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

  • Don't panic: 7 ways to stay healthy during a health scare

    Getty ImagesGetty ImagesSwine flu news is everywhere, and by now you've read all the precautionary measures: Load up on hand sanitizer, avoid crowds, stay away from your hacking coworker, cancel your trip to Cancun. You don't need to hear it again from me, but what I can tell you is that Prevention has an amazing team of medical pros and editors who dig up the latest research-all year long, swine flu or no flu-on staying healthy and keeping your immune system strong. So instead of stressing out, a well-documented immune system disruptor, take a deep breath and follow my favorite, easy tips:


    From Andrew Weil, MD, director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the College of Medicine, University of Arizona:

    1) Sing while you scrub: This means washing your hands with soap and warm water for a full 15 to 20 seconds-about as long as it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice.

    2) Keep your fork to yourself. Don't share drinking glasses or utensils with friends or family members, and avoid close

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  • 12 Ways to have great hair (and save money, too!)

    After steadfastly sticking to my god-given color my entire adult life, I finally succumbed to the lure of the bottle-and quickly became exasperated by the time commitment and cost. Luckily Prevention's Beauty Director filled me on a bunch of easy ways to spread time between dye jobs and keep my color looking richer longer. So whether you're a do-it-yourself dyer (my preference) or have your color guy on speed dial, here are a few ways to save cash and stretch out time between sessions.

    Before You Color

    Wash with a clarifying shampoo a day prior to dyeing. Stronger detergents remove excess product buildup, so color penetrates deeper and lasts longer.

    Choose fade-resistant shades such as blonde or brunette. Reds wash away a week or two faster because they contain smaller color molecules, which escape from hair more easily.

    Pick the right formula. Demipermanents stay up to 28 shampoos, and permanent colors don't rinse out but fade over time. Highlights-from a pro or

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  • 8 Ways to excuse-proof your workout

    If you want stick with your workout, experts suggest that you treat it like a non negotiable appointment. Great in theory, but some days that's just not enough. This is how I motivate when life (work, kids, 4 hours of sleep) threatens to derail my routine:

    1) Make a Date

    Set up a standing date with a friend whose fitness level matches yours - your mutual motivation lulls will cancel each other out. Research shows that having a dedicated workout partner makes you more likely to stick with an exercise program.

    Use this tool to help you reach your goals and keep track of your workout routine.

    2) Have a Snack

    When you run low on fuel, the extra energy demands of exercise lead your body to decide, "She's overdoing it - we need to conserve some fuel by slowing down her metabolism." That's the last thing you want, so have a protein-and-complex-carbohydrate snack, like such as a hard-boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast, 2 hours before you plan to work out.

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  • Wipe out the 7 nastiest germ spots

    Germs-the catchall name for bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms-are everywhere: at home, in the office, even in your car. Freaked out? Well, about 99% of them can't harm us, but the other 1% can be annoying, uncomfortable, or downright scary: Most of these nasty critters are either viral or bacterial and can cause everything from a runny nose to a potentially life-threatening infection. Here are a few surprising spots where germs like to lurk-and easy ways to get rid of 'em:

    Want to find out the fastest way to kill germs?

    The Kitchen Faucet

    That metal aeration screen at the end of your kitchen faucet reduces water flow, which is good for the environment, but not so much for your health: Running water keeps the screen moist, an ideal condition for bacteria growth. Because tap water is far from sterile, if you accidentally touch the screen with dirty fingers or food, bacteria can grow on the faucet. Over time, bacteria build up and form a wall of pathogens called

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  • 7 tips for fitness beginners

    Biggest mistake I see new exercisers make: doing too much too soon. To look and feel great by summer, try these seven surprisingly simple, research-backed strategies that will help you establish a routine you can actually stick with, which is the ONLY way to get lasting results:

    1. Learn what "build slowly" means

    Be realistic about your abilities. Experts say to progress gradually, but most of us don't know how to translate that into real-life terms -- especially those who used to be active but have gotten out of the habit. If you haven't worked out in years, start with a manageable goal, like 20 minutes of walking or yoga twice a week for 2 weeks. When you're ready to progress, either bump your number of workouts to 3 a week or increase their length to 25 or 30 minutes -- but don't try to do both, which can leave achy and discouraged. This is why experts recommend you change only one thing at a time -- the frequency, duration, or intensity of your workouts. If your new

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  • 4 Super nutrients that fight fat

    The news about all the amazing ways eating-NOT dieting-can improve your health, help you lose weight and give you all-day energy just keeps getting better and better. In fact, new research shows that certain nutrients found in loads of foods are powerful factors when it comes to balancing blood sugar and encouraging weight loss. Here are four that can have a powerful effect on your weight, your energy level and your long-term health.

    Tired much? Revitalize with an energy boosting 15-minute routine

    1. CALCIUM

    Scientists aren't sure how calcium burns body fat-some believe it reduces the fat-producing effects of a steroid hormone called calcitriol. What we do know is that it works: Researchers at the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie diet that contained three daily servings of calcium rich dairy lost 70% more weight and 64% more body fat than those who ate just one serving of dairy a day.

    WHAT TO EAT:

    Fat-free milk and low-fat

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  • Get Michelle Obama's sexy, sculpted arms in 5 minutes a day

    Much has been said about our first lady's fashion sense, but right now I'm in the throes of major arm-envy-hers are sculpted, strong, and not overly bulky. Nicely toned biceps and triceps are what I like to call the "show-off" muscles, because you see results so quickly, which is highly motivating.

    Here are a few of my favorite tips, plus quick, easy moves to get you started. Do 8 to 10 repetitions of the first two moves, and as many of the third as you can do in 30 seconds. Complete the whole routine 3 or 4 times per week with a rest day between sessions.


    Too tired to work out? Find out how food can actually help rev your energy.

    Combine a band and a dumbbell when you strength-train, which actually gives you triple the toning benefits, according to studies.

    Sample move: Stand on exercise band and hold each end in each hand while you simultaneously do curls with a dumbbell.

    > Get triple the benefits in half the time with these moves.

    Choose a heavy-enough weight: If you don't

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  • Stressed? Sleepless? 5 Tips to beat insomnia

    A good night's sleep makes you smarter, happier, boosts your immune system and overtime can actually slow the aging process. Unfortunately, during these stressful days, a solid 7-8 hours is harder and harder to come by. You don't need me to tell you just how lousy and out of it you feel when you sleep badly. Besides, beauty sleep is no mere expression - everyone looks better and brighter when they've had a full 7-8 hours. Make sure you're getting the shut-eye you need with these tips:


    1) SKIP THE SECOND ROUND

    Alcohol is probably the substance used most often for sleep, reports a study in Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (it's also a major ingredient in many over the- counter cold medications.) However, when you fall asleep under the influence, both the quantity and the quality of your sleep are adversely affected. Even small to moderate intakes of alcohol can suppress melatonin (a hormone that help regulate sleep), interfere with restorative N-REM cycles, and

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  • Eat to live longer

    I love a healthy makeover, and smart eating is one of the best places to start. In fact, studies show that these easy tips can help add years to your life (just ask the good people of Okinawa, Japan). Follow these tips and add years to yours:


    1. Have a daily dose of omega-3s.

    Or, as I like to call them, the "anti-aging fat." Why? Getting the recommended amount can help lower cholesterol, keep cells functioning properly, and combat inflammation, which reduces your risk of cancer, stroke, and heart attack. Flaxseed, walnuts, and some leafy greens contain omega-3s, but seafood is the best source. Research published in the December 2008 Journal of Nutrition found that DHA, an omega-3 found in cold-water, fatty fish, helps keep aging brains healthy.

    Eat this: Have two 3-ounce servings of salmon, herring, lake trout, or other fatty fish a week; and a daily serving of ground flaxseed, walnuts, soybean oil, spinach, or kale.

    To find delicious recipes packed with Omega-3s,

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  • Your oddest body quirks explained

    Goose bumps. Popping joints. Laughing till' you cry. These little body quirks are certainly familiar, but it doesn't make them any less mysterious. Here is what's behind a few of your body's stranger habits, plus why a less-than-desirable physical trait could actually be healthy:

    1. WHY DOES CHOPPING ONIONS MAKE YOU TEAR UP?

    When you cut into an onion, you rupture its cells, releasing enzymes that produce a gas called propanethial sulfoxide. Once that gas reaches your eyes, it reacts with tears to produce a mild sulfuric acid. And that hurts. The brain then signals the eyes' tear glands to produce more liquid to flush the stuff out. The more you chop, the more irritating gas you produce and the more tears you shed. "The onion's chemical reaction is a defense mechanism that evolved to repel pests," explains University of Wisconsin-Madison horticultural professor Irwin Goldman, PhD. Keep the stinging and crying to a minimum by chilling an onion in the freezer before cutting it

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