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Health News you can use

Want Smarter, Healthier Kids? Decrease Screen Time

Research shows that active kids grow up healthier and do better in school; but in recent years there’s been a decline in children’s physical activity levels. Is more screen time to blame? A Danish university put this to the test with the help of 89 families. 

One group of families had to reduce their recreational screen media use to less than three hours per week for two weeks. The other group was instructed to continue their usual screen media habits. Daily physical activity was carefully measured. 

The researchers found that children in the screen reduction group had an average of 45 minutes more daily physical activity than children in the control group. On weekends, children in the screen reduction group had an average of 73 minutes more physical activity than children in the control group. 

The conclusion is clear!

USD Faculty of Health Sciences, “Reducing screen time increases physical activity in children,”, May 23, 2022.

Loss of Smell? Rehab for Your Nose!

“There are now millions of people around the world with persistent olfactory [smell] loss after COVID-19,” says Claire Hopkins, a rhinologist at King’s College, London. The remedy? Smell training, a kind of physical therapy for noses!

Individuals are instructed to sniff a sequence of four essential oils, deeply inhaling each one for 15 seconds while concentrating on memorizing the corresponding smell. They repeat the procedure twice a day over several months. 

The oils used most are rose, eucalyptus, lemon, and clove—each representing a different category of smell and expected to stimulate different olfactory neurons. 

Studies of smell training’s effectiveness suggest it can be helpful, but not always. Life without smell and taste is not so enjoyable, so it may be worth a try!

Sarah DeWeerdt, “How to Bring Back the Sense of Smell,”, June 22, 2022.

Our Brains Love Routines!

At times, we all long to escape from humdrum routines and do something different! But it turns out that routines are good for our mental health. Our bodies and minds work on circadian rhythms, and they love consistency.

Here are some of the benefits:

Your stress level will fall. Predictability and routine are calming to the brain and require less decision-making.

You'll sleep better. Your mind is more relaxed and falling asleep is easier if you have a bedtime routine at a fairly consistent time.

You'll enjoy better health. Regular meals, exercise, and rest make a healthier body and mind.

You'll be happier. If you have a schedule, you can build in time for recreation and constructive reflection leading to gratitude. Both are good for your mental health. 

Psychological Benefits of Routines,”, October 23, 2021.

Liquid Immunity

Do you want a stronger immune system? Drinking water helps in two ways. 

First, your immune system is dependent on the nutrients in your bloodstream, and your bloodstream is made up mostly of water! If you don’t have enough water, you can’t properly transport nutrients to each organ system. 

Second, staying well hydrated is important for clearing out any foreign invaders—such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi—that may enter your body. Your detox network, the lymphatic system, makes white blood cells (lymphocytes) that help your body fight infection. It also helps remove waste products and abnormal cells from the body. Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid made up of 96 percent water. 

So calculate half your body weight in pounds, and drink at least that many ounces of water daily. Coffee and alcohol don’t count, but herbal teas work. 

Maggie Quinn, “Stay Well-Hydrated for a Strong Immune System,” UCI, April 13, 2020.  

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