Health's Blog

June 30, 2015 - 1:07pm

Now that the heat of summer has arrived, staying hydrated is even more important, especially if you’re exercising outdoors. Women should get about 11 cups of water per day, men 15 cups—about 20% of that comes from food, the rest you'll need to drink. Here are 3 new sipping “rules” to follow when working out.

Chill Before You Sweat
If you’re looking to set a new record in that 10K or sprint triathlon, slurp an ice slurry, essentially an unflavored snow cone, 45 minutes before your event. When runners did this prior to a 10K in 82-degree weather, they ran 15 seconds faster on average, per a study from the International Journal of Sports Medicine. “The ice slurry increased body heat storage capacity, which allowed runners to push harder,” says Jason Kai Wei Lee, Ph.D., study principal investigator from the Defence Medical &...

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June 29, 2015 - 12:37pm

Carb cycling’s roots are in bodybuilding. But it’s easy enough for any average Joe, which is perhaps why it’s gone mainstream. When you cycle your carb intake, you vary how many carbs you eat throughout the week, with some days being low-carb (2½ to 5 servings) and others high-carb (10 to 20 servings). The thinking is that your low-carb days put you in a fat-burning state and eating high-carb boosts your metabolism.

As with most trendy diets, there are a few plans to choose from, but the gist is the same—most plans cut carbs and calories. For example, the 7-Day Carb Cycle Solution gives women 1,500 calories on high-carb days and 1,200 on low-carb days (men get 2,000 and 1,500 respectively).

Unfortunately, the research on intermittently restricting carbs is almost nil. There’s one 2013 study, however, published in the British Journal of...

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April 24, 2015 - 12:20pm

Listen up. I have a secret to share, one that I rarely admit. I really like hot dogs. So when I first discovered uncured hot dogs (also labeled “no nitrates or nitrites added”), I immediately bought them.

Nitrates and nitrites are key in hot dogs and other cured meats like ham and bacon: they prevent spoilage and block the growth of the bacterium that causes botulism (a foodborne illness). They’re types of salts, with nitrates naturally found in many vegetables and converted to nitrites in your body—or in the lab. But I also knew the preservatives are believed to be associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer.

So these uncured dogs were the healthier choice, right? Turns out most uncured meats still have nitrates/nitrites in them—they just come from a natural source like celery powder. They’re labeled “uncured” and “no nitrates or...

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February 25, 2015 - 12:29pm

Every five years, the USDA releases the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (aka what we all should be eating).

In advance of the official release, an advisory committee publishes its suggestions for what should become the Dietary Guidelines. That report came out last week.

Although some vociferous voices have criticized the guidelines, well-respected, highly credentialed nutrition experts have also applauded them (see here, here and here).


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February 18, 2015 - 4:36pm

The concern started in 2012 when Consumer Reports published its first report on arsenic in rice. Since then, it’s been making us think twice about too much risotto and sushi rolls.

Arsenic is a natural element in water and soil. (It also comes from environmental contaminants.) And while many foods we eat contain some arsenic (from apple juice and beer to chicken), the concentration of arsenic tends to be higher in rice because rice absorbs it more readily than other plants do.

“Arsenic is held tight in soil by iron oxide, but in flooded paddy soil [where rice is grown] these iron oxides dissolve, releasing arsenic into the water, making it more available to plants,” says Brian Jackson, Ph.D., associate research professor at Dartmouth College.

Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with skin, bladder and lung...

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