Why is being overweight so damaging to your cardiovascular system?
Recent research from the United Kingdom offers a new understanding: Seems obese people have more immune system CD4+ T-cells than normal-weight people. These T-cells are designed to help fight off infection, in part by triggering inflammation.
But the T-cells proliferate when you accumulate excess body fat (especially belly fat). They infiltrate that bulging adipose tissue, further increasing bodywide inflammation. And that inflammation makes your arteries more vulnerable to becoming stiff, scarred and accumulating plaque that can break off and cause a heart attack or stroke.
So if you need one more reason to stay committed to a healthy diet and weight control, here it is: Being overweight messes with your immune system.
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Time for an e-mail detox
In the 2008 film “The Devil Wears Prada,” Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) is the epitome of a stressed-out employee at the never-ending beck and call of her ultra-demanding boss (Meryl Streep), the editor of a high-fashion magazine. At the end of the movie, as Andy quits her job, she sends her phone sailing into a fountain.
We bet you, too, know the feeling of being tethered to your work. That’s because work-related e-mails come in at all hours – on your phone, your tablet, your laptop.
Interestingly, the French government recently determined that the 24/7 workplace is unfair to employees. It’s now the law there that employees cannot be expected to answer e-mails outside of business hours.
One study published in Computers and Human Behavior found that people who limited their e-mail time reduced their stress level; ended up in a better mood; improved sleep quality; felt more (not less) socially connected; and, in an unexpected twist, had higher self-perceived productivity.
So try to cut back on your e-mail obsession. Give it a week and see whether you feel more relaxed and get more done.
1. Check e-mail after 6 p.m. as infrequently as possible.
2. Set a limit on how many times a day you check work e-mail: first thing in the morning, once at midmorning, once at lunch, once at midafternoon and once before you go home.
3. End of the day: Answer all the e-mails you need to, then turn off your notifications.
Scare away scars
Al Capone, the notorious Chicago bootlegger, hated his nickname “Scarface” (earned when, as a teenager, he was slashed after insulting a thug’s sister in a bar in Brooklyn). But if he’d been alive in 2020 instead of 1920, he might never have had to deal with the disfiguring scar on his left cheek.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perlman School of Medicine have discovered how to stimulate hair follicles to rebloom around a wound, triggering production of fat cells instead of scar tissue.
This isn’t yet available, but it shows great promise in revolutionizing wound healing. Until it is, the American Academy of Dermatology says that if you have a cut, abrasion or serious surgical incision, here’s what you can do to minimize scarring.
1. Clean wounds well and keep them clean at all times.
2. Apply petroleum jelly to skin around wound to keep it moist and keep scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. For larger wounds, ask your doc about hydrating or silicone gel sheets.
3. Cover the wound with a bandage; change it daily, reapplying petroleum jelly.
4. If you get stitches, follow all instructions and get the stitches removed on time.
5. Always apply broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen to sun-exposed wounds after healing.
6. Focus on supportive nutrition, such as lean proteins, foods rich in vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids, and an overall healthy diet that promotes healthy wound healing. If you need the nutrition boost, use supplements.
Exercise to beat breast cancer
The 2011 hit movie “Moneyball” was based on the book “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” which chronicled the Oakland Athletics’ 2002 season. General manager Billy Beane, faced with a tight budget, enlisted the help of statisticians to craft his team based on special insights from collected data rather than on scouts’ opinions, as teams usually do. The A’s made it to the playoffs that year and the next – with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
Now, in the same way, scientists have looked at data on beating breast cancer and identified the best strategy survivors can use to prevent recurrence. And the winner is: exercise.
Researchers looked at 67 studies to see how lifestyle choices, including nutritional changes, weight loss, smoking cessation, limiting alcohol consumption and physical activity affect a survivor’s risk of breast cancer recurrence and long-term survival. They found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week, along with two to three weekly sessions of strength training, was most beneficial for lowering the risk of recurrence – plus, it reduced the chance of dying after a breast cancer diagnosis by more than 40 percent.
While most cases of breast cancer are diagnosed at an early stage and are treatable, overall survivors still face a 25 percent risk of death from recurrence/metastasis. And only 13 percent of breast cancer survivors get 150 minutes of activity weekly. So if you’ve had breast cancer, get moving. It really will boost your chances of a long, healthy life.
Mehmet Oz is host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen is chief wellness officer and chairman of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.