Nuts, let us count the crazy number of ways they’re good for you

We already knew nuts were pretty good for us. This week we learned that people who regularly consumed nuts are less likely to die of cancer or heart disease, according to a major study by Harvard University researchers. Fortunately, this news arrives just as we’re ready to set the nut dish out for the holidays. Here’s our list of what to include.

What middle-size cities offer: Clean Air

Air pollution continues to plague many large U.S. cities, where coal plants and tailpipe emissions poison the air with asthma-aggravating, cancer causing ozone and particle emissions. But the picture, and the air, is much clearer in Peoria, Springfield and a few dozen other mid-sized meccas, according to the American Lung Association’s annual report. See what the air rates where you live.

A soda habit that’s becoming no fun

We’ve all heard that there’s a dark side to our soda pop addiction.
Even though the habit is well embedded into our culture — pre-packaged into lunch and dinner meals, up-sized for movies and sporting events and bargain priced at grocery stores — we know that sugary drinks are not healthful. But what if it were all dark side? What if soda had virtually no redeeming features? …Hold up, you say, a little soda never hurt anyone! True enough, but we’re not drinking a little soda…

More great news for coffee drinkers — a lower risk of diabetes

Heavy coffee drinkers may have their issues — they’re hyped up all morning, they get edgy and overly emphatic in meetings, they have problems sleeping (let’s not mention the frequent restroom breaks) and sometimes, like Will Farrell’s character in Kicking & Screaming, they simply lose it.
But they don’t get Type 2 diabetes as often as their non-coffee drinking counterparts. In fact, studies show that people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily have about half the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as the general population.

This sounds a lot like deep fried death

Reading Scientific American this week, I became transfixed with a little graphic the editors included at the back of the magazine.
It showed how the number of Americans who are seriously overweight has doubled over the past 30 years. Thirty four percent of Americans are now considered obese (meaning they have a body mass index over 30), compared with 15 percent who met that criteria in 1980.

The number of Americans who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 30) has remained almost steady; but that still means that the overweight and the obese together now comprise a hefty 68 percent of the population.