Angelina Jolie's cancer scare and decision to have a preventive double mastectomy has started a nationwide discussion about the importance of women's health care and cancer prevention. Watch this video to find out what Angelina's genetic mutation means, if you're a candidate for genetic testing, and steps you can take to reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
When it comes to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), the pros definitely outweigh the cons. While it may feel unpleasant to push your body to go faster and harder for that short time period, the rewards are worth it: HIIT helps you blast more belly fat, save time, and burn way more calories (even after your workout is long over) than a lower-intensity workout alone. A new study published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal found that a few minutes of training at almost your max can accomplish all of this in way less time than a traditional workout. How much less? Try just seven minutes total. The ACSM's interval workout consists of 12 exercises, which should be done at an intensity of 8 on a scale of 10; each exercise lasts 30 seconds, with a 10-second rest in between. Repeat the circuit if you'd like a longer workout. Keeping the intensity up — and the rest periods short — is key, so click through to learn the moves and then get going! You'll need a mat and a chair or bench.
It's common sense that losing weight includes a combination of healthier diet and exercise habits, but if you are pressed for time, which should you focus on first — sticking to your workouts, or planning out healthy meals? A new study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that, while doing both at the same time is best, you may also see results if you start with exercise first.
The study followed 200 inactive men and women 45 years and older who also had poor diets. The participants were divided into four groups: those who started new diet and exercise habits at the same time, those who started exercise first and changed diet habits a few months later, those who changed their diet first and started exercising later, and those who didn't change their diet and exercise habits at all. The four groups were tracked and coached for a year.
The authors found that those who changed their diet and exercise habits at the same time were better at meeting the US exercise guideline minimum of 150 minutes a week as well as eating more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat. The group who changed exercise habits first was able to stick to their healthier diet and exercise habits almost as well as the dieting and exercise group, but the group who changed their diet first failed to meet their exercise goals.
The study's lead author, Dr. Abby King, says that the exercise-first group could have had more success than the diet-first group because finding time to exercise can be harder than learning to substitute healthier foods when you eat. "With dietary habits, you have no choice; you have to eat," King says. "You don't have to find extra time to eat because it's already in your schedule. So the focus is more on substituting the right kinds of food to eat." Since the exercise-first group had already learned the harder habit, changing their diets after that may have been easier for them to do.
The key to losing weight is about sticking with healthy habits and establishing a routine, so this new study is a great reminder that small changes, like fitting in exercise even if you aren't changing your diet, can lead to something big, like improved health and weight loss. Ready to start? Here are some quick and easy workouts to add to your week:
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Coffee lovers and green tea enthusiasts, unite! A new study out of Japan shows that people who drink both beverages every day have a lower risk of stroke than those who drink just one or the other (or neither).
Researchers have been touting the antioxidant properties of green tea for years, and recent studies show that your daily coffee fix boosts more than just your energy levels. But putting the two drinks together — not in the same cup, of course — may help you reap the health benefits of both.
Researchers looked at the coffee and tea consumption habits of almost 82,369 Japanese adults over 13 years and found that people who had a cup of coffee every day were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke (compared to those who didn't drink coffee at all). But that's not to say that coffee is better for you than tea. In fact, the study noted that people who drank four or more cups of green tea a day were also about 20 percent less likely to have a stroke. Since the two drinks help prevent strokes in different ways, drinking both can lower your risk of stroke more than just drinking one or the other, the study authors explained.
A new study out of Ohio State University has burst our bubble about chewing gum's ability to help with weight loss. Although mint is known as an appetite suppressant and gum can lower your feeling of hunger, the study showed that participants who chewed gum didn't consume fewer calories or make more nutritious choices. Although the chewers ate fewer snacks, they ate bigger meals, ultimately eating about the same number of calories as nonchewers. The real kicker here is the poor nutritional choices, believed to be caused by the menthol in gum, making fruits and vegetables taste bitter, and in turn, making candy look ever so appealing.
With all this back-and-forth, it seems that gum and weight loss can only be interpreted on a case-by-case basis. So although gum may lead to less snacking for some, still keep in mind your portion size and nutritional quality when it comes to meals. Tell us your thoughts!
While it's obvious that eating bacon in everything isn't a healthy choice, a new study isolates just how bad the link between processed meat consumption and heart disease and cancer can be.
The study, from BMC Medicine, tracked almost 450,000 healthy men and women between ages 35 and 69 during the 1990s through 2000s and found that the more processed meat the volunteers consumed, the higher their risk of death from heart conditions and cancer. Interestingly, the researchers did not find a significant link between eating unprocessed red meat and early death when they adjusted their data — but they did find that more than three percent of deaths could be prevented if the participants ate less than 20 grams of processed meat a day, specifically. The study found no link between early death and poultry consumption.
The current study is important because it not only tracked healthy individuals for many years, but it also attempted to isolate just how much eating processed meat affects your health, even if you're otherwise healthy and active. And since the study didn't find the same correlation between other types of meat (and in fact found a decrease in death risk in those who ate a little bit of unprocessed meat every day), it highlights the importance of eating fatty, nitrate-filled, high-salt processed meats sparingly.
So how much is 20 grams of processed meat? Less than an ounce a day — or one small strip of bacon, says NPR. The study's lead author suggests that people eat a pound or less of all types of meat a week (300-600 grams). For more on how to be a healthy meat eater, check out our tips here.
There are already many proven benefits from eating a Mediterranean diet, and now we can add another major one: a recent, large study of 7,500 people in Spain found that following a Mediterranean diet can cut your risk of heart attack, stroke, and heart disease-related deaths by about 30 percent compared to a typical Western diet that didn't include Mediterranean staples. Since this study followed people who were overweight, had diabetes or heart disease risk factors, and currently smoked, many say the results show just how beneficial the diet is for people who are at high risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
Past studies have found that following a Mediterranean diet can help lower the risk of heart and eye complications, control your weight, protect brain function, and help you live longer, so there are more than a few good reasons to eat like you're on an overseas vacation. Read on for five staples of the Mediterranean diet you should be eating.
If you're trying to lose weight, changing your eating habits can help — except if it involves skipping or delaying meals. A new study has found that women who ate lunch after 3 p.m. lost less weight than those who ate lunch earlier.
The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, followed 420 obese or overweight women in Spain over a five-month period and found that those who ate a big lunch before 3 p.m. (the early-eaters) lost significantly more weight and at a faster rate than those who ate lunch after 3 p.m. (the late-eaters). While lunch was the biggest meal for each participant, all participants ate a similar amount of calories per day. The study also found that late eaters were more likely to skip breakfast or eat fewer calories at breakfast.
The study suggests that the timing of meals may be an important part of the weight-loss puzzle because waiting too long to eat may disrupt the body's metabolism. The study's authors say the findings indicate that the "timing of large meals could be an important factor in a weight-loss program," so even if your biggest meal of the day is dinner, make sure your meals are evenly spaced throughout the day.
Here's some good news if you're wondering how you'll be meeting your New Year's resolution of getting into supermodel shape: a new study says that people who are slightly overweight live longer than those who are normal weight.
The study, published this week in Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed BMI data for almost three million people in several studies around the world and found that those who had a BMI of 25-29 (classified as overweight) had a six percent lower risk of dying than those with normal-weight BMIs (18.5-24). Even those who were slightly obese (BMIs of 30-34) had the same risk of dying as normal-weight people.
While the study does suggest that you shouldn't stress over a few extra pounds, it doesn't mean that you should abandon your healthy-living initiatives. Researchers believe that one reason why overweight people live longer is because they are at risk for developing more weight-related complications and are therefore at the doctor's office more frequently. The study's authors, however, did suggest that there may be a protective benefit to certain types of fat, and that not all people who are overweight or obese need to lose weight — an opinion echoed in studies last year that said it's possible to be healthy obese.
A new study shows weight loss doesn't always have to be about counting calories — just lowering fat intake pays off. A recent British review of 33 randomized and controlled studies, involving over 73,000 participants, discovered some heartening and healthful patterns associated with decreasing the amount of fat consumed.
Over the course of at least six months, researchers weighed participants and measured their waistlines to see if only lowering fat intake would make a significant difference. Participants ate their typical amount of food each day, but half of the group had less fat in their meals. The results for the study group with less fat in their meals averaged a 3.5-pound weight loss, slimmer physiques, and the weight stayed off for seven or more years. The belly measurements, in particular, were noticeably smaller on the participants who received the diet lower in fat. So could reducing your fat consumption alone be better than dieting? Here are the tips that this team of researchers discovered.
Saturated Fat: Although there was no bias between different types of fats in the study, researchers believe that cutting back on saturated fat is the most beneficial. This is the type of fat that contributes to heart disease and strokes, so slowly weaning off of this type can be a simpler approach to health.
See the rest of the tips after the break!