Saturday, June 12, 2010

"Gulf of Texico" Fishery Disaster Status

Saw this coming, didn't you. The US Government is declaring the Gulf Fisheries to have disaster status.

Get this. Over 1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish were harvested in 2008! That is a huge market to be shut down, and I am so sorry for those whose jobs have been threatened by BPs spill.

But, you know what? I personally won't eat anything that comes out of the Gulf of Texico for the next 10 years.

And the problem is not just with the oil that floats to the surface. Those oil plumes that are on the bottom will most certainly affect the shrimp, the oysters, the crawfish, etc. (I don't eat oysters anyway, for precisely this reason -- they're filter feeders, like the strainer at the bottom of your shower).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has closed about 20% of the commercial fishing waters in the Gulf, as of May 2. More to come, I'm sure, as this disaster unfolds and extends into the foreseeable future.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Pets Can Teach Us About Marriage

Okay, I know. This is not about "nutritional" health or "physical" health, but more about the day to day emotional health that can, in turn, cascade into longer term health problems. At the very least, this provides some food for thought (so to speak!).

Dr. Suzanne Phillips suggests we can all learn how to improve our human relationships by focusing on how we interact with our pets. Among her suggestions:

Greetings: Even on bad days, we greet our pets with a happy, animated hello, and usually a pat on the head or a hug. Do you greet your spouse that way?

Holding grudges: Even when our pets annoy us by wrecking the furniture or soiling the floor, we don’t stay mad at them.

Assuming the best: When our pets make mistakes, we don’t take it personally and are quick to forgive. We give them the benefit of the doubt. Yet when our spouse does something wrong, we often react with anger and blame.

“The old expression ‘you get what you give’ may apply here,” writes Dr. Phillips. “Maybe you give something very positive to your pet that invites the unconditional love and connection that makes you feel so good. Maybe it has potential to enhance your relationship.”

To learn more lessons from pets to improve your relationship, read the full column, “Can Pets Improve Your Relationship?”

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Want Better Grades? Here's How You Get Them

It doesn't matter if you're in Middle School or College ... if you exercise, you make better grades.

After controlling for every extraneous variable on the planet, researchers showed that exercise made a sizable difference in a student’s G.P.A. On a 4.0 grade scale, students who exercised vigorously seven days a week had G.P.A.’s that were, on average, 0.4 points higher than those who didn’t exercise. (The full study isn’t available online, but the American College of Sports Medicine has posted a press release about the research.)

And you don't have to KILL yourself either, be a marathoner, or run the super Iron Man Tri-athalon every other Thursday to get the effects. You just have to get out there and DO something. Put. The. Remote. Down.

In other words, go out and play.

Vigorous Exercise Linked With Better Grades - Well Blog -

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Yawn* Mediterranean diet helps existing heart disease, too | Reuters

The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest diet on Earth. This is just more data showing what we already know.

But check this out:

Patients with diet's that were the closest to the Mediterranean style of eating were at 31% lower risk of suffering another heart attack or experiencing chest pain during the first month after they were discharged from the hospital.

They were only half as likely as those with the least Mediterranean eating habits to have another heart-related event within a year, and nearly 40 percent less likely to experience repeat heart problems within two years.

For every additional point on the 55-point Mediterranean Diet Score, a person's risk of having another heart-related event over the next two years fell by 12 percent, the researchers found. Patients with the most Mediterranean diets were also the least likely to experience reductions in the ability of the heart's main pumping chamber to work at full capacity, as well as harmful structural changes to the heart known as cardiac remodeling.

Mediterranean diet helps existing heart disease, too | Reuters

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Monday, June 07, 2010

I don't buy it. "Caffeine addicts get no perk"

British scientists report that caffeine consumers actually "get no perk" from their morning joe. I don't buy it.

It is true, as they say, that we develop a tolerance to caffeine over time. But they're saying that "Although frequent consumers feel alerted by caffeine, evidence suggests that this is actually merely the reversal of the fatiguing effects of acute caffeine withdrawal"

In other words, when you wake up groggy, have your morning cup, and feel more alert, you're not actually feeling more alert. Huh?

Here's how they came to this counterintuitive bit of silliness. They got caffeine users to go off it for 16 hrs. They then gave them a caffeine pill, or a placebo.

THEN ... they had the individuals themselves rate how alert they felt like they were, and compared that to the "alertness" of non-consumers. These two, completely different, self-reported guestimates turned out to be similar. And THAT's how they came up with the conclusion that you read in the title: Caffeine addiction is such a downer that regular coffee drinkers may get no real pick-me-up from their morning cup.

You can't even compare two different sets of subjective data like this. So don't doubt your senses, you caffeine fiends. The increase in alertness you feel, is not a mirage.

Caffeine addicts get no real perk from morning cup | Reuters

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Sunday, June 06, 2010

It's not about the burger

Good food IS good health. That includes things like normal hamburger, or other kinds of meats (THIS hamburger, of course, has enough calories to feed Rwanda).

That said, researchers from Germany, Spain and Britain who studied data on 50,000 children across the world found that kids who ate burgers were much more likely to have asthma.

According to this study, a meat-heavy diet itself was NOT what was causing the asthma. It was more likely the fact that, kids who eat a lot of fast food are also kids who do not exercise or eat vegetables.

Those lifestyle factors are key and point to a Mediterranean approach. I know, I know. You're saying, "What? How did you leap from fast food burgers, over the Atlantic ocean, to land in the Mediterranean approach. It's not just me, I got it from the authors of this study, "This study adds to an existing body of evidence showing the health benefits of a so-called Mediterranean diet -- rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish -- including reduced risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and depression."

The bottom line is that no ONE factor is contributing to asthma, diabetes, overweight and the rest. In stead of looking for the single culprit, such as burgers or even fast food consumption, this study rightly looks for patterns of behaviors that lead to awful health.

Burger diet linked to higher childhood asthma risk | Reuters

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