Deepak Chopra, MD
There is probably no more important time to watch what you eat than during pregnancy. When a pregnant woman eats, she is feeding the developing fetus. It needs the right amount of fuel, or calories, and the proper nutrients to make the miraculous 36-week journey from a few cells to a fully formed infant. Scientists have long known what can happen if an expecting mother doesn’t eat enough calories. She risks giving birth to a baby that is physically stunted, has poor cognitive development, and is vulnerable to disease. But recently, a new problem has come to light: the risks of consuming too many calories during pregnancy.
“Oatmeal is good for you heart.” You hear that a lot, and not just from oatmeal companies. Many cardiologists and other health professionals recommend starting the day with a bowl of oats. There’s a good reason: Oatmeal is one of many foods that contains soluble fiber, a substance that can help your heart by reducing the amount of LDL cholesterol (also know as “bad” cholesterol) in your blood. Research shows that a moderate increase in the amount of soluble fiber in a person’s diet is likely to lower his or her risk of developing heart disease. It can also slow the progression of heart disease once it has begun. That’s not all: Soluble fiber can help lower the risk of developing diabetes. And the benefits of a diet rich in soluble fiber apply to children as well as adults. A 2009 study showed that soluble fiber helps reduce a child’s risk for future chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes by helping to maintain normal blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Chances are good that you or someone you know has had experience with prostate cancer. One in six men are diagnosed with the disease every year. But here’s the good news: Only 1 in 36 men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer dies from it. When cancer forms in the prostate, it often grows very slowly, and the person ends up dying of another disease. Still, in its aggressive form, prostate cancer is serious business: It kills 30,000 men each year in the U.S. and is the second most common cause of cancer death among men (after lung cancer) (1). No doubt you have heard about the debate surrounding screening for prostate cancer. What better time than Men’s Health Week to learn about the issues with screening and find out how you can reduce your risks of getting prostate cancer.
I published an article recently in the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics about the resistance of Western medicine to alternative medicine. Here is a shorter summary of my thoughts:
Taking good care of your teeth at every stage of life is a good way to avoid painful toothaches, expensive trips to the dentist, and tooth loss in old age. But there is another powerful reason to practice good oral health: It can affect the health of your whole body. Research shows that the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease in your mouth may also play a role in heart disease and stroke. And there is some evidence that tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
“Oh my aching back!” is a complaint 8 out of 10 adults will voice at some point in their lives (1). But for women who are pregnant, these words have special resonance. More than two thirds of women who are expecting experience lower back and pelvic pain during their pregnancy, usually in the second and third trimesters (2). For many, the pain is bad enough to interfere with sleep, work, and other activities. In a 2004 study, one third of women reported that they had to stop at least one activity due to back pain (3).
Attention all parents of adolescents: Does your teen get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day (1)? In an age when kids can conduct their social life by text message, working out nothing but their thumbs, motivating them to stay active can be an uphill battle.
The stress and strife of daily life have a direct effect on our health. Most dramatically, our very chromosomes are affected by stress. Telomeres are the end tips of our chromosomes, little caps that protect our DNA.
Celiac disease is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Yet, experts believe that nearly 1 in 100 people may have this autoimmune ailment, which is triggered by exposure to the protein gluten in wheat and similar proteins in rye and barley.
Bright spring days will lead to summer before we know it, so it's time to step up efforts to protect your skin from sun damage. The sunscreen aisle at the store seems to become a bit more overwhelming every year. Sun protection ingredients are found in lotions, cosmetics, lip balm and more.