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posted: 5/24/2010 12:01 AM

Your health: Chokeberry the next 'super food?'

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  • Chokeberry is credited with reducing abdominal fat, lowering LDL bad cholesterol and protecting the body against the effects of pollution, reports the Sacramento Bee.

      Chokeberry is credited with reducing abdominal fat, lowering LDL bad cholesterol and protecting the body against the effects of pollution, reports the Sacramento Bee.

 
 

Sneaky snacks

Even the snack food aisle masquerades as a health-food market these days, with packages touting veggies, nuts and whole grains inside.

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But are they as good for you as they seem? Here's how to do your own reality check, according to the Environmental Nutrition Newsletter.

Read the small print. Pictures of fresh veggies and statements such as "made with real carrots" can be deceiving. Flip over the package and check the ingredients, which are listed in descending order of amount. So, a food that lists vegetables at the top of a short list contains far more vegetables than a food that lists them at the end of a long list, or simply lists vegetable "powder."

Is that a whole grain hoax? A food with a healthy amount of whole grain lists ingredients like whole wheat, oats, rye, and brown rice first. Don't get tricked by a food made mostly with enriched or processed wheat or grains.

Friendly fat. In nut-based snacks, fat content tends to climb. This fat, however, is the heart-healthy unsaturated kind. Go ahead and indulge; just watch portion size and calories.

Poison in the house

What's the most deadly household poison? Caustic chemicals meant to open or clear drains.

That's the opinion of staffers at the Illinois Poison Control Center, who list antifreeze and charcoal lighter fluid as runners up.

Store these dangerous chemicals in a locked cabinet or, better yet, don't keep them at your home or anywhere children or pets could find them.

Find more at http://ipcblog.org. And keep the Illinois Poison Control number - (800) 222-1222 - handy. You never know when you'll need it.

Full of holes?

There's no evidence acupuncture relieves labor pains, according to an analysis in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Researchers closely examined 10 studies and found results varied widely and the studies often were flawed, concluding the treatment should not be recommended.

Yet, they acknowledged a placebo effect, noting that some women needed fewer pain-relieving drugs if they believed acupuncture was making them feel better.

Chew on this

You might hear the unfortunately named chokeberry touted as the next super fruit, thanks to research aired during a meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

The berry, named for its bitter taste, is credited with reducing abdominal fat, lowering LDL bad cholesterol and protecting the body against the effects of pollution, reports the Sacramento Bee.

The benefits - which so far are based on studies in animals, not humans - are attributed to the antioxidant anthocyanin, also found in purple cabbage.

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