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A bowl of popcorn a day keeps the doctor away

There are royal blue bowls (1 large, 1 small) full of white popcorn, on a white tablecloth. Behind the bowls are a glass mug of tea with a lemon slice and a cinnamon stick and a red poppy (Credit: National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute)This is one of the strangest mornings in the news I can remember.  Oddly, each of these unusual stories relates to our health.  We start with this question: which does more to prevent cancer, blueberries or popcorn?  It's actually the latter.  New research indicates that plain popcorn is rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that repairs cellular damage which can lead to malignancy.  One researcher called popcorn "nutritional gold nuggets." Just skip the butter and salt.

When ordering popcorn at the movies, don't forget the chocolate.  Research now indicates that people who eat chocolate regularly are thinner than the rest of the population.  While chocolate obviously contains sugar and fat, its ingredients may also favor weight loss rather than fat synthesis.

If you're in search of chocolate, don't count on the annual Easter egg hunt in Colorado Springs.  Their event has been cancelled because of unruly behavior--not of the kids, but their parents.  Many jumped the boundary ropes last year to ensure their children got an egg, so organizers decided to cancel this year's event before more mayhem breaks out.

Rounding out the day's unusual health news, a recent Gallup poll indicates that people who go to worship on Sunday are happier than the rest of the population.  A similar study showed that thinking about religion is linked with greater self-control when faced with a non-religious task.  So when you're deciding whether to put butter on your popcorn, think about manna in the wilderness--the children of Israel got along just fine without condiments.

These surprising stories don't surprise our Lord.  We may be the most health-conscious generation in history, but our Creator knows our bodies better than any nutritionist: "Your eyes saw my unformed body" before I was born (Psalm 139:16).  He fed 5,000 families (Matthew 14:21), then another 4,000 (Matthew 15:38).  He raised a dead girl and told her parents to "give her something to eat" (Luke 8:55).  The risen Christ prepared breakfast for his startled disciples (John 21:13).  The God who owns "the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10) promises to "meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Why do you need a Great Physician today?  Who do you know that needs the healing compassion of our Lord?  God can give only what we will receive.  Praying for healing is one of the most practical and compassionate ways we can serve others, a fact my family has learned personally in these days.  We look forward to the day when we can say with David, "O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me" (Psalm 30:2).

Our Father "heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).  What hurt would you trust to his omnipotent hands today?

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