Why Coffee Is Good For Your Health?

Drinking coffee regularly is not just warm and provide more energy for the body; however, it also brings a lot of health’s benefits. Through years from the past, a large number of scientists have studied about the effects of coffee and they have found that it has various advantages on the health of individual.

Below are 5 reasons why coffee is considered to be one of the healthiest drink in the world.

1. Make you become more intelligence

coffeeCoffee does not only keep you awake, but it also make you become more intelligence. The main ingredient in coffee is caffeine – this ingredient stimulates the psychological system of people who drink this beverage. Caffeine can prevent some issues which is not good for the brain, especially Adenosine.

Therefore, when blocking all the dangerous issues for your brain, people who drink coffee everyday are less likely to have headache. On the other hand, it can improve the mood and stimulate your mind which results in high productivity.

Caffeine stimulates all the nerves in your head. In addition, it enhances the emotions and function of the brain.

2. Burn calories and fat

You will definitely find caffeine ingredients in food which help burning all the fat and calories. Caffeine has a great effect on the nervous system. Therefore, it can improve the metabolism and oxidation of various fatty things.

On the other hand, it can release out lots of fatty tissues which improve the appearance. In addition, researches have shown that people who drink coffee regularly can leverage their exercise performance up to 15%.

coffe2Caffeine in coffee boosts the metabolic level and release all the fatty tissues from your body. Therefore, individuals can improve their physical performance.

3. Reduce the risk of taking Type II Diabetes

doctorType II Diabetes is one of the diseases which happen based on your eating lifestyle. Researches have presented that there has been more than 400 million people who have caught this disease in a few decades. To illustrate, Type II Diabetes is described as a high-blood glucose level in the body which results in the inability to produce insulin.

According to some studies, people who drink coffee everyday are less likely to have diabetes. And this chance account for more than 67%. Moreover, drinking one cup of coffee everyday can reduce the risk of taking diabetes up to 8%.

Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of taking Type II Diabetes. You should drink 2 cups of coffee every day.

4. Good for your liver

The liver is one of the most important parts in the body. It is easily damaged when drinking lots of beers and fructose. For people who have damaged their liver, cirrhosis is the end stage of damaging liver. At this moment, all the parts in the liver are replaced by different scar tissues.

coffe5There are a large number of studies show that coffee can benefits for your brain for up to 80%. It brings amazing improvements for people who drink up to 4 cups of coffee per day.

Coffee can help solving the liver disorders. Moreover, it can benefit the brain and lower the risk of taking cancer up to 60%.

5. Less likely to die soon

A lot of people think that coffee is not good for your health. This fact is not surprising, but it is opposite to what all the researchers have said.

In some large studies, drinking coffee regularly related to a lower risk of taking death when you are at young ages. To illustrate, people who love drinking coffee can live for more than 20 years compared to normal people.

Take home exercises

Although drinking coffee is good for the health; however, drinking too much is very dangerous. To make it healthier, don’t add up sugar into the beverage. Moreover, for people who often have problems with your sleep, avoid drinking coffee after 2pm.

On the other hand, individual can practice exercise to get a healthy lifestyle. For people who often do exercise at home, they will choose one recumbent bike or spin bike which is suitable for themselves. Here is a link to the spin bike reviews and  it will give you more information for your desire machine.

To conclude, coffee is one of the healthiest beverages on the earth. And it is good if you practice more exercises because it will help gaining a perfect body. However, you should balance between the drinking plan, drinking too much is not good for your health.

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Outdoor Sport Is Good For Your Skin

Nowadays, everybody also care about their health as well as the physical appearance. People often have their house equipped with some machines to practice exercises in their leisure time. If you are still confused about between a spin bike and stationary bike, the staffs at some fitness store can show you different best spin bikes for you to pick up the most suitable.


In fact, outdoor exercises bring more benefits for the body. It is not only good for your health and muscle, but also have significant effects on the skin. It helps skin release the amount of toxins, enhance the blood circulation to bring oxygen and nutrients in order to help the skin toner, stronger.

Once you have regarded sport as an inevitable part of life, you also need to take care carefully to skin care before, during and after the practicing process.

Before doing exercises

  1. Wash your face to stimulate the blood circulation under the skin. To illustrate, this habit creates chances for blood to carry oxygen and nutrients to the skin surface. On the other hand, do not afraid that your skin will be dried because when you do exercise, the skin will stimulate oil secretion. Therefore, you do not need to moisturize the skin anymore.
  1. When exercising outdoors during the summer, women often wear mask or sunscreen due to fear of being tanned. They think that it is necessary to the skin. Actually, it’s not good because when you practice exercises, it’s better to give your skin a rest. Therefore, the solution to this problem is to choose a suitable location and the most appropriate time to work out.
  1. Currently, most people tend to play outdoor sports because not everyone can afford to go to the gym. Therefore, the negative impacts from the environment such as dirt and pollution will adversely affect your skin. You should choose the clean and airy places with many trees. By doing this, you are not only keep the respiratory system healthy, but remain the healthy skin as well.
  1. If you have no other choice in selecting the type of exercise (such as swimming and outdoor tennis), you should choose a sunscreen product that does not contain oil or lotion.

After doing exercises

  1. After working out, the body starts to sweat a lot, so the toxins will be released faster and more efficiently through your skin. Therefore, taking care of your body after exercise also plays an important role in maintaining and preserving the health and beauty of the skin.
  1. Individuals should take a shower carefully, apply proper skin care after training. This moment is very important for you to brighten and smooth your skin. After cleansing the skin, you can use the lotion, and home-made mask. For people who can afford the money, you can come to health centers or spa and have your body cared by professional staffs.


  1. Do not use soap which contain the antiseptic after training. Instead of using soap, you should wash your face with cold water. In addition, to clean the dirt and slime remained on the skin and pores, you should choose the type of wash or cleanser that have pores and detergent features. (Soap does not have this features).
  1. Try to drink a large amount of water regularly in order to balance the water that the body excrete when sweating. To illustrate, when the skin does not dry out, individuals are less likely to have wrinkles when they get older.
  1. You should select the wash or cleanser which doesn’t contain fragrance. They should contain natural ingredients to help cleansing dirty things such as oil and toxins from the skin.
  1. Moreover, after bathing, apply onto the skin surface a non-alcoholic toner layer to clean skin completely. This will help increasing the moisture, soften your skin and soothe the inflamed skin after training.

Above are some useful tips that you can taking care of the skin to make it become healthier. These can be applied whenever you have time, not only after doing exercises. Doing exercises regularly to strengthen the perfect body is very good. However, it is better if you take care of the skin as well. When people have a bright and smooth skin, especially girls; you will easily get attention from people around you.

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Lighting a fire under couch potatoes: get off the couch and get on your feet! Your health depends on it

Q: What happens to a surprising number of teens as they shift from middle school to high school?

A: They turn into couch potatoes.


That’s right. According to a $1.2 million study at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine, the primary time for teens to turn into real couch potatoes is between ninth and tenth grade. For some reason, that is the time when physical activity begins to go down and weight begins to go up.

According to Cheryl Anderson, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor, this is primarily because many young teens somehow develop the belief that they are just not the athletic type.

“To do vigorous exercise, like running, swimming, or cycling, or any type of physical activity, you have to see yourself as a person who does these things,” she says. Anderson calls this attitude “athletic identity.” She believes that the only way to change people’s perspective is to help them find an enjoyable and rewarding physical activity. They don’t have to excel in the sport; they just need to get involved. “Kids have to know it’s OK to run slowly, and it’s OK to be the last one,” she explains. “They don’t have to be Lance Armstrong to ride a bicycle.”

Couch Concerns

Spending many hours sitting–whether in front of the television or on the computer–can be hazardous to your health. If you choose to be sitting at a screen instead of shooting a few baskets, taking a run, playing soccer, or exploring on your bicycle, then your body will pay the price. As your amount of exercise goes down and your weight goes up, your risk of developing heart disease begins to climb at a frightening rate. Recent studies have shown that couch potatoes carry double the risk of heart disease–and that’s reason for concern.

While it may seem like teenagers are immortal, their lifestyle habits now can affect them for the rest of their years. That is why establishing the habit of regular exercise early on is the best idea. Too much sitting around today can lead to a variety of illnesses tomorrow, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and even some types of cancer.

Former Potatoes

The motivation to put down the remote or take fingers off a mouse varies from person to person. With teens, the reasons often center on physical appearance. Ethan, a 14-year-old in Oregon, loved to spend hours on the Internet researching, exploring, and chatting. However, one day he realized that he was spending far too much time doing those things and not enough time getting some kind of regular physical activity. “I wanted to look better to make a better impression on girls,” he admits. “I didn’t want to end up being one of those unhealthy, overweight kids you see on television. I wanted to feel good about myself.”

Ethan put down the mouse and began to get some regular exercise–everything from biking, to playing soccer. “Now I have far more endurance and stamina than I did,” he says. “I recommend that other teens get out there and get your heart pumping. It can make you a better person.”

Lea has a similar story. “I love to write,” she says, “and so I spent hours every day on the computer. One day when a friend called and asked me to play some volleyball with her, I realized it had been weeks since I had gone outside and exercised. Once I started playing some games and riding my bike again, I lost weight and I felt better physically and mentally. I still go on the Internet,” she adds, “but I try to balance both.”

A New Kind of Camp


Tony Sparber knows’ what it is like to be a couch potato–and an overweight kid. His life turned around at 15 when he went to an all-new kind of camp–one specifically designed to help teenagers get fit and healthy. “I lost 30 pounds, and I have kept it off ever since,” he says. Today, Sparber is the owner and director of New Image Weight Loss Camps, an organization based in New Jersey. He has campsites in California, Florida, and Pennsylvania with more than 1,000 campers every summer.

Sparber began the camps in 1992. Kids between 7 and 18 come to stay for anywhere from two to eight weeks at a time. New Image camps are like traditional camps, but offer a bonus of an average weight loss of 2 to 4 pounds per week. “Camp is fun first,” says Sparber. “We do the traditional activities, but we also have classes on nutrition, cooking, and behavior modification. I love helping kids improve their self-esteem.”

Sparber’s advice for teens is simple. “Get a more active lifestyle and program. It does not have to be competitive sports, but something you enjoy,” he says. “You have to realize you are not immortal–and remember, it’s a lot more fun being healthy and fit.”

Watching television and surfing the Internet are fine–but you should balance your time sitting with time moving. Your body will thank you now–and years down the road.

Sticking to It

Once you’ve decided to start getting some regular exercise, the key is what and where, as well as how to stick with it. Here are some great tips:

  • 1. Start off with some simple steps. If you can walk somewhere instead of drive or ride, do it. Walk around while you talk on the phone.
  • 2. When you are sitting at the computer or TV, keep only healthy snacks next to you. Bring some carrot sticks or some apples, not chips or cookies.
  • 3. Explore different kinds of physical activities, and find one that you really like. It can include anything from martial arts, dancing, running, or biking. If you enjoy the exercise, you are much more likely to hang in there.
  • 4. Make sure you get enough sleep–your body won’t have the energy for any activity without it.
  • 5. Drink enough water and eat healthy foods Without water and good food, your body will not have what it needs to meet any physical demands. Give it what it needs, and it will come through for you in return.


Students will be able to analyze their current level of physical activity and develop a reasonable plan for increasing their level regularly.


* At what point in the life of a teen is it most likely for their level of physical activity to begin to go down and their weight to begin to go up? (A study shows that these changes are most likely to occur when the teen is between ninth and tenth grade.)

* Summarize some of the negative consequences of a couch potato lifestyle. (As your level of exercise decreases, your weight will generally begin to increase. This can be associated with increasing risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even some types of cancer.)

* Identify some of the common “social motivations” for becoming more physically active. (Teens become more physically active to feel better physically; have more energy; feel better about themselves–to have an improved sense of competence and self-esteem; and to improve their appearance and thus feel they’re more attractive to others.)


1. Based on their summaries and observations from their charts, assign students to develop plans to increase their daily physical activity. They may want to use a similar chart form for their plans. Suggest that they might ask for guidance from PE teachers and classmates with this task. Also remind them to include sound principles of any exercise program–warm up, stretch, exercise in a target zone, and cool down properly.

2. Have students implement their plans for a week, and assess progress at the end of that week by writing another essay in which they analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the plan as well as their progress. They should note any obstacles to implementing the plan and any changes in the way they feel as a result of the increases in physical activity they are able to achieve.

3. Assign students to keep a “journal” in which they document their physical activity for a week or more. (This should not be a week that is out of the norm, such as a vacation week or one in which they are very occupied preparing for a major event.) A chart format into which they can quantify records is partially set up below. At the end of their week of observations and anecdotal notes on their level of physical activity, they should assess their own situation by writing a summary essay on their findings. They may wish to add other columns to the format.

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Time trip

* The United States has always been a land of plenty, but, until very recently, Americans did not have a collective weight problem Colonial tables were generally full, and the wealthy ate three large meals a day–full of calories that would put pounds on anyone today. How did they do it? The answer is they worked it off. Hard physical labor was the rule for men, women, and children, and people burned as many calories as they consumed.

* As the nation moved westward, physical labor became even more demanding. Taming a wilderness demanded plenty of fuel in the form of food. Salt pork (pork preserved by immersing it in a salt solution) became an almost universal food on the frontier because it kept for years without spoiling.

* As the productivity of U.S. farms increased, so did the volume of food Americans ate. By the 1890s, 15-course dinners were favored by the upper and middle classes.

* “Diamond Jim” Brady (1856-1917) set the style for big eaters in the late 1800s. Brady, a businessman (left), was a large man, but not hugely obese. The amount of food he ate even astounded those living in an age of big eaters. For example, Brady began a typical day by drinking a gallon of orange juice, then gobbling, in rapid succession, eggs, corn bread, muffins, pancakes, pork chops, fried potatoes, and a steak.


* Dessert was one of Brady’s favorite things. “When he pointed to a platter of French pastry, he didn’t mean any special piece of pastry. He meant the platter,” wrote his biographer, George Rector. Pastries were often followed with a 2-pound box of candy.

* “You must be very proud of your appetite, Mr. Brady. But how do you know when your appetite is satisfied?” a woman reportedly asked him. “Whenever I sit down to a meal,” answered Brady, “I always make a point to leave just 4 inches between my stomach and the edge of the table. And then, when I can feel `em rubbin’ together pretty hard, I know I’ve had enough.”

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6 Reasons Why You Have Bad Breath

I am very interested in working out at home with an effective machine. And it is suggested by friends that spin bike is one of the most common device nowadays. Therefore, after going through some spin bike reviews, I finally choose Sunny Pro SF-B901. This is one of the best spin bikes I’ve ever known. If you want one like this, go to ExerciseBikesExpert to get one. I highly recommend it. However, I appear to suffer from bad breath after a long time doing exercises gradually. So was it cause by practicing so much? Or have I not washed my teeth carefully? Let’s find out the reasons below.


1. Have bad care to your teeth

According to one research in the International Journal of Oral Science, the main cause of halitosis is that individuals do not pay much attention to their dental hygiene. This reason accounts for more than 85% of the problems. In fact, when you did not brush the teeth carefully, it would be easier for bacteria to latch onto the tongue which affect badly to your breath.

Since the germs find a warm and humid environments, they begin to grow gradually. And if you don’t brush teeth in a correct way, your breath become to smell. To illustrate, bacteria produces the sulfur mixture which results in the rotten-egg smell. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day; it is important to scrape the tongue as well.

2. Not drink enough water

drink-more-waterDrinking lots of water will help washing out all the dangerous bacteria. The saliva in your mouth somehow remains and creates an appropriate place for the germs to grow up. Therefore, when we reduce the amount of saliva, all the bacteria will begin to die off.

Since, the rotten cells are smelling awful. All the scientists and researchers all suggest that should drink at least 8 glasses of water for each day. There are researches show that drink lots of water will wash out the sulfur combination in your mouth.

3. Dehydrated and having sickness

For people who are allergy to something are more likely to breathe through the mouth. This will make your mouth become dry. In addition, people with sickness such as flu, cold or sore throat will also do the same.

When getting in these circumstances, go to the doctor so that they can treat you better. It is important when you can pass through the sickness because you are less likely to breathe by the mouth.

4. Eat lots of unsafe food

garlicThere are various foods which can affect your breath all the time. For example, garlic, onion and horseradish. In addition, drinking too much milk can improve the level of sulfur in your mouth.

One of the best ways to avoid this situation is brushing the teeth after every meals. Moreover, try to eat more fibrous foods and green food to make it good for your health. Studies have shown that food with high-carbohydrate will stimulate the growth of bacteria as fast as they can.

5. Have acid reflux problems

acid-problemThere is a large number of people who have this problem. To illustrate, they are tend to burp up all the acid from the stomach to their breath. And when it happens, it can cause a lot of bad results to the body. For example, individuals are tend to enhance the level of sinuses.

There are some foods which are good for the health include cinnamon, chocolate or citrusy things. On the other hand, you should brush the teeth with high-salt water. Add one spoon into the glass of water and gargle regularly. It will reduce the risk of taking bad breath.

6. Suffer cancer can create bad breath

Having bad breath sometimes inform that your body has some problems. You are likely to have cancer in the ear, throat or nose. To illustrate, this smell is a little bit sour and cheesy. For people who have cancer, they often do not pay much attention to the dental hygiene which results in bad breath.

Above are six reasons that often create bad breath. One of the most effective ways to prevent this issue is to brush the teeth clearly and carefully. In addition, consider eating food which is both good for the health and breath.

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Diet: cranks & quacks


NOT LONG AGO I heard a smooth-talking man on the radio discussing the sad state of nutritional education in this country. Of our 127 medical schools, he said, only 15 required their students to take a course in nutrition, and only a few others even offered nutrition as an elective. No wonder, he said, that the field of diet and nutrition is left wide open to cranks and quacks; and it’s a tragedy, he said, when two-thirds of all hospital admissions are related to nutritional problems.

Dear me. One nice thing about living on a farm is that you don’t have to take that sort of guff lying down. In the time you save by not commuting, you can fire off a questionnaire to all 127 of those medical schools, asking them if they offer course work in nutrition and require such course work for graduation. You can, for comparison, send the same questions to each of the 28 schools of veterinary medicine in this country. So I did.

The response was fine (and uniformly courteous): 83 medical schools (65 per cent) and 21 veterinary-medicine schools (75 per cent). The response was also scandalous, as the radio editorialist had led me to expect: 19 of the veterinary-medicine schools (90 per cent) require students to take courses in nutrition, but only 19 medical schools do (23 per cent). Case dismissed? No.

Almost without exception, the medical schools that reported no “separate’ courses in nutrition went on to offer comments describing the nutritional components of courses in biochemistry, pediatrics, obstetrics, internal medicine, physiology, family medicine, geriatrics, community medicine, preventive medicine, and more. The variations are enormous. One school requires a course that contains 18 lecture hours. Another school has no course at all, but calculates that the nutrition components of other courses add up to more than a hundred lecture hours.

Nevertheless, nutritional knowledge is growing fast. Even such an illustrious medical school as Columbia’s reports that its separate course work in nutrition has only been “part of our curriculum for about five years.’ The University of Arkansas set up a Task Force on Nutritional Education not long ago, which concluded that the subject should be treated more coherently. Its recommendations included:

to develop nutrition as a readily identifiable topic in

  • a) the medical curriculum both as special course offerings and as identified parts of clinical courses,
  • b) an ongoing program of research in nutrition to expand the useful knowledge in this field and to stimulate and reinforce the teaching of nutrition, and
  • c) continuing postgraduate education programs to bring the practicing physician up to date in nutrition.

All to the good.

BUT WOE IS US, here come the Feds. Congress has been fretting about nutritional education; and now the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council Commission on Life Sciences (part of the National Academy of Sciences, which in turn is part of the National Boondoggle) has set up a committee “to examine how and to what extent nutrition is currently incorporated into medical education and to consider ways by which the teaching of nutrition in medical schools can be strengthened’ (i.e., they already know what they’re going to discover). The report is due in June 1985. Don’t hold your breath.

All right, nutrition is important. You are what you eat. And so on. And isn’t it scandalous that veterinary-medicine schools teach nutrition more consistently than medical schools?

Scandalous but understandable. Husbandmen can perfectly control what their animals eat; so it is reasonable to study how to exercise that control most efficiently and benignly. Physicians can scarcely control what the average citizen eats; so the emphasis in medical studies is not placed there.

Rather, the nutritional emphasis in medical studies is placed on those areas where the physician does indeed have some strong chance of controlling the diet: pediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics. The infant can’t fight back. The young mother’s normal instinct is to do exactly as the physician tells her for the good of the baby. The old geezer has two choices, the less discommodious of which is following the brash young doctor’s orders. It makes very good sense to prepare the medical student for these cases. As for the millions of youngsters who are old enough to spend their money (and their health) on lunches consisting of preserved meat on onion rolls, washed down with soda pop–well, the physician will be dealing with them sooner or later, them and their “nutrition-related’ disorders.

Last April the president of Harvard, Derek Bok, gave his annual report to his Board of Overseers, and devoted it to the great question of reforming medical-school curricula. Among many points, he urged greater emphasis on “preventive medicine.’ Thus:

Up to half of all illness in the United States could be avoided through changes in behavior brought about by voluntary adjustments in lifestyle or by preventive measures on the part of government and private organizations. The latter are primarily the responsibility of the state, acting through appropriate rules and incentives. [My emphasis.]

There it is, the standard quack cure for all man’s ills: state intervention. Far down beneath the “discussion’ about “medical curricula’ the battle is joined on quite a different ground: Who will control your daily life–you, or Big Brother?


Please pass the junk food, and don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes.

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Health Books Burgeon

Adiet-health large handful of new ventures gives proof, if any were needed, of the robust nature of the diet and health market.

Expanding steadily into the health field, John Wiley purchased Chronimed Publishing last year and began folding its books, many on diet and nutrition, into the Wiley list. “It’s a good blend,” says Tom Miller, executive editor of Wiley’s general interest books, where health predominates. “When we reprint the books, we reprint them as Wiley titles. We’ve been doing about 30 original titles a year and will do even more. Most have been paperbacks, but we’re increasing our hardcovers, which have very strong author credentials and breakthrough concepts based on substantial research.”

January releases include Vital Energy: The 7 Keys to Invigorate Body, Mind & Soul by Dr. David Simon, medical director of the Chopra Center for Well Being, and Syndrome X: The Complete Program to Prevent and Reverse This New Epidemic by Jack Challem, Dr. Burt Berkson and Melissa Diane Smith. The latter concerns insulin, a hormone that’s also the focus of books by Drs. Richard F. Heller and Rachael F. Heller. The Hellers themselves provide Wiley’s lead spring title, The Carbohydrate Addict’s Cookbook, for which a 300,000-copy first printing is planned.

“I would not have projected a couple of years ago that we’d be publishing in this area,” James Connolly, president and publisher of San Francisco–based Bay Books, tells PW, “but what was happening in the world of low-carbohydrates became an interest of mine.” In September, Bay published The Gourmet Prescription by Dr. Deborah Friedson Chud. “Many of the other books on the market are hard-core low-carb diet programs,” explains Connolly, who differentiates Chud’s cookbook as a “four-color, upscale” collection of high-flavor recipes for low-carbohydrate diets. Another lead title in Bay’s new focus explores the body’s biological and chemical components: The Chemistry of Success: 6 Secrets of Peak Performance by Dr. Susan M. Lark and James A. Richards (Sept.).

In September, Hazelden Publishing introduced its Pocket Health Guide series, which expands the company’s traditional focus on recovery-based titles. “Recovery,” notes the fall 1999 Hazelden catalogue, “is not just about sobriety. It’s about how to live abundantly-two, five, or twenty-five years into recovery,” This new trade paperback line, authored by Mark Jenkins, offers “authoritative, upbeat, solution-oriented” approaches to specific illnesses or conditions. The first two titles, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and High Blood Pressure, will be followed in May by Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS; all titles carry the subtitle Practical, Medical, and Spiritual Guidelines for Daily Living with…

Eating is scrutinized in the new Tell Me What to Eat series by Elaine Magee from Career Press. The initial title, Tell Me What to Eat as I Approach Menopause (Aug.), was followed by …If I Have Diabetes (Oct.). Coming in the spring are …to Help Prevent Breast Cancer and …If I Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.


“Our first book came out in 1997, Nutrition for Dummies [by Carol Ann Rinzler], but this year, we’ve really launched ourselves into the health area,” reports IDG Books executive editor Tami Booth. “By the end of 1999, we’ll have more than 20 titles.” Among upcoming releases are December’s Healing Foods for Dummies by Molly Siple and January’s The Healthy Heart for Dummies by Dr. James Rippe. “We started with broader categories,” she adds, “but our direction is now more condition-specific.” Some books include recipes, Booth points out, with chefs Charlie Trotter and Michael Lomonaco contributing to Diabetes for Dummies by Dr. Alan Rubin. Next spring, IDG will extend the program with Diabetes for Dummies Cookbook and The Health Heart for Dummies Cookbook.

In March, St. Martin’s and Rodale combine forces on a new Prevention’s Best line of mass market originals. The first will be Vitamin Cures, and May will bring Faster, Better Healing. “We’ll be doing six a year, one every other month,” according to SMP senior editor Heather Jackson. “We’ll cover areas of interest to the general-health consumer, including herbal remedies and complementary cures melding alternative and traditional treatments.” Prevention’s name on the cover should have considerable impact, since the magazine has a circulation exceeding three million.

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Never diet again! Eat well (tacos! steak!), eat smart (dessert!)–and you’ll drop pounds, keep them off, and look younger, too

Never diet again? It’s a bold promise. But the 7 Years Younger Anti-Aging Breakthrough Diet delivers, providing you with filling meals made with the food you love. No more feeling so deprived that you give up and hit the drive-through, gaining back the pounds you lost (or even more). Consider this program a blueprint for a brand-new you–a few sizes smaller and looking and feeling years younger.

The Proof Is in the Panelists

* WE KNOW THE 7YY DIET works, and not just because it’s based on the latest science. We tested it on 26 women and men just like you–people who wanted to eat good food, look great, and slim down–and watched them drop a combined total of 325 pounds and 105 inches in just seven weeks. As they lost, we also saw our panelists gain energy and confidence.

What You’ll Eat


  • * THIS PLAN INCLUDES three delicious, easy-to-make meals a day plus two snacks. Because we’ve done the math300 calories for breakfast, 400 for lunch, 500 for dinner, and 125 calories per snack–you can mix and match within the categories. “Other diets had me counting calories, but 7 Years Younger was so much easier because it was already done for me,” says Mary Marotta, who credits her 50-pound(!) weight loss over nine months to the program’s simplicity. Our meal plan features the foods you need to stay full:
  • * FIBER-RICH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, which add volume at a low calorie cost (and beyond their starring role in diets, fruits and veggies also help you fight disease–study after study finds that the more antioxidant-rich produce you eat, the lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and even certain cancers)
  • * WHOLE GRAINS to fight belly fat and calm skin-damaging inflammation
  • * PROTEIN-PACKED LEAN MEATS, low-fat dairy, seeds, and nuts, which are essential for fighting hunger and building lean muscle tissue
  • * OMEGA-3-RICH FISH to keep your heart, brain, and skin healthy.

And you won’t be missing your favorites. Rather than eliminating whole food groups, the program focuses on what you can–and should–eat. “I never felt like I was being denied anything–I could have carbs, even cereal,” says Marotta.

Feel Good Moves


makes weight loss easier–and not just because it burns calories. In one review, Harvard researchers hypothesized that exercise can change the parts of your brain that control willpower (and your ability to resist those chocolate cookies). And studies show that once you’ve dropped pounds, regular activity is essential to keeping them off.

While you should try to move for 30 minutes five times a week, if you’re juggling a hectic family schedule or working long hours (or both), that can’t always happen. That’s why we encourage you to get a pedometer and add steps throughout the day, aiming for 10,000.


Small increments of more vigorous activity, like walking briskly to the corner store, also add up: A University of Utah study found that if an activity gets your heart beating faster and makes you breathe more heavily, it can help keep you slim–even if you do it in bouts shorter than the 10 minutes at a time often suggested. In fact, in the study, for a 5′ 5″ woman, each additional minute-long burst a day correlated with weighing about half a pound less. “I’m not good at following a prescribed cardio and strength-training program,” admits panelist Fern Richter. “But I follow all the suggestions about how to fit more movement into my day.” The evidence that they work: Richter dropped 20 pounds on 7 Years Younger. Some of her favorite ways to tuck activity into her day: using the stairs, taking breaks at work to do a few squats, and walking her daughter to and from ballet rehearsal three times a week.

A Setup for Success


can be tough, and keeping it off even tougher–mindset is what distinguishes the winners. To find your focus, make a list of all the reasons you’d like to be thinner (To feel less draggy, for example, or Shopping for new clothes–whatever it is that will get you started and keep you going). Put the list in a visible spot, such as on your vanity or computer, and refer to it when stress and other feelings threaten to get in the way of your goals. Once you’ve reached your desired weight, you may want to make a new list to keep up your motivation.

Wherever you are on your weight-loss journey, watch out for emotional eating–what happens when you’re angry, bored, anxious, or even happy and end up at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. (It’s a cliche for a reason.) Knowing the difference between true physical hunger, which comes on gradually, and emotionally driven hunger, which shows up as an “I need it right now!” craving, can help you keep those indulgent episodes in check.

Ask yourself why you want to eat–and if the answer is I had a bad day, find another distraction, like listening to your favorite song or calling your sister. Keeping a food journal helped Marotta make the connection between her feelings and what she was eating. Just jotting down things like a stressful day or happy as she wrote down her meals worked to keep her emotionally driven hunger in check.


is also a powerful–and necessary–part of maintaining a healthy weight. In an Australian study of more than 5,000 people, those who reported feeling high levels of day-to-day stress were more likely to gain weight over the next five years than the more Zen folks. Try meditation, deep breathing, or exercise–any one can ease your tensions.

Day 1


Dinners on our plan, like this make-at-home version of a takeout fave, satisfy you and your family.

SUPER-SPEEDY Chicken Tacos

  • ACTIVE TIME TO minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 15 minutes
  • MAKES 4 main-dish servings
  • 3 c. cabbage-slaw mix
  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1 c. loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 1/4 c. red or green salsa
  • 1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 c. frozen (thawed) corn 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 c. shredded rotisserie-chicken breast meat
  • 8 sm. taco-size whole-grain tortillas
  1. 1. In lg. bowl, toss slaw mix with carrots, cilantro, and 3/4 c.
    salsa; set aside,
  2. 2. In 3-qt. saucepan, combine beans, corn, cumin, and Vs tsp. each
    salt and pepper. Heat on med. 3 to 5 min. or until hot, stirring
    occasionally. Gently stir in chicken.
  3. 3. While bean mixture heats, wrap tortillas in damp paper towels.
    Microwave on High 1 min. or until warm. Serve chicken mixture in
    tortillas topped with slaw mixture. Serve remaining slaw and salsa
    on the side.

EACH SERVING About 470 calories, 33 g protein, 64 g carbohydrate, 8
g total fat (5 g saturated), 48 mg cholesterol, 1,095 mg sodium, 37
mg vitamin C, 301 mg calcium, 13 g fiber, 30 mg omega-3.

Day 2


  • ACTIVE TIME 25 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
  • MAKES 4 main-dish servings
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 1 lg. red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 med. stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 6 c. broccoli florets (from 1 sm. head)
  • 2 c. frozen brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 12 oz. med. (16- to 20-ct.) shelled, deveined shrimp
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. unsalted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press
  1. 1. In 12-in. nonstick skillet, heat oil on med. Add red bell
    pepper, celery, crushed red pepper, and pinch of salt. Cook 9 to 10
    min. or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in lg. microwave-safe bowl, combine broccoli and 1/a
    c. water. Cover with vented plastic wrap; microwave on High 3 min.
    or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Uncover and set aside. Reheat
    rice as label directs.
  3. 3. In med. bowl, whisk together cornstarch, soy sauce, vinegar,
    ginger, 1/z c. water, and V4 tsp. black pepper; add to skillet
    along with shrimp, green onions, peanuts, and garlic. Cook 3 to 4
    min. or until shrimp just turn opaque throughout, stirring
    frequently. Serve over rice, alongside broccoli.

EACH SERVING About 385 calories, 23 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate,
14 g total fat (2 g saturated), 707 mg cholesterol, 840 mg sodium,
767 mg vitamin C, 127 mg calcium, 8 g fiber, 420 mg omega-3.

Day 3


  • ACTIVE TIME 25 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 30 minutes
  • MAKES 4 main-dish servings
  • 4 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless top loin beef steaks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 med. onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 lb. microwave-in-bag green beans
  • 1/4 c. light sour cream
  • 1 1/2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  1. 1. In lg. bowl, microwave sweet potatoes and V4 c. water, covered,
    on High 14 min. or until very tender, stirring once. Drain well,
  2. 2. Meanwhile, in 12-in. skillet, heat oil on med.-high. Sprinkle
    steaks with 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper; cook 2 to 3 min. per
    side for med. (145[degrees]F) or until desired doneness. Transfer
    to cutting board; cover loosely with foil.
  3. 3. In same skillet, cook onion 2 min., stirring. Stir in broth;
    heat to simmering. Simmer 5 min. Whisk in dill, mustard, and V4
    tsp. pepper.
  4. 4. Prepare green beans as directed.
  5. 5. Mash potatoes with sour cream, cheese, and V4 tsp. salt. Slice
    steak; serve with potatoes, beans, and sauce.

EACH SERVING About 470 calories, 42 g protein, 39 g carbohydrate,
18 g total fat (7 g saturated), 113 mg cholesterol, 800 mg sodium,
34 mg vitamin C, 233 mg calcium, 7 g fiber, 470 mg omega-3.

Day 4

VEGGIE-LOADED Mac ‘n’ Cheese

  • ACTIVE TIME 25 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 50 minutes
  • MAKES 6 main-dish
  • 1 oz. whole-grain crackers
  • 2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. peeled butternut squash, Cut into 1/2-in. cubes
  • 14 oz. whole-grain cavatappi pasta
  • 1 1/2 c. low-fat (1%) milk
  • 2/3 c. low-fat, lower-sodium cottage cheese
  • 4 oz. reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  1. Heat lg. pot of salted water to boiling. Preheat oven to
  2. In lg. food processor, pulse Crackers and half of Parmesan until
    Finely crushed. Transfer to bowl.
  3. Cook carrots and squash in Boiling water 15 min. or until
    tender. With slotted spoon, transfer to Processor bowl. In same
    water, cook Pasta for half the timer label directs.
  4. While pasta cooks, add milk, cottage cheese, 1/2 tsp. salt, and
    1/4 tsp. pepper to vegetables in processor. Puree until smooth.
  5. drain pasta; return to pot. Stir in Puree and remaining cheeses.
    Divide Among six 16-oz. baking dishes. Top with tomatoes and
    crumbs. Bake 15 min. or until tops are browned.

EACH SERVING About 420 calories, 24 g protein, 67 g carbohydrate, 9
g total fat (5 g saturated), 26 mg cholesterol, 720 mg Sodium, 23
mg vitamin C, 552 mg calcium, 9 g fiber, 100 mg omega-3.

Day 5

ROASTED Veggie Penne

  • ACTIVE TIME 20 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME 40 minutes
  • MAKES 4 main-dish servings
  • 2 med. zucchini, cut into 1/2-in. chunks
  • 2 med. red or yellow peppers, seeded and cut into V2-in. chunks
  • 3 c. sm. broccoli florets (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 med. red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. whole-grain penne
  • 1 can (15 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 oz. grated Pecorino cheese (about 3/4 c.)
  • 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  1. 1. Heat lg. pot of salted water to boiling on high. Preheat oven to
  2. 2. In lg. bowl, combine zucchini, peppers, broccoli, onion, garlic,
    and oil. Divide among two 18″ by 12″ jelly-roll pans. Sprinkle with
    V2 tsp. salt. Roast 15 to 20 min. or until browned and tender,
    stirring once.
  3. 3. While vegetables cook, add penne to boiling water. Cook as label
    directs. Reserve 1/2 c. cooking water. Drain pasta and return to
  4. 4. To pasta, add tomatoes, Pecorino, basil, crushed red pepper,
    roasted vegetable mixture, and Vs tsp. salt. Stir to combine,
    adding cooking water if necessary. Cook on med. 2 min.

EACH SERVING About 500 calories, 20 g protein, 85 g carbohydrate,
10 g total fat (3 g saturated), 9 mg cholesterol, 895 mg sodium,
755 mg vitamin C, 303 mg calcium, 14 g fiber, 170 mg omega-3.


Put an end to diet deprivation with our “No-Guilt Desserts,” page 142. Stick with sweets like the Lemon-Maple Icebox Cake (left), that are 125 calories or less, and sub dessert for one snack. For a rare splurge, skip both snacks and have a treat (up to 250 calories) like Whipped Chocolate Mousse.


Choose two per day, but if you want a jump-start, skip the snacks for a week, then add one–or both


1 Garden Lites Veggie Muffin in Blueberry Oat


1 Ile de France Brie Bite along with 1/2 apple, sliced


Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, and pinch salt over 4 c. air-popped popcorn


Divide 2 Tbsp. guacamole and 1 Tbsp. reduced-fat feta crumbles between 2 Ak-Mak crackers


1 oz. Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas (any flavor)


Combine V4 c. Multi Grain Cheerios, 15 peanuts, and 1 tsp. finely shredded coconut


Help! The scale is barely budging!

If you haven’t been keeping a food journal, start now so you can spot where you may be slipping up (that jar of M&M’s on your coworker’s desk?). You might also try cutting back for a week–having the three meals, but skipping the snacks. And mix up your fitness routine: Your body may have adapted to your usual two-mile walk and now be burning fewer calories.

I’ve reached my goal-now what?

This is not a quick-fix diet, but a template for filling, nutritious meals for life. You can loosen up a bit–increasing portions or having the occasional cookie–but weigh yourself a few times a week to make sure you’re not getting too lenient. Small day-to-day fluctuations are normal, but if you’re up five pounds, it’s a sign that you need to spend a week or two back on the meal plan.


The plan features nutrients that will keep you healthy-and your skin smooth, firm, and glowing


Helps protect collagen for firmer skin. SOURCES almonds, other nuts


Boosts natural defenses against sun and may improve skin tone. SOURCE jarred or canned tomatoes


Can reduce inflammation, resulting in brighter skin. SOURCES bread, pasta


Keep skin supple and hydrated. SOURCES salmon, sardines


Increases skin hydration. BHI SOURCES spinach; other dark green, leafy vegetables


Helps increase collagen production. SOURCES sweet potatoes, other orange-hued veggies


Helps prevent wrinkling. SOURCES strawberries, citrus fruits, peppers


Provides a building block for collagen. SOURCES eggs, lean meat and poultry, low-fat dairy, beans

MARY MAROTTA – Lost 50 pounds

“I’d pick out the meals I wanted to make for the week and cook ahead on weekends. The recipes were really easy to follow.”


For seven weeks of meals plus diet advice and exercise tips, get the new book at 7years younger.com/ghk

FERN RICHTER – Lost 20 pounds

“For me, the breakfasts are the best part of the plan. Some of them keep me so full, I’m not hungry for lunch till 2 P.M.”

Our Triple-Test Promise

In our test kitchens at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, we create recipes that are family-friendly, healthy, and easy. We test each recipe at least three times:

1 create

A GH recipe developer prepares the dish and presents it to the food team. We decide if it meets our high standards of deliciousness–but that’s just the beginning. For example, weeknight meals should take 30 minutes or less to make. The same person tests the recipe several more times to fine-tune it, using the same equipment.

2 test

Another team member prepares the recipe as written, varying the brands of equipment and ingredients. (She may do this several times–using an electric stove instead of gas, a lighter-weight pan, Hunt’s versus Del Monte tomatoes.) Note: All microwave tests are done in 1,000-watt ovens. If yours has a different wattage, you may need to adjust the cooking time.

3 verify

A third team member repeats the process using yet another set of equipment and alternative ingredients. By the time the recipes appear in GH, they are guaranteed to work on any range, with any brands of equipment and ingredients, in any kitchen. We promise.



This menu is balanced for calories and nutrition,
but feel free to swap within categories



     California Starter
     Mash 1/2 Hass avocado
1    with 1/2 tsp. lemon juice;
     spread on 7 slice whole-grain
     toast. Top with 1 egg cooked
     over easy and 1/8 tsp. salt.

     Easy Oatmeal
2    Cook 1 packet plain oatmeal
     with 3/4 c. fat-free milk.
     Add 1/2 banana,
     2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts,
     and 1 tsp. sugar-free
     pancake syrup.

     New York City Bagel
3    Layer 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat
     cream cheese, 1 oz. lox,
     and 4 tomato slices on 700%
     whole wheat bagel slice.
     side 1 c. cubed honeydew

     Breakfast to Go
4    1 Kind Nuts & Spices bar
     in Madagascar Vanilla Almond
     and 1 med. apple

     Sweet Stuff ed Waff
     Toast 2 Van's 8 Whole Grains
5    Waffles. Spread 1 Tbsp. low-
     sugar preserves and 1/4 c.
     part-skim ricotta on one;
     cover with the other.

     LUNCH                           DINNER

     Mediterranean Vegetarian Wrap   Super-Speedy
     On thin whole-grain             Chicken Tacos
1    flatbread, spread 1/4 c.        Tacos
     hummus; top with 1 oz.
     reduced-fat feta, 1 1/2 c.
     salad greens, 1/2 roasted
     red pepper, 2 slices red
     onion, and 1 tsp. Balsamic
     vinegar, DESSERT 1/2
     cinnamon-dusted pear with
     2 walnuts

     Sandwich & Slaw                 Kung Pao
2    Spread 2 tsp. Light             Shrimp
     mayonnaise on a whole wheat     DESSERT
     hamburger bun; layer on         1 c.
     2 oz. thinly sliced             pineapple
     low-sodium smoked turkey
     and 1/3 c. coleslaw. Side
     7 Mini Babybel Light cheese
     and 70 grapes

     Microwavable Sausage Bake
3    1 Healthy Choice Italian        Steak Dijon
     Sausage Pasta Bake side 2 c.    DESSERT
     baby spinach, 1/4 c. no-salt-   1 clementine
     added chickpeas, 1 Tbsp.
     Parmesan, and 1 Tbsp.
     reduced-fat balsamic

     Tuna Caesar Salad               Mac 'n'
4    Top 3 c. chopped romaine with   Cheese
     3 oz. canned tuna, 5 grape      DESSERT
     tomatoes, 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat   10 grapes
     Caesar dressing, 2 tsp.         and
     unsalted pine nuts, 2 Tbsp.     5 almonds
     grated Parmesan cheese, and
     pepper, side 1 whole-grain

     Supermarket Sushi & Salad Bar
     1 brown-rice California roll    Roasted
5    SIDE 2 c. mixed salad greens    Veggie
     topped with 4 mandarin orange   Penne
     segments, 1/4 c. shredded
     carrots, 1/4 c. edamame,
     5 cashews, and 2 Tbsp.
     reduced-fat Asian-style
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Bring this, eat well, lose weight

It’s that simple with 4 delicious meals from Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien. Just layer them right into a large jar so they’re portable and portion-controlled. Then dig in!

Mediterranean pasta salad

Or, as I like to call it, Mediterrane-yum. You will be full for ages after this tasty lunch. I love it with all of these veggies, but it’s easy to mix and match with what you have. Try it with cooked zucchini!

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 oz high-fiber rotini, cooked (measure the pasta before you cook it);
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (if you don’t like it raw, cook it in a skillet until soft);
  • 2 oz cooked skinless chicken breast, chopped;
  • 1/4 cup each chopped cucumber and halved cherry tomatoes;
  • 11/2 Tbsp reduced-fat feta cheese; 1 Tbsp sliced black olives;
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free Italian dressing.

Layering tip: Make sure your chicken, pasta, and veggies are cool before you load them in (pasta first, dressing last). Before you eat, shake it all up to get a good coating of dressing. (315 calories, 5 grams of fat)

Cran-orange kale shaker

This fruity kale salad with shrimp is super-refreshing. It tastes like a special occasion, but takes no time to make.

You will need:

  • 2 Tbsp light raspberry vinaigrette;
  • 3 cups chopped kale leaves;
  • 4 oz cooked shrimp;
  • 1/2 cup canned mandarin orange segments packed in juice, drained;
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion;
  • 2 Tbsp sweetened dried cranberries.

Layering tip: Add ingredients to the jar in the order listed above. Cover, shake, and refrigerate for 1 hour or more–it’ll soften up the kale and make the whole salad more flavorful. (370 calories, 6.5 grams o f fat)

jar-fruit5-layer nacho chicken

Sometimes, you just need a cheesy, crunchy pile of goodness. No-mess nacho fix for one, coming right up.

You will need:

  • 4 oz cooked skinless chicken breast, chopped and tossed with 1/4 tsp taco seasoning;
  • 1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese;
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed;
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato mixed with 2 Tbsp salsa;
  • 1/2 oz (about 8) lightly crushed baked tortilla chips.

Layering tip: Be sure to add the chips last to keep your dish crispy and delicious until you’re ready to chow down. (350 calories, 9 grams of fat)

Better buffalo chicken

Who needs the fatty version? This no-guilt treat to go has that hot-and-cool flavor combo-and tons of filling protein.

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup shredded lettuce;
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese;
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, mixed with 1/4 tsp ranch dressing/dip seasoning mix;
  • 6 oz cooked skinless chicken breast, chopped and coated with 1 Tbsp hot sauce (my favorite: Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce);
  • 1/4 cup diced carrots; 1/4 cup diced celery.

Layering tip: Stir the lettuce and cheese into the yogurt mixture, then spoon it into the bottom of your jar. Add half of each of the rest of the ingredients, one at a time. Repeat for layers of deliciousness. (320 calories, 7 grams of fa0

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New Look at Old Sleep Aid

Is this new formula safe? Does it work?

Can’t sleep? You’re far from alone. A good night’s sleep, one that leaves you feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to take on a new day, is something 30 million Americans find elusive.

Home remedies abound, from a glass of warm milk to herbal supplements. But there’s one not-so-new kid on the block called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). Though it’s widely available as a sleep aid, there are questions about its effectiveness and safety.

pill5-HTP is a substance the body manufactures naturally from L-tryptophan, the amino acid that is found in almost alt protein-rich foods, such as meat, milk, chicken, and fish. (5-HTP supplements come from extracts of the seeds of the African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia.) The body uses L-tryptophan as the raw material to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that plays an important role in regulating sleep, depression, anxiety, appetite, and pain. The theory is that increasing the serotonin levels in the brain will make you nod off at night.

5-HTP is the middle step between L-tryptophan and serotonin on the body’s serotonin production line. The supposed advantage of 5-HTP is that while L-tryptophan can be siphoned off to make protein or the B vitamin niacin, 5-HTP is more exclusively available for the production of serotonin.

L-tryptophan was a popular sleep aid in the 1980s, but it was yanked from the market when supplements from a Japanese manufacturer were found to contain a contaminant that caused an outbreak of Eosinophila-Myalgia Syndrome, or EMS. EMS causes extreme fatigue and muscle weakness, pain, and numbness in the hands and feet. And it can kill. In 1989, contaminated L-tryptophan was associated with about 1,500 cases of EMS and nearly 40 deaths. When L-tryptophan became unavailable, 5-HTP was the logical alternative. In fact, it’s sometimes advertised as “the natural tryptophan alternative.”

Moderate Effect but Major Concerns

According to Timothy C. Birdsall, ND, director of naturopathic medicine at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, IL, “5-HTP is only moderately effective as a sleep aid. I tend to use other treatments that I consider more effective.” Though there is not a lot of research examining its effectiveness as a sleep aid, a few older studies found that 200 to 600 mg 5-HTP increased the amount of REM, or deep, sleep that people experienced. Dr. Birdsall says that 100 to 300 mg at bedtime is the generally recommended dose, though it can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.

Now for the bad news: In 1998, Mayo Clinic researchers found that, as with L-tryptophan supplements, 5-HTP supplements contained a contaminant dubbed “peak X,” which, in a few cases, was linked to EMS-like symptoms. Stephen Naylor, PhD, a professor of biochemistry and pharmacology at the clinic, was the chemical detective on the 5-HTP case. He tested eight samples of 5-HTP and found peak X in all eight. Though to date there have been no reported cases of EMS caused by 5-HTP, Dr. Naylor has serious reservations about the supplement. “As a chemist, you look at the contaminant and say, `Wow, this has the potential to do some damage.'”

sleepingBetter to Be Safe Than Rested

Though some supplements claim to be “pharmaceutical grade” and “peak X-free,” Dr. Birdsall says there’s just no way to be sure that what you’re getting is really pure. Though there hasn’t been an outbreak of illness from taking contaminated 5-HTP supplements as there was with the contaminated L-tryptophan supplements, Dr. Naylor advises against taking 5-HTP. “It’s just not worth the risk,” he cautions.

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Season’s feedings: your guide to smart holiday eating


‘I wait all day long for Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ house,” says Chelsey D., a 17-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa. “They make so much food, and I’m so hungry by the time I sit down to eat that I just eat everything in my path.”

Sound familiar? For many, a heaping plate of food is a favorite part of the holiday season. Experts have some theories why we tend to eat more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Event overload: “During the holidays, there are more parties, special dinners, and free time. These can all encourage overeating,” notes Cynthia Cunningham, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Abundance of food: “There are so many choices, and we want to try them all,” says Susan S. Bartell, author of Dr. Susan’s Girls-Only Weight Loss Guide. “We look forward to holiday meals all year long and want to have as much as possible because often we won’t have them again until the next holiday.”

Peer pressure: “It’s more socially acceptable to overeat during the holidays,” says Jamie Pope, a professor of nutrition at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in Nashville, Tenn. Think of how Aunt Ida practically forces you to take a second helping of her special marshmallow fudge.

Healthy Eating Takes a Holiday

“I look at holidays as a time to eat what you want to eat,” says Bryan S., 18, from Oaks, Pa. “I don’t worry about what I eat at all.”

Like Bryan, you probably want to indulge in the season’s special dishes, and it’s OK to treat yourself now and then. But you can have too much of a good thing. Consider the side effects of overdoing it: “Your stomach will feel uncomfortable, almost bloated, and you will have a very tired feeling,” says Nessie Ferguson, a nutrition specialist at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

“If you feel like you need to unbutton your pants and lie on the floor, then you’ve had too much,” cautions Pope. “We need to learn to stop when we are satisfied, not stuffed.” That requires tuning in to your stomach and noticing how it feels.

Take It Easy

turkeyWe just can’t seem to get enough of our favorite holiday dishes, no matter how full we feel. Bryan digs into turkey and mashed potatoes with a thick coating of gravy. Samantha S., 14, of Little Rock, Ark., loves strawberry cheesecake, which she eats only on special occasions.

Nutrition experts give you the green light to enjoy the foods you love. “But take small portions of the less healthy foods and bigger portions of the healthier choices,” says Bartell. Indulge in these healthy choices:

  • Skinless turkey, a good source of protein
  • Nuts, which provide healthy fats
  • Pumpkin, winter squash, and cranberries, which are full of vitamins

Go easy on sweets and rich side dishes (such as stuffing) that are high in fat and calories, too.

Whatever’s on your plate, eat slowly, savoring each bite. If you want seconds, wait 20 minutes; it can take that long for your brain to realize you’re full. If you are still hungry, “opt for seconds on fruits and vegetables,” says Ferguson.

Finally, remember the real purpose of the holidays: celebrating with family and friends. Eat a good meal, and then focus on having fun with the people you love.

Pick the Healthier Food Quiz

Digging into tasty treats is part of the holiday fun, but some are healthier than others. In each of these pairs, which is the smarter choice?

  1. Pumpkin pie or Cheesecake?
  2. Apple cider or Eggnog?
  3. Potato chips or Mixed nuts?
  4. Custard or A sugar cookie?

Courtesy of nutrition expert Cynthia Cunningham


1. A 1/8 slice of pumpkin pie has 168 calories and 4 grams of fat. A 1/8 slice of cheesecake has 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. In addition, pumpkin pie has more nutrients.

2. A cup of apple cider has 120 calories and 0 grams of fat. A cup of eggnog has 343 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 158 milligrams of artery-clogging cholesterol.

3. One ounce of mixed nuts has 168 calories and 15 grams of fat. One ounce of regular potato chips has 150 calories and 10 grams of fat. But the nuts win because they have mostly mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are better for you in moderation than the saturated fats oozing from the chips

4. One 2 1/2-inch-diameter sugar cookie has 72 calories and 3 grams of fat. One-half cup of custard has 148 calories and 7 grams of fat. Just remember to stop at one cookie!


Season’s Feedings

Before Reading

* Survey the class about their favorite holiday foods.


  • Why do people sometimes overindulge on food during the holiday season? (lots of celebrations, many different foods that aren’t served often, peer pressure)
  • How can you eat healthily this time of year?. (Eat less of unhealthy foods and more of healthier ones, eat slowly, realize when you feel full, and focus on other ways to have fun.)
How Healthy Is Your Holiday Dinner?

Good                      Better                   Best

Turkey thigh (dark meat)  Turkey breast with skin  Skinless turkey
Candied sweet potatoes    Mashed potatoes          Baked sweet potatoes
Bread stuffing mix        Homemade corn bread      Whole-grain roll
Jellied cranberry sauce   Whole cranberry sauce    Unsweetened
Green bean cassrole       Green bean casserole     Steamed green beans
                            without fried onions    with toasted almonds
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