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Friday, January 17, 2020

air pollution + mental health

It is well known that air pollution has negative effects on physical health, but researchers are now finding evidence that it also has negative effects on mental health.  Life stress, particularly early in life, is one of the best-known contributors to mental health problems. The combination of childhood life stress + pollution is considered a "double hit" to a child's biological system and can have long lasting negative effects on their attention span and thought processing. medical xpress more

most popular edible oil = genetic changes

Soybean oil is used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock - it is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S. Unfortunately, it is probably not healthy for humans! New research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, and depression. This latest research was conducted on mice - but scientists found pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical processes take place in the body. "The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress." Additionally, researcher not that the findings only apply to soybean oil—not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils. "Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce," said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology. "Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins." UC Riverside more

3 steps to emotional success

We live in a challenging world and our children are exposed to higher levels of stress than most of us did as kids. It’s important we proactively help our children early-on learn how to self-regulate, calm, and make smarter choices even when emotionally charged. This is where the “Three Steps to Emotional Success” from Maureen Healy's book, The Emotionally Healthy Child, can help. The steps she outlines are simple but not necessarily easy:
  • stop:  children move quickly - helping them slow down and stop is the first step in helping them steer themselves in a new, healthier, emotional direction.
  • calm:  calming is something we learn throughout our lives. It is important to help your children build lifelong tools of calming and centering.  May it be taking deep breaths, a short walk, or meditating - find what works to center your child.
  • make a smart choice: along with stopping and calming, the ability to make a smart choice is essential. Whether a child decides to scream or take deep breaths, push her sister or use her words, or throw a book across the room or walk away, these choices all have an impact. Choices are best made when the emotional intensity of a situation has lessened, which is why step two, calm, precedes making a smart choice. psychology today

baby-led weaning - yay or nay?

Babies should be introduced gradually to solid foods at around six months old - but parents wonder if they should spoon-feed their babies special pureed baby foods or should they let their babies feed themselves? Known as baby-led weaning, parents who follow the method believe it has lots of benefits for their baby, such as encouraging them to eat a range of foods and stay a healthy weight. Research suggests that babies who feed themselves are less likely to be fussy and more likely to eat a wider variety of food. But what about their weight? New findings show that when babies were breastfed, there was no difference in weight for those who were spoon-fed or self-fed. But when babies were bottle fed, those who were spoon-fed were heavier than those who self-fed. Giving a baby the opportunity to be "in charge" of how much they eat, allows them to self-regulate - meaning they will eat what they need rather than how much food a caregiver might encourage them to eat. As a general guideline: babies who are between six and 12 months should still be getting lots of energy from breast or formula milk - at six to eight months old, babies only need less than 200 calories a day from solid foods.  the conversation more

Consumer Reports warns against SwaddleMe sleeper

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning customers to avoid the SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper, made by Sumr Brands. The agency said that while the product was not specifically linked to deaths or injuries, it posed a suffocation risk. The CPSC had asked Sumr Brands to recall the product, but the company failed to do so and the agency can’t force companies to recall products without taking them to court. The agency issued this warning and said it would continue to press the company for a recall. Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, eBay, Walmart , and several other major retailers have pledged to stop selling all infant inclined sleepers, and Sumr Brands discontinued the SwaddleMe By Your Bed in 2018. But the product is still available for sale, and consumers who bought them could still be using them in their homes. consumer reports more

backyard buzz

What’s new, different and unique? Peek into these cities’ backyards to find the buzz.

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miami
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new york
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