Blog Posts by Liz Vaccariello, Editor-in-Chief, PREVENTION

  • How to stay healthy while you travel

    You plan, you pack, you activate your out-of-office message-you don't want your vacation ruined with back pain, jet lag, or worse. The reality is that as much as you need to get away to relieve stress, travel can take a toll on your body. "Changing your routine ramps up levels of stress hormones, which can wreak havoc on your immune system and disrupt your sleep," says Steven Lamm, MD, a clinical assistant professor at New York University. So if you want to feel happy, healthy, and alert, follow this advice to:


    Prevent Back Pain

    Ship your luggage to your destination in advance. Save time--and your spine--by going to luggagefree.com and scheduling a pickup. Your bags can be delivered within 24 hours in the United States.

    En route: Get out of your seat every hour to stretch your legs and walk around the cabin, suggests Arya Nick Shamie, MD, assistant professor of spine surgery at UCLA (if you're driving make frequent rest stops). And angle vents away from you: Cool

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  • 8 Ways to keep your home safe

    Here's an alarming stat: According to the Home Safety Council, home accidents cause 20,000 deaths in the United States annually (by comparison, 742 are from planes and just 70 from lightning). But don't shop for a hard hat or an indoor sprinkler system just yet-there are easy ways to stay safe in every room.

    In the kitchen have:

    An idiotproof extinguisher: The how-to's on the First Alert Heavy-Duty Fire Extinguisher ($30; amazon.com) are clearly illustrated so you know exactly what to do in an emergency.

    An oven mitt that'll take the heat: The Ove Glove ($15; Target) has a nonslip grip and can withstand temperatures up to 540˚F, thanks to its combo of Kevlar and Nomex--the same flame-resistant materials found in firefighters' gear.

    A stocked first-aid kit: You could buy a ready-made version, but it likely won't include everything you need (The FEMA website has a comprehensive list).

    10 genius cures from the kitchen


    In the bathroom have:

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  • 10 Things to toss in your home for better health

    Quick: When was the last time you replaced your mattress? Pillows? Even that jumbo bottle of shampoo? You'd be surprised how the shelf life of everyday household items can affect your health, and their expire-by dates are often sooner than you'd expect. Here's what to toss and when:

    Extend the shelf life of your food and save money!


    1) Replace pillows every year

    Hair and body oils will have soaked into a pillow's fabric and stuffing after a year of nightly use, making it a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria and allergy-triggering dust mites. Using protectors can double the life of your pillows.

    2) Toss your mattress after 5 to 10 years

    A good mattress lasts 9 to 10 years, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but consider replacing yours every 5 to 7 years if you don't sleep well. A study at Oklahoma State University found that most people who switched to new bedding after 5 years sleep significantly better and have less back pain.

    How your house

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  • Exceptions to 5 common health rules

    No one ever got sick from avoiding cigarettes or trans fats. But some of the most commonly repeated pieces of advice actually aren't meant for everyone. After all, the USDA couldn't equip its pyramid with a section just for people with celiac disease or those taking certain meds. Health recommendations are sometimes based on studies that didn't include a good cross section of the general public. So we took a look at some pieces of conventional wisdom that are truly wise for most people and asked the experts what you ought to do, just in case you're not completely average in every way.

    1. Swimming is ideal low-impact cardio

    Tailor it: if you have asthma

    The chlorine in a pool-even if it's outdoors-can trigger an attack. In children, it may even raise the odds of developing the disorder in the first place. To be on the safe side, find a different form of exercise if you have asthma that flares up poolside, experts say; if you have a child under age 7 with allergies, don't

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  • 9 Things that make allergies worse

    If you're a seasonal allergy sufferer (60 million of Americans are), you probably already have a few tricks to avoid triggers, like not running outside when pollen counts are sky-high or keeping the windows closed and blasting the AC. But you may not know about these less obvious factors that can make symptoms worse.

    1. Stressful work deadlines

    In a 2008 experiment, researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine found that allergy sufferers had more symptoms after they took an anxiety-inducing test, compared with when they performed a task that did not make them tense. Stress hormones may stimulate the production of IgE, blood proteins that cause allergic reactions, says study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD. If you're under stress, get enough sleep. A sleep deficit can worsen both allergy symptoms and stress, she says.

    Silent signals you are very stressed


    2. An extra glass of wine with dinner

    Alcohol can raise the risk of perennial allergic rhinitis

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  • 5 Ways to lose real weight, not water weight

    To see a difference in your size and feel a difference in your clothes, you need to lose body fat-not water weight or muscle mass, which you definitely want to keep because the latter is the engine that fuels your metabolism. And with warm weather not exactly around the corner but a mile or so down the road (depending on where you live), right now is the perfect time to start. These 5 proven strategies will help you erase stubborn fat without starving.

    1) Lose a pound a week

    Maybe two. That's the best pace to shed body fat if you want to keep it off. Bonus: Gradual weight loss may also help smooth cellulite.

    6 calorie cutters to fight fat

    2) Cue your portions

    Learn what healthy serving sizes look like--or you can use your hand: Your palm is about the size of a 3-ounce serving of meat, and your fist is good for a half cup, perfect for pasta. Your thumb is about an ounce (cheese is 1 1/2 thumbs), and the tip measures 1 teaspoon, which counts for one serving of

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  • 5 Mistakes that make pain worse

    The biggest pain mistake I make? Trying to grin and bear it. I never met a pill-OTC or Rx-that I particularly liked. But my aches occur only now and again-whereas chronic pain, defined as lasting for at least 3 months, affects an estimated 43 million Americans. Yet experts agree that it's woefully undertreated in our country, and few doctors are aware of new advances or are trained in pain management.

    One major shift in thinking is that chronic pain is now believed to be a disease, not a symptom, and that treating pain is about not simply targeting the source but treating the whole person. As with any chronic condition, there's no magic bullet, so you need to draw on a number of approaches, from exercise and medication to relaxation techniques and talk therapy. Here are five mistakes that could make your pain worse, and how to find relief:

    Mistake #1: You're Trying to Tough It Out

    One in four pain sufferers waits at least 6 months before seeing a doctor.

    Typical

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  • 10 Silent signals you're super stressed

    Everyone has a stressful day, week, or even month, but if you're under chronic, long-term stress (from a demanding job or personal life in turmoil), your body is also under a daily assault of hormones that can cause a whole host of nagging health problems, says Stevan E. Hobfoll, PhD, chair of the department of behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center. If you experience these symptoms, take time every day to do something that calms you, whether it's a quick workout or a few minutes of deep breathing.

    1. Weekend headaches

    A sudden drop in stress can prompt migraines, says Todd Schwedt, MD, director of the Washington University Headache Center. Stick closely to your weekday sleeping and eating schedule to minimize other triggers.

    100 tricks to sleep well


    2. Awful period cramps

    The most stressed-out women are more than twice as likely to experience painful cramps as those who are less tense, a Harvard study found. Researchers blame a stress-induced

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  • 10 Ways to look younger on a budget

    Just because the economy is unpredictable, it doesn't mean you need to forgo any part of your beauty routine (let's face it-when you look good, you feel good, period). The trick is to make no- or low-cost moves that deliver maximum impact. From hiding dark circles to boosting hair's shine, here are experts' top tips for trimming costs-and a few years, to boot!


    1. Pump Up Hair's Volume

    Switch to mousse

    It costs the same as other styling products, but because it contains resins that lightly coat strands to add thickness and lift hair at the root, mousse delivers far more oomph, says Renee Cohen, senior stylist at Serge Normant at the John Frieda Salon in New York City.

    Dry hair upside down

    To build volume when you blow-dry, work a palm full of mousse from your roots through to the ends, then flip your head over and dry your hair away from the scalp. "Hair should be barely damp before you flip it back up and style it," she says.

    Brush in fullness

    Using

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  • 7 Really easy ways to save money at the grocery store

    And none require buying anything day old or suspiciously on sale. In fact, a few simple shopping adjustments will really make a difference to your wallet. Here are my favorites:

    1. Shop the Outer Aisles

    In most markets you'll find the healthiest ingredients on the perimeter of the store-fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins including fish and chicken, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products. The inner aisles contain most of the processed foods, including soda, candy, chips, and snack foods. Aside from the fact that they contain empty calories, they also take a big (and unnecessary) bite from your food budget.

    Don't be fooled by these health food imposters

    2. Buy in Bulk

    Bulk items are usually cheaper. That's because there's no expensive packaging included, so those savings are passed directly on to you. You also have the freedom to choose how much or how little to buy. Best buys include whole grains, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and cereals. Some

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