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posted: 7/18/2011 12:01 AM

Your health: Pretty peppers pack a punch

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  • Peppers, which are rich in antioxidants, make great summer snacks.

      Peppers, which are rich in antioxidants, make great summer snacks.

 
Daily Herald report

Pick a pepper

Bell peppers are nutritious summer vegetables -- and they're pretty, too, says The Washington Post.

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Angela Ginn, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, says peppers are "rich in antioxidants."

Fairfax County, Va., dietitian Danielle Omar points out that a medium-size red pepper has 1.5 to two times as much vitamin C as a large orange (a fruit we think of as the gold standard for that vitamin). The red variety, which is really just a ripened green pepper, also has lycopene, which may help reduce the risk of some cancers.

Peppers of all varieties make great summer snacks, Ginn says, because their taste and crunch are satisfying, but their calorie count -- about 25 to 30 per medium pepper -- is so low, you can even splurge a few calories on a dip.

Alas, peppers aren't nature's highest-fiber vegetables. But Ginn says they play well with fiber-rich foods such as salad, whole-grain pasta, brown rice and barley. And both Ginn and Omar love roasting peppers. For more ways to get your fill of peppers, go to washington post.com/recipes.

Diabetes videos

Six new videos aim to help people make lifestyle changes and cope with diabetes, according to The Washington Post.

The three- to five-minute clips, produced by the Department of Health and Human Services' National Diabetes Education Program, can be found at yourdiabetesinfo.org/healthsense.

In one, a woman named Latecia rides her bike, dances and eats strawberries with her family to a soundtrack of cheerful music. "Being my mom's caregiver was an eye-opener," she says. "That was a personal wake-up call for me to want to take better care of myself."

MS and pregnancy

Women with multiple sclerosis are not more likely than others to have complications with pregnancy or childbirth new research suggests, The Washington Post says.

In a study published in the Annals of Neurology, researchers in Canada reviewed records for 432 births to women with MS between 1998 and 2009. Comparing that with information about women without MS, they found women with MS were no more likely to have assisted vaginal births or require Caesarean delivery. Their babies also were no more likely to be underweight or premature.

The study further found no link between how long the woman had had the disease or the age at which she was diagnosed and the risk of adverse events.

Women with greater disability appeared slightly more likely to have assisted vaginal or Caesarean deliveries, though that link wasn't statistically significant; the authors say it should be investigated more fully in future research.

Also, women with MS tended to have a higher body mass index than those without, perhaps because their disability may hinder their physical activity. Because higher BMI is associated with pregnancy complications, the authors suggest that women with MS who plan to become pregnant should be "supported to optimize their weight."

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