How sleep affects your heart

Edward-Elmhurst Hospital Twitted that getting a good night’s rest plays an important role in your heart health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most adults need about seven hours of sleep. Yet, more than one in three Americans say they don’t get the recommended amount of sleep. While skimping on sleep for a night or two may be OK, regularly getting too little — or too much — sleep can be problematic.

A recent study showed that those who got less than six hours or more than nine hours of sleep a night were at an increased risk for heart disease or stroke. The study, which followed more than 450,000 adults ages 40 to 69, found otherwise healthy adults who got less than six hours of sleep a day had a 32 percent higher risk of heart attack or stroke. Those with risk factors for heart disease or stroke had an 18 percent reduced risk for heart attack or stroke if they got regular sleep compared to those who got to little or too much sleep.

Another study suggested that napping once or twice a week can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Some, but not too much, napping was healthier. Those who napped between five minutes to an hour once or twice a week were 48 percent less likely to develop heart disease than those who napped daily. Read more

Would You Cry After a Major Cooking Fail?

Sarah Hollenbeck from Postmates shared with Healthy Lombard that since we share a variety of healthy living tips, she wanted to reach out with some data on the most common cooking fails and how consumers react to them. This is especially timely as many people add “learn how to cook” on their 2020 resolutions list.

In her article, Sarah wrote that everyone from kitchen newbies to culinary aficionados can agree that cooking fails are inevitable (pro tip: watch out for your fingers or learn the hard way like this guy). Whether you are trying a new recipe or whipping up your favorite dish for the hundredth time, a slight distraction can turn a delicious meal into a disaster in seconds. Some fails are so bad—and hilarious—that people take to social media to share their kitchen mishaps with friends and family. But no matter how major your fail is, Postmates has your back with all your favorite snacks and meals ready to order for delivery at the touch of a button.

What do people typically do after major cooking fail? First, they tend to tweet about it, see more on that later. We surveyed 1,000 Americans to get the inside scoop on just how emotional a cooking fail can be. Read more

Health Effects of Coffee

Gerard Paul, editor of  ManyEats.com says that as a daily coffee drinker – okay, thrice-daily – he can’t get enough of that familiar boost he gets from a cup. Yet coffee and it’s principal active ingredient caffeine are so controversial it’s natural to wonder just how healthy they are.

So he decided to do a deep dive into his daily caffeine habit. The following is what he discovered.

What Could Make Coffee Healthy?

Coffee: how on earth could it possibly be healthy for you?

Just like with wine, many of the benefits of caffeine come from the body’s dose-dependent reaction to the chemical. Caffeine is a natural plant defense and insecticide found in various nuts, seeds, and leaves – like today’s hero, the venerable coffee bean.

Like with wine, many of the health benefits of coffee come in the hormetic zone of the drug. Hormesis refers to a dose-dependent response to a chemical or stressor, which causes a positive biological effect. (For example, consider lifting weights.)

Caffeine has some direct effects on the body too. It blocks the effects of the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is behind much of the increased alertness. It also has a stimulant impact on your central nervous system, constricts blood vessels, and is a mild diuretic.

It all adds up: caffeine is, by most accounts, the most popular drug in the world. Read more

Are Electric Toothbrushes Better?

Dr. Doodes shared with Healthy Lombard this question, ” Are Electric Toothbrushes Better?”

He answers this question with the following information.

What’s in a toothbrush?  Early toothbrushes were made using natural bristles from pigskin.  They were irregular, uncomfortable, and, frankly, likely not often used by most people.  The invention of nylon in 1935 by DuPont allowed for mass production using softer, more consistent bristles.  Thankfully, toothbrushes have never been better and with the advent of electric toothbrushes, the choices are bewildering.  This article will help address key questions in selecting a toothbrush. 

Why do we need to brush our teeth?  Most of your body’s surfaces shed, including your hair, skin, intestinal lining and nails; but teeth are different… their surface doesn’t shed.  Teeth’s non-living surface is hard and has little capacity for repair. Because of this, teeth need mechanical cleansing. Without brushing and flossing, bacteria on the teeth produce acid every time you eat sugar or simple carbohydrates eventually causing cavities.

What is available? The choice of toothbrushes at a regular supermarket is bewildering.  The market can be broken up into three general categories: 

  1. Manual brushes
  2. Electric brushes (disposable battery)
  3. Electric brushes (rechargeable battery built-in)

Read more

The Skinny on Intermittent Fasting

Daniel Grove, M.D is board certified in general internal medicine, critical care, and pulmonology.He originally sought to make a pamphlet to help educate his patients about their weight in a way that brief office visits allow. He became frustrated with the lack of information and outright falsehoods that are everywhere. Soon, he was prompted to conduct more research and the result is his book, The Weight Loss Counter-Revolution. He also provides information through a blog.  Recently he shared that in 1971, a 27-year-old, 456-pound man went to his local university department of medicine to get advice on how to lose weight.  Their response was startling but simple: stop eating altogether. While most people would look aghast and think the doctors were nuts, this guy was desperate enough to give it a try. His results over the ensuing weeks were so dramatic that he decided to prolong the fasting deprivation—for more than a year!  He ate nothing but vitamins, non-caloric fluids, and yeast for a whopping 382 days. He lost 276 pounds and gained himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. What’s more, he did so with no ill health effects.  When the doctors checked back in on him five years later, he had gained back only about 15 pounds.

Although parts of the report seem unbelievable, and the period of fasting is obviously extreme, this dramatic anecdote highlights a very important point.  Sometimes, extreme situations call for extreme actions.  If you are obese and are suffering from any of the many obesity-associated diseases, I can assure you that extreme measures are warranted.  It also helps us refine the definition of what “extreme” is when talking about weight loss.  Cutting out a piece of your stomach and stretch of large intestines is no longer considered extreme but I would argue it is far riskier than not eating for a year. Read more

Wash those hands; save yourself a trip to the doctor’s office

Edward-Elmhurst Health shared that the holiday season is here, and so is cold and flu season. The last thing you want is for your kid to get sick and, before you know it, the whole family is down and out.

How can you keep those pesky germs away and keep your family healthy? There is one way. And all it takes is a little soap and water.

Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Good handwashing is the first line of defense against germs. It can prevent the spread of many illnesses, from the common cold to more serious illnesses like the flu and diarrhea.

Take this time to make regular hand washing a rule for everyone in the family. Encourage your kids to wash their hands regularly, especially:

  • Before eating
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After being outside
  • After touching animals, including family pets
  • After visiting sick friends or relatives

Read more

The Risks and Benefits of Taking Low-Dose Aspirin

It all started in 1953 with the publication of the landmark study “Length of life and cause of death in rheumatoid arthritis” in the New England Journal of Medicine. The paper began with the sentence: “It has often been said that the way to live a long life is to acquire rheumatism.” The researchers found fewer deaths than expected from accidents, which could be explained by the fact that people with rheumatoid arthritis likely aren’t skiing or engaging in other potentially risky activity, but they also found significantly fewer deaths from heart attacks. Why would this be? Perhaps all the aspirin the subjects were taking for their joints was thinning their blood and preventing clots from forming in their coronary arteries in their hearts. To find out, in the 1960s, there were calls to study whether aspirin would help those at risk for blood clots, and we got our wish in the 1970s: studies suggesting regular aspirin intake protects against heart attacks.

Today, the official recommendation is that low-dose aspirin is recommended for all patients with heart disease, but, in the general population (that is, for those without a known history of heart disease or stroke) daily aspirin is only recommended “when the potential cardiovascular [heart] disease benefit outweighs the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.”

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Are Pre-Cut Vegetables Just as Healthy?

The Benefits of Ginger for Osteoarthritis

An all too common disorder, osteoarthritis produces chronic pain and disability. The first major study, published in 2000, showed no benefit of ginger extract over placebo, but that study only lasted three weeks. The next study, in 2001, lasted six weeks and, by the end, was able to show significantly better results compared to placebo. However, because the placebo did so well, reducing pain from the 60s down to the 40s on a scale of 1 to 100, ginger reducing pain further down into the 30s was not especially clinically significant, so an editorial in the official journal of the American College of Rheumatology concluded that “ginger should not be recommended at present for treatment of arthritis because of the limited efficacy.”

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Choosing Healthy Meals As You Get Older

The National Institute on Aging shared that making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age. Use these tips to choose foods and beverages for better health at each stage of life.

1. Drink plenty of liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. Learn which liquids are healthier choices.

Make eating a social event

Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.

3. Plan healthy meals

Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eathow much to eat, and which foods to choose, all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Find sensible, flexible ways to choose and prepare tasty meals so you can eat the foods you need. Read more