Thursday, December 30, 2010

Positive thinking helps cure Illness

A new study from researchers at Bangor University in North Wales, UK suggests that keeping optimistic attitude on life and putting a brave face during adversities can ward off all kinds of illnesses.

According to psychologists, positive attitude can even overcome serious diseases like diabetes, arthritis and heart conditions. Previous studies have established that positive thinking can make the healing process of the body faster by easing the symptoms through placebos. Resilience can keep illnesses at bay.

The study, conducted on Britons, aged 50 to 90 years, found that resilient people are more likely to bounce back from the illnesses and feel better in spite of various aches and pains.

Dr Gill Windle, lead researcher at Bangor University, North Wales, stated that the inner strength required to fend off all illnesses takes years to develop and cannot be turned on overnight.

"Resilience is the key but it's probably something which builds up over a lifetime – in some cases because of experiences in childhood," the Daily Express quoted Windle as saying.  “A positive attitude on life could help you to bounce back from the challenges of ill health,” Windle added.
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Almond-rich diet could prevent Diabetes

Intake of almonds could help prevent diabetes and heart disease, a study has found. The nuts might cut cholesterol and help the body to use insulin, thus stopping diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and a lack of exercise, is partially the result of the body becoming resistant to its own insulin, the hormone which converts sugar into energy.

Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey studied 65 adults with raised blood sugar, a condition called pre-diabetes. The group which took almond-enriched diet for 16 weeks became more sensitive to insulin while their cholesterol was lowered.

About 55 million people in Europe have type-2 diabetes. This is expected to rise to 66 million by 2030. Another 60 million have pre-diabetes, giving them a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Health Tip: Playtime is Essential

Playtime is more than a source of pleasure for kids and their parents. It teaches toddlers social skills, how to pay attention and to use their imagination, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It's vital to offer your child time and toys to help promote growth and development, the AAP advises.

Create a play space that's safe and secure for your child, the group says. It should be a place where your child can play freely without the risk of injury, and where you can easily keep an eye on your child.

Even simple toys can encourage imagination and wonder. Examples include blocks, crayons, plastic dishware, and pots and pans.

And don't forget to include activities outside the home, such as a story hour at the local library, a trip to the playground, or a park.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vegetarian diet good for Kidneys

A new study has found that sticking to a vegetarian diet can help kidney disease patients avoid accumulating toxic levels of phosphorous in their bodies.

Kidney disease patients must limit their phosphorous intake, as high levels of the mineral can result in heart disease and death. Though medical guidelines recommend low phosphorus diets for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), phosphorus content is not listed on food labels.

Sharon Moe (Indiana University School of Medicine and Roudebush Veterans' Affairs Medical Center) and her colleagues studied the effects of vegetarian and meat-based diets on phosphorous levels in 9 patients with CKD.

Patients followed a meat-based or vegetarian diet for one week, followed by the opposite diet two-to four- weeks later. Blood and urine tests were performed at the end of each week on both diets.

Despite equivalent protein and phosphorus concentrations in the two diets, patients had lower blood phosphorus levels and decreased phosphorus excretion in the urine when they were on the vegetarian diet compared with the meat-based diet.

The authors concluded that their study demonstrates that the source of protein in the diet has a significant effect on phosphorus levels in patients with CKD.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Health Benefits of Regular Physical Exercise

Regular physical activity provides enormous health benefits. Studies show that regular physical activity:
  •  Improves your chances of living longer
  •  Improves quality of life
  •  Reduces the risk of heart disease
  •  Helps lower high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol
  •  Helps protect you from developing certain cancers
  •  Helps prevent or control type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes)
  •  Reduces the risk of arthritis and alleviates associated symptoms
  •  Helps prevent osteoporosis (gradual loss of bone mass/strength)
  •  Improves mobility and strength in later life
  •  Alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety
  •  Benefits weight reduction and weight management
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Eating orange is better than popping Vitamin Pills

Eating an orange is much healthier than simply taking vitamin C pills. A host of antioxidants in orange work together to retard ageing and would possibly keep heart disease and cancer at bay, the Journal of Food Science reports.  

"There is something about an orange that's better than taking a vitamin C capsule, and that is really what we're trying to figure out," said Tory Parker, assistant professor of nutrition, dietetics and food science at Brigham Young University in US.

Parker explained that every time we eat carbs and fat, we increase the amount of free radicals in our blood. Over time, that increases our chance for hardened arteries and heart disease. But eating fruit protects us from that effect for a few hours after every meal.

Parker noted supplement companies often mix "high concentrations of extracts from blueberry and blackberry and orange and throw them all together and hope it's good."

The researchers identified several combinations of antioxidants that were the most synergistic - the compounds hesperidin and naringenin, in particular, appeared to contribute the most punch in the combinations.

Those are the mixtures Parker would continue to research in human studies to evaluate whether their health effects mimic those of eating an orange.
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dairy Products May Lower Diabetes Risk

A natural substance present in dairy products appears to protect against diabetes, say researchers. Trans-palmitoleic acid is present in milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter but cannot be prepared by the body.

Study Details:
A study of over 3,700 people found higher levels of trans-palmitoleic acid was linked with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. People with the highest levels cut their risk by 60%, Annals of Internal Medicine reports.

Lead author of the research, Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, said: "The magnitude of this association is striking.  "This represents an almost three-fold difference in risk of developing diabetes among individuals with the highest blood levels of this fatty acid."

Deepa Khatri, clinical advisor at Diabetes UK, said: "People should not take the findings of this research as a reason to exceed the recommended portion amounts of dairy food in order to prevent their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"Milk and dairy foods can be high in fat, which if eaten in excess can contribute to weight gain. So it's advisable to choose lower-fat dairy foods instead.

Experts say more research is needed to see whether these trans-palmitoleic acids can play a useful role in preventing Type 2 diabetes. In the meantime, they recommend that all people, with or without diabetes, should have a healthy balanced diet, low in fat, salt and sugar with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Tips to prevent Dandruff

Dandruff is a tricky hair problem. But it is not impossible to get rid of. A few lifestyle modifications, constant hair care, healthy habits and a balanced diet can keep your scalp dandruff-free. Given below are few tips that would help you to avoid dandruff.
  • Avoid being in the sun without applying a hair serum. Wear caps or scarves before stepping out of the house. Sunrays are harsh on scalp skin and can harm hair structure.
  • Avoid exposing hair to cold weather. It can cause hair problems including dandruff. Make use of head gears in extreme weather conditions.
  • Wash your hair at least twice a week. In humid weather washing your hair thrice a week is advisable. Select a shampoo which is suitable for your hair texture.
  • Condition your hair after every wash. Some may need mild conditioning and some may need deep conditioning, according to their hair texture.
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner for shiny, radiant hair.
  • Don’t comb your hair when they are wet.
  • Always use a wide toothed comb.
  • Avoid chemical treatments such as coloring, highlighting, straightening or perming, if your scalp is prone to dandruff.
  • Practice stress reducing methods such as meditation and yoga. These healing treatments can have positive effects on physical health and your hair condition too.  
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Garlic might reduce Risk of Arthritis

A diet containing more garlic, leeks and onions might help in reducing the risk of having arthritis.

The daily mail reports: University of East Anglia and King College, London did their investigation about the link of diet rich in garlic and joint diseases like arthritis. Their studies confirmed the link of garlic and painful joint diseases and observed that women who ate much garlic had their minimum level of having hip osteoarthritis.

Arthritis is the disease that affects most of the women than men. Around 8 million people are affected in Britain. Joint diseases affect knees, hip and spine and it causes pain and it restricts the movement of the joints it affects.

The study by the Arthritis Research Britain had a detailed study about 1000 healthy female twins and assessed about their diet and early symptoms of arthritis in their knees, hip and spine. The detailed study revealed that earlier symptoms of osteoarthritis are less in women who had much garlic in their diet than who did not have it.

The researchers found the presence of a compound called diallyl disulphide in garlic and the laboratory findings with this compound showed to help in reducing cartilage damages.

“If our results are confirmed by follow-up studies, this will point the way towards dietary intervention or targeted drug therapy for people with osteoarthritis,” said Frances Williams, lead author of the study.
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five tips for Healthy Skin

The skin is one of the most powerful indicators of health. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle options can help delay the natural aging process and prevent many skin problems. Given below are few tips that can lead to a great looking skin.

1. Protect yourself from the sun
The most important way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. A lifetime of sun exposure can cause freckles, wrinkles, age spots and rough, dry skin. It can also lead to skin cancer. Hence, avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun's rays are the strongest. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats while going out at this time.Apply sunscreen when you're in the sun. 

2. Don't smoke
Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A, that are important to skin health.

3. Treat your skin gently
Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin, so keep it gentle. While bathing, use warm instead of hot water. After washing or bathing, gently pat or blot your skin dry with a towel so that some moisture remains on your skin. Don’t use strong soaps, as they may strip oil from your skin. Instead, opt for mild cleansers. In case you have dry skin, use a moisturizer that fits your skin type and makes your skin look and feel soft.

4. Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Drink ample of water.

5. Manage stress
Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To have a healthy skin and a healthy state of mind take steps to manage your stress.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beauty Sleep Concept not a Myth : Study

Want to look attractive and healthy, the best thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep, say researchers, backing the “beauty sleep” concept.

A new study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has found people who have a good night’s sleep, around 8 hours daily, look more beautiful and healthy than those who don’t.

For the study, researcher’s recruited 23 healthy adults aged 18 to 31 -- all young enough to get away with the odd bad night. The subjects were photographed after some 8 hours of sleep and again after being kept awake for 31 hours after a few hours’ sleep.

The pictures were shown to 65 untrained observers, who ranked them on a scale of how healthy, attractive or sleep-deprived the subjects looked. Those who went short of sleep were rated as less healthy and scored an average of 63 points, compared to 68 points after a full night’s sleep.

They were also seen as more tired and less attractive, leading the researchers to conclude that there really is such a thing as beauty sleep.

“The concept of beauty sleep has lacked scientific support, but the biological importance of sleep may have favored a sensitivity to perceive sleep-related cues in others.

“Sleep disorders are increasingly common in today’s 24-hour society and often co-exist with some common health problems, such as hypertension and inflammatory conditions,” the researchers were quoted by the ‘Daily Express’ as saying.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Constipation risk for kids who dislike Fruits and Vegetables

Scientists have found that primary school children who don't like eating fruit and vegetables are 13 times more likely to develop functional constipation than children who do.

Drinking less than 400ml of fluid a day also significantly increases the risk, according to the study.

Researchers from the National University of Singapore and Hong Kong Polytechnic University examined the eating habits of 383 children aged from 8 to 10 from a school in Hong Kong.

Key findings of the study included:
  •  7% of the children who took part suffered from functional constipation and there were clear dietary differences between the children who did and did not have problems.
  •  Girls were more likely to have functional constipation than boys and 9-year-olds were more likely to report problems.
  •  Children who only drank 200ml to 400ml of fluid a day were 8 times more likely to experience problems than children who drank more.
  •  Children who said they did not like fruit or vegetables were 13 times more likely to suffer from functional constipation than children who did.
The researchers advised parents to encourage children to consume fruit and vegetable. Nutrient-rich produce may boost kids' intake of vitamins and minerals, as well as help them maintain a healthy weight. 

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Tips to Keep your Gums Healthy

Practicing good dental hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis (gum disease). It's never too early to start in life, because children as young as 6 can develop gum disease.

In addition to brushing at least twice daily and flossing at least once each day, the Mayo Clinic suggests these tips to keep your family's gums healthy:
  • Choose the right toothbrush. Select a toothbrush with soft, end-rounded or polished bristles. Stiff or hard bristles are more likely to injure your gums. Some dentists recommend electric toothbrushes with rotating or vibrating bristles because they may be more effective at removing plaque and maintaining healthy gum tissue.
  • Brush as if your teeth depended on it. To clean outer surfaces of your teeth and gums, you can use short back-and-forth, and then up-and-down strokes. Use vertical strokes to clean inner surfaces. To clean the junction between your teeth and gums, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth.
  • Floss. If you're like most people, this is the part that's usually ignored. An antiseptic mouthwash can be a good alternative for non-flossers, but it will work best when combined with brushing and flossing.
  • See your dentist. Be sure to go for regular checkups and cleanings.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Extra Cup of Coffee Intake can Double Stroke Risk

A new study has reported that drinking more coffee than usual could double your risk of a stroke.

Experts at Harvard Medical School in Boston found that light coffee drinkers who normally have no more than one a day are twice as likely to suffer a blood clot on the brain if they increase that by an extra cup or two.

The risk of a potentially fatal stroke was greatest in the hour following consumption. After two hours, the coffee's effects had worn off and the risk of a stroke passed.

But the danger lies in occasional exposure to relatively higher caffeine levels, the findings said - making light coffee drinkers more susceptible.

This could be because coffee-lovers who get through several cups a day become ''desensitized'' to the effects of caffeine, such as raised blood pressure, stiffening of the arteries and higher norepinephrine levels, a stress hormone that increases heart rate.

Researchers examined 400 stroke victims, comparing each one's coffee intake in the hour before their stroke with their usual consumption over the previous year. Around one in ten had drunk coffee less than an hour before falling ill.

"Consumption was linked with a risk of stroke in the subsequent hour twice as high as during the periods where there was no coffee consumption," the Daily Mail quoted the authors as saying.

They found no such association with caffeinated tea or cola. The risk is mainly confined to those who exceed their normal intake of a cup or so a day.
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Study says Whole Grain Foods reduce Blood Pressure

According to scientists, eating whole grain foods can significantly reduce blood pressure.

The University of Aberdeen team said foods such as whole meal cereal, porridge, bread and oatcakes could have major health benefits.

Around 200 volunteers took part in the study. Dr Frank Thies, who led the research, said the findings could be seen as especially good news for Scottish food producers. The volunteers in the study received three servings every day of whole grain foods. The whole grain diets were compared with one that contained the same amounts of refined cereals and white bread.

Dr Thies, a senior lecturer at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, said volunteers eating wholegrain had a drop in blood pressure similar to that expected from blood pressure-lowering drugs.

He said: "This drop in systolic blood pressure could potentially decrease the incidence of heart attack and stroke disease by at least 15% and 25% respectively."
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Cranberry Juice not Effective against Urinary Tract Infections : Study

A new study has reported that cranberry juice is not efficient against urinary tract infections.

Drinking cranberry juice has been recommended to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections, based on observational studies and a few small clinical trials. However, the new study suggests otherwise.

A small clinical trial of 319 women:
College-aged women who tested positive for having a urinary tract infection were assigned to drink 8 ounces of cranberry juice or a placebo twice a day for either six months or until a recurrence of a urinary tract infection, whichever happened first.

Of the participants who suffered a second urinary tract infection, the cranberry juice drinkers had a recurrence rate of almost 20 per cent, while those who drank the placebo suffered only a 14 per cent recurrence.

"We assumed that we would observe a 30% recurrence rate among the placebo group. It is possible that the placebo juice inadvertently contained the active ingredients that reduce urinary tract infection risk, since both juices contained Vitamin C," said study author Betsy Foxman of the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health in Ann Arbor.

"Another possibility is that the study protocol kept participants better hydrated, leading them to urinate more frequently, therefore decreasing bacterial growth and reducing urinary tract infection symptoms," she said.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Purple Fruits could Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease

Purple- fruits like blueberries and green tea can help the body fight against age-related ailments like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis, a study has recommended. The constituents contained in these products that resist these diseases are iron chelators, a form of nutrients that stick closely to the body’s metallic substance.

The study suggests that iron, if not bound tightly, may result in the body producing free radical toxins. Such toxins, it is believed, may be the cause behind degenerative diseases.

Lead researcher of the study, Prof. Douglas Kell, from the University of Manchester, said: “Much of modern biology has been concerned with the role of different genes in human disease. The importance of iron may have been missed because there is no gene for iron as such”.

In addition, Prof. Douglas said that what he had highlighted in this research was therefore a crucial area for further investigations, as many simple predictions followed from his analysis.

Therefore, the researchers are of the opinion that eating bright colored fruits, especially blueberries, and green tea intake could keep the aforesaid diseases away.

In this connection, the Director of research at the charity Parkinson's UK, Kieran Breen, said that eating a balanced diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables of all colors, was important for everybody, and not just people with Parkinson's, and this paper reinforced this message.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Opt for Heart-Healthy Foods

A heart-healthy diet can aid to keep blood vessels clear of plaque, and help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. offers these guidelines for a heart-healthy diet:
  •  Eating plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  •  Making at least half of your daily grain consumption whole grains. These may include whole-grain barley, brown rice, whole-grain corn and oatmeal.
  •  Eating low-fat dairy foods, such as yogurt, cheese and milk.
  •  Getting lots of nuts and dry beans, lean meat, fish and poultry without the skin.
  •  Favoring polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats via vegetable oils, fish and nuts.
  •  Avoiding: saturated and Trans fats, sodium (salt), cholesterol and added sugars.
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Study blames Video Games for Obesity

A lot of kids are glued to their television screens while playing video games. The recent study found that those children who played strategy games were more likely to end up overweight than those children, who played the blockbuster blood and guts ones like "Black Ops".

In the United States, nearly one in five between 6 to 19 year olds who were involved in "serious" video games consumed more vegetables and fruits.

Baylor College of Medicine Professor, Tom Baranowski, who led the study, said that a couple of games such as "Escape from Diab" and "Nanoswarm" are specifically developed in a way so that they can influence the diet of the children, who are more likely to suffer the risk of obesity and diabetes.

"Diab and Nanoswarm games incorporate a broad diversity of behavior change procedures woven in and around engrossing stories", he added.

Health professionals said that a lot of children are affected by gaming addiction, as they don't squeeze out time for physical exercising and avoid appropriate intake of fruits and vegetables that are suggested by the doctors.

The study even found that these obese children have higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease than their normal-weight counterparts.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tips to apply Sunscreen more Effectively

Before going out in the sun, question that strikes the brain is how to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The answer is simple- by using sunscreen lotions. Before applying any sunscreen lotion make sure that it suits your skin. Here are some tips to use sunscreen lotions:-
  • Apply sunscreen lotion at least 30 minutes before you go out, as it would allow skin to absorb the lotion.
  • Applying sunscreen lotion just once is not sufficient. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when outdoors, especially if you’re swimming or sweating.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally on skin around the tops of the ears, nose, and cheeks as they are quite susceptible to sunburn.
  • Use roughly a handful to cover your entire body. Sunscreens with SPF ranges fifteen to thirty are best and protect ninety percent of UV rays.
  • Apply sunscreen lotion on daily basis because they not only protect you from sunburns but they also help to delay the formation of wrinkles. Sunscreens prevent your skin from dryness, premature ageing and skin cancers'.
  • Sunscreen lotion suitably protects the skin from suntan, but it cannot effectively protect the skin from the strong mid afternoon sun. During this time of the day,  you need the shade of an umbrella or a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, to protect your skin.
Always remember that clothes serve as the best shield against UV rays, therefore, try to dress up in such a manner that most of your body parts are covered. In addition, drink lots of water.
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Hard Facts of Soft Drinks

A soft drink may taste sweet, but the health effects aren't so tasty. There is compelling evidence that regular consumption of soft drinks leads to:
  • Increased rates of bone fracture
  • Increased long-term risk for osteoporosis (particularly in girls)
  • Increased risk for overweight and obesity
  • Increased risk for Type II Diabetes
  • Increased risk for kidney stones
  • Increased risk for dental problems
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Eating more Vegetables during Childhood leads to Healthy Heart

Vegetables Intake
A new study reveals that eating fruits and vegetables during childhood can prevent arterial stiffening, one of the key factors in heart disease, during adulthood.

The study followed 1,622 subjects, ranging in baseline age from three to 18, for 27 years. It compared their lifestyle factors, such as fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol use, and smoking.

The researchers found that those who ate fewer vegetables had higher pulse wave velocity, indicating a higher risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Mika Kahonen, MD, PhD, professor and chief physician for the department of clinical physiology at Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland, says: "These findings suggest that a lifetime pattern of low consumption of fruits and vegetables is related to arterial stiffness in young adulthood. Parents and pediatricians have yet another reason to encourage children to consume high amounts of fruits and vegetables."
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tips to clean your Fruits and Vegetables

Recent reports of illness caused by fresh produce have upped awareness on the need to wash before eating. Each of the basic rules from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is "equally important," says Robert Buchwald, environmental health supervisor with a branch of the Virginia Department of Health.

Wash everything. It includes prepackaged products (even if the label says "pre-washed" or "ready to eat") and the outer rinds and skins of all produce.

Use running water. Hold produce under the tap (the USDA recommends cold water) and turn it continuously to reach all sides. Gently rub soft fruits and vegetables for 30 to 60 seconds; use a vegetable brush on firmer items such as apples, cucumbers and carrots.

Avoid harsh cleaning agents. Detergents, soaps and bleaches can seep inside fruits and vegetables. Some people like commercial sprays and washes for produce, although there's not clear evidence they clean better than plain water.

Be thorough. Germs can bury themselves in tiny crevices. Before washing, cut off stalks and stems (which tend to be very dirty) and remove bruised or damaged spots where bacteria can thrive. Discard the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage and separate individual leaves for washing.

Dry it off. Use a clean towel or paper towel to help wipe away lingering germs.

Never skip the water. Blowing on a piece of fruit and rubbing it on your shirt or a dry towel isn't effective.
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Eat Fruits & Vegetables for Longer Life

Nutritionists have long advised us to add color to our diet. In fact, they say the more colors we eat, the better balanced the meal. A new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine supports this belief.

Carotenoids are yellow, orange and red pigments made by plants that come into our body through fruits and vegetables. They're found in yellow-orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and dark green vegetables, like green beans.

There are two types of carotenoids, alpha- and beta-carotene, which both produce vitamin A in our bodies. More is known about beta-carotene because of its possible role in preventing chronic disease.

Now, in a new study of over 15-thousand adults, researchers measured the concentration of alpha-carotene in the blood. Over a 14 year period they found that the risk of death was lower for people with elevated levels of alpha-carotene.

The investigators think that the benefits of high alpha-carotene eventually flattens out - it's not an elixir of eternal life. But they conclude that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may prevent premature death.
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