People are living longer, but violent deaths are on the rise

(CNN)Conflict, terrorism and gun violence are claiming more lives around the world now than a decade ago, according to a new study published Thursday in the health journal The Lancet.

Deaths caused by war and terrorism spiked after 2006, with 150,500 reported in 2016 — a 143% increase from 10 years earlier. These fatalities occurred largely as a result of conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East, the researchers noted.
Worldwide, gun deaths also climbed during the same period: In 2016, firearm suicide fatalities reached 67,500 and firearm assault casualties rose to 161,000, increases of 4.3% and 5.7%, respectively, from 2006.
    Guns may be the direct cause of more deaths, but the there was an overall 3% decrease in fatalities caused by self-harm during the decade ending in 2016, the study indicated.
    The Global Burden of Disease study, an annual assessment of health trends, provides worldwide and national estimates on more than 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries and territories. The study, coordinated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, requires assistance from more than 2,500 researchers around the globe.
    One of several sunny spots in the report: Worldwide, people are living longer.

    Life expectancy on the rise

    Generally, male life expectancy was lower than female from 1970 through 2016. Currently, the average global life expectancy for women is 75.3 years, while men can expect to see 69.8 years on the planet. Life expectancy for both sexes combined is 72.5 years.
    By contrast, global life expectancy combined was 58.4 years in 1970 and 65.1 in 1990. In 2000, the combined expectancy was 66.8 years, and in 2005, it was 68.4 years.
    Of all the nations, Japan boasts the highest life expectancy at 83.9 years (a combined figure for both sexes), while people living in the Central African Republic can expect only 50.2 years, a global low.
    Several countries have seen recent large increases in life expectancy, far beyond expectations for their levels of development.
    These countries include Ethiopia, where life expectancy in 2016 was 64.7 years for men and 66.5 for women; the Maldives (77.6 years for men and 81.3 years for women); Nepal (69.7 years for men and 71.9 years for women); Niger (60.6 years for men and 62.8 years for women); Portugal (77.8 years for men and 84.0 years for women); and Peru (77.8 years for men and 81.6 years for women).
    These “exemplar” nations may offer insight into which policies are most successful for accelerating health progress, the study authors noted.

    Children reach a milestone

    “In 2016, for the first time in modern history, fewer than 5 million children under age 5 died in one year, as compared to 1990 when 11 million died,” Christopher Murray, a co-author of the report and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, wrote in an email. In 1970, 16.4 million deaths were recorded for this age group.
    Last year, lower respiratory infections, neonatal preterm birth complications and neonatal encephalopathy due to birth asphyxia and trauma were the most common causes of fatality for children under 5. Combined, these three causes resulted in 1.80 million deaths in 2016.
    Overall, there was what researchers described as a “profound” shift toward deaths at older ages: a 178% increase in deaths among people 90 to 94 and a 210% increase among those older than 95.
    In 2016, there were 1.7 million stillbirths worldwide. The rates decreased substantially between 1970 and 2016, from 41.5 stillbirths per 1,000 live births to just 13.1 per 1,000.
    This decrease occurred against a backdrop of increasing live births around the globe; in 2016, 128.8 million livebabies were born, compared with 114.1 million in 1970.
    Finland had the lowest rate of stillbirths at 1.1 per 1,000 live births, while South Sudan had the highest rate, at 43.4 per 1,000. Central sub-Saharan Africa’s stillbirths, which exceeded 23 per 1,000 live births in 2016, rank as the highest regional rates on the globe.

    Taking aim at early death

    A key measure of health is mortality — particularly at younger ages — and so avoiding early death from any cause is a key goal of health systems worldwide, noted the researchers.
    Early death is most often caused by diseases of various stripes.
    In 2016, noncommunicable diseases contributed 72.3% to the total number of deaths around the globe — 54.7 million — with 19.3% of deaths caused by communicable, maternal, neonatal and nutritional diseases. Injuries, including those incurred by violence, accounted for 8.4% of all deaths.
    “Population growth does not inherently mean there will be more deaths — it depends on a number of factors,” Mohsen Naghavi, a study co-author and a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, wrote in an email.
    “We provide total counts of death, death rates by age, and age-standardized rates of death to tease out what component of change in deaths comes from a population increasing in size over time, the ageing of populations, and true change at each age,” Naghavi wrote.
    Ischemic heart disease — a condition that restricts blood flow throughout the body — caused 9.48 million deaths in 2016, an increase of 19% since 2006. It ranked as the leading cause of early mortality in all regions of the globe, apart from low-income countries.
    In the poorest nations, the leading cause of early death was lower respiratory infections, including pneumonia and other bronchial conditions. Combined, these resulted in 2.38 million deaths, a decrease of 8.2% since 2006. Diabetes caused 1.43 million deaths globally last year, an increase of 31.1% since 2006.
    Deaths from infectious diseases have decreased since 2006, but HIV/AIDS claimed 1.03 million lives in 2016 (a 45.8% decrease since 2006), while 719,500 people died from malaria (a 25.9% decrease) and 1.21 million died from tuberculosis (a 20.9% decrease) last year.
    Dengue, a mosquito-borne infection that can lead to a fatal hemorrhagic fever, increased sharply over the decade — by 81.8% — and caused 37,800 deaths in 2016. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, which caused 10,900 deaths in 2016, also showed increasing rates throughout the past decade, rising by 67.6% since 2006.

    ‘Triad of troubles’

    Nearly one in every five deaths is linked to a poor diet, the report revealed. Diets lacking in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds and fish oils while providing too much salt were the most common dietary risk factors, the authors noted.
    As a result, high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high body mass index and high total cholesterol were among the top 10 leading risk factors for death for men and women globally.
    Nations and people are likely to tackle — or at least attempt to tackle — those diseases that kill at high rates, Murray noted, since death is a powerful motivator. “But, we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” he said
    Tobacco, which caused 7.1 million deaths across the globe in 2016, is another issue leading to illness.
    Another factor that sometimes lacks attention from policy-makers is mental illness, which in many cases contributes to disability.
    “Mental illnesses tend not to discriminate based on income,” Theo Vos, a study co-author and professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, wrote in an email.
    “In 2016, 1.1 billion people were living with mental health and substance use disorders,” he noted. “Major depressive disorders ranked in the top 10 causes of years lived with disability in all but four countries worldwide.”
    Those four nations are American Samoa, Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.
    “There is considerable overlap between mental health disorders and substance use disorders,” Vos wrote. “People suffering from both types of disorders present considerable extra challenges to health services as one problem can interfere with the successful treatment of the other.”

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    Overall, the National Institutes of Health-funded study reveals a portrait of a globe precariously balanced between health successes and health failures — with some of the latter being intractable yet avoidable.
    “A ‘triad of troubles’ — obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders — poses a stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles,” Murray wrote.

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    Resilience, suffering and silver linings after a disaster

    (CNN)The torrential rains may have ended, yet many people in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean continue to feel the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in unseen, dramatic ways.

    “Unlike the physical damage which is all too obvious, the psychological toll will have effects that cascade over time,” Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote in an email.
    Most of those affected by these intense storms are functioning as normal, with symptoms that may not seem very serious: anxiety, difficulty sleeping, sadness. Most notice their symptoms, yet accept them as part of the impact of the disaster.
      “It is when these symptoms affect the person’s ability to function when it becomes crucial to reach out for assistance,” wrote Martinez. After all, distress behaviors — such as feelings of marginalization, increased smoking and alcohol use, and chronic irritability — have a tendency to slip under the radar, he said.
      The mental health impact of Hurricane Katrina offer a hint of what’s to come for some survivors of the current storms, added Martinez. Some mental health conditions became more prevalent over time for survivors of the hurricane that struck the Gulf Coast during in 2005, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

      Katrina and Sandy

      For example, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi rose from 15% a few months after Katrina to 21% a year later, Martinez noted, based on the study. PTSD is a mental health disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking or dangerous event.
      “And the percentage of people experiencing suicidal thoughts more than doubled from 2.8 percent to 6.4 percent,” wrote Martinez.
      Meanwhile, other studies have indicated that traumatic events during childhood can have a lasting life impact by increasing a child’s future risk of smoking, using alcohol and substances, obesity, depression, heart disease, cancer and even early death.
      “This will be especially relevant to children and youth who endured Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Martinez.
      Rebecca M. Schwartz, an associate investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, looked at the mental health impact of Hurricane Sandy among adults living in some areas of Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The study included a simple 30-item survey with participants checking off whether they’d experienced damage to their homes, damage to their cars and displacement. They also answered whether they felt their lives had been endangered or if a family member went missing.
      “Basically, increased exposure to the hurricane — the more events or the more things that happened to you during Hurricane Sandy — the more likely you were to experience higher levels of depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, and PTSD symptoms,” said Schwartz.
      Displacement, in particular, was linked to developing symptoms of PTSD, she said. People who stayed at a temporary shelter, for example, were more at risk for PTSD than those who boarded with friends or family.
      Sarah Lowe, an assistant professor of psychology at Montclair State University in New Jersey, has also investigated the psychological aftermath of natural disasters. For one study of resilience, she and her colleagues interviewed survivors of Hurricane Katrina about their mental health, their social relationships, and how the hurricane contributed to changes in their lives one year, three years and 12 years later.
      “The punch line is that most people are very resilient to disasters,” said Lowe.

      Personal resilience

      “If you look a year out, there’s only going to be a small percentage of survivors who meet criteria for mental disorders, such as PTSD and major depressive disorder,” said Lowe.
      Jeff Temple, an associate professor at University of Texas Medical Branch, said that in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, many people will experience symptoms yet their ranks dwindle as time passes.
      “Right away, the first month, if the symptoms are to a high degree or worrisome, that’s when we would diagnose acute stress disorder,” he said. And, if the symptoms persist longer than a month, that’s when PTSD might be diagnosed.
      Jesse Cougle, associate professor of psychology at Florida State University, said that Hurricane Irma did little damage to Tallahassee, where he teaches, compared to Miami and the Keys, and widespread evacuations in Florida served as a protective buffer.
      The people who stayed and witnessed the destruction will likely experience worse mental health than those who evacuated, he said. Still, it’s possible, said Cougle, that even those who evacuated will experience symptoms in the days to come. Finding a place to flee to in heavy traffic was highly stressful and “negative life events can trigger these types of reactions,” said Cougle.
      “Of course, what makes hurricanes different than a lot of other traumatic events, too, is if your property is damaged,” he said. “A lot of people can become homeless, a lot of people can be thrown off from normal healthy routines they have and there’s just all this stress associated with repairing their house, repairing their property, and just kind of adapting to all the problems.”
      Capt. Maryann Robinson, chief of emergency mental health and traumatic stress services branch at Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said “when you go home and now you are actually faced with what has happened — the devastation that has occurred in your home — it really does re-traumatize the individual.”
      Still, said Robinson, “not everyone is going to need treatment. Most people do pretty well on their own.”
      Some even find an unexpected silver lining in the storm clouds.

      Post-traumatic growth

      Lowe of Montclair State University and her colleagues looked at patterns of distress one year pre-Katrina and then again at both one year and three years afterthe storm in a separate study of the hurricane’s effects.
      “For about 5% of participants, their mental health actually improved,” said Lowe. “They had severe distress prior to the storm and then afterward were indistinguishable from people we would call resilient — who maintain low levels of distress.” Another group also had severe distress prior to Katrina yet, one and three years after the storm, they had lower levels than before the storm, but only slightly elevated above average.
      The trauma of a natural disaster, then, actually improved the mental health of some people — a phenomenon Lowe calls “post-traumatic growth.”
      The reasons why are unclear.
      “So maybe before the storm they had experienced many stressful and traumatic life events — such as childhood abuse, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence — and the hurricane was the first time where they came in contact with mental health services where they could deal with pre-existing vulnerabilities,” said Lowe.
      For others, the displacement and subsequent relocation to new areas allowed them to “seize upon new opportunities, whether it be educational opportunities, employment, or new opportunities for relationships,” said Lowe. Some said they were able to get away from problematic relationships by being in a new community, while for others, the displacement allowed their children to enroll in new, better quality and more diverse schools.
      Post-traumatic growth is “an intuitive phenomenon,” said Lowe, where some people find they’ve grown as a person “whether it be that they feel stronger, or they feel they can see new possibilities in their lives, or their relationships got better, or they have a stronger connection with God or spirituality.”
      Post-traumatic growth often walks hand-in-hand with symptoms of PTSD — the adults who grew most had some of the worst psychiatric responses, said Lowe.
      Still, not all PTSD sufferers experienced growth.

      Who is at risk?

      Women are more vulnerable to PTSD than men after disasters, said Lowe.
      “In general, people who have fewer resources — so lower levels of social support, lower income — tend to be more vulnerable,” said Lowe. “As well as racial and ethnic minorities.”
      Robinson added that children and the elderly are also more vulnerable.
      “Cumulative exposure also serves as a precursor” to PTSD, said Robinson, so people who have had past traumatic experiences will be more susceptible to stress.
      Even first responders, who help others in dire circumstances, can succumb to symptoms of anxiety and depression following a natural disaster, said Robinson: “If you are not processing the things that you see in a very healthy way, you are at more risk for a long-term consequence.”
      Temple said that a lot of the mental health issues following a natural disaster stem from “direct exposure” to being in danger and seeing other people imperiled.
      “So some of those at the epicenter of the disaster are certainly going to be the most vulnerable to mental health problems,” said Temple. Yet, people throughout the Houston area and even nationally felt distress just by seeing images from the 24/7 news cycle, he said. Whether images of a disaster are viewed on social media or television, said Temple, it is usually those who have already experienced previous traumas who will succumb to distress.
      As Martinez of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health noted, “It’s been said that time heals all wounds, but there’s reason to doubt that truism.”

      What to do?

      “There are resources for mental health support that we’re encouraging people to use, and our organization has compiled a modest list of them,” Martinez noted. “There is no silver bullet, but these are excellent places to start.”
      “Everybody feels sad at times and that’s normal but when you’ve been through a trauma, it’s OK to seek help,” said Schwartz. After Sandy, people who normally did not experience mental health difficulties were very quick to dismiss their symptoms, she said. With a house needing repair, insurance papers to file, “they pushed their health and mental health to the back burner,” she said.
      “If you’re feeling stressed, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do is to seek help — if you do not, all the other things that need to be dealt with … become impossible to do if you’re depressed and anxious and suffering from PTSD symptoms,” said Schwartz. Even four years later, time had not dispelled the symptoms of some.
      “We did see someamazing… community work being done, where people were meeting in groups and sharing their experiences,” said Schwartz. Still, she advised professional help and said that mental health should be prioritized “just like you would any other aspect of recovering from these hurricanes.”
      Cougle said there are important things to do — and not do — to help the natural adaptive process or resilience possessed by most people.
      “One is realize that anxiety is just a normal response to the hurricane and having to evacuate and all the stress and uncertainty associated with that,” said Cougle. “It’s the survival instinct, it’s not dangerous to feel anxious in that way.”
      Still, he added, people should “resist the urge to cope with or avoid anxiety with things like substance use.
      “Social support is a pretty-well established buffer against the development of PTSD following a trauma,” Cougle said.
      Temple suggested “getting back to a normal routine. Your brain is rewired, basically, when you experience this sort of traumatic event, so give yourself some semblance of what it used to be like and have some of that normal routine.”
      Following a disaster, a rare few feel no anxiety, and then worry about this reaction.
      “It’s OK to not have a reaction at all,” said Temple, but it also “doesn’t mean you’re immune to later effects. You can be perfectly fine and then a month later develop PTSD.” (Usually, PTSD develops within six months of a trauma. With longer delays, doctors suspect the sufferer did not notice their symptoms.)
      “So being continually on guard for changes — changes in behavior, changes in mood — both in yourself and friends and family members is good,” said Temple.

      Sleep and exercise

      Robinson said, “We tell people to pay attention to your physical self — so make sure you’re getting enough sleep and you’re resting.”
      It’s important for survivors to guard their health by eating nutritious meals, exercising and avoiding “caffeine, tobacco, drugs and alcohol,” said Robinson.
      “We tell people to move,” said Robinson. “It just may be walking around and taking deep breaths. Taking deep breaths really does serve as a purging — it helps to move stress out of the body.”
      Relaxing music can also help, said Robinson.
      Many people have mental health skills they developed in the past when, say, a parent passed or illness made an appearance, said Robinson: In the aftermath of a natural disaster, you must bring to bear all the coping skills that helped you in the past.
      She also suggests you call SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline — 800-985-5990.

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      “We have crisis counselors that are manning the phone 24/7, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for those individuals who are experiencing stress, distress, emotional, anxiety and depression,” said Robinson.
      With responses translated into over 100 languages, anyone and everyone can call or text the disaster helpline. A waiting counselor will offer tips for managing your mental health symptoms and also steer you to your available community resources, said Robinson.
      “Most of which people are not aware of,” Robinson said, “because before a disaster occurs, they don’t need them.”

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      Here’s What You Need To Know About Working Out When You Have PCOS

      Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects one in 10 women during their childbearing years. It’s typically caused by an imbalance of hormones and can lead to issues like ovarian cysts, weight gain, irregular or absent periods, acne, excessive hair growth, and in some cases, infertility. Hormonal therapy, such as birth control, is often recommended to treat the condition, but some evidence suggests other lifestyle factors — including a proper diet, stress reduction, and even working out with PCOS — can make a world of difference in easing the symptoms.

      And easing the symptoms is all we can really do when it comes to treating the diagnosis, as the exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, and there is currently no cure for it. But an early diagnosis and a proactive attitude toward making these lifestyle changes early on can reduce the risk of developing more serious, long-term health complications, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

      One of the best tools for managing PCOS is exercise, but it seems that many of the available online sources don’t exactly give women with the condition a guide on  to exercise. Too many of these resources focus on telling women with PCOS they need to work on losing weight in order to manage their symptoms effectively. But, as two experts on the subject have told us, there’s  much more to it than that.

      Elite Daily spoke with Alisa Vitti, a functional nutrition and hormone expert and best-selling author of the book , who has some advice on how to find healthier ways to balance fitness and a PCOS diagnosis.

      Vitti encourages women to remember that working out , not harder, is essential when it comes to this hormonal condition.

      She tells Elite Daily,

      Keep in mind that with PCOS, you have some degree of inflammation, micronutrient depletion, adrenal overload, and blood sugar sensitivity synergistically slowing down your metabolism.

      If you are getting a cycle, then the first half of the month, do 30 minutes of cardio maximum, and the second half of the month, keep it to short [with] seven- to 20-minute high-intensity interval training sessions.

      If you haven’t gotten a cycle in months, then stick to 30 minutes of walking and seven-minute tabata training to rev up your metabolism without aggravating the underlying causes of your PCOS.

      Vitti also says the MyFLO app can help you sync your workouts to your cycle and understand what foods to eat to get your hormones on track.

      Certified health and wellness coach Nicole Granato wholeheartedly agrees with Vitti on the “less is more” mentality when it comes to exercising with PCOS. Granato was diagnosed with PCOS at a young age, but when her doctor recommended the traditional hormonal therapy to treat her symptoms, she decided to opt for a more holistic approach instead.

      Granato claims she “reversed” her diagnosis (and was actually “undiagnosed”) through wholesome nutrition and gentle exercise.

      Granato says it’s all about less , rather than less movement, when it comes to exercising with a PCOS diagnosis. She explains to Elite Daily,

      I believe in doing more nourishing exercises that are gentler around the reproductive area.

      It’s important not to stress or overwork your body when you have PCOS, which is why I recommend exercises like pilates, walking, low-impact running, and yoga.

      The inspiring health and wellness coach says these exercises promote healthy circulation and nourish the reproductive system. She recommends keeping these workouts to about an hour a day, and furthermore, Granato explains, a proper amount of restful sleep can really help in relieving stress and achieving a happy hormonal balance.

      She adds,

      If we train our bodies to balance themselves naturally, then we have control as women. It’s about healing ourselves, not ‘treating’ an issue.

      The [birth control] pill only gives us more issues, and we become dependent on it. When you decide you want a family, it will only be harder to find that nourishing balance.

      Granato says her personal favorite healing exercise is walking, an underrated form of movement that, in her eyes, simply doesn’t get the credit it deserves. She also enjoys pilates, which she believes offers a great mix of gentle movement and strengthening exercise that’s perfect for women with PCOS because it helps build muscle in a slow, yet sustainable way.

      So, whether it be a light jog or a restorative yoga class, when you have PCOS, it’s important to find stress-free forms of movement that your body loves, and that you’ll actually look forward to doing every day.

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      Tenth of men aged 50 ‘have heart age 10 years older’ – BBC News

      Image copyright Getty Images
      Image caption In September alone, an estimated 7,400 people will die in England from heart disease or stroke

      One-tenth of 50-year-old men have a heart age 10 years older than they are, heightening their risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke, a study suggests.

      The Public Health England analysis is based on responses from 1.2 million people to its Heart Age Test – 33,000 of whom were men aged 50.

      The organisation also predicts that 7,400 people will die from heart disease or stroke this month alone.

      Heart disease is the main cause of death among men and second among women.

      Most of these deaths are preventable and a quarter are people aged under 75.

      “Addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older,” PHE’s head of cardiovascular disease Jamie Waterall said.

      How to improve your heart health:

      • Give up smoking
      • Get active
      • Manage your weight
      • Eat more fibre
      • Cut down on saturated fat
      • Get your five a day fruit and vegetables
      • Cut down on salt
      • Eat fish
      • Drink less alcohol
      • Read labels on food and drink packaging

      Source: NHS Choices

      PHE said about half of the survey respondents did not know their blood pressure and that 5.6 million people living in England currently have high blood pressure without knowing it.

      This is “extremely worrying”, according to Dr Mike Knapton of the British Heart Foundation.

      “These silent conditions can lead to a deadly heart attack or stroke if untreated,” he said.

      A new version of the test on the BHF website refers users to apps and other resources to help them get their blood tested and improve their heart health.

      Getting your blood pressure tested “can be the first important step to prolonging your life”, said Katherine Jenner of Blood Pressure UK.

      Related Topics

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      Is peanut butter healthy?

      (CNN)Yes, peanut butter can be a nutritious diet staple, but some varieties are healthier than others.

      Peanut butter is rich in heart-healthy fats and is a good source of protein, which can be helpful for vegetarians looking to include more protein in their diets. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains up to 8 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber. The nutty spread also offers vitamins and minerals including the B vitamin niacin, iron, potassium and vitamin E.
      The healthiest peanut butter is made from just peanuts, while added salt, sugars and oils change its nutritional profile. For example, a peanut butter with salt added can have 100 to 150 milligrams of sodium, while an unsalted version is sodium-free. Sugars may be added too, especially in flavored varieties, and can contribute up to 7 grams, or 28 calories per serving.
        Nuts, including peanuts (which are technically legumes), have been associated with lower risk of heart disease, cancer and premature death.
        Consumption of nuts and peanut butter has also been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. However, one study that tracked more than 120,000 men and women from 1986 to 1996 found that while consumption of nuts and peanuts was associated with lower mortality rates among individuals, no protective effect was found for peanut butter.
        “In the past, it has been shown that peanut butter contains trans fatty acids and therefore the composition of peanut butter is different from peanuts. The adverse health effects of salt and trans fatty acids could inhibit the protective effects of peanuts,” researchers wrote in a news release on the study.
        In fact, a 2001 USDA report found that peanut butter does not contain any detectable levels of trans fats in any of the 11 brands of peanut butters that researchers tested, which included both major store brands and “natural brands,” even though small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters to prevent the peanut oil from separating out.
        Though it might seem that crunchy or chunky peanut butter might have an edge over the smooth kind, nutritionally speaking, they are pretty similar. Differences among peanut butters have more to do with a spread’s ingredients, rather than its texture.
        Linda V. Van Horn, professor of preventive medicine and a registered dietitian at Northwestern University, stated that commercial peanut butter formulations have been improved because the food industry is aware of the trans fat issues and has responded by reformulating those products. “Just remember to check the label for ‘0’ trans fats and preferably ‘0’ added sugars,” she said. Fortunately, “there is no concern with ground-up peanuts … otherwise known as ‘natural’ peanut butter.”

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        Keep in mind that most of the calories in peanut butter come from fat. While it’s mostly the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated kind, it does make peanut butter a calorie-dense food. A 2-tablespoon serving has approximately 200 calories, so if you are carefully watching calories, you can cut that portion in half. And steer clear of flavored peanut butters with added sugars and cocoa butter, which morphs a healthy nut spread into dessert.

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        Jimmy Kimmel tears critics apart on the GOP’s new health care bill, again

        Jimmy Kimmel isn’t taking your shit lying down.

        On Tuesday night, Kimmel went to town on the Graham-Cassidy bill — proposed by Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy — for failing the “Jimmy Kimmel test.” 

        In the monologue, Kimmel said Cassidy “lied right to my face” when he appeared on the show in May, where the senator promised coverage for kids like Kimmel’s son who was born with congenital heart disease.  

        In the day after Kimmel’s outburst on the bill, politicians and television personalities lined up to criticise the talk show host. Like Cassidy, who accused Kimmel of not understanding the bill, when talking to CNN‘s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning.  

        So, in his opening monologue on Wednesday night, Kimmel returned fire, calling out Cassidy for pulling out the “all comedians are dummies card.”

        “Which part of that am I not understanding? Or could it be Senator Cassidy, that I do understand, and you got caught with your GOPenis out. Is that possible?” he asked.

        Kimmel also hit back at Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, who described the talk show host as a “Hollywood elite” who won’t stop “pushing their politics on the rest of the country.”

        “The reason I found this comment to be particularly annoying is because this is a guy, Brian Kilmeade, whenever I see him — kisses my ass like a little boy meeting Batman,” Kimmel said. 

        “Oh, he’s such a fan. He follows me on Twitter. He asks me to write a blurb for his book, which I did. He calls my agent looking for projects. He’s dying to be a member of the Hollywood elite.”

        Also on the hitlist was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who described Kimmel as “not a serious person” on MSNBC. But the talk show host took it easy onthe bill’s co-sponsor Lindsey Graham, who labelled what Kimmel said on Tuesday “garbage,” with the host saying Graham looked like his grandma.

        So, here’s the upshot, folks: Kimmel doesn’t want your shitty healthcare bill, and if you’re going to try talk smack about him, he’ll be fine with ripping you to shreds.

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        The 5 Grains You Need To Add To Your Diet Like, Yesterday

        We all learned in like, infancy, that carbs are evil incarnate. But it would probs surprise you to know that working whole grains into your diet is actually like, good for you. They won’t make you fat, and they could actually make you live longer. Shit, they’ll even reduce cholesterol, improve your heart health, keep you full, and make you better at sex. One of those things was not true. But like, aside from rice and couscous, what else is there in the grain world? (And don’t say pasta.) We rounded up a few so that you don’t have to traipse through the aisles of Whole Foods’ self-serve bulk area for longer than is absolutely necessary.

        1. Amaranth

        Ever heard of it? Probs not but that’s okay. Amaranth is full of protein, calcium, fiber, AND iron so naturally it’s great for you. You can cook it and add it to your morning oatmeal, use it as a rice or pasta, or just eat the raw seeds for extra crunch (jk, don’t do that). Oh, and it’s gluten-free for all you fake celiacs out there.

        2. Oats

        Yawn. Oats are totally boring and have been a snoozefest at breakfast for years, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t healthy. As told by the frightening Quaker man on the box whom I’ve had nightmares about, oats are super heart healthy and can keep you full for more than breakfast. If you really hate oatmeal, sprinkle whole oats into your baking adventures or make a savory oat porridge and serve it with something fancy. Really.

        3. Quinoa

        Quinoa was a super popular buzzword (buzz-grain?) a few years ago, but just cause it’s kinda gone out of style doesn’t mean it lost its benefits. If you aren’t super tight with heart disease, diabetes, and being a fat fuck, this should be your go-to grain. It’s also a complete protein since it actually contains all nine essential amino acids. The ancient Incans must’ve been some healthy motherfuckers.

        4. Barley

        Do the cholesterol goblins keep you up at night? Me either, but keeping them at bay still isn’t a bad idea. Whole grain barley (not pearled, which is the not-as-healthy variety with the germ and bran removed) lowered cholesterol by A LOT for people in a study who apparently had to eat it for five weeks. That’s a lot of barley, but the benefits are legit. It’ll also keep you fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for a candy bar later.

        5. Freekeh

        The name is stupid, the benefits are not. And no, it is not the first half of the hook to a Petey Pablo song. This ancient wheat is super low carb and has four times the fiber of brown rice. This shit also has more vitamins and minerals than other grains. FUCK, it even helps digestion. I guess the real question is why aren’t you already inhaling this? You can make it rice style and serve for dinner OR get kinda weird with it and make a sweeter version for breakfast. Oh, and if you can’t find it, head to the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store. 


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        Sleep Is the Most Effortless Workout You Can Do And It Actually Counts

        My yoga pants have seen more action running errands than actually running, and based on my actual workout habits, my Daily Burn account should be more accurately dubbed the Bi-Weekly Burn. Maybe it’s because I never played sports in high school (does a short-lived stint on the Ultimate Frisbee team count?) or because I used to eat chocolate-chip cookie dough straight from the mixing bowl with absolutely zero regrets — whatever the reason, I’ve never embraced strenuous workouts. But now that I’ve hit 25, my laziness is coming back to bite me. Chowing down on a load of Pop-Tarts is one thing, but wanting to walk up a few flights of stairs with breath still in my body is another. So I’m on the hunt for workouts that someone lazy like me can actually handle. The more shortcuts, the better. That’s how I stumbled on one fitness routine so easy, you can do it in your sleep.

        And, yes, I am literally talking about sleep. Sleep has been scientifically proven over and over again to benefit your physical health. On the flip side, when you sleep fewer than eight hours per night, you increase your risk diabetes, heart disease, and a diminished immune system – ouch.

        Since you already spend about a third of your life in bed, why not make the most of that time by hacking your sleep habits to support a (somewhat) healthier life?

        I consulted sleep expert Carolyn Schur and champion powerlifter Robert Herbst to get their take on using sleep as the easiest fitness hack in existence. This is what happens to your body when you sleep.

        This is how sleep can make or break your physical health:

        “You don’t get strong in the gym,” Herbst tells me, and I make a mental note to tell that to my husband the next time he suggests I join him for a fitness session. But, joking aside, Herbst continues: “You get strong outside the gym when you recuperate.”

        Herbst explains to me that weight training and other strenuous activities cause muscles to tear. It’s only after this strain that your body repairs and grows muscle, and that process happens largely during sleep.

        Schur points out that sleep also provides us with greater energy and motivation to exercise, plus the discipline to make better lifestyle choices, like improving our diet. According to Schur, someone who’s tired might lack the energy or the clear judgment to eat a nutritional meal. Instead, they’ll opt for “quick energy,” usually in the form of unhealthy sugar or carbs.

        In other words, sleep has numerous restorative qualities that lead to better overall wellness, including physical health. That’s good news for me, because if there’s one thing I love, it’s sleep.

        You can use sleep to hack your fitness routine.

        Of course we should never use sleep as a complete substitute for other healthy habits, like eating well or staying physically active. But if you don’t follow proper sleep hygiene, those other habits are less likely to stick.

        For example, rather than depriving yourself of valuable rest to get up at the crack of dawn for the gym, Schur says “you are better off sleeping.” Then, she says, you can make time for a walk or run at lunch or in the evening. Moderate exercise a few hours before bedtime will, in turn, lead to deeper sleep.

        Now you have science to back you up the next time your gym buddy tries to drag you out of bed for a morning run – you’re welcome.

        Herbst recommends one hack that turns this pattern on its head: He suggests taking a short nap before exercise to trick your body into releasing the hormones that help produce muscle.

        Either approach means relying on sleep as a vital element in your fitness routine.

        Here’s how you can sleep better at night to enhance your fitness:

        Schur explains that you should “sleep at a time that is physiologically appropriate for you.” This means that one person’s natural sleep rhythms might fall later than another person’s rhythms, hence the common distinction between night owls and early birds.

        Find the time that your body naturally starts getting tired and set a regular sleep schedule based on that.

        Schur further recommends avoiding naps too close to bedtime, and using the time just before bed to do a 10-minute mental dump – writing down anything and everything occupying your thoughts in order to empty your mind before sleep.

        Along with my diet and fitness routines, as I’ve reached my mid-20s, I’ve had to reevaluate my own sleep habits.

        When I started experiencing back pain (yay for getting older), I graduated from a hand-me-down mattress on the floor to a more supportive mattress on a decent bed frame. I’ve also reduced the time I spend on my phone in the evening hours, and I try to eat sleep-inducing foods like bananas or yogurt.

        If you want to use sleep to enhance your physical health, the most important lesson you can learn is to protect your sleep like it’s sacred: Treat yourself to a bedroom environment that promotes restful sleep, commit to a healthy bedtime routine, and engage in habits that will support your sleep rather than detract from it.

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        7 Outdoor Workouts That Are Perfect For The Beautiful Fall Weather

        When autumn rolls around, the sun is golden and bright, the leaves are crunchy, the air is crisp, and it’s the perfect time to take your sweat sesh outdoors. Summer workouts are basically a surefire way to sweat your ass off and dehydrate your body, and winter workouts? Forget about it; you can find me hibernating my life away until spring rolls around. That’s why there’s no better time than now to take advantage of this window of beautiful weather by making a list of outdoor workout ideas for the fall.

        Plus, the health benefits of taking your exercise outside every now and then are not to be ignored. According to , breathing fresh air during a workout (instead of the stagnant and recycled air of a typical gym) can inspire euphoric feelings because of the increase in feel-good endorphins pumping through your body. A 2011 review published in the journal even showed that outdoor workouts can inspire positive thoughts, improve energy levels, and spark feelings of revitalization. And when you feel happier, it becomes that much easier to push your body and challenge yourself during your sweat sesh.

        So if you’re considering taking advantage of the gorgeous fall weather while it lasts, here are seven outdoor workouts you can try.

        1. Scenic Hiking

        A good hike can literally make you happier and healthier, according to Huffington Post. From lowering blood pressure, to reducing the risk of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, you have no reason to break out those hiking boots and find a buddy to head to the hills with.

        Hiking during the fall is seriously breathtaking, especially when the leaves begin to change colors, so you’re sure to enjoy an incredible view while you power through a little cardio.

        2. Trail Running

        If you’re over staring at your own reflection on a tedious treadmill trot, autumn is the ideal time to experiment with taking your jog to a new trail.

        Trail running improves balance and coordination (take it from a girl who’s face-planted after tripping over a tree stub many a time) and keeps your cardio sesh interesting by providing the most gorgeous views nature has to offer.

        3. Sunset Yoga

        If you’ve never taken your yoga flow outdoors, the fall weather is an amazing time to do so.

        There are so many outdoor yoga classes available to sign up for, or you could just grab a couple of friends and craft your own flow together.

        The “golden hour” at sunset will be beyond beautiful for all of your balances, and the lovely backdrop is perfect for a relaxing savasana.

        4. Jumping Rope

        Dig out your dusty jump rope and make a major crunch in the fall leaves with this heart-healthy workout.

        You could do this sweaty cardio exercise solo, or style with a friend — so many options, so many opportunities to embody Kronk.

        5. Outdoor Sports

        From football, to baseball, to lacrosse, to pickup games, there are endless ways to grab some family and friends and have some healthy fall fun.

        There are a bunch of autumn leagues you can sign up for, or you can make your own game and enjoy a little healthy competition. The teamwork will be a nice change if you’re used to sweating it out solo.

        6. Kayaking Or Canoeing

        Kayaking and canoeing are excellent low-impact activities that reduce stress and provide amazing #views.

        Plus, if you’re taking your boat out at a local beach, beaches are generally less crowded during fall, making it optimal for your paddling adventures.

        Trust me, the reflection of the fall foliage during your canoe cardio will be well worth the effort.

        7. Biking With A View

        Cycling outdoors is a great way to get a full-body workout while relishing your day in the perfect outdoor weather.

        Don’t worry, you can ditch your favorite Soul Cycle class for now. It’ll be waiting for you when winter comes.

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        I Wanted Him To Hit Me Instead: The Physical Trauma Of Emotional Abuse

        Maranatha Pizarras

        I had always been a healthy girl. I never struggled with any major illness, and the only time I was in a hospital outside of childbirth was to accompany my parents when my little brother needed stitches or had an asthma attack. I rarely took medication because I rarely needed it, and the only knowledge I had about remedies other than baby aspirin and Mercurochrome was from reading the expired boxes of Alka-Seltzer in my dad’s medicine cabinet.

        But that was then, before I turned thirty and fell hard and fast in love with a man who would later be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

        It wouldn’t be until sixteen years later that I would escape, and with only a shred of my spirit intact due to the emotional injuries I suffered silently from, injuries that weren’t visible like bruises or broken bones and therefore left me nothing to show in demonstration of my pain. Even today these wounds remind me of their presence if only in muscle memory, remaining as deep scars on my soul that trigger flashbacks and a physical response without warning. These “aftershocks” are a shared characteristic of abuse survivors, as is Complex PTSD, which I was diagnosed with two years after I escaped.

        My physical pain began slowly, methodically, and in such direct contrast to my healthy lifestyle that I was oblivious to its power. I lacked the awareness to recognize the trouble when it began in the early years of my marriage, so when it worsened as time passed and my mind was incapable of accepting the truth about my situation, my body rebelled and acted out the only way it knew how:

        No one else knew how I suffered, not that I could even understand it and therefore blamed my problems on outside forces (a bad muscle, my weak stomach, childbirth, the gods didn’t like me). At the time, I was unable to make the connection between what was wrong with my body and the mental stress I endured when I suddenly found myself living in the eye of a hurricane (aka: an emotionally abusive relationship), the calm and quiet only an illusion before the next gust of wind would hit.

        Projection, gaslighting, hoovering, shaming, normalizing, silent treatments: My mind struggled to keep up, which then forced my body to maintain a “fight or flight” state of being. And while this method may have worked for cavemen, being in this constant mode of hyper-vigilance, one that had begun to interrupt my sleep as well, soon took a devastating toll.

        The mirror in my bathroom held not the only reflection of a woman who was broken, but a woman who had been pushed to a place where reality was skewed and feeling crazy was the norm.

        When I used to stare deep into the pools of my eyes looking for signs of life, I didn’t correlate the ever-present unrest growing within my heart and soul with the need to always know where a bathroom was. I completely separated the two, which was easy since he — the man I loved beyond measure — always assured me that my physical problems were due to my weak stomach, which wasn’t strong like his. Of course, I couldn’t argue. My entire body felt weak, though I didn’t share that piece of information with him. Nor did I wake him up anymore in the middle of the night as I lay on the floor by the toilet for hours, drifting in and out of sleep, since I couldn’t bear to hear “See, I told you” one more time.

        Soon I came to a point where dealing with the physical discomfort became a daily ritual. I never left the house without a bottle of water and a week’s worth of Pepto Bismol, often popping ten to twelve pills in a single day. I kept a bottle in my purse, in my nightstand, and in my car because I never knew when and where it would hit. I became nauseated easily, and on more days than not would have to find a quiet space where I could put my head in between my knees and breathe my way through it. With a stomach that seemed hell bent on imploding in a ball of acid, this affected anything connected to it, which led me to suffer the consequences of never having a healthy bowel movement, including pain so agonizing that sometimes I didn’t leave the house at all because I couldn’t walk.

        I had two major panic attacks that sent me to the ER — one in an ambulance, which later caused even more grief when the bill came and I had to endure his criticism for my lack of financial responsibility. For the second attack I drove myself to the hospital and told him please don’t come since I wanted to talk to the doctor alone. But he was there when I arrived, and stayed through all the tests, and spoke for me when the doctor came in to tell me all my vitals were good and there wasn’t anything wrong with me. he asked the doc. They spoke over me as if I weren’t even there. the doctor said.

        Afterward I prepared for another lecture, deciding that the next time I’d rather risk death than share how I was feeling with him.

        Since I had no knowledge about panic/anxiety attacks and I thought only crazy women had those, I then concluded: I was crazy. It must have been all in my head, even on those occasions when I would have sworn I was having a heart attack: the sharp pain would rocket through my shoulders, my toes would go numb and my hands tingled, I would become dizzy and was sure I’d throw up. And even though I had been trained and certified as a holistic health counselor, even though I didn’t have any kind of heart disease in my family history, even though I exercised daily and watched what I ate, in that moment I was sure the news headline the next day would read “Healthy 42-Year-Old Woman Dead of Massive Heart Attack.”

        Doctor after doctor, hospital after hospital, assured me I was okay and that nothing was wrong. I asked my gynecologist, my family doctor, a friend who was a doctor, the ER doctors. Something is wrong with me! Without answers, however, I had no one to blame but myself. So I exercised more, I took up yoga, and I researched healthy eating and food for healing as if I were writing a Master’s thesis, all the while popping Pepto like it was candy on a daily basis.

        But then it only got worse.

        And nobody knew. They saw the dark circles under my eyes, they saw I was pale and gaunt, they wondered where I had disappeared to since I stayed home more and more, out of the public eye. But how was anyone to know my suffering when I couldn’t figure it out myself? The man I loved brushed it off with labels of “emotional hole,” “needy,” or “high maintenance,” which was how I had begun to label myself. And yet I couldn’t escape this feeling of such a larger pain I was enduring, one that grew in me like a cancer and that I was sure would kill me if I didn’t treat it…if only I knew what it was.

        Day after day my soul was eroding in trying to keep standing in the presence of someone who I thought loved me and yet continued to create pain, with each little action another knife picking at an already open wound.

        Like when he gave me the silent treatment and ignored me for days, or when he approached me with charm that turned to cruelty when I didn’t give him what he wanted, when I caught him in another lie or found him flirting with another woman, when he used what I had told him in private against me, when he threw me under another bus with our friends or people we knew, when he made himself the hero and me the bad guy with our own children, when he stood over me while I lay in a heap of tears on the floor and used that very moment to verbally kick me while I was down, and then when he knew I couldn’t take anymore and would suddenly shift into a sweet and caring man who loved me so much he could kill me and

        I used to wish that with every word that left his mouth, or every time he walked around me as though I weren’t a human being but a piece of furniture, he would hit me instead so that I could look in the mirror and prove There’s a black eye! in order to validate my suffering. Lacking any signs of physical abuse, however, I was left with no other choice than to beg.

        First, I begged him: . Please, please leave. This didn’t work so then I turned my begging toward the Universe, usually around the time that I was hiding in my bedroom closet again so the kids wouldn’t hear me cry.

        One week after a round of particularly desperate begging to the ceiling of my closet, I received my sign, along with the necessary crashing down on everything I had known to be true. The full details didn’t emerge for months after, but by that time I had enough information to compel me to make a change, as if the Universe knew I would need a serious kick in the ass if I were going to find the strength to leave him.

        Throughout all the revelations and my own detective work, when all the lies and crimes and women and teenage girls (they were of legal age he said in his defense, as if that somehow made a difference) were out for me to clearly see, I felt as though a switch turned from on to off within me.

        Suddenly my focus became myself instead of him. I hadn’t stopped loving him, but the trauma forced me to stop caring about him more than myself. My body went immediately into survival mode, which left little room for anything else but finding shelter for my wounded heart, forcing myself into a physical hibernation so that my systems, my organs, and my soul could finally heal.

        Being in an emotionally abusive relationship feels like being sucker punched, then looking around for the one you love to help you get up but discovering he was the one who made you hit the ground in the first place.

        It’s a relationship of surprises, of trick doors and funhouse mirrors, in a circus that you don’t remember buying a ticket to but then waking up inside of one day and realizing the one you love is the Ringmaster.

        Today I have left that circus far behind. My body was slower to come around than my mind if only because there were remnants of the emotional abuse that had yet to be purged physically. But thanks to meditation, finding the right doctors (yes they actually exist — ), learning and implementing visual healing, forgiving myself and releasing the blame that I had carried for so long, changing the narrative of my life from “I’m crazy and it’s my fault” to “He was abusive and I didn’t deserve it,” I am finally on a road of recovery instead of a path of destruction.

        Today I see the depths of suffering I had succumbed to when I used to wish to be hit instead of bearing the invisible pain. Though my bruises were within, they have healed now as bruises tend to do.

        Though my open wounds were visible only to me, they have scarred over and have lost almost all of their tenderness, even if I am still reminded of their presence whenever a memory is triggered. Most importantly, it is my stomach that has backed off its incessant attacks so that I am no longer held hostage by medications and making sure I always had a place to hide when the pain hit.

        I am still not in a place where I can boast about my health like I could before the abuse. But the bigger part of this picture is that I’m getting there, and that my healing is dependent on continuing this lesson of forgiveness for myself.

        I forgive myself for making the mistakes I did, for staying too long, for putting up with too much, since now I know the truth about emotional abuse.

        And the truth is that I didn’t deserve to be lied to, manipulated, cheated on, ignored, demeaned, disrespected, any more than I deserved to be hit or given that black eye I used to wish for. Today I see there is no difference between the two; abuse is abuse no matter what form it takes or where the bruises are left.

        I’ve also learned that where once I felt shame and guilt for possessing these wounds, now I am filled with love for myself since they are a reminder of the beauty in me that survived. And I owe it to my body, after all the pain it’s endured, to remind myself of that beauty every time I look in the mirror and immediately recognize the woman who stares back at me. She is wise. She is strong.

        And she is healing.

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