Introducing the Brand New Dr. Oz App!

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My team and I have been hard at work on something I’m thrilled to share with you today — the Dr. Oz App, which was built to make losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle easier than ever. It’s no secret that trying to lose weight and staying healthy can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the prepping and planning stage. With the new Dr. Oz app, we’ve gone ahead and done the work for you — sending tips, recipes, and your daily to-dos straight to your fingertips through your phone every day.

Here’s how it works: Download the app in the Apple Store and you’ll be able to immediately start the  28-Day Shrink Your Stomach Challenge. Every day, you’ll get exclusive meal tips, recipes, exercises, diet advice, motivational messages, and more to keep you on track and help you tackle the plan along the way. With daily notifications to help keep you accountable and eliminate the guesswork, we’ve broken down the plan into bite-size, manageable pieces that will make sticking to it and achieving your goal simple. Once you’ve completed the plan, you can browse through tons of other healthy-living challenges to keep yourself from yo-yoing with your weight, diet, and lifestyle. Consider this app the one tool you need to become your best self.

I can’t wait for you to try the 28-Day Shrink Your Stomach Challenge as well as the rest of the features on the app. Good luck, and remember – you can do this!

Today’s Headlines: Dermatologists Say Popular Sunscreens Are Not Effective, the Way to Slow Down Bone Loss, and Why Certain Foods May Be to Blame For Health Issues

Certain sunscreens are ineffective, despite their reviews and reputation. Dermatologists tested 65 best-selling sunscreens, the top 1% of all sunscreen purchases on Amazon.com to see how beneficial they really were. “40% of them did not meet the criteria put forth by the American Academy of Dermatology. Of these 65 sunscreens [that were tested], seven (or 11%) did not have an SPF of at least 30, five (or 8%) did not protect against both UVA and UVB rays, and 25 (or 38%) were not designed to withstand water or sweat.” Products in the study did not meet standards if they could be easily washed away. The American Academy of Dermatologists urged consumers to pay attention to the three most important factors when choosing sunscreen: SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum protection, and water resistance. (LA Times)

Exercising multiple times a week may help strengthen your bones. As women get older, their bones get weaker but a new study has found that regular, light exercise may be the key to good bone health. “[The study]  found that women who exercised consistently every week experienced bone loss, but the reduction was significantly less than a control group that didn’t exercise regularly. In regular exercisers, bone density decreased by 1.5% in the spine and 5.7% in the hip over 16 years. Among controls, bone density in the spine and hips declined by 5.8% and 9.7%, respectively.” The study found that exercising twice a week was necessary and any less would be ineffective. (WSJ)

Eating too much government-subsidized food may lead to adverse health effects. The CDC studied foods like wheat, rice, dairy, and other affordable but typically processed foods. “Even though these are not the foods the government tells us to eat with their dietary guidelines, they’re the foods the government makes cheap. More than half of Americans’ calories came from subsidized foods, the study authors found. In the research group’s prior work, this hasn’t proven to be a good thing; diets full of subsidized food were rich in dairy, carbohydrates and meat and low in fruits, vegetables and overall quality. Younger, poorer, less educated people eat vastly more quantities of subsidized food, the same group of researchers found. Compared to people who ate the least amount of subsidized food, the people who ate the most had a 37% higher risk of being obese, a 41% greater risk of having belly fat, a 34% higher risk for having signs of elevated inflammation and a 14% higher risk of having abnormal cholesterol.” Researchers suggested government subsidies be adjusted to encourage more fruit and vegetable production. (Time)

Today’s Headlines: Why You Can Eat Butter in Moderation, The Benefits of Eating on a Schedule, and Why You Shouldn’t Worry Too Much About Subway Germs

Having butter in your diet may not be as harmful as previously thought. In a new study, researchers claim that while butter is in no way considered a health food, it’s acceptable to eat in moderation. “[They] found no clear evidence that butter does any harm or good by itself. People who ate the most butter were slightly more likely to die during the various study periods than were people who ate little or none, but the risk was very slight, the team reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE.” The researchers noted that the foods you eat with butter – i.e bagels, pasta, etc. – may be more concerning than butter itself. (NBC)

Irregular eating may affect your health. Two studies found that issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes were more prevalent among those who didn’t eat on regular schedules. “One of the reviews examined international eating patterns and found a possible link between obesity and eating more calories in the evening. The other paper concluded that people who consistently ate six meals a day had better cholesterol and insulin levels than those who ate meals with variable frequency—in this case, anywhere from three to nine meals a day.” Researchers are still trying to explain and understand the link between metabolism and circadian rhythms. (Time)

Germs in the subway shouldn’t concern you. Subway poles are commonly viewed as bacteria-ridden and dirty but a new Harvard study shows that the germs on these surfaces aren’t necessarily harmful. “All the surfaces were contaminated with generally innocuous human skin bacteria, including various strains of propionibacterium, corynebacterium, staphylococcus and streptococcus, among others. Some strains of these bacteria can cause disease under certain circumstances, but all are carried by healthy people and usually cause no problems.” The team concluded that these microbes were equivalent to the germs you would receive if shaking another individual’s hands. (NYT)

5 Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises

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Great Outdoors Month is coming to an end, but the long summer days ahead are beckoning. Try one of these popular workouts al fresco and get your blood pumping without overstressing your body. Aside from better circulation, you’ll improve your flexibility, strengthen your muscles, lungs and heart, all while boosting your mood! Head outside in the early morning or late afternoon hours to avoid peak heat times. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen, bring your sunglasses and most importantly, a water bottle for your workout.

Watch: The No Excuse Workout

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Today’s Headlines: An Update on the Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine, How Playing Cards Can Help Stroke Recovery, and the Benefits of Owning a Pet

This week, experts announced that they believe FluMist® is not effective. Advisors to the CDC found that it has not significantly prevented influenza in the last couple of years and therefore should not be the preferred vaccination method moving forward. “Vaccine experts say they are not sure [why the FluMist is not effective]. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cites one study that found FluMist only reduced the risk of serious influenza by 3 percent last year. Influenza is very difficult to vaccinate against. The virus is so mutation-prone that the vaccine has to be changed and made fresh every year. Even so, sometimes the circulating strains mutate faster than the vaccine makers make new vaccine.” The CDC still advises everyone to get the flu vaccine every year. (NBC)

Playing cards may assist stroke recovery. The act of holding objects and using hands and arms in some activities may increase motor skills. “…the type of task used for motor rehabilitation might be less relevant, as long as it is intensive, repetitive and gets the hands and arms moving…Approximately half of the patients, at random, were then allocated to the Wii rehab, while the rest were asked to do other recreational activities, such as playing cards…Both groups showed significant improvement in their motor skills at the end of the two weeks and four weeks later.” Other activities that appeared to be beneficial included playing Jenga® and bingo. (BBC)

If you own a pet, your lifespan may increase. A recent study has shown that female pet owners may lower their risk of dying from a stroke. “According to the National Death Index, as of 2006, 11 of every 1,000 non-pet owners had died of cardiovascular disease, compared to about 7 of every 1,000 pet owners. Specifically for stroke, male pet owners were just as likely to have died, but female pet owners were about 40 percent less likely to have died of stroke. Most of this association was driven by cat ownership, according to results in High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Prevention.” The research supporting and against owning a pet is ongoing. (Reuters)

Today’s Headlines: The Good News About Americans’ Diets, Google’s New Symptom Search Feature, and Why You Should Eat More Vegetables

New data shows that Americans are eating healthier foods and eliminating sodas and other sugar-filled drinks. Although the standard American diet has a poor reputation, a recent study shows that our eating habits are better than before. “Overall, the percentage of Americans with poor diets based on these AHA standards dropped from 56 percent to 46 percent during the study period. The proportion of people with ideal diets was low but inched up to 1.5 percent from less than 1 percent.” The study noted several factors such as household income, race, and geographic location that were influential when it came to healthy eating. While the increase is a step in the right direction, American diets still need improvement overall. (Fox)

Google wants to help you accurately search your symptoms. Google’s search results for symptoms can be unhelpful and sometimes make matters worse. “On Monday, it [Google] rolled out a new feature called symptom search. The next time you use the Google search app for iPhone and Android to look up something like “my tummy hurts,” “skin rash,” or “headache on one side,” you’ll see about a half-dozen digital cards you can swipe through right below the search box. Each of these cards briefly describes a common health problem related to your search term. Google worked with Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic to build the symptom search cards. Where possible, the cards will mention whether self-treatment options are available, or whether a related health problem is serious enough to warrant professional medical care. Beneath the cards, you’ll see the same old list of website links—helpful or unhelpful as they may be.” While no online information is more sufficient than a visit to your doctor, Google hopes this new system will help you get more information on the health issues that affect you. (WSJ)

Add more vegetables on your plate to decrease your risk for diabetes. New research has found that increasing the amount of plant-based foods and decreasing the amount of animal-based foods in your diet may benefit your health overall. “On average, adults who ate a plant-based diet with few animal products cut their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 20 percent. But when researchers distinguished between healthful and unhealthful plant-based foods, they found that diabetes risk dropped by 34 percent among the healthful plant-based eaters. Notably, there wasn’t a benefit to plant-based eating when a person consumed a lot of refined carbohydrates and starchy vegetables. In that case, a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased slightly.” Plant-based foods are filled with many nutrients that can help balance and stabilize blood sugar levels and metabolism. (NYT)

5 Non-Medicinal Ways to Relieve a Headache or Migraine

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This week, I want to talk about a health problem that’s nearly as prevalent as the common cold – headaches. The World Health Organization estimates that over half of all adults suffer from current headache disorder (meaning, they’ve had at least one headache in the past year). Neurologists classify headaches into two categories – primary and secondary. Primary headaches are the most widespread and include tension headaches (the most common), migraines (which affect more women than men), and cluster headaches (which affect more men than women). Since June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, here are five natural and alternative ways to relieve the symptoms of this recurring pain.

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An Easy Trick to Move More This Summer

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Summer can be an extremely exciting time for all of us, school is out and it’s finally time for family vacations and weekend getaways. We can’t wait to explore new horizons and enjoy ourselves. But what happens to our workout routine when we take a break from it all? Because let’s face it, exercise usually gets left behind. What if there was a way to sneak in your workout no matter where you go without paying gym fees or lug any equipment with you in your suitcase? There is! Let me introduce you to the Summer Elevator Busters Challenge! Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: How Heavy Drinking Can Hurt Your Heart, The Danger of Driving with Dementia, and Forgiveness Could Help Relieve Your Stress

There may be a link between heavy drinking and the development of atrial fibrillation (afib). A new study has drawn a correlation between heart health and alcohol based on hospital records in Texas. “The analysis found that people living in dry counties, where sales of alcoholic beverages are prohibited, had a higher risk of being hospitalized for a heart attack or congestive heart failure than people living in wet counties, where such sales are allowed. But residents of wet counties were at elevated risk for a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation…Prevalence of atrial fibrillation was about 5% higher in wet counties, while prevalence of heart attacks was 17% lower. New hospitalizations for afib during the study were 7% higher in wet counties while those for heart attack were 9% lower.” While drinking in moderation is not necessarily harmful, make sure to steer clear of excessive alcohol consumption or binge drinking. (WSJ)

Those with dementia should stop driving as their disease progresses. So far, no cognitive tests have been able to figure out if and when it is safe for a dementia patient to operate a car. “People with dementia have up to eight times the odds of being in a car accident compared with other seniors. But in the early stages of the condition, people with a dementia diagnosis can often drive safely, the study team writes in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society…” A person does not need to give up their license and right to drive as soon as they are diagnosed. However, he or she will need to be monitored by doctors and family members and eventually stop driving in the future. (Fox)

Forgiveness may be the key to helping you manage stress. A small preliminary study looked at the correlation between forgiveness, stress, and mental health. Researchers hypothesized that the ability to cope could make stress more manageable. “[They] looked at the effects of lifetime stress on a person’s mental health, and how more forgiving people fared compared to people who weren’t so forgiving. No surprise, people with greater exposure to stress over their lifetimes had worse mental and physical health. But the researchers also discovered that if people were highly forgiving of both themselves and others, that characteristic alone virtually eliminated the connection between stress and mental illness.”  (Time)