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The bad news for potential Canadian homebuyers in 2019




Homebuyers at a sales centre in Toronto. Photo: James Bombales

Housing markets in big Canadian cities are heading towards stability this year — not a crash — and while that’s good news for the economy at large, homebuyer hopefuls looking for more affordable options will be disappointed.

“A soft landing is in the cards. Not welcome news for potential homebuyers, as affordability will only worsen in the year ahead,” writes John Stackhouse, senior vice president, office of the CEO of RBC, in analysis published this month.

Stackhouse, also the former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail, notes an environment of low interest rates in recent years supported home price increases. Low rates fueled demand from homebuyers.

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“But just because rates are now rising, don’t expect a major decline in 2019,” he says.

Although the cost of borrowing has increased as the Bank of Canada has hiked its policy rate five times since July 2017, Stackhouse suggests certain fundamentals should support housing markets, even the priciest ones, this year.

“We see prices in Canada’s major cities holding steady in 2019, thanks to Canada’s lowest unemployment rate in more than 40 years and the fastest-growing population in the G7,” he writes.

Concerns have been raised about high household debt in Canada, given the cost of servicing debt is rising, and economists expects more Bank of Canada policy rate hikes are coming.

But Stackhouse puts average debt levels in perspective. “The average household will pay $1,000 more to service its debts. Some good news: we expect household incomes to rise more than that,” he explains.

That’s not to say there won’t be any economic impacts. “Expect some belt-tightening in 2019 as households cut back on big ticket items like new cars and trucks,” says Stackhouse.

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Say no to raw fish: Eating raw or undercooked fish can expose consumers to antibiotic-resistant superbugs





(Natural News) Raw or undercooked fish may lead to infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, suggests a study published in Aquatic Mammals.

Researchers swabbed dolphins and found a surge in antibiotic resistance among bacteria isolates. Although dolphins are rarely eaten, they are a good indicator of the rest of life at sea that ends up as food.

“In 2009, we reported a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in wild dolphins, which was unexpected. Since then, we have been tracking changes over time and have found a significant increase in antibiotic resistance in isolates from these animals,” said Adam H. Schaefer, the lead author of the study.

Antibiotic resistance among pathogens increased

Antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems in the medical community presently. The growing resistance of pathogens against antibiotics poses serious health risks — the probability of successfully treating infections caused by common pathogens decreases. In the United States, for example, at least 2.8 million people are infected by superbugs annually while 35,000 die as a result.

Once confined to healthcare settings, it has become increasingly prevalent in other places including marine environments. However, little research examined the long-term trends in antibiotic resistance in pathogens found in wildlife populations.

In the study, researchers swabbed 171 bottlenose dolphins from the Indian River Lagoon from 2003 to 2015. They isolated a total of 733 pathogens from the dolphins, many of which are involved in human health.

Results showed that the overall prevalence of resistance to at least one antibiotic for the 733 isolates was 88.2 percent. The prevalence of resistance was highest to erythromy­cin at 91.6 percent, followed by ampicillin at 77.3 percent and cephalothin at 61.7 percent.

Furthermore, resistance to ciprofloxacin among E. coli isolates more than doubled between sampling periods. Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic used to treat infections such as pneumonia, gonorrhea and typhoid fever.

The researchers said that the trends seen in their study reflect reports from human health care settings. They further noted that the superbug isolates from dolphins came from a source where antibiotics are regularly used. Human activities or discharges from terrestrial sources may have contributed to the spread in marine environments.

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Spice up your diet with paprika’s health benefits





(Natural News) Paprika can be a great addition to a number of dishes, from salads to roasts. But studies find that this popular pepper-based spice introduces more than just heat to foods.

In one of her most recent articles published online, Elizabeth Streit, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Minnesota, shared some science-backed health benefits of paprika.

Health benefits of paprika, according to science

Paprika comes in a range of colors, smells and spiciness, but this does not alter nor affect its health benefits. Here are eight of its most popular benefits, according to Streit:

Contains essential nutrients

Paprika is made from ground capsicum peppers or bell peppers. These peppers can differ in terms of their heat factor, but their nutrition profile more or less remains the same. For this reason, paprika contains an incredible range of nutrients and antioxidants.

In particular, paprika is abundant in vitamins A and E. Both of these micronutrients double as antioxidants to protect cells from free radical-induced damage and oxidative stress. Paprika is also rich in iron, an essential mineral for red blood cell production.

Other nutrients found in this rich and pungent spice include fiber for gut health and vitamin B6 for brain health. Paprika also has plant antioxidants called carotenoids that include compounds like beta-carotene, capsanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein.

Maintains good eyesight

Vitamin A is an important micronutrient for maintaining healthy eyesight. Beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, on the other hand, help reduce the risk of eye conditions, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Fights inflammation

Spicier paprika contains capsaicin, a compound found in hot chili peppers like habanero and jalapeno. Scientists found that capsaicin is capable of binding to receptors that reduce pain and inflammation.

For this reason, paprika might be a promising holistic treatment for arthritis, a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the joints and connective tissues. In fact, some studies demonstrate that topical creams containing capsaicin can help ease arthritic pain.

Reduces cholesterol

Scientists identified another carotenoid in paprika that can help reduce bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. The carotenoid, called capsanthin, can also increase the amount of good cholesterol in the blood. This cholesterol has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Protects against cancer

Recent studies suggest that the beneficial plant compounds in paprika, including beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, might also be potent against cancer.

In particular, these compounds have been found to inhibit the spread of cancer cells and keep them from aggregating into tumors.

Regulates blood sugar

Some studies on diabetes management found that taking capsaicin supplements or eating capsaicin-containing peppers, such as those used to make paprika, can protect against sudden spikes in blood sugar after meals.

Boosts blood circulation

Iron and vitamin E are just some of the most important micronutrients for proper blood circulation and optimal heart health. Iron aids in making red blood cells needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.

Vitamin E, on the other hand, helps regulate blood pressure and keeps blood from clotting inside vessels.

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5 Health benefits of mangoes (as well as 3 healthy recipes)





(Natural News) Mangoes are one of the most popular fruits in the world. Their sweet and tangy taste makes them a favorite ingredient for desserts, smoothies and salsas while its juice is refreshing for the summer. Although they’re one of the sweeter fruits, mangoes have several varieties that can be more sour than sweet and more green or orange than yellow.

Despite their differences, however, all varieties are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. For one, mangoes are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, providing 76 percent and 25 percent of the daily recommended intake of the two nutrients, respectively.

5 health benefits of mangoes

Mangoes confer various health benefits including:

1. Help boost immunity

Mangoes are rich in nutrients that play an important role in immune health such as vitamins C and A. Both nutrients are antioxidants that play a protective role against oxidative damage that could lead to cancer.

In addition, vitamin A is beneficial for the skin and mucous membranes that line the nose, sinuses and mouth.

2. Keep eyes healthy

Zeaxanthin in mangoes is an antioxidant that is linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration or AMD, which is one of the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness. Research has found that eating three or more fruits a day can help slow down and lower the risk of AMD.

3. Help improve heart health

Research on animals found that mangiferin, an antioxidant in mango, can reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and programmed cell death in heart cells. Additional research also found that it helps lower blood cholesterol, triglyceride and free fatty acid levels.

4. Aid digestion

Mangoes are also good for digestion, according to studies. A group of researchers gave mangoes to people with chronic constipation for four weeks and found that the participants had significant improvements in the symptoms of constipation. This is because mangoes are rich in fiber and amylase, both of which help improve gut health. Amylase, in particular, is a digestive enzyme that enhances gut bacterial composition and helps break down large food molecules for better absorption.

5. Boosts skin and hair health

Vitamins C and A in mangoes promote healthy skin and hair. Vitamin C plays an essential role in collagen production; collagen is a protein that gives structure to the skin and hair and is known to combat the sagging and wrinkling of the skin.

On the other hand, vitamin A boosts hair growth and sebum production, which keeps your scalp moisturized and your hair healthy. It is also found to protect the skin from the harmful rays of the sun.

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