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Coriander & Cilantro - Spices in the Kitchen (Video)

Cilantro comes from the leaves of the coriander plant while the spice that we know as coriander comes from the seeds of the plant. Coriander seeds exhibit anti-inflammatory properties as well as cholesterol-lowering properties. Cilantro is used as a garnishment on foods and often in Mexican dishes and salsas. Some people experience an unpleasant soapy or metallic-like taste with cilantro due to a genetic discrepancy in people.

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Smoke Gets In Your Ears?

New research from Britain has tied smoking to hearing loss. If you smoke, your odds of hearing loss are 15 percent higher than that of nonsmokers, the study found. And the researchers came up with an even bigger surprise: if you’re exposed to smoking, your risk of hearing loss is 28 percent higher than non-smokers.

A team from the University of Manchester looked at nearly 165,000 adults in the UK age 40 to 69 who took hearing tests when they joined a national project to improve health. “We found the more packets you smoke per week and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk you will damage your hearing,” said Piers Dawes, Ph.D. of the University of Manchester’s Centre for Human Communication and Deafness. The cause of the connection between hearing loss and smoking isn’t clear, Dr. Dawes said, adding that “we are not sure if toxins in tobacco smoke affect hearing directly, or whether smoking-related cardiovascular disease causes microvascular changes that impact on hearing or both.”

The increased risk among passive smokers -- higher than that for smokers -- could be the result of the study design. Smokers were compared to both complete non-smokers and passive non-smokers, but passive smokers were only compared to complete non-smokers, the researchers said.

Piers Dawes et al, “Cigarette Smoking, Passive Smoking, Alcohol Consumption, and Hearing Loss”, Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10162-014-0461-0


Why Exercise May Not Be Working

If you view exercise as an unpleasant chore, you may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. A new study suggests that your outlook may influence whether or not structured physical activity helps you lose weight. To find out whether exercisers are sabotaging themselves, French and American researchers divided 56 mostly overweight women volunteers into two groups. They asked one group to walk a one-mile course "for exercise" with the promise of lunch afterward. They asked the other women to walk the same course, but gave them headphones to listen to music and rate the sound quality, and encouraged them to enjoy themselves. Afterwards, they found that the women in the “exercise” group ate much more at lunch than the women who were told to have fun. The researchers then repeated the experiment with a group of men and women, telling half the group the walk was for exercise, and the other half it was for sightseeing. Afterwards, they gave the participants plastic bags to fill with all the M&M’s they wanted. The “exercise” group took twice as much as the “sightseeing” group. Finally, the researchers went to the finish line of a relay marathon and asked participants whether or not they enjoyed the run, offering them chocolate bars or healthier cereal bars as thanks for answering the questions. Here, the runners who said they had fun preferred the cereal bar, while those who didn’t enjoy themselves tended to take the chocolate bars. The consensus of these observations: watch what you eat after your workout. If you’re “rewarding” yourself for exercising, you may be taking in more calories than you burned off.

My take? I hated exercise for much of my life and now don’t feel right if a day goes by without some form of it. Here is a practical tip: If you want to develop new healthy living habits, spend time with people who have those habits. Your choice of friends and acquaintances is a powerful influence on your behavior. If you want to change your eating habits, spend more time with people who eat healthy food. If you want to be a habitual exerciser, keep company with people who exercise regularly and enjoy it.

Carolina O.C. Werle et al, “Is it fun or exercise? The framing of physical activity biases subsequent snacking,” Marketing Letters, published online May 15, 2014,, accessed June 6,2014


Do You Warm Up and Cool Down When You Exercise? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed whether a cool down is necessary and beneficial after a workout: Cooling Down After Exercise? Check out the article and let us know whether you warm up or cool down, or both, while exercising.


Too Cynical for Your Own Good?

Cynicism has been linked to heart disease and other health problems, and now research from Finland suggests that it may also be a risk factor for dementia. The research team tested 1,449 people with an average age of 71 for dementia, and also asked them to respond to a questionnaire that has proved reliable in determining levels of cynicism. The study participants were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as "I think most people would lie to get ahead," "It is safer to trust nobody," and "Most people will use somewhat unfair reasons to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it." Based on their scores, participants were classified as possessing low, moderate or high levels of cynical distrust. After the investigators adjusted for other dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, they observed that of the 164 people with high levels of cynicism, 14 developed dementia. This rate was about double the incidence of dementia compared to nine of 212 people with low levels of cynicism. Eventually, these findings, if confirmed by further studies, may lead the way toward addressing attitude as part of preventive health care.

Anna-Maija Tolppanen et al “Late-life cynical distrust, risk of incident dementia, and mortality in a population-based cohort”, Neurology,


Melatonin for More Sleep and Better Bones

Melatonin might not be the entire solution for women prone to thinning bones, but at least the hormone seems to have strengthened the skeletons of elderly rats, suggesting that it might be an approach to osteoporosis prevention in humans. Researchers at the McGill School of Dentistry found that giving 22-month-old rats (about age 60 in human years) melatonin for 10 weeks (the equivalent of six human years) led to an increase in bone volume, bone density and bone flexibility compared to rats of the same age that didn’t receive melatonin. The rationale behind this study is that osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone, are active at night, while bone-building osteoblasts are active during the day. Since humans tend to sleep less well as they get older, osteoclasts become more active in the time they operate, speeding bone breakdown. Melatonin, known to regulate circadian rhythm, seems to have boosted bone building in the rats, but the researchers still need to determine if the supplement prevented bone breakdown or actually promoted repairs of damage bones. More research and clinical trials are now needed to find out exactly how melatonin influences skeletal health. Stay tuned.

Faleh Tamimi et al, “Melatonin dietary supplement as an anti-aging therapy for age-related bone loss,” Rejuvenation Research, doi:10.1089/rej.2013.1542.


Can Tai Chi Slow Aging?

A new study from Taiwan suggests that the ancient system of movement known as tai chi can slow the aging process. Researchers conducted a yearlong study comparing the effects of the practice to those of brisk walking or to no exercise at all among a group of volunteers under the age of 25. Study co-author Shinn-Zong Lin explained that his team used young volunteers because “they have better cell-renewing abilities than the old population, and we also wanted to avoid having chronic diseases and medications as interfering factors." The researchers compared CD34+ cells in the three groups of volunteers and found that those in the tai chi group had counts “significantly higher” than the brisk-walking group. These cells are important “cluster markers” for blood stem cells that are involved in cell self-renewal, differentiation and proliferation changes that amount to rejuvenating and "anti-aging" effects, the researchers said. They also noted that tai chi has been confirmed to benefit patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease and fibromyalgia, and cited tai chi’s possible advantages for pain reduction, fall prevention, balance improvement, aerobic capacity, blood pressure, quality of life and stress reduction.

My take? Tai chi is a practical and enjoyable form of mental and physical stimulation and is beneficial for overall health. Like yoga, tai chi is an effective method of stress reduction and relaxation, and it promotes flexibility, balance, and improved body awareness. It is pleasant to watch and perform, and may be particularly helpful for the elderly, as it reduces risk of injury from falls. While it certainly has potential to improve longevity, we’ll need more studies to determine if it can actually reverse the effects of aging.

Shinn-Zong Lin et al, “Tai Chi Intervention Increases Progenitor CD34+ Cells in Young Adults. Cell Transplant. 23(4-5):613-620; 2014.


What Supplements Do You Take? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed nutrients and minerals necessary for vision and eye health: What Nutrients Can Help Protect Vision? Check out the article and let us know what supplements you take as part of your daily routine.

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