percent of the most common pesticides.

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CROPS

Genetically engineered crops, or GMOs, are most commonly found in processed foods rather than in fresh produce. Corn syrup and corn oil, produced from predominantly GMO starchy field corn, are commonly found in processed foods. However, you may find genetically modified zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, papaya and apples in U.S. markets, though only papayas are predominantly GMO.

Under a law passed in 2016, beginning in 2022, GMO food products in the U.S. must be labeled. However, based on the final rule, released in 2018 by the Trump Administration, these labels may be difficult to interpret, with confusing terms like “bioengineered.” Until the law takes effect, consumers who want to avoid GMOs may choose organic zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn, papaya, apples and potatoes. Processed goods that are certified organic or bear Non-GMO Project Verified labels can also be trusted to be GMO-free.

EWG provides several resources – including EWG’s Shopper’s Guide To Avoiding GMO Food, the Food Scores database and EWG’s Healthy Living app – to help consumers identify foods likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.

DIRTY DOZEN PLUS

EWG’s standard criteria do not rank peppers among the Dirty Dozen, but because they test positive for pesticides known to be toxic to the brain, we’ve included them in the Dirty Dozen Plus list.

Between 2010 and 2012, USDA tests found peppers contained acephate, chlorpyrifos and oxamyl – toxic insecticides that are banned from use on some crops but still permitted on hot peppers.

EWG recommends that consumers choose organic peppers in lieu of conventionally grown. Alternatively, if organic peppers are unavailable or too expensive, EWG suggests that you cook conventionally grown peppers before eating them, as heating food can reduce pesticide levels.8

PESTICIDE REGULATIONS

The federal government’s role in protecting our health, farm workers and the environment from harmful pesticides is in urgent need of reform. In the U.S, pesticide regulation, monitoring and enforcement is scattered across multiple federal and state agencies. In 1991 the USDA initiated the Pesticide Data Program and began testing commodities annually for pesticide residues, but we continue to be concerned about pesticide regulation in the U.S.

The USDA states that a goal of its tests is to provide data on pesticide residues in food, with a focus on those most likely consumed by infants and children. Yet there are some commodities that are not tested annually, including baby food (last tested in 2013), oats (last tested in 2014), and baby formula (last tested in 2014).

This is troubling, because tests commissioned by EWG found almost three-fourths of samples of popular oat-based foods, including many consumed by children, had pesticide residue levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health.

The chief responsibility of deciding which pesticides are approved for use in the U.S., including deciding what conditions are placed on their approval and setting the pesticide residue levels on foods and crops, falls to the EPA. But primary enforcement authority for pesticide use on farms is left to states, and the responsibility of testing foods to determine dietary exposures to pesticides is divided between the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. However, neither the USDA nor the FDA regularly test all commodities for pesticide residues, nor do the programs test for all pesticides commonly used in agriculture.

The pesticide registration process requires companies to submit safety data, proposed uses and product labels to be approved by the EPA. However, the EPA does not conduct its own independent testing of pesticides. Neither does its review fully capture the risks posed by pesticides, because of limitations in available data and failures in risk assessments, such as excluding synergistic effects. This is concerning, because scientists have found that the combination of two or more pesticides can be more potent than the use of the pesticides individually.

The primary pesticide law – the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA – is far less health protective than the laws that protect the safety of our air, food, water and environment. There are many reasons EWG fights for pesticide regulation and reform: registration loopholes, limited public participation, outdated registration and pesticide registration backlogs, to name a few.

These are examples of the potential undermining of marketplace safety, since products with harmful health concerns can remain on the market. Not all pesticides registered under FIFRA adequately protect human health and the environment, and federal food tolerance residue levels often allow for higher exposure levels than public health advocates, including EWG, consider to be safe.

REFERENCES:

  1. USDA, Pesticide Data Program. Agricultural Marketing Service. Available at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/datasets/pdp
  2. Vigar, V., et al., A Systematic Review of Organic Versus Conventional Food Consumption: Is There a Measurable Benefit on Human Health? Nutrients, 2020; 12(1), 7. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010007. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/1/7/htm.
  3. Papadopoulou, E., et al., Diet as a Source of Exposure to Environmental Contaminants for Pregnant Women and Children from Six European Countries. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019; 127(10). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5324. Available at: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/EHP5324.
  4. Chiu, Y.H., et al., Association Between Pesticide Residue Intake from Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables and Pregnancy Outcomes Among Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment With Assistance Reproductive Technology. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2018. DOI: 10.1001/amainternmed.2017.5038. Available at: http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2659557
  5. Chiu, Y.H., et al. Comparison of questionnaire-based estimation of pesticide residue intake from fruits and vegetables with urinary concentrations of pesticide biomarkers. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, 2018; 28, 31-39. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/jes.2017.22. Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/jes201722
  6. Gaskins A.J., et al. Dietary patterns and outcomes of assisted reproduction. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2019; 220:567.e1-18. Doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.02.004
  7. American Academy of Pediatrics, Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and Council on Environmental Health, 2012; e1406 -e1415. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-2579. Available at https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/5/e1406
  8. Kaushik, G., et al., Food processing a tool to pesticide residue dissipation – A review. Food Research International, 2009; 42:26-40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2008.09.009. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0963996908001907

By EWG Science Team    WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020

source: www.ewg.org


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11 Habits That Can Create Positive Relationships

The definition of a habit is: “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Once formed and ingrained into your being, habits are very difficult to break. This includes habits that are practiced in your relationships – positive or negative.

Upon closer examination, it becomes evident that positive habits are a foundation of positive relationships. When bad habits are present, the relationship is challenged. On the flip side, good habits create and maintain strong, healthy relationships.

HERE ARE 11 HABITS THAT HELP CREATE POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS…

1. BEING RESPECTFUL TO EACH OTHER

Respect is one of the most important habits of positive relationships because it builds trust and shows acceptance. Showing disrespect towards your partner slowly weakens trust and creates barriers in your connection with each other.

Disagreements often lead to arguments, and arguments often lead to insults. Make sure to watch your tongue and think before allowing something to come out that could lead to negative consequences.

2. ELIMINATING DISTRACTIONS WHEN WITH YOUR PARTNER

Between work and other obligations, we don’t have enough time with each other as it is. Continuing to allow distractions to interrupt your time alone is damaging to your relationship and affects intimacy with your partner. Preoccupation with work is one of the biggest distractions, often arising when couples are trying to get closer.

There are some simple things you can do: turn off the T.V. when having dinner, leave your phones off when spending time alone, and make sure that your work is completed before heading home.

3. RESPONDING TO EACH OTHER

Are you ready for an eye-opening statistic? 86 percent of happily married couples respond to their partners bid for attention, while only 30 percent of unhappy couples do the same.

You can show your attention by doing very simple things: responding to your partner when they ask a question, or bringing something on your way home when asked. It’s really as simple as showing your attentiveness and responsiveness when something arises.

4. RECOGNIZING AND APPRECIATING QUALITIES

Create the habit of conveying positive qualities towards your partner. This really deepens the emotional connection between couples and makes the other person feel genuinely good about being them.

Showing admiration and appreciation of your partner’s positive attributes will strengthen the bond that already exists between you, while continuously bringing up the person’s shortcomings ultimately damages the relationship…sometimes irreparably.

5. STAYING CONNECTED THROUGH THE DAY

Nearly all of our lives are busy from the moment we wake up. You are probably no different. However, part of having a long, happy relationship is to show your love and affection when apart from each other.

When you make a commitment to another person, you essentially make that person the number one priority in your life. There should be nothing that allows that commitment to wane, even a hectic work schedule.

Connect with each other through the day by sending a text on your break or giving your partner a call on the way home.

6. TAKING SOME TIME APART

You may be thinking: “Wait…so how am I supposed to stay connected to my partner while being told to take time apart?” Good question. When frustrations occur in a relationship (and they will), time apart can be both healthy and productive.

The truth is that healthy couples recognize the importance of taking time apart. They recognize that this time deepens the appreciation and love for each other, while giving them some much-needed quiet time. This can be in the form of going to a movie alone, having some dinner with friends, or simply reading a book or watching some television by yourself.

7. FORGIVING SHORTCOMINGS

Personal flaws are part of being human. It’s not about finding someone that is perfect, but about finding someone who is perfect for you.

You will continually realize that the person you fell in love with has some quirks that push your buttons. To be in a healthy relationship means accepting these shortcomings, forgiving them, and loving the person anyways.

8.FREQUENT AFFECTION

Research shows that people in healthy relationships are abundantly affectionate toward each other.

Affection and being close to each other are important because it fosters connection and trust. A healthy frequency of affection allows for your bond to strengthen, ultimately creating a stronger connection with each other.

9. SURPRISING YOUR PARTNER

When you reach a certain time-frame in your relationship, the feelings of infatuation and intrigue with the other can start to weaken – this is natural. The thing that you are trying to avoid is complacency and feelings of routineness.

Spontaneity in a relationship is healthy, fun, and creates feelings of appreciation and love. These spontaneous gestures can be small or large, but should always show that you made the effort to do something special.

If you are not the most creative type (and that’s okay!) there are plenty of great ideas circulating around in cyberspace.

10. WORKING TOGETHER ON GOALS

Healthy relationships focus on having both short and long term goals. Complacency and a lack of progress in your relationship and lives together can lead to unhappiness and regret.

Instead, sit down and figure out where you want to be in the next 5, 10 or 20 years…what do you want your lives together to look like?

One important thing to remember: don’t base your goals on what others think your relationship should look like. Forget about “success” as society defines it…instead, focus on what will make you and your partner truly happy and fulfilled.

11. FINDING HUMOR IN EACH OTHER’S MISTAKES

Relationships are a serious thing, but that doesn’t mean it has to be serious all the time…even when mistakes are made. You went into a relationship with someone knowing that they will probably do something dumb once in a while…so find some ways to laugh about it together.

Just anticipate that when you do something dumb, they will probably laugh in return…hey, it will eventually be funny.

source: www.powerofpositivity.com

couple

Why The 5 Love Languages Are Still Popular, Even After 29 Years

When Gary Chapman, PhD, published the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate in 1992, I’m not sure he intended to make such a huge impact in how we look at giving and receiving love. But nowadays, you can barely go a week without hearing about love languages. While they’re often mentioned in jest (I’m thinking about those “pasta is my love language” memes), many people credit the framework with completely changing their relationships — romantic and otherwise — for the better.

According to Dr. Chapman, there are five specific love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. These “languages” refer to how people express and feel love. You might be happiest showing your love for someone by showering them with compliments, for instance, or you may feel most loved when someone spends quality time with you. (Usually, how you show love is also how you like to receive love.)

I’ve often joked that I need all five of these love languages fulfilled by my partner to be happy, and it turns out I’m not wrong. “In a balanced relationship, we’re hitting all of these things,” Moraya Seeger DeGeare, licensed marriage and family therapist and the co-owner of BFF Therapy in Beacon, NY, tells Refinery29.

Dr. Chapman’s premise is that at least some relationship discord comes from couples not speaking the same language. For example, if you experience love through quality time but your partner shows love through acts of service (like keeping the house tidy), you might end up feeling disconnected and unhappy in your relationship — they’re spending your date nights washing the dishes. So understanding each other’s love languages can go a long way to strengthening your relationship.

The five love languages aren’t inherently romantic, either. You could use your friends’ and family’s love languages to support them emotionally too.

While the love languages are a useful tool and incredibly relatable and fun to learn about — there’s a reason you hear about them so often — being able to utilize and respect them isn’t the single key that unlocks a successful and fulfilling relationship. You may be able to show love through your partner’s love language, or recognize the type of love they express, but that doesn’t mean much if your long-term values are misaligned, if they’re consistently disrespectful of you, or if you have other issues in your partnership.

But since knowing how you tend to show and receive love can come in handy in all your relationships, DeGeare says it’s worth taking the actual love language quiz online. Encourage your partner, closest friend, or family to take the quiz, too — it can be fun to do it together, then discuss your results. And knowing your loved ones’ languages can help put into context why they never seem thrilled to receive gifts from you (maybe their primary love language is physical touch) or they’re always gassing you up (their language may be words of affirmation). For a little more context on what each love language means, though, check out this brief overview.

Words of Affirmation

DeGeare says that people with this love language value verbal encouragement, and like having people tell them very explicitly what they’re doing that they appreciate or notice. So if getting a text from your partner before a big meeting or presentation wishing you luck makes your entire day, this might be you. If you know someone with this love language, here’s a tip: Just telling this person you love them often won’t cut it. It’s all about being intentional, and offering up affirmations that are “very much in tune with what’s going on with them,” DeGeare says.

Quality Time

Those who value quality time really appreciate hanging out with their partner (or friend!) one on one. “The important thing here is uninterrupted time,” DeGeare explains. “Put down your phone, and really dial into the person.” If you “speak” this language, you know: Spending time with someone who’s completely distracted doesn’t feel fulfilling. But as long as your loved one is present, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. Even just going for walks together can go a long way here.

Receiving Gifts

If your love language is receiving gifts, you enjoy getting thoughtful presents from your partner. DeGeare points out that this love language often gets a bad rap for being “materialistic,” but the gifts don’t actually have to be as grand as a diamond necklace or an all-expenses paid trip to Italy (although, I’m sure few people would turn those down). “This is very much about being really thoughtful,” DeGeare says. “It’s less about the money side of receiving gifts, but really knowing the person and giving a gift that says, ‘I know you and I see you, and this is a real need for you.'” For example, you could run to your partner’s favorite doughnut shop when they’re having a rough day to grab them a treat, or even buy them a new aux cord for their car if they haven’t gotten around to replacing their old, broken one yet.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is a pretty straightforward love language. Someone who’s love language is touch really values holding hands, snuggling close on the couch, kissing, getting their backs scratched, and just being physically close. It’s not inherently sexual touches, it’s more just the closeness and feeling the full physical connection, DeGeare says. This love language is when someone wants physical intimacy to be a main priority, and you can show it just by consciously making an effort to create closeness with your partner.

Acts of Service

Showing love through acts of service is when you take something off of someone’s plate to make their life easier. It’s “being mindful of all the things that need to be done, and doing something for that person,” DeGeare says. A few examples might be emptying the dishwasher for your partner, taking their car to get an oil change, or shoveling out their walkway after a snowstorm. Even just doing chores together can be a great way to utilize this love language and show your partner that you appreciate them.

ELIZABETH GULINO    FEBRUARY 18, 2021

source: www.refinery29.com

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4 Signs You Are In A Committed Relationship

Look for these signs of a successful relationship

Being ‘ready for commitment’ is a clear sign of relationship success, new research finds.

Being ready for commitment makes people do the work required to keep a relationship going.

Those who are ‘commitment ready’ are 25% less likely to break up over time.

Some common signs of commitment include:

  1. Your partner makes sacrifices for you, such as changing their schedule, doing thing you like but they don’t and really listening to your problems.
  2. Making long-term plans for the future that include you both.
  3. You both have similar perceptions about the relationship, as do your friends and family.
  4. Real commitments are things that you do. Commitment is usually obvious — watch their behaviour.

Professor Chris Agnew, the study’s first author, said:

“Feeling ready leads to better relational outcomes and well-being.

When a person feels more ready, this tends to amplify the effect of psychological commitment on relationship maintenance and stability.”

The conclusions come from a study of over 400 adults in relationships.

All were asked about their sense of whether this was the right time for a relationship, how satisfied they were with it and how much investment they had made.

The results showed that readiness was strongly linked to commitment.

In other words, people tended to commit to a relationship when they felt ready for it.

However, when they didn’t feel ready, they did not do the work required to keep the relationship alive.

Professor Agnew said:

“People’s life history, relationship history, and personal preferences all play a role.

One’s culture also transmits messages that may signal that one is more or less ready to commit.”

The study will be published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Agnew et al., 2019).

About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. 

source: PsyBlog


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How To Create A Morning Routine That Reduces Anxiety And Stress

The self-care rituals you practice in the morning
can improve your mental health for the rest of the day.

As a person who’s dealt with anxiety since I was a kid, I find that I’m often most anxious first thing in the morning. When I open my eyes, all of the worries and potential stressors that await me flood my mind. The pit in my stomach makes me want to stay in bed as long as I can so I don’t have to face the day ahead.

Of course, this avoidance only exacerbates what I’m feeling. What alleviates it is just the opposite: Getting up on the earlier side so I have time for my morning routine. These days, that’s making an iced coffee, taking my dog for a walk, following a short workout video, writing my to-do list for the day and ― when time permits ― meditating and journaling.

“Morning routines are powerful and set our pattern for the rest of the day,” Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist and well-being consultant in Britain, told HuffPost. “A worry-filled morning will often flood into an anxious afternoon.” Conversely, starting the morning with intention creates a sense of calm and confidence that makes the rest of the day seem more manageable.

So how do you create those morning rituals that will quiet your racing mind and stick with them? Below, experts offer some helpful advice.

How to start a solid morning routine

Be realistic about how much you can dedicate to your morning routine. 

Consider how much time you can realistically carve out for yourself.

“We all have a period of the morning that we have some level of control over,” Chambers said. “For some people, that may be an hour, for others, it may be 20 minutes.”

For example, if you have young kids or a long commute to the office, you may have less time to work with. So figure out what’s realistic for your circumstances.

Waking up earlier may help your mornings feel less frazzled. That said, you shouldn’t force yourself into becoming an early riser at the expense of getting a full night’s rest. Remember that sleep plays a pivotal role in your emotional regulation.

“Often we hear of routines that start in the early hours of the morning,” Chambers said. “For some people, this is a high-energy time and a perfect time to start your routine. But if you’re limiting your sleep or you just don’t function well so early, it is going to be detrimental.”

Experiment to figure out which rituals work best for you.

Finding out which morning routine additions alleviate your anxiety may take some trial and error. What works for your partner, friend or that random influencer you follow on Instagram may or may not work for you.

“Think about your biggest stressors and problems that trigger your anxiety, and then consider what really helps in these situations,” Chambers said. “Then look to those activities and experiment. There are many ways and methods to exercise, plan, journal, listen and read, and some will feel just right for you.”

Make it easy and enjoyable so you stick with it.

You don’t need to come up with some elaborate 20-step process to reap the benefits of a morning routine (but, hey, if you want to, more power to you).

“Morning routines are most effective when we enjoy them and they are easy to integrate into our lives,” Chambers said. “They are not about completely changing what we do, but adding small, positive changes that compound together.”

“Morning routines are most effective when we enjoy them and they are easy to integrate into our lives.”

– LEE CHAMBERS, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND WELL-BEING CONSULTANT

One way to make the morning smoother? Do some preparation the night before, like laying out your workout clothes, whipping up a make-ahead breakfast or putting your journal by your coffeemaker.

“Leave things to trigger you to remember, make what you need accessible and craft a space where it is possible,” Chambers said.

But know that you’re not going to execute your routine perfectly every day ― and that’s OK.

You might be on a roll for a couple of weeks and then fall off for a few days. If you mentally prepare for these hiccups, you’ll be less likely to beat yourself up when they happen.

“It’s easy to move into judgment and criticism of yourself when things don’t go as you would have wanted or when you don’t immediately want to jump out of bed in the morning to start a new routine,” said marriage and family therapist Lynsie Seely of Wellspace SF in San Francisco. “Expect that there will be difficult moments and connect with your internal voice that offers kind words and encouragement along the way.”

And when you do follow your routine, give yourself some praise.

“Celebrate a little,” Chambers said. “Similarly, when you miss it, be kind to yourself and get prepared for the following morning.”

Some habits worth trying to incorporate into your morning

Here are some expert-recommend practices to reduce anxiety. Experiment to see what works well for you and then narrow it down. 

We asked mental health professionals to recommend some practices that help soothe anxiety. Try out a few of these and check in with how you feel afterwards — but know that it may take some time to see the benefits. Then you can determine if you want to add any to your a.m. routine.

1. Start your day by drinking water.

Before you have your tea or coffee, hydrate with a glass of a water as soon as you wake up.

“It gives us increased cognitive function, allowing us more clarity of mind, can elevate our mood and energy, and promotes more balanced emotional regulation and takes less than a minute,” Chambers said. “And it’s a great habit to stack your next part of the routine into, and you can even prepare your water the evening before.”

2. Walk outside.

Taking a walk outdoors is a calming, grounding way to begin the day.

“It is also great as it gets sunlight into our eyes, stimulating serotonin, which boosts our mood,” Chambers said. “It also ignites our senses, as the wind hits our face, sounds of the environment fill our ears and we smell the external world. It makes us mindful and eases our worries in the process.”

3. Practice gratitude.

Take a moment to reflect on all of the good in your life. You can list a few things in your head, share them with a partner or child, or write them down in a journal.

“Start your day with a grateful heart before you even get up from bed,” said Renato Perez, a Los Angeles psychotherapist. “Start naming all the things you’re grateful for. This could be done through prayer or simply a list you say out loud to the universe or Mother Nature.”

4. Try to avoid checking your phone first thing.

Those work emails, text messages, Instagram notifications and news alerts can wait a bit. If you charge your phone by your bed or use it as an alarm clock, you’re going to look at it right when you wake up. Before you know it, you’re sucked in and two minutes of scrolling turns into 20. Try charging your phone across the room so it’s not within reach. Or charge it outside of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead.

“I see so many people who immediately check their work email in the morning, which automatically puts them in ‘work mode’ and makes them feel anxious about the day ahead before they even get out of bed,” said Gina Delucca, a clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF. “Similarly, some people hop on social media or start reading news articles while lying in bed, which may trigger anxiety by reading or seeing something negative or scary.”

That doesn’t mean you have to avoid your phone altogether, which just isn’t realistic for most of us. “But I definitely recommend giving yourself some peace and quiet in the morning before the daily grind begins,” Delucca added.

5. Take some deep breaths.

When you’re anxious, you might notice your breathing is quick and shallow, rather than slow and deep.

“This is a part of our body’s natural stress response, and it coincides with a few of the other physical sensations you may notice when you feel anxious — like rapid heart rate, dizziness and upset stomach,” Delucca said. “While we don’t have voluntary control over some of these bodily sensations, we do have control over our breathing, and we can use our breath to help induce a more relaxed state.”

“Morning routines are powerful and set our pattern for the rest of the day.”

– LEE CHAMBERS, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND WELL-BEING CONSULTANT

Those deep, nourishing inhalations and exhalations stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, producing a sense of calm.

“To begin, try to spend a few minutes each morning sitting or lying in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and taking a few slow, controlled, deep breaths,” Delucca said. “Try breathing in through your nose and then breathing out through either your nose or mouth. When you inhale, imagine that you are filling up a balloon in your abdomen rather than just breathing into your chest.”

6. Meditate.

“There is no better way to quiet the mind than by practicing meditation,” Perez said. “Start small — two to three minutes — and increment every week.”

When your mind wanders away, which it inevitably will, gently bring it back to your breath.

You can sit in silence, listen to relaxing music, do a guided mediation through an app like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer, or find one on YouTube

You can also try repeating a mantra — “I am safe, and I will be OK,” is one Delucca suggested. Or do a body scan: Start at the top of your head, bringing awareness to each body part and releasing tension from that area as you slowly work your way down to your toes.

7. Eat a nourishing breakfast.

“Our mood is highly influenced by what we eat,” Chambers said.

Opt for a balanced breakfast that contains protein, healthful fats, fiber and complex carbohydrates — think a vegetable omelet with avocado toast or oatmeal with nut butter, berries and chia seeds. Refined carbohydrates, such as doughnuts and sugary cereals, can lead to a blood sugar spike and crash, “causing challenges with emotional regulation, which may leave you feeling anxious,” Chambers added. (That said, if the occasional croissant or chocolate chip muffin brings some joy to your morning, it’s totally fine. Food is meant to be enjoyed, after all.)

8. Read a few pages from a book.

Rather than reading news or catching up on your social media feeds early in the morning, Perez recommends picking up a book that inspires you and reading for a few minutes ― even just five pages.

“Find a book that really speaks to you and makes you feel good,” he said.

9. Move your body.

It could be yoga, walking, running, dancing, cycling, strength-training or even stretching.

“When you exercise in the morning, you may notice improved focus and energy during the rest of the day, as well as better sleep at night, which can also help to tame anxiety,” Delucca said. “In addition, exercising in the morning can enhance your mood by giving you a boost of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment at the start of your day.”

It’s worth noting that some people report that certain workouts, especially very intense ones, actually stoke their anxiety rather than reduce it. So just be aware of that.

“We react differently to exercise, and it is a stressor,” Chambers said. “Exercising with too much intensity for some people can lead them to become fatigued and more likely to feel anxious.”

10. Do some visualization.

A visualization practice can help you set the desired tone for your day. If you’re feeling anxious and distracted, perhaps you’d like to feel calm, focused and empowered instead. Seely recommends calling on a memory that evokes that feeling for you. Tune into the small details and sensations of the experience.

“For example, if I’m visualizing a memory where I hiked up to the peak of a mountain and I’m overlooking the summit, I might notice the details of the incredible view, the sounds of nature around me, the feel of my muscles after climbing the steep terrain, the smell and temperature of the air, the sensation of feeling accomplished, proud, unstoppable,” she said. “Really getting into every sensation of the memory helps your body to soak in the experience and primes your physiology for that particular state of being ― in this example, empowered and ready to take on the day.”

And if you can’t think of a specific memory, allow yourself to daydream and build the desired experience in your imagination.

How to stick to your morning routine

“You’re more likely to follow through on behavior change when you set clear and specific goals versus vague aspirations,” said psychologist Gina Delucca. 

You may think your biggest stumbling blocks are a lack of willpower or hitting the snooze button half a dozen times. But often it “comes down to a lack of clarity with the routine,” Delucca said.

“You’re more likely to follow through on behavior change when you set clear and specific goals versus vague aspirations,” she added.

So instead of saying something general, like, “I want to work out in the morning,” make the goal more concrete: “I’m going to do a virtual yoga class at 7:30 a.m. after I finish my tea.”

Delucca also recommends getting up around the same time each day and outlining what specific activities you want to incorporate into your routine and in what order. It may help to write them down.

“When you do something repeatedly in the same order, you can eventually develop a habit,” Delucca said. “When a habit is formed, you’re not solely relying on how you feel in the moment in terms of your mood, motivation or willpower. Habits feel automatic without any guesswork as to what you should do next.”

She offered the example of taking a shower. You likely shampoo, condition, shave and wash your body in a specific order without giving it much thought.

“It’s automatic because the routine is clear and you’ve created a habit in which one action flows directly into the next action without any questioning,” Delucca said. “So, try to be as specific and consistent as possible when creating a morning routine. Each activity will serve as a cue for the next, and with time, your morning routine will flow.”

Kelsey Borresen – Senior Reporter, HuffPost Life        09/16/2020 

source:  www.huffingtonpost.ca

 

breakfast
 
 

5 Habits You Should Avoid
First Thing In The Morning

Don’t make these mistakes when you wake up.
Here’s what to avoid in your a.m. routine and what to do instead.
 
A few simple changes to your morning habits
can make a big difference in your overall well-being.
 
A good morning routine is a foundational part of self-care, affecting everything from your energy levels and productivity to the state of your skin.
 
But it is easy to fall into less-than-ideal habits without even realizing it ― particularly during a global pandemic when we are collectively coping with much bigger issues and routines have long gone out the window.
 
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get back on track. We asked experts for some of the most common morning routine mistakes and easy fixes to try instead.
 

Mistake #1: Hitting The Snooze Button

More than half of Americans say they hit the snooze button daily, so know that if you do too, you’re in good company. Also, it’s really not your fault. Growing research suggests that workdays and school days start too early, causing millions of kids and adults to lose out on the hours of sleep their brains and bodies need. So trying to sneak in a few last-minute ZZZs might seem like your only recourse. But alas, it doesn’t work.
 
“It’s so tempting to keep hitting snooze,” said Niket Sonpal, a New York City-based internist and faculty member with the Touro College of Medicine. “But it’s not beneficial.”
 
That’s because the extra minutes you eke out at that point aren’t actually restorative, even if they feel good at the time.
 
Plus, you could be disrupting the longer periods of REM sleep that tend to happen early in the morning. And frequent interruptions to the natural sleep cycle have been linked to range of both mental effects (like cognitive issues and depression) as well as physical ones (like metabolic problems).
 
“If you want some extra time in the morning, a better idea would be to set your clock ahead 15 minutes and wake up the minute it goes off,” Sonpal said. “If you have to set a really annoying alarm tone, then do so.”
 

Mistake #2: Letting Your Mind Be ‘Directed’ By Your Phone

Another big morning mistake people make is reaching for their phones while they’re still under the covers, said Naomi Parrella, a primary care physician with Rush University Medical Group.
 
If the very first thing you do in the morning is check email, look at social media or scan the day’s headlines, you’re essentially letting things outside of your control “hijack” your very first thoughts and feelings, Parrella said.
 
You’re giving your mind “inputs that are effectively somebody else deciding for you what goes in your brain,” she said. And she is worried that people have become almost “addicted” to the up-and-down news cycle.
 
So now is the time to be diligent about boundaries. It’s OK if you reach for your phone first thing in the morning because it’s your alarm; it’s not great if you’re picking it up to immediately connect to the outside world.
 
Take a few deep breaths instead. Do some stretches. Say “hi” to your partner or kids. Drink some water.
 
Set boundaries with your devices by not doomscrolling when you first get up.
 

Mistake #3: Filling Up On Sugar Right Away

“Sugar and super, ultra-processed breakfast foods cause a hormonal shift in the body,” Parrella said. “Now you’re going to be on this roller coaster of being hungry, being moody, possibly having a sugar crash.”
 
The average North American consumes 77 grams of sugar a day, according to the American Heart Association, which is about three times the recommended daily amount for women. (The recommended amount is slightly higher for men.) And experts tend to warn that breakfast is the most problematic meal of the day when it comes to added sugar thanks to common offerings like sweetened coffee and tea, cereals, syrup, breakfast bars, sugary smoothies and yogurts, and on and on.
 
So what does “too much” actually mean? Public health guidelines are a good starting point, but Parrella doesn’t like to be too prescriptive or harsh. Basically, the more sugar you can cut out of your morning routine, the better.
 
“If you want to really start the day strong and solid and anchored, it’s really helpful if you can cut out the sugar completely,” she urged — but that’s not necessary.
 
Sugar isn’t the devil, it’s just recommended that you choose wisely when to enjoy it. And if you do have a sugar-heavy morning, try incorporating some movement into your routine right after.
 
“You might go for a little walk, you might do some sun salutations or a few yoga moves, but the worst would be to go from [eating sugar] to sitting at your chair or in the car for hours on end,” Parrella said.
 

Mistake #4: Not Washing Your face Properly Or Using SPF

One morning mishap that really bothers some skin care experts? Not washing your face because you did it the night before, said Stacy Chimento, a Miami-based dermatologist with Riverchase Dermatology.
 
There is a chance your skin can pick up yucky stuff at night, like dead skin cells that collect on your pillowcase or dust that might be circulating in your sleep space while you get those ZZZs. (One stomach-churning investigation suggested that our pillows have as many microbes as our toilet seats.)
 
We must note that this tip is a little contentious: Some dermatologists say it’s not strictly necessary to wash your face with products in the morning if you’ve done a thorough job the night before. Using soap or cleansers multiple times might dry out your skin.
 
If you do go that route, take note of the water temp. “Although it might be tempting to wash your face with very cold water to wake yourself up, the temperature of the water should not be extreme,” Chimento said. “Wash with lukewarm water. Most people are rushing in the morning. Take care not to tug at your skin or be overzealous if you are exfoliating your face.”
 
Whatever you choose, make sure to slather on plenty of SPF. “You need at least a teaspoon to cover your whole face,” Chimento said — as well as your neck and chest.
 

Mistake #5: Completely Overlooking Your Mental Well-Being

The mornings can be rough: You’re tired, you’re often rushing or balancing walking pets, getting kids out the door and catching up on last-minute deadlines.
 
However, “if you don’t start the day right, you can spend the next few hours trying to work your way out of a ‘funk,’” Sonpal said — and she urges everyone to make sure they find even a few moments to tend to their well-being.
 
The strategies you use can be quite simple. “Open the blinds or shades wherever you can in your home to let in natural light,” Sonpal said. Then find a few moments to stretch, to meditate, to write in a gratitude journal or just connect, in a positive way, with a loved one.
 
One recent research paper that offered brief, actionable steps people can take every day to boost well-being pointed to the potential benefits of just taking a few deep breaths or spending a few moments focusing on the qualities you admire about a friend or loved one. Those kinds of quick and easy exercises can set you up for the day and train your brain over time.
 
“Not everyone is a ‘morning person,’” Sonpal said. But “if you establish the right routine, you can help yourself to function better.”
 
 
Catherine Pearson   02/10/2021
 
 


1 Comment

Environmental Groups Applaud Loblaw’s Commitment to Phase Out Receipts With Phenol

Loblaw Companies Ltd. is winning praise from a coalition of environmental, health and labour groups for its commitment to stop using receipt paper that contains a potentially dangerous chemical.

The grocery and drugstore chain confirmed Tuesday its plan to transition to phenol-free receipt paper across all its divisions by the end of 2021.

The move was applauded by groups that said it will help protect workers and customers from harmful chemicals.

It also renewed pressure on other Canadian retailers to phase out the chemical.

“Loblaw’s actions are the latest example of a growing trend among top North American retailers,” said Mike Schade, director of the Mind the Store campaign, which pushes large retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products and operations.

“Sobeys, Metro, and other Canadian retailers should step up and join Loblaw in banning toxic chemicals in their receipts,“ he said in a statement.

In 2019, the Toronto-based environmental group Environmental Defence released research that showed cashiers may be exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals found on receipt paper.

The findings prompted a coalition of groups to launch a call-to-action urging Canada’s top retail giants to stop using bisphenol-coated receipt paper.

“Grocery store cashiers who are exposed to high levels of hormone-disrupting (bisphenol A) and (bisphenol S) from handling receipts deserve to be protected,“ Muhannad Malas, toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, said in a statement.

The Canadian government declared bisphenol A (BPA) a toxic chemical in October 2010. Some retailers removed BPA-coated receipt paper, but replaced it with paper that contains similar phenol substances, according to the groups.

In January 2020, Costco Canada became the first Canadian-based grocery retailer to phase out bisphenol-coated receipt paper, the coalition of health, labour and environmental groups said Tuesday.

Last spring, Loblaw said in its Corporate Social Responsibility report that it plans to transition to phenol-free receipt paper by the end of 2021.

“Loblaw’s commitment to phase out all phenols in their thermal paper used for receipts by the end of 2021 is excellent news for women’s health, and we applaud the company for this initiative,” Jennifer Beeman, executive director of Breast Cancer Action Quebec said in a statement.

“Bisphenols used in thermal paper are known endocrine disruptors and can be a significant source of exposure for women – many of whom keep their receipts – as well as the women, particularly teens and young women, working as cashiers.“

She said bisphenol exposures can disrupt normal breast development and health and cause other types of health problems.

Loblaw includes stores under the banners Loblaws, Zehrs, Your Independent Grocer, Real Atlantic Superstore and Provigo, as well as its discount division, which includes No Frills and Maxi.

The company also has a network of Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix drugstores.

The Canadian Press        Tue., Jan. 26, 2021

source: www.thestar.com

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

related : Receipt-handling may boost cashiers’ exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals: study

receipt

Most Plastic Products Contain Potentially Toxic Chemicals, Study Reveals

From yogurt containers to bath mats, stuff you use every day may come with hidden risks. Here are tips to minimize exposure.

Most of the plastics that consumers encounter in daily life—including plastic wrap, bath mats, yogurt containers, and coffee cup lids—contain potentially toxic chemicals, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The researchers behind the study analyzed 34 everyday plastic products made of eight types of plastic to see how common toxicity might be. Seventy-four percent of the products they tested were toxic in some way.

The team was hoping to be able “to tell people which plastic types to use and which not [to use],” says Martin Wagner, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and senior author of the new study. “But it was more complicated than that.” Instead of pointing to a few problematic types of plastic that should be avoided, the testing instead revealed that issues of toxicity were widespread—and could be found in nearly any type of plastic.

The results help illustrate just how little we know about the wide variety of chemicals in commonly used plastics, says Wagner.

To be clear, the plastics found to have some form of toxicity aren’t necessarily harmful to human health. The researchers tested the chemicals in ways that are very different from how most people come into contact with them. Extracting compounds from plastic and exposing them directly to various cells does not mimic the exposure you get when you drink from a refillable plastic water bottle, for example.

But the results do call into question the assumption that plastic products are safe until proved otherwise, says Wagner.

“Every type of plastic contains unknown chemicals,” and many of those chemicals may well be unsafe, says Jane Muncke, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist who is the managing director and chief scientific officer for the nonprofit Food Packaging Forum, which works to strengthen understanding of the chemicals that come into contact with food.

Here’s what the study found, what we know about how plastic could be affecting human health, and what you can do to reduce your exposure to some of the chemicals that researchers are concerned about.

What the Study Found

The 34 products tested were made from seven plastics with the biggest market share (including polypropylene and PVC), plus an eighth type of plastic—biobased, biodegradable PLA—that doesn’t yet have a huge market share but is often sold as more sustainable and “better,” according to Wagner.

Because there are millions of plastic products available, this study is not fully representative of the entire market, but it included a sampling of commonly used products made from the most widely used plastics.

The researchers detected more than 1,000 chemicals in these plastics, 80 percent of which were unknown. But the study was designed in part to show that it’s possible to assess the toxicity of plastic consumer products directly, even without knowing exactly which chemicals are present, Wagner says.

In the lab, the team checked to see if the plastics were toxic in a variety of ways, including testing for components that acted as endocrine disruptors, chemicals that can mimic hormones. (Elevated exposure to endocrine disruptors has been linked to a variety of health problems in humans, including various cancers, reduced fertility, and problems with the development of reproductive organs.) Almost three-quarters of the tested plastics displayed some form of toxicity.

Despite the large proportion of products that displayed a form of toxicity, Wagner says it’s important to note that some products didn’t show any signs of toxicity, meaning that many companies may already have access to safer forms of plastic.

It’s not yet clear from this work that any type of plastic can be consistently made in a nontoxic way; every type of plastic tested in this study sometimes displayed toxicity. That could happen due to chemicals added to the base plastic for color or flexibility, because of impurities in ingredients, or because of new chemicals that emerge in the manufacturing process.

By evaluating consumer products themselves and all the chemicals they contain, this study takes a very comprehensive approach to measuring plastic toxicity, according to Laura Vandenberg, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences, who was not involved in the study. That’s because it’s testing plastics as people encounter them, not just by isolating individual chemicals.

The fact that plastics are made of mixtures of thousands of chemicals is important, says Muncke, who was also not involved in the new study. That’s because a combination of chemicals can make a product more or less risky. Individual levels of one concerning chemical, like BPA, might be below the threshold of concern. But if other chemicals that raise similar concerns are present, they could combine to create a hazardous effect.

cans

The Health Effects of Plastic

Most people don’t understand how little we know about the safety of the chemicals found in plastic, Muncke says.

But in recent years, consumers and public health experts alike have increasingly expressed concern about the potential health effects of our ongoing exposure to ordinary, everyday plastics and to the microplastics that people are inadvertently exposed to through food, water, and the air.

“We’ve surrounded ourselves with plastic. The stuff has been used to package foods for the last 40 years; it’s everywhere,” says Muncke. “It’s fair that the average citizen would say, ‘Well, if it wasn’t safe, it wouldn’t be on supermarket shelves.’ ”

In practice, however, “it’s actually not really well understood,” she says, and “we are still using known hazardous chemicals to make plastic packaging that leach into food.”

Some of the best-known examples include BPA, found in plastic water bottles, plastic storage containers, thermal paper receipts, and the lining of food cans; and phthalates, found in many products and often used to make PVC plastics (such as imitation leather and some shower curtains) more flexible, says Vandenberg.

In 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report saying that some chemicals in plastic, including bisphenols (such as BPA) and phthalates, may put children’s health at risk, and recommended that families reduce exposure to them.

Studies in humans link BPA to metabolic disease, obesity, infertility, and disorders like ADHD, Vandenberg says. Studies in animals have also linked BPA to prostate and mammary cancer, as well as brain development problems. Phthalates are known to affect hormones, she says, which means they can alter the development of reproductive organs and alter sperm count in males.

“You’re not going to just drop dead [from hormonal activity in plastics], but it could contribute to diseases that may manifest over decades, or it could affect unborn embryos and fetuses,” Vandenberg says.

And there are many more chemicals that we know far less about, as this latest study showed. Sometimes, when chemicals associated with known problems (like phthalates) are phased out, we later discover that the replacement chemicals cause similar problems, something Vandenberg describes as “chemical whack-a-mole.”

Because there are so many unknowns, we should take a more precautionary approach to deciding whether or not a plastic is safe, Wagner argues. Instead of taking something off the market after it has been proved to be unsafe, manufacturers could test for toxicity before products are sold. “Better to be safe now than to be sorry in 10 or 15 years,” he says.

6 Tips for Cutting Back on Plastic

Totally avoiding plastic is almost impossible, but it’s possible to reduce your exposure to concerning chemicals found in these products.

  1. Eat fresh food. The more processed your food is, the more it may have come into contact with materials that could potentially leach concerning chemicals, says Muncke.
  2. Don’t buy into “bioplastic” hype. Green or biodegradable plastic sounds great, but so far it doesn’t live up to the hype, Wagner says. Most data indicate that these products aren’t as biodegradable as their marketing would imply, he says. Plus, this latest study showed that these products (such as biobased, biodegradable PLA) can have high rates of toxicity, he says.
  3. Don’t use plastics that we know are problematic. But don’t assume that all other products are inherently safe,either. The American Academy of Pediatrics has previously noted that the recycling codes “3,” “6,” and “7” indicate the presence of phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols, respectively—so you may want to avoid using containers that have those numbers in the recycling symbol on the bottom. Wagner adds that “3” and “7” also indicate PVC and PUR plastics, respectively, which his study found contained the most toxicity. But products made from other types of plastic contained toxic chemicals, too, which means that reducing your plastic use overall is probably the best way to avoid exposure.
  4. Don’t store your food in plastic. Food containers can contain chemicals that leach into food. This is especially true for foods that are greasy or fatty, according to Muncke, and foods that are highly acidic or alkaline, according to Vandenberg. Opt for inert stainless steel, glass, or ceramic containers.
  5. Don’t heat up plastic. Heating up plastics can increase the rate through which chemicals leach out, so try to avoid putting them in the microwave or dishwasher. Even leaving plastic containers out in a hot car could increase the release of concerning chemicals, says Vandenberg.
  6. Vote with your wallet. Try to buy products that aren’t packaged in plastic in the first place, says Vandenberg. “We need to make manufacturers aware that there is a problem,” she says. “There are products that could provide the benefits we need to make the food chain safer.”

By Kevin Loria    October 02, 2019

source: www.consumerreports.org

non stick

The Facts About Bisphenol A

In 2008, the possible health risks of Bisphenol A (BPA) – a common chemical in plastic – made headlines. Parents were alarmed, pediatricians flooded with questions, and stores quickly sold-out of BPA-free bottles and sippy cups.

Where do things stand now? Have plastic manufacturers changed their practices? How careful does a parent need to be when it comes to plastics and BPA? Here’s the latest information we have about possible BPA risks.

BPA Basics

BPA is a chemical that has been used to harden plastics for more than 40 years. It’s everywhere. It’s in medical devices, compact discs, dental sealants, water bottles, the lining of canned foods and drinks, and many other products.

More than 90% of us have BPA in our bodies right now. We get most of it by eating foods that have been in containers made with BPA. It’s also possible to pick up BPA through air, dust, and water.

BPA was common in baby bottles, sippy cups, baby formula cans, and other products for babies and young children. Controversy changed that. Now, the six major companies that make baby bottles and cups for infants have stopped using BPA in the products they sell in the U.S. Many manufacturers of infant formula have stopped using BPA in their cans, as well.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, toys generally don’t contain BPA. While the hard outer shields of some pacifiers do have BPA, the nipple that the baby sucks on does not.

BPA Risks

What does BPA do to us? We still don’t really know, since we don’t have definitive studies of its effects in people yet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration used to say that BPA was safe. But in 2010 the agency altered its position. The FDA maintains that studies using standardized toxicity tests have shown BPA to be safe at the current low levels of human exposure. But based on other evidence – largely from animal studies – the FDA expressed “some concern” about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate glands in fetuses, infants, and young children.

How could BPA affect the body? Here are some areas of concern.

Hormone levels. Some experts believe that BPA could theoretically act like a hormone in the body, disrupting normal hormone levels and development in fetuses, babies, and children. Animal studies have had mixed results.

Brain and behavior problems. After a review of the evidence, the National Toxicology Program at the FDA expressed concern about BPA’s possible effects on the brain and behavior of infants and young children.

Cancer. Some animal studies have shown a possible link between BPA exposure and a later increased risk of cancer.

Heart problems. Two studies have found that adults with the highest levels of BPA in their bodies seem to have a higher incidence of heart problems. However, the higher incidence could be unrelated to BPA.

Other conditions. Some experts have looked into a connection between BPA exposure and many conditions – obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and others. The evidence isn’t strong enough to show a link.

Increased risk to children. Some studies suggest that possible effects from BPA could be most pronounced in infants and young children. Their bodies are still developing and they are less efficient at eliminating substances from their systems.

Although this list of possible BPA risks is frightening, keep in mind that nothing has been established. The concern about BPA risks stems primarily from studies in animals.

A few studies in people have found a correlation between BPA and a higher incidence of certain health problems, but no direct evidence that BPA caused the problem. Other studies contradict some of these results. Some experts doubt that BPA poses a health risk at the doses most people are exposed to.

BPA: Governmental Action

The federal government is now funding new research into BPA risks. We don’t know the results of these studies yet. Recommendations about BPA could change in the next few years.

For now, there are no restrictions on the use of BPA in products. The Food and Drug Administration does recommend taking “reasonable steps” to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. The FDA has also expressed support for manufacturers who have stopped using BPA in products for babies and for companies working to develop alternatives to the BPA in canned foods.

cans

A number of states have taken action. Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont have laws restricting or banning the sale of certain products containing BPA, like bottles and sippy cups. So have cities like Chicago and Albany, as well as a few counties in New York. Similar laws are likely to pass in New York and California, and state legislatures are considering restrictions in many other states.

BPA Risks: What Can Parents Do?

Although the evidence is not certain, the FDA does recommend taking precautions against BPA exposure.

Trying to eliminate BPA from your child’s life is probably impossible. But limiting your child’s exposure – and your own – is possible. It doesn’t even have to be hard. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Find products that are BPA-free. It isn’t as hard as it once was. Many brands of bottles, sippy cups, and other tableware prominently advertise that they are BPA-free.

Look for infant formula that is BPA-free. Many brands no longer contain BPA in the can. If a brand does have BPA in the lining, some experts recommend powdered formula over liquid. Liquid is more likely to absorb BPA from the lining.

Choose non-plastic containers for food. Containers made of glass, porcelain, or stainless steel do not contain BPA.

Do not heat plastic that could contain BPA. Never use plastic in the microwave, since heat can cause BPA to leach out. For the same reason, never pour boiling water into a plastic bottle when making formula. Hand-wash plastic bottles, cups, and plates.

Throw out any plastic products – like bottles or sippy cups – that are chipped or cracked. They can harbor germs. If they also have BPA, it’s more likely to leach into food.

Use fewer canned foods and more fresh or frozen. Many canned foods still contain BPA in their linings.

Avoid plastics with a 3 or a 7 recycle code on the bottom. These plastics might contain BPA. Other types of numbered plastic are much less likely to have BPA in them.

WebMD Medical Reference  Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 10, 2019

Sources 

Harvey Karp, MD, pediatrician, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block; assistant professor of pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine.

American Nurses Association.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Environmental Working Group.

Food and Drug Administration.

George Mason University’s Statistical Assessment Service (STATS.)

Healthy Child Healthy World.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Ryan, B. Toxicological Sciences, March 2010.

Sharpe, R. Toxicological Sciences, March 2010.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

source: WebMD