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New Year’s Resolutions That Stick

To make this year’s resolution a success, I’ve created a plan that will help you BUILD momentum as the weeks progress, rather than lose it. Unlike in Januarys past, the idea is to start off with small changes and up the ante as you start to lose weight and see results. It’s the same strategy I’ve seen many “big losers” adopt on their way to shedding hundreds of pounds…and it works. Think small and read more here.

Food Allergies & Bullying

Does your child have a food allergy?  If so, he or she could be a target of bullies at school.

According to a new study reported by Medical News Today, food allergies can pre-dispose children to being bullied at school,

Researchers looked at 251 families from a New York City food allergy clinic.  They found that nearly a third of the kids have been bullied because of their food allergy.

Most of the kids said that their classmates had threatened them with the food to which they were allergic. They would wave it in front of them, throw it at them or tell them that they would sneak it into their food when they weren’t looking.

As you might expect, the study showed that bullying is associated with reduced quality of life as well as increased stress for the children and their parents.  Parents were aware of the bullying only about half of the time.  When they knew about it, the children’s quality of life improved.

The research team says that pediatricians and parents should screen for bullying in children with food allergies.

By the way, a separate study found that food allergies are associated with anxiety and loneliness in children. In fact, one out of five allergic children don’t attend classmates’ parties.  One in four of these kids say they always bring “safe food” with them.

To learn more about the new study and how you can help your child, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics’ website at aap.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Turn a Pack of Ramen Noodles into a Healthy Snack

From Everyday Food

This crunchy Ramen Noodle snack mix makes for a delicious and healthy way for adults to enjoy Ramen noodles. Plus, it’s incredibly easy, with only three steps.

Crunchy Ramen Snack Mix Recipe 



Ingredients 


2 packages ramen, broken into small pieces (seasoning packet discarded)

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup raw peanuts

1 cup cornflakes

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup fried or freeze-dried peas

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss ramen, cashews, peanuts, and cornflakes with oil until coated.

2. Spread mixture in an even layer. Combine curry powder, cayenne, and salt; sprinkle over ramen mixture.

3. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Stir in peas and let cool completely before serving.

How to Prevent Stomach Flu

Want to know how to prevent the stomach flu… Grape Juice might be the answer!

Marijuana & Teenagers

Could marijuana be linked to psychotic symptoms in teens?   Or are psychotic teens more likely to use marijuana?

According to a story on Reuters Health, new research from the Netherlands has looked at the relationship between pot and psychosis.

Earlier studies found links between marijuana use and psychosis, but scientists questioned whether pot use increased the risk of mental illness, or whether people were using pot to ease their psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.

Dr. Gregory Seeger, medical director for addiction services at Rochester General Hospital in upstate New York, says “What is interesting in this study is that both processes are going on at the same time.”

Dr. Seeger says researchers have been especially concerned about what (THC), the active property in marijuana, could do to a teenager’s growing brain.

He points out that adolescence is a vulnerable period of time for brain development, and that individuals with a family history of schizophrenia and psychosis seem to be more sensitive to the toxic effects of THC.

In the Dutch study, the researchers found a “bidirectional link” between pot use and psychosis.

For example, using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19.

The new study doesn’t prove that one causes the other, but Dr. Seeger believes there needs to be more public awareness of the connection.

He says: “I think the marijuana is not a harmless substance. Especially for teenagers, there should be more of a public health message out there that marijuana has a public health risk.”

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Healthier Kids in 2013

Here’s a New Years’ resolution that will help your child stay healthier in 2013. Give them cheese and veggies as an afternoon snack.

A new study has found that healthy snacks can help take the edge off of kids’ between-meal hunger pangs.  In fact, it may even help put a dent in rates of childhood obesity.

According to a story on WebMD.com, children who were given cheese and vegetables as a snack ate 72% fewer calories than children who snacked on potato chips.  The impact was even greater for kids who were overweight or obese.

The study involved about 200 kids entering third or sixth grade. They were given chips, cheese, veggies, or a combination of veggies and cheese, and allowed to snack freely while watching a 45-minute TV show.

Kids who chose the veggies-only option took in the fewest calories, but those offered the combo snack or cheese only took in about the same number of calories. Either option meant far fewer calories than those who were served chips, which suggests that replacing potato chips even with cheese alone may be an option.

The good news is that children will accept healthier snacks.  Erin Corrigan, a clinical nutrition manager at Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida, says “snacks are an important part of a child’s diet if you provide nutrient-dense foods.”

Although cheese can be high in calories, it is also high in protein and calcium, Corrigan says “Fruits and vegetables have more fiber, which helps people feel full quicker and longer.  When combined with protein it’s the perfect combination for a well-balanced snack.”

Other possible healthy options include and yogurt and granola, hummus and veggies, and peanut, sunflower, or almond nut butter with fruit or whole-grain crackers.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Hold the Salt!

Here’s an important story for parents as we get ready to enter the New Year. Are your kids getting too much SALT in their diet?  The fact is that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the US, and excess salt intake may have a lot to do with it.

CBS News writer Ryan Jaslow reports on a new study done in Australia—it found that reducing the amount of salt in kids’ diets may be a first step in preventing obesity. That’s because salty foods lead kids to reach for sugary drinks—a major contributor to childhood obesity.

The researchers tracked the eating and drinking habits of 4,200 Australian kids. They found that the kids who took in the most salt, also consumed the most sugary drinks.

For every one gram of salt per day, children took in 17 grams per day more of a sugary drink.  Children who drank more than one serving per day of a sugary drink were more likely to be obese.

While we know that salty foods can cause us to be thirsty, experts were quick to point out the study did not show cause and effect for salt’s role in obesity.

By the way, The American Heart Association recommends that people should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams milligrams of sodium each day.

However, a recent survey found most Americans average 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, mostly from processed and restaurant foods.

And what are the biggest sodium culprits?  Breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches.

To learn more about a healthy level of salt intake, go to the Heart Association’s website at heart.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.

4 Quick Ways to Boost Your Energy — Without Coffee!

Click Here if you want to read about 4 simple things you can do to give yourself a pick-me-up!

Healthy Eating Does Matter

If you’re at high risk of having a heart attack, changing your diet can significantly lower your chances of heart disease.

But can eating fruits and vegetables help someone who already has heart problems?   Maybe so.

Time magazine is reporting on a new study done by a group of international researchers.  It shows that for heart patients currently taking medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol, healthy eating can have an added beneficial effect.

Mashid Dehghan, a researcher at the Population Health Research Institute in Canada says “We encourage everyone to eat healthy.  But especially high-risk patients, we want them to know: Take your medication, but modify your diet as well.”

Dr. Dehghan says “Some people think that if medication lowers their blood pressure, healthy eating doesn’t matter. We want them to know that this is wrong.”

The new study is the most comprehensive research of its kind to date.

That’s because of large size of the study population, and the fact that it included participants from 40 different countries.  [The researchers tracked 30,000 adults aged 55 and older, all with a history of heart disease, stroke, or diabetes.]

It found that patients who ate healthy AND took their medication had the best outcomes of all.

Dr. Denghan points out that healthy eating is not about one single nutrient or food group, but instead, about the big picture.   She says “People can eat healthy or unhealthy three times a day, so if you modify your diet it can have a big impact.”

If you’d like to learn more about the study, go to Time.com and enter “heart disease” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the Audio Version of this post.

Football Players & Head Injuries

More concern is being raised about football players and head injuries.

ABC News reports that researchers have announced that 34 NFL players whose brains were studied suffered from CTE, a degenerative brain disease brought on by repeated hits to the head.  CTE results in confusion, depression and, eventually, dementia.

Researchers at Boston University have published the largest case series study of CTE to date.  Of the 85 brains donated by the families of deceased veterans and athletes with histories of head trauma, they found CTE in 68 of them. Of those, 34 were professional football players, nine others played college football and six played high school football.

However, it isn’t known how much brain trauma results in CTE.

Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the lead researchers who performed the study, says “While it remains unknown what level of exposure to brain trauma is required to trigger CTE, there is no available evidence that occasional, isolated or well-managed concussions give rise to [the disorder]”

Several highly publicized suicides by NFL players have focused attention on the impact of repeated head trauma.

San Diego Chargers veteran Junior Seau and ex Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson both died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the last two years.  Researchers say that Duerson definitely suffered from CTE, and Seau’s brain is currently being studied for effects of the disorder.

Seau’s death  prompted NFL player Jacob Bell to quit the sport altogether, terminating his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.

CTE has also been found in hockey players, wrestlers and boxers. It’s still not possible to diagnose while a person is alive.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this post.