Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Many Benefits of Breastfeeding

I'm a strong supporter of breastfeeding and I don't see why any woman would choose NOT to breastfeed. At the same time, I do understand that there might be a lot of pain involved and that some are just incapable of doing it. I myself might run into problems with it when the time comes but that's another matter. I still fully support it. Not only does it benefit the baby in so many ways but it also benefits the mom! The following article in Women's Health is just one example of the benefits of breastfeeding:

Wonder-Twin Powers
You may have heard that nursing is best for a baby, but new evidence shows that it can offer major benefits for Mom too. Experts had speculated that breastfeeding might provide some protection against breast cancer, but according to a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, its cancer-fighting power may be more potent than anyone previously imagined. Researchers found that among women with a family history of the disease, those who had breastfed were 59 percent less likely to develop breast cancer as those who had not. The reduction in risk was similar whether the women nursed for a lifetime total of just three months or for more than three years and regardless of whether they supplemented their breast milk with other foods.

Thanks to a friend of mine, who is a strong supporter of breastfeeding and a breastfeeding mother to a two year old son (yes, you can breastfeed for as long as you want!), I have found other very informative articles about breastfeeding that I'd like to share with you. The first one is about the many health benefits that mom's get from breasfeeding and you can view it here. The second one is comparing breast milk to formula. It can be found here. Very informative.

Speaking of formula, did you know that infant formula is nearly a four billion dollar industry in the U.S.? Why is this? Most likely because women aren't being educated enough about the benefits of breastfeeding and give up way too soon when it doesn't go smoothly for them right away. We are a lazy nation after all . . . Well, here to help us all is a new documentary called Formula Fed America and you can visit their website for more information. Check out the little clip at the beginning as well. (No, I'm not getting paid to advertise this. I'm simply doing it because I think it's ridiculous that so many people are resorting to formula without any thought.)

At the end of the day, no one can tell a mom what she should do with her infant or how she should feed him/her. But before you make any decision, at least inform yourself of all the options out there. Who knows, you might just learn a thing or two that will benefit you and your family in more ways than you could ever imagine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What Your Skin Colour May Be Telling You

Attractiveness Based Partly on Skin Color
By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer

When it comes to an attractive face, color can make all the difference, suggests a new study.

The research focused on facial skin color among Caucasians, finding a light, yellowish complexion looks the healthiest. The skin color could indicate a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whose pigments are known to change the skin's hue, researchers suggest.

(The researchers predict the results would hold for other ethnicities as well.)

"Effectively health and attractiveness are pretty much the same thing," study researcher Ian Stephen of the University of Bristol in England told LiveScience. He added that past research as well as some of his forthcoming research shows as much.

Other studies have shown that shape and symmetry of a person's face are also cues of attractiveness.

"Most previous work on faces has focused on the shape of the face or the texture of the skin, but one of the most variable characteristics of the face is skin color," Stephen said.

Stephen and his colleagues asked 54 Caucasian participants to change the skin color of about 50 male and female faces on a computer screen to make them look as healthy as possible. Hands down, the participants tended to increase the rosiness, yellowness and brightness of the skin.

Here's how the researchers think the health-coloring connection works: The preference for more golden or yellow-toned skin could be related to the carotenoid pigments from fruits and veggies. These plant pigments are considered antioxidants, as they protect cells from damage caused by so-called free radicals and are also thought to be important for the immune system.

As for skin color, Stephen notes that if someone were to eat just carrots for a stint, the person's skin color would certainly turn orange-ish. He doesn't recommend such a diet, of course.

And rosy coloring can be the result of skin flushed with blood and oxygen, suggesting a strong heart and lungs, the researchers say. For instance, smokers and diabetics and those with heart disease have fewer blood vessels in their skin, and so their skin would appear less rosy.

If you think you can ditch the rabbit-like meals and just head to a tanning bed, think again. The researchers found lighter skin was better.

"In the West we often think that sun tanning is the best way to improve the color of your skin," Stephen said. "But our research suggests that living a healthy lifestyle with a good diet might actually be better."

Another tip: Eating only fruits and veggies won't work either, so forget about nibbling your way to an attractive face.

"If you're starving yourself then you'll look unhealthy for other reasons," Stephen said. "I wouldn't suggest you eat nothing but salads, because you won't be getting enough calories and [would] lose a lot of weight, and that in itself doesn't look good. If you end up anemic you won't have the red component in your face."

The results would likely hold for other ethnicities as well, Stephen said. For instance, his past research has shown black South Africans tend to judge rosier faces as healthier. And forthcoming research suggests the same may hold for yellowness and lightness of facial skin.

The study, which will be published in the December issue of the International Journal of Primatology, was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and Unilever Research.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keep Those Toilet Lids Down!

I found a short article in my favourite magazine, Women's Health, that I wanted to share with everyone. Habits are hard to break, I understand, but once you read how disgusting this really is, you'll change this habit fast!

There are more than 3 million bacteria per square inch inside the average toilet bowl. When you flush, those bad boys get ejected into the air and land on everything in the room, including that innocent bystander otherwise known as your toothbrush. Can you say "ick"? Always close the lid before flushing, and store your toothbrush in a drawer, advises Donna M. Duberg, M.S., assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at St. Louis University.

There's also this article that I found about putting down the toilet seat before flushing which includes a more scientific viewpoint. It's a bit long but very informative!

So, think you can do something as simple as putting the toilet seat down before flushing? Oh and you can also apologize to your "nagging" girlfriend/wife/mother/etc. for always telling you to do so in the first place! Looks like they had a point, after all.