Junk Food Ads Sway Kids’ Preferences

We really do have to pay attention to what our kids are consuming, both visually and by mouth. Sadly, they can form habits and develop food preferences in their youth that will damage them their entire lives.

The fact that more than 80 pct of televised food ads are for unhealthy products is downright scary.

Tony

Our Better Health

Children under 8 most vulnerable to marketing’s effects, study says

Any parent who’s ever endured a whining child begging for that colorful box of cereal won’t be surprised by a new study’s findings: Children are more likely to eat junk food when they’ve seen ads for unhealthy foods and beverages.

The new review included 29 past studies. There were more than 6,000 children involved in those studies.

The researchers found that ads and other marketing for products high in sugar or salt have an immediate and major impact on youngsters. And children younger than age 8 might be most susceptible to junk food and beverage marketing, the study authors reported.

The findings show the influence that such ads can have on children, said lead author Behnam Sadeghirad, a doctoral student at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

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“This [review] shows that the extensive exposure kids have to marketing of unhealthy foods…

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What is the Value of Hugging?

What is the value of hugging? Oh yes, it feels nice and likely makes the other person feel nice, too, but are there real tangible benefits to hugging? Or, is that all there is.

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Turns out that there are real measurable benefits from hugging. Scientists have isolated a hormone, a healthy neuropeptide – oxytocin – that is released into the blood stream when you hold a friend close. As a result your blood pressure goes down as well as stress and anxiety.

Research from the University of Vienna points out that you need to be selective about who you are hugging. A polite squeeze to someone socially that you aren’t close to can have the opposite effect.

Partners in functional relationships have been found to have increased oxytocin levels. The hormone promotes bonding, social behavior and closeness between family members and couples.

Dr. Kathleen C. Light, a professor at the University of North Carolina Department of Psychiatry, studies oxytocin in married couples and those permanently living together. She has found an increase in the hormone over time in close couples.

The National Institute of Health’s News in Health publication reported that “Oxytocin makes us feel good when we’re close to family and other loved ones, including pets. It does this by acting through what scientists call the dopamine reward system. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a crucial part in how we perceive pleasure….

“Oxytocin does more than make us feel good. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood, increasing tolerance for pain and perhaps even speeding how fast wounds heal. It also seems to play an important role in our relationships. It’s been linked, for example, to how much we trust others.”

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Barbara Frederickson points out in her book Positivity “Although any single hug, or moment of positivity, is unlikely to change your life, the slow and steady accumulation of hugs – or positivity – makes a huge difference. So, find a way to increase your daily dose of genuine, heart-to-heart, hang-on-tight hugs. You will not only give and receive good feelings, but over time, you’ll give and receive good health.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Tony

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Harvard on Simple Weight Loss Principles

Seconds on the lips; a lifetime on the hips.

We have all heard that old cliche and nodded knowingly. But the fact that two-thirds of us are overweight and half of the heavies are actually obese demonstrates that not enough of us are acting as if we believed it.
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I have written an entire page entitled How to lose weight – and keep it off breaking down the principles and techniques I have used for the past several years to reach my ideal weight and maintain it. I am a regular guy not a saint or superhuman. You can do it, too.

Now comes Harvard Medical School with an item echoing and elucidating my sentiments on weight loss and weight maintenance.

“The pleasure of eating a candy bar lasts but a few minutes. Burning off the calories it delivers can take nearly three-quarters of an hour. Continue reading

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Can Green Tea Boost Your Brainpower and Treat Disease?

Our Better Health

The images that come to mind when thinking of green tea are likely associated with calmness, purity and relaxation.

The ancient beverage has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a means to relieve people from various ailments, but more recently the tea – and its extracts – have caught the attention of scientists. Teams across the world have been trialling green tea extracts and specific compounds within them for their potential to lower the risk of various conditions: cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Evidence for these benefits is limited, however, and often inconclusive, but recent studies have found that one particular compound inside green tea, known as EGCG, could improve the functioning of one particular part of the body: the brain.

Boosting brain power

“Many people consume green tea extracts in some form, so we were interested in the effects [on the brain],” said Stefan…

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10 Tips for better sleep – Infographic

Sleep, like walking, is one of the most under appreciated aspects of living a healthy life.

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To read much more on sleep, check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep?

If you really want to get into it, check out Arianna Huffington ‘s excellent book  The Sleep Revolution  at Amazon.

Tony

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Calcium and your health – Infographic

I think calcium is one of the under-appreciated minerals around.

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To read further on bone health and calcium, check out:

Calcium – The key to strong bones

Bad to the bone – WebMD

Strength training builds more than muscles – Harvard

Tony

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More Fitness Funnies

Starting a holiday-shortened week with a giggle … maybe.

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Hopefully, the laugh is on me.

Tony

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Following Prevention Guidelines Linked to Lowered Risk for Cancer

In addition to reducing your cancer risks – eating healthy and exercising regularly will eliminate your ever needing to worry about your weight. You won’t have a weight problem.

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Eat less; move more, live longer.

Tony

Our Better Health

Keeping active and eating healthy really does seem to reduce the odds of getting certain cancers and dying from them, according to a new review of past research.

The analysis of 12 large studies found significant reductions in breast, endometrial and colorectal cancers in particular among people who consistently followed cancer-prevention lifestyle guidelines compared to those who didn’t.

“What is most interesting to me is how much cancer can be reduced by our lifestyle behaviors,” said lead author Lindsay N. Kohler of the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health in Tucson.

We already knew that making healthy choices reduces cancer risk, but “most of us don’t follow all the guidelines like we should,” Kohler told Reuters Health by email.

Nearly 1.7 million new cancer diagnoses and 600,000 deaths from cancer are expected in the U.S. this year, the study team writes in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers…

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Minimizing Summer Skin Problems with Ayurveda

Having suffered three skin cancers, I feel strongly about anything that might help. Here are some wise words that go far beyond SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum sunblock.

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To read further on summer heat and sun problems check out my two Pages:

What to do about extreme heat

Skin cancer facts in general and my three skin cancer surgeries in particular

Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

By this point, everyone knows that the sun can cause severe damage to the skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, one of the main organs of purification. It acts as an insulator, regulates body temperature, and protects us from the harmful radiations of the sun. During the long days of summer, when exposure to the sun is at its peak, the risk of damage to our skin increases multifold.

Over-exposure to sun can allow extreme ultraviolet (UV) rays to penetrate through the layers of our skin, harming the DNA of our cells. From the perspective of Ayurveda, the intensity of the sun’s heat during the summer also aggravates Pitta dosha.

According to Ayurveda, most skin problems are associated with an imbalance of Pitta dosha, which governs metabolism, heat and digestion. Pitta has five subdivisions or “subdoshas”, and one of them, Bhranjaka Pitta, resides in the skin. Its…

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Watermelon Fun!

Here is yet another way to enjoy the wonderful cooling and healthy benefits of watermelon.

I am a giant fan of watermelon. Check out my posts for further details:

How healthy is watermelon?

How about some polar opposites: watermelon and Twinkies?

More good reasons to eat watermelon – Infographic

Vita Mix – Drinking a watermelon

Tony

Eat well, Live well

Today is the first day of July and the summer time is here! What better way to celebrate the first day of July with a fun watermelon drink? Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C,  has plenty of antioxidants (watermelon gets it reddish-pink shades primarily from lycopene!), and has a rich supply of an amino acid called citrulline.

A fully ripened watermelon will feel heavy for its size. Heaviness in a watermelon is a good thing because the water content of a watermelon will typically increase along with ripening, and a fully ripened watermelon will be over 90% water in terms of weight! A fully ripened watermelon will also often have a ground spot that has turned creamy yellow in color.

Looking for ideas on what to do with watermelon? Make it into a fun drink. I used plain seltzer water mixed with watermelon for a light spritzer drink…

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Weight Loss: Exercise vs. A Healthy Diet

Some really good , healthy concepts here. I love the positive approach. Work on being healthy and your weight loss problem will disappear.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

Positively STRONG

Are you trying to lose weight with just exercise alone? Do you have a soda addiction but figure it’s not as bad as smoking or other vices since you can just exercise the ‘bad’ calories away? Unfortunately new research looking at the weight management approach of calories in versus calories out tells us that this is really not the case — you really can’t outrun a bad diet.

Diet Trumps Exercise for Weight Loss

The 2015 study published in the journal Current Biology suggests that too little physical activity can make you unhealthy but too much of it drives your body to make big adjustments to adapt, leading to weight loss plateaus. The authors  of the study point to the need to focus on diet, especially when it comes to weight loss and weight management.

Below is a great video that pretty much sums up exactly what the research says:

How to Make a Healthy Diet Fit Your Life

I’m…

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Interval training techniques for quick fat loss – Infographic

Although weight loss was the primary focus of this blog at the outset, it has been pushed to the back burner in favor of straight forward healthy living which consists of  intelligent eating with regular exercise. However, if a person if a person finds himself overweight and wants some speedier results. Interval training just might fill the bill.

Interval training is a type of physical exercise that involves a series of low- to high-intensity exercise workouts interspersed with rest or relief periods. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to anaerobic exercise, while the recovery periods involve activity of lower intensity. Varying the intensity of effort exercises the heart muscle, providing a cardiovascular workout, improving aerobic capacity and permitting the person to exercise for longer and/or more intense levels. According to Wikipedia.

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Just to keep things in perspective, please check out my Page – How to lose weight – (and keep it off).

Tony

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How exercise makes you happy – Infographic

Regular readers know how much I value the benefits of exercise. So, I was very happy to stumble upon this infographic on fresh benefits of exercise.

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Please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

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Exercise ideas for hot weather

As regular readers know, I feel strongly about the great outdoors, savoring the experience of it as well as exercising outdoors. Summer has made its presence known with a vengeance this year and there is a time and a place for everything.

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I have been riding my bike around sunrise lately as a method of avoiding the oppressive heat. I am 76 years old and in excellent shape, but my doctor said that she tells even her 40-year-olds not to push exercise in extreme heat. You can check out my Page – How to deal with extreme heat for lots more examples.

Meanwhile the Go4Life folks offer the following excellent suggestions for heat extremes:

 •    Walk on the treadmill, ride the stationary bike, or use the rowing machine that’s gathering dust in your bedroom or basement. Or use one at a nearby gym or fitness center.
    •    Work out with an exercise DVD. You can get a free one from Go4Life.
    •    Go bowling with friends.
    •    Join a local mall walking group.
    •    Walk around an art gallery or museum to catch a new exhibit.
    •    Check out an exercise class at your neighborhood Y.
    •    If you like dancing, take a Zumba® or salsa class.
    •    Try yoga or Tai Chi.
    •    Go to the gym and work on your strength, balance, and flexibility exercises or set up your own home gym. All you need is a sturdy chair, a towel, and some weights. Soup cans or water bottles will do if you don’t have your own set of weights.
    •    Go to an indoor pool and swim laps or try water aerobics
    •    How about a game of indoor tennis, hockey, basketball, or soccer?
    •    Go indoor ice skating or roller skating.
    •    Maybe it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Vacuum, mop, sweep. Dust those hard-to-reach areas.

Tony

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Of cats and dogs and cliches …

I was reading this morning and ran into the cliche you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I have to tell you that this is one particularly annoying expression to me. This is another of the general negativity directed toward seniors.

By the time I retired, I had become something of an expert on markets. After 20 years spent writing about international markets for Reuters News Service I went on to write for the Investments Department of a major philanthropic organization. The final five years of my working life I actually managed the investment of $900 million in the debt market.

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Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

After retiring, at the age of 70, I started writing this blog. It had nothing to do with markets or the economy. The primary focus was weight loss in the beginning, but after taking a number of courses on nutrition, anatomy, physiology, the brain, longevity and yoga, to name a few, I expanded the scope to focus on good nutrition, exercise and living past 100 while keeping our mental faculties intact.

So, I contend that you can teach an old dog, me, new tricks. I think that you need to cleanse yourself of cliches like that as they are absolutely negative and do nothing but jam a road block into your path.

While on the subject of negative cliches, another troubling one that springs to mind is curiosity killed the cat. I am not sure why, but I hear that one a lot. What’s wrong with being curious? Since when is curiosity a bad thing? I consider curiosity one of my best traits.

In researching the saying, it seems it started otherwise than we know it today. The original word was care not curiosity and the meaning had to do with care and worry, That is, too much worrying killed the cat. This varies from what we know today as curiosity – digging into a subject to find out more. So, it’s current usage has run totally askew from its origin. Yet it persists in this new and troublesome form.

Since many of my readers are fellow bloggers, you know how much a part that true curiosity plays in your most meaningful posts. I certainly do.

Finally, we all know how important it is to avoid cliches, not just negative ones. Nothing bogs down writing faster and glazes over the eyes of a reader more effectively than cliche-ridden sentences. So, I beg you to avoid cliches like the plague.

You got that last one, didn’t you?

Tony

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Bad to the Bone – WebMD

With apologies to George Thorogood, whose Bad to the Bone is a true rock classic, you really don’t want to be bad to your bones.

WebMD has produced a slideshow demonstrating things we do and don’t do that damage our bones. Our bones are as strong as cast iron yet remains as light as wood. Keep in mind that our bones are not all solid. The outside is solid surrounded by a few small canals. The inside, however, looks like a honeycomb.

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The way we strengthen our bones is with weight-bearing exercise and good diet choices. As a bike rider, I am very aware of this. My regular riding is super cardio exercise, but does nothing for my bones. Not long ago, Tour de France riders, started integrating weight lifting with their workouts as they were coming down with osteoporosis.

WebMD offers eleven examples in a slide show that is worth checking out.

Here are a few examples in case you don’t have time right now. Skip that next pitcher of Margaritas. “When you’re out with friends, one more round might sound like fun. But to keep bone loss in check, you should limit the amount of alcohol you drink. No more than one drink a day for women and two for men is recommended. Alcohol can interfere with how your body absorbs calcium.”

I have written a Page about the damage smoking does and it turns out smoking damages your bones, too. “When you regularly inhale cigarette smoke, your body can’t form new healthy bone tissue as easily. The longer you smoke, the worse it gets.
Smokers have a greater chance of breaks and take longer to heal. But if you quit, you can lower these risks and improve your bone health, though it might take several years.”

See what you can do to be good to your bones.

Tony

 

 

 

 

 

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