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Raisins Yield Pressure Relief

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or individuals seeking a natural way to keep slightly elevated blood pressure in check, eating a handful of raisins each day might do the trick. New data presented at the American College of Cardiology 61st Annual Scientific Session suggest that among adults with hypertension or mild increases in blood pressure, routine consumption of raisins may lower readings, especially compared with eating other common snacks. The researchers noted that raisins are packed with potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure, and are also a good source of antioxidant dietary fiber, which may favorably alter the biochemistry of blood vessels, enabling them to be less stiff. The study helps validate some current nutrient recommendations, such as 60 raisins—about a handful, containing one gram of fiber and 212 milligrams of potassium—as being helpful in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in three (28 percent) of American adults have prehypertension, defined as a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg. Researchers cautioned that their study was small; larger trials are needed.

Giving Begets Happiness at Every Age

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o give is better than to receive,” is a maxim that appears to hold true even for the very young. A new study co-authored by three psychologists at Canada’s University of British Columbia observes that giving makes toddlers happier. The study, published in PLOS One, an online journal of the Public Library of Science, found that toddlers younger than 2 were happier when giving treats to others than when receiving them. They were also happier when they gave their own treats away, rather than an identical treat that didn’t belong to them.

Stop Wasting Food

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t’s time to step up to the plate—but not waste what’s on it. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that about 40 percent of all food in the United States goes uneaten. Each year, we are throwing away the equivalent of $165 billion in discarded food, making it the single largest component of solid waste in America’s landfills and costing the average family of four between $1,350 and $2,275 annually. About two-thirds of household waste consists of spoiled food that’s not used in time; the rest is caused by people cooking or serving too much food. Learn easy steps to reduce food waste via the NRDC free online fact sheet at Tinyurl.com/ StopFoodWaste.

Pitfalls of No-Fat Salad Dressings

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or those thinking about balancing a rich holiday meal by choosing a low- or no-fat salad dressing, consider this: To get the most nutrients from leafy greens and vegetables, we need to pair them with a healthy fat. A recent Purdue University study showed that the more “good” fat there was in a salad, the more carotenoids diners absorbed. The researchers found that vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil, or polyunsaturated fats like sunflower oil, help the body absorb essential carotenoids and other nutrients and increase their bioavailability in the intestines. The study also found that eating bread with butter with a salad was also beneficial, although to a lesser extent.

natural awakenings

December 2012

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Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ December 2012  

Natural Awakenings Magazine is West Michigan's premiere natural health, holistic living, green magazine focusing on conscious living and sus...

Natural Awakenings Magazine ~ December 2012  

Natural Awakenings Magazine is West Michigan's premiere natural health, holistic living, green magazine focusing on conscious living and sus...