Jimmy Durante revered his oversize “schnozzola,” and insisted “the nose knows.” But what does it really know?
About 10,000 distinct odors! Nonetheless, there’s one type of bad-for-you breath the nose can’t detect — increased amounts of odorless methane and odorless hydrogen that overweight people exhale. It takes lab equipment to sniff out a newly identified culprit in the battle of the bulge: an overgrowth of Methanobrevibacter smithii, a bacterium inside your guts that releases those gasses as it munches every iota of nutrition and calories it can from passing food. This voracious little bug breaks down food to “help” you absorb more. That’s why people exhaling the most methane or hydrogen weigh around 15 pounds more than less gassy folks.
What makes Metha smithii run amok? One big cause: processed foods, simple carbs, saturated fats and added sugars and sugar syrups — foods that upset the balance of your gut’s bacteria. The solution: Balance the trillions of good and bad bacteria in your guts by eating lean proteins, 100 percent whole grains, healthy fats (the odd omegas, 3, 7 and 9), veggies and fruits.
Next step? Go for 10,000 a day (a pedometer will help count your steps). And take a daily probiotic. We favor 2 billion to 4 billion spores of bacillus coagulans. That’ll keep your immune system strong, your digestion moving smoothly and (believe it or not) your brain focused. When your gut bacteria has the right balance, you’ll pass the methane or hydrogen Breathalyzer test and continue on your way to a healthy and very alert future!
WALKING BEATS RUNNING
George Meegan spent seven years walking 19,019 miles from the southern tip of South America to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. But you don’t have to walk that far to gain the benefits of putting one foot in front of the other.
Among its virtues: Walking is low-impact, and you likely won’t get injured or wear out your joints. Plus, as you’re passed by joggers who seem to be thinking, “What’s walking? That’s not exercise!” you can take satisfaction in knowing that your activity actually delivers more health benefits than running does!
A new study evaluated the health boosts you get from equivalent energy expenditures with moderate intensity walking and vigorous intensity running. (Run for 15 minutes? Walk for about 30 minutes to get an equivalent energy output.)
Interested? Enlist a pal, and try this:
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.