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Go for those greens
If you don’t know escarole from collard greens, expand your salad repertoire with a guide to greens in Fitness magazine. Some of the benefits? Turnip greens are loaded with Vitamin K, according to Maggie Moon, a New York nutritionist, and one cup cooked fulfills 20 percent of your daily B6 requirement. Bok choy is great in stir-fries and is also a source of calcium and polyphenols, antioxidants that fight cancer. While raw kale can be bitter, if you tear the leaves into small chunks and bake with olive oil and salt, you’ll have some tasty and healthful chips. A cup of kale will give you all the vitamin A, C and K you need for the day. Swiss chard, a close relative of the beet, also packs a healthy dose of vitamins A and C. One cup is all you need for the day. Watercress is full of vision-protecting carotenoids, and the leaves can be used in soups, salads or sandwiches.
To get the most out of your greens, according to the magazine, remove the stems, wash well, dry and refrigerate in a crisper drawer away from the fruit. (Pears and apples in particular emit a gas that can spoil vegetables.) To reinvigorate wilted greens, soak them in ice water for 15 minutes.
HERE COMES THE SUN
Don’t burn, baby, burn
The New Rules of Sun Safety, Health.com
It is important to protect yourself from the sun, but the safety rules you learned as a kid have been updated. Rule 1: Applying SPF15 before going outside will do the trick, right? Actually, new research shows you should also use a moisturizer rich in antioxidants. According to Frederic Brandt, a New York dermatologist, “the sun also generates free radicals that break down your collagen and elastin fibers.” And if you’re hitting the beach, an SPF of 15 is not enough. Rule 2: A T-shirt can protect you from the hottest sun. Coverups help, but well-worn white T-shirts are not worth much, according to Health.com. The best bet for some protection is tightly woven fabrics in darker colors. Rule 3: Put a little sunscreen on your face and a lot on your body. The sensitive skin of the face and neck are very susceptible to sun damage, so slather the stuff on there – and every other spot exposed to sun. Rule 4: Twenty minutes of sun three times per week helps your body produce Vitamin D. But you can also get Vitamin D from supplements. “Even a little bit of sun causes cellular damage that can lead to aging and cancer,” New York dermatologist Francesca Fusco told Health.com. Rule 5: Avoid tanning, especially tanning beds. This rule has not changed. “Using a tanning bed increases your risk for melanoma by up to 75 percent,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. If you really need golden skin, choose the lotion or spray-on variety, and your skin will thank you.
Statins may cause fatigue
THE QUESTION Although statins are popular for their cholesterol-lowering effect, might they also lower energy levels in those who take them?
THIS STUDY involved 1,016 people age 20 and older with somewhat elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol but no signs of heart disease or diabetes. They were randomly assigned to take a moderate dose of a statin – either randomly assigned to take a moderate dose of a statin – either simvastatin (Zocor, 20 milligrams) or pravastatin (Pravachol, 40 milligrams) – or a placebo daily. After six months, those who took statins, especially women, reported on average less overall energy, more fatigue after exercise or both than they had experienced before taking the medication, compared with little if any change noted by the placebo group. The effects were somewhat stronger among those taking simvastatin, which also accounted for a greater reduction in LDL cholesterol.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED? Adults who hope to lower cholesterol and possibly prevent heart disease by taking statins, which are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States. Besides absorbing cholesterol contained in various foods, the body makes cholesterol on its own, but statins reduce this production by blocking an enzyme in the liver.
CAVEATS Data came from the participants’ ratings of their energy and fatigue levels. Only two types of statins were tested. The length of the study was fairly short; the authors noted that, similar to the benefits of statin use, their effect on energy and fatigue “may take time to manifest.”
FIND THIS STUDY June 11 online issue of Archives of Internal Medicine (www.archinternmed.com).
LEARN MORE ABOUT statins at www.fda.gov (search for “controlling cholesterol”) and www.mayoclinic.com.
- Linda Searing
The research described in Quick Study comes from credible, peer-reviewed journals. Nonetheless, conclusive evidence about a treatment’s effectiveness is rarely found in a single study. Anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.
All articles are from the June 19, 2012 edition of the the Washington Post. All images are from www.google.com.