Beware of “magic” pills that contain dimethylamylamine, or DMAA. They claim to increase fat-burning and muscle-building, and to enhance your performance. But according to an alert from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, what they really do is raise blood pressure and trigger shortness of breath and even heart attack. DMAA is particularly dangerous when used with caffeine. At least five deaths have been reported.
The FDA is getting the product off shelves (it also appears on labels as MHA, DMP and geranium sources, like its oil, extracts, stems or leaves), but you may still have some at home or spot it online. Take a pass. Instead, try this one-two combo to burn fat and build muscle — right from your fridge.
1. Drink skim milk after exercise. A study found that women who did lost five times more body fat and added almost twice as much muscle after 12 weeks of regular exercise as women who downed a sports drink. Want to avoid milk protein, like whey or casein, which can cause other problems? See tip No. 2.
2. Enjoy fish (salmon and ocean trout) and skinless chicken within an hour of strength training. You need about 0.5 grams of protein a day for every pound you weigh (75 grams if you weigh 150 pounds). In one study, postmenopausal women who ate the additional protein twice a day lost 3.9 percent more weight and gained 5.8 percent more thigh muscle than women without extra protein.
More than 20 million people in North America have their vision impaired by cataracts.
Luckily, current technology easily can extract a cloudy or opaque lens from an affected eye (that’s what a cataract is) and insert a new lens that provides clearer sight. (About 20 percent of the time, what’s mistakenly called a secondary cataract makes things seem cloudy again. But that’s from changes in the tissue that holds the lens, not the new lens itself. Clear vision can be restored with a quick trip back to the doc’s office.)
By age 80, 50 percent of folks have cataracts. Age-related reduction in water and nutrients supplied to the lens may trigger the condition, and so can diabetes, smoking and overexposure to the sun’s UV rays (always wear sunglasses outside if it’s not nighttime). But smart food choices will reduce your risk.
We recommend: three 4-ounce servings a week of eye-loving omega-3 DHA from salmon and ocean trout, or 900 milligrams a day of DHA algal oil supplements. Also lookin’ good: lutein/zeaxanthin in tomatoes, kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine, broccoli, zucchini and peas; vitamin C in fruits; vitamin E in almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter; and zinc in poultry, seafood, beans and nuts.
Helping kids with sleep disordered breathing
Kids who snore or have sleep apnea (that’s on-again, off-again breathing) don’t get restful shut-eye or enough sleep overall, and they can end up having trouble playing well with others.
A recent five-year study of kids ages 6 to 11 with occasional sleep disordered breathing (that’s the fancy name for snoring and apnea) found that they were five times more likely than well-rested children to exhibit hyperactivity, attention problems, over-aggressiveness and other kinds of anti-social behavior. And problems are even more prevalent if sleep disordered breathing (SDB) happens night after night.
What causes SDB? It could be something as simple as an untreated allergy or might be caused by a deviated septum, large tonsils, obesity (fat infiltrates the back of the throat), exhaustion or stress. Consult with your pediatrician to determine the cause. Psychologists agree that the wait-and-see approach isn’t smart, since SDB can affect a child’s physical and emotional development.
Solutions? Antihistamines may help if SDB is allergy-related; so can regular exercise (you lose much of the fat in your throat); and try a bedtime snack of 100 percent whole grain and protein about two hours before sleep. Dr. Oz suggests a handful of almonds or walnuts, a bowl of oatmeal, a glass of skim milk or a banana. If stress is a cause, opt for meditation and counseling. And don’t hesitate to try a device to help regulate breathing. Your child deserves sweet dreams.
Staying healthy when time is short
It’s difficult to fit in everything you have to do — work, get kids ready for school, commute and, oh yeah, sleep — and then find time to prepare a meal, exercise and feel like romance. But you can make time (really) if you develop a few fun habits.
Set a new routine: Get up 15 minutes earlier; use that extra time to eat a whole grain and lean protein breakfast. You’ll avoid food follies all day long. On your lunch hour, don’t eat at your desk; get out and walk, walk, walk. In the evening, when you walk into the house, don’t head for the TV; do head for the kitchen to dish up a healthy meal.
Consolidate cooking: On the weekend, make casseroles, broil fish or skinless poultry and stir up some soup; freeze single servings to dish up later. Chop up tomatoes, veggies and greens for salads and store in airtight containers.
Get the family up and moving: Start an early-morning, evening or weekend walking routine. You’ll do more if you support each other.
Enjoy the bonus: Spending time with your partner working out and cooking strengthens bonds, amps up your libido and makes it easier to stick with new habits.