Blog Posts by Health.com

  • Huh? Low-salt diet ups risk of fatal heart attack?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Amanda Gardner

    Doctors and public health officials have been telling us for years that eating too much sodium can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke by raising blood pressure to unsafe levels. So how to explain a new study that suggests low salt intake actually increases the risk of dying from those causes?

    The study, which followed 3,681 healthy European men and women age 60 or younger for about eight years, also found that above-average sodium intake did not appear to up the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) or dying of a heart attack or stroke.

    The findings, reported in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, certainly seem counterintuitive, especially in light of the ongoing public-health campaign to lower sodium consumption across the U.S. by urging restaurants and food manufacturers to curtail their use of the ingredient.

    Health.com: 25 foods with tons of hidden salt

    In fact, says Jan A. Staessen, M.D., the senior

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  • Your May to-don't list

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Stephanie Dolgoff

    Overwhelmed by all the new stuff you're supposed to be into? Here's what you don't need to bother with.

    1. Meditating now!
    Yes, it's good for you. Research suggests it can help with everything from heart disease to anxiety. But if you're just fretting about you can't! calm! down!-go for a run, or do whatever lets you truly get in the zone.

    Health.com: 7 tricks for instant calm

    2. A $7,000 diamond-and-ruby facial
    Mila Kunis reportedly got one. If rubbing precious gems all over your face isn't your style, how about a nice cubic zirconia one? We won't tell.

    3. Feeling inadequate if you're not allergic to anything
    It's downright trendy to give up gluten, casein, lactose, or entire categories of food, even if you don't really need to. Those of us who scarf down everything on our plates are still special.

    Health.com: The latest on food allergies

    4. Change your outie into an innie
    We're told "umbilicoplasty" is a growing trend in plastic surgery. Seriously?! Memo to

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  • What pregnancy does to your health

    CorbisCorbisBy Annie Murphy Paul

    Expecting a baby can make you more prone to some diseases-but it can protect you from others.

    More common:
    Diabetes

    Gestational diabetes affects about 5% of pregnancies.

    Health.com: 7 tips for a healthy pregnancy with diabetes

    Urinary tract infections
    You're at greater risk of developing them from weeks 6 through 24.

    Yeast infections
    These are more common during pregnancy, especially the second trimester, than at any other time in your life.

    Health.com: Is my yeast infection related to what I'm eating?

    Gallstones
    Higher estrogen levels during those nine months appear to increase cholesterol levels in the digestive fluid known as bile, which can lead to gallstones.

    Deep-vein thrombosis
    The risk of developing a blood clot in a vein deep in the body is higher during pregnancy and for six weeks after delivery, because of the changes in blood and blood vessels that happen when you're pregnant.

    Health.com: Pregnancy advice examined

    Less common:
    Ulcers

    Read More »from What pregnancy does to your health
  • Secret natural ingredient: Feel amazing with rosemary

    CorbisCorbisBy Leslie Barrie

    From soothing your muscles to safeguarding your summer food, this remarkable herb can (almost!) do it all.

    Sip this
    Move over, chamomile. Rosemary is the hot new herbal tea in town. Drinking it may help beat bloat by reducing water retention.

    Health.com: 9 healthy iced-tea recipes

    Scalp saver
    Got a dry, itchy scalp? Try relieving it with rosemary, suggests Ranella Hirsch, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine. Its oils may increase circulation, which can ease dryness.

    Whip up this moisturizing scalp (and hair) mask from the spa at the Lodge at Woodloch in the Poconos in Pennsylvania: Mix 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 3 drops of rosemary essential oil; warm on stove top using a double boiler (not too hot!). Massage into damp hair and scalp; wrap hair in towel, leave on for 30 minutes, then shampoo.

    Health.com: Green guide to hair care

    Cancer fighter
    Using rosemary to prep your burgers and steaks could

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  • Food diary of a very pregnant woman

    By Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

    When I was nine months pregnant, I felt like I was quickly losing the real estate for my internal organs, including my stomach. That meant I ate a lot of little things-often. Not only was I trying to pack in essential nutrients as my little girl packed on the pounds, but I was also trying to counteract some pregnancy-related health issues.

    I'd been vigilant about getting plenty of calcium and potassium, because it seemed to help stave off the nightly leg cramps I'd been getting. I was also saddled with heartburn, which I'd never experienced before. Initially I thought I could avoid it by skipping tomato-based sauces and spicy food, but it turned out that even something as harmless as a fruit smoothie could bring on the burn.

    Health.com: 7 foods that can cause heartburn


    Heartburn is the bane of most women
    in their third trimester-more than half of all pregnant women report symptoms. Not only do you lose room in your stomach, but also the hormone Relaxin

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  • 6 tests to reveal great skin

    Taking these 6 fun tests can clear up some common complexion misconceptions and get your skin glowing, fast.

    By Jolene Edgar


    Could fine lines just be a sign of dryness?
    "When water evaporates from skin, it shrinks. And like a grape, it can go from plump to shriveled," says Ellen Marmur, MD, chief of dermatologic and cosmetic surgery at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

    To see if dryness is magnifying your creases, take this simple test: Apply a moisture mask and leave it on for the recommended time. When you rinse it off, how does your skin look? Fresher? Fuller? Smoother? That means your skin was dehydrated. If it doesn't look any different, your lines are age-related. Sneak some wrinkle-fighting retinol, peptides, or antioxidants into your daily routine.

    Health.com: Get flawless skin naturally

    Do you really have sensitive skin?
    More than 40% of Americans believe they do-but not all self-diagnoses prove correct. Derms check for the condition, in part, by asking a series

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  • Joint pain impacts physical, mental health

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Amanda Gardner

    Arthritis can limit mobility and make everyday tasks painful, and it can also take a toll on your mental health and overall quality of life, a new study suggests.

    Researchers analyzed data from several national health surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that people with arthritis-which includes those with aging-related osteoarthritis and similar conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout-tend to rate lower than their peers on measures of overall health.

    Health.com: How RA differs from osteoarthritis

    Read More »from Joint pain impacts physical, mental health
  • Do you need to buy organic chicken?

    Michael Blann/Getty ImagesMichael Blann/Getty ImagesWant your protein without the pesticides? Not sure if it really makes a difference? Here's some expert info on the organic bird.

    The food-safety expert says:
    Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst the Center for Food Safety

    The organic label guarantees certain standards. Organic-chicken growers are legally prohibited from using sewage sludge as fertilizer, synthetic chemicals not approved by the National Organic Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or genetically modified organisms (GMOs)-any plant, animal, or microorganism that has been altered through genetic engineering-in the production process. Chickens labeled as "natural," on the other hand, don't necessarily meet those standards.

    Health.com: 5 surprising things you don't have to buy organic

    Buying organic may help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When you crowd chickens together indoors, the way conventional growers do, they're more likely to produce infectious bacteria, which is why

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  • Skinny up your kitchen

    CorbisCorbisBy Nancy Rones

    Right now, in your home, you have a powerful belly-shrinking tool you're not taking advantage of. No, it's not that Ab Roller you ordered off of late-night TV and promptly banished to the attic.

    It's your kitchen: Set up and stocked the right way, it can make all the difference in whether you pile on midsection fat-or keep it off. With a quick cabinet reorg, simple food swaps, and even a workout move to do during boiling-water downtime, you can transform a fat-belly kitchen into a flat-belly one.

    Bottoms up: Keep plain low-fat yogurt or its drinkable cousin, kefir, handy. Their live, active cultures boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract, warding off bloat.

    Go green:
    Grow your own oregano, thyme, and rosemary along your windowsill, and you'll have an easy, no-cal way to jazz up healthy foods like grilled chicken and veggies.

    Health.com: A beginner's guide to herbs and spices

    Cook it off:
    Keep slimming cookware where it's easy to nab: You shouldn't have to get

    Read More »from Skinny up your kitchen
  • 3 ways to make any vacation slimmer

    123RF123RFBy Karen Asp

    Escape to a leaner, lighter you with these tips.

    Bring your own nibbles
    Store nutritious breakfast and snack foods (yogurt, fruit, string cheese) in your room's mini-fridge, says Susan B. Dopart, RD, author of A Recipe for Life by the Doctor's Dietitian, so you always have healthy choices on hand.

    Pound the pavement
    No fitness center? Nix public transportation and explore the neighborhood you're in on foot. "Not only is it built-in exercise, but you'll discover cool things you wouldn't normally notice when whizzing by in a car," Dopart says.

    (Almost) have it all
    Pick and choose what you want to indulge in when you're at an ahh-mazing out-of-town restaurant, Dopart advises. So it's either a glass or two of wine from the vineyard you're staying at or the chef's signature chocolate dessert.

    Read more from Health.com:
    The 10 Most Slimming Vacations
    How to Make Any Hotel Room Healthier
    America's Healthiest Airports

    Read More »from 3 ways to make any vacation slimmer

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