Where You’re Not Applying Sunscreen (But Should Be)

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Think you’re covered when it comes to sunscreen? Surprise: most of us aren’t using it appropriately. One study showed that most people apply only 25-50 percent of the amount of sunscreen they actually need. Plus, we often miss many of the most sun-sensitive spots. Extra important? Men are even less likely to apply sunscreen appropriately, putting them at increased risk for many skin cancers.

Remember, when you’re out in the sun, most people need to apply just under a shot glass’s worth of sunscreen to their whole body. To avoid feeling like a 1970s lifeguard, apply half as a first layer, wait a few minutes and then apply the second coat.  Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: How Sleep Apnea Can Affect Your Heart, Coffee No Longer Considered Carcinogenic, and The Connection Between Diabetes and Weight Loss

Sleep apnea may increase the risk for heart problems. Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing while you’re sleeping. It has been linked to heart issues in past research but new research has shown that the risk still remains even when heart health has improved. “All the participants had undergone angioplasty, the clearing of a blocked heart artery, including placement of a tube called a stent to keep the artery open…The researchers then tracked participants for an average of five and a half years. During that time, 10 people with sleep disordered breathing and three without sleep breathing issues died. Major adverse events like heart attack and stroke had occurred in more than 20 percent of those with sleep breathing issues, compared to 8 percent of those without breathing problems.” In previous research, sleep apnea was linked to other heart issues such as “high blood pressure, elevated glucose and abnormal heart rhythms.” (Fox)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reduced its warning about coffee. This news comes 25 years after the WHO said that coffee may be carcinogenic and possibly lead to cancer. “The about-face by the WHO came after its International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC] reviewed more than 1,000 studies that showed coffee is not a cancer culprit…However, the IARC said that drinking very hot beverages is now classified as ‘probably carcinogenic.’ The group based its findings on what it described as limited evidence from epidemiological studies that showed positive associations between cancer of the esophagus and drinking very hot beverages. The studies targeted places such as China and South America, where tea or maté is often consumed at temperatures of about 158 degrees Fahrenheit—roughly 10 degrees hotter than people in the U.S., U.K. and Europe are accustomed to drinking coffee or tea.” Water used to make coffee should not exceed 205 degrees Fahrenheit and should not be consumed until the hot liquid has cooled down. (WSJ)

Losing weight can improve the health of people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, a new study suggests that losing at least seven percent of your body weight can lower your blood pressure and help maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels. “Larger weight loss improved blood sugar control, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels more than lesser weight loss at year one and year four, as reported in Diabetes Care. Blood sugar control tended to improve in the first year and then worsen again. At year four, it was only still improved among people with large weight losses – and that was true regardless of whether the large weight loss had later been regained.” This study was only observed over a four-year period so long-term benefits are not known. (Reuters)

5 Health Symptoms Men Should Watch Out For

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When was the last time you went in for your annual checkup? In honor of Men’s Health Month, I want to discuss the importance of paying attention to your body and visiting your primary care physician on a regular basis. If you’re healthy, a yearly visit might be sufficient but if you have a family history of any disease, have a pre-existing condition, or have suffered an injury, you may have to follow up with a doctor or specialist more often. A doctor’s visit is as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as clean eating and consistent exercise. If you have any issues or symptoms, especially any of the below, don’t be afraid to speak up and let your doctor know.

Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Even 15 Minutes of Exercise is Beneficial, Whole Grains Linked to Longer Lifespan, and How Your Job Affects Your Workout Schedule

For seniors, fifteen minutes of exercise a day may be sufficient. A new study has found that even though senior citizens struggle to meet the government-recommended amount of exercise throughout the week, it may not be necessary as long as they are moving a little. “The study authors found that the risk of death lowered during the study as people exercised more. Even people with low physical activity levels, half the recommended amount, had around a 22% lower risk of death compared to inactive people. The researchers say that amount of exercise is the equivalent of a 15 minute brisk walk every day.” If you are age 60 or older, make sure that you are moving on a daily basis to help your health. (Time)

Eating whole grains may decrease your risk of death. Researchers have found a correlation between whole grains, which American don’t eat enough of, and longevity. “People who ate the most whole grains were about 16 percent less likely to die of any cause during the study than those who ate the least, almost 20 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and more than 10 percent less likely to die of cancer. For every additional serving of 16 grams of whole grains, cardiovascular disease-related death risk declined by 9 percent and cancer death risk by five percent…” The research suggests that we all should be adding more brown rice, oats, and other whole grains into our daily diets. (Fox)

Your job may be the reason you’re not exercising enough. A new study shows that your occupation can influence your exercise habits. “What they found was that overall, 43% of employed adults did not get the recommended amount of exercise. And people in production jobs, which likely involve more physical labor, tended to exercise less in their leisure time than people with managerial or more office-based occupations; 51% of people with production jobs failed to meet the exercise recommendations compared to only around 30% of people with professional and managerial jobs. In fact, people with more sedentary jobs reported the highest amounts of recreational physical activity.” Education was also flagged as an indicator for fitness: people with a higher education seemed to exercise more frequently. (Time)

Picky About Protein?

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Written by Toni McKinnon

Sponsored by USANA Health Sciences

We’ve become very picky eaters when it comes to the sources of the foods we eat, and the food industry has taken notice. Take protein, for example. We want to know where it comes from, and precisely what’s in it. Luckily for us, there are now a wide variety of pure protein sources available to meet the demands of even the most finicky protein consumers.

Whey protein can now be sourced from cattle that have not been treated with synthetic hormones (no added rbST or rBGH) and processed using low-temperature pasteurization to minimize denaturing of the protein. High-quality soy protein can be sourced from plants that are not genetically engineered. There are even unique protein blends that can provide complete protein (a protein is considered complete when it contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids that humans cannot produce on their own). One such unique blend utilizes both pea and potato protein. Both are exceptional sources of amino acids and when combined, provide an excellent pure protein source. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Double Check Your Vitamins, Why Your Activity Tracker May Be Inaccurate, and What’s Wrong With FDA Recall Protocol

Nature Made vitamins were recalled last Tuesday. Recalled vitamins may be contaminated by bacteria like salmonella. “Symptoms of salmonella illness, including diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, may begin 12 to 72 hours after a person is exposed to the bacteria. Illness can last four to seven days and most people recover on their own. Consumers are advised to stop using the affected Nature Made products and return them to stores for full refunds. Pharmavite is asking retailers and distributors to remove the impacted products from store shelves immediately.” If you have Nature Made vitamins at home, check the lot numbers on the back of the bottle to make sure yours are not part of the tainted batches. (CNN)

People who have issues walking or performing physical activities can get erroneous results when using fitness trackers. Fitness trackers may seem reliable but a new study found that those who used canes or walkers took more steps than indicated on their tracker. “The FitBit One, Omron and Jawbone UP all underestimated actual steps by less than 10 percent for people walking without assistive devices, but had much larger margins of error for those using canes or walkers…Activity monitors worn on the wrist tend not to be accurate for older people with mobility issues…” To get a more accurate reading, researchers recommended using a pedometer worn near the waist instead of the arm. (Reuters)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may not have an efficient recall process in place. According to a new report by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA does not issue timely recalls. “The report suggested that the FDA instruct recall staff to set timeframes for recalling products. Waiting too long to recall products has endangered consumers in the past, the report found, citing a nut butter recall in which at least 14 people became ill from salmonella. More than five months passed from when the FDA identified the contaminated product to when the company initiated a recall.” The FDA will be updating its procedures in order to catch recalls and other health issues earlier. (Time)

Your One-Stop Summer Resource Guide

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With the first day of summer less than two weeks away, it’s the perfect time to talk about enjoying the sun safely, cooling down with healthy sips, and exercising in the great outdoors. It’s one of my favorite times of the year because we have more time to relax and if we’re lucky enough, take a well-deserved vacation. Before you kick back at the beach, pool, or simply on your back porch, remember to keep these summer safety tips in mind. Read more  »

Today’s Headlines: Why Eating Fat is Not Always Bad, Different Ways to Boost Your Memory, and How Coffee May Improve Your Workout

Eating foods high in healthy fats won’t make you gain weight. Regardless of their calorie count, researchers have found that fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil in the Mediterranean diet are beneficial. “People who were put on a Mediterranean diet without any calorie restrictions for five years lost slightly more weight than people put on a low-fat diet for the same amount of time…more than 10% of heart deaths were traced to eating too few plant oils, like those that are plentiful in a Mediterranean diet. In another study by the same authors of that analysis, people who drank full-fat milk had a 46% lower risk of developing diabetes than those who chose skim.” Overall, people on the Mediterranean diet tended to eat more healthy foods such as produce and fish. (Time)

There are four activities that might strengthen your mind. A few different research studies showed that activities such as doodling, practicing yoga, running barefoot, and spending time in nature may help improve memory. “If you were one of those students who was more likely to doodle in the margins of your notebooks than write words in them, you may have been onto something… Those who chose the drawing route remembered about twice as many words as those who wrote them down.” In another study, “Both groups showed statistically similar improvement in verbal memory, but the yoga group also showed an improvement in visual-spatial memory (where you left your keys, for example) as well as in signs of depression and anxiety.” A separate study found that “…barefoot runners who were told to hit these targets showed a roughly 16 percent improvement in working memory… this effect may result from the combination of the increased blood flow that running produces and the forced focus that comes from hitting targets.” And finally, a fourth study reported on the benefits of the outdoors: “…people who stepped outside into a natural or parklike environment showed improvement across a host of cognitive functions — including memory — compared with those who were stuck in a city.” (Washington Post)

Drinking coffee before an early workout may improve your overall performance. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it may help your body function more efficiently. “‘Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, the heart, and possibly the ‘center’ that controls blood pressure,’ all of which play a vital role in helping your mind and body push harder in a workout… Plus, researchers found that when people caffeinated before a workout, they ate 72 fewer calories later in the day and had an easier time keeping cravings in check.” The researchers advised that people who work out in the morning supplement their coffee with water to help them stay hydrated. Additionally, people who exercise at night should not drink coffee near bed time, even if it is before a workout. Find out more about the pros and cons of drinking coffee. (CNN)