Get Activewear Pieces For Up to 50 Percent Off Right Now at Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale

Nordstrom is one of my favorite department stores ever, so I’m always ready to break my wallet out when I hear about literally any sale the retailer has. Between the time it takes for my computer to log on to Nordstrom’s homepage, and my fingers to add items to my shopping cart, I make a conscious decision to go in on stocking up on discounted items from some of my favorite brands. I’m always excited to add new pieces to my closet, especially when it’s versatile enough to wear from a workout or to an afternoon hangout with friends—which is why I was over the moon once I heard that Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly sale has officially arrived.

From now through June 2, you can score some awesome deals on activewear pieces from brands like The Upside, Good American, Adidas, and more at up to 50 percent off their original price. Be sure to add your favorites to your online shopping cart quickly, as these discounted goodies won’t last long. Keep reading for some stylish yet functional items that might inspire you to make the gym your runway.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

A common skin bacterium put children with severe eczema at higher risk of food allergy

In a new study published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, scientists from King’s College London have found that young children with severe eczema infected with Staphylococcus aureus (SA) bacterium, are at a higher risk of developing a food allergy.

Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a bacterium that can be found in the nose and the skin of healthy individuals.

However, SA is more common in sufferers of eczema, especially severe eczema.

When someone has an allergy, their immune system mistakes a harmless substance (such as eggs or peanuts) as an intruder and overreacts in response. Their body produces a molecule or else antibody known as Immunoglobin E (IgE).

When IgE encounters the intruder on the skin or within the body it releases chemicals, such as histamine that cause the allergic reaction.

The team of scientists found that young children with severe eczema who are infected with SA produce more IgE against peanut, egg and milk indicating they have a food allergy to each of these.

These children were also more likely to have their egg allergy persist at the age of 5 or 6 years in comparison to children that did not have SA present.

Lead author Dr Olympia Tsilochristou from King’s College London said: “This is significant as most children with egg allergy usually outgrow this at an earlier age.

“We do not know yet the exact mechanisms that lead from eczema to food allergy however our results suggest that the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus could be an important factor contributing to this outcome.”

These results build on the earlier ones from the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study which demonstrated that infants who were at a high-risk of developing peanut allergy but consumed a peanut?containing snack throughout the study were prevented from later developing a peanut allergy.

In this current study, scientists found that children with SA on their skin and/or nose were more likely to develop peanut allergy despite them being fed with peanut from early ages as part of the LEAP study protocol.

Co-author Professor du Toit said: “These findings indicate that SA may have reduced the chance of young infants gaining tolerance to peanut, even if peanut was eaten in early childhood.”

Professor Lack, who conceived and led the LEAP study, said that “SA could be considered as an additional risk factor for the development of food allergy.”

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Materials provided by King’s College London. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

7 Dumbbell Exercises That Work Your Core

It’s no secret that strengthening your core is a great thing to do. When I say core, I’m talking all the muscles that make up the trunk of your body—the ones that support your spine and keep your body upright, allow you to twist to the side, and stabilize your body when you lift something heavy (be that a weight or a suitcase). A strong core is not only incredibly helpful for developing your overall strength and fitness, but it’s just essential for everyday life. It can even help reduce lower-back pain. Basically, we can all benefit in some way from some regular core-strengthening work.

Now, there are obviously tons of core exercises you can do, and you probably know a handful already. But if you’re looking for some new ideas, we’ve got you covered. Sure, traditional core exercises, like mountain climbers, leg lifts, and planks, are great. They get the job done. I, however, tend to get a little bored of doing the same things over and over again. Of course, consistency is a good thing, and also a great way to track your progress—but let’s be honest, sometimes we all just need a new challenge to keep our fitness routines feeling fresh and exciting.

If you’re looking for a new, challenging way to work your core, give the below dumbbell exercises a try. They all involve added weight, so they’re great for anyone who already feels comfortable doing bodyweight exercises with proper form and wants to add some extra resistance. These moves are also compound exercises, which means that they work multiple muscle groups at once. So instead of only focusing on your core, you’ll work that area while also getting in a little bonus strength work in areas like your arms and back. By engaging more muscles at the same time, everything becomes a bit more challenging and requires you to really focus on what you’re doing—which means you won’t just breeze through the movements, and instead, will really put your mind into your workout.

You’ll also notice the majority of these moves have you working on one side at a time. These type of exercises, called unilateral moves, challenge your balance and require your core to work a bit harder to keep you stable. You don’t want to go wild with throwing your balance drastically off-kilter when you’re lifting weights for the sake of core strengthening (it’s not really safe and oftentimes can work against you) but including a few unilateral moves in your routine is a great way to develop that skill (stability) safely and effectively.

Since these dumbbell moves are pretty varied, try picking three or four that you like to string together into a circuit. Try doing 10-12 reps of each move, and repeat the circuit three times. Or, you can choose one or two to swap for a similar exercise you’re already doing but don’t feel jazzed about anymore. Try starting with a medium-weight set of dumbbells, and increasing the weight as your get stronger. Here’s some more info on how to choose the right weight for your body and current fitness level.

Demoing the moves below is Amanda Wheeler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and cofounder of Formation Strength, an online women’s training group that serves the LGBTQ community and allies; Cookie Janee, a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve; and Rachel Denis, a powerlifter who competes with USA Powerlifting and holds multiple New York state powerlifting records.

How Skin Care Became a Crucial Part of My Sobriety Toolbox

My skin was the last thing on my mind when I stopped drinking after 20 years of weekend binges and using wine to self-medicate. Sure, I expected clearer skin to be one of the welcome side effects, like having more disposable income and remembering everything from the night before. What I didn’t expect was how big a part of my recovery my skin-care regimen would become.

During my drinking days, it was less of a regimen and more of a two-second attempt at wiping my face. But even that simple step was too much to expect on the nights I woke up at 3 a.m. after crashing out on the sofa, or slipped into bed racked with self-loathing, unable to make eye contact with my sad face in the bathroom mirror. How could I possibly cleanse, tone, and moisturize when I couldn’t even manage to look at myself?

But when I stopped drinking almost two years ago, I suddenly had the time—and the inclination—to do Things Other People Did, like taking my makeup off properly.

“Many patients are not aware of just how much time they are spending accessing, using, or recovering from the effects of alcohol or drugs,” Timothy K. Brennan, M.D., director of the Fellowship in Addiction Medicine Program at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. “When people get sober, they suddenly have a lot of extra time on their hands. Filling that time with healthy habits is crucial.”

After spending years relying on a cursory wipe with disposable cloth, I suddenly wanted to do more. I wanted to be kinder to myself—and my skin seemed like an easy, no-pressure place to start. A baby step.

I took a bath. A long bath with a candle and nice oil and a closed door. I did the same the next night, and the night after that. I listened to recovery podcasts and read words written by other brave people who chose a life without alcohol. And I did it all in my new favorite place: the mini spa I had created within the safety of my own four walls.

The more sober days I clocked, the better my skin looked—no longer dehydrated from alcohol, its newfound glow was further boosted by oils, moisturizers, and face masks.

Bath time served another purpose—a quiet acknowledgement of the fact that I’d reached the end of another day without opening a bottle of wine. Over time, that ritual evolved into a deeper commitment to my skin-care regimen. As I noticed the positive effects of an alcohol-free lifestyle on my skin (replacing wine with water is a game-changer), I realized I had to take proper care of it.

In fact, taking care of your skin can tap into an important theme in long-term addiction recovery: the importance of developing goals, activities, and rituals that improve physical and mental health and well being, Suzette Glasner, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and principal investigator at the UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, tells SELF.

When I quit drinking, I also made goals to go back to yoga, journal every day, and run three times a week. But skin care became one of my main rituals because it was relatively easy—I didn’t have to leave my house, coax myself into any particular mindset, or adhere to a set schedule—yet rewarding. Although I have a lot of strategies in my sobriety toolbox, my skin-care regimen is the only one I commit to on a twice-daily basis.

This serves as yet another reminder that sobriety is different for everyone. There’s no rule book that says you have to go down the traditional route of recovery meetings, prayer, meditation, etc., or that you can’t combine all or some of those things with a range of self-care practices. Today, caring for my skin is an integral part of a much bigger goal—a lifelong commitment to good mental and physical health that began the day I ditched booze.

Skin care can be “in the service of improving both physical and mental health,” Glasner says, “because when you are healthy physically, it affects the way you feel psychologically.” This is exactly why skin care plays an important role in my sobriety toolbox: While my skin appears brighter and smoother than ever, it’s not really about how it looks on the outside. For me, it’s about finally paying attention to my self-worth, after years of neglect.

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How Much Fiber Should I Be Eating to Feel Regular?

You’ve surely heard all about fiber and its many virtues. For starters, we know that eating lots of fiber-filled foods is associated with a regular pooping schedule, but it’s also associated with improved heart health, feeling full and satisfied after meals, and keeping your blood sugar stable. But how much should you actually be eating—especially if your main goal is to go to the bathroom regularly? Here’s the deal on how much fiber you actually need to be eating.

What fiber does

Dietary fiber is a kind of carb found in plant foods, including whole grains (like oats, barley, and whole wheat pasta), legumes (lentils, beans), nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Its structure makes it difficult for our digestive systems to break down, so it largely passes on through, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains.

There are two types of fiber: soluble, which dissolves in water to create a gelish substance, and insoluble, which doesn’t break down at all. Certain foods might be higher in one or the other, but most plant foods usually contain some of both.

We need fiber in our diets for a few reasons. First and foremost is the pooping aspect, obviously. “Adequate fiber intake is very important for regular bowel movements and digestive health,” Christine Lee, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF.

Insoluble fiber is especially critical in this regard. It helps add bulk to your stool, and accelerates the movement of food through the digestive system to prevent you from getting backed up, according to the FDA. The result? Softer stools and more consistent bowel movements, Dr. Lee says.

Soluble fiber actually has the opposite effect: It slows down digestion, which prevents all of the food you eat from being broken down and excreted too rapidly. That’s why you generally want both, so they can sort of balance each other out and keep things regular.

Fiber is beneficial in other ways, too. It helps regulate the levels of your LDL cholesterol and blood sugar, per the FDA, and it can help increase feelings of fullness for longer after a meal.

How much fiber you need

Now, the answer you’re here for. The Dietary Guidelines correlate your optimal fiber intake with your caloric intake. They say people should get about 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories in their diet. In general, fiber recommendations also vary according to age and sex—for example, the recommendation is highest for men in their 20s, because the number is based off projected caloric intake.

Now, remember that the Dietary Guidelines are just that: guidelines, not rules. Your daily caloric intake isn’t necessarily that cookie-cutter average 2,000 calories per day—we all have different nutritional needs and ways of eating that work for us. At the end of the day, we’re all a little different, and so are our fiber needs, Dr. Lee says, for a variety of reasons. Some of this is just individual variation. Your gut might be more or less sensitive to fiber than other people’s, Dr. Lee says. Or maybe you just feel better eating a bit more or less than recommended, for reasons only your gut knows.

There are also lifestyle factors that can affect your fiber requirements in the short or long term. One is your activity level, because exercise can help move digestion along. So an athlete might need to eat less fiber to be regular than someone who doesn’t work out much, Dr. Lee says. Another one is stress, Dr. Lee says, which can cause diarrhea in many people and constipation in others because the digestive system and the brain communicate with each other, as SELF previously reported.

And there are some medical factors to consider. Having any kind of GI condition can definitely affect your ideal fiber intake in either direction, Dr. Lee says. That includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diverticulosis or diverticulitis. This is extremely variable across conditions, people, and the course of illness, so it’s really important for anyone with a digestive issue to talk to their doctor about how it might impact their fiber needs, Dr. Lee says. For instance, people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may find that fiber helps decrease symptoms like bloating, pain, and diarrhea, according to the Cleveland Clinic, while certain fibrous foods like fruit, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts can actually cause bloating and gas.

Same goes for any non-GI condition that affects your digestive system. For example, stroke and diabetes can cause constipation by impacting the muscles or nerves involved in bowel movements, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Since the first-line treatment for constipation is generally consuming more fiber (along with water and exercise), per the NIDDK, doctors may recommend eating more fibers. There are also a number of medications that can have constipation or diarrhea as a side effect, Dr. Lee says, such as opioid pain relievers. If a condition or medication is causing you to experience either problem, talk to your doctor about whether you should cut down on your fiber (in the case of diarrhea), or boost it (in the case of constipation), or if certain kinds of fibery foods might be better for you than others.

What happens when you get too little (or too much) fiber

As you may have unpleasantly experienced at some point in your life, too little fiber can cause digestive issues like constipation. But there is good evidence associating adequate or high dietary fiber intake with a reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). That said, we don’t know for sure if it’s fiber specifically that’s associated with these benefits, since someone who eats a lot of dietary fiber is likely eating a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. That same person may also enjoy regular exercise. The point is, the correlation between high dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of health conditions does not necessarily equal causation with the intake of fiber itself. But we do know that fiber has positive effects on LDL cholesterol and blood sugar control. And clearly, the important message here is that eating fiber-rich foods is a generally good thing to do for your body.

While we know that too little fiber is problematic, is there such a thing as too much fiber? Eh, possibly. Some people might experience abdominal discomfort, bloating, and gas from eating extremely high levels of fiber, Dr. Lee says. And it’s possible that eating too much fiber could interfere with the absorption of minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium. But because many high-fiber foods are supplying good amounts of these minerals anyway, this isn’t generally an issue, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine.

That being said, eating a ton of fiber without drinking enough water is not a great idea, Dr. Lee says, because fiber works optimally with water, per the NIDDK. So just make sure to stay hydrated if you want to keep your poop soft and bulky and avoid uncomfortable symptoms like gas, cramping, and bloating.

And, according to AND, there is no “Tolerable Upper Limit” for fiber, meaning that, as far as research has found so far, there isn’t a level of fiber intake that is shown to have serious negative effects on either mineral levels or GI functioning. So basically, unless you’re experiencing GI symptoms or have a mineral deficiency, oodles of fiber is not something most people have to worry about. (This changes if you have some kind of GI or other medical condition.)

In reality, most of us aren’t eating enough fiber. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the average American gets just 16 grams of fiber a day. (To put that in perspective, this is the amount a girl aged 4 to 8 should be getting, per the Dietary Guidelines.) In fact, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA) label fiber a “nutrient of public health concern” given how important it is to our health and how underconsumed it is.

How to get enough fiber

While the recommendation is 14 grams per 1,000 calories, in reality many of us don’t count calories, let alone keep tabs on our fiber intake. The good news is that it’s actually pretty easy for most people to hit this ballpark number if they’re eating a wide array of plant foods, Lisa Young, R.D.N., C.D.N., Ph.D., adjunct professor in the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, tells SELF.

In other words, you shouldn’t really have to go out of your way to get enough fiber, because a well-rounded and generally healthful diet is also a fiber-full diet. So instead of meticulously tracking grams of fiber or seeking out specific foods, the easiest and most effective way to go about it is eating a variety of plant foods every day, Young says—fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

To give you a rough sense of what that variety can actually look like, the Dietary Guidelines has a handy list of the fiber content per serving for a number of different foods. For instance, a half-cup of chickpeas has about 8 grams of fiber, a pear has 5.5 grams, and a half-cup of frozen mixed vegetables has 4 grams—so it can add up pretty fast.

By the way, you generally don’t need to worry about how much of each type you’re getting either. Like we mentioned, most plant foods have both insoluble and soluble fiber, and most nutrition labels don’t break the fiber content down that way anyhow. (Fiber supplements and packaged foods with added fiber, like granola or protein bars, commonly contain just one or the other though, Young says—one more reason why it’s easiest to focus on naturally fiber-filled foods.)

Another low-effort way to up your fiber haul is by swapping out foods made with refined grains, which are stripped of most of their fiber content during processing, for versions made with whole grains, as SELF previously reported. When buying things like bread, cereal, pasta, and crackers, look for “whole wheat flour” instead of “wheat flour” at the top of the ingredients list. (The same applies to other grain-based foods, like rye bread: Look for “whole rye flour.”) And if you bake at home, experiment with replacing some of the all-purpose flour in the recipe with whole wheat flour.

Take it easy as you ramp up your fiber content, though. Increasing your fiber intake too quickly can result in some uncomfortable side effects, like gas, bloating, and cramping. The bacteria in your GI that help break down soluble fiber need a little time to adjust to the increased fiber, per the Mayo Clinic. So gradually up the fiber you eat over the course of a few weeks, instead of all at once. And remember, make sure to be drinking plenty of water.

A word on fiber supplements

There isn’t any evidence that taking daily fiber supplements (i.e functional fiber) is harmful, according to the Mayo Clinic. And if you’re having trouble getting enough fiber in your diet for whatever reason, these pills and powders are a convenient way to help you close the gap, Young says. It’s also great in a pinch if you’re experiencing constipation, Dr. Lee says.

However, overloading on fiber too quickly is easier to do with supplements than whole foods, so the advice to start slow and drink enough water is especially important here to avoid side effects, Dr. Lee says. And since many supplements contain only soluble or insoluble fiber, you’re not getting that balanced intake and regulation that you do with naturally fibrous foods, Young points out. Plus, some fiber supplements can interfere with the absorption of medications if you take them at a similar time—so take them at a different time of day from each other, and talk to your prescribing doctor before adding functional fiber to your diet. And definitely consult your doctor first if you have a GI condition.

The biggest overall drawback, though, is that if you rely on supplements to hit your fiber requirements, you’re missing out on all the other nutrients found in the all-around healthy foods that naturally contain fiber, Young says. Plus, the real stuff just tastes so much better.

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Circadian clocks: Body parts respond to day and night independently from brain, studies show

Can your liver sense when you’re staring at a television screen or cellphone late at night? Apparently so, and when such activity is detected, the organ can throw your circadian rhythms out of whack, leaving you more susceptible to health problems.

That’s one of the takeaways from two new studies by University of California, Irvine scientists working in collaboration with the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, Spain.

The studies, published today in the journal Cell, used specially bred mice to analyze the network of internal clocks that regulate metabolism. Although researchers had suspected that the body’s various circadian clocks could operate independently from the central clock in the hypothalamus of the brain, there was previously no way to test the theory, said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, director of UCI’s Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism and senior author of one of the studies.

To overcome that obstacle, scientists figured out how to disable the entire circadian system of the mice, then jump-start individual clocks. For the experiments reported in the Cell papers, they activated clocks inside the liver or skin.

“The results were quite surprising,” said Sassone-Corsi, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Chemistry. “No one realized that the liver or skin could be so directly affected by light.”

For example, despite the shutdown of all other body clocks, including the central brain clock, the liver knew what time it was, responded to light changes as day shifted to night and maintained critical functions, such as preparing to digest food at mealtime and converting glucose to energy.

Somehow, the liver’s circadian clock was able to detect light, presumably via signals from other organs. Only when the mice were subjected to constant darkness did the liver’s clock stop functioning.

In upcoming studies, UCI and Barcelona researchers will phase in other internal clocks to see how different organs communicate with each other, Sassone-Corsi said.

“The future implications of our findings are vast,” he noted. “With these mice, we can now begin deciphering the metabolic pathways that control our circadian rhythms, aging processes and general well-being.”

In earlier studies, Sassone-Corsi has examined how circadian clocks can be rewired by such factors as sleep deprivation, diet and exercise. Exposure to computer, television or cellphone light just before bed can also scramble internal clocks.

Because of modern lifestyles, it’s easy for people’s circadian systems to get confused, he said. In turn, that can lead to depression, allergies, premature aging, cancer and other health problems. Further mice experiments could uncover ways to make human internal clocks “less misaligned,” Sassone-Corsi added.

Other UCI researchers involved in the studies included Kevin B. Koronowski, Jacob G. Smith, Muntaha Samad, Siwei Chen, Christophe N. Magnan and Pierre Baldi. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the European Research Council and the government of Catalonia, among other funding sources.

Will My Child Outgrow Asthma?

Do some children outgrow asthma?

Answers From James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Asthma symptoms that start in childhood can disappear later in life. Sometimes, however, a child’s asthma goes away temporarily, only to return a few years later. But other children with asthma—particularly those with severe asthma—never outgrow it.

In young children, it can be hard to tell whether signs and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath are caused by asthma or something else. Sometimes, what seems to be asthma turns out to be another condition, such as bronchitis, recurrent pneumonia, or bronchiolitis. These and a number of other asthma-like conditions typically improve as children get older.

Children with more severe asthma are less likely to outgrow it. Persistent wheezing and a history of allergies, especially to furry animals, also increase the odds that your child won’t outgrow asthma.

It’s important to diagnose and treat childhood asthma early on. Work with your child’s doctor to manage your child’s asthma. A written asthma action plan can help you track symptoms, adjust medications, and help your child avoid asthma triggers. As your child gets older, involve him or her in the development of the action plan.

Updated: 2017-02-08

Publication Date: 2017-02-08

7 Over-the-Counter Retinol Serums and Creams Dermatologists Highly Recommend

I like to think of retinoid products as special gifts for my combination (and sometimes acne-prone) skin, because applying them before bed helps to keep my breakouts at bay while treating existing dark spots. Retinoids, typically used to address acne and signs of aging, like wrinkles, can be prescription medications or obtained in over-the-counter products. Retinol, retinal, and retinoic acid are all types of retinoids, which are vitamin A derivatives. When used topically, retinoids stimulate processes that cause skin cells to shed more quickly and evenly, John G. Zampella, M.D., assistant professor in the Ronald O. Perelman department of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF.

Whenever a person starts using a retinoid for the first time, there is typically an adjustment period where the skin peels and reddens, Rita Linkner, M.D., clinical instructor, department of dermatology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, explains. “Oftentimes, people will break out a little bit as well as once the exfoliation process picks up, which is all to be expected and a good sign of clear skin to come.” As part of your skin-care routine, you should apply your retinoid of choice after cleansing and only once it’s completely dry (a moist base tends to enhance the uptake of retinoid on the skin, and cause increased irritation). Another pro-tip? Don’t forget the sunscreen! Of course it’s essential to apply every morning anyway, but even more important when adding a retinoid to your nighttime routine, as users may be slightly more sun sensitive.

When searching for an over-the-counter retinoid, Melanie Palm, M.D., assistant clinical professor at the University of California, San Diego says there are two important factors to consider: The concentration of retinoid and the vehicle (or cream, serum, etc.) it’s delivered in. “Reputable companies develop very effective base vehicles that allow skin to see a higher concentration of retinol over a slow-released period of time, creating a more dramatic skin effect with less redness and irritation,” she says. “If you have sensitive skin, consider a lower concentration retinol and work up to a higher strength. start with a lower percentage, lighter preparation formulas, and use them slowly and in small amounts. Those with normal to oily skin may penetrate higher strength retinols better.”

If you’re considering trying out retinol or any retinoid at home, read on for some of the best over-the-counter products dermatologists swear by.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Eating blueberries every day improves heart health

Eating a cup of blueberries a day reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease — according to new research led by the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard and across the UK.

New findings published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that eating 150g of blueberries daily reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 15 per cent.

The research team from UEA’s Department of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, Norwich Medical School, say that blueberries and other berries should be included in dietary strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — particularly among at risk groups.

The team set out to see whether eating blueberries had any effect on Metabolic Syndrome — a condition, affecting 1/3 of westernised adults, which comprises at least three of the following risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, low levels of ‘good cholesterol’ and high levels of triglycerides.

Lead researcher Prof Aedin Cassidy, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Having Metabolic syndrome significantly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes and often statins and other medications are prescribed to help control this risk.

“It’s widely recognised that lifestyle changes, including making simple changes to food choices, can also help.

“Previous studies have indicated that people who regularly eat blueberries have a reduced risk of developing conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This may be because blueberries are high in naturally occurring compounds called anthocyanins, which are the flavonoids responsible for the red and blue colour in fruits.

“We wanted to find out whether eating blueberries could help people who have already been identified as being at risk of developing these sort of conditions.”

The team investigated the effects of eating blueberries daily in 138 overweight and obese people, aged between 50 and 75, with Metabolic Syndrome. The six-month study was the longest trial of its kind.

They looked at the benefits of eating 150 gram portions (one cup) compared to 75 gram portions (half a cup). The participants consumed the blueberries in freeze-dried form and a placebo group was given a purple-coloured alternative made of artificial colours and flavourings.

Co-lead, Dr Peter Curtis, said: “We found that eating one cup of blueberries per day resulted in sustained improvements in vascular function and arterial stiffness — making enough of a difference to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by between 12 and 15 per cent.

“The simple and attainable message is to consume one cup of blueberries daily to improve cardiovascular health.

“Unexpectedly, we found no benefit of a smaller 75 gram (half cup) daily intake of blueberries in this at-risk group. It is possible that higher daily intakes may be needed for heart health benefits in obese, at-risk populations, compared with the general population.”

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Materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children

Youth who said they were teased or ridiculed about their weight increased their body mass by 33 percent more each year, compared to a similar group who had not been teased, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. The findings appear to contradict the belief that such teasing might motivate youth to change their behavior and attempt to lose weight. The study was conducted by Natasha A. Schvey, Ph.D., of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It appears in Pediatric Obesity.

The study involved 110 youth who were an average of 11.8 years of age when they enrolled. The participants were either overweight (defined as a body mass index above the 85th percentile) when they began the study or had two parents who were overweight or obese. At enrollment, they completed a six-item questionnaire on whether they had been teased about their weight. They then participated in annual followup visits for the next 15 years.

The researchers found that youth experiencing high levels of teasing gained an average of .20 kg (.44 lbs) per year more than those who did not. The authors theorize that weight-associated stigma may have made youths more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as binge eating and avoiding exercise. Another possible explanation is that the stress of being teased could stimulate the release of the hormone cortisol, which may lead to weight gain.

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Materials provided by NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Natasha A. Schvey, Shannon E. Marwitz, Sarah J. Mi, Ovidiu A. Galescu, Miranda M. Broadney, Deborah Young‐Hyman, Sheila M. Brady, James C. Reynolds, Marian Tanofsky‐Kraff, Susan Z. Yanovski, Jack A. Yanovski. Weight‐based teasing is associated with gain in BMI and fat mass among children and adolescents at‐risk for obesity: A longitudinal study. Pediatric Obesity, 2019; e12538 DOI: 10.1111/ijpo.12538

Cite This Page:

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2019. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530101213.htm>.

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2019, May 30). Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530101213.htm

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Being teased about weight linked to more weight gain among children.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190530101213.htm (accessed May 30, 2019).