Author: Quentin Fottrell

One cup a day of this nutritious food reduces the risk of heart disease, according to a study of 50,000 people

Good dietary habits can have lasting effects.

People who ate one cup a day of nitrate-rich vegetables had lower blood pressure and a 12% to 26% lower risk of heart disease, according to data from more than 50,000 people who took part in the 23-year-long diet and health study. 

The nitrate-rich vegetables recommended by the researchers included leafy greens such as kale, arugula, chard and spinach, as well as beetroot, parsley, Chinese cabbage, celery, radishes and turnips. 

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death around the world, killing nearly 18 million people annually, including 655,000 Americans or one in four people. It is also the biggest killer in the U.S., ahead of cancer and COVID-19.

‘The greatest reduction in risk was for peripheral artery disease, a type of heart disease characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels of the legs.’

— Researcher Catherine Bondonno

“Our results have shown that by simply eating one cup of raw (or half a cup of cooked) nitrate-rich vegetables each day, people may be able to significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease,” said researcher Catherine Bondonno, a lead author on the study.

“The greatest reduction in risk was for peripheral artery disease, a type of heart disease characterized by the narrowing of blood vessels of the legs; however, we also found people had a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure,” she said.

The study’s subjects were based in Denmark, and the results were published in the European Journal of Epidemiology. The research was a collaboration between Edith Cowan University, the Danish Cancer Society and the University of Western Australia.

Nutritious “hacks” include making a spinach, banana or berry smoothie as an alternative to a side dish. “Blending leafy greens is fine, but don’t juice them. Juicing vegetables removes the pulp and fiber,” Bondonno said.

Related:A new study links this popular diet with lower blood pressure — and reduced cardiac injury and strain

The Moneyist: My husband of 30 years has been hiding income in secret bank accounts — with his mother’s help

Dear Quentin,

My husband and I have been married for 30 years. I thought we were happy. Boy, was I clueless. I just found out a couple of days ago that my husband has been hiding money, an ATM card, a savings account and a P.O. box from me for 10 years.

Here’s how I found out: I had to reschedule a trip to California for him due to his mother being ill. I used his Gmail GOOG, +0.10%   GOOGL, +0.08%  account so he would have access to the flight information while he was gone. That’s when I discovered that he had been paying money to a company I knew nothing about, and had been doing so for a long time. I also found a different email address that he had been using.

When I asked him about all of these emails, he said, “You caught me. I’m a liar and I have been doing this for 10 years. If you want a divorce, that’s fine with me. Do it.”

He has been getting extra money from commissions and profit sharing from work each month, and he was making extra money from recycling. He only gave me a part of it and lied about the rest. He got scammed from a business that he thought would make him money.

His mother blamed me

He asked his mother about hiding money from me. She sent him the funds to open an account, and advised him on how to do it. No big surprise there. His mother blamed me for our moving out of state for over 20 years. I don’t like her, and this was just another reason not to. We could have been paying down bills instead of struggling and have had to pull money out of my inheritance.

He said he was tired of working, and had been unhappy with me for 10 years. I was blown away. I was hurt and shocked. He brought up arguments that had been resolved a long time ago. I am still in shock, and I have been going over everything in my head since he left for California, and started getting angry.

He said he thought that he wasn’t worth $2,500 because I said he couldn’t have a scooter. What does that even mean? I am disabled and can’t get a job to make money. I don’t know if we will stay married, but I want to protect the last of my inheritance and two money-market accounts currently in my name. Should I take money out of that account, and put it in another bank where he can’t touch it?

Stunned Wife

Dear Stunned,

Yes.

Your husband’s behavior is clearly the result of storing up years of fears and resentments. The involvement of his mother not only suggests that she encourages your husband’s injurious feelings, however misguided they may be, but also provides insight into the immaturity of a man who refuses to own his behavior and grow up.

You have two issues to face related to romance and finance. I suggest you enlist legal assistance for both. You need to know what is legally beyond the reach of your husband, and what you can do to protect that in lieu of a divorce or legal separation. Inheritances are not community property, and should be kept in a separate account.

During your husband’s absence, you have the space and time to act. Consult an attorney and figure out your next move. Protect your assets and document all of your husband’s financial secrets. The more documents you have, the easier it will be to pull the plug on your marriage, if that is what you eventually decide to do.

You have at least three big questions: Do you want to be in a relationship with someone whom you can’t trust? Is trust something you can regain with the help of marriage counseling? And do his response to being confronted with these accounts and his lack of remorse even suggest that he wants to stay together?

Lack of accountability

Yes, he squirreled money away for 10 years without your knowing, but he did not seem to take enough obvious precautions to avoid being caught. (With apologies to squirrels.) If you did decide to file for legal separation, he would be required to provide these accounts full. Given his blatant lack of accountability thus far, it seems unlikely he will be 100% truthful.

Surveys regularly conclude that people keep financial secrets from their partners (44% of respondents to one recent poll). Reasons include a desire to control their own finances (an obvious one), shame over how they handle money, unwillingness to share (another obvious one), addiction, and hiding money in case the relationship ended badly.

But secrets like a debt, credit card or rogue checking account pale in comparison to the relatively sophisticated operation orchestrated by your husband. The level of planning reflects his unhappiness with his marriage and his desire to furtively put money aside for a rainy day. It is more egregious given that you have a disability and are unable to work.

What did your husband mean by his comment that he was not even worth a $2,500 scooter? Who knows what self-justification he was attempting — that he sees his bank balance and possessions as an extension of his self-esteem and ego? That no one, including his wife, will come between him and the bank balance he deserves?

Instead, ask yourself what you deserve. If you listen closely, you will find the answer.

Want to read more? Follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitterand read more of his columns here.

By emailing your questions, you agree to having them published anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, in all media and platforms, including via third parties.

Check out the Moneyist private Facebook FB, +0.97%  group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues. Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.

A new study links this popular diet with lower blood pressure — and reduced cardiac injury and strain

Does the DASH diet have hidden health effects?

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center examined three cardiovascular indicators to determine if — and how — diet directly impacts cardiac health. They analyzed blood samples from clinical-trial participants who stuck to strict dietary regimens and found that the DASH diet, already shown to lower blood pressure, also reduces inflammation.

The conclusion, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also found that the DASH diet — whether or not it’s adhered to in conjunction with a low-sodium diet — reduces heart injury and strain.

The DASH diet, short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, recommends fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, while restricting salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Among trial participants on the DASH diet, biomarkers linked to cardiac damage and inflammation fell by 18% and 13%, respectively. Participants combining the DASH diet with reduced-sodium behavior had the most pronounced reductions in both cardiac injury and stress — 20% and 23%, respectively — although inflammation was not significantly impacted.

‘Our study represents some of the strongest evidence that diet directly impacts cardiac damage.’

— Stephen Juraschek, assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School

“Our study represents some of the strongest evidence that diet directly impacts cardiac damage, and our findings show that dietary interventions can improve cardiovascular risk factors in a relatively short time period,” said Stephen Juraschek, an assistant professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

“The data reinforce the importance of a lifestyle that includes a reduced-sodium, DASH diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains to minimize cardiac damage over time,” said Juraschek, a co-author on the study.

U.S. News and World Report named the DASH diet the No. 2 diet for 2021 in a tie with the Flexitarian diet, with the Mediterranean diet taking first place.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on olive oil rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like fish and chicken, with the occasional piece of red meat. It also emphasizes beans, nuts, legumes, and flavorful herbs and spices, as well as cheese, yogurt and a glass of red wine in moderation.

Unlike the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and nuts while limiting saturated fats, total fat, cholesterol, red meat, sweets and sugar-containing beverages, Juraschek and his co-authors said. It was developed in the 1990s with the specific goal of lowering blood pressure, and has been shown to help lower the chances of stroke and diabetes.

Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health, and cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of people in the U.S. Previous research also suggested that a lack of sleep may offer one possible explanation for why sleep problems have been shown to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and even death from cardiovascular disease.

Ever heard of ‘contagious unemployment’? It’s one theory why companies have difficulty hiring workers

Companies are struggling to find recruits, and economists, lawmakers and businesses big and small are wondering why. The latest hypothesis, proposed in a new working paper, is “contagious unemployment.”

Some states, including Arizona, Montana and Ohio, are offering return-to-work bonuses of up to $2,000 to incentivize workers to get reemployed. Arizona is providing funds to cover three months’ worth of child-care costs for those who return to work and earn less than $25 an hour.

The backdrop: Businesses reported a record 8.1 million jobs to fill last month, up from 8 million in March, according to Labor Department data. There were 7.5 million open jobs in February. And yet the unemployment rate ticked up to 6.1% in April from 6% the month before.

Employers and lawmakers have speculated that enhanced unemployment benefits have given people less of a reason to take a job. President Biden in March approved $300 in extra federal benefits each week to unemployed workers until September. (Some 22 Republican-led states will end them early.)

There is also a host of other theories on why people are not taking jobs, among them lack of transportation, low wages, the cost of child care, caring for an elderly relative, recovering from COVID-19 or caring for a relative who has the coronavirus, and inability to work due to a disability.

‘During periods of high unemployment, it consequently becomes harder for firms to assert who is a good fit for the job.’

— Niklas Engbom, assistant professor at New York University Stern School of Business

But a new paper looking at job hunting after a recession has another — perhaps more controversial — theory, described by its author as “contagious unemployment.”

The ways in which workers search for jobs have been shown to have critical implications for the macroeconomic propagation of labor-market shocks, Niklas Engbom, an assistant professor at New York University Stern School of Business, wrote in his paper distributed Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“Unemployed workers send over 10 times as many job applications in a month as their employed peers, but are less than half as likely per application to make a move,” he wrote. “I interpret these patterns as the unemployed applying for more jobs that they are less likely to be a good fit for.”

“During periods of high unemployment, it consequently becomes harder for firms to assert who is a good fit for the job,” he added. “By raising the cost of recruiting, a short-lived adverse shock has a persistent negative impact on the job finding rate.”

Workers also pivot to other industries, which also may contribute to scattershot applications and “greater idiosyncratic volatility,” he argued. “For instance, the construction sector contracted in the Great Recession, necessitating the reallocation of workers to other sectors,” Engbom added.

Hiring managers share the responsibility

But other research suggests that both applicant and company share the responsibility of finding the right position and person. Some 75% of recruiters and talent managers use some form of recruiting or applicant-tracking software. The right candidate may not make the digital cut.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor professor of management at the Wharton School and a director of its Center for Human Resources, advises companies to track the percentage of openings filled from within and require that all openings be posted internally.

He says companies should take more responsibility for the hiring process from start to finish, including designing jobs with realistic requirements, reconsidering their focus on “passive” candidates (those, in other words, who are not currently seeking a job) and understanding the limits of internal referrals.

Willis HR, a South Carolina human-resources consulting and recruiting company, recommends companies follow a five-step plan when hiring new employees: align process with brand values, move quickly and efficiently, structure your interviews, boost your candidate sourcing, and don’t leave people in the dark.

Core values define what an organization is all about, the company says: “For existing employees, it can help keep you and your team members working consistently with one another. For new and prospective employees, it’s an indication of whether they fit with your corporate culture.”

Ultimately, the hiring industry pays too much attention to ‘the funnel’ of job posting, résumé tranche and interview process, Cappelli wrote. “Unfortunately, the main effort to improve hiring — virtually always aimed at making it faster and cheaper — has been to shovel more applicants into the funnel.”

“Employers do that primarily through marketing, trying to get out the word that they are great places to work,” he added. “Whether doing this is a misguided way of trying to attract better hires or just meant to make the organization feel more desirable isn’t clear.”