Garlic: This pungent herb helps lower cholesterol and also acts like aspirin, keeping blood from clumping and sticking to artery walls. It also has an antibacterial effect that may help fight strep throat (Plus: Compounds within garlic have shown promise in preventing cancer.)

Olive Oil: In research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who used this heart helper were significantly less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than those who consumed the least.

Fish: You may already know that fish helps fight heart disease. Now it looks as if it may fight cancer, too. In one study, people who ate one or more servings a week had fewer cases of mouth, stomach, colon and other cancers.
(Source: TopHealth, The Health Promotion and Wellness Letter, March 2000)

An ingredient in sugarless gum can cause diarrhea in cyclists and runners. So athletes should chew gum only occasionally-and never when working out.
(Source: Men’s Fitness)
Green tea has had more than its fair share of good press lately, with several studies touting its protective effect against heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and tumors. Now a new, albeit, small, study out of Switzerland reports that it may have the power to raise metabolic rates, speed up fat oxidation and help people lose weight. Ten healthy men consumed either green tea extract, which contains 50 milligrams of caffeine, 50 milligrams of caffeine alone or no caffeine at all. Only the group that consumed the green tea extract showed any increase in metabolic rate. Researchers suspect that the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, along with the caffeine, are responsible for its higher fat-burning effects.
(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 1999)
Getting enough calcium can be a serious problem for those who are lactose-intolerant, a condition characterized by an inability to digest lactose, a milk sugar found in dairy products, which leads to intestinal gas and bloating. According to new research, however, yogurt may pose an exception. Because it contains a relatively moderate amount of lactose – about 25 grams per serving – yogurt may not have the same gas producing effect as other types of dairy products. The best choice is yogurt that contains active cultures (as opposed to heat-treated yogurt), which has also been shown to have a positive impact in helping to reducing the incidence of yeast infections.
(Source: Department of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.)
Put aside the dire research results about the role of french fries in the average diet in the United States. Consider instead the wonders of the common potato. They come, wrapped as it were, with plenty of potassium and Vitamin C. A moderately sized spud delivers about 7 grams of dietary fiber if you eat the skin, an important consideration when you consider 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber per day is the recommended dose.

Not only are potatoes a relative bargain, but a new study from Australia shows they do a bang-up job of taking care of those hunger pangs. Since it’s a high carbohydrate food, there is also some data to suggest it will boost your serotonin levels and naturally improve your mood.

So why do potatoes, eaten in moderation of course, get a bad rap? The fault lies not in the vegetable, but it the myriad fat we put thereon. Instead of butter and sour cream, think about plain low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat sour cream as a topper. If you can’t avoid the butter-sour cream routine, at least go easy on the aforesaid: a little of the good stuff will go a long way when a spud is involved.

In a November 1997 article on Vitamin E, no less an organ than Consumer Reports stated unequivocally: “There is no evidence that the natural form is superior, and no reason to pay the typically higher price for it.” But healers and physicians on the natural side of the fence say that natural Vitamin E probably will work better because it typically comes in a combo platter that includes additional Vitamin E isonomers. It’s the combination of these isonomers with natural Vitamin E that give the edge to natural over synthetic Vitamin E, according to holistic hotshots who only seem holier than thou.
So you’re sick of being sick – or sick and tired of living a life you would just as soon forget. One relatively painless way to start to turn things around, nutritionally speaking, is to simply eat more fruit. In a seventeen-year research study in the United Kingdom of more than 10,000 so-called health-conscious citizens, those who powered down fresh fruit daily had 24 percent less chance of fatal heart attack and were 32 percent less likely to have a fatal stroke.

Start with oranges, strawberries, and cantaloupes because the more beta-carotene the easier it is to keep heart disease and cancer at bay. The Vitamin C in oranges has all kinds of benefits to your immune system even as it helps to fight cancer. Of the twelve most common fruits, strawberries, for their part, contain the most C and E vitamins, carotenoids, flavonoids and other good things, according to the March 1996 Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. Throw some bananas and blueberries into the mix, and you might like what you see, and feel, and taste.

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There are those who will assiduously avoid caffeinated coffee for the boost it provides to the slumbering metabolism of men and women everywhere. But what about the innumerable ways caffeine wends its way into your system? Most everyone knows their intake of the caffeine in coffee has to be carefully moderated, and with good reason: an eight-ounce cup of Joe, made by a drip coffee-maker, provides a median of 184 milligrams of caffeine. But did you know a cup of java made in a percolator weighs in at a more moderate 128 milligrams, or that the instant version taken provides but 104 milligrams of caffeine? Caffeine teetotalers are also usually aware that caffeinated tea is to be avoided, even though it’s not quite so potent as coffee. In an eight-ounce mug of the veddy proper imported tea you will find about 96 milligrams of caffeine. Consider U.S. brands as an option that is not nearly so flavorful – nor so caffeinated, at 64 milligrams per 8 ounces. You should also beware the caffeine in sodas, from the 55 milligrams in 12 ounces of Mountain Dew, to the 41 milligrams in Diet Coke to the 32 milligrams in Pepsi and the 30 in Coca-Cola. In comparison, one ounce of the chocolate you so cherish has a lack of caffeine: 20 milligrams in the semi-sweet version, and just 6 milligrams in plain old milk chocolate.

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Alcohol expands your waistline, according to a study of 52 men and women in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Despite the stereotype of the dissipated alcoholic indifferent to food, researchers found that people of both sexes and all body types actually ate more when they were given beer or wine prior to lunch, compared to when they were served non-alcoholic drinks like water and juice. After the booze, people not only ate faster, according to the watchful researchers, they also ate for a longer period, and they were prone to keep on eating even if they were no longer hungry. Another problem: people who ate more after drinking did not compensate for it by eating less later in the day. These findings are corroborated by Purdue University researcher Richard Mattes, who perused 42 studies on the alcohol-food consumption connection: not only does the alcoholic calories increase a person’s daily intake, but the amount of food calories increases as well. Here’s a scary thought or two for you: two beers per day for a year translates into 31 pounds of extra weight; a year’s worth of 10 ounces of wine per day comes out to 20 extra pounds. If you want to take it off, you might think about putting that drink down.

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Talk about stress. Tour de France 1999 winner Lance Armstrong knows all about stress from his successful bout with testicular cancer. Now Armstrong has assumed what backers are calling “an active ownership position in, the official Web site of the National Sports Network and the most comprehensive source of regional sports information on the Internet.” The idea for the site is to become “the one-stop source for the recreational athlete.” Sports listings, event registration, help with training, celebrity chat sessions, and regional sports news and event results will all be part of the ActiveUSA mix. The content emanates from regional sports magazines, daily newspapers, certain vertical sports magazines, and sundry sports associations. “I am excited to become an active partner in what I believe will be the leading source of information on the Internet for not only cyclists,” Armstrong says, “but [for] all recreational sports athletes.”

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Stress experts say it’s how you handle stress that makes it good or bad. Here’s how to get in a “stressbusting” mode every day:

  • Go for the Golden 20.
    Rise early to give yourself 10-20 minutes to meditate. How to begin: Close your eyes and focus on a single word (such as “calm”), a sound (such as rushing water) or image (such as a cloud.)
  • Wallow in a water massage.
    Take a long, hot shower (but not too hot!). The stream of water massages your back and neck muscles, helping you relaz all over.
  • Mind your minerals.
    Consider downing a multivitamin with a glass of orange juice. Reason: Stress depletes your levels of magnesium… and vitamin C and beta carotene.
  • Commute quietly.
    Turn off your car radio and enjoy a peaceful ride in. You’ll arrive at your destination more relaxed and better able to handle whatever comes your way.
  • Have a hearty breakfast.
    You won’t be starving by mid-day, leaving you better able to handle crises. Stress-fighting foods: galss of low-fat milk with a bran muffin plus one piece of fresh fruit… whole wheat waffle topped wtih fruit and sour cream.