Now that your kids are back in school…

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…they’ll be bringing home more than homework. They’ll also be bringing home the germs and viruses they pick up their friends. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, there’s a spike in illnesses among kids every Fall. So, remind your kids to wash their hands frequently. Research shows that kids who wash their hands at least four times a day at school end up being absent fewer days.

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Can Instagram photos reveal if someone’s depressed or not?

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YES! Researchers from Harvard found it was easier to diagnose depression from a person’s Instagram feed, than by doing a typical doctor’s exam. But it’s not what’s IN the pictures that counted, it was the FILTERS they chose. Generally speaking, depressed people preferred muted colors and decreased color saturation, and tended to post pictures that were bluer, grayer and darker. And a lot of depressed people choose the Inkwell filterwhich changes pictures from color to black-and-white.

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8 good reasons to lose weight!

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There are 8 more reasons to get down to a healthy weight. Because obesity has been linked to 8 additional cancers. After reviewing more than one-thousand studies, the New England Journal of Medicine found “excess body fat” is linked to an increased risk of developing gastric, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, ovarian, thyroid, blood and brain cancers. Obese people were found to have nearly 2 times the risk of liver cancer, 5 times the risk for esophageal cancer, and 7 times more for uterine cancer. And as your weight goes up, so does the risk. Those are 8 good reasons to get healthy!

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Back-to-school headaches are real!

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A new study has found headaches in children increase in the fall because of school stress caused by academic performance and changed bedtime routines. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed about 1,300 visits to the hospital’s emergency department to figure this out. And while visits for headaches among kids between the ages of 5 to 18 stayed about the same for most of the year – they jumped over 30% in the fall.

Other factors contributing to kids’ headaches: An increase in after-school activities, skipping meals and not drinking enough water.

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Socializing is exhausting – for our brain!

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Even the most outgoing, extroverted person needs some alone time. Because socializing is exhausting – for our brain. That’s the conclusion of new research from the University of Helsinki. They found that the more social people were, the more they reported being in a positive mood and feeling lower levels of fatigue. But those effects wore off at the 3-hour mark. After that, people who were still interacting with a group saw their mood drop and their fatigue increase. And that was true for social butterflies AND introverts. That’s because socializing is really taxing on the brain. Conversations, processing language, activating your memory and reading body language use up a lot of mental energy. And for anyone, talking to a bunch of people for a long time – specifically 3-hours – is draining. So maybe we should all make sure our parties are only 3-hours long.

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Do you begin the day with a smile?

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People who are cheerful and bubbly from the moment they roll out of bed every morning AREN’T faking it. Research at the University of Toronto found that early birds are actually happier than night owls. Interestingly enough, people over age 40 are much more likely to be morning people than teens or twentysomethings. This may be why older people tend to feel happier and more satisfied with their lives. It could boil down to “social jet lag”. That’s when you stay up late to socialize, then have trouble waking up early – and staying in sync with the typical 9‑to‑5 cycle of work and school.

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Eat more fruit if you’re pregnant. Here’s why!

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Moms-to-be, you can boost your unborn baby’s brainpower by making fruit your go-to snack. Researchers at the University of Alberta analyzed what mothers-to-be ate, and compared that to each baby’s IQ in the first year of life. The result: Moms who ate more fruit while pregnant had babies who scored higher on developmental tests – and the more fruit they ate, the higher the baby’s IQ. The reason? Because fruit is packed with antioxidants and nutrients, which pass from moms to their unborn babies.

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So, you’re royally ticked off!

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Which is healthier for your heart: To suppress your feelings, or let ‘em rip? It’s a trick question – neither of those options is good for your heart.

If you lay into someone, scream and let your anger out, it raises your risk of a heart attack or stroke for the next 2 hours.

But suppressing anger isn’t a good way to go either. Over time, keeping your feelings bottled up can wear your body down, leading to high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease.

So what should you do when you’re majorly mad? Take a “time out” to manage your anger. Take at least 10 slow, deep breaths to reduce your stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure. Psychiatry professor Dr. Charles Raison from the University of Arizona says that’s enough to offset the adrenaline response, so you can share your negative feelings without blowing up at someone or doing your own body any harm.

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We know our hands are covered in germs.

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But do most people wash up before eating? Not even close. Only 1‑in‑8 people do, even though our hands carry hundreds of times more germs than a park bench or escalator handrail. And that means the germs already on our hands are more likely to make us sick than any germy thing we touch in a restaurant. So don’t worry so much about the bacteria-riddled menu or the ketchup bottle that hasn’t been cleaned, ever. Instead, before you pick up that burger, ask yourself, did I wash my hands? Since our hands are in constant contact with our mouth – or what we put IN our mouth – it makes them the fastest route to illness.

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Improve your health in 60-seconds!

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If you have 60-seconds, you can improve your health. Just do a plank! Dr. Sherry Pagoto is a professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She says planks target your abs and lower back, strengthening your core and making your spine more stable. That’ll help you avoid injuries and pain. If you can’t hold a plank for a minute at first, try 20 seconds and work your way up.

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