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The Mighty Cherry

Cherries contain many anti-inflammatory compounds, and research suggests they may help to relieve pain from inflammatory osteoarthritis.  According to one study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks had significant reductions in markers of inflammation. They also had a 20 percent reduction in pain. The researchers noted that tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food.
Cherries contain powerful antioxidants like anthocyanins and cyanidin. One study found the antioxidant activity of these substances isolated from tart cherries was superior to that of vitamin E and comparable to commercially available antioxidant products.

Sweet cherries also contain a small amount of quercetin, which is among the most potent in terms of antioxidant activity and a wide range of other health-promoting properties
Sweet cherries contain fiber, vitamin C, carotenoids, and anthocyanins, each of which may help play a role in cancer prevention. According to the National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation.

“The potential role of sweet cherries in cancer prevention lies mostly in the anthocyanin content, especially in cyanidin. Sweet cherries are a good source of cyanidins, which appear to act as an antioxidant and in this role may reduce cancer risk.

A study using human cancer cell lines demonstrated cell cycle arrest and apoptosis of mutated cells exposed to cherry anthocyanins.

Further research suggests that the growth arrest characteristics of cyanidin are likely, at least in part, to be a result of significant inhibitory effects of these cherry components on epidermal growth factor receptors.

Finally, there is compelling evidence from basic science that cyanidin may also promote cellular differentiation and thus reduce the risk for healthy cells to transform to cancer. 

In a study of over 600 people with gout, those who ate only a ½-cup serving of cherries a day, the equivalent of about 10 or 12 cherries, or consumed cherry extract, had a 35 percent lower risk of a subsequent gout attack. Those who ate more cherries, up to three servings in two days, had an even lower, 50 percent reduction in risk.

Gout occurs when the metabolic processes that control the amount of uric acid in your blood fail to do their job effectively. The stiffness and swelling are a result of excess uric-acid-forming crystals in your joints, and the pain associated with this condition is caused by your body's inflammatory response to the crystals. Past studies have found:

Eating two servings of cherries after an overnight fast lead to a 15 percent reduction in uric acid, and lower nitric oxide and C-reactive protein levels (which are associated with inflammatory diseases like gout).

The researchers noted the study supports "the reputed anti-gout efficacy of cherries" as well as "evidence that compounds in cherries may inhibit inflammatory pathways."

Consuming tart cherry juice daily for four weeks may lower your levels of uric acid

Consuming tart cherries may activate PPAR (peroxisome proliferator activating receptors) in your body’s tissues, which help regulate genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism. This activation may help to lower your risk of heart disease, and research suggests eating cherries may provide similar heart benefits to prescription drugs called PPAR agonists.   Keep in mind, if you eat cherries for their therapeutic value, 10 sweet cherries or 1 cup of sour cherries contain about 4 grams of fructose. It’s important to take this into account into your total fructose consumption for the day, which I recommend keeping to below 25 grams.


Serves: 6


2 lbs of assorted garden greens, such as arugula, kale, endive, tatsoi and baby spinach
1 lb of assorted garden vegetables, such as radishes, peas, broccoli, fennel, kohlrabi
6 Chicken breasts
Package of Soba noodles
1 Tbsp scallion
1 lemon zest
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp White House Honey
2 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp Canola oil
For the vinaigrette:

½ cup rice vinegar
2 lemons, juiced
1Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
1 Tbsp scallion chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, minced
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
¾ cup canola oil
2 Tbsp White House honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Marinate chicken with scallion, lemon zest, chopped garlic, honey, soy sauce, and canola oil. Season with salt and pepper and grill. Set aside to rest, slice thinly.

Cook soba noodles in a brisk boiling water for 4-6 minutes. Drain and rinse to prevent sticking. Set aside.

Wash lettuce and spin dry. Slice the garden vegetables into ¼ inch slices. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a bowl except the canola oil. Slowly whisk the canola oil into mixture until emulsified. Chill.

In a large bowl, mix all the components until well incorporated. Serve immediately.

 Last year, Mrs. Obama planted a pollinator garden next to the White House Kitchen Garden to support bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators as part of Administration efforts to promote pollinator health. Pollinators play a critical role in supporting agricultural production, and they are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we take. Because pollinators are facing disturbing signs of decline from a variety of causes, important efforts are underway to support pollinator health and habitat.

One such effort was launched June 3 by the National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN), a new established unprecedented collaboration of national, regional, conservation and gardening groups. The NPGN launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of pollinators. Learn more about the challenge and how you join in by planting your own pollinator garden! 

In addition, earlier this year, W. Atlee Burpee & Co. donated one million pollinator seed packets to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior to encourage people to plant pollinator gardens in communities across the country. Nearly 30,000 of these seed packets were distributed to families at this year’s Easter Egg Roll, and each student that participated in the garden harvest took home a packet to plan their own pollinator garden. They also received a jar of White House honey from the White House beehive on the South Lawn.

Following the event, the students had the opportunity to head outside to walk through the White House Kitchen Garden and check out the beehive.
 by Annina Burns, PhD, RD,


In addition to being beautiful, in their own way, bees are pretty incredible creatures.
The "buzz" associated with honeybees is the sound of their four wings beating more than 11,000 times per minute. With wing-speeds that high, honeybees can fly faster than most people can run: about 15 miles per hour.

Ever wonder how bees find their way back to a hive? Among the many tools in their navigation toolbox, bees use magnetism. Worker bees have a region of magnetite in their abdomens that allow them to use the Earth's magnetic field to help them navigate.  Honeybee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year, and helps ensure that our diets include ample fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Honeybees, native bees, other insect pollinators, birds, and bats provide tremendously valuable services to society. That's why, here at the White House and across the Administration, we're doing a lot to protect these hardworking contributors to society, which you can learn about here.
Here's how YOU can join federal agencies in this effort: Plant a pollinator-friendly garden at your own school, home, or business, and help achieve the ambitious goal of planting a million pollinator gardens nationwide.

by Dr. John P. Holdren
Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
The White House

Spartan Races
There are three main types of Spartan Races.
For beginners we recommend the Sprint. Spartan’s shortest courses are 3+ miles and 20+ obstacles. Complete the race at your own pace. If you fail an obstacle along the way, you owe us 30 burpees before continuing on.

Ready for more? The Super is 8+ miles, 24+ obstacles, and often hosted on a tougher terrain.

The hardest of the three races is the Beast: 12+ miles and 30+ obstacles. We’ll leave the challenges of the course to your imagination.

For kids we offer Jr. Varsity and Varsity races. These races, ½ – 1 mile in distance, have an emphasis on teamwork, fun and getting muddy.

For those who dare: check out our Ultra Beast, Hurricane Heat and Hurricane Heat 12 Hour endurance races.

Athletes of all fitness levels will enjoy participating in a Spartan Race and the feeling of accomplishment that comes at the finish line.

To ease your anxiety, we offer both physical and mental ways to train. The harder you train and better you eat before race day, the easier the course will be. Try these:

Guided workouts-of-the-day
Nutrition tips to help you eat better
Free workouts held in cities all over the country
Spartan Up! the Podcast to hear epic stories of grit
30 Day Training Plan

Proposition 47, passed by voters in November 2014, allows people to remove certain low-level, nonviolent felonies from their old criminal records – and to remove barriers that they face in rebuilding their lives. In California, there are 4,800 penalties in place for someone with a record who has served their time. These penalties can prevent access to job, housing, and education opportunities, just to name a few.
Prop. 47 gives individuals who qualify the opportunity to move forward with their lives.
Curious to hear more about the record change process? Hear from Californians like Rochelle who have taken the first step in removing felonies from their record in our new video. And check out these articles in the Los Angeles Times and KQED Public Radio on the impact Prop. 47 is having in people's lives from Los Angeles to the Bay Area.
Learn more about the record change process at:  www.MyProp47.org/recordchange.

The Chief Data Scientist
I'm the U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ-- and I got my start in community college.
Yes, I've got a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, have been fortunate to help build amazing companies, and have been at the forefront of the data science movement. But the critical first step in that journey started at De Anza Jr. College in Cupertino, California.
I think more Americans should be able to have that opportunity.  Community college gave me three great gifts that I'll be forever grateful for.
The first is my love for mathematics. All through high school, I was a mediocre math student (and that's putting it kindly). But then I took a calculus class -- and it rocked my world. The lecturer really took the time to explain deep concepts and helped me see the intrinsic beauty. Today, when I explain some of the concepts I learned back then, I still call upon the way it was explained to me all those years ago.

Second, community college taught me how to write. My fellow students in my writing/literature classes came from all different walks of life. These were people I'd never had the chance to interact with, and that made the material come alive in a whole new way.
Poetry had a new dimension. Narrative had a deeper meaning. And most of all, it was hard. Really hard. For those that think community college is easy, this was no easy ride. I spent days working on each essay. Writing, rewriting, getting feedback -- until I learned what it was to be proud of something I'd created.

Which leads me to the third and most critical thing community college taught me: confidence. If I'm brutally honest about it, I wasn't ready to go to college. I wasn't mature enough and I certainly didn't have the academic skills. When I look back at the quality of education I received for the price I paid, it's stunning the value I received. I'm walking proof.  So when I heard the President announce his plan to give everyone access to community college, it only increased my excitement that I might be part of this team. Some of my closest friends all went to community college, as well -- and I've seen firsthand the impact it's had on their lives.
I'm fundamentally convinced that if everyone had this chance, we'd throw open the doors for a whole new world of economic improvement, which would benefit all Americans.

Precision medicine.
Medical and genomic data provides an incredible opportunity to transition from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to health care towards a truly personalized system, one that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles in order to optimally prevent and treat disease. We will work through collaborative public and private efforts carried out under the President’s new Precision Medicine Initiative to catalyze a new era of responsible and secure data-based health care.

The President’s Executive Order 13642 on machine-readable data gives us a tremendous opportunity to productively connect unique data sets. The challenge is that open data is necessary, but not always sufficient, to create value and drive innovation. For example, the binary 0s and 1s that allow a computer to generate an MRI are of little use to a patient — it is the computationally rendered MRI image that communicates the information locked inside of that binary data. We will work to deliver not just raw data sets, but also value-added “data products” that integrate and usefully present information from multiple sources.

by DJ Patil
U.S. Chief Data Scientist
The White House

Discover Corps is a grassroots travel company that is pioneering a new way to explore life
and culture around the world in a way that rejuvenates the human spirit.
Our vision is of a world where people value our shared humanity and promote global
citizenship while celebrating our many unique cultures.
Our mission is to give travelers a deeper understanding of life in communities around the
world while helping to improve the lives of the people we visit. We accomplish this by
operating enjoyable and safe travel programs that provide real connections between
travelers and the communities.
Our operating principles ensure that our trips enhance and preserve the character of a
place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. It’s
not just the right thing to do, it also provides a richer experience for our travelers. We
believe ethical travel can make the world a better place. Our principles include:
Responsible Volunteerism, Social Commitment, Economic Commitment, and Environmental

Building Bridges

Become part of history by rebuilding bridges of friendship and understanding, one person
at a time. Finally opening to American travelers, you’ll immerse yourself in the
vibrant culture and be captivated by the island’s hidden treasures. Our journey begins at the capital of Havana, located at the northern tip of the island and then traverses southwest towards
the cobblestone streets and pastel colored buildings of Trinidad.

Our trip concludes at Cuba’s Pearl of the South -- Cienfuegos.  Surrounded by a stunning natural bay, you’ll fall in love with sailboats bobbing in the marina and the fluid architecture of this
UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Our unique exploration will include eating at paladars – private
restaurants that are family owned, which were not accepted by the Cuban government until recently. It can be fascinating to try the local cuisine and connect with these industrious business
owners.  You’ll also meet with local entrepreneurs for a group discussion, watch dance performances, and explore community art projects.

Along the way, you’ll grow attached to the gracious, Cuban  people who are willing to share their lives and culture with us. This is a special opportunity to see the real Cuba and make
lasting connections to the community. With our local base, we will build bridges of solidarity to last years to come.  Your Community Project: For over 50 years the USA has prohibited free travel to Cuba -- our neighbor located only 90 miles away from Florida. This has led to generations of people in both countries with limited exposure except from what their media reports. 2015 marks the year that regular travelers like you can journey to the island to visit unique social projects,
meet artists and musicians, and witness cultural rituals – by engaging in direct people-to-people interactions that help forge a new era of understanding between people. This is not a political trip -- it's about rekindling the shared humanity that exists between people of different cultures and societies. It's a process that can only happen at the grassroots level, one person at a time.

Havana – The Vivacious Capital

Havana serves as the beginning point of our Cuban adventure. Because of the island’s fascinating history, Havana is a perfect summation of the eclectic and unique cultural layers to Cuba. Where also can you find American vintage cars powered by Russian engines, small businesses nestled between colonial mansions, and lively music performances swelling well into the night?
In between our enriching community connections, we’ll spend some time appreciating the landscapes around us.  Whether it’s the swaying palm trees and classic cars of Havana, or the bright, white buildings and inviting public squares of Cienfuegos -- this undiscovered Caribbean
island fills you with wonder. This is pure Cuba – seen first-hand by you.

Most afternoons you'll spend having rewarding cultural exchanges, with time to relax by strolling the boulevards and appreciating the historic buildings of Trinidad and Havana. Our moments will encompass the big picture of Cuban culture – whether we are touring Hemingway’s home or participating in a social initiative that cultivates African folk traditions.  Evenings are reserved for sharing, relaxation or free exploration. Indulge in authentic cuisine from a range of paladars –privately owned family restaurants that set the imagination on fire because of their once illegal status. Some evenings will include guest speakers from a state university or a group of local artists. Discussions range from contemporary arts, to economic development as Cuba’s mysteries continue to be revealed to the world.

Cuba Accommodations
Discover Corps has anointed Cuba a truly extraordinary experience. Our accommodations run the gamut of colonial style hotels with quirky characteristics, all the way to home stays, where you can really see how Cuban people live. Cuba’s accommodations are known for their interesting flair and uniqueness, an adventure you don’t want to miss! In Havana, we’ll stay in hotels full of colonial charm and character that put your right in the heart of all the action. All hotels will be single or double occupancy with a private bathroom.

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Daily Ginger Supplement for Muscle Pain

A study, published in The Journal of Pain, showed a daily dose of ginger eased muscle pain caused by exercise-induced muscle injury. In two separate experiments, researchers looked at the effects of two grams of raw or heat-treated ginger in supplement form on muscle pain caused by exercise in 74 healthy adults. The participants performed a variety of exercises designed to induce muscle pain over a period of 11 days while taking ginger supplements or a placebo.

"Daily consumption of raw or heat-treated ginger resulted in moderate-to-large reductions in muscle pain following exercise-induced muscle injury," write researcher Christopher D. Black, of the department of Kinesiology at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, and colleagues.The results showed that raw and heat-treated ginger reduced muscle pain by 25% and 23%, respectively.

Researchers say previous studies in animals have shown that ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which might help explain its beneficial effects on muscle pain.

Although some studies have suggested that heat treatment may enhance ginger's impact on pain, researchers say their findings show heat treatment had little effect on ginger's effectiveness as a pain reliever.  Eating raw ginger is very hot, but effective on mild muscle pain when conventional methods are unavailable.

Doctors are warning potential fashion “victims” to beware of their skinny jeans after one woman suffered muscle and nerve damage from a too tight pair of pants.

The unidentified 35-year-old woman was wearing “skinny jeans” when she showed up at hospital with ankle weakness and swelling in her lower legs, according to a case study published this week. The woman told doctors she had been helping a family member move, which led to hours of squatting to clean out cupboards.

She “recalled that her jeans had felt increasingly tight and uncomfortable during the day,” the study authors said in the article published this week in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

Skinny Jean Warning
Doctors were surprised to find that squatting in the tight jeans had lead to compartment syndrome, a dangerous condition where an injury leads to swelling of the muscle or nerves that is constrained by a layer of tissue called the fascia. As the swelling continues the fascia is unable to expand and eventually the muscle and nerves can be injured as blood flow is cut off.

Dr. Roy Buchinsky, Director of Wellness at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said people should be aware of the red flags of numbness and tingling, which signal pressure is already building in the limb.

“Once the leg starts to swell, the train has left the station,” said Buchinsky. “That’s the sign the muscles are really going to be inflamed and the pressure is way too much.”

He explained sometimes surgery is needed to relieve pressure by cutting open the fascia to give inflamed muscles more room to heal.

In severe cases amputation has been used to help treat the patient.

The dangerous condition is more common in severe trauma including "car accident or crush injury, or surgery," according to the National Institute of Health.

Thankfully for this woman the consequences were not as dire. Unable to walk, she was put her on an IV and bed rest. She was eventually able to walk out of the hospital four days later.

But doctors say the woman's case may give another reason for people to go for a more forgiving pair of pants. In her case they found this was a "new neurological complication of wearing tight jeans."  Written by Gillian Mohney