It’s never too late to get heart-healthier, even if you started your adult life as a fast-food-munching couch potato! A new study evaluated 5,000 folks over a 20-year period and found that you actually can reverse deterioration of your cardiovascular system — if you change your behavior.
When the study started, only 10 percent of participants were sticking with all five of the most important heart-protecting behaviors: maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, using alcohol in moderation, getting regular physical activity and eating a nutritious diet.
Twenty years later, 25 percent of them had adopted at least one of those health-promoting behaviors and were measurably heart-healthier (the calcification and thickening of their artery walls decreased). With the addition of each healthful habit, their cardiovascular health improved.
Want to start today to improve your heart health? Banish the Five Food Felons (added sugar and syrups, refined grains and heart-stopping saturated and trans fats); aim for walking 10,000 steps a day (10 minutes of aerobic activity is equivalent to 100 steps). Go to www.doctoroz.com for tips on quitting if you smoke; limit alcohol intake; and aim for a healthy weight. A healthy heart is a weight off your shoulders.
PASSING THE SMELL TEST
Justin Bieber and sometimes- girlfriend Selena Gomez each have their own perfume, as do over 40 other celebrities, including Bruce Willis (eau de angry?) and Lady Gaga (when you have nothing else to wear?)
Add this perfume-mania to the scents wafting off hand soaps, laundry and personal-care products, air fresheners and scented candles, and you end up being exposed to 100 (or more) potentially toxic or sensitizing aromatic chemicals every day.
Many or most contain phthalates that, in lab tests, feminize even the most male toads! And these chemicals don’t disappear when a scent fades; they permeate your body and pollute the environment.
So, here are some solutions, if you think you don’t smell good enough:
Daily physical activity clears out toxins so that perspiration stops stinking.
Showering and shaving underarms help keep sweat and bacteria from brewing up smells.
Eliminating red meat from your diet can freshen body odor, and you’ll reduce your risk for heart disease and various cancers.
None of that works? Talk to your doc. Persistent body odor may result from illness, medications, hormonal disruptions, low blood sugar, hyperthyroid or a zinc or magnesium deficiency.
Still think the world is a stinky place? Take a look at www.lesstoxicguide.ca to find safer-to-use products and recipes for “make your own” cleaning products.
FORTIFIED FOODS: IS YOUR CHILD GETTING TOO MANY VITAMINS?
Mr. T, CP3-Os and Urkel Os were cereals once marketed to kids (in case they craved angry, extraterrestrial, nerdy foods). Today, celebrity tie-ins include U.S. World Cup team member Omar Gonzalez for Fruity Pebbles. Really?
At least you know what Gonzales seems oblivious to: No matter how much you get paid for endorsing sugar-soaked, artificially colored, refined-grain cereals, they’re still terrible for kids. But do you know that even seemingly healthful cereals can pose a risk to children if they’re fortified with adult-size portions of vitamins and minerals?
The Environmental Working Group looked at 1,556 cereals and found that some contain more vitamin A, niacin, and zinc than the Institute of Medicine says is safe for children. And many kids eat more than one serving of cereal daily, plus other fortified foods, and still others take a multivitamin.
The EWG also says among kids 2-8 years old who don’t take a multivitamin, 13 percent still exceed daily tolerable limits of vitamin A, 45 percent exceed recommendations for zinc and 8 percent exceed that for niacin (from eating other fortified foods). Among children who do take a multi, the numbers jump to an excess of 72 percent for A, up to 84 percent for zinc, and 28 percent for niacin! That can raise the risk of liver damage (from vitamin A), immune system dysfunction (from zinc), and rashes and vomiting (from niacin).
So buy cereals that include info on nutrient content levels for kids, or stick with ones that dish up 25 percent or less of an adult’s RDA of each nutrient.
Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Dr. Michael Roizen is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www.sharecare.com.