We won't take it personally if you start munching an apple today to keep the doctor away.
In fact, we might take it badly if you don't.
New evidence just keeps on polishing the rep of this fruit, kicking it up from Garden of Eden temptation to age-defying miracle food.
Here's the latest: Apples can reduce inflammation in your body, lower your lousy LDL cholesterol, protect your ticker and even help you lose weight.
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Even if you don't change one other thing in your diet, simply eating a couple of apples a day for six months can reduce your artery-blocking LDL cholesterol by a stunning 23 percent.
And the apple's pectin (found in the skin) and anti-aging polyphenols don't just increase your fiber intake (good for overall health and regularity); they also reduce inflammation and cut your risk of cell and artery damage (that can lead to cardiac disease) by an even bigger 32 percent. That'll do your heart good, big time.
Exactly how apple-happy do you need to get? Aim for 2-3 fresh red beauties a day. For variety, 2.5 ounces of dried apples will also do the trick. Or occasionally add 500 mg of apple pectin at the start of each meal — it's equivalent to six apples!
The final kicker: You'll lose weight, too. Even though the study participants added 240 extra calories a day from apples, they wound up losing 3.3 pounds.
So bake them, sauce them, sprinkle them with cinnamon, add them to your oatmeal, and start eating your way to heart health.
When women are happy, everybody's happy
The best route to a sweeter marriage and happier kids is for you women to get your own happy glow on first.
Our advice isn't just pop psychology mumbo-jumbo. It turns out that depression in women creates a "partner effect" that leaves your mate less able to read your feelings.
The result? The two of you feel less in sync, making a tough time even tougher. And children and teens say they're happiest about their own lives when mom is truly happy in her relationship with her partner.
If you're going through a rough patch, this is the opposite of a guilt trip. We think it's proof positive that focusing on getting yourself emotionally healthier and happier right now will pay off for everyone. Even if you're in a good place, reserve enough "you time" to stay that way. That's easy to overlook in the everyday chaos of family, work and the tornado-relief bake sale.
But it's vital, because depression's twice as common in women as in men. So ward it off. Get enough sleep. Do 30 minutes of walking or other feel-good activity every day. Schedule relaxing get-togethers with your friends and your sweetheart.
If you sense that you're slipping into depression (you can't shake sadness or fatigue, or feel pleasure), call your doc. Talk therapy (especially the type called cognitive behavior therapy), with or without antidepressants, can make life better.
Ward off diabetes with a chill pill
Kicking back tonight — to watch the ballgame, toss a Frisbee with the kids or meet up with your BFF — may be one of the best things you can do now to prevent diabetes later. Yep, soothing your anxiety today cuts your chances of seeing a dangerous, stress-related rise in your blood sugar five years from now by up to 30 percent.
Here's why: Stressful events aren't necessarily the problem: it's how you cope with them on a daily basis that counts. See, the hormones released when you're under stress (cortisol, adrenaline) are some of the same hormones your body uses to increase your blood sugar.
Happily, you have a lot of control over how you handle stress. For instance, if the boss shoots you a funny look, you could panic (blech, layoffs coming). Or you could think twice and realize you have no idea why he suddenly looks like the latest "Idol" loser. It might be just the nachos supreme he wolfed down at lunch. Not your problem.
Sure, stress can lead you to do things that aren't blood-sugar-friendly, like scarfing down doughnuts when you're up against a deadline, or skipping your daily walk because you feel too tense to take a break. Actually, a break is exactly what you need.
When you relax, your blood sugar settles down, too. Something as simple as progressive relaxation (one by one, clench, then relax, the muscles from your toes to your head) can really help. So when tension's running high, take the night off.
Keep your brain in high gear for years
Getting plenty of fresh, oxygen-rich blood flowing to your brainy gray matter is classic advice for staying sharp. We want you to find those car keys, balance your checkbook and keep getting better at the fun stuff, whether it's brilliant scrapbooking or trouncing "Jeopardy" contestants on TV.
Now there's dramatic proof that keeping your blood as fit and zippy as a roadrunner helps keep dementia at bay.
Turns out that doing everything you can to control high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and high blood sugar has big benefits for your cranium, even if you're already having little memory slips.
Tops on your to-do list: Quit smoking. And, of course, you're already eating smaller portions and getting to your optimal weight, walking daily, getting 900 mg of DHA, 1,200 IU of vitamin D-3, half a multivitamin two times a day and taking any meds your doctor prescribes, right?
Doing all that could reduce your odds for further mental decline during the next five years by an impressive 40 percent.
Brain protection like this is big news, because right now no drug can directly prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer's. But circulation slowers like tobacco, high blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, physical inactivity and diabetes all up your risk for dementia by as much as 46 percent.
Your next move? You know what it is. Get serious about lowering your blood pressure by staying active — every day, no excuses, including a one-minute interval at maximum exertion if your doc says you can, eating smart and sticking with needed drugs. We want you to keep your brain in gear for decades to come.
Cut your cancer risk from cellphones
We YOU Docs love, and need, our cellphones as much as you do. So we understand the alarm over recent headlines shouting that cellphones may cause brain and hearing-center tumors. The source was impressive: the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization.
Relax a little. You can reduce the threat a lot.
Here's the basic problem. Cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation that penetrates whatever part of your body is closest, damaging cells in ways that may turn cancerous. Children's smaller bodies are even more vulnerable. The radiation can penetrate 4 inches into the brain of a growing child.
IARC has just put cellphone radiation into "category 2B," meaning it's possibly carcinogenic in humans (DDT is also in category 2B). We call this category "2 B avoided." Here's how to cut your exposure without trashing your phone:
1. TXT more, talk less. Do what kids do 110 times a day: text, don't call. Texting keeps your phone at arm's length, and inches matter. At 6 inches, you've cut levels by practically 97 percent.
2. Use the speaker function. Again, the farther away, the better.
3. If you can't use the speaker, use a headset. Headsets or ear buds attached with wires keep exposure lower than cellphones and wireless ear gadgets, which also emit radiation. Lowest of all: "air tube" systems that transmit the sound via a hollow tube.
4. No pockets. If you keep your phone in your pants pocket, take it out whenever you can (home, desk, car). Otherwise, men, you may zap your fertility, too.