Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • Should Mammograms Start at 40?

    By: Chris Woolston from Reader's Digest magazine, October 2011

    What You've Always Heard

    Mammograms save lives. But after that simple statement comes a lot of arguing. The big question: Should women start getting mammograms at age 40 or wait until they turn 50? The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommend starting at 40; the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says the evidence isn't strong enough for a blanket recommendation.

    The Headlines Now
    Mammography saves even more lives than we thought, according to the longest study ever (it followed more than 100,000 Swedish women for nearly 30 years). Its conclusion? Women whose doctors offered regular mammograms cut their risk of dying of breast cancer by 30 percent. "That's a really big deal," Loretta Lawrence, MD, chief of breast imaging at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, told the Los Angeles Times. "It translates to 15,000 to 20,000 lives saved each year."

    But Wait
    The study

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  • Is Your Kitchen Sponge Harboring MRSA?

    By: By Chris Woolston from Reader's Digest magazine October 2011

    Good news: Most microbes are harmless (including the vast majority of the billion or so on your skin). Bad news: There are some nasty ones close by. Here's where they're hiding.

    Kitchen sponges and dishrags
    The sponges people use to wash their dishes carry more germs than a toilet bowl, a recent study found. Even worse (if that's possible): Up to 7 percent of sponges and dishrags in another study harbored methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), aka flesh-eating bacteria. The fix? Sanitize the sponge in the dishwasher whenever you run it, or microwave it daily (wet it first). Throw the dishrag in the washer.

    Kitchen sinks, toothbrush holders, and countertops
    These are also bacterial hot spots, so make sure to clean them regularly. Use a diluted bleach mixture (one tablespoon bleach to a quart of water) for sinks and counters. Run the toothbrush holder through the dishwasher once or twice a

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  • 5 Feared Foods That Aren't That Bad

    1. Processed Cheese
    According to an article in Discovery Magazine, in some cases processed cheese may actually be preferable to "real" cheese. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list of your typical supermarket cheese and seen the word "natural enzymes?" Those enzymes are collectively called rennet, which comes from a calf's stomach. Rennet causes the caseins in milk to clump and form curds, which are then pressed and aged by bacteria. However, when cheese made by this process is melted it separates and becomes oily (scientists discovered how to partially reverse that process by adding in sodium citrate). But processed cheese bypasses the bacteria-driven process entirely, resulting in an altered structure that melts smoothly. In the end, so-called processed cheese is really mainly just, well, cheese.

    2. Fat
    The human body was designed to love fatty foods in part because of the needs of the brain. We should choose the "good" kinds of fats, skipping the dangerous ones and adding

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  • 9 Unusual Uses for Eggshells

    The next time you're making omelets, don't toss your shells. Eggshells have nearly as many uses as the eggs themselves. Here are a few ways to get the most from your eggs.

    1. Put them on your face
    To restore a youthful glow to your skin, pulverize clean, dried eggshells with a mortar and pestle. Mix the powder with some egg white and spread on your skin. Allow the mixture to dry before washing it off.

    2. Clean your house with them
    Ground eggshells make a wonderful (and nontoxic!) abrasive for those tough-to-clean pots, pans, and thermoses. Mix them with a little soapy water for a powerful clean.

    3. Unclog your drains
    Keep a few ground eggshells in your kitchen sink strainer. They trap additional solids and when they slowly break down, they will help to naturally clean your pipes on their way out.

    Plus: 5 Super Uses for Olive Oil

    4. Fertilize your garden
    Eggshells are rich in calcium and other minerals that help your garden thrive. Crush

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  • 6 Tips for Storing Your Summer Wardrobe

    With fall officially here, the time has come to say goodbye (for now) to those gauzy sundresses and make room for cozy cardigans. Instead of simply packing away your summer clothes 'til next year, why not take the opportunity to pare down and do a bit of wardrobe editing? Get started by asking yourself the following questions:

    1. When was the last time I wore it?
    If you can't remember, or the answer is two summers ago, you don't need it. Donate it to charity or plan a post-season clothing swap with your friends.

    2. Can I still wear it?
    Before packing up your tank tops, t-shirts, and summer dresses, consider which pieces will still work in the fall and beyond. Dark-hued sleeveless cocktail dresses, for instance, can be worn all year when paired with the right jacket, and your favorite camisole might look even cuter layered under a cardigan.

    3. Is it clean and pristine?
    Carefully check everything you plan to store for stains, dirt, and holes before packing.

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  • 10 Ways to Get Vitamin D After Summer

    During the summer, the body can convert sunlight from just 10 to 15 minutes of daily exposure into ample amounts of vitamin D. From the beginning of October through March, however, that's not possible in much of North America, when the angle of the sun sinks lower into the southern hemisphere and daylight becomes more scarce. So you may need to up your consumption of vitamin D-rich food in the winter (even if you're spending lots of time outside building snowmen!). The current recommendation is 400-600 IU per day.

    1. Mushrooms
    100 grams of mushrooms provide some vitamin D so freely toss in your food. But for a biggest boost, Dole produces special Portobello mushrooms that have been exposed to a flash of light to increase the content of the vitamin. One package contains the amount suggested by experts. You can even sprinkle on the benefits with their Portobello Mushroom Powder.

    2. Salmon
    With more than 100 IU per ounce salmon tops all other foods for naturally occurring vitamin D.


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  • 7 Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

    For young children, Halloween night is one of the best of the year. But trick-or-treating can be dangerous if kids and parents aren't careful. Take a look at some vital trick-or-treating tips before you accompany your child.

    1. Plan a route in advance

    Trick-or-treating could take you several streets away from your house, which can cause sore legs and a bit of frustration. Avoid long paths by mapping out a route before leaving the house. Stick to paths that you and your child are familiar with to avoid getting lost.
    2. Wear comfy shoes
    Make sure you and your children are in comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Girls in dresses should avoid heels, and all shoelaces should be double-tied to avoid tripping in the dark.

    Plus: 13 Things Your Trick-or-Treater Won't Tell You

    3. Stay well-lit
    Apply reflective tape to your child's costume to ensure they are seen by drivers on the road. Also, carry a flashlight with you to keep your child's path lit at all times.

    4. Make sure costumes are proper

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  • 13 Fruits and Vegetables to Buy in Fall

    1. Apples
    Visit your local farmers' market or take a trip to the apple farm for the freshest apples. They're perfect for snacking, baking, and more.
    10 Apple Recipes

    2. Oranges
    From Florida to California, autumn is the best time to enjoy this citrus favorite.
    Plus: Bulgur with Ginger and Orange

    3. Grapes

    Fall's harvest brings in a bounty of grapes in all varieties. Either as a snack or made into your favorite jam, now is the perfect time to bag a bunch.
    Plus: How to Know When to Harvest Grapes

    4. Pomegranates
    Filled with antioxidants,stock up on this wonder fruit during the fall. Try juicing them or snacking on them raw. They can also be thrown on top of salads.
    Plus: 8 Super Foods for Fall

    5. Broccoli

    Fill your cart with the year's best tasting broccoli. Enjoy it in salads, casseroles, or as a side dish.
    Plus: Creamy Broccoli Soup

    6. Brussels Sprouts

    Enjoy these tasty green treats at their freshest. If you're having trouble getting your family to eat them, try roasting

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  • 7 Spooky Halloween Cocktails

    Jack O'Tini

    2 ounces chilled vodka

    1 ¼ ounces Bols Pumpkin Smash Liqueur

    1 Candy Corn

    In a cocktail shaker, mix the vodka and liqueur with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish the drink with a single candy corn for a festive Halloween look.

    Kahula Black Cat

    1 ounce Kahlua

    2 ½ ounces vanilla vodka

    ¼ ounce Sambuca

    Espresso beans

    Stir all the ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a martini glass. Add 3 espresso beans to make it appear as if a black cat is lurking at the surface - creepy!

    Red Eye Cocktail

    2 ounces gin

    1 ounce Cointreau

    ½ ounce lemon juice

    1 teaspoon sugar

    1 teaspoon egg white

    1 pimento stuffed olive

    Chocolate chips

    Combine gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, sugar, and egg white with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour the mixture into a martini glass. Add the olive and sprinkle in a few chocolate chips for an eerie drink.

    Bloody Scary Cocktail

    4 ounces prosecco


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  • 7 Elegant (and Affordable) Gifts for the Host

    Thanking someone for her hospitality is a great gesture, but it can be a challenge to figure out what to bring as a gift. Before you're invited to another dinner party or housewarming, make a point to check out this list of elegant and affordable ways to show your gratitude.

    1. Wine

    Spend a few extra dollars on a nice bottle of wine to show your appreciation for your host's hospitality. Wrap in a simple wine bag, or add a ribbon to the stem for an elegant present.

    2. A Custom Playlist

    Share a few classic and current favorites with your hosts. Aim for a mix of underground and popular tunes, or use a theme to order your playlist.

    3. Chocolates

    Spring for your favorite chocolates and wrap in a simple box or gift bag. Mix dark, milk, and nutty varieties -- a sweet secret for tempting any craving!

    4. Dessert from scratch

    If you're a star baker or a novice who can follow a recipe, bring over a homemade treat for your hosts. Don't be offended if they don't serve it at the Read More »from 7 Elegant (and Affordable) Gifts for the Host


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