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Can eating kimchi prevent obesity? Is writing by hand good for you? The latest health news, explained.

Three glass jars filled with kimchi on a table, next to half a lime, bulbs of garlic and a head of cabbage.
Here’s what the research says about kimchi and obesity. (Getty Creative)

The world moves pretty fast. One day, your daughter or niece is asking for Polly Pocket, and the next, she’s a tween searching for an exfoliant in Sephora. But is that good for young skin? Experts are wary — and this week, they’ve weighed in on more than just adolescents’ new passion for skin care.

This week’s roundup of health news has plenty of eye-opening information from experts about what’s affecting our wellness today. For example, you may be indulging in cannabis now that it’s becoming legal in more places around the country. But just because you may be trading in a drink for an edible doesn’t mean you should get behind the wheel. On the brighter side, you don’t need to hit up the dispensary to benefit from a relaxing nature walk, which new research suggests may improve your ability to solve problems. Here’s what to know.

Dermatologists warn against tweens going overboard with skin care products

Tweens are increasingly exploring upscale skin care products at stores like Sephora and sharing their routines on platforms like TikTok — but skin care routines boasting fancy “glow drops” and “pore tighteners” might not be the best match for adolescents. Dermatologists warn that these formulations are often designed for mature skin and may cause adverse reactions in younger, more sensitive skin.

Is your tween begging for a full set of Drunk Elephant for their birthday? You might want to let them know that they could be doing more damage to their skin. That doesn’t mean they have to skip skin care entirely: The experts emphasize that for most tweens, a simple skin care routine involving a gentle wash, moisturizer for dry skin if needed and daily sunscreen is sufficient.

Writing by hand may improve learning

Taking notes by hand may make it easier to absorb information, according to a new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The small study, which was published in Frontiers in Psychology, involved 36 university students who were asked to write or type words shown on a screen. When the participants wrote by hand, there was an increase in the connections between different parts of the brain, which is crucial for memory formation and learning. It’s possible, according to the study, that the intricate hand movements involved in handwriting contribute to a more complex and beneficial network in the brain compared to the simpler finger movements used in typing.

The researchers recommend incorporating handwriting in educational settings to optimize learning, but you don’t have to be in school in order to benefit from these findings. If you’re in a work meeting, you may want to jot down important information by hand rather than type it up — it could help you more easily understand the tasks at hand.

Kimchi may ward off obesity

A study published in the journal BMJ Open investigated whether eating kimchi — a popular Korean dish made of seasoned fermented vegetables such as cabbage — is connected to a lower risk of obesity. Researchers found that moderate kimchi consumption (up to three servings daily) was associated with an 11% lower obesity risk compared to consuming less than one serving a day. Men eating three or more daily servings of cabbage kimchi had a 10% lower obesity risk, while women with two to three daily servings had an 8% lower risk.

Although the researchers stressed the importance of eating kimchi in moderation due to its high sodium levels, there are a few ways you can incorporate this fermented food into your daily diet. Popular recipes include adding kimchi to tacos and quesadillas or adding it to the base of a salad or rice bowl.

In general, eating fermented foods is a health win: These foods have beneficial live bacteria, called probiotics, that support a healthy gut. A balanced gut improves digestion, helps absorb nutrients and strengthens the immune system.

Taking a walk in nature can help your attention

Researchers from the University of Utah are calling for more tree time. Their study involved 92 participants taking a 40-minute walk — half in a natural setting and half in an urban environment. Using electroencephalography, a tool that measures brain activity, researchers looked at how these walks impacted the brain processes that control thinking, decision making and problem-solving. The results showed that individuals who walked in nature exhibited improvements in these areas, suggesting that nature walks may boost attention overall.

This isn’t the only study that says it’s a good idea to get outside. In October, a study published in the journal Planetary Health found that living near “blue” spaces, such as a lake or an ocean, and “green” spaces, such as a park or a forest, reduced the likelihood of developing a mental health condition. You don’t have to uproot a city life in favor of somewhere more lush, though: As this University of Utah study suggests, less than one hour in a natural setting can improve how well your brain works.

Avoid driving after using cannabis to keep yourself and others safe

As cannabis legalization expands, concerns about road safety related to cannabis use are growing. A recent study focused on drivers over 65 and revealed significant impairment 30 minutes after smoking or vaping cannabis. Even after three hours, when blood THC levels were low, the participants in the study said they felt too high to drive safely.

Experts spoke to Yahoo Life about how to use cannabis safely when it comes to driving. While they say the risk of impaired driving goes down at least four hours after the last puff of weed, they recommend waiting eight to 12 hours before driving after consuming edibles since they take longer to kick in compared to smoking or vaping and their effects linger longer.

The researchers emphasize the need for more studies to establish guidelines for safe driving after consuming cannabis edibles and recommend caution, emphasizing the “wait it out” approach when in doubt. That means it’s a good idea to have a sober driver on call if you’re planning on indulging in cannabis outside of the house — just as you would if you were drinking.