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Findings from a new observational study show that eating 2 fruit and 3 vegetable servings per day is associated with a lower risk of death related to cancer, cardiovascular disease, or respiratory disease. Starchy vegetables and fruit juices, however, did not appear to contribute to the reduction in risk.

Nutritionists have long recommended a balanced diet that can provide one's body with the proper nutrients to stay healthy. The traditional core components of the prescribed diet include vegetables, fruits, grains, proteins, and dairy. Now a new study by researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, provides even more evidence that current dietary guidelines are effective, and in fact, it expands on them, finding that consuming at least "2 fruit and 3 vegetable servings on a daily basis may lower the risk of both disease-related death and death from all causes." The study appears in Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association (AHA).


What We Should Eat

“Groups like the American Heart Association recommend 4–5 servings each of fruits and vegetables daily. Our research corroborates that,” says Dr. Dong D. Wang, M.D., Sc.D., an epidemiologist and nutritionist at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study.


The Department of Health and Human Services published their recommendations in the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to this set of guidelines, half of the plate for every meal should contain fruits and vegetables.


Study Subjects Dietary Information

The researchers collected self-reported dietary information from two large studies - the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). The NHS study included registered female nurses between the ages of 30 and 55 years. The HPFS included males aged 40–75 years. These studies included follow-ups adding dietary data every 2–4 years, which went on for about 30 years. Participants with baseline heart disease, cancer, or diabetes were excluded, which left data from 66,719 females and 42,016 males. They also incorporated data from an additional 26 studies involving a total of 1.9 million participants, which examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake and death rates.


Higher Nutritional Values Are Best - Fresh, Not Canned


This study expands beyond current guidelines by differentiating among specific groups of fruits and vegetables. Researchers observed trends with a lowered risk of death for leafy greens and foods rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. Fruits and vegetables that fall into these categories include spinach, kale, carrots, and citrus fruits. Conversely, they didn't identify any trends for fruit juices or starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and peas. One possible reason for the latter is the prominence of canned foods. The canning process may deprive starchy vegetables of their antioxidant properties.

Compared with whole fruits, the fluid form of juices may cause a more rapid elevation of blood glucose and insulin levels, which can increase the risk of disease. In contrast to the existing guidelines, which include canned foods and juices among the recommended foods and drinks, this study calls for further research on the effects of these items on health.

------------------------------------------------ Study: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.048996 Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies of US Men and Women and a Meta-Analysis of 26 Cohort Studies Dong D. Wang, Yanping Li, Shilpa N. Bhupathiraju, Bernard A. Rosner, Qi Sun, Edward L. Giovannucci, Eric B. Rimm, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, Meir J. Stampfer, and Frank B. Hu Originally published 1 Mar 2021 https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.048996Circulation. ;0


We continue to hear stories about how confusing and inaccessible the process is just to get to a website that actually works and lets one schedule an appointment. As of yet, there seems to be very little coordination between all of the different systems and organizations, governments, and hospitals.


There are many people who are eligible now, and if you are one of them, take a moment to realize the next step is going to take some patience and deep-breathing. Getting an appointment may require extreme persistence whether one is trying by phone, online, or through an app. There are many different websites, phone numbers, and apps, and those of us who are not tech-savvy nor have hours of time to waste navigating our way through the process need as much help as possible.


With some help from the NY Post, below is a comprehensive list of vaccine resources, including some homegrown services devoted to helping New Yorkers get booked, any one of which may resonate with your circumstance.


Are You Eligible? Find Out.

As of Tuesday, March 2nd, a select group of essential workers, New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions and those over the age of 65 are eligible for the vaccine.


To find out if you are eligible for the jab, head to the state’s “Am I Eligible” website and input the required information. The portal will ask about age, essential worker status and any conditions that can lead to a compromised immune system. Residents can also call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX to find out if they are eligible, check the city’s website, or refer to the below list:

  • Healthcare workers

  • Education workers, including childcare staff and college professors providing in-person instruction

  • Public transit employees, including airline workers, subway and mass transit employees and TLC drivers.

  • Hotel workers who have direct contact with staff

  • Workers at grocery stores, including bodegas and convenience stores, and restaurant employees

  • First responders, including firefighters, police officers and support staff

  • Corrections workers

  • Workers for congregate care settings, including nursing homes and homeless shelters

  • People with underlying health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses.

  • New Yorkers over the age of 65


Resources to help you book your COVID vaccine appointment in NYC

Because the city and state systems (listed below) can be so confusing, random networks of good Samaritans have created their own websites and programs to connect New Yorkers with appointments. Here are some of the places to start before you even trying to navigate the booking sites directly:

Epicenter-NYC

Epicenter-NYC started as a newsletter for Jackson Heights, Queens during the height of the pandemic, and now is a hub for a team of volunteers who find appointments for people and then sign them up. People can sign up to get an appointment scheduled for them by filling out Epicenter-NYC’s form.


NYC Vaccine List

NYC Vaccine List searches over 200 vaccine sites across the city and lists appointments as they become available in real-time, in one place. Although users ultimately still have to grapple with the various inoculation locations’ sign-up systems, it cuts out the hard part of finding which have open slots at the right time. Dan Benamy, a Brooklyn software developer, created the website with a team of volunteers after signing up his grandparents for vaccines and realizing how difficult it was.


TurboVax

TurboVax uses a similar process to scour for appointments at 53 city and state sites in the Big Apple. It also announces appointments as they become available on its Twitter feed. Software engineer Huge Ma created the service in two weekends for $50 after trying to sign his mom up for a shot — and says he has helped tens of thousands of people score slots since, according to The Guardian.


VaccineFinder

The federal government recently rolled out its own map-based tool for finding shots across the country called VaccineFinder.


Big Pharmacies Are Limited

Several pharmacy chains are currently offering the vaccine — though so far only to residents age 65 and older. President Biden announced Tuesday that teachers and child care workers would also be eligible starting this month.


How to book an appointment by phone

For those who’d rather not sit in front of a computer refreshing a screen all day, the city and state each have COVID-19 vaccine hotlines where you can set up appointments at sites they control. New York State operates 19 facilities from the Big Apple to North Country, including the Javits Center in Manhattan, Jones Beach, SUNY Albany and the state fairgrounds in Syracuse. Residents need to call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX to set up an appointment.


Official New York State & New York City Sources:


More from the NY Post Here...


New research out of Harvard helping us further understand the link between positive emotions and good health. It's shedding more light on often-asked questions like: Can a more optimistic outlook mean less heart disease? Can hope protect against hypertension? Do happier people live longer?

There is already a vast amount of data that's detailing how negative emotions can harm the body. Sustained stress or fear can alter biological systems over time, eventually leading to illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Chronic anger and anxiety disrupt cardiac function leading to things like atherosclerosis and increasing inflammation. "But negative emotions are only one-half of the equation," says Harvard School Of Medicine Professor Dr. Laura Kubzansky. "It looks like there is a benefit of positive mental health that goes beyond the fact that you're not depressed. The mystery is what's happening in the positive mind? As we come to understand better the set of processes involved, we will have much more insight into how health works."

In a study about emotional vitality and coronary heart disease that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years, for example, Dr. Kubzansky's team found that emotional vitality, one's enthusiasm, and sense of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and battling stress with emotional balance, all, appear to decrease the risk of heart disease. The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when considering such healthy behavior patterns as not smoking and regular exercise.

Those findings corroborate similar studies, including a significant study by Johns Hopkins expert Lisa R. Yanek, and her colleagues for the American Journal of Cardiology. They found that people with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more pessimistic view.

Yanek's team determined a "positive" versus "negative" outlook using a survey tool that assesses a person's cheerfulness, energy level, anxiety levels, and satisfaction with health and overall life. "You don't need a survey to evaluate your own positivity," says Yanek. "I think people tend to know how they are."

Keys to a happier, healthier life

Research suggests that specific attributes can help people more healthfully manage their lives. These include:

  • Emotional vitality: a sense of enthusiasm, hopefulness, engagement

  • Optimism: the perspective that good things will happen and that one's actions account for the good things that occur in life

  • Building and maintaining supportive networks of family and friends

  • Being good at "self-regulation," i.e., bouncing back from stressful challenges and knowing that things will eventually look up again; choosing healthy behaviors such as physical activity and eating well, and avoiding risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking alcohol to excess, and regular overeating

  • Smiling more - A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations.

  • Practice reframing - For example, tune out the traffic jam and appreciate your sound system. Obstacles can lead to discoveries; stay in the moment.

  • Building resiliency - Resiliency is the ability to adapt to stressful or negative situations and losses. Maintain good relationships with family and friends. Accept that change is a part of life. Take action on problems rather than just hoping they disappear or waiting for them to resolve themselves.

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