Monthly Archives: June 2010

Serve kids fruits and veggies first, meat later

Pennsylvania State University nutrition scientist Barbara J. Rolls found a way to get children to eat their fruits and vegetables and revealed it in the May issue of the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition.

Rolls and colleagues worked with preschoolers and found that if you feed them generous amounts of vegetables — in this case raw carrots — as their first course, they will eat more of them. 

A Chicago Tribune blogger tested it on her 6- and 11-year olds and found it worked,although she skipped the carrots. Here’s what she did:

First course: Fragrant, crunchy Gala apple slices. It helps to have one of those apple corers/slicers.

Second: Sweet red pepper strips.

Third: Spinach sauteed in olive oil and garlic, then sprinkled with sea salt and lemon juice.

Fourth: Two hot bowls of fresh broccoli soup made by dropping steamed broccoli in a blender with chicken stock (or hot water and a bouillon cube in a pinch).

Fifth: Organic baby greens tossed in a light vinaigrette.

Did they still have room for their organic burgers? About a half a burger each. And no one had room for dessert.


A health exam that doesn’t hurt

Take the New York Times weekly health quiz. It tests knowledge of recent health news with questions and multiple-choice answers.

Read the question, pick your answer and click on “submit answer,” and it records your score.

Sorry, there are no prizes. Just a warm feeling that you’re in the know.

Sample question: Craving and chewing on ice may be a sign of this common health problem:
A) Bruxism
B) Gingivitis
C) Anemia
D) Diabetes

Correct answer: Anemia.

See? It’s fun.

Here’s the link:

Marathon men Isner, Mahut burned off a combined 14,000 calories

The Wall Street Journal calculated how many calories John Isner and Nicolas Mahut burned off during their marathon Wimbledon tennis match earlier this week, which spanned three days.

The official weights for the American Isner and French Mahut are 245 pounds and 176 pounds, respectively. According to FitDay’s activity calculator,  the 6-foot-9, 25-year-old Isner burns 717 calories per hour of singles tennis, while 6-3, 28-year-old Mahut burns 563 calories per hour.

The numbers are rough estimates since FitDay’s version of singles tennis is not Wimbledon-level, but by that math, Isner burned off about 7,960 calories and Mahut “torched” about 6,250.

So Isner’s game-day(s) burn was the equivalent of about 15 Big Macs to 12 for Mahut.

Study: Cell phone towers don’t pose cancer risk to pregnant moms, children

A recent study of whether cell phone use boosts the odds of a brain tumor was inconclusive, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal, and because of its complexities, that question won’t be settled any time soon.

But a study done in England came to a conclusion on a different mobile-related issue, and it should be reassuring for parents: Children of women who lived near a cell phone tower while pregnant had no higher risk of a childhood cancer than kids living far from the towers.

The study looked at 1,397 British kids aged up to 4 years with leukemia, or a brain or central nervous tumor, then compared them to similar kids who didn’t have cancer. Researchers measured how far the pregnant moms lived from cell towers and calculated the power each tower threw off.

“We found no association between risk of cancer in young children and estimated exposure to radiofrequency from mobile phone base stations during pregnancy,” the researchers wrote.

Exercise may fight depression

 At his research clinic in Dallas, psychologist Jasper Smits is working on an unorthodox treatment for anxiety and mood disorders, including depression. It is not yet widely accepted, but his treatment is free and has no side effects, according to a story in Time Magazine.

Compare that with antidepressant drugs, which cost Americans $10 billion each year and have many common side effects: sleep disturbances, nausea, tremors, changes in body weight.

This intriguing new treatment? Exercise.

That physical activity is crucial to good health — both mental and physical — is nothing new. As early as the 1970s and ’80s, observational studies showed that Americans who exercised were not only less likely to be depressed than those who did not but also less likely to become depressed in the future.

In 1999, Duke University researchers demonstrated in a randomized controlled trial that depressed adults who participated in an aerobic-exercise plan improved as much as those treated with sertraline, the drug that, marketed as Zoloft, was earning Pfizer more than $3 billion annually before its patent expired in 2006.

Brown rice beats white rice in new study

Next time you order wonton soup and a spicy Number 82, you might want to make sure it comes with brown rice.

Brown rice is a whole grain — white rice before it has been refined and polished and stripped of the bran covering, which is high in fiber and nutrients. Brown rice also has a lower glycemic index than white rice, which means it doesn’t cause blood glucose levels to rise as rapidly.

Now a new study from researchers at Harvard reports that Americans who eat two or more servings of brown rice a week reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by about 10 percent compared to people who eat it less than once a month.

And those who eat white rice on a regular basis — five or more times a week — are almost 20 percent more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who eat it less than once a month.

Just replacing a third of a serving of white rice with brown each day could reduce one’s risk of Type 2 diabetes by 16 percent, a statistical analysis showed. A serving is a cup of cooked rice.

Two Harvard nurses’ health studies and a separate study of health professionals reached the conclusions, according to a story in the New York Times.

These health tips are the ‘worst’

MSNBC lists some surprisingly bad locations for your health, and the best places to optimize it:

1. Worst place to keep your toothbrush — the bathroom sink.

There are 3.2 million microbes per square inch in the average toilet bowl, and all of those germs are propelled out every time you flush, settling on the floor and the sink.  Keep your toothbrush behind closed doors in the medicine cabinet or a nearby cupboard.

2. Worst place to stash sneakers and flip-flops — the bedroom closet.

Shoes track in allergens and contaminants.  Leave your shoes by the front door.

3. Worst place to fall asleep — under piles of blankets.

Being overheated can keep you from sleeping.  Let your feet stick out from under your blankets.

4. Worst place to cool leftovers — in the refrigerator.

Placing hot leftovers directly in the fridge can cause uneven cooling and possibly food poisoning. Leave food to cool on the counter for up to an hour after cooking, or divide it into smaller containers that can cool faster before refrigerating.

5. Worst place to sit on an airplane — the rear.

The tail of the plane is where you’ll get the bumpiest ride.  Sit as close to the wing as you can.

6. Worst place to set your handbag — the kitchen counter.

Tests have showed up to 10,000 bacteria per square inch on purse bottoms.  Put your bag anywhere except where food is prepared or eaten.

7. Worst place to use a public bathroom — the stall in the middle.

The center stall has more bacteria.  Pick a stall all the way left or right.

8. Worst place to keep medicine — the medicine cabinet.

The temperature in a bathroom can get well above the recommended storage temperatures for many common drugs. Keep medicine somewhere cool and dry, such as the pantry.

9. Worst place to use headphones — on an airplane, train, or subway.

You’re probably turning the volume up too high if you’re listening to headphones in a noisy environment. Listen wherever you don’t have to blast your music to enjoy it, or consider using noise-canceling headphones.