Blog Posts by Health.com

  • 10 dirty fruits and veggies

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Ashley Macha

    Are the fruits and vegetables you buy clean enough to eat?

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a list of 49 of the dirtiest and cleanest produce.

    So before you hit the grocery store, see how some of your favorite fruits and veggies measured up.

    Did one of your favorites make the list? Don't worry, the EWG recommends purchasing organic or locally grown varieties, which can lower pesticide intake by 80% versus conventionally grown produce.

    Celery
    This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides.

    Chemicals fester on this vegetable as it has no protective skin and its stems cup inward, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. It's not easy to find locally grown celery, so if you like this crunchy

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  • 6 foods to get you in the mood

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Jennifer Berman, MD

    Want a really romantic dinner? Sure, candles and soft music are nice, but what you and your man nosh on could truly take things to another level. The following (healthy!) foods may actually affect hormone levels, brain chemistry, and energy, heightening arousal and sex drive.

    While there aren't double-blind studies proving the aphrodisiac properties of these foods, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting they really help, so why not work in one (or more) on your next date night.

    Health.com: Easy, elegant Valentine's Day menu under $40

    Asparagus
    You're not alone if those fleshy green spears remind you of...well, you know.

    This veggie's phallic appearance no doubt has something to do with its legendary aphrodisiac status, but the goods are inside, too. Asparagus is rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which can boost arousal and orgasm.

    And it also boasts vitamin E, which stimulates sex hormones in both men and women.

    Avocados
    Energy and a healthy

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  • Is it time to replace your sneakers?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Su Reid-St. John

    I know it's tempting to hold onto your trusty running or walking shoes until they begin to (literally) fall apart, but you're just begging for an injury if you do that. As time goes by and the miles pile on, running shoes begin to lose both their stability and shock-absorption power; for walking shoes, the big problem for most people is that the outer heel begins to wear, which can throw off your gait.

    Health.com: Sole mates: Finding the perfect shoe

    So the solution, of course, is to replace your kicks before any of that happens. But at what point? Here's a great rule of thumb (or foot), courtesy of Stephen M. Pribut, a fellow at (and past president of) the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine, who's been practicing podiatry for 33 years (read: He knows his stuff!).

    Health.com: Upgrade your gym bag

    Running shoes:
    Replace them every 350 to 450 miles-which, for those who don't feel like counting every step, equals to about six to nine months for the average

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  • 8 ways to make shots easier for kids

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Ashlee Davis

    Vaccines protect children from dangerous germs. Still, that's little comfort when it's time to get the jab. The good news is that there are ways to ease the pain-or fear of pain, which is the bigger problem.

    "In reality, shots don't 'hurt' that much," says Herschel Lessin, MD, pediatrician at the Children's Medical Group in Poughkeepsie, NY. "It's the suffering brought on by the phobia of needles that bring on the pain."

    Here are some surprisingly simple strategies that can make your doctor's visit smooth sailing.

    Provide distraction
    This time-tested parental trick for getting children to behave can help reduce the pain of vaccinations too. Even the slightest diversions can eliminate problems, according to Dr. Lessin.

    Successful distractions include playing with a new toy, pointing out a picture on the wall, reciting ABCs, telling your child something funny, or blowing bubbles.

    Cough it out
    One technique that works for older kids is

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  • Are Super Bowl ads bad for our health?

    FanhouseFanhouseBy Alyssa Sparacino

    More than 100 million people are expected to tune in to Super Bowl XLV this weekend, but only some of them are football fans.

    Thanks to pregame hype and Hollywood-quality production values, Super Bowl commercials have become the main attraction for many viewers. But are these blockbuster ads bad for our waistlines?

    Food and beverage companies are expected to account for roughly one-third of the ads that will air during Sunday's game, according to Advertising Age. (Car companies will take up another one-third or so, with the remainder split among websites, film studios, and retail chains.) Viewers and partygoers-including millions of children-can expect to see ads from Doritos, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Snickers, and Budweiser.

    Health.com: 25 diet-busting foods you should never eat

    In other words, a high proportion of ads are pitching soda, snacks, and other junk foods loaded with calories, sugar, sodium, and fat.

    "Studies show [that] if you see an ad for a product and

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  • Study: Abortion doesn't harm mental health

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Lynne Peeples

    As if deciding how to handle an unplanned pregnancy wasn't stressful enough, several studies in recent years have suggested that young women who have an abortion may be at increased risk of mental health problems afterward.

    Those concerns are unfounded, according to a new study conducted in Denmark and published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, the study found, while the rate of psychiatric problems was unchanged in women who had an abortion, it appears to spike post-birth in women who carry their babies to term.

    "Women who are in a difficult situation-pregnant and unsure whether or not to continue with the pregnancy-should know that they do not have an increased risk of having a first-time episode of a severe mental disorder after an abortion," says the lead author of the study, Trine Munk-Olsen, PhD, an epidemiologist at Aarhus University, in Denmark.

    Health.com: 10 subtle signs of bipolar disorder

    Munk-Olsen and her colleagues

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  • Working moms may mean overweight kids

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Matt McMillen

    Over the past 35 years, the percentage of U.S. mothers who hold down a job while raising kids has soared, from less than 50% to more than 70%. The childhood obesity rate-which is now close to 17%-has more than tripled during the same time frame.

    These overlapping trends may not be a coincidence. The longer a mother is employed, the more likely her children are to be overweight or obese, a new study of grade-schoolers published in the journal Child Development suggests.

    For each additional five-month period his or her mother is employed, a child of average height can be expected to gain 1 extra pound over and above normal growth, the study estimates. In addition, sixth graders with working mothers were found to be six times more likely than those with stay-at-home moms to be overweight.

    Mothers who have jobs don't directly cause weight problems in their children, but busy families may accelerate weight gain by relying too much on fast food and frozen dinners rather

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  • How cholesterol affects your heart's health

    IstockphotoIstockphotoWhen most people hear "cholesterol" they think "evil." Like most things in life, the reality is more complex; cholesterol can be very bad and very good. On its own, cholesterol is a crucial body component. That's why you make the white, waxy substance (about 75% of the cholesterol in your blood is made by the liver and cells elsewhere in your body). Cholesterol insulates nerve cells in your brain and provides structure for cell membranes.

    "If you want to see what it looks like in a solidified form, go get yourself a can of Crisco at the grocery store," says Gregory Dehmer, MD, director of the division of cardiology at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. "If you open up a can of Crisco, it's this white, lard-like substance."

    Health.com: Surprising facts about cholesterol

    When it comes to heart disease, though, some types of cholesterol are too much of a good thing.

    How cholesterol can clog arteries
    Not all cholesterol is created equal. It's a fatty substance, so cholesterol can't

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  • Celebrity Couples: Who's healthy, who's not?

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesSometimes celebrities don't live the-whether it's smoking, crash dieting, or just staying in unhealthy relationships.

    Other times, they have to deal with serious health problems. Or they've assembled an A-list team of trainers and nutritionists to help keep them slim and trim.

    Here's where 8 celeb power couples weigh in.

    Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel
    The Grammy-winning singer and the 7th Heaven actress have been photographed running together near their apartment in New York City. Both are serious about strength-training, as is evident by their toned physiques.

    Timberlake shaped up with a grueling bootcamp while filming Alpha Dog in 2006, and Biel gets her famously toned arms by doing push-ups. "Everybody I train ends up doing push-ups at some point because they are so beneficial. They help you get incredible arms!" says Biel's trainer, Jason Walsh.

    Tip to steal:
    Work out with your partner. It's a great motivator and increases endorphins.

    Health.com: Surprising celebrity BMIs

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  • Super Bowl may trigger heart attacks

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesBy Matt McMillen

    This Sunday's Super Bowl could prove to be a real heartbreaker for some fans of the losing team.

    A new study suggests that the emotional stress fans feel after a loss may trigger fatal heart attacks, especially in people who already have heart disease. Stress generates the so-called fight-or-flight response, which causes sharp upticks in heart rate and blood pressure that can strain the heart.

    For people with heart disease -- or for those who are at risk due to factors such as obesity, smoking, and diabetes -- such strain can prove harmful, if not fatal.

    In the study, which was published Monday in the journal Clinical Cardiology, researchers analyzed death records in Los Angeles County for the two weeks after the 1980 and 1984 Super Bowls, both of which featured teams from Los Angeles. (The game days were included.) Then, as a control, the researchers looked at the same data from the corresponding days in the intervening years.

    Health.com: 9 surprising

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