I am back with good news: owning a dog may curb heart disease and obesity

Do you ever wonder how you treat your dog can in turn affect your health?

Experts from American Heart Association recently released a positive statement of dog ownership regarding to heart health; they found dog owners are very likely to have better heart health and lower body weight compared to non-owners.

dog-walking-on-leash

Numerous studies had been done in pet ownership and human health, which are based on the assumption that people increase physical activities level when they have a dog to walk. These studies show conflicting results, but the majority of them indicated a positive relationship between having a dog, and more accurately walking a dog, and lower heart disease risk, lower blood pressure, better heart function, better recovery from heart disease, and lipid profile.

Previously, researchers thought this association might come from some factors beside increasing physical activity; these factors are called confounders. One possible explanation is that owning a dog is related to better socioeconomic status, better living environment, and better working status, which all link to better heart health shown in other studies. But now, experts revoke such possibilities by controlling these factors in their analysis.
Besides the mechanism that owning a dog increase physical activity that can make those positive health benefits, having a dog can contribute strong social support for positive life changes. Some studies showed that people found partnership, felt more responsible to their health and their dogs’ health, felt less barrier when they want to make changes in their daily living. Dogs make lives vivid, energetic, and make people happy, which may also contribute to better heart health.

Now experts show the result, basically how you treat your dogs(whether you walk them often or keep them in the house all day) affects your health profoundly. If you have a dog, just walk it, and walk it more. If you don’t have one and you love to get one, this might be a great argument to justify your point to your partner! Or, if you are not a dog person, finding something interest you outdoor and someone accompany will have similar effects–in the end, the point is that find a way to increase physical activities definitely improve your health.

DogWalking

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Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF in Josiah Quincy School

Halloween is never boring–beside parties for grown-ups, trick-or-treat is nothing but indispensable for kids (even in heart). I am a volunteer for UNICEF and also some friends in my nutrition school are in the process to register as a UNICEF Campus Initiative, and we named ourselves Tufts UNICEF.

UNICEF believed no child should be in hunger; they also believe kids are the best helpers to other kids. Trick-or-Treat can be more meaningful than just candy, it could be a chance for us to do something. So every year during Halloween, kids go out for trick-or-treat for candy and also asking for donation–it has been more than 60 years since it started.

This year, we collaborated with Josiah Quincy School in Boston to promote trick-or-treat for UNICEF in the first graders. So we created a class incorporating nutrition education, specifically “My Plate” as requested by the school, and UNICEF. We got many games to play with kids, because we know nothing is more attractive than playing games when you have to learn something. We showed pictures of kids living in Africa, and I can really tell there were something in our kids’ eyes–they really want to help kids in need. In the end we handed out cute and cool boxes from UNICEF, them were willing to carry the box with them when they go trick-or-treat!

One person’s power is always limited; more people having the same view are something powerful. If you want to see the kids need help or want to make a generous donation now, please click on this UNICEF website, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF website, to see further information.

Also, visit our Tufts UNICEF blog to see our lastest events!

What Mum Eats, and Drinks Affects Children Profoundly–New Findings

A large study included more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway, shows that increase drinking of sugar sweetened beverage poses higher risk of premature birth.

The study found that those who drank one sugary soda a day were up to 25 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided the sweetened drinks. But the researchers haven’t figured out whether the soda is the only thing to be blamed. Lifestyle and other factors that go along with high sugar consumption may also play a role. The authors note in their report that women who drank the most sweetened drinks were also more likely to smoke, eat more calories, and have a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – than those who drank fewer sugary drinks.In a past Denmark research, it found artificial sweeteners would also induce premature birth.

Fetus should naturally stay in their mothers womb for 37-42 weeks, normally for 40 weeks. Any births take place before 37 weeks is premature. Premature birth of infant is strongly related to the premature death, growth pattern and also general health status in adulthood, so it should always be a priority of health care prevention.

Expect for what pregnant mothers drink, other factors in diet, environment, life-style, stress and diseases. Besides for the western theory of premature birth inducing foods, Chinese people have a very long-lasting believe about certain food will trigger early birth–pungent spices, edible fungi, spinach, maybush, icy foods, strong tea, to name a few.

We want our neos have a great start and a happy, healthy life; so do everything we can to prevent preterm birth.

China#Real Chinese Cuisine: Part 1–Eight Major Cuisines

Concentrating thousands of years history, Chinese food is not only represented by those very simple dishes people can find in Chinatown oversea. For many years, Chinese people keep preserving the old cookbooks from ancesters and never stop creating new flavors. Integrating and transfering the knowledge from civilians and the cooking methods from the officals, year after year, we crystalize eight major cuisines of Chinese food.

Thanks for the board domain of China, different areas enjoy different climate and therefore, different produce and techniques for cooking. For example, northern people like to use mutton and beef because they can raise goats and cow, while southern people can go fishing and use a lot of sea food in south food. From choosing produce, cutting and preparing, and cooking method, different cuisines are unique and represent their own culture. Here are the name of the cuisines and the regions they stand for:

  • Hui– Anhui
  • Yue (Cantonese)– Guangdong
  • Min– Fujian
  • Xiang– Hunan (Can include Xiangjiang Region, Dongting Lake and Xiangxi styles)
  • Su (aka Huaiyang Cuisine)– Jiangsu
  • Lu– Shandong (Include Jinan, Jiaodong styles, etc.)
  • Chuan– Sichuan
  • Zhe– Zhejiang (Can include Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Shaoxing styles)

Cranberry and Blueberry Here Again–Representing Single Foods

Last week, two news stories raised up as headlines: 1. New meta analysis shows cranberry product is effective to prevent urinary tract infection, reassuring what our grandma kept telling us; 2. wild, but not normal, blueberry is considered to protect DNA damages.

 

These stories required a lot of efforts from a lot of professional researchers–their findings are precious, giving people new clues for things to look for to eat. But, such kind of finding is so familiar, or even feeling mossy today. On one day, guys walking down the street may bring up some foods they learn should be eaten from the newspaper, but to the next couple days, old foods are washed off as new findings come out. It could be overwhelming to see new super foods day-to-day. But one single food can provide the whole nutrients for sure, nor it can be so magical to really treat some diseases or conditions. In other word, people just can’t eat based on these “single food findings;” what every person truly need is a steady but science-proven balance diet.

Well, though I am not a fan of super food, but from my understanding, research in single super food is still meaning ful. They can be used specially in some situations: for example, if a person is under high working pressure, his body will produce more free radicals, which require more antioxidant to neutralize them–then, perheps blueberry in greater amount may help a little.

As a person studying nutrition, friends always like to ask questions such as “What food I can eat to make me healthy? Tell me some foods!” “Do you eat a lot of brocolli? I heard they are very good.” “What? You eat McDonalds? You are nutrition person!”–and I believe all people in nutrition world can’t escape. What people always thinking is eating a food and turn to be healthy on the other day; however, only a balanced diet can boost your health most effectively. A balanced diet is meant to provide right amount of energy, along with sufficient vitamins, mineral, compounds from animals and vegetable–which can only be obtained from a wide range of foods.

First Talk about China!

This Tuesday, I experienced the first time pressure of being a Lecturer–giving my “Food and Culture of China” talk to a group of older people at Stoneham, MA. All stuff went smoothly and happily, the greatest thing was being able to make my group of ladies laugh!

Obtained this opportunity from my dear friend Karen, I developed this talk with my ppt based on my 23 year real life eating experience–which makes this a perfect job to me–to look back the food I ate and to relearn my culture.

Since we have the budget covering foods, I brought two nice Zongzi (triangle sticky rice) and two Moon cakes for cultural food tasting!

I already anticipate the next talk! Say cheese!! Cheer for my beautiful ladies!