There’s nothing like a refreshing scoop of rocky road or very berry strawberry on a hot summer day – but if you’re very health conscious, you might pass on ice cream no matter the season. Well, what if we told you it isn’t so bad for you after all? In fact, if eaten in moderation, ice cream has some surprising health benefits. We’ve got the scoop on five reasons to treat yourself.
1. It may help you lose weight. If you avoid ice cream because you don’t want to gain weight, this might just change your mind: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who ate at least one daily serving of full-fat dairy products, such as ice cream, gained less weight than those who didn’t. Now, that doesn’t mean you can sit down with a tub of ice cream every night and expect to lose weight. But a half-cup serving of vanilla or chocolate ice cream – which has about 140 calories, 7g fat and 14g sugar – can be a reasonable part of your diet. (Slow-churned is a bit healthier.) Wondering if frozen yogurt is a smarter choice than regular ice cream? Watch this video with registered dietitian Samantha Heller to find out.
Tylenol may not work for acute back pain: Acetaminophen has long been the first drug of choice for sudden (acute) back pain, but an Australian study is calling this into question. More than 1,600 people with acute lower-back pain either took acetaminophen tablets regularly three times a day, took acetaminophen only as needed or took placebo tablets for up to four weeks. “People in all three groups took about the same number of days to become pain-free: 17 days in the regular-dose group and the as-needed group, and 16 days in the placebo group. Participants also kept track of their daily pain (on a scale of 1 to 10), and pain scores across the three groups were about the same throughout the study.” (Fox)
Keeping brown fat may help control diabetes: Brown fat is the furnace of our bodies and uses energy to regulate our body temperature. This is especially important as baby’s, but as we get older and become better at regulating our temperature, we lose brown fat. Researchers have known for some time that brown fat is also involved in regulation of body weight, but new research is showing it may also play a role in diabetes. “[A] report published in the journal Diabetes…[by researchers] at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found for the first time that adults who retained more amounts of brown fat were better able to keep blood sugar under control and burn off fat stores.” As of yet, researchers haven’t found a way to turn our natural stores of brown fat “on” or “off.” (Time)
What time you wake up may reflect your personality: It appears night owls may have a rougher time than early risers according to a new study from a group of researchers in Spain. “They found that morning people tend to be more persistent. Morning types are also more resistant to fatigue, frustration and difficulties, which often translates into lower levels of anxiety and lower rates of depression, higher life satisfaction and less likelihood of substance abuse. On the other hand, evening people tend to be more extravagant, temperamental, impulsive and novelty- seeking, ‘with a higher tendency to explore the unknown.’ They are more likely to suffer from insomnia and ADHD. They also appear to be more likely to develop addictive behaviors, mental disorders and antisocial tendencies, and even to attempt suicide.” Researchers think both social and genetic factors underlie these differences. (CBS)
With the long days of summer continuing, many of us are spending more time outdoors. Lounging around the pool or the beach often includes kicking off our sandals and letting our feet do the walking. While this activity may seem natural, there are some risks to ditching our shoe protection from hazards on the ground. Read more »
When your doctor writes you a prescription, the pharmacy often swaps it out for a cheaper generic version of the pill. This can happen during medication refills as well, with some pharmacies even switching out different generics based on changing supply. All these switches can lead to pill color and shape changes, even if the medication and dose is the same.
With pill swapping behind the counter becoming more common, a group of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston wanted to know if these changes made any difference in whether or not people took their medications. The researchers looked at patients who had been discharged from the hospital after a heart attack and who were put on a variety of blood pressure and cholesterol medications. All medications studied had generic alternatives. They looked at how often the color or shape of pills changed while a person was taking them and looked to see whether that change was associated with how often they stopped taking their medications. Read more »
Summer is the time for outdoor eating and my family and I have made a habit of grilling when the weather’s nice. But the bacteria in your food love the heat as much as you do and a barbecue can turn bad if food is prepared wrong or left out for too long. Bacteria can lurk on many foods that look and smell fine, so it’s important that you know how to keep your food safe and know what to do if you or someone you know ends up with food poisoning.
Meats may be contaminated when you buy them in the store or may become contaminated in the environment, if the person preparing it doesn’t wash their hands or uses a dirty cutting board, for example. Here are some tips from buying to eating that will help to keep you and your family safe:
Keep it clean. You should wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (I sing two “Happy Birthdays”) before touching any meat. Always make sure you’re using a clean knife and cutting board.
Defrost it right. You should never leave meat out on the counter to defrost. Doing so makes it the perfect petri dish for bacteria to grow on. Instead, thaw meat in the fridge, cold water or the microwave.
Cook it all the way through. The CDC recommends cooking most meats so that the temperature inside reaches 165°F. That will kill off anything harmful that might make you sick. Pick up a good meat thermometer to know if it’s hot enough.
A recent study in the journal Neurology found that individuals that consumed greater amounts of lean sources of protein were less likely to have a stroke. The evidence however was not found in individuals that consumed a high amount of red meat. These turkey cakes boast 13 grams of protein, no red meat whatsoever and an abundant amount of fabulous taste. Get the recipe.
The skin’s barrier is designed to keep pollution out, but unfortunately, it’s not completely impenetrable and these particles are absorbed into the skin on a daily basis, contributing to premature aging.
Ground-level ozone is a gas created when toxic emissions from cars and factories combine with sunlight. The resulting molecule is highly reactive and causes free radicals to form that can damage the lipids and proteins of the skin. The other main pollution source is solid dirt particles, which sit on the surface of the skin and increase inflammation.
While looking older offers legitimate concerns, there are more immediate consequences as well. Airborne pollutants cause a chemical reaction with your natural oils, changing them to a waxier consistency that can clog pores. And those suffering from rosacea can experience flare-ups due to irritants in the air. Read more »
Probiotics may help control your blood pressure: Researchers have found that consuming probiotics, which are the “good” bacteria found in cheeses, yogurt and milk, may help control blood pressure. “Researchers found that consuming the proper amount of probiotics over at least two months appeared to modestly lower blood pressure.Past studies have shown probiotics can have a positive effect on blood sugar, cholesterol and certain hormones – all of which can impact blood flow.” The reductions are modest with “probiotic consumption [lowering] systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 3.56 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 2.38 mm Hg, compared to a placebo or no treatment,” but the findings reveal an unexpected new ally in helping fight high blood pressure. (Reuters)
Fruit recall over concerns of bacterial contamination: Fruit supplies from a California grower are being recalled because of possible contamination with a bacteria called Listeria monocytogenes. “Wawona Packing Co. is voluntarily recalling peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots that were packed at its Cutler, California, warehouses between June 1 and July 12.” Wawona supplies stores like Sam’s Club, BJ’s, Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Costco’s. No illness has been reported to date. Listeria is an organism that can cause serious infection in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weak immune systems. Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. (CNN)
HPV testing more effective than Paps for cervical cancer screening: The Pap smear has long been the standard screening tool to prevent cervical cancer in women, but testing for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has become a standard addition since HPV causes the vast majority of cervical cancer. A new study using data from “more than 1 million women finds the HPV test outperforming the standard Pap test in assessing cervical cancer risk. Researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) conclude that a negative test for HPV (human papillomavirus) infection is associated with an extremely low risk for cervical cancer and provides greater assurance of low cervical cancer risk than a negative Pap test.” This supports the current practice of using both Pap smears and HPV testing to detect cervical cancer and “bolsters support for use of the HPV test alone as another alternative for cervical screening.” (CBS)
Summer is a great time to accumulate some fun memories and experiences with the family. Unfortunately for a lot of women, it’s also a time to accumulate sun spots. In general, there are two types of dark spots that can develop on the skin after excessive sun exposure. Freckles are those small tan or brown spots that develop on sun-exposed areas that will completely fade once the fall or winter comes and excessive sun exposure is reduced. Freckles are more common in children or young adults. A solar lentigo (or lentigines) is a sun spot that does not fade once sun exposure has diminished and more often seen in adults. These are the not-so-nice reminders of a long summer of sun and are very common among people of all skin types. Here are a few simple steps to help deal with them. Read more »