March 2017 Hot Flashes

A Dad’s Mood Impact Your Kids Big Time

Everyone has heard, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” But a new study shows that dad has a big impact on the family’s mood and well-being too. Michigan State University, published in the journals Early Childhood Research Quarterly and Infant and Child Development, finds a strong link between dads' moods and mental health and kids' development, both mental and behavioral. 

The study looked at 730 families, mainly low-income, and their parenting-related stress. Using questionnaires that asked participants to rate statements like, "I feel trapped by my responsibilities as a parent" or "Sometimes I feel my child doesn't like me," researchers determined that when dads are significantly stressed and show depressive symptoms, toddlers' language development is adversely impacted.

Specifically, kids had poorer language skills at age 3. And while both genders scored lower on cognition tests, interestingly, dad's parenting-related stress and mental health seemed to impact sons' language development more than daughters', according to Psychology Today. Also interesting is that even when a mom's positive influence was taken into account, dad's mood still mattered.

The study also found that fathers' and mothers' mental health in general had a similarly significant effect on behavior problems among toddlers. Interestingly, fathers' depression during their kids' toddler years were more influential on children's later social skills than their mothers' symptoms.

Researchers suggest dads who are experiencing more stress may not be as keyed in to what is happening with their kids, which could lead to cognition delays and behavioral problems. This is especially true as modern dads spend more time with their kids and take on a bigger share of the parenting responsibilities.

The takeaway of the findings for dads, according to researcher Tamesha Harewood, Ph.D., is simply this: "You're important to your children, so you need to take care of yourself." 

 (, 2016)

Keep Your Brain Young By Staying Fit

Sudoku. Crossword puzzles. Computer training. Half of Americans believe these games and mental tasks keep their brains healthy, according to a 2014 AARP survey — but there is little evidence that they do. If you really want to retain mental clarity and improve your odds of staving off dementia, researchers say, hit the gym.

In the past decade, scientists have begun to understand the crucial relationship between exercise and brainpower. Just as exercise helps keep muscles strong, blood vessels flexible and stress low, it also enhances mental abilities, stops brain shrinkage and promotes the formation of new neurons. Studies even suggest that people who are physically active "have lower rates of Alzheimer's and other age-associated neurodegenerative disorders," says Arthur F. Kramer, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Northeastern University in Boston and an expert on exercise and the brain.

(, 2016)

5 Ways Alcohol Affects Your Health

Having an occasional drink or two probably won’t do any serious harm to your body. In fact, studies have shown that enjoying a glass of wine, beer or cocktail now and then can offer certain health benefits and boost your sex drive.

But drinking on a regular basis or drinking too heavily often can damage your body in a number of ways. These are just a handful of examples showing how alcohol can affect you physically and emotionally:

It Affects Your Brain
Alcohol can have a significant impact on the way your brain functions. This can result in a variety of changes, including moodiness, coordination problems and trouble thinking clearly and making decisions. Even one glass of wine can impair you enough to result in a DUI.

It Hurts Your Heart
Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure or having a stroke. It can also lead to an irregular heartbeat or a condition called cardiomyopathy, which refers to the heart muscle being stretched.

It Damages Your Liver
Regular drinking or binge drinking can do serious damage to your liver. This can lead to several diseases that affect your liver, including cirrhosis, fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and fibrosis. You could even be at risk of suffering from liver failure.

It Weakens Your Immune System
Although drinking alcohol in moderation can actually boost your body’s immune function, too much alcohol can weaken your immune system. This leaves you susceptible to a variety of diseases and infections. Even drinking too much on one occasion makes it harder for your body to fight off these germs.

It Increases Your Risk of Side Effects
If you’re taking certain types of medication or undergoing things like nail fungus treatments or other treatments for infections, drinking alcohol can increase your risk of side effects. Although some side effects are mild, others can be potentially life-threatening.

(, 2016)

Mediterranean Chicken Wraps

Change up your lunch routine with this recipe that will leave you satisfied and tied you over until dinner. 


  • 1/4
cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt

  • 1 
teaspoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar

  • 1 
clove garlic, minced

  • 1/4
teaspoon dried dill weed, crushed

  • 2 
8-inches low-carb, high-fiber tortillas

  • 1 
cup shredded, cooked chicken breast (4 ounces)

  • 1/3
cup fresh baby spinach

  • 1 
cup assorted fresh vegetable strips (cucumber, red sweet pepper, carrot, yellow summer squash)


In a small bowl stir together yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and dill weed. Evenly divide chicken, spinach, and vegetable strips on tortillas. Spoon yogurt mixture evenly over top. Roll up tortillas. Secure with toothpicks. Cut rolls in half.

(, 2016)


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