Going on a diet does not mean eating only bland and boring foods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends adding flavor the following ways: pan-sear, grill, or broil to intensify flavors; drizzle vegetables with olive oil, then roast in an oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232.2 degrees Celsius); caramelize onions over low heat in a pan with a little oil to give a sweet flavor; add colorful peppers or some hot sauce; add citrus fruit, chipotle peppers, cilantro, or pomegranate seeds to give richer flavor; and use flavorful condiments, such as horseradish, mustard, chutney, or salsa. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, May 2017
The air in your home can contain allergens that can lead to sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes among allergy sufferers. To clean the air inside your house, the Mayo Clinic suggests the following: close the windows and run the air conditioning on days when there’s a lot of pollen outside; use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your forced air heating and cooling systems (and remember to change it regularly); run a dehumidifier; and vacuum your floors frequently. Mayo Clinic, April 2017
Millions of US adults may have tough-to-spot high blood pressure.
The doctor’s office says your blood pressure is normal. You’re fine, right? Maybe not. A new study suggests that many Americans may have “masked” hypertension—a condition described as blood pressure that tends to be higher outside of the clinical environment. Researchers analyzed data from a government survey and estimated that about 17.1 million (12%) of adults in the US over the age of 21 have masked hypertension. American Journal of Epidemiology, January 2017
Oxytocin—known as the “love hormone”—evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security when in the company of a significant other. A new study suggests that individuals with low levels of oxytocin may have less empathy for others. The study included 20 people with medical conditions that cause low levels of oxytocin and 20 healthy individuals. Researchers found that those with low oxytocin levels did much worse on tests of awareness of other people’s feelings. Society for Endocrinology, November 2016
Compared to taking short naps or no naps at all, the risk for type 2 diabetes appears to be 45% higher among those who nap an hour or more each day. Analysis of data on more than 300,000 people revealed that shorter naps had no effect on diabetic risk. Dr. Joel Zonszein, the director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City notes, “Type 2 diabetes is a very complex disorder that can be affected by many environmental factors, including sleep patterns— particularly in those individuals that have genetic factors to develop diabetes.” European Association for the Study of Diabetes, September 2016
When stopped at intersections or stuck in a traffic jam, vehicles slow down, stop, rev up, and move closer together. Researchers say that in these situations, levels of peak particle concentration can be up to 29 times greater than those found in free-flowing traffic. Furthermore, when cars move slowly, drivers are exposed air pollution for longer periods of time, allowing pollution to linger and accumulate. As a result, cars waiting in traffic jams or at stop lights contain up to 40% more pollution than those that are moving. To minimize the harmful effects of traffic, limit your exposure by keeping windows shut, turning fans off, and increasing the distance between you and the car in front.” Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts, August 2016
Enjoy summer barbecuing without derailing your diet.
To keep your health on track this summer, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends swapping beef for turkey with fresh herbs, basting and grilling your favorite vegetables, and serving grilled fruit with angel food cake or low-fat ice cream for a sweet treat. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, June 2016
Neck pain is very common! According to one study, between 10-21% of the population will experience an episode of neck pain each year with a higher incidence rate among office workers. Between 33-65% will recover within one year, but most cases become “chronic, recurrent” meaning neck pain will come and go indefinitely. The more we can learn WHAT to do to prevent these episodes, the better.