In Case You Missed It: April 14 Through April 18

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If you missed a segment or forgot to jot down a tip this week, we’ve got you covered. Check out these helpful hints and takeaways and click to read more on DoctorOz.com!

1. Learn how to give up sugar for good with this 5-step plan from Dr. Nicole Avena. Plus, find out out the true age of your heart with this easy quiz.

2. You can cure your exhaustion is just 10 minutes. Learn Dr. Oz’s secret trick to getting your energy back. Plus, learn the four rules to follow to start eating clean.

3. Making simple food swaps can help fight inflammation. Find out the small changes you can make to help your body.

4. Do you believe in a health conspiracy? Dr. Oz investigates the myths people believe. Plus, new research shows that saturated fats may not be as bad for you as you thought. Find out what fats are Oz-approved.

5. Everyone has a diet slipup once in a while. But you can help combat your overindulgences with these helpful tips.

 

Today’s Headlines: Food Textures, Diabetes Complications and Marijuana

Chew on this: How does food texture impact its perceived calorie content?: A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that a food’s texture significantly impacts how many calories consumers think it has. In part of the study, researchers asked participants to rate a series of television ads. They provided them with a cup of bite-sized brownie bits that were either soft or hard and asked half the group about the calorie content of the brownies. “When the participants were not made to focus on the calorie content, they consumed a higher volume of brownies when they were soft (vs. hard). In contrast, when made to focus on the calorie content, the participants consumed a higher volume of brownies when they were hard (vs. soft).” Researchers concluded that people incorrectly perceive foods with a hard or rough texture to contain fewer calories than softer foods. (EurekAlert!)

Type 2 diabetes complications show sharp decline, report finds: “Federal researchers reported the first sweeping national picture of progress in combating some of the most devastating complications of the Type 2 diabetes epidemic on Wednesday, finding that rates of heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations declined sharply over the past two decades.” The largest declines came in heart attacks and deaths due to high blood sugar, which dropped by more than 60% over a 20-year period. These improvements come as the number of Americans with diabetes more than tripled during the study period. “Researchers said the declines were the fruit of years of efforts to improve the health of patients with Type 2 diabetes,” and credited better patient education and improved control of risk factors. (The New York Times

Casual marijuana use linked with brain abnormalities, study finds: “For the first time, researchers at Northwestern University have analyzed the relationship between casual use of marijuana and brain changes – and found that young adults who used cannabis just once or twice a week showed significant abnormalities in two important brain structures.” The researchers used MRIs to look at the subjects’ brains, especially the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala, which are responsible for processing emotions, making decisions and motivation. “They looked at these brain structures in three different ways, measuring their density, volume and shape,” and found that all three areas were abnormal in marijuana users. The more the subject smoked, the more significant the brain abnormalities were. (Fox News)

The Consequences of Health Conspiracies

Information protection

Over several decades of working in medicine and on The Dr. Oz Show, I’ve heard a lot of medical conspiracy theories. And I certainly have a significant number of smart, thoughtful friends and family who have their own questions about whether these theories might have some backing to them. But until a recent study came out, I had no idea just how widely these conspiracies are believed or what a dramatic impact they can have on people’s health behaviors.

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Vegan Gumbo

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If you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, consider adding healthy recipes like this to your dinner routine. Studies show that consuming a vegan diet is associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Choosing foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium, such as this vegan gumbo, is also linked to healthier blood pressure levels. Try this vegan recipe and explore the health benefits that result from a plant-based diet approach. Get the recipe here.

4 Ways to Stop Itchy Skin

businessman with an itchy arm

Itching may seem like nature’s way of driving you mad, but the sensation was actually designed to keep you safe. The urge is just your skin demanding attention to help protect it from an offender of some kind, like microbes or insects. It can start with a physical stimulus like a wool sweater that brushes against sensitive skin, or an internal stimulus like the release of histamine during an allergic reaction. It can even begin in your mind; seeing someone else scratching can make you feel itchy too!

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Step into Spring With the Right Footwear

colorful flat shoes collection isolated on white.As spring makes its long awaited arrival, we can finally start drifting away from winter’s heavy boots and start shifting to lightweight spring footwear. Recently, I was asked about what shoes women should wear during their daily commutes to work. The ballet slipper or a low heeled shoe? Here are some of the differences associated with the two choices.

Can a ballet flat cause damage? Personally, I love my ballet flats. However, ballet slippers may not be the best choice. Because ballet slippers lack in support, they can cause conditions such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinitis. Over time, this may lead to compensation that may put stress on our ankles, knees, hips, and eventually, the back and spine.

Since the arch is usually not protected in a ballet flat, there is more stress on the foot. Pronation may be exaggerated and the gait cycle may be altered. Long term, this causes more stress on all the other body joints, and can lead to fatigue, muscle imbalances, and issues with proper alignment. Also ballet flats can be very thin, so sharp objects piercing through could be a hazard.

Why might a low heeled shoe be better? A low heeled shoe can help take the stress from the arch and reduce overall stress on the foot and the Achilles tendon. Also usually they have more rigidity and some have arch support which may further provide for better stability.

When seeking out a low heel, optimal height is less than 1.5 inches. A wider heel is better than a very narrow one. Low heel wedges are better since there is more surface area with the ground. Rubber soles obviously can give you a better grip on the ground and minimize slipping.

If a woman chooses to wear ballet flats, an added insole with arch support may help. I like custom-molded versus over-the-counter, since they are specifically tailored for each individual’s foot type and can help correct for abnormal gait patterns. Also ballet flats are better if worn for short periods of time. Strengthening and stretching is also recommended to build up the foot muscles.

I also recommend switching shoes whenever possible. Remember, however, the correct shoe is the one that fits properly. So step out this spring, get a proper foot measurement and make sure the shoe you choose is the right one.

The content provided on this blog by Dr. Pruthi is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional health-care provider.

Long Winter May Lead to “Pollen Vortex”

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Brace yourself, allergy sufferers. Experts are saying that due to a long, wet winter, this spring is looking to pack a powerful pollen punch.

With the ice-cold days of the polar vortex and chilly temperatures that have lasted well past the start of spring, plants and trees are just now bursting into bloom. Normally, a slower transition between winter and spring allows plants to bloom gradually. According to several experts, however, this year, many plants may bloom suddenly and all at once. Plus, we may see overlapping between pollen coming from trees and grasses, which normally bloom in separate seasons. This could spell double trouble for people who suffer from hay fever.

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Today’s Headlines: Hepatitis C, Young Dads and Cranky Spouses

Interferon-free therapy for hepatitis C ‘cured’ 90% of patients: “Currently, doctors treating hepatitis C patients with cirrhosis (liver scarring) can only offer treatments that rely on the drug interferon, which unfortunately, only works for less than half of patients. Now, a new study found that an interferon-free combination of drugs was safe, well tolerated and cured over 90% of 380 trial patients with liver cirrhosis in 12 weeks.” More than 3 million Americans have hepatitis C, which is spread through direct contact with infected blood and can result in cirrhosis and liver failure. “The key test of effectiveness was no trace of hepatitis C virus in the bloodstream. This was found to be the case in 91.8% of patients 12 weeks after their last dose, and 95.9% of patients 24 weeks after their last dose.” (Medical News Today

Young dads are at risk for postpartum depression: According to a new study, “men who entered into fatherhood at around age 25 saw a 68% increase of depressive symptoms over their first five years of being dads – if they lived at the same home as their children.” The study followed over 10,600 young men for approximately 20 years and found that men who lived with their children experienced a spike in depressive symptoms after their child was born, continuing through the first few years. “Identifying depression symptoms in young fathers is critical, since earlier research shows that depressed dads read and interact less with their kids, are more likely to use corporal punishment, and are more likely to neglect their kids.” (TIME

Getting angry with your spouse? Quick, eat something!: If you’re feeling cranky and are starting to snip at your significant other, you may want to grab a snack. Researchers at Ohio State University looked at the connection between low blood sugar and levels of aggression in 107 married couples. They found that “when blood glucose levels dropped, spouses were far more likely to stick pins into voodoo dolls representing their mates. They were also more likely to blast loud noises into earphones strapped to their mate’s head.” The study’s authors hypothesize that low blood sugar levels make self-control more difficult and that eating might help people reign in their more argumentative tendencies. (Los Angeles Times

Spring Awakening

beautiful girl enjoying the summer sun

As the weather changes, it’s time for spring cleaning. It’s time to purge, to do a complete overhaul. It’s time to clean out and refresh your home, your routine, your life. Spring cleaning isn’t just about cleaning the closets. It’s also about taking inventory, about looking at your life and considering how you might rejuvenate, replenish and reinvigorate yourself. It has been a long winter, and now that spring is finally here, I encourage you to take a long hard look in the mirror. Are there changes you want to make, post-hibernation? If there are, you can make them. This is the time. It will take effort and a deliberate intention, but it’s spring! Don’t you feel like you could do anything, as long as you don’t have to shovel any more snow or slog to work in your big boots any longer?

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