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Natural Approaches to ADHD
August 2011

babyDrugs for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are among the hottest-selling medications today, garnering 13 percent of children’s prescription dollars, with sales soaring so quickly that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently had to declare a national shortage.

That worries naturopathic doctors Matthew Baral and David Deichert. “People have gotten in the bad habit of going to medication first, without trying natural therapies,” states Baral, a pediatrics professor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Tempe, Arizona.

In some cases, prescription medication is warranted, says Deichert, an ADHD specialist with Bastyr University, in Kenmore, Washington. But in most cases, he sees it as a stopgap measure as the longer-term benefits of diet and lifestyle changes slowly kick in. The two naturopaths offer these natural wellness approaches.

Minimize Food Additives After decades of parents’ suspicions that additives like food coloring and artificial flavors may fuel behavioral changes in kids, several recent studies have bolstered such claims. A 2007 study of nearly 300 kids ages 3 to 8, published in The Lancet, found that those given drinks containing artificial dye showed significantly higher hyperactivity within a few hours. The British government now requires labels warning that children’s products containing dye may impair attention.

 
Outdoor Workouts Trump the Gym
August 2011

Boost Mental and Physical Well-Being

OutdoorRunningWhen deciding whether to run on a treadmill in the gym of jog in a nearby park, opt for the park, suggests a recent study published in the research journal, Environmental Science & Technology.

The study authors—a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry—say exercising outdoors not only appears to promote physical health, but boosts mental well-being, as well. The team analyzed data from a number of sources, including 11 randomized and non-randomized control trials incorporating information from 833 adults.

The study found that exercising in natural environments decreased feelings of tension, confusion, anger and depression, while increasing feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement. Study participants that exercised outdoors also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction and stated that they were more likely to repeat their exercise activity.

 
Green Dads
August 2011

Moving Sustainability from Niche to Normal

GreenDadA new dimension of sustainable fathering is emerging among Americans. According to a consumer trend report by EcoFocus Worldwide, Make Way for EcoAware Dads, 65 percent of the nation’s 36 million dads agree that, “When my kids are grown, I want them to remember me as teaching them to be environmentally responsible.”

Eco-aware dads want their family’s home and lifestyle to be safe, efficient and responsible, and they see room for improvement: Only 16 percent are very satisfied with how green or eco-friendly their lifestyles are today.

“For an eco-aware dad, this is all very integrated and very personal to his role as a father,” explains Lisa Harrison, the research leader for EcoFocus. “For example, while he may have insulated his family’s home for economic reasons first, the secondary benefit is in quality of life, because the home becomes a quieter and more comfortable living space.” More than eight in 10 agree that being eco-friendly is a way to improve quality of life for themselves and their families.

Eco-aware dads realize that changes sometimes take big investments of both time and money, and they are concerned about affordability. Still, they see prospects for big payoffs; 83 percent have already changed the way they do things to make choices that are better for the environment.

 
The Fattening Secret of Fructose
August 2011

A Factor in Nationwide Obesity and Diabetes Epidemic

FructoseSodaReading labels reveals that many foods and beverages—even so-called healthy ones—contain fructose, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, as a sweetener. Health experts have long suspected that fructose is a factor in the nationwide obesity and diabetes epidemic, and new research from the Oregon Health & Science University supports the connection.

Researchers gave nine normal-weight study participants separate infusions of fructose and glucose (simple sugars) and then used magnetic resonance imaging to observe brain reactions. Glucose activated areas of the brain associated with regulating food intake and satiety—its “reward circuitry”—while fructose inhibited brain response in those areas.

The study concludes that this important difference may explain why fructose consumption, which deactivates the brain’s normal satiation response, appears to increase obesity and diabetes.

 
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