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Longevity Recipe: 10 Fruit, Veggie Servings Daily

March 16th, 2017 • Posted by Suzy Frick • Permalink

Longevity Recipe: 10 Fruit, Veggie Servings Daily
Reductions seen in risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and early death

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Feb. 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- If you want to add years to your life, 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables may be the best recipe you can follow, a new analysis suggests.

The benefits appear to come through lower rates of heart attack, stroke, cancer and early death. And if everyone found a way to get 10 daily servings of produce, 7.8 million premature deaths would be avoided each year worldwide, the British researchers estimated.

Exactly how much in the way of fruits and vegetables is that? Anywhere from 10 small bananas or apples to 30 tablespoons of cooked spinach, peas, broccoli or cauliflower -- or roughly 800 grams of produce, the researchers said.

At least five servings (400 grams) of fruits and vegetables each day is what is currently recommended by many health agencies.

"Although five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better," said study author Dagfinn Aune, of the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

But even just over two portions a day made a difference in the review, the researchers added.

Eating 2.5 portions (200 grams) of produce on a daily basis was associated with reductions in: heart disease (by 16 percent); stroke (18 percent); cardiovascular disease (13 percent); cancer risk (4 percent); and premature death (15 percent).

The results for 10 daily servings were even stronger: a 24 percent reduced risk of heart disease; a 33 percent reduced risk of stroke; a 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease; a 13 percent reduced risk of cancer; and a 31 percent reduction in premature death risk.

"Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system," Aune said in a university news release.

"This may be due to the complex network of nutrients they hold. For instance, they contain many antioxidants, which may reduce DNA damage, and lead to a reduction in cancer risk," Aune explained.

However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link between eating more fruits and vegetables and longer life.

"Most likely it is the whole package of beneficial nutrients you obtain by eating fruits and vegetables that is crucial in health," Aune said.

"This is why it is important to eat whole plant foods to get the benefit, instead of taking antioxidant or vitamin supplements (which have not been shown to reduce disease risk)," Aune noted.

Together, the 95 studies the Imperial College London scientists analyzed included almost 2 million people.

In their review, the researchers also found signs that these types of produce seemed to confer the greatest benefits: apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower), and green and yellow vegetables (such as green beans, spinach, carrots and peppers).

The study was published Feb. 22 in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

SOURCE: Imperial College London, news release, Feb. 22, 2017

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The Etiquette of Achoo!

February 2nd, 2017 • Posted by Suzy Frick • Permalink

The Etiquette of Achoo!
Cover your sneeze to protect those around you, health experts advise

By Randy Dotinga

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Sneezing is your body's way of getting rid of nasal invaders like pollen, pet hair or viruses. But while sneezes may be good for you, they can spread germs to others.

Texas A&M University Health Science Center researchers offer some suggestions about protecting yourself and everyone else during the sneezing season:

Look at the big picture. Be aware that the germs in a sneeze can travel far, potentially more than 10 feet, to land on surfaces where they can live for weeks. Antibacterial wipes can help reduce the risk that you'll touch germs when you make your way around the world each day.
Hand hygiene helps. If you cover your sneeze with your hands, make sure to wash them afterward using soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Hand sanitizer isn't enough on its own. Otherwise, the germs may take up residence in your hands and spread to other people through handshaking, doorknobs and anything else you touch.
Count on your sleeve. Consider covering your nose and mouth with your upper arm, vampire-style, when you feel a sneeze coming on, because it may reduce the risk that you'll spread germs.
Use a tissue. It's a good idea to keep a box handy. Just make sure to throw used tissues away and wash your hands afterward.
More information

For more about coughing and sneezing etiquette, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: Texas A&M University, news release

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7 Post-Workout Moves to Get Fit Faster

December 7th, 2016 • Posted by Suzy Frick • Permalink

Your fitness routine doesn't end when you hit the showers. The downtime after your workouts is when the good stuff happens: Your muscles repair and rebuild themselves, and your fitness level surges.

Want to optimize your recovery and propel your future workouts to the next level? Make these post-workout practices a regular part of your regimen.

1. Refuel

Dip into a stash of carbohydrate- and protein-rich foods after you work out. A healthy snack at the right time tops off your energy supply and helps repair and rebuild your muscles.

About 20 to 60 minutes after your workout, have a snack that's two-thirds carbs and one-third protein, like a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread.

2. Rehydrate

"Replenishing your water is critical to optimize your recovery," says Eric Oliver, owner of Beyond Exercise, an athletic development and physical therapy facility in Cincinnati. Sipping water after a workout helps your body's cells, boosts circulation, and brings your body temperature back to normal.

Drink 8 ounces before your workout, 7 to 10 ounces every 20 minutes during exercise, and 8 ounces afterward. For a flavor boost, add a splash of 100% fruit juice or a slice of lime.

3. Massage

Kick muscle tightness, aches, and limitations to the curb with a soft-tissue massage. "If you can't get a massage, using products like foam rollers or massage balls is a decent substitute," Oliver says. Roll them slowly over your muscles, and when you find a sore spot, hold it there for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Compress

Many athletes and fitness buffs rock compression socks, tights, and sleeves while they work out. But keeping them on longer may be beneficial. Recent research suggests that donning compression wear after exercise -- even while you sleep -- may aid muscle recovery.

5. Ice

Ice packs and ice baths are a tried-and-true recovery tool. The frigid temp narrows your blood vessels, which sends extra oxygen to your muscles when they warm up again.

Some pros suggest flipping between an ice bath and a hot shower. Soak in frigid water for 45 seconds, then let a hot shower cascade over you for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat several times, always starting and ending with cold.

6. Go light

Intense exercise has major benefits, but gentle workouts deserve credit, too. They boost blood circulation, promote the flow of nutrients to your muscles, and prevent scarring of muscle and connective tissue, Oliver says. Try low-intensity activities like yoga or walking a few times a week.

7. Take off

"Recovery days are critical in developing more strength, power, or speed from your exercise efforts," Oliver says.

If you work out hard, alternate muscle groups on different days. Every week, pencil in one full day off plus one day of active recovery, like stretching, easy cardio, or core work.

If you're a low-key exerciser, you don't need a day off. But, says Oliver, "it doesn't hurt to have that time off to let your body and mind relax and recover for the next week of exercise."

Find more articles, browse back issues, and read the current issue of "WebMD Magazine."

SOURCES:Eric Oliver, physical therapist.American Council on Exercise: “Recovery Redefined: How Much Rest You Actually Need,” “Healthy Hydration,” “Compression Clothing.”American Heart Association: “Food as Fuel – Before, During and After Workouts.”Massachusetts General Hospital: “Recovery and Rest: Keys to Successful Exercise.”National Institute for Fitness and Sport: “The Importance of Recovery After Exercise.”

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on 7/21/2016

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