Chocolate! It Actually Helps!

Many people believe that chocolate is unhealthy for the body. It turns out, there are some benefits to this delightful candy! There are three types of chocolate: white, milk, and dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is supposedly the healthiest kind of chocolate there is. However, all three types of chocolate have their benefits for people. Some benefits of chocolate are that it strengthens the brain, improves the mood, and helps prevent illnesses.  

Eating chocolate can help the brain become stronger. Researchers at John Hopkins University found out that dark chocolate shields one’s brain cells. The chocolate also protects the cells from damage. Testing out this study on mice, the researchers found that the cells in the brains of the mice were protected from damage, especially from strokes. Epicatechin is an ingredient in chocolate. It was found that this ingredient helps improve memories. Chocolate can help make the brain stronger, and can also improve the mood of humans. A study was conducted, and this philosophy was proved right. Participants were asked to complete many tasks. Before the tasks, though, one group of the participants consumed a cocoa flavanol drink. It resulted with that group having less “mental fatigue” than the other participants. While improving the mood, chocolate helps prevent illnesses. Many studies have been conducted, some with heart attacks, cancer, or blood inflammation. It is proven that chocolate can help reduce the likelihood of these illnesses. Eating chocolate can actually benefit us. Many have never known that, but now, parents can let their children go eat their chocolate, especially on Halloween.

I personally believe that chocolate is not that all harmful. It can, in some ways, help one. It also lets one’s mind let go of all the stress they have, or their tension and worries. I eat chocolate all the time, and it calms me down. When I eat it, I forget about everything, and I just live life!

~Archisha

Pets: Cute and Healthy?

I think most of us can agree that pets are just about as cute as it gets. But did you know that they can actually give their human companions health benefits? Not only do they lift our moods, but animals can go as far as to protect their families from serious health threats.

Did you ever have a bad day? Felt a little down? Just been in a downright grumpy mood? Well according to studies, pets can do a lot to improve your state  in those instances. Just the fact that they always seem to be carefree and happy is enough to make most people’s spirits improve almost instantly. Besides that, no matter what you did that day, your pets will still treat you in the same open and loving way. Just this alone can do so much to help keep you positive and happy when you feel the whole world is against you. How does this all tie into benefits for pet owners? Attitude is aptitude they say! The more positive you feel, the more of a positive impact you will have in your relationships, work, and community. Pets can also help us to establish relationships, especially dogs. Many people love dogs, and would like to stop and pet them, which gives you something to talk about with their owner. It is also proven that people with pets are generally more open and trusting. As for sickness prevention, pets help to calm us down, which can do wonders for our health. Stress is a proven cause of some serious illnesses such as heart diseases and obesity. Petting an animal feels good, and can help to lower your blood pressure, as well us bring your stress down to reasonable level. Have a baby in the house? Animals can help with that too! Having a pet can actually help young children develop stronger immune systems, and are less likely to develop illnesses such as allergies or asthma. Go figure!

Personally, I think animals have a very positive impact on their families. Pets usually have a very calm and relaxed philosophy, and it is a wonderful thing that they can share that with their human families. I believe that they can truly help people in all the ways mentioned in this blog. I have always loved the effects my pets have on me, and now I know that there are many more amazing things animals can do for us, which I never imagined. I can personally relate to the idea of pets cheering up their human owners when they are feeling down. No matter what, your pets will treat you like nothing changed, or ever happened, and that can do so much to improve how you go through the rest of your day. I think that people should take advantage of these great qualities animals posses. There are so many animals that need homes, and nowadays it is fairly easy to adopt them. Remember, it will help you out in the long run. Next time you’re feeling down, think about a little furry friend!

~Lara

Rain? Healthy? What?!

Admit it. When you hear the pitter-patter of raindrops on your window, or feel wet droplets hit your shoulders and the ground around you, the first instinct you have is to pull up the hood of your sweatshirt or pull out the umbrella from the depths of your bag.  The questions is, why is everyone so afraid of the rain?  Is it because it will mat your hair, or ruin your new faux-leather bag? Or is it because it will make your new Jordan’s muddied and imperfect? Either way, hiding under the rain can actually prevent you from health benefits. Rain water and being in rainy weather can benefit your health.

It’s all about science. Rain water contains negative ions, and for those of you who aren’t science people or don’t see how there can be positives in something with “negative” in the name, negative ions produce a net positive effect on our health. These special ions are created in moving water, and are tasteless, odorless and invisible molecules that we breathe in when we are in environments with moving water.  After entering the bloodstream, they create “biochemical reactions that help to relieve stress, alleviate depression, and even boost our energy” says Patty Peoples of Redlands Daily Facts, an International Sport Science Association fitness nutrition specialist. The greatest thing about it, is that this medication to make you feel good is free and right outside your door (on a rainy day that is), and there are virtually no side effects besides having wet shoes or frizzy, matted hair.

I have always loved rainy weather, and now I know the science behind it.  In fact, I can directly relate to the part about relieving stress just by being outside in the rain. It is also comforting that I am not the only one who says that rain makes them happy, because whenever I tell someone I love when it rains, I receive the “Are you serious?” face.  I think that people should take advantage of the positive effect of rain and negative ions more often, especially because it boosts depression and relieves stress. Next time the sky is overcast and the rain starts falling, I challenge everyone to go outside and asses your mood after 10 minutes in the rain.  Remember, the only down side is wet *changeable* clothing.

~Ali

 

Ebola: Threat of overreaction?

Lately a new fatal virus has been spreading through Africa at a rapid pace. This virus is known as  Ebola haemorrhagic fever or Ebola for short. This virus that is believed to  originally come from fruit bats is spread between people from body fluids like blood. People may have been come affected first from animals. Once you get Ebola you might not even know you have it for another three weeks. Some symptoms to look for our fever,intense weakness, muscle pain, headache, nausea and sore throat. Then comes the ,vomiting, diarrhoea, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Of course you could have a different virus with just similar symptoms.  There has only been eight cases of ebola in the US. According to CDC there has been 8997 cases with 4493 casualties.

The US has nothing to worry about. We have some of the best medical treatment in the world and we shouldn’t be as worried as we are. The reason West Africa is having so much trouble with Ebola is because of their lack of health care and that the people there aren’t as hygienic as here in the US. I believe we shouldn’t as worried about Ebola. I don’t think the news should be covering Ebola as much as they do and focus on other virus like enterovirus D68 which has been paralyzing kids and is an actual realistic worry in the US. So yes I do believe that Ebola is an overreaction but it is still a dangerous disease. We must be careful, but we most likely won’t have anything to worry about.

~Kyle

INJURIES… AND LIFE

When you see someone on crutches, you usually say “oh what happened?” and “that sounds so horrible” or “I feel so bad for you!”. Have you ever considered the fact that if you are a  runner or involved in a sport with a lot of running,  you could be that person? Many teenage athletes are often getting hurt because their bodies are still growing. For a runner, knee and leg injuries are a big issue.  Runner’s knee and shin splints are just a couple. Achilles Tendinitis (Achilles tendon attaches the calf muscles Gastrocnemius and Soleus to the heel. This can become inflamed through overuse) and ankle sprains are a couple of the most common foot and ankle injuries. Injuries often happen because everything is so repetitive. All you’re doing is putting your foot down. With every step you take you could be injuring yourself more and more. That’s why it’s important to stretch correctly, do a warm up, have good running shoes, have good core strength, and eat well. Especially as a growing teenager.

I never thought that I would ever be the one hurt. Now I’m out for the season and I know how horrible it feels. However, I didn’t hurt my leg or foot. I have what’s called the “Apophysitis of the Pelvis/Hip”. It would have never happened if I wasn’t growing and the bone/muscle plate wasn’t weak in the spot where the muscle attached. This just goes to show we all need to be careful. I think that this made a little bit of an impact on my life because now I’m seeing it from the other side. I guess you never know what it really feels like until it’s you.

~Abigail Del Vecchio

Childhood Obesity… Who’s to blame?

 

Childhood obesity had been an ongoing issue for a very long time. Twenty percent of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. This percentage is three times as much as one generation ago. This amount is too much. When children are obese or overweight it may cause some serious health problems such as;  hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Orthopedic problems, sleep apnea, depression, and asthma. So, who’s to blame in this dilemma? The schools, social media, the parents, or the kids?

First there is the school, who have vending machines. Most schools that have vending machines do not allow soda in their school. But the ones that do have many obese children.  The children form a habit of buying the soda at school, and then the unhealthy eating doesn’t stop there. But what happens before school? Do kids watch tv? Television and other social media advertises unhealthy food choices. The kids see the unhealthy food being advertised as fun, tasty foods, so they ask their parents to buy it ! Then the kids love the food and keep eating it, getting obese! But then who’s behind that? The parents are. They allow their kids to eat these unhealthy foods! What about the breakfast, lunches and dinners these parents feed their children? If the child is obese the parents are feeding them unhealthy foods. If the child knows they will make them heavy, why do they eat it? The children should not eat it if they know its unhealthy. Everyone is here to blame, but some more than others. If each parent and child takes the step to eat healthier then the children of the future will have a better, brighter future.

~Jade Rabago

Delving into DNA Discoveries

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One week ago, if you asked a scientist how our DNA works, they might’ve said that 98% of it is inactive, or “junk.” The other 2% contains our genomes, which contain the blueprints of who we are. This past Wednesday, however, some 500 scientists published new research indicating that at least 80% of our DNA is active; a startling contrast that is already rewriting textbooks everywhere.

What is DNA? DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid, is the road map for our bodies. It’s kind of like a control board, similar to a long series of switches flicking on and off. DNA consists of 4 chemical bases; adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). The order of the series of 3,000,000 units of these 4 chemicals is what sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, or simply the person next to you. Every cell in your body contains the same strand of DNA, usually located in the nucleus of each cell.

Personally, I think this is a remarkable discovery. Part of what was discovered through this research was how disease works and what’s going on to cause it. Now, I’m not talking about the common cold or a virus. I’m talking about some of the leading killers in our country; heart disease, diabetes, even cancer. While no one is sure when this new information will turn into treatments and even cures, one thing everyone is sure of is that this is a remarkable discovery in the world of science everywhere.

~Claire Stover

Keep An Eye On What You Eat!

Pesticides, chemicals, and fake dyes: these are three of the many things that people today put into their bodies without knowing it. Have you ever wondered what really is in your food? At the grocery store, apples, oranges, and other fruits look bright and are full of attractive colors. In nature, apples are not usually fire-engine red and oranges are not perfectly orange. So, why do they appear like this in the grocery store? There is only one answer, and that is because before they are shipped to your local Stop&Shop, producers spray the fruits and vegetables with chemicals to repel bugs, but these harsh pesticides are terrible for your body. In some cases, the pesticide is sprayed while the crop is growing, but it is mostly applied after the fruit or vegetable is harvested so it will remain “fresh” and bug-free. Over a long period of time, ingesting these chemicals could cause serious health problems. A few of the many diseases that have been linked to these chemicals are cancers and Parkinson’s disease. If you can not pronounce the name of one of the ingredients, it would most likely been in your best interest not to eat it!

As shown in the picture above, washing fruit and vegetables before eating them is key to keeping bad chemicals out of your digestive system. Also, companies are beginning to sell fruit and vegetable spray washes, which hopefully remove these pesticides from the skin of the fruit. In the worst case, these chemicals could seep through the skin of the fruit, such as a strawberry or blueberry, and contaminate the inside. This is where buying completely organic fruits and vegetables would come into the best interest of the consumer. Many companies who realize the concern about pesticides have found ways to keeps bugs and animals away but still refrain from soaking the produce in harsh chemicals. Another way to keep from digesting these chemicals is to peel the outer layer of the fruit or vegetable off, this may also be removing the pesticides. Many people do not realize how dangerous these sprays are, because normally, this topic is not prominent. Reading stories about how chemicals on fruit have affected the brain and body of people is very sad and scary. So, I think that keeping an eye out for the brands of fruit that you buy is a good idea, and later in life, you will be able to maintain a healthier body without the extra worry. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” and in this case, you definitely do not want to be what you eat.

~Micaela Estrada

Running: Is It For You?

When someone thinks of running, the first thing that comes to mind would probably be something along the lines of how it’s boring, difficult, or even that it has no benefit or point. And even when people do start to try to become a runner, often they find themselves out of shape or “running” into many different beginners problems such trying to find the right shoes/equipment to start running, which by the way aren’t exactly the cheapest things to get. So why bother to start running if it can be such a challenge and so mentally and physically exhausting? Well, if your up to the challenge, you might find that running can be really rewarding.

There are many reasons to start running to help you look your best, feel your best, and to stay at your top health. One of the top reasons someone would want to start running is for weight management. The truth is, if you plan on losing a lot of weight, starting this sport is definitely going to be a challenge. But, running is probably going to be the best effort you ever put in to lose weight in the end. Another good point to running, is like all other team sports, is that it is excellent for your social life. Participating in races, or even just going for a jog can be a lot of fun when running with friends for competition or just for something to do with other runners. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to be on a team to enjoy running with others. Running can just be a simple hobby. And finally, running can lift stress and make you a happier person. Just going for a jog naturally releases hormones that will put a smile on your face. There also are countless other reasons to start running and pretty much no downside. Bottom line, it couldn’t hurt to try this great sport.

When I first started running, I joined my schools cross country team and I thought it was just like the mile run all over again. But, however, when I got into shape it became easier and easier. I could feel the difference as I got more in shape and I felt more healthy. I even got a lot better at all sports as the season went on. Running quickly became one of my favorite sports and I kept on doing it for two years. Basically it a great sport to take up and there is so much more to it that mentioned on my blog. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start running!

~David Amann