Carbonated Drinks and Reflux
The Sleep Heart Health Study by the
University of Arizona shows that avoiding nocturnal gastroesophageal
reflux (nighttime heartburn) could be as simple as avoiding carbonated
It is estimated that 44 percent of
Americans experience nighttime heartburn at least once a month. It's
more serious than daytime heartburn. It causes more damage to the
esophagus and is more likely to lead to esophageal cancer.
The study showed that sufferers were
more likely to consume one or more carbonated drinks daily. Heartburn
was also associated with being overweight, snoring, hypertension, and
asthma. According to The Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, the
study did not link smoking or alcohol to a greater incidence of
Other causes may include coffee,
chocolate, whole milk, peppermint, spearmint, citrus fruits, and
It is recommended that
people who have the problem eat a smaller evening meal and avoid a prone
position for several hours after eating
Avoid Complacency About Extra Pounds
Study shows that some overweight can be good?
A controversial study
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
seems to indicate that being a little overweight is OK.
The study found a small decrease in
death rates for people with a Body Mass Index that was between 25 and
29.9. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study
prompted them to cut the estimate of obesity-related deaths to 112,000
annually, a large decrease from the their previous estimate of 400,000.
One factor not apparent in the study is the fact that
most people die after age 70. In the elderly, extra fat gives rise to
bone and muscle, which is protective in a medical crisis. The CDC also
says that medical advances could be partly responsible for lengthening
the lives of overweight people.
The CDC has apologized for any
confusion the study causes. They say it definitely is not OK to be
overweight. Note that it is also not OK to be underweight. The study
shows that people with a BMI below 18.5 had the same mortality rate as
those with a Body Mass Index of 40 or more.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute notes that
waist size is an important factor in health. Muscular people, for
example, may have a BMI over 30, but still have a small waist. Those who
have a BMI over 30 but have a waist size of 35 inches for women or 40
inches for men have a much lower risk of obesity-related diseases such
as type 2 diabetes.
For those with trim waists, the
Institute advises weight loss if they have two other risk factors such
as high cholesterol, blood sugar, or blood pressure.
Brain Health and Exercise
Regular exercise has long been considered helpful in
preventing dementia. Now a new report in the American Journal of
Epidemiology says studies show that exercise variety matters more than
intensity. Variety makes the brain work more so it stays healthier.
Don't Wash Meat, Poultry
New guidelines by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
discourage washing of meats and poultry before cooking.
The risk of cross-contamination from handling the food as it's washed
outweighs any benefits. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be
spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces.
could become just as bacteria-laden as the surface of the food.
Bacteria on the food is destroyed by cooking to a temperature of 160
Older Smokers Risk AMD
A British study found that older smokers were twice as
likely to suffer age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as non-smokers.
AMD blurs the central vision by affecting the macula. AMD is the leading
cause of blindness in older adults, according to Tufts University Health
and Nutrition Letter