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Survey finds 4 in 5 Americans take vitamins, but it could be causing them more harm than good

More than 86 percent of Americans take some form of over-the-counter vitamin or supplement in attempt to improve their health. After all, it can’t hurt — right? Unfortunately, no. Taking vitamins does come at a cost. According to a recent survey on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, only about a quarter of people (24 percent) actually received test results indicating a nutritional deficiency. “Numerous investigations show the alleged benefits are unproven and in the worst cases, vitamins and supplements can be harmful,” said Mike Varshavski, DO, an osteopathic family physician. People with documented nutritional deficiencies can most often and most effectively correct the problem with a change in diet. Since supplements don’t work as well as most people assume, taking vitamins can distract or deter people from taking other steps to treat their ailments, like improving nutrition or moderate exercise. As the multibillion dollar vitamin industry grows, Dr. Varshavski says…

7 reasons you should eat more cherries

When you eat cherries, you can enjoy so much more than just their delicious sweet taste. Yes, they’re the perfect quick snack — just rinse and go — but those tiny cherries are loaded with big health benefits too. Here are 7 good reasons to start snacking on this superfood today: 1. They’re a low-sugar sweet tooth fix Sweet cherries are delicious and sweet, but unlike that double scoop ice cream cone, they have zero added sugar. What’s more, they’re low on the glycemic index (22) compared to other fruits [grapes (46), peaches (42), plums (39)], which means their natural sugars will be released into your bloodstream more slowly, and you won’t feel that spike and crash of high-sugar snacks. All this makes them a go-to for folks with diabetes. 2. They’ll bring you better sleep If you’re tossing and turning all night long, try drinking cherry juice — or…

These are the cleanest grocery stores in America, survey shows

Nothing will make you drop your cart and run out of a grocery store quite like sticky floors, dingy aisles, and crumbs. Cleanliness is so important that it’s consistently one of the top-rated features (along with bright lights, product selection, and value) that makes us return to a store again and again. So which grocery stores can claim to be the cleanest of them all? Nonprofit consumer group, Consumer Reports’ recently released the findings of a nationwide member survey of grocery stores, supermarkets, and warehouse clubs. More than 75,000 people across 96 stores responded. Criteria included cleanliness of sidewalks and entryways, the number of working hand sanitizer stations and cart wipes available, how quickly spills were wiped up, how often floors were cleaned in general, and the cleanliness of restrooms. Cleanest Grocery Stores The top-ranking grocers include Texas-based regional chain Central Market; the mid-Atlantic’s Wegmans; the Chicago and Ohio area…

Your kitchen towel could be loaded with bacteria, study shows

We were already weary of kitchen sponges, but now we know to look out for kitchen towels, too. Kitchen towels do many duties from wiping to drying, holding hot things and cleaning surfaces. They’re ubiquitous in households around the world, but now we know, those pretty patterns might be hiding some dangerous secrets. A new study from the University of Mauritius reported by the American Society for Microbiology found that family size and type of diet factor into the growth rate of the bacteria on kitchen towels that can lead to food poisoning and other serious infections. Researchers took an up close look at 100 kitchen towels after one month of use and found that 49 percent of the towels contained high levels of bacterial growth. The bacteria count increased with the size of the family and also when children or extended families were present. In households where towels  had more than…

Sleeping with the television on can cause you to gain weight, research shows

If you thought sleeping with the television on was a harmless habit, think again. New research published by JAMA Internal Medicine says that snoozing with an artificial light on nearby can cause you to pack on the pounds. Here’s how it works: The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) surveyed 43,722 women ages 35-74 on whether they slept with a television on, a light outside the room, a small nightlight, or no light present. The participants were not shift workers, daytime sleepers, or pregnant at the time of the study. The women were ask to report changes in weight, height, BMI, waist and hip measurement to the researchers for five years. Researchers then analyzed the data, and the findings are unsettling. Researchers found that those who slept with a television on were by far worse off than their darkness dozing peers. Television sleepers were 17% more likely to gain weight…

Why you should always toss your expired pancake mix

Let’s be honest. When you come across an expired food item in your pantry, unless it’s from prehistoric times, you probably continue on and eat that item anyway. After all, those dates are just put there as a guideline, right? For most food items the actual risk is pretty low, but when it comes to pancake mix, you might want to think twice. So why not pancake mix? Well… it could kill you. That’s the official report following several case studies examining a number of freaky stories about people who claim they experienced life-threatening symptoms after eating expired pancake mix. One study published in the American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology covered the story of a 19-year-old man who ate pancakes made from an opened mix that was two years old. After eating the pancakes, the man went into anaphylaxis — a life-threatening allergic reaction, often caused by food, that makes…

People prefer eating on the couch, not at the table, survey says

Eating at the dinner table is apparently, becoming a thing of the past. While you may have had no choice as a kid, now that you’re an adult, a newly released survey shows that you’re more likely to eat elsewhere. More than 1,000 people participated in the first Cooking at Home Report, conducted by June, the appliance company credited with pioneered the intelligent convection oven. While 72% of respondents said they grew up eating dinner at the table, only 48% said they still do so today. Of course, this can mean many things. Perhaps some participants live in the city, where apartments may be too small for a dining table. So where do people eat? The couch is a popular place to dine, with 30% of respondents claiming that was their surface of preference. Seventeen percent of people say they prefer to eat in bed. The report didn’t ask questions…

Eating pasta three times a week won’t make you fat, study shows

Spaghetti. Rigatoni. Fettuccini. It’s everyone’s favorite — pasta — and Italian lovers everywhere can rejoice over new research that reveals the popular pantry item won’t make you fat. While the joys of pasta are undeniable (is there anyone out there who doesn’t love diving into a big bowl of bolognese?) its healthfulness has always been in question. In recent years, low-carb options like quinoa have taken a bite out of pasta sales as health-minded adults feared packing on the pounds. But science now tells us, that eating a portion of penne up to three time a week won’t make you fat, and it might even help you slim down. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto conducted 30 randomized control trials involving nearly 2,500 people who replaced their regular carbohydrates with pasta as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet. The findings? Pasta doesn’t not cause you to put on extra body fat. “The study found that pasta didn’t contribute to…

Get your greens! Broccoli may help fight schizophrenia, study suggests

Broccoli has long been hailed as an all-star food thanks to its anti-cancer properties and healthy doses of vitamin C, calcium, and B vitamins. Now, a new study suggests that the crunchy cruciferous vegetable could be helpful in managing schizophrenia. Researchers at Johns Hopkins say that extracts found in the vegetable can tweak chemical imbalances in the brain of those suffering from the mental disorder. They used the compound sulforaphane, derived from broccoli sprouts, to restore glutamate and glutathione to lower levels. Broccoli’s high levels of sulforaphane also mean that potentially it could be used as an alternative to antipsychotic drugs, which often have painful or dangerous side effects. In a study published in January in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers measured brain regions of 81 people who had suffered a recent episode of psychosis. Those patients, on average, showed 4% less of the chemical glutamate in certain areas of…

Skipping breakfast could increase risk of heart disease, study shows

You’ve heard it before — “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” But that still doesn’t stop you from slapping the snooze button and skipping out on the first meal of the day in favor of a few extra quality minutes of shuteye. But you might want to think twice. We already know a good breakfast can help you lose weight, but a new study suggests that skipping breakfast might increase your risk of death from heart disease. The study was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers used data from 1988-1994 on more than 6,500 people between the ages of 40 and 75, who had been asked how often they ate breakfast in the morning. Responses showed that 5.1% almost never ate breakfast; 10.9% rarely ate breakfast; 25% had breakfast somedays; and 59% had breakfast every day. The researchers followed up with the…