Every week we like to bring you a roundup of some of the latest trends in beauty, health and wellness, and other articles of interest to ZENMED blog readers. Last week, we came across some interesting articles on skin cancer, sitting and poor health, the benefits of trees and snacks to help you fall asleep.

Surgeon General: Stop tanning and save your skin

The United States Surgeon General put out an urgent call to avoid tanning, reports Kim Painter.  Calling skin cancer a “major public health problem, ” Surgeon General Boris Lushniak advises Americans to take precautions to protect their skin. His reason for this? Skin cancer rates, unlike other cancers, continue to rise. Five million Americans are treated for skin cancer each year, resulting in more than $8 million in costs. Many of these cases are linked to indoor tanning. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen is one way to help protect the skin from sun damage. Dr. Lushniak also reminds people that tanned skin is actually damaged skin.

Is your office making you fat?

Nicole Catanese reports on how sitting at your desk at work for extended periods of time may have an impact on your physiological health. Explains Mayo Clinic physician, Dr. James Levine, remaining sedentary for extended periods of time affects the lower body, making it more resistant to insulin. This causes metabolism to slow and triglycerides to rise along with blood sugar. This makes us more likely to become overweight and even develop Type 2 diabetes. Prolonged sitting is also linked to heart disease and depression. What can you do? Dr. Levine recommends setting an alarm to go off every 15 minutes so you can get up and move around.

The health benefits of trees

James Hamblin shares the many health benefits provided by trees. Trees?  It is estimated that $7 million in healthcare costs are saved each year because of trees. In a new study published in Environmental Pollution, trees prevented 850 human deaths and nearly 700,000 cases of acute respiratory symptoms just in the year 2010. This is because of the reduction in air pollution. These positive results are prompting more questions and those behind the study are hoping further research will be done to prove the health benefits provided by trees.

5 skinny snacks that help improve sleep

Tanya Zuckerbrot shares tips on snacks that may help improve the quality of your sleep without expanding your waistline. Banana and almond butter, for example, top the list because the potassium in bananas is a natural muscle relaxant, while the calcium and magnesium in almond butter may make you feel more sleepy. Other suggested snacks include turkey roll ups, apples and low fat cheese. Do you enjoy a snack before bed? Does it help you fall asleep? I’d love to know!