From the best time to have non-urgent surgery to what you should and shouldn't eat and drink, these new scientific findings suggest it may be time to tweak your routine. By Ava Feuer, REDBOOK.
Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 25
It turns out that carrying too little weight may be worse for you than packing too much. That's not to say we should eat chocolate cake daily - sorry! - but a new report suggests that those whose 25-to-30 BMI ranked them as overweight had the lowest risk of dying. Mildly obese people, with BMIs between 30 and 34.9, had no higher chance of death than those with BMIs that fell in the normal range. In turn, experts suggested that the definition of normal BMI - 18.5 to 25 - should be revised to exclude the lowest weights. The findings strongly suggest that other factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels must also be considered when it comes to assessing one's health, so be sure your keeping watch on your overall wellness.
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You should exercise every day
No intention of dragging yourself out for a run each morning? Turns out, that inclination to limit your workouts is actually a good thing. Contrary to the popular belief that physical activity is best when it's more, more, more, several studies have actually found that when it comes to exercise, the sweet spot is four times per week. New research published in Medicine & Science and Sports & Exercise split women into three groups: those who lifted weights and did cardio twice, four times, and six times a week. After four months, all of the women shed body fat, and increased strength and endurance - without changing their eating habits. But, the four-times-a-week exercisers burnt the more calories when not working out, followed by twice-a-week exercisers. The theory is that unlike the women who exercised nearly every day, these study participants felt empowered and physically capable as opposed to exhausted, and fit other small bursts of activity - like climbing the stairs and walking for pleasure - into their daily lives.
Have a drink a day
We're always happy to propose a toast when someone mentions that moderate alcohol consumption is a swell idea, so we took the news hard that sipping a drink - yes, even red wine - could be doing more harm than good. The first update in 30 years to statistics on alcohol-linked cancer deaths found that consuming three or more drinks a day accounted for up to 60 percent of deaths from seven kinds of cancer. Downing one-and-a-half cocktails daily was associated with 35 percent of those deaths. The number-one alcohol-related cancer in women is breast, so if you're at high risk, talk to your doctor about whether curbing your alcohol intake is a smart idea.
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Don't eat too many eggs
If you've spent the last 10 years making your omelets with egg whites, it's high-time to add some yolk back into your breakfast. Yes, eggs are high in cholesterol, but a recent review of eight studies conducted over more than 250,000 people found no evidence that eggs are bad for the heart. Except for in patients with diabetes, eating one egg per day did not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke, a result that held true among men and women and across all age ranges. A yolk contains almost half the protein of an egg as well as essential vitamins A, E, and D, so consider chopping one up in your lunchtime salad.
Don't go to the hospital in July
You've likely heard that if you can avoid it, you should steer clear of checking into the hospital in July. Since medical residencies operate in July-to-July cycles, patients are weary of literally placing their lives in the hands of a brand new batch of admittedly inexperienced doctors. But, a brand-new massive study of over 500,000 admissions to teaching hospitals for spinal surgery found that those who arrived in July fared similarly to those who got surgery the other 11 months of the year. The lesson: if you're in pain, don't wait to get things checked out - or fixed. You're better off taking care of the problem ASAP.
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Get a yearly physical
It's no wonder you're confused about which tests to get and doctors to visit on a regular basis. In the past two years, the Department of Health of Human Services has changed its recommendations to discourage annual pap smears and mammograms, and visits to your internist may be next. An analysis of 14 clinical trials of regular checkups that followed participants for up to 22 years found no fewer deaths - overall or from cardiovascular disease or cancer - among those who made routine visits to their primary care physicians. The research did however find an uptick in the number of new diagnoses, a fact that seemingly lead to more useless scares than actual good.
To get your calcium, take a supplement
Since many adults don't get sufficient calcium from dairy, it's long been recommended to supplement intake with a daily pill. But, not only has the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found evidence for taking calcium to strengthen bones and prevent fractures to be lacking, but new research shows doing so could put your heart in jeopardy. Higher levels of calcium in food may help protect your ticker, but the same can't be said for swallowing pills, according to an 11-year study of 24,000 people. Those who got the majority of their calcium from supplements were more than twice as likely to have a heart attack as those who took no supplements, which is likely a result of the manufactured stuff being absorbed into the bloodstream too quickly.
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