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Red meat isn't just a type of food—it's a deep-rooted part of our
culture. Not too long ago, no dinner table was complete without a
hearty portion of meat and potatoes. During summer celebrations
we fill our grills with hot dogs and hamburgers. Bacon and
sausage play starring roles with eggs at breakfast. This love
affair with red meat (which includes beef, lamb, pork, and veal)
may be endangering our health. Several studies have linked diets
high in red meat to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. A recent
report from the Harvard School of Public Health goes one step
further, suggesting that regularly consuming red meat may lead to
If you have high blood pressure, it makes sense to buy a blood
pressure monitor and check your blood pressure at home. This
gives a more accurate view of your blood pressure than
intermittent office-based readings or the occasional check.
Jet lag is common when flying long distance across several time
zones. For every time zone you cross, it takes about a day for
your body to adjust. There is no proven solution for jet lag, but
you may be able to minimize its effects.
Conflicting recommendations and study results are sowing
confusion about whether or not to take calcium and vitamin D
supplements. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently
recommended against taking low-dose calcium and vitamin D
supplements. Not long after, another analysis suggested that
calcium and vitamin D supplements might help older adults live
longer. The issue isn't whether you need calcium, it's how you
should get it. Most, if not all, of your calcium should come from
your kitchen—not your medicine chest. While it's best to get all
nutrients from food, the decision to take supplements should be
individualized based on your diet and your health profile.
Almost 14 million cancer survivors—more than half of them
women—are living in the United States today. Better survival odds
make planning for life after cancer almost as important as
planning treatment for the disease. Cancer-free does not mean
home free—cancer that has been treated can return. But there are
many things a cancer survivor can do to reduce the risk that
cancer will return. New guidelines from the American Cancer
Society offer three key steps: stay at a healthy weight; exercise
for at least 150 minutes a week; and eat a diet high in
vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
The recent FDA approval of a new medication to treat obesity may
make it seem like a cure is at hand. Lorcaserin (Belviq) was the
first new weight-loss drug to be introduced in more than a
decade. Belviq suppresses hunger by stimulating a receptor for
the chemical messenger serotonin, which regulates fullness and
metabolism. But there's no magic bullet for shedding excess
weight—diet pills promote only modest weight loss as long as you
are a good candidate for drug therapy and you use the pills
correctly. Even then, you'll need to consider whether the risks
of these drugs (which range from heart problems and liver damage
to possible addiction) are worth the weight you'll lose.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and
women. Several tests can find hidden colorectal cancer while it
is still small and treatable. These include colonoscopy, flexible
sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, fecal occult blood test, and
others. Testing should generally start at age 50, but women (and
men) with a strong family history of colorectal cancer should
talk with their doctors about having their first colonoscopy
sooner than that. It's best to have a colonoscopy once every 10
years; a virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, or
double-contrast barium enema once every five years; or a stool
check for blood once a year.
Women with atrial fibrillation, a common heart-rhythm problem, are at greater risk for a stroke than men, and may need to be treated more aggressively with medicine that protects against stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots.
A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that it's never too late to improve your health by quitting smoking. Even smokers in their 80s reduce their risks when they kick the habit.
Daily physical activity reduces a woman's chances of developing breast cancer. Women who work out between 10 and 19 hours a week have a breast cancer risk about 30% lower than that of inactive women.
A new study that evaluated the combined effect of diet and exercise on longevity has a simple message for living longer: Eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise daily.