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Health

Endocrine disrupting chemicals: Is your home making you sick?

Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancer rates are on the rise in humans. While sperm count and fertility is on a downward slide in some populations. What if chemical exposure was partly responsible for these trends?

One hypothesis is that a group of chemicals — known as 'endocrine disrupting chemicals' (EDCSs) — could affect human reproduction, puberty, metabolism and other functions controlled by hormones in our endocrine system.

Many suspected EDCs are already in your home — but how much risk do they really pose? At what exposure level do they become unsafe?

Red Cross trials frozen blood to deploy in conflict zones

The technology, which was pioneered in the Netherlands, dramatically extends the shelf life of blood components for up to 10 years.

The blood service said it was critical to have a constant supply in field hospitals, but the technique also has huge benefits for rural and remote communities.

In Australia one in three people need blood, but only one in 30 donate it.

Burning question: If you cut mould off food, is it then safe to eat?

Can you attempt a rescue operation by cutting off the mould or should the whole lot go in the bin?

The answer to some extent depends on how you balance your approach to a potential health risk versus your desire to avoid wasting food.

If the cheese is a hard cheese, it's probably safe just to cut the bad bit off, says Dr Ailsa Hocking, of CSIRO Agriculture and Food.

The bread though, is probably better off thrown away, she believes.

Assessing the risk

It's not just an awful taste you're risking if you eat mouldy food.

Are fresh vegies always healthier than frozen?

There's a common belief fresh is best and buying frozen vegies is a cop out.

But certainly on the nutrition front, frozen veg aren't necessarily inferior, says Melanie McGrice, a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia.

"Whether fresh is better [than frozen] depends on how fresh the vegies actually are," Ms McGrice said.

Modern HIV drugs can add 10 years to life

The paper, published Wednesday, found that 20-year-olds who started with antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are predicted to live up to 10 years longer than those who first underwent similar treatment in 1996 -- when it first became widely available.

Researchers at Bristol University in the UK said the improvements are due to fewer side effects and less toxic drugs with greater options for patients who are infected with drug-resistant HIV strains.

Stretching longer isn't always better

Think about it: Most of us feel an urge to reach our arms up and lengthen our muscles before we even leave our beds.

Even animals instinctively stretch after sleep. If you've ever seen a dog wake from a nap, you probably witnessed it doing the aptly named yoga pose downward-facing dog.

With the growing popularity of yoga, stretching is increasingly regarded as one of the best ways to reduce tension and enhance movement. However, there are different ways to stretch, some of which can do more harm than good, depending on circumstances.

Is pizza healthy?

Depending on the type of crust, the amount of cheese and the toppings used, pizza can rank anywhere from nutritionally decent to a diet disaster.

Even healthy pizzas deliver a good amount of sodium from tomato sauce and cheese, so if you are watching your salt intake, you should eat with caution. Of course, the size of the slice and the number of slices you eat count, too.

Eight foods to help improve your athletic performance

But behind the training sessions, detailed scouting reports and in-depth tactical analysis, there's something going on in the kitchen that's designed to help Monaco get the better of its opponents.

Monaco's doctor Philippe Kuentz, nutritionist Juan Morillas and team dietitian Tara Ostrowe are tasked with choosing the right foods at the right time to help maximize the physical potential of each footballer at the club.

And below Ostrowe names the eight foods she gives to her players, so you too can eat like a pro.

Secrets of tea plant revealed by science

A team in China has decoded the genetic building blocks of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, whose leaves are used for all types of tea, including black, green and oolong.

The research gives an insight into the chemicals that give tea its flavour.

Until now, little has been known about the genetics of the plant, despite its huge economic and cultural importance.

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World avocado prices double after reduced harvests

Avocado prices have risen to a record due to surging global demand and reduced harvests from major producers Mexico, Peru and California.

A 10-kilogram box of Hass avocados from Mexico's major wholesale producer sells for around 530 pesos (NZD$40.94).

That is more than double last year's price, according to Bloomberg data.

Last year in New Zealand, demand was so great during the avocado shortage that thieves targeted orchards in Waikato and Bay of Plenty, filling up 'carloads' of the fruit.