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

  • 6 ways to live a lot longer

    If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're going to live a long life-centenarians (folks who make it into the triple digits) increased 51% from 1990 to 2000, which certainly bodes well for us younger folks. Advances in health, education, and disease prevention and treatments are mostly to account for this dramatic leap, but there are loads of little everyday (read: easy) things you can do that will seriously improve your longevity. Here are 6 to try today:

    1) Add raspberries to your oatmeal

    Most Americans eat 14 to 17 g of fiber per day; add just 10 grams more and reduce your risk of dying from heart disease by 17%, according to a Netherlands study. Dietary fiber helps reduce total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost weight loss. One easy fix: Top your oatmeal (1/2 cup dry has 4 g fiber) with 1 cup of raspberries (8 g) and you get 12 g of fiber in just one meal. Other potent fiber-rich foods: 1/2 cup of 100% bran cereal (8.8 g), 1/2

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  • 8 Craziest health rumors

    True story: A good friend, someone I consider pretty savvy about health, diet, and wellness, recently e-mailed me and asked if eating celery will help you lose weight (something about it being a negative-calorie food). As far as rumors go, this one was pretty tame, but in some cases misinformation can be downright dangerous. Plus, whatever their origin, health "hearsays" like these can cause unnecessary anxiety and distract you from habits that truly deserve your time and energy. Here, eight common watercooler myths, and what's true, what's misunderstood, and what's just downright wrong.

    1.) Baby carrots are preserved with bleach

    Not exactly... and there's no reason to stop eating them, says Randy Worobo, PhD, an associate professor of food microbiology at Cornell University. Baby carrots are rinsed (not preserved) in a chlorine wash, recommended by the FDA, to kill bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, which cause foodborne illness. Most precut produce, including frozen veggies and

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  • 8 Serious ways sleep deprivation can hurt your health

    When I get a good night's sleep, everything feels right with the world. When I don't, my mood is bad, my cravings are rampant, and my concentration is just plain off. Plus it's bad for my long-term health: A good night's sleep isn't just about hitting the ground running or staying alert in your 8 am meeting. If you skip the restorative 7 to 9 hours experts advise, you can increase your risks of a host of ills-from catching the flu to developing heart disease and diabetes. If you're not getting as much as you need, here are a few health consequences that will have you rethinking bedtime:

    1. You crave junk food

    Too-little sleep may throw off hormones that regulate appetite, increasing a taste for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods and causing you to want more calories than your body needs. After going without enough sleep for 2 nights, people in one study had more of the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin and less of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin.

    Over time, this can

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  • 4 ways to lose weight like a guy

    I have a friend whose husband does one thing when he wants to lose weight: He cuts back on beer (not out but just back-he drinks it on the weekends). That's it. And he's usually 5 pounds lighter within a month. It's not fair, but men are natural losers. Why? Their bigger muscle mass helps them burn 30% more calories than we do naturally. Plus, guys are more likely to flock to the weight racks at the gym and build metabolism-boosting muscle, while women are cardio queens who tend to hit the treadmill or Spinning class. Here are 4 lessons from the boys that can help you slim down.

    1. He lifts heavy weights

    Women are catching on to strength-training, but some experts think women ought to approach weights more like men do. "When a guy goes to the gym, he'll usually pick an exercise that allows him to use the most impressive-looking weights," says Lou Schuler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and author of The New Rules of Lifting. The result: muscle building in

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  • 5 small changes that take off big pounds

    If your goal this New Year is to lose weight and exercise more, forget the deprivation diet and marathon workouts. New research shows that taking baby steps-not giant leaps-is the best way to get lasting results. A study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that participants who made one small, potentially permanent change in their food choices and/or physical activity each week (such as drinking one fewer can of soda or walking 5 more minutes each day) lost more than twice as much belly fat, 2 ½ more inches off their waistlines, and about 4 times more weight during a 4-month program, compared with those who followed traditional calorie-restriction and physical-activity guidelines. Not bad! Here are some easy yet effective tricks:

    1.) Pick up a pen after every meal

    Mindlessly munch on a bag of chips and you could easily polish off the whole thing; write down how much you've eaten and you're more likely to practice portion control. Keeping a food log helps control

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  • 5 Habits to break in 2010

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a bad habit (or three), and even if you're not the resolution type, making one change this year can do wonders for your health, looks and self-esteem. Here are five common not-so-great habits, and how to break 'em for good.

    1.) Bad habit: Nail Biting

    Stop now: Biting your nails makes for ugly hands and over time can interfere with normal nail growth, damage the outer layer of your teeth, and cause nail deformities such as split nails. Harmful bacteria such as staphylococcus also live underneath nails-and you don't want to chew on that.

    Break it: Go for a professional manicure once every 2 or 3 weeks, suggests Angelica Kaner, PhD, a clinical professor at Yale University Medical School, because when your nails look pretty, you'll be less likely to snack on them. At the very least, keep your nails trimmed short-you'll have less nail to bite, and that harmful bacteria has less space to grow. Nail biting is also a nervous habit that is often

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  • 5 Foods you should never ditch when you diet

    The annual food fest known as the holidays is still upon us, but the New Year is also right around the corner. If you want to pare off some post-holiday pounds, your instinct may be to cut out an entire food group. No bread or potatoes-too many carbs. No chocolate-too fattening. In reality you could be doing your diet a disservice. According to experts, forbidding certain foods can backfire, thanks in part to fad diets that aren't based in solid science, notes Milton Stokes, MPH, RD, a Connecticut-based dietitian. The real key to weight loss? Mind your p's and q's-watch portions and choose quality, nutrient-rich foods. Here, how five foods typically dismissed by dieters can help you slim down.

    1.) Bread

    Slim-Down Effect: Contains carbohydrates, which boost brain chemicals that curb overeating

    Bread is an excellent source of carbs, which your brain needs to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of comfort and satisfaction, says Nina T.

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  • 6 Amazing low-cal holiday treats

    I have a love/hate relationship with hors d'oeuvres. Love because they're usually bite-size-the perfect portion. Hate because those perfect portions add up quickly if I overdo it. With a little planning, though, it's actually easy to enjoy the festivities without racking up the calories. Start by choosing four or five items and placing them all on a small plate, which tricks your brain into thinking you're eating more food. Keep your party meal around 400 calories to stay satisfied without overeating. Whether you prefer to munch on appetizers, save room for desserts, or spend your time at the bar, here's how to indulge without gaining weight.

    Mini Quiches
    Your Portion Size: 2 mini spinach and cheese quiches

    Total Calories: 102

    Stay Slim Tip: A vegetable quiche sounds healthy, but the cheese and dough add fat and calories. Make these last by taking small bites.

    Try any of these 16 delicious recipes for easy entertaining.


    Your Portion Size: 1 beef

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  • Why lists make you happier and healthier

    I love lists. I use them to manage every part of my life. But they do more than just help me itemize my goals for the day. New research shows that writing to-do lists can help your health in a bunch of surprising ways, from making you happier to upping your workouts (key right now). Here's why:

    1. They're empowering
    Every time you cross something off your list, it's like your own little pat on the back. "Surprisingly, lists help us reach our goals even when we don't accomplish everything on them," says Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Each time you cross something off, it's a mental reminder that you're making progress, an advance that's both gratifying and empowering. That might be why 50% of list makers write down tasks after they've been completed.

    Reach your goals for 2010 with these tips.

    2. They boost brainpower
    Jotting your chores down on paper cuts back your mental clutter. "You can keep only

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  • Your Thanksgiving recovery plan

    Whether it's Black Friday or the Monday after a weekend of holiday fun, taking 24 hours to do a little postbinge damage control is essential if you want to make it to January 1 with your waistline-and sanity-intact.

    This 1-day plan will help undo some of the calorie overload and give you the energy you need to power through the stress season-and the positive mantras work wonders for blew-my-diet guilt, to boot. Here's an hour-by-hour breakdown:

    More Tips for Eating Healthy

    7 AM:

    Do this: Give yourself a break

    Like many women, you may have woken up feeling fat, bloated, and mad at yourself for overdoing it while celebrating the holidays.

    "The first thing I would tell people is not to be your own worst enemy-not to be supercritical," says clinical psychologist Nancy Molitor, PhD, public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association. "When you turn on yourself, it's not the food, it's you that you're battling. Admit you overdid it and

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