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Back-to-school food safety for parents, kids

Chances are you’ll worry more about finding foods for your child’s lunchbox that they’ll actually eat, than you will about whether those foods will be safe to eat by the time they get there. More than 48 million Americans will become stricken with food poisoning this year. That’s nearly 1 in every six people resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and more than 3000 deaths. Children are the most vulnerable to foodborne illnesses, so it’s worth taking extra precautions when packing their lunches. “One thing parents might want to do before school starts is pack a simple lunch with a cold source, and leave it on the counter,” said Marianne H. Gravely, Senior Technical Information Specialist of the Food Safety Education Staff at the USDA. “Wait the amount of time the child has to wait until lunch, and see if it’s still cold.” This activity gets the kids involved in their lunch planning but it also starts to teach them to become aware of the…

The beach is good for your brain, studies show

Nearly 77% of employees don’t take all of their eligible time off, according to a survey from Glassdoor. And that’s a shame because slaying away at work and at home all day every day can take a toll. In case you needed more motivation to set that pile of work papers aside and hit the beach, know that recent research shows that spending time near the water does your body and mind a lot of good. According to an analysis of English census data published in the journal Health Place, people who live by the ocean report better physical and mental health than those who live inland. And living in a home with an ocean view can make you feel calmer than those without, according to a study published in the Journal of Coastal Zone Management. So it makes sense that Hawaii is regularly ranked as the happiest state in the United…

How to tell you have food poisoning and what may have caused it

Summer is a big season for food poisoning. All of those backyard parties and picnics can lead to some pretty questionable food handling habits. One in six Americans — about 48 million people — will deal with some type of foodborne illness this year, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means you’ve ingested bacteria, viruses or parasites that can really do a number on your body. But how do you distinguish funky food from a safe snack, and how do you know it’s not some other ailment? Food poisoning symptoms According to the Mayo Clinic, your food poisoning symptoms will differ depending on what your food was contaminated with, as well as your age. Very young or elderly people, pregnant women and those with weaker immune systems or chronic diseases face a high risk in contracting a foodborne illness, but food poisoning can affect anyone. Here are some…

Chocolate milk helps you recover from a grueling work out, study shows

It’s natural to work up a thirst and appetite after a tough workout — but what exactly you should be eating and drinking is highly debated. Some experts swear by protein, while others insist on sports drinks or alternatives like coconut water. One post-workout option you’ll see kick around often is chocolate milk. Why? Well, for starters, everyone loves chocolate milk — who wouldn’t want to look forward to an ice cold glass? But besides being tasty, it has a great combination of hydrating H2O, protein, and simple carbohydrates that can help your body heal after a particularly difficult day at the gym. The new research was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study concluded that high-fat milk was just as effective as sports drinks or water in helping you recover from intense exercise. While water and sports drinks are great, chocolate milk has an edge when it comes to…

Eat more fruits and vegetables to reduce risk of breast cancer, researchers say

As if you didn’t have enough reasons to eat your fruits and vegetables, a new Harvard study shows that women who get their daily servings, or more, have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially aggressive tumors, than those who eat fewer servings of fruits and veggies. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, and yellow and orange vegetables, had a very strong link to lower risk of breast cancer. In the study, lead by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers analyzed diet questionnaires from the Nurses’ Healthy Study (88,301 women, starting in 1980) and the Nurses’ Health Study II (93,844 women, starting in 1991). They found that women who ate 5.5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day had an 11% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who ate 2.5 servings or fewer. (A serving is defined as one cup of raw, leafy vegetables, a half…

You would never guess this country consumes the most candy

Americans love candy. We have several holidays where we put the sweet stuff at the center of the celebration — Halloween candy, Easter baskets, candy-filled advent calendars and candy canes. We even have amusement parks dedicated to it. You’d be forgiven for assuming Americans eat more candy than any other country — but you’d also be wrong. There is one country that beats out the U.S. in candy consumption: Sweden. A recent study conducted by Jordbruksverket, the Swedish Board of Agriculture, found that Sweden has the highest candy consumption per capita in the world. Citizens consume on average 35 pounds of it every year. Doing the math … that’s about a half pound every. single. week. The sugar consumption is about three times more than what the World Health Organization recommends. Candy culture in Sweden is strong. “Lördagsgodis” is a Swedish word that literally means “Saturday candy.” The thinking went that…

Eating for smoother, healthier summer skin

Long summer days are made for backyard barbecues, poolside picnics, and rosé all day. But all of that sunshine can have real consequences for your skin. The good news is that there are tons of delicious foods you can eat to help your skin recover from all of the summer excess — and also keep your complexion glowing long after the warm-weather has faded.  “There’s a big impact on how much your diet can effect the health of your skin,” said Dr. Ivy Lee, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Pasadena, California and clinical assistant professor at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. “What we’ve learned is that whatever is good for your heart health is good for your skin as well.”  That means farm-fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats and plenty of water. But it’s just as much of what you don’t eat as what you do.…

Your kitchen towel could be loaded with bacteria, study shows

We we already weary of kitchen sponges, but now we know to look out for kitchen towels, too. Kitchen towels do many duties from wiping to drying, holding hot things and cleaning surfaces. They’re ubiquitous in households around the world, but now we know, those pretty patterns might be hiding some dangerous secrets. A new study from the University of Mauritius reported by the American Society for Microbiology found that family size and type of diet factor into the growth rate of the bacteria on kitchen towels that can lead to food poisoning and other serious infections. Researchers took an up close look at 100 kitchen towels after one month of use and found that 49 percent of the towels contained high levels of bacterial growth. The bacteria count increased with the size of the family and also when children or extended families were present. In households where towels  had more than…

Millennials being blamed for the end of iced tea

As if being blamed for the end of shopping malls, bars of soap and dinner dates wasn’t enough, if you were born between 1981 and 1996, now you’re being held responsible for the death of iced tea. A recent study by YouGov BrandIndex showed that younger Americans have grown less fond of the drink over the past two years. Only 18 percent of millennials surveyed they would consider purchasing ice tea the next time they go to buy a beverage — down a full five points from the same study conducted in January 2016. This shift is seemingly part of a larger trend in beverages overall. Millennials have reported a “negative impression” of big named ice tea brands like Lipton, Nestea, Snapple, and Crystal Light. The only brand whose reputation has remained favorable with millennials is Arizona. There hasn’t been one big event that has lead to the slide in ice tea sales,…

Vitamin supplements don’t make a difference, research shows

You can’t hide from a poor diet. People who rely on popular vitamin and mineral supplements to make up for deficiencies in daily nutrient intake are likely just wasting their money on expensive pills, a new study shows. According to a five-year study that ran from 2012 to 2017, the most common supplements — vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and multivitamins — surprisingly did nothing to prevent health threats like heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, strokes, or death. “We were surprised to find so few positive effects of the most common supplements that people consume,” said Dr. David Jenkins, the study’s lead author, in a statement. “Our review found that if you want to use multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium or vitamin C, it does no harm — but there is no apparent advantage either.” The study was published the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and examined the use of A, B1, B2,…