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Pack in the potatoes?

Potatoes are a vegetable, and contain the following nutrients, provided you eat the skin as well as the flesh: Vitamins A, B, C, the mineral potassium, iron and phosphorus, plus calcium and some protein. With the skins on, they're a good source of fiber (4.8 grams per medium potato) and a healthy low-fat carbohydrate (approximately 50 grams each). Start making mashed potatoes with the skins on!

A whole baked potato is a great healthy snack after sports. Eaten before bed, it helps insomnia and balances blood sugar levels for some people. Usually, potatoes are laden with sour cream and butter, but there are many alternative toppings, including chili, salsa, pesto and creamy sauces made with nuts or seeds.

Potato flesh is high on the glycemic index, meaning it turns to sugar quickly in the body. Putting fat on it, such as a pat of butter or sour cream, slows down the absorption rate, as does eating the potato with a source of protein.

The short answer is, don't leave potatoes out of your diet, but eat the skin. With a serving of protein and veggies, a potato contributes to a well-balanced meal.

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Overcoming a fear of spiders

If you break out in a cold sweat at the thought of eight hairy legs, "invisible" images could help.

Joel Weinberger at Adelphi University in Garden City found that exposing people to subliminal spider images helped them to overcome their fear.

The usual treatment for phobias is maximum exposure to what you fear. To make things easier, Weinberger's team asked 23 volunteers who were afraid of spiders to stare at an "x" on a screen as 20 images of spiders or outdoor scenes flashed onto the screen. The images appeared too briefly to be perceived.

Following treatment, volunteers shown spider images were able to lift the lid off of a spider tank, while those who saw landscapes could only touch the tank (Consciousness and Cognition).

The team suggests that repeated exposure to frightening stimuli without conscious perception creates nonthreatening associations with spiders that overrides ingrained fear responses within the amygdala, a brain area involved in emotional memory.

"It is impressive that such an effect can occur rapidly without the participants' awareness," says David Rakison at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Compiled from News wire sources

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