Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
1. Compulsively using hand sanitizer.
If you reach for hand sanitizer any time you make contact with the outside world, you might want to take pause. Unless you’re in an especially germ-prone place like a hospital, soap and water will work just fine, says Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Dermatology at the University of California-San Diego. When you’re not near a sink, hand sanitizing gels can help, but be sure to read the label first. Recent research has shown that those containing triclosan may promote bacteria and virus resistance to antibiotic medications (this goes for antibacterial hand soaps that contain triclosan, too). Instead, choose brands like Purell, that contain at least 60% alcohol, which will kill 99% of bacteria on contact. Photo: Janine Lamontagne / iStock
2. Experimenting with skincare products.
Who isn’t tempted to buy the latest skin creams and serums promising to shed years from your face? While looking for something that works for you is a good idea, overhauling your routine every few weeks in search of the fountain of youth isn’t. “I’ve always encouraged my patients to create a daily regimen and stick with it,” says Jody Levine, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Women get easily bored with their beauty routine, especially if they don’t see results right away. It can take between six and eight weeks to see changes; if you’re using a product to increase collagen, expect to wait six months to see results.” She often cautions patients against constantly changing products, noting that it may cause adult rosacea (a condition that results in red, patchy and sometimes inflamed skin). “People may be forming sensitive skin by trying out too many different products with high levels of fragrance and other sensitizers,” Dr. Levine says. In lieu of always trying something new, stick with what works for you, or see your dermatologist to develop a new routine. And manage your expectations—according to Dr. Levine, a consistent regime should “keep your skin clear, clean and smooth. Make that your rule of thumb and don’t expect miracles, especially when it comes to over-the-counter antiaging products.” Photo: Shutterstock
3. Wearing flip-flops.
Forgoing sky-high heels and toe-pinching boots for the freedom of flip-flops is giving your feet a much-need break, right? Not exactly. Turns out, your summer shoes aren’t doing you any favors. According to Jordana Szpiro, DPM, a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Boston, “Flip-flops and other unsupportive sandals, which have no arch support and give no structural support to the foot, can lead to stress fractures since your uncushioned feet become strained when they try to support too much weight,” she explains. “Extensor or flexor tendinitis is also a common problem that happens as a result of trying to keep your flip-flips on—the muscles on top or underneath your feet overexert themselves while trying to grip your shoes.” She also advises against walking around shoeless, even if you’re by the pool or in your gym’s locker room. “Aside from not giving your feet any support, going barefoot can also be challenging for those prone to infectious skin diseases such as plantar warts and athlete’s foot, which are easily spread poolside, in pedicure salons and in gyms.” But that doesn't mean you need to spend your summer in closed toe shoes. Dr. Szpiro recommends comfortable sandals that also provide plenty of support, like styles from Fit Flops, OrthoHeel and Mephisto. Photo: Stockbyte / Thinkstock
Rushing to brush immediately after every meal may seem like a great way to keep your oral health in check, but according to Greg Diamond, DDS, a New York City periodontist, it’s better to hold off. Food can leave acid on your teeth, which can weaken the enamel, “and brushing while the enamel is in a weakened state can actually scrub the enamel away.” To dislodge any food particles that may remain after eating, he recommends simply rinsing your mouth out with water and saving the brushing for morning and night. Then when you do brush, be sure to do so in a circular motion. According to Dr. Diamond, this will improve your chances of removing harmful bacteria between the teeth and gums. Brushing up and down or back and forth, on the other hand, can leave behind harmful bacteria, causing gum disease; while applying too much pressure can lead to receding gums. Photo: Shutterstock
5. Doing only cardio when you work out.
It’s easy to assume that the best way to lose weight is to stick to the same cardio workout, but “if you only do cardio, your body will become so accustomed to the routine that you’ll start to burn less fat over time,” says Joseph Ciccone, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at ColumbiaDoctors Eastside Sports Therapy in New York. Plus, going through repeated motions on the treadmill or elliptical machine can create tight muscles and lead to injury. Trade in a few of your cardio workouts for circuit training, which involves doing a number of different strength training exercises with little rest between moves in order to keep your heart rate up while also working out your entire body, ensuring that you’ll burn the most calories—without burning out. Integrating resistance training into your routine will create muscle mass, which will help you burn more calories throughout the day, even when you’re at rest, says Jennifer Fleischer, exercise and nutrition coach and owner of Holistic Fitness in San Francisco. She also recommends revamping your cardio routine by mixing in interval training once a week. Try doing 30 seconds of high intensity motion, whether you’re on the treadmill, elliptical machine or in the swimming pool, followed by 90 seconds of recovery at a moderate pace, working your way up to 10 repetitions. The bursts of intensity followed by recovery will effectively and efficiently blast calories and fat. Photo: Shutterstock
6. Skipping meals to “save up” for later.
“Women have gotten into the habit of saving their calories for the fun stuff later on,” says Danine Fruge, MD, associate medical director at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami. For example, many women will hold off on eating lunch so that they can have a few glasses of wine to unwind at the end of the day. Not a problem as long as you’re carefully allocating your calories, right? “Unfortunately when you don’t eat breakfast or lunch you can develop cravings and irritability, which can lead to overeating later on in the day,” she explains. A smarter approach to eating: Fill up on protein-packed meals and nutrient-rich snacks that'll keep your satisfied all day, so when dinnertime or cocktail hour rolls around you won’t be tempted to fill your plate with calorie-rich and high-fat foods. Photo: Andrey Kuzmin / Thinkstock
7. Drinking only bottled water.
By reaching for a bottle of H20 you may think you’re doing your body some good by avoiding tap water, which can be filled with who-knows-what. But that's not the case. “Bottled water contains no fluoride, and we’re seeing more and more adults suffer from a fluoride deficiency, which can lead to tooth decay,” says Dr. Diamond. “Instead, fill your glass with water purified by a Brita or PUR water filtration system” which will keep your water free from impurities commonly found in tap water, but still allow you to reap the benefits of fluoride. Photo: Shutterstock
8. Cleaning with disinfecting products.
While keeping your home pristine and germ-free may seem like the path to perfect health, using cleansers that boast antibacterial or disinfecting properties could have the opposite effect. “These products haven’t been proven to be any more effective than regular cleaning products, and there is significant evidence that the chemicals in these disinfecting cleansers—called quaternary ammonium compounds––can lead to asthma,” says Rebecca Sutton, PhD, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. Other cleaning product chemicals to avoid include 2-butoxyethanol, which the Environmental Protection Agency considers a human carcinogen and has been linked to cancer; alkylphenol ethoxylates, which can disrupt hormones; and ethanolamines, which can cause asthma. But because cleaning product companies aren’t required to list most ingredients on their product labels (you can call or go online instead), it can be tough to know what to buy. However, Seventh Generation, an eco-friendly company, clearly lists their ingredients on their labels, so that's one option. Another, which Dr. Sutton recommends, is cleaning with a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar, or scrubbing surfaces with baking soda, both of which have natural antibacterial properties. She emphasizes that when it comes to ousting germs, the key is cleaning often and thoroughly—not blasting every surface with the harshest cleaner you can find. “Your goal should be to clean regularly,” says Dr. Sutton. “That way you’ll get rid of dirt, so there’s no place for bacteria to grow.” Photo: Shutterstock
9. Loading up on nutritional supplements
When it comes to vitamins and minerals, more is better, right? Not always, says Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, professor emeritus at Georgia State University. “People often take nutritional supplements without really understanding what they’re consuming, or if they really need them.” Because so many foods are fortified these days, she notes that chances are many of us don’t have any major nutritional deficiencies. If you are already getting enough of what you need, the best case scenario is that the supplements will have no effect on you. But there are more serious side effects of carelessly popping pills: Vitamin A in large amounts can be toxic to a developing fetus, vitamin C in large doses can cause gastrointestinal distress as well as interfere with glucose readings in people on diabetes medications and too much vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage. Since a 2009 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that in the absence of a deficiency, eating food instead of taking supplements should be the primary way to fulfill nutritional requirements and deliver health benefits, Dr. Rosenbloom suggests visiting MyPyramidTracker.gov where you can input the foods that you eat daily and the site will tell you what you need to add to your diet. If you find out that you need to up your intake of, say, calcium, “try integrating calcium-rich foods into your diet, like a glass of skim milk or a spinach salad,” before making a beeline to the supplements aisle. If you do learn that supplements are the best choice to remedy a deficiency, look for "USP" printed on the label, which signifies that the pill meets the standards of the testing organization U.S. Pharmacopeia. Photo: Shutterstock
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Want to baby your liver? Keep your GI tract fit? Flush out toxins? These 10 foods -- many of them chosen by RealAge experts Drs. Oz and Roizen -- can spring clean your body and keep refreshing your vital parts all year 'round. No need to fast. Just take these three steps:
- "Eat clean," avoiding processed foods and chemical additives.
- Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of filtered water.
- Include some of these 10 foods in several meals throughout the week.
The Detox Top 10
- Leafy green vegetables. Eat them raw in a salad, throw them into a broth, steam them and mix with rice or add to an omelet, or puree them into juices. The chlorophyll in greens helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides). It's also an all-around liver protector, which your liver needs since it's your major domo detoxifier.
- Lemons. Fresh lemonade made with filtered water will keep you hydrated, and its vitamin C helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form that's easily flushed away. (Add some pureed greens -- see above -- to further bolster your C level.) Here's another cleanse that really works.
- Watercress. Put a handful into salads, soups, and sandwiches. The peppery little green leaves have a diuretic effect that helps the flushing process. Plus cress is a mineral mine, rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Garlic. Add it to everything -- salads, sauces, spreads. In addition to the heart-friendly bulb's cardio benefits, it activates liver enzymes. Research also indicates that garlic diminishes a process that creates cancer-causing compounds in your body.
- Green tea. This antioxidant-rich brew is one of the healthiest ways to get more water into your system. Bonus: It contains catechins, which speed up liver activity. Learn more about how to love your liver.
- Broccoli sprouts. They pack 20 times more cancer-fighting, enzyme-stimulating activity into each bite than the grown-up vegetable. Research suggests that eating the sprouts (they have a radish-like taste) kills off H. Pylori bacteria that causes stomach irritation and ulcers.
- Sesame seeds. They're credited with protecting liver cells from the damaging effects of alcohol and other chemicals. For a concentrated form, try tahini, the yummy sesame seed paste that's a staple of Middle Eastern cooking.
- Cabbage. There are two main types of detoxifying enzymes in the liver, and this potent veggie helps activate both of them. It's the largest member of the Brassica veggie family, all of which delivers colon-cancer fighting isothicyanates and vitamin C. Coleslaw, anyone?
- Psyllium. This plant's bursting with soluble fiber, which mops up toxins (cholesterol, too) and helps clear them out. Stir powdered psyllium into juice to help cleanse your colon, or have psyllium-fortified Bran Buds for breakfast. (Start with a small amount and gradually increase your dose as your GI tract becomes used to it.)
- Fruits, fruits, fruits. They're full of almost all the good things listed above -- vitamin C, fiber, nutritious fluids, and assorted antioxidants. Besides, nothing tastes better than a ripe mango, perfect pear, or fresh berries.
Ultimate Detox Recipe: Easy Wilted Garlic-Sesame Salad
Toss dark green leafy vegetables in hot, garlicky oil for a cleansing -- and delicious -- dish.
4 servings, about 65 calories each
Warm oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until lightly browned, about 45 seconds. Add greens (do in two batches if necessary) and toss until just wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Attractive cell phones are easy to find.
Ever since Motorola's Razr and, later, the Apple iPhone, manufacturers have had to work hard on pleasing designs. Gorgeous, giant glass fronts framed in elegant black, sleek steel or shiny chrome, smartphones pack brains and beauty.
But not always. Before the mobile phone industry got all busy with design makeovers and tummy tucks, there were -- and still are -- some delightfully hideous phones that represented the other side of the beauty trend. The Street has gone back through the past decade to dig up some of the best examples of designs that make you wince and stare in disbelief. The clueless stylings, the flights of fancy into odd shapes, the obsession with square versus rounded -- it is a wonderfully colorful history.
Here are 13 of the ugliest phones ever in this century:
No. 1: Nokia 7600
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. While Apple was changing the phone industry with a super-slim touchscreen iPhone in 2007, Nokia came out with this gem. (Shown above) It's not clear what inspired the small screen and the pig's ear shape, but it gets top honors in this contest. Any wonder why Apple is cleaning up in mobile, while Nokia is clearing out.
No. 2: Samsung Cleo
Ah yes, the "lady" phone. The Samsung Cleo really hit the mark with this one. Pink is bad enough, but does square really speak to the female phone buyer? What a cute, ah ... cigarette case? um ... makeup compact? Oh, look at that, it's a phone!
No. 4: Nokia3620
Not to be outdone by those pesky Swedes, Finnish phone giant Nokia totally turned the tables on the Sony Ericsson T61z and made the 3620 with an oval bottom and a square top. Take that Ericsson.
|©Sony Ericcson/TheStreet illustration|
No. 5: Sony Ericsson t61z
It was a radical move by Sony Ericsson with the T61z phone. Do people want corners or curves? Let's give them both. Sony Ericsson made the T61z square on the bottom and oval on top. Brilliant. Who wouldn't like a phone shaped like a shoe-print?
No. 6:MotorolaNextel i500
Police-tape yellow and shaped a lot like a firefighter's walkie-talkie, theMotorola Nextel i500 wasn't trying to be one of your pretty phones. It was aimed at first- responders of business. Tech crews and workers out in the field needed a rugged-looking phone on their belt; the i500 was the perfect accessory.
No. 7:Motorola Flipout
No. 8:Microsoft Kin
No. 9: HTC Apache
No. 10: LGVX9800
No. 11: Palm Treo 700p
Palm, now a division of HP, arguably invented the smartphone. But the signs of Palm's eventual demise were evident with this later generation Treo. While its contemporaries were slimming their designs, Palm's Treo 700 arrived not only thicker but heavier than its Treo 600 predecessor.
No. 12: LGVX8300
No. 13: Samsung SGH X800
Folding phones offer a compact and winning design.Samsung's SGH X800 got the folding part right, but it missed on the compact part. Open the phone was fine, but folded? It was like a fat little hand grenade.