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Vital Signs health tips

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Vital Signs health tips

(CNN) -- 19 October 2009

Boost your immune system with lean protein and good fats. "Your nutrition profoundly affects your ability to fight the diseases such as [swine flu]" according to the American Dietetic Association. That means filling up your plate with lean protein, including chicken, fish, fat-free dairy products and liquid oils.

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13 October 2009

Smile! A study reveals that optimists' approach to life may offer some health benefits. Women over 50 who are optimistic are less likely to get heart disease compared to women who are more pessimistic, according to a study published recently in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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05 October 2009

High cholesterol is one of the most important risk factor for heart disease and heart attacks. The American Heart Association suggests taking 5-yearly blood tests and recommends eating "plenty of fruits, vegetables, nonfat or low-fat dairy products and add fish to your diet. Fish oil helps reduce cholesterol."

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21 September 2009

Parents should set bedtimes for their children instead of letting them stay up until they fall asleep. A lack of sleep affects children's memory, attention, behaviour and emotional well-being, experts said. Routines like cuddling, singing or bathing can help children to fall asleep faster.

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14 September 2009

Change your showerhead once a year. Disease-causing germs, which grow and spread on showerheads, can potentially cause threats to people with a weakened immune system, a new study by the National Academy of Sciences found.

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8 September 2009

The stress hormone cortisol shrinks the brain's memory centers and can hamper one's ability to learn and recall. Cutting stress is an important first step to preserving memory.

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1 September 2009

Don't eat late at night as having a late night meal can make you fat. Recent tests on mice found that those who eat when they would normally be asleep put on more weight than others who had meals at normal times, according to a study in the journal Obesity.

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25 August 2009

Clean out your home regularly. Most homes are full of sneaky allergy-causing culprits. Dust mites, bugs, mold and mice thrive in clutter. Be sure to throw away old newspapers, magazines and cans, and keep rubbish outdoors when possible. Banish mites and mold by washing bedding in 130-degree water weekly and use a chlorine-bleach solution to keep fungus at bay in the bathroom.

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18 August 2009

Excessive alcohol consumption disrupts the 'REM' (Rapid Eye Movement) stage of deep sleep to ruin a night's rest, according to the UK Department of Health. Dehydration, and more frequent toilet trips, can also prevent sufficient sleep.

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11 August 2009

Energy drinks, carbonated beverages, teas, and citric fruit juices all bathe the teeth in harmful acids. Drinking through a straw can help limit the damage, as can rinsing the mouth with water afterwards or consuming the beverage quickly rather than sipping it all day.

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3 August 2009

Floss daily! Gum disease has been linked to tooth loss, diabetes and now, obesity. Scientists at the British Dental Health Foundation suggested mouth bacteria could play a part in causing obesity.
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27 July 2009

Eat fresh vegetables! Vegetables rapidly lose their nutritional value over a few days. A study by the University of Illinois found eating them immediately gives more nutrients. Vegetables frozen soon after picking can also retain their nutritional value.

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24 June 2009

A research cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, U.S., who studied the effects of happiness, found that playing or listening to music may be one of the best de-stressors. The research found that when listening to music, patients' blood vessel relaxed, opened up and produced chemicals that are protective to the heart.

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17 June 2009

The higher your intake of caffeine, the more likely you are to suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, when denied the ingredient, according to experts. Caffeine withdrawal has already been recognized as a condition by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
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12 June 2009

Do a crossword puzzle. Researchers at Rush Medical University found that mentally challenging activities, such as reading and playing chess, may have a protective effect on the brain and help lower risk of dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease.

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1 June 2009

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant which, according to the American Dietic Association, reduces the risk of prostate cancer and cardiovascular disease. Nutrionists say the body absorbs lycopene better from processed tomato products, such as spaghetti sauce and tomato juice, rather than fresh tomatoes. However, cooking fresh tomatoes with a little oil also greatly increases lycopene absorption.

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19 May 2009

Most skin cancers, the most common cancer, can be treated successfully if detected early. The American Cancer Society therefore recommends a periodic checkups for people aged 20 and older. Nearly all skin cancers are preventable, however, by limiting unprotected exposure to the sun.

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14 May 2009

Reduce the risk of tiring your eyes when on the computer. Look away from the screen about every 20 minutes and stare at a distant object for several seconds to relax your eye's focusing muscles.

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07 May 2009

A fatty food full of health benefits? Not necessarily an oxymoron. Various health studies have shown that eating a handful of almonds every day -- a food high in magnesium, Vitamin E and B2 -- can lower cholesterol and help reduce the risk of heart disease.

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30 April 2009

Probiotics, found in yoghurt or sauerkraut, have been shown to aid your digestive system. Probiotics are dietary supplements or foods that contain the good bacteria similar to those found naturally in the body. These bacteria also support the immune system, and aid the creation of B-vitamins.

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22 April 2009

Flossing every day will lower your chance of getting heart disease later in life. According to a New York University study, daily flossing reduces the amount of gum-disease-causing bacteria in your mouth -- bacteria that leaks into your bloodstream, causing inflamation and thickening of the arteries, two major signs of heart trouble ahead.

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10 April 2009

There's more reason than ever to eat porridge for breakfast, especially if you have young children -- a new study reports that kids score higher on exams if they follow a regular diet of the high energy breakfast cereal before the age of three.

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31 March 2009

For better sleep, don't just set a morning alarm -- set a bedtime for both the week and the weekend and keep to it. In order to rest properly, our bodies need regular sleeping patterns.

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27 March 2009

Let your tea cool off before you drink it. A study carried out in Northern Iran has linked drinking extremely hot tea to higher risks of esophageal cancer. Researchers suggested people allow food and drinks to cool slightly before consuming them.

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10 March 2009

Feeling under the weather? An American study has found that migraines are linked to weather conditions. Temperature increases were found to increase the chances of people developing severe headaches, and low atmospheric pressure, which usually causes cloudy, stormy weather, can have a smaller effect.

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3 March 2009

Work less hours. A recent study from Finland found that working long hours can lead to a decline in cognitive skills in later life. Researchers suggested that over working could even increase the chances of developing dementia.

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24 February 2009

Eggs are an ideal source of protein, providing sustained energy and helping to build muscles, according to a recent University of Illinois study. A separate study, just published in the British Nutrition Foundation's Nutrition Bulletin, found that eggs don't increase blood cholesterol, meaning they don't contribute to heart disease.

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17 February 2009

Carrots have been shown in studies to be useful in the fight against cancer. A study by the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences (DIAS) shows that eating carrots can lower your risk of lung cancer. People who eat carotene-rich food also have lower risk of heart disease and arthritis.

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09 February 2009

Garlic is an abundant source of manganese, vitamin C and selenium. Research has shown that it helps support normal blood pressure and prevents plaque forming in the arteries. So adding garlic to your meals may just prove to be an inexpensive health supplement.

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03 February 2009

A work desk with a plant can improve your productivity. A study conducted at the Washington State University found that people who performed a computer task in a room with plants reported an increase in their productivity and lower levels of blood pressure.

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27 January 2009

Keeping a record of your physical activity routine inspires you to do more. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests making notes detailing your activity is a great way to motivate yourself.

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19 January 2009


Drinking too much coffee can cause hallucinations. Medical journal Personality and Individual Differences reported that people who consume seven to eight cups of coffee per day are three times more likely to see strange objects, hear voices or even see ghosts.
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16 December 2008

Always begin the day with a good breakfast. This is the foundation for your day. Combine carbs, protein and fat for a balance of energy and nutrition.
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8 December 2008

Avoid stress by finding time to relax. Some stress busting techniques include spending time to soak in a tub, walk on the beach or in a park, visit a friend, play with your dog or listen to your favorite music.
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1 December 2008

Get enough sleep. Be sure to get at least six hours per night as recent studies in California suggests that people who have less than six hours a night have a higher mortality rate.

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24 November 2008

Need some extra smarts? Then hit the gym. Scientists at Columbia University have shown that exercise can stimulate the dentate gyrus, an area of the brain that affects our ability to remember things.

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