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June 2017

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Connecting Food and Your Mood

You may not expect a mental health practitioner to prescribe a healthy eating plan, but that approach may not be far off. In recent years, scientists have been studying the link between food and mood more closely. They've found that there may be a relationship between the risk of common mental health issues - including depression and anxiety - and our diet quality.

When You Need Help Going

It's a bit of a taboo topic, but regular elimination of poo is a basic human necessity. Constipation can result in abdominal discomfort, bloating, hard stools, straining and hemorrhoids. Some people may turn to fiber supplements for help. That shouldn’t be your initial approach though. Fiber supplements don't provide the good nutrition of fiber-containing plant foods important for overall health.

Small Steps to Healthy Habits

It can seem overwhelming to lose weight or get fit, but it doesn't have to be. How you approach behavior changes to help you reach your health and wellness goals can make a big difference. A key is to gradually change your habits.

Trending at Farmers' Markets

Locally-grown goodies await you at farmers' markets across the country. While you're picking up staples like green beans, tomatoes and strawberries, consider trying other nutritious, farm-fresh fare that’s new to you.

Ask Tufts Experts

Are Pine Nuts Seeds or Nuts?

Pine nuts are edible seeds of certain species of pine trees and are used in a variety of foods including Italian pesto sauce and pignoli cookies. Pine nuts (gymnosperms) are evolutionarily separated from flowering plants (angiosperms) to which all other nuts belong (peanut and tree nuts such as, walnut, hazelnut, cashew and pistachio).

Best Cutting Boards for Food Safety

A chief consideration in safety of cutting boards is how easy they are to clean. Cutting boards made of a nonporous material, such as plastic or tempered glass, can be easily washed in the dishwasher. Those made of solid, hard wood with a tight grain (such as maple) might do OK in the dishwasher but over time that may encourage cracking and splitting.

Choline Adequate Intake: What is Recommended?

Humans can produce choline, but the amount is usually not sufficient (depending on factors such as age and genetics), so dietary intake of some choline is necessary. In the US, the most common sources of choline are meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and eggs. Cruciferous vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains also supply choline.


Don't Like a Healthy Food? Try It Again (and Again)

Dislike healthy foods like legumes (beans)? Maybe you just haven't eaten them enough. "A primary factor that determines whether people like a food or not is their previous exposure to the food - in other words, if it's a regular part of their diet," says Megan McCrory, PhD, a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University and senior author of a new study on the topic in the journal Foods.

Don't Fear Fruits' Sugars

There’s no need to shun the sugars in whole fruits. In a study of 4,908 Australians, those with dietary patterns characterized by higher intakes of fruit were 12% less likely to be obese than those with lower fruit intakes. But, people who had a diet higher in sugary soft drinks and chocolate were about 9% more likely to be obese.

Preventing Diabetes Saves $$$

One in three US adults has prediabetes. Delaying or preventing progression to type 2 diabetes through dietary and lifestyle changes could help keep money in your pocket (and protect your health), finds a study published in Population Health Management.

Bone-Protective Effects of Exercise

Exercise that stresses your bones (weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or tennis) can help preserve bone mass as you age. But, how?

"Low" Doesn’t Equal Healthy

Think a claim like "low sodium" or "low fat" means a food is healthy? Not necessarily. Scientists looked at more than 80 million food and beverage purchases over a four-year period made by more than 40,000 US households.

Special Reports

Maximizing Flavor with Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a real win-win when it comes to eating healthier while enjoying what you eat. Studies show taste is ultimately the key factor driving our typical food choices. So, making healthful foods taste great is important. Herbs and spices can help you reduce the amount of salt you add to dishes while making nutritious foods like vegetables, whole grains and fish more flavorful.

Food Is Smartest Calcium Source

You shouldn't have to choose between the health of your heart and your bones. Yet, news headlines sparked by studies over the past decade have resulted in a lot of confusion about possible ties between getting too much calcium and an increased risk of heart attack. A new analysis in which scientists considered the evidence as a whole, however, provides reassurance: You can safely meet your calcium needs without putting your heart at risk.