Our feature articles usually go into depth about issues you’ve told us are of primary importance to you. That’s why we’ve chosen a quick review of four popular features as we head into 2017: keeping lost weight lost; discovering foods’ hidden superpowers; amping up sperm potency; and redefining addiction.
Discovering food’s hidden superpowers
You know fruits and veggies are good for you, but did you remember that they can convey these benefits?
They help you breathe easy: In one study, 68 percent of folks who ate 17.5 grams of fiber or more daily had normal lung function compared to just 50 percent of those who got 10 grams of fiber or less!
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Stay slim: A Harvard study found that eating more fruits and veggies (blueberries, pears and peppers) rich in plant compounds called flavonoids makes you less likely to gain weight.
Feed good gut bugs: Spinach, kale, lettuce and collards feed good-for-you intestinal bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy and help shut out bad bacteria.
Amping up sperm potency
A Harris Poll revealed that two out of three men don’t do much to support healthy male fertility. For those couples wanting to start a family, here’s how to increase your chances.
Wear boxers during the day, sleep naked at night: In a yearlong study, guys who did that had 25 percent less DNA damage to their sperm than men who wore snug briefs around the clock.
Use a mineral-based zinc or titanium-dioxide sunscreen: Other ingredients found in sunscreens (such as avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and more) may impair sperms’ ability to fertilize a human egg!
Up the vites: Protect yourself by taking a daily multivitamin several months before you two try to conceive. DHA omega-3 (900 mg daily) is important for both of you.
Relax: According to a Rutgers University study, feeling stressed out could reduce sperm concentration and leave more sperm deformed or unable to complete their great race to the egg.
Skip the drinks and smokes: Tobacco use can slash sperm count. And having more than one drink per day could mess with the shape of sperm.
Move it: Getting plenty of vigorous exercise could increase sperm counts by as much as 73 (that’s right, 73) percent!
Keeping lost weight lost
Recent studies on metabolism and weight loss could help you succeed at a task that’s even tougher than losing weight: keeping it off. Here’s what to do:
Pamper muscle mass: The smart move is to lose weight slowly, preserving more muscle mass than extreme weight-loss programs allow.
Feed and flex your muscles: As you’re losing weight and afterward, build muscle with strength training two to three days weekly, and eat enough protein to feed those lean, sexy muscles. (If you don’t, you’ll gain weight unless you slash calories.)
Give yourself a year to let your new weight become your new normal: A University of Copenhagen study found that levels of the “feed me!” hormone ghrelin rise during weight loss, but normalize about a year later.
“Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health” stresses that too many people consider addiction a moral failing, when in reality it’s a chronic disease of the brain.
Attitude adjustment: If you know someone struggling with addiction, it’s important to tell them and yourself: “It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s a disease like any other, and it can be treated.”
Help your kids dodge the threat: To help your children understand the dangers of recreational drugs, “The Dr. Oz Show” worked with the government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to create a guide based on the findings of the Surgeon General’s report, called “Facing Addiction Over Dinner.” It takes the leading science on what causes addiction and how to prevent and treat it, and puts it into a format that can help you turn this knowledge into action in your own dining room! Download it for free at doctoroz.com.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.