Posts tagged with "Prevention magazine"

For a clean bill of health, disinfect your cell phone!

March 9, 2020

With the number of coronavirus cases steadily rising in the United States, as well as worldwide, there’s one preventative measure that’s “called for” even more than wearing a face mask, according to Debra Goff, Pharm.D., founding member of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Clean your cell phone, she advises.

“People handle their phones hundreds of times a day,” she told Prevention Magazine last week. “That means potentially exposing yourself to what’s on those surfaces every time.”

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit all the headlines, cell phones were acknowledged to be pretty nasty—even revolting—when it came to germs. For example, a 2017 study published in the infectious diseases journal, Germs, looked at 27 mobile phones owned by teenagers, and found “bacterial contamination” on all of them.

Surfaces can be notorious for hosting viruses, and some of them linger longer than others. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus can stay on surfaces for days or even weeks. That particular virus gets attention most during cruise ship outbreaks, but it’s actually the most common cause of gastroenteritis (a.k.a. stomach flu) in the United States. Not only is it highly contagious, but it only takes a very small amount to make you sick.

Active influenza viruses also can live on surfaces for as long as two weeks, Prevention reports—and some are still present after seven weeks. Even on porous surfaces like cotton, the flu hung around for a week.

As for the coronavirus, it can make itself comfortable on your cell phone for at least nine days, scientists now believe.

So, exactly what should a cell phone owner do to ensure that his or her device is relatively germ-free? Prevention got a few tips from Goff and is passing them on—among them:

  1. Power down first. Before doing any cleaning, turn off your phone and unplug from any charger, Goff suggests.
  2. Opt for microfiber cloths. These specially designed cloths have more fibers than other types of material and, as a result, can pick up more microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses, Goff says. That doesn’t mean it kills theml it just lifts them off surfaces without the use of water. Think of it as a little virus magnet. Because of that, be sure to thendisinfect the cloth before using it again. The best way is using your dishwasher—that “sanitize” cycle works like a charm—then hanging the cloth up to dry. However, you also can throw it in the washing machine with warm water. And of course, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.
  3. Turn to rubbing alcohol. If your cell phone is particularly grubby, or you don’t have microfiber cloths, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% water and 40% alcohol. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward. A caution: Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the cell phone, and be sure to dilute it. You can also use a microfiber cloth for this for extra cleaning clout. Goff adds that regular soap and water works, too, just be sure to squeeze out excess liquid before using.
  4. 4. Don’t use abrasive products. Using a screen protector is helpful,if you want to use other types of cleaning products, says Goff, but if you don’t have one, avoid using products with ingredients that will affect your phone’s screen coating. These includewindow cleaner, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide.
  5. Keep it clean. Also, be mindful about how you’re using your phone, Goff adds, especially in germy areas like public restrooms. Handling your phone or putting it down in an area that regularly gets a fine spray of toilet water, sneezes, and coughs? Yikes.

    Your phone will pick up whatever is on that surface,” says Goff. “So, keep your phone clean, but also change your habits in terms of how you handle it after that.”

    Research contact: @PreventionMag

This year’s ‘newest’ superfood is—wait for it—cottage cheese

July 1, 2019

Cottage cheese: It’s not just for dieters anymore. In fact, nutritionists have a brand-new viewpoint on this traditional food. They now consider cottage cheese to be a protein powerhouse that you should scoop up for everyday snacks and use as a meal ingredient, according to a June 27 report by Prevention.

There’s a good reason that nutritionists such as New York-based Regina Ragone call cottage cheese a game-changer, the magazine says. “It has all the elements that people are looking for in a food today—high in protein, low in sugar and carbs,” she said in an interview, adding, “It’s even perfect for keto followers.”

When considering what kind of cottage cheese is healthiest, Ragone suggests choosing full fat or 2%. The no-fat version has less protein, may contain stabilizers, and won’t satisfy hunger as well. And it just tastes less rich. (One nutritional drawback to keep in mind: Cottage cheese can be a bit high in sodium. There are low- and no-salt versions, but you may find those pretty low in flavor too.)

Consider it a tasty way to build muscle: One cup of 2% cottage cheese has 27 grams of protein for only 195 calories. Compare that to two large eggs, which contain 12 grams of protein for 158 calories.

“And cottage cheese keeps you feeling full, which can help you lose weight,” Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and owner of Los Angelese-based TastyBalance Nutrition told Prevention. “Plus it has plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as B12, selenium, and riboflavin.” It also helps you get your daily dose of calcium, which is not only good for your bones; it also may decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to the pros, it’s fine to get a daily serving—or more—of cottage cheese. It’s an ideal post-workout snack because it contains casein, a slow-digesting protein that’s used in some protein powders.

Pine suggests the traditional pairing with fruit for a protein-carb combo that replenishes muscle and energy. “Cottage cheese has a high amount of the amino acid leucine, which gets into the muscle easily and triggers muscle protein synthesis,” says Pine.

Research contact: @PreventionMag

Report: Brain health supplements are ‘a massive waste of money’

June 12, 2019

Most of us have seen the TV ads for Prevagen and have heard about the protective effects of ginkgo biloba—and those are just a couple of the dietary aids that Americans swallow in the hope and belief that they will make our brains stronger.

In fact, more than one-quarter (26%) of U.S. adults age 50 and older are taking at least one brain-health supplement, according to the findings of the  2019 AARP Brain Health and Dietary Supplements Survey

And research by the Nutrition Business Journal indicates that fully 69% of U.S. adults age 50 and older are taking a dietary supplement at least three times a week—with 8% saying they’re taking one to “reverse dementia.”

But now we are hearing that those supplements are “a massive waste of money”—and that warning comes from people who should know these things: On June 11, the Global Counsel on Brain Health (GCBH) in partnership with AARP released a report concluding that dietary supplements do not improve brain health or prevent cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, yet 49% of older adults believe otherwise, Prevention magazine reports.

“The GCBH reviewed the scientific evidence on various supplements and determined it could not endorse any ingredient, production, or formulation designed for brain health,” the AARP said in a press release.

Under FDA law, it’s illegal for dietary supplement companies to make any claim that their product can treat, prevent, or cure a disease. If a supplement marketer wants to say their product can reduce the risk of a disease, they must notify the FDA first and get authorization before such a claim can go on a product label, Prevention notes.

Yet, the companies continue to market using misleading claims—among those currently in print or on-air:

  • Clinically shown to be safe and support memory and brain function
  • Clinically proven natural ingredients
  • Supports neurotransmitter development to promote a feeling of mental sharpness
  • Helps your brain maintain healthy neurons to support learning and recall
  • 13 scientifically proven nutrients for a healthier brain
  • Keeps your mind sharp and memory strong
  • Has shown statistically significant improvements in memory and recall in as little as four weeks when taken as directed
  • Designed to help improve memory while increasing focus and concentration
  • Comprehensive blend of vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts that support the brain’s structure and function to deliver amazing improvements in memory and concentration!
  • Help lessen the frequency of episodes of forgetfulness and brain fog
  • Improve your ability to retain and recall various kinds of information
  • For cognitive health, memory improvement, memory enhancement
  • These key nutrients have a powerful effect at reducing the inflammatory fires that destroy our brain tissue.

In addition, because dietary supplement companies aren’t regulated by the FDA, neither are their ingredients or dosages. The report warns that supplements “may have too much, too little, or, in some cases, none of the ingredients [consumers] think they’re buying.”

This can have dire consequences. The AARP cites a 2013 report from the U.S. government which found that the FDA received more than 6,000 reports of health problems due to dietary supplements between 2008 and 2011. They included 92 deaths and more than 1,000 series injuries. As part of the FDA’s investigation, the agency’s researchers found “dangerous fungi, pesticides, environmental pollutants, and heavy metals in some products.”

Worse yet, the FDA found that more than 700 dietary supplements contained prescription drugs, including steroids and antidepressants.

“It’s tempting to think you can pop a pill and prevent dementia, but the science says that doesn’t work,” Sarah Lenz Lock, AARP SVP for Policy and Executive Director of the GCBH told Prevention. “We know what will keep your brain healthy: exercise, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, challenging your thinking skills, and connecting with others.”

Research contact: @AARP

Should we go with the flow? The pros and cons of vitamin IV drips

January 29, 2019

Many Americans are “hitting the sack” these days—and it’s not for more sleep. They are visiting clinics and getting hooked up to intravenous sacks for vitamin drip therapy.

But questions remain: Is it safe? Is it effective in preventing or curing any health problems? Or is it simply an expensive way—usually not covered by health insurance—to elevate social status; with minimal side effects, either good or bad.

IV vitamin therapy (also known as vitamin IV drip and IV vitamin drip therapy), involves hooking up to an IV bag to receive a vitamins and minerals. Clinics offering these treatments are popping up across the country, for people who hope to boost immunity or alochol fight off illness; enjoy more radiant skin or hair; beat a hangover; or restore energy, Prevention magazine reports.

However, there is little evidence to show that any of these claims is true..

The magazine recently interviewed two doctors to learn more about who might benefit from IV vitamin therapy—and how—plus whether there are any drawbacks or risks to having it.

 “I do not know of any convincing evidence that, for example, an IV drip of zinc, B12, C, and magnesium will cure colds and flu,” Sidney C. Ontai, MD, a family medicine doctor and program director at Texas A&M University’s DeTar Family Medicine Residency, told Prevention.

On the other hand, Albert Ahn, MD, an Internal Medicine specialist and clinical instructor of Medicine at NYU Langone Health, said he believed that IV vitamin drips might provide two clear-cut benefits. For one, IV vitamin therapy ensures that vitamins and minerals are absorbed faster than they would be via oral consumption or supplementation.

Some people may prefer that quick fix,” Dr. Ahn told the medical news outlet. “Will it boost your stores quicker? Yes it will. But to sustain those stores, you’ll still need to continue to take it in. You’re better off probably taking an oral supplement on a daily basis.”

Additionally, IV therapy may offer some benefit by boosting hydration levels. “It does improve your hydration, and that will, for most people, make you feel better—whether you have a cold or [are] fighting an infection, or you’re a little hungover, or feeling a little under the weather,” Dr. Ahn told prevention.

But he notes that you can reap the same benefits by simply drinking more fluids. And if a healthy, properly hydrated person shows up for IV vitamin therapy, odds are good they’ll just excrete any fluids that their body doesn’t need.

“If you don’t absolutely need these drips, [you] might just be passing it out throughout the day,” Dr. Ahn says. It’s possible that someone might feel better for a short while after IV vitamin therapy, but for the most part, Dr. Ahn says any benefits to the average healthy person can likely be chalked up to the placebo effect.

However, IV vitamin therapy may provide significant benefits to people who are struggling with health conditions that make it challenging for their bodies to retain or process nutrients. Delivering nutrients via IV ensures that vitamins and minerals enter directly into the bloodstream (thereby bypassing the gut), which can speed up the replacement of nutrients.

Because of this, doctors routinely prescribe IV vitamin therapy for a number of medical conditions, says Dr. Ontai. For example, he might prescribe IV thiamine for someone going through alcohol withdrawal, IV B12 for renal dialysis patients, or IV multivitamins for people with health conditions that make it challenging for their bodies to tolerate or absorb food in the stomach or intestines.

 “With certain conditions, the absorption [via IV] may be quicker,” Dr. Ahn explains. For example, people with chronic or severe anemia may find that upping their iron intake via oral supplementation leads to an upset stomach or other side effects. In contrast, taking iron via IV may replete stores faster and without provoking stomach issues.

But for the most part, Dr. Ontai and Dr. Ahn agree that a relatively healthy person doesn’t require IV vitamin therapy.

“For your average, healthy, young patient, it’s probably not a necessity,” Dr. Ahn says. “If they have good gut health and healthy habits and a decent diet, [they] should be able to get most of these [nutrients] through food and a normal diet.”

While the IV vitamin therapy isn’t necessary for healthy people, the good news is that people seeking these treatments are, for the most part, unlikely to do themselves any harm.

“If it makes them feel better, there’s not a whole lot of downside,” Dr. Ahn says. That said, intravenous treatment always carries some potential drawbacks. “Anytime you introduce something intravenously, there are risks,” Dr. Ahn says. For example, people might experience bleeding or bruising at the injection site, and infection is a possibility.

Research contact: @prevention

‘Getting jaded’ could be good for you: The new face roller craze

December 12, 2018

Instagram seems to be “on a roll” when it comes to skin care: Forget the high-tech masks, the “friendly bacteria,” and the dry-brush exfoliation. The latest (ahem) “wrinkle” in style is jade rollers—not for your body, but for your face.

According to a December 10 report by Prevention magazine, “Jade rollers are not a skin care necessity, like face wash or moisturizer. However, if you enjoy pampering yourself and want to give your complexion a little TLC, jade rollers can be a helpful addition to your daily routine, especially if you deal with puffy skin.” Others praise the rollers for firming the skin, increasing circulation, and decreasing inflammation.

For the uninitiated, a jade roller is a small beauty tool that looks like a miniature paint roller—except it’s made of stone and owning one is viewed as chic and upscale In the same way that your muscles feel more relaxed after a nice massage, the skin on your face can experience a release of tension when you use a jade roller properly, according to the fanbase on Instagram.

Prevention informs us: “Take one look through the 30,000 posts tagged #jaderoller on Instagram and you’ll find countless women massaging their face with the tool, often after applying a sheet mask or serum.

The use of the gemstone jade plays a vital role here, Prevention notes—thanks to its ability to maintain a cool temperature, despite being exposed to body heat. In fact, one of the ways to tell if it’s really jade in the first place is to place the stone in the palm of your hand. If it warms up, then it’s not jade.

How exactly does it improve your facial skin? “We do know that fluid tends to accumulate in the soft tissue of the face and around the eyes, which can worsen with allergies, rosacea, high blood pressure, and hormonal changes, and it can start to change the texture of the skin on the face if left there for prolonged periods of time,” Dr. Erum Ilyas, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in Pennyslvania, told Prevention in a recent interview. “Aside from medications, the use of a jade roller to gently work this excess fluid back into the lymphatic system can help control the effects of this swelling.”

If your goal is to reduce puffiness under the eyes and mitigate dark circles, it’s best to keep your roller in the refrigerator prior to use, Dr. Ilyas advises.

“A desired eye and face serum must be applied to clean skin prior to rolling as well, ideally one containing hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water,” Bobbi Del Balzo, lead medical aesthetician at the Deep Blue Med Spa in New York, told the magazine. Another handy hint: You can apply a hydrating sheet and use the jade roller over it.

For lymphatic drainage, it’s all in the technique, says Dr. Ilyas, and should take a few minutes at most:

  • Start with the bottom of the face—specifically the center of the chin—and work your way up, rolling outward across the jaw and up toward the ear. Follow this same pattern all the way out towards the cheek.
  • Next, start adjacent to the nose and roll outward over your cheek towards your ears.
  • Using the smaller stone end of your jade roller, work from the inner lower eyelid over the gentle skin under the eye and outward to the temple.
  • Place the roller between your eyebrows and roll out over each eyebrow, again slightly above this area, then straight up towards the hairline.

If you are intrigued, the cost is not too high. Many face rollers are under $20, and most are under $100.

Just how trendy are these face rollers? Even Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has one for sale—a doo-hickey that is made of rose quartz and, the website claims, will “wake up your entire face” for just $45.

Research contact: @jennsinrich

Turn off that tap: Why your dishwasher cleans better when the plates aren’t pre-rinsed

November 26, 2018

Back away from the sink. Experts are telling us to stop rinsing our plates before putting them in the dishwasher—among them, Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

You always should scrape off food scraps before you stack your plates, bowls, and utensils in the machine, but that’s the only step your dishwasher can’t handle—and in fact it washes less efficiently if you rinse, Prevention magazine discovered when Senior Web Editor Lauren Piro interviewed Forte just before Thanksgiving.

Here’s why you need to take a more hands-off approach:

  • Your dishes need to be dirty in order for the dishwasher detergent to do its job. The makers of the dish detergent Cascade discourage customers from pre-washing or rinsing dishes—because it actually inhibits the cleaner from working. Why? Because the enzymes in the detergent need something to latch onto—and that’s the food remnants on the plate. In other words, Prevention warns, your precious detergent just might rinse away before it has time to do anything if your dishes are gunk-free.
  • You won’t get your dishes any cleaner if you rinse or hand-wash them before you put them in the machine. Modern dishwashers are more efficient than ever before. They have advanced sprayer technology and sensors that detect just how dirty your dishes are, Forte told the magazine. What’s more, dishes get any cleaner than your hard-working dishwasher, alone.
  • Pre-rinsing at the sink wastes water and energy. You waste 6,000 gallons per year if you insist on pre-rinsing, Consumer Reports advises. The average modern dishwasher uses just 3 to 5 gallons of water per load, but even the most productive power washers will use at least 8 gallons when they do it by hand. “Regular” hand-washers (those of us who are more relaxed) typically use around 27 gallons of water—and twice the amount of electricity per load.

So when might you consider a pre-rinse—if ever? When you are not going to run the dishwasher right away. But even then, you should let your dishwasher do the heavy-lifting, so you don’t waste water and energy.”Simply load them in the dishwasher and run a ‘rinse only’ cycle,” advise Forte and Prevention.

And if you argue with your spouse about pre-rinsing, you are not alone. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, more than 40% of Americans fight about loading the dishwasher—with 61% of them arguing over whether to pre-rinse dishes. Some 39% of those who argue say they disagree on whether knives should point up or down (the answer is down, for safety reasons, and 30% differ on whether plastic containers must go on the top rack (in many dishwashers, it just doesn’t matter).

Research contact: @hellolaurenpiro

Down and out: Why the five-second rule isn’t safe

November 9, 2018

How does eating something that you just dropped on the floor compare to leaving your seatbelt unlatched when you are in the car? It may be okay this time—but you are taking a huge risk, according to a report by Prevention magazine posted on November 8.

This may or may not surprise you, but what is widely known as the “five-second rule” is an old wives’ tale, food scientists (and authors of Did You Just Eat That?)  Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon have determined. “There is conclusive evidence that when food comes into contact with a contaminated surface, bacteria are transferred immediately,” they warn.

In 2006, Dawson and his colleagues in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Clemson University in South Carolina published the first peer-reviewed study on the five-second rule. The researchers tested the rule by contaminating three different surfaces—tile, carpet, and wood—with salmonella, dropping food (specifically, bologna and bread) on each surface, and measuring how much bacteria was picked up by the food within five, 30, or 60 seconds.

“Our findings pretty conclusively busted the myth of the five-second rule,” they wrote. “We found that bacteria transferred to the bologna after only five seconds of contact time….” And the more time the food spends on the floor, the more bacteria it attracts.

Even worse, according to Prevention, Dawson’s experiment also found that salmonella hung around on the contaminated tile surface for a month. “Bacteria capable of forming spores are known to survive for years in their dormant spore form,” the authors said.

FYI, this isn’t the only research to debunk the five-second rule, Prevention found. In 2016, a second peer-reviewed study conducted by Rutgers University in New Jersey reported similar findings; although the researchers included a wider variety of food in their experiment—watermelon cubes, plain bread, buttered bread, and gummy bears—on a variety of surfaces. (Because bacteria move quickly through moisture, the watermelon sucked up the greatest number of germs.).

The bottom line: The five-second rule is a gross simplification of how bacteria transfer to food, and there are many more factors than simply how long food sits on a surface—for example, the type of food, whether it’s carpet or tile, and how contaminated that surface is. So don’t take any chances. Discard that tasty morsel.

Research contact: