Today’s Headlines: Why You Should Snack on Nuts, The Link Between Obesity and Cancer, and How Your Coffee Cravings May Be Determined by Your DNA

Adding nuts to your daily diet may significantly reduce inflammation in your body. A new study has shown that eating a handful of nuts several times a week is beneficial. “Nuts may lower inflammation because they contain fiber, magnesium, antioxidants and other health-boosting ingredients, the researchers write. People who ate nuts at least five times per week had 20 percent lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to people who never or rarely ate nuts. They also had 16 percent lower levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), another inflammatory marker.” The type of nut did not seem to matter, although researchers noted that peanut butter did not have the same beneficial results. (Reuters)

Watch: How to Make Lisa Oz’s Not-Too-Spicy Nuts

A higher BMI may put you at risk for cancer. In a new analysis of more than 1,000 studies, researchers found that being overweight or obese could increase your risk of eight types of cancer. “While previous studies have found obesity can increase the chances of developing health issues like diabetes and heart disease, which can also raise the risk of early death, study authors noted excess weight can specifically drive cancer growth by promoting inflammation…Being overweight or obese leads to an overproduction of estrogen, testosterone and insulin, which can further fuel the progression of cancer.” Researchers identified the eight diseases as liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, gallbladder cancer, stomach cancer, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, brain tumor meningioma, and multiple myeloma. (Fox)

More: The Plan to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Whether or not you crave coffee may be related to your genes. Researchers have found that a variation of a gene may determine why you need your daily coffee fix. “Those with a gene variant called PDSS2 drank one cup less a day on average than those without the variation, the investigators found… The findings suggest that PDSS2 reduces cells’ ability to break down caffeine. That means it stays in the body longer. The upshot: People with the gene variant don’t need as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit as those without it, the researchers said.” More research needs to be done to confirm these new findings and establish the biological cause and effect. Learn more about the pros and cons of drinking coffee. (CBS)

3 Nutrients You Might Need More Of

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One of the ongoing responsibilities of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to keep track of and monitor Americans’ nutritional intake. Periodically, the CDC will release new research that indicate which vitamins and minerals we may need more of. The most recent findings are from their Second Nutrition Report based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2006. The good news is that most Americans are consuming a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals from a variety of food sources but there are some groups of people that may need to be more aware of certain nutrients.

In this week’s blog, I’m highlighting three of these essential nutrients and who might need to increase their intake of these nutrients. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies arise from multiple causes and are influenced by factors such as age, gender, and race or ethnicity. Before overhauling your diet or reaching for supplements, discuss your personal diet and lifestyle habits, along with any symptoms you may have with a physician to avoid any excess nutrient consumption, which can be just as harmful as a nutrient deficiency.

Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: The FDA-Approved Head Injury Test, Why Crossing Your Legs is Bad for You, and How Often You Should Get Mammograms

The FDA has approved the ImPACT test. The ImPACT test stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment Cognitive Testing which is the first cognitive test of its kind to be approved. “ImPACT is intended for individuals aged 12 to 59 while ImPACT Pediatric was designed for patients aged 5 to 11. The devices are not intended to diagnose concussion, but are meant to test cognitive skills such as word memory, reaction time and word recognition. Results are compared to an age-matched control database of 17,000 cases or to a patient’s pre-injury baseline scores, if available.” The ImPACT program can be downloaded and taken on a computer. (Fox)

Sitting cross-legged may be hurting you. Many people don’t know that the crossed-leg position is an unnatural way to sit. According to Dr. Naresh Rao from NYU Langone Medical Center, crossing your legs “is not a nice ergonomic position for your pelvis…The top knee puts pressure on the lower knee, while the pelvis is rotated and strained. The knees are at an unnaturally twisted angle, and you also hunch the lower back, giving it a little bit of torque.” Dr. Rao doesn’t think that alternating which leg you cross makes the situation any better and believes extended cross legging can lead to back problems and other issues. (WSJ)

Women with dense breast tissue might need to get mammograms more frequently. Roughly one percent of women between the ages of 50 and 74 have dense breast tissue, which could increase the risk for breast cancer. “The research recommends that women older than 50 with dense breast tissue who have higher-than-normal risk of developing breast cancer should get annual mammograms. Many women, however, could go as long as three years between mammograms without increasing their risk of death from breast cancer, the study found.” The general recommendation for mammograms is every two years, although this suggested time frame may change based on a woman’s low or high risk density. Researchers recommend speaking with your physician to determine the screening time that is best for you. (LA Times)

Why Experts Say You Can’t Spread HIV When You’re on Meds

Dr. Oz with Charlie Sheen on set

Written by Michael Crupain, MD, MPH

When Charlie Sheen told the world he had HIV in November of 2015 it turned out to be a major moment for public health. In fact, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Charlie’s announcement was among the top 1 percent of historic HIV-related media events and led to millions of people seeking out information on HIV and its prevention.

Despite that, we have found that there is still a lot of misunderstanding out there about what it means to be HIV-positive today.

Last week a headline in the New York Post proclaimed “Charlie Was Right.” The article was referring to statements he and his doctor made on our show and elsewhere when they claimed that it was impossible, or at least almost impossible, for Charlie to infect anyone else with the HIV virus. For people not keeping up with where HIV treatment is today—that statement was shocking. It’s also hard to understand without some additional context, so back in November we wrote about it to help explain how this could be. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Gallstones May Increase Heart Disease Risk, The Link Between Calcium Supplements and Dementia, and an Update on the Zika Virus

Gallstones may put you at risk for heart disease. A new study has found that heart disease risk may be correlated to a medical history of gallstones. “Among women, Qi’s team found, those with a history of gallstones were up to 33 percent more likely to eventually develop heart disease. For men, gallstones were linked to an 11 percent increased risk. The researchers then pooled those results with findings from four previous studies that included nearly 900,000 people. All together, they found that adults with a history of gallstones were 23 percent more likely to develop heart disease​.” While the reason for the connection has not yet been established, researchers advised people who have had gallstones to pay more attention to their heart health. (CBS)

Calcium supplements may raise the risk of dementia. Older women who took calcium supplements for osteoporosis were found to have a high risk. “The study can’t prove cause-and-effect. However, dementia risk was seven times higher in female stroke survivors who took calcium supplements, compared to women with a history of stroke who didn’t use the supplements, the findings showed. The risk of dementia also was three times higher in women with white matter brain lesions who took calcium supplements, compared to women with white matter lesions who didn’t take the supplements.” Since the link has not yet been confirmed and proven, researchers recommend that women with osteoporosis and who have also had a stroke should continue to discuss their risks and follow up with their doctors. (CBS)

The Zika virus has spread to Miami Beach. This is now the second area in Florida where a non-travel related case has been reported in the U.S. “Governor Rick Scott confirmed Friday. He said five people have been infected by Zika locally in Miami Beach, including three tourists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new travel warning, telling pregnant women to avoid the popular tourist area if at all possible. The area includes much of South Beach, the quirky beachfront district popular for its outdoor restaurants and sidewalk promenades.” The CDC advises all pregnant women avoid traveling to Miami-Dade County and experts encourage everyone to stay indoors and take precautions. (NBC)

5 Ways to Fight Fatigue

sleepy woman waking up

Whether you’re running endless errands or sidelined by illness, fatigue strikes all of us at one point or another. Oftentimes, an unhealthy lifestyle is to blame for this common health complaint but you can break out of this cycle of lethargy and weariness by making changes to your daily routine, diet, or sleep schedule.

If you’re experiencing sudden, unexplained fatigue, talk to your doctor about your symptoms since fatigue can also be triggered by medication or indicate a more serious issue, especially if it’s ongoing or long lasting.

Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Surprising Mosquito Magnets, How a Sedentary Lifestyle Can Negatively Affect You, and The Correlation Between Weight and Cancer

What you drink, what you wear, and the make-up of your skin may put you at risk for mosquito bites. Grayson Brown, a mosquito scientist who works at the University of Kentucky, says there are many factors that could lure mosquitos to your body. “One study by Japanese researchers found that drinking a single beer increased mosquito attraction. Brown said it’s not clear why that might be, but it’s possible alcohol raises the body temperature of drinkers and makes them sweat more, both known mosquito magnets… ‘Color is [also] a cue. They are much more likely to go to someone in dark clothes versus somebody in light clothes,’ he said.” Other attractions that could lead to mosquito bites included yeast, blood type, and skin bacteria. (CBS)

Read More: The Best Ways to Stay Zika-Free This Summer

Sitting too much during the day can decrease your lifespan and cause health problems. But new research suggests that these same health problems can be caused even if people exercise to counteract their sedentary lifestyle. “The trouble is, it’s hard to measure just how inactive people are and there’s not enough evidence yet to show just how much, or how often, you have to exercise to counteract the effects of sitting, the group said in a scientific update. At least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise — walking briskly rather than strolling around the house — should be the minimum goal…And it may be worthwhile to encourage desk-bound workers to get up and move a bit every hour or so. Yet even this may not outweigh the effects of sitting at a computer all day, driving home in a car, and then relaxing in front of the TV or with a tablet computer. ‘Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels…’” The new evidence encourages people to move more throughout the day as a preventative measure. (NBC)

Read more: How to Move More During the Work Day

A women’s cancer risk could increase if she’s overweight. A study found that the length of time a woman is overweight may increase her risk for breast, endometrial, colon, and kidney cancers. “The risk of developing any of those cancers rose in tandem with the number of years a woman had been overweight. On average, the study found, the odds rose by 10 percent for every 10 years a woman had been obese. Similarly, they climbed by 7 percent for every decade she’d been overweight. When the researchers took a closer look, four cancers were clearly connected to the duration of a woman’s excess weight: breast, endometrial, colon and kidney. But the findings do not prove excess weight causes these cancers.” Researchers suggested that extra weight could indicate an unhealthy lifestyle that may lead to cancer. (CBS)

Read more: 22 Ways to Cut Your Risk of Cancer

4 Tips to Run Smarter This Summer

woman-running

For many of us, summer is a time to increase our physical outdoor activity. Recently, I was approached by a group of health editors on the topic of foot “heaviness” as a common complaint amongst women who are boosting their exercise and running routines. Here are some of my thoughts on how to keep you moving, and to stay light on your feet this summer! Read more  »