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    Housecall: Can you handle the sugar challenge?

several wooden spoons full of different types of sugar, on a wooden tabletopTHIS WEEK'S TOP STORIES
Sugar challenge: Cut the sweetness for 2 weeks
Soda and fruit drinks are a major source of added sugar in the typical U.S. diet. And artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar. Have your taste buds become so accustomed to supersweet drinks that the natural sweetness in foods pales in comparison? To find out, try ditching the added sugar and artificial sweeteners in your diet for two weeks. Learn more from Katherine Zeratsky, a Mayo Clinic registered dietitian nutritionist.

How sharing kindness can make you healthier and happier
Research shows that learning and practicing loving kindness can profoundly affect your attitude, outlook and health. It also can rewire your brain to be more present. These three simple practices will get you started.

What treatments are available for sensitive teeth?
When you have sensitive teeth, certain activities, such as brushing, eating and drinking, can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or gum disease. Learn about treatment options for sensitive teeth from Dr. Thomas Salinas, a Mayo Clinic prosthodontist.

Is ear candling a safe way to remove earwax?
Ear candling involves placing a lit, hollow, cone-shaped candle into the ear canal. Research shows that ear candling is ineffective at removing earwax and instead can push earwax deeper into the ear canal. Learn more from Dr. Charles Beatty, a Mayo Clinic otolaryngologist.

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Brussels sprouts with shallots and lemon
Honey sage carrots
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Health-boosting nutrients
Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids, may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Other naturally occurring antioxidants include flavonoids, tannins, phenols and lignans. Plant-based foods are the best sources, including fruits, vegetables and their juices; whole-grain products; nuts; seeds; herbs and spices; and cocoa.

Need practical advice on diet and exercise? Want creative solutions for stress and other lifestyle issues? Discover more healthy lifestyle topics at mayoclinic.org.

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