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Study: Diet of Mother Has Biggest Impact on Children’s Healthy Eating Habits

The results are in! Kids who see their moms eat in a healthy way are more likely to follow her example.
Mother's Diet Affects Her Children

Today we live in a world where we are constantly challenged with the problems of obesity and diabetes. Kids are the quickest-rising demographic group for being overweight or obese. Dealing with this can prove to be a huge challenge, as it requires us to look at the roots of the problem — parental example.

Oftentimes, mothers’ eating habits must be considered first when dealing with childhood nutrition issues. In fact, this latest research confirms that the way a mother views her child’s eating habits (i.e. “a picky eater” or not) has a big impact on whether the child eats enough fruits and vegetables.

The “Picky Eater” Study

A recent study, published in the journal Public Health Nursing and conducted by professor Mildred Horodynski at Michigan State University’s College of Nursing, looked into this very question. The scientific study was done on 400 low-income women (black and non-Hispanic white) who had children one to three years of age.

Information was collected from mothers in 28 Michigan counties. It was found that the children of mothers who ate fruit and vegetables less than four or more times per week were also less likely to consume fruits and vegetables. It may not seem like a stretch for the imagination, as mothers and children often eat the same foods. But it does set a scientific precedence showing that the behavior of mothers is critical for dietary health in the young.

Similarly, it was found that the if the mothers saw their children as picky eaters, these children were also less likely to get enough health fruit and vegetables. This may be connected to a “laid-back” parenting style that does not “force” children into eating fruits and vegetables.

Culture and ethnic background was also considered. It was found that African American mothers and their children did not eat as much fruits and vegetables as non-Hispanic whites. Sadly, it was found that the vast majority of all women studied were eating much less than the current recommended U.S. dietary guidelines.

Previous and similar studies found that children who were exposed to different kinds of foods, overtime, were also more likely to eat fruits and vegetables. This means that kids need to have continual exposure to different healthy foods before they begin to like eating them. In fact, this same study found that kids need up to 15 exposures with a certain food before it can determined if a child indeed likes or dislikes something.

Lead scientist on the study, Mildred Horodynski:
“Health professionals need to consider this when developing strategies to increase a child’s consumption of healthy foods. Diets low in fruit and vegetables even at young ages pose increased risks for chronic diseases later in life.” [1]

She went on to suggest that the study confirms the need for “family-based approaches to incorporating fruits and vegetables into daily eating habits. Mothers need to have the knowledge and confidence to make these healthy decisions for their children.”

In other words, if we can get the mothers’ fruit and vegetable consumption to increase, we are very likely to see positive role modeling for children, and thus a healthier diet for our offspring.

What are your thoughts on this study? Let’s hear them in the comments below.

Research: Purple Fruits Halts the Development of Alzheimers, Parkinsons & Mulitple Sclerosis

We’re taught that iron is good for our bodies. It’s used in the production for fresh blood cells and helps our bodies regulate temperature and muscle tissue. Iron is also an important part proper neurological function and numerous other biological processes. But dietary iron can be a double-edged sword. While certain forms of the dietary mineral are essential to our health, others can cause irreversible damage to some of the same bodily systems they’re meant to enhance.

According to Dr. Douglas Kell, esteemed professor of Bioanalytical Science at the University of Manchester and Chief Executive of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), warding off these various debilitating illnesses may be cause by renegade iron in the body. And preventing them may be as simple as eating the right fruits or drinking a little more tea.

The Unseen Connection Between Iron & Degenerative Disease

Neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis, slowly destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of older people every year. In their own unique way, each of them erodes delicate brain and nervous system tissue leaving sufferers increasingly unable to mentally and physically function.

In research recently published in the medical journal, Archives of Toxicology, Professor Kell outlines his novel discovery into the connection between these seemingly unrelated conditions and a specific class of toxin produced by an excess of poorly-bonded iron in the body.

His findings suggest that these toxins, collectively known as hydroxyl radicals, are able to induce the “large-scale cellular death and destruction” that is frequently associated with many common forms of degenerative neurological disease.

Foods to Protect Your Brain & Nervous System

Nutrients that are abundant in darkly colored fruits and vegetables, as well as green tea, appear to naturally bind loose iron molecules through a process known as chelation, making them safe for the body to properly utilize.

Blueberries and purple-colored fruit, such as plums and grapes, are excellent sources of these iron-binding agents. Other brightly colored fruits are also believed to contain varying amounts of these nutrients, although often in smaller concentrations than specifically blue and purple fruits.

If these foods truly do hold the natural secret to warding off even a handful of the degenerative diseases that plague growing elderly populations, their use could dramatically boost productivity and overall quality during the final years of live.

Professor Douglas Kell:
“The importance of iron may have been missed because there is no gene for iron as such. What I have highlighted in this work is therefore a crucial area for further investigation, as many simple predictions follow from my analysis.. If true they might change greatly the means by which we seek to prevent and even cure such diseases.” [1]

Besides purple fruits, green tea is another excellent source of the beneficial chelators, as well as many other health benefits.

[Read more…] about Research: Purple Fruits Halts the Development of Alzheimers, Parkinsons & Mulitple Sclerosis

New Research: Walking 5 Miles a Week Slows Progression of Alzheimer’s

Walking helps Alzheimer's Disease
© Radiological Society of North America

According to the results of a new study, walking five miles a week may help slow the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease in adults. The study also suggests that walking could help those suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a condition that is similar to Alzheimer’s, yet not as severe.

The Study

This was a long, ongoing study that lasted twenty years. It consisted of a total of 426 people, including 299 healthy adults with an average age of 78, as well as 127 cognitively impaired adults with an average age of 81. The cognitively impaired group breaks down to 44 adults with Alzheimer’s disease and 83 adults with MCI.

During the 20-year study, Dr. Cyrus Raji from the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania analyzed the relationship between physical activity and brain structure for both groups of adults. Dr. Raji observed how far each of the patients walked every week.

After ten years, all the patients in the study underwent 3D MRI exams to get a better look at their brain volume. Brain volume is a vital sign of how healthy your brain is. When brain volume decreases, it means that brain cells are dying off. When brain volume remains high, it means that brain cells are not dying and optimal brain health is maintained.

In addition to identifying changes in brain volume via 3D MRI scans, researchers also gave patients mini-mental state exams (MMSE) to help track cognitive decline over the course of five years. Researchers then correlated physical activity levels with their MRI & MMSE results.

In every case, researchers found that the more physical activity patients did, the more brain volume they had. They came to the conclusion that cognitively impaired patients need to walk at least 5 miles a week, roughly 58 city blocks, to maintain brain volume and slow down further cognitive decline. Researchers added that healthy adults need to walk at least six miles a week, roughly 72 city blocks, to maintain brain volume and considerably reduce their chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Cyrus Raji, Ph.D., from the Department of Radiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania:

“We found that walking five miles per week protects the brain structure over 10 years in people with Alzheimer’s and MCI, especially in areas of the brain’s key memory and learning centers. We also found that these people had a slower decline in memory loss over five years. Alzheimer’s is a devastating illness, and unfortunately, walking is not a cure, but walking can improve your brain’s resistance to the disease and reduce memory loss over time.”

What We Can Learn From This Study

We’ve known for a long time that frequent exercise is important for health. But after reviewing the results of this new study, staying active and getting plenty of cardio exercise is more important than ever, especially for senior citizens. It’s not always easy, but try going for a walk at least once a day. Start off slow and work your way up to walking more and more.

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Study: Fibromyalgia Patients are 11x more likely to also have Restless Legs Syndrome

Fibromyalgia & Restless Legs Syndrome

Photo Credit: AlexandriaAnn / Flickr

According to the results of a new study, the prevalance of ‘Restless Legs Syndrome’ (RLS) is significantly higher in those that suffer from fibromyalgia. The results were published in the October 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, suggest that treating restless legs syndrome may help improve the overall amount of sleep fibromyalgia patients get, thus increasing their quality of life.

The Study

The study was conducted at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. The research team studied 172 people who suffer from fibromyalgia. Of the 172 patients, 93% of them were female and the average age of the participants was 50 years. The results found from the fibro group, were then compared to the control group, which consisted of 63 healthy individuals, with an average age of 41 years.

Results of the study found that 33% of the patients suffering from fibromyalgia were also suffering from restless legs syndrome. Whereas, only 3.1% of the patients in control group showed any signs of restless legs syndrome.

To account for any potential confounders in the results, the research team made minor statistical adjustments to account for age, gender and ethnicity. After these minor statistical adjustments, the research tream found that the patients suffering from fibromyalgia were 11x more likely than the control group to also suffer from restless legs syndrome.

As you could expect, the patients with fibromyalgia reported a considerable amount of sleep disruption using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, as well as the Insomnia Severity Index and Epworth Sleepiness Scale.

Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, lead researcher and associate professor of neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle:

“Sleep disruption is common in fibromyalgia, and often difficult to treat. It is apparent from our study that a substantial portion of sleep disruption in fibromyalgia is due to restless legs syndrome. Since restless legs syndrome is a treatable condition, diagnosing and treating RLS in fibromyalgia patients has the potential to improve their sleep.”

It must be noted that the results of this study are supported by the National Fibromyalgia Research Association, as well as the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

What Can We Learn From This Study?

If you suffer from both fibromyalgia and restless legs syndrome, then the researchers of this study suggest treating RLS. If you get the symptoms of restless legs syndrome under control, it may be one of the keys to reducing the amount of fatigue you feel throughout the day, as well as improving your overall quality of life. Keep in mind, however, that taking anti-depressants, which is a common treatment for fibromyalgia, may induce the symptoms of RLS. So, it may be wise to discuss other possible treatments for fibromyalgia with your doctor.

Also, previous research has shown that frequent exercise will help with the symptoms of both fibromyalgia and restless legs syndrome. So do what you can to get off the couch and take a walk around the block at least twice a day. The more exercise you can do, the better off you will be.

Yoga For Fibromyalgia? New Research Indicates It May Help.


We all know that yoga is a great exercise to help keep us fit and feeling young. But now, according to new research from Oregon Health & Science University, performing gentle stretches, meditation and other yoga exercises may also help fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The Research

Before you jump to any conclusions about this research, it is important to note that it consists of a rather small pool of participants. Fifty three women were enrolled in the study, all of whom suffered from fibromyalgia.

Twenty five of the participants started taking a two-hour yoga class every week, for eight consecutive weeks. These yoga classes included gentle poses, light stretches, breathing exercises and meditation. The other twenty eight women were instructed to continue on with their standard routine for treating fibromyalgia pain.

Before the yoga class, researchers had the women fill out questionnaires and perform a variety of physical tests. After the class was over, researchers would then evaluate each of the women again.  The twenty eight participants in the control group were also evaluated in the same manner as those that took the yoga class.

Yoga Stretching

Comparing the Data

When researchers compared all of the data that they had compiled, they found that the women that took the yoga classes appeared to help with the most serious symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain, fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety and stiffness.

All of the improvements were significant enough that they had a positive impact on every day activities. On average, the women that participated in the yoga classes reduced their pain by 24%, depression by 42% and fatigue by 30%.

What Researchers Are Saying:

James Carson, Ph.D., clinical health psychologist and an assistant professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine had this to say about this research:

“Here, we specifically focused on yoga to determine whether it should be considered as a prescribed treatment and the extent to which it can be successful. One likely reason for the apparent success of this study therapy was the strong commitment shown by the study subjects. Attendance at the classes was good as was most participants’ willingness to practice yoga while at home. Based on the results of this research, we strongly believe that further study of this potential therapy is warranted.”

What Can We Learn From This Study?

While this was a very small study, the results still look promising for those suffering from Fibromyalgia. At this point, it’s safe to say that more research needs to be done to say whether or not yoga is truly an effective treatment for this condition.

However, while it doesn’t reach a definitive conclusion, nobody should simply ignore this study. Whether you suffer from Fibyromyalgia or not, there are many benefits associated with yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. So, despite the inconclusiveness of this research, there’s no denying that these are all beneficial activities that can help you follow a healthy lifestule.

So, get out and register for a yoga class now. If you can’t afford to take a yoga class, try to learn a few stretching or breathing techniques online.