Healthy Take

A Healthy Take

Commuters exposed to pollution in car 

If you live a relatively healthy life and don’t smoke, chances are the unhealthiest part of your day is your daily commute, researchers say. A study by University of Southern California (www.usc.edu) and the California Air Resources Board (www.arb.ca.gov) found that up to half of Los Angeles residents’ total exposure to harmful air pollutants occurs while people are traveling in their vehicles. Although the average driver in Los Angeles spends only about 6 percent of their day on the road, that period of time accounts for between 33 percent and 45 percent of their total exposure to diesel and ultrafine particles (UFP), the researchers say.

“Urban dwellers with long commutes are probably getting most of their UFP exposure while driving,” says Scott Fruin, assistant professor of environmental health at USC. Ultrafine particles are of concern because they tend to be more toxic than larger-size particles, he says. “Shortening your commute and spending less time in the car will significantly reduce your total body burden of harmful pollutants.”

Rosemary is good for your brain

The herb rosemary contains an ingredient that fights off damage to the brain. The active ingredient in rosemary can protect the brain from stroke and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, and also from normal aging, a collaborative group of researchers at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research (www. burnham.org) say. The ingredient, carnosic acid, protects the brain cells from free radicals. The findings were originally reported in The Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Rosemary comes from a shrubby evergreen bush with needlelike leaves. It has trusses of flowers that can be white, pink, purple or blue. Rosemary derives its name from the Latin rosemarinus, which translates as “dew of the sea.” Rosemary has a long history as a memory aid. It was also used in the past at weddings to symbolize love and loyalty. 

More veggies, less alcohol

A new report by the World Cancer Research Fund (www.wcrf.org) has found that dietary changes are essential to reduce the risk of cancer. Here are the recommendations based on the Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Per­spec­­tive (2007) report. 

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Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight. 

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Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

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Limit consumption of energy-dense food (foods high in fats and/or added sugars and/or low in fiber) and avoid sugary drinks. 

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Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses (the edible seeds of legumes — peas, beans and lentils). 

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Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats. 

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If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women per day. 

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Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium). 

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Don’t use supplements to protect against cancer. 

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It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months and then add other liquids and foods.

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After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention. 

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Do not smoke or chew tobacco.

 

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