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Poor CreditBefore you go overboard with the holiday spending, you may want to take a moment to think about your heart. Researchers in New Zealand recently found a link between low credit scores and poor cardiovascular health, saying certain personality traits may be to blame.

Using data from the long-term Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which tracked the health of 1,000 individuals from birth through age 38, analysts saw a clear connection between certain characteristics—including self-discipline as well as the ability to plan ahead—and both optimal financial health and better overall heart health.

In order to draw their conclusions, the research team used a well-known heart health gauge developed for another decades-long health study known as the Framingham Heart Study. The Cardiovascular Disease Risk Score allowed researchers to measure the “heart age” of participants based on physical health factors (such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels) as well as diet and lifestyle habits.

Although the Dunedin study participants were all nearing 40, their heart ages told a different story, ranging between 22 to 85 years old. Not surprisingly, the younger the heart age, the better the credit score. And finally, while researchers say the personality characteristics connected to higher credit scores are typically established in early childhood, it is never too late to start practicing healthy habits—physically and financially!

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Table Setting

Still putting together your Thanksgiving menu? Everyone knows the turkey is the easy part, but figuring out what to serve alongside it can seem like a challenge—especially if you want to swap out those starchy sides for something a little more healthful. Here are three surprisingly easy ideas that are delicious and nutritious. Happy cooking!

Spicy Sautéed Kale
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. garlic, minced
½ cup chicken stock
1 large bunch kales, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions: Heat oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stock; stir. Add kale by handfuls, stirring to make room for more as leaves cook down. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 10 to 15 minutes). Add red and black pepper. Remove from heat and serve.


Cauliflower “Rice” Pilaf

Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower, core removed
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. fennel seeds
¼ tsp. dried oregano
Dash of curry powder
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Directions: Grate cauliflower using a cheese grater or food processor fitted with a grating blade. Heat coconut oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic and cauliflower. Sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and spices; sauté approximately 10 minutes more. Remove from heat; stir in toasted almonds and serve.


Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Shallots

Serves 2 (adjust accordingly for larger groups)

Ingredients:
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup shallots, finely sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Juice of ½ small lemon

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°. Toss broccoli with shallots, oil, salt and pepper. Spread broccoli on a large baking sheet (with sides) and roast until tender and lightly browned on bottom (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss gently and serve hot.

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